... has finally had his resignation accepted. Many a blameless cleric would be delighted to receive as extravagant a send-off as PF has given Wuerl. What do we all have to do to earn ...
My own unease concerning Wuerl began with a story I heard the veracity of which I cannot guarantee. So, if I've got this wrong, apologies to the clerics concerned; apologies to my readers for misleading them. I welcome any corrections from anybody who knows the facts more accurately than I do. I would not wish the record to be anything other than straight! The following account is, therefore, provisional. It may well be totally withdrawn, with apologies.
It relates to North America and to the Ordinariate of the Chair of S Peter in the time of the previous Ordinary, Mgr Steenson..
My recollection is of being told that a parish in that Ordinariate had started an Extraordinary Form Mass on a weekday, which attracted quite a congregation. A stop was put to this by Cardinal Wuerl, who instructed Mgr Steenson to explain to his subjects that the EF was not part of the Anglican Patrimony, and should not be celebrated in Ordinariate churches.
If true, this is preposterous. The Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus says that Ordinariate clergy may use either the Roman Rite or the Ordinariate Rite. It does not distinguish between the two forms of the Roman Rite, the Ordinary and the Extraordinary. By decreeing that Ordinariate clergy can celebrate the Roman Rite, and making no distinction between its two forms, those Ordinariate clergy are placed in exactly the same position as every other presbyter of the Latin Church, by virtue of Summorum pontificum.
Is the EF "part of our Patrimony"? In one sense, clearly not. The provinces of the Anglican Communion never authorised the Missal of S Pius V.
But, equally, those provinces never authorised the Novus Ordo of B Paul VI. So, by the "not part of our Patrimony" argument, Cardinal Wuerl would prevent us from using that too.
In another sense, the EF clearly is part of our Patrimony. It has been in use by our clegy and Laity for roughly a century. When I was in the Diocese of Oxford in the Province of Canterbury, I used it, in Latin, most weekday mornings. It was also used in various Missals such as the English Missal, which provided it partly in Latin and partly in English and with the possibility of interpolating some formulae from the Book of Common Prayer. I knew it as a schoolboy in the 1950s and as an undergraduate in the early 1960s.
The same is not true of the Novus Ordo! That is totally alien both to the elegant but Zwinglian formulae in the 'official' Book of Common Prayer, and also to the de facto liturgical culture which prevailed in 'Anglo-Catholic' circles.
The old Mass is very much an integral part of our liturgical history. Our greatest liturgist and mystagogue, Dom Gregory Dix, used it daily, in Latin, in his monastery at Nashdom, and insisted on doing so in the Lutheran Churches during a lecture tour in Sweden! In the Anglican shrine of our Lady of Walsingham, there still are dozens of examples of the Missale Romanum (well, there were last time I said Mass there about ten years ago), and of the English Missal, surviving in storage from the happy days when the twenty or so altars in the Shrine Church would have been in constant use, during the pilgrimage season, by priests saying their private masses according to what, in those happy days, we called "the Western Rite"!
So ... can anybody fill me in with regard to this American business?