My generous friend, Professor William Tighe, once sent me a fascinating little book (Roman and uncondemned) published in 1959 (remember the date!) by one Canon Dudley Symon. Symon was, in fact, a predecessor of mine at Lancing College, a papalist writer but not an unreflecting admirer of the Roman Catholicism of his day. A snippet: "A Pontifical High Mass, as it is celebrated today, with all the adjuncts of light, colour, scent, movement and music, is one of greatest artistic achievements of the human mind, worthy to be set beside a Symphony by Beethoven, or the Parthenon in Athens, or the frescoes of Michael Angelo. The Liturgical Reformers, like all other Reformers, will need watching lest their zeal leads them 'to root up the wheat also'."
How right he was. And these words seem almost uncanny in their prescience: "... since the Church [of England] makes a special appeal to primitive antiquity, since its reference is to the ancient Fathers and the age of the Great Councils, since its own ethos is in many ways so akin to the Roman, it needs also the Mass which is the purest expression of the faith and worship of that whole period ... the Mass restored to us would not only be the deepening of our knowledge and appreciation of the Divine Mysteries but a proclamation of our unity with the true source of our being, the rock whence we were hewed."
My motive for presenting Dudley's thinking is, of course, PF's new initiative with regard to Catholic Worship. I can see no harm in reminding one and all of the conviction reached by so many thoughtful and informed Anglicans about the Roman Rite as it was before the wreckers got to it. There is instruction for all of us in this. Ab Anglicanis fas est doceri.
I never fail to be moved as I say those words Te igitur ... by which in the classical Roman Rite one seems to enter silently as through a secret gate into the very heart of the divine mystery of the self-oblation of the Eternal Son.