16 August 2022

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, had been popular in Orientally-based Anglican liturgies outside England. But it had never been allowed in England, and it is totally absent from this draft. I must explain that the 'Epiclesis' had in fact, rather earlier, been quite popular in Ecumenical circles. 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.


Robin said...

What was Michael Moreton's opinion on this? He was surely the greatest liturgist of the period and certainly the most traditionalist.

vetusta ecclesia said...

Was there a Part 1?

Matthew F Kluk said...

All I know is in my parish we have had too many priests in love with 15 minute sermons delivered theatrically, and who then speed read Eucharistic Prayer II. I have generally come to believe they value their own words over the great prayer at the altar. I listen but don't value their words.

Cherub said...

Thank you for these two articles. I follow your blog religiously and am proud to say that I have learnt so very much from you. I hope you can keep on keeping on for many years to come.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

In my "excursion to Orthodoxy" I was believing Epiclesis is THE moment of consecration.

Did I still believe the Latin Mass valid?

Yes, I considered Anamnesis and its conclusion Words of Consecration as inserted into the Roman Canon's Epiclesis.

As you may note, the Epiclesis does not "end" in an Amen, but in "Domini Nostri Iesu Christi" followed by the first words of the Anamnesis "Qui pridie quam pateretur ..." which in turn is also not followed by an Amen - until that following the consecration of the species. Which is therefore also the Amen to ... the words before "qui pridie" - to the "epiclesis" in the narrow sense.

I suppose this was the rationale for Nicolas Cabasilas (saint with the Orthodox, on index librorum with Catholics) to consider the Latin Mass as valid.

You were saying the extant piece of St. Hippolytus includes an Epiclesis, but Dix had concluded it was a later insertion?