19 June 2009

The English Missal

For most of the 20th Century, Anglican Catholic worship meant a volume called "The English Missal". It contained the whole Missale Romanum translated into English; into an English based on the style of Thomas Cranmer's liturgical dialect in the Book of Common Prayer. The "EM" took everything biblical from the translation known as the King James Bible or Authorised Version. Cranmer's Eucharistic order was incorporated into Ordo Missae of the Missal of S Pius V. On days for which Cranmer provided a collect, that collect of his - whether it was a translation or a new composition - was provided.

The book, however, was a trifle protean. As the century progressed, the (anonymous) editors grew more and more uneasy about diverging from the strict letter of the Missale Romanum (translated); you might call them forerunners of Liturgicam authenticam. So, where Cranmer had translated a little freely (and, as I explained some time ago, he had a natural tendency to expand his Latin originals), later editions of the English Missal pruned his texts down to conformity with the Latin. And the collects which were Cranmer's own compositions were either removed or allowed to survive as mere alternatives to versions of the Latin. It was deemed necessary to provide translations of the Masses for all the "Sundays after Pentecost", where earlier editions had assumed that Anglican Catholic priests would be happy to use Cranmer's propers, taken from the Sarum Rite, for the "Sundays after Trinity" (supplemented by the portions which Cranmer had omitted: Introits, etc.). It was assumed that clergy were getting less and less willing to interpolate Prayer Book formularies into the Roman Rite, and also more anxious to say as much as possible in Latin. This had an unfortunate effect: the book on the Altar increasingly offered different texts from those the devout laity found in their hand editions. I prefer the more 'Anglican' earlier editions. Like Joseph Ratzinger and the other Vatican supporters of the Book of Divine Worship (the Liturgy used by those American ex-Anglican communities who are the "Anglican Use of the Roman Rite"), I think there are excellent reasons for Anglican Catholics to have there own distinctive dialect of what remains the one Roman Rite: Extraordinary Form, Anglican Form, Ordinary Form, Dominican Form. After all, whatever undesireable ruptures accompanied the birth of our English rites in the 16th century, 450 years of devout use to carry their own sanctification. But, in whatever edition, the English Missal is a very fine vernacular version of the classical Roman Rite, in a very fine liturgical, hieratic, dialect. When the great Christine Mohrmann lamented that modern European vernaculars did not possess a hieratic form, she had not met the English Missal. I deeply regret that most Anglican Catholic clergy deemed it obsolete when Old ICEL in the 1970s issued the horrrendous current English RC liturgy. I am glad that EM is now again in print; and I trust that traditionalist Anglican clergy may be inclined to bring it back into the Church's repertoire. Sadly, I recognise that it is not fair to urge this upon Roman Catholics at a time when they are gearing up to cope with the New ICEL translation.

A begging note: does anybody know of - or have unwanted sets of - booklet editions of (just the) the Order of Mass, for the laity?


Antiphon said...

As well as the English Missal published by Knott and Sons, there was also the Anglican Missal published by the Society of SS Peter and Paul, which also ran into several editions.

The Anglican Missal was in some ways perhaps slightly less Roman than was the English Missal; for example, the Anglican Missal only provided for Sundays after Trinity and not Sundays after Pentecost, and always provided the original BCP collects.

I think the Anglican Missal was favoured by churches which used the "interim rite", ie the BCP prayer for the Church Militant and the Prayer of Consecration said silently, as with the Roman Canon. This practice was favoured by the Society of SS Peter and Paul and was at one stage used by Fr Hope Patten at Walsingham before he adopted the Roman Canon late in life, and probably also at St Mary's, Bourne Street.

The Anglican Parishes Association in the USA still publish a reprint of the American Edition of the Anglican Missal; until recently an altar edition was also available, but this is currently out of print.

The reprint of the English Missal by Canterbury Press is of course very welcome, but I wish it had been produced with the rubrics in red; with everything in black it can be very hard to disentangle the rubrics from the liturgical texts when one is at the altar.

Perhaps in the future it may be possible to reprint a large handsome altar edition and a seperate pew edition, as was the case originally.

Father Properly Dressed said...

I agree that a return to the EM, which I believe you are advocating, would be good for many parishes. How sad that so many were quick to do away with the Missal and replace it with lightweight liturgy.

If you get a large response for people's copies then I could use some here! Alternatively the Knott Missal is on line so a cut and paste copy would not be too hard.

Your blog is fascinating and unmissable! I intend to make your church a holiday destination!!

Antiphon said...

Among my collection of Anglican missals is one entitled "The People's Missal", compiled by the Rev E.A.L. Clarke, which dates from the 1920s.

This is rather a strange hybrid; it appears to be basically Sarum-influenced, but with additional material from other rites, such as that of Hereford.

I have a pew edition; I believe that there was also an altar edition, and I noted one for sale on eBay a couple of years ago.

I suspect that this particular missal was only used in a very few churches; can anyone provide any further information concerning its background and where it was used?

For example, I wonder if Thaxted Parish Church may have used it under Conrad Noel?

ex_fide said...

I have a 1933 english missal for the Laity, and regret that it doesn't have the Latin canon like later editions. I pray most days that a 1958 EM altar book lands in my lap.....

What I'd be interested to know is whether the laity actually used the laymans missals to the same extent that RCs started to in the 20th cent. The number of copies of the English Missal for the Laity that one finds online would suggest that a large number were printed.....but used?

Anonymous said...

The 2001 reprint being exhausted, some may know that Canterbury Press re-reprinted the EM last year with rubrics (ie red type) but the copy was smudged and totally unsatisfactory. They are soon planning yet another re-re-release of the EM (with rubrics and also super "altar" sized). They also plan a reprint of the pew edition.

One big with rubrics
One small
both 1958.

God bless them! I wonder if Fr. H will show up in the new edition's preface like he did the 2001?

NB They are planning a leather bound AV c/Apocrypha. A book that no one else seems to have the courage to print.

I'll email you a missalette I put together some years ago for the EM, maybe it's what you're after. If so, use it ad libitum.

Anonymous said...

Re: the Anglican Missal (American Ed.) published by Anglican Parishes Ass.

They are out of print on both altar and pew copies - and for ever it would seem.

I've got copies of both. Bidding starts at $2000.00US.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

I would like to see the English Missal with the pre-Pius XII Holy Week used more often

Anonymous said...

Re the pre-Pius XII holy week:

Lancelot Andrews Press once upon a time sold a plain chant setting for the pre-1955 EM Holy Week on LuLu. It since "appears" to have been taken down. If you are interested I highly recommend obtaining a copy, this link appears to still work.