4 September 2021

The Tridentine Mass and the Anglican Patrimony (3)

Thus it is recorded of one of our more eccentric clergy, Fr Sandys Wason, of Cury and Gunwalloe, that as he approached to Altar on dark weekday mornings, he would murmur to his server "Anyone here?", and if the answer were negative, would reply "Good. Latin Mass". Mr Kensit's inventory of the enormities he found in Cury church concluded "But yet more, the Vicar dares to use A ROMAN MISSAL"! In the Anglican Shrine at Walsingham, no longer in the Sacristy but since the 1960s preserved among the archives, are large numbers of the Missale Romanum, showing many evidences of long and continuous use. And there were churches in which everything, even on Sundays, was Tridentine and in Latin (details in M Yelton Anglican Papalism).

Since the revival of 'ritual' in the Church of England, there had been a tendency for the Advanced, Extreme behaviour of one generation to have become 'mainstream' in the next. Thus, as the twentieth century progressed, there was much less bother about the perceived enormities of the previous century, such as candles, Eastward Position, the Mixed Chalice, Mass vestments, even incense and sacring bells. Many of the bishops were now doing these things or some of them themselves. The new controversies centred round the Presence and the Sacrifice: the extra-liturgical cultus of the Blessed Sacrament (Benediction, Exposition, Corpus Christi Processions); and the Canon of the Mass. In other words, bishops did their best to ban Benediction and to stop the interpolation of the Canon of the Mass, said silently, before and after Cranmer's Consecration Prayer.

This made the bishops very unpopular. Just imagine. A group of disaffected Protestant laity would go to a bishop with their list of complaints about their 'High Church' Vicar; the Bishop would promise to do something about it when he came to appoint the next Vicar (the present one enjoying Parson's Freehold, and hence being unsackable). But what Protestant laity very often wanted was the return of Morning Prayer instead of the Eucharist as the main service on a Sunday morning; if not that, they desired at least the removal of incense, chanting, servers, candles, bells. Their list of desired 'reforms' would almost certainly not include the removal of the Canon of the Mass, for the very simple reason that the Vicar said it silently during the singing of the Sanctus and Benedictus. They had never heard it and so they didn't even realise that they ought to be violently against it! 

The bishop would promise to see that the next Vicar was less Extreme. When the time came, he extracted from candidates for the job an undertaking that they would abandon the Canon and, in its place, use the "Interim Rite" (which meant that two of Cranmer's prayers, gummed together, replaced the Canon).

The Low Church Laity were furious. They knew nothing about the importance of the Canon, and gave the Bishop no credit for its elimination. All they saw was that the Bells and Smells continued. They were convinced that the Bishop had done the dirty on them. Bishops became, in their eyes, devious and deceitful men who broke their promises; shifty individuals, hand in glove with 'extreme' clergy, who never looked you in eye. Catholic clergy and laity were as damning; when the living had become vacant, the bishop had assured them with his nicest pastoral smile that he would "maintain the Catholic Tradition" at S Luke's; instead, he appointed a member of the group which was coming to be called "Protestants in Chasubles". 

To outsiders, the worship in S Luke's remained completely 'Romish'; little did they understand the subtleties of whether the "Western Rite" or the "Interim Rite" was in use. All they saw was complex ritual. One old Anglo-Catholic shrine church, All Saints Margaret Street, fell into the hands of such a priest; he banned from the hospitality of his altars clergy who used the Canon. Wagging a forefinger, he would say "You know the rule here, my dear; choreography according to Fortescue but libretto by Cranmer".

For some half a century, the Anglo-Papalist clergy were persecuted for using the Canon Romanus. This resulted in an awareness of its enormous importance being branded deeply into their (our) memories. Even today such persecution continues in the Church of England; Anglican diocesans intimate that they will not make a fuss about any liturgical practice however technically illegal as long as an Anglican Eucharistic prayer is used. The Canon Romanus is something we have fought and suffered for.

To be continued.


Shaun Davies said...

Is there anyone who could tell us about those clergy and churches which kept the old English Missal after the introduction of the Novus Ordo/Missa Normativa/Series II/Series III ? I know that St Magnus the Martyr quickly introduced Serie II, bastions of Papalism like Nashdom Abbey, (ditched the Martin Travers Altar and Sanctuary for a six sided wooden table)St John's,Holland Road [and later its cube-shaped forward altar]and the Annunciation,Marble Arch soon had the New Roman Missal.
Were there any of the great old churches (and great old priests) who stayed firmly with the English Missal or Missale Romanum ? Can anyone tell us ? (St Olave's in Exeter under Fr John Hooper had a sort of "1965" English Missal with lots of omissions )

motuproprio said...

St Silas Kentish Town?

Solucia said...

What about St. Mary Bourne Street? I attended there 2007-8; the priest used a Roman missal at that time.

Matthew said...

In the late 1970s the chaplain to the Community of St Wilfrid, a small and now sadly extinct sisterhood in Exeter, celebrated according to the English Missal. And in the same city it is said that Fr Moreton at St Mary Steps "always" used the Roman Canon, although on such occasions as I attended the rite there was Series I.

Shaun Davies said...

I once served at St Wilfrid's (c.1976) and the visitor definitely used E.M. complete as was his custom. St Mary Steps used Series I but Fr Moreton then later on (c.1977/78) reverted to the Roman Canon. Most of the other Exeter churches were Series I --- Series II in the Cathedral except during Lent when Series I was used.

Simon Cotton said...

What was happening in the 'shrines' of Anglo-Catholicism in London was not necessarily copied elsewhere. In 1976 I was churchwarden of a Norwich parish that was still using the English Missal. Indeed, one retired priest who said a weekly Mass there still used the Roman Canon, in Latin.

Alan Matthews said...

All Saints, North Street, in York still advertises its Masses as being from the English Missal

Matthew said...

@Shaun Davies: Thanks for your clarification re St Mary Steps. I was elsewhere from the late 1970s though did once go there when on holiday c1986; details now irretrievably forgotten. More recently I was there for Fr Roger Shambrook's Requiem in 2016, when the rite was perhaps more Ordinariate than anything else. I recall a distinctly Anglican prayer of confession at the beginning, and although we were spared Comfortable Words (and Humble Access?), the Roman Canon was recited in its entirety. Nothing from the Anglican funeral service, though perhaps it was used at the graveside, some 20 miles away.

Shaun Davies said...

Which one in Norwich,please ?

There seemed to have been a HUGE number of A.C. churches there - but many are now closed.

The ones that remain are pretty modern and liberal in their attitudes (St George's,Tombland and St Giles have women priests) St John's,Timberhill seems pretty "Inclusive". St John's,Maddermarket now closed for worship but most of the furnishings intact.There may be others but I don't know them.

Deimater said...

I checked out S. Silas Kentish Town online. They're exceedingly coy in terms of their liturgy - no videos of their Mass online. But from a few comments, I gather they use the Novus Ordo with the Roman Canon.

Simon Cotton said...

Shaun - this was Saint Giles. At that time (1976), St George's Tombland and the Parmentergate grouping (including Timberhill) had similar liturgical practice. We used to attend each others' patronal festivals etc.
Central Norwich had many A/C parishes between the Wars, also including S. Gregory, S. Lawrence, S. John Maddermarket and I think Saint James.

Shaun Davies said...

Thank you for all this. St Julian's adjacent to the Julian of Norwich cell, is beautifully furnished and part of S.John's,Timberhill; when I was there a couple of weeks ago the Vicar came to ring the Angelus and invited me to join in.