15 October 2016

An interesting little old document (2)

At the heart of the Liturgical Commission which produced this document were men whose life had involved the constant use of the Canon Romanus, or sympathetic study of it. Canon A H Couratin; Professor E C Ratcliffe; Dr R C D Jasper; Dr G G Willis. I think their presence largely shaped the structure and details of this draft Eucharistic Prayer.

The intrusive, unscriptural, orientalising, notion that the Holy Spirit needs to be invoked in order to accomplish the Consecration of the Eucharistic Elements, is totally absent from this draft. I must explain that the 'Epiclesis' had in fact, rather earlier, been quite popular. It had been part of the 'ecumenical' and highly influential rites produced by the Church of South India (1954), and the Taize Community (1962). More important, it had featured even earlier in the (abortive) 1928 Eucharistic Prayer. But the popularity of the 'Epiclesis' among Anglicans interested in Liturgy suffered from its having been associated with '1928'. This was because the persuasive and popular figure of Dom Gregory Dix argued vigorously in his highly influential The Shape of the Liturgy (1945) that it was 'unprimitive'. And although Dix was as mistakenly enthusiastic as his contemporaries in his promotion of the work then, erroneously, thought to be the Apostolic Tradition of 'Hippolytus', his own edition of that document argued that the Invocation of the Spirit was not original to it. It is probably largely because of Dix's very determined hatchet-job on '1928' that it, and the epiclesis, never resurfaced in the liturgical politics of the two post-war decades.

Less well-known than Dix, but equally dismissive of 'epicletic' notions of Eucharistic Consecration, was my own much-loved teacher, to whom I owe a lot, the great Canadian scholar G D Kilpatrick, Dean Ireland Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture in this University. The Experimental Liturgy which he published (Remaking the Liturgy 1967), and which we experienced in a 'demonstration celebration' at Staggers (Kilpatrick's own former seminary), had no truck with any sort of Epiclesis.

The Second Series had been drafted in 1965. In that terrible 'year of revolutions' 1968, the Vatican authorised the three disastrous 'Alternative Eucharistic Prayers' which have so blighted the life of the Latin churches, and all three of them in lemming-like harmony incorporated sub-Eastern-style Epicleses. As the Anglican generation which had known Dix, Jasper, Willis, and Ratcliff, gradually passed away, the silly mistakes currently being made with such single-minded enthusiasm by 'Rome' increasingly exercised a mesmerising influence on Anglican liturgical 'reform'. It seemed so much more important to "do Liturgy ecumenically" than to be rooted in the ancient traditions. Thus, and thus quickly, can fashionable liturgical corruptions become embedded in the world-wide praxis of more than one ecclesial body. Accordingly, when a version of the Series Two Eucharistic Prayer was authorised in 1973 with the exciting title Series Three, it incorporated the phrase "Grant by the power of your Spirit". And, since then, this foolish fad has remained a constant in the tedious and endless Anglican parlour-game of composing Eucharistic Prayers. Perhaps it reached its high point in Prayer 3 of the 2004 Church of Ireland Prayer Book, where the Epiclesis is addressed directly to the Holy Spirit instead of to the Father.

However, for the two happy decades 1945-1965, a great classical generation of liturgical scholars in the Church of England had known very much better than did the post-Conciliar Rome of Bugnini, Botte, and Vagganini.

Thereafter, the blind unquestioningly followed the blind, as the silly fellows still do.

But we in the Ordinariate know better!

3 comments:

Hannes said...

The epiclesis was already included in Laud's Scottish Prayer of Consecration, and it wandered to its Byzantine place after the Words of Institution in the 1764 Communion Office echoed by the American Prayer books. So it's a bit older than 1928.

In case you already knew this, Father, (which I presume) I would be very interested in reading about the context; I suppose it's not by accident that Eastern consecration theology was echoed in 17th and 18th century Anglicanism.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Indeed, Cranmer put an epiclesis (in the Bugnini position) into his 1549 'Canon'. It is a bit of a puzzle where he got the idea from. The Scottish rite of temp.Charles I probably got it from there (BTW, that rite was NOT foisted on the unwilling Scots by Laud, but is genuinely Scotch).

Then we have the series of rites produced by the 'Usager' section of the Non-jurors, especially those led by Bishop Deacon. They tried to establish relationships with the Orthodox, and were influenced by the combined notions of being 'ancient' and being 'non-papist'. So they tended to imitate recondite Eatern sources such as the 'Apostolic Constitutions'.

J Grisebrooke, I recall, printed these rites for the Alcuin Club.

Hannes said...

So can we assume that the 1764 Scottish Communion Office echoes the 'Usager' liturgy? Or was there an independent Scottish Byzantine movement?