9 March 2016

Customary use of the Canon Romanus in the Church of England

I reprint this from june 2009, in response to a query.
The Roman Canon was, of course, used in the Church of England from her beginning until the Tudor disruptions which climaxed in its outlawing from S John's Day in 1559, nearly 450 years ago. Nearly a thousand years of use must give it a customary claim of great strength.

But its use has not been infinitesimal more recently. In his 1916 Presidential Address to te English Church Union (in those days, the main Anglican Catholic organisation), Viscount Halifax said "At present, as I think you are aware, it is a very general custom ... for many of the clergy - I should put their number at some two thousand, though I believe I might safely put it at three thousand - to ... say the first part of the Latin Canon (silently, of course) before the Prayer of Consecration in the Prayer book, and to complete the Prayer of Consecration with the rest of the Latin Canon".

This estimate is the more striking since Halifax himself advocated a different reform of the Anglican Liturgy: the use of the 1549 rite.

Does anybody know what percentage of the English Clergy that amounts to?


BillyD said...

Point of information - does "Latin Canon" here mean that they were actually saying the Canon in Latin?

Michael Vyse said...

I applaud the use of the BCP Pr of Consecreation inside trhe Romasn Canon - the post-16th century spirit of Cranmer set in trhe context of the CofE's anncient formularies and reminding her of her foundation by Ss. Gregory & Augustine of Canterbury.

John Vasc said...

Father H - Try this Google book page


In brief: clergy under 65 - in 1851 = 15,000; in 1901 = 19,500, in 1951 13,000

Difficult to estimate exactly - on the one hand we can assume some deaths in the war so far (1914-1916): on the other there must have been plenty of fervent and patriotic aspirants for the cloth, lots of field-chaplains etc.

Say, 20,000 or so? Maybe more? So 3000 would have been ca. 15%?