9 January 2023

"The Interim Rite"

The other day, I described the rite ... High Church but not Anglo-Catholic ... which some London Anglican clergy put together in the 1940s/1950s; and which the then episcopal regime encouraged in order to destroy the widespread use of the Tridentine Rite. It was called "The Interim Rite", to imply that a properly official revised Anglican rite would eventually take its place.

The Interim Rite consisted of replacing the Roman Canon with a Prayer based on (1) Cranmer's "Prayer of Consecration" (as the Laudian enthusiasts of 1662 had renamed it); the word "Therefore"; and (2), a prayer widely known as the Prayer of Oblation, which hitherto had done duty as one of two alternative prayers designed to follow Holy Communion.

This prayer replaced the ancient Catholic offering of the Lord's Body and Blood with the offering, instead, of "our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving", together with "ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee."

But this idea, if expressed before Holy Communion, was arguably dubious. For the redeemed community to offer itself, united with Christ in Holy Communion, as a Sacrifice to the Father, was one thing. But for the worshippers to offer themselves in sacrifice before Holy Communion, was wide open to an accusation of Pelagianism.

Gregory Dix pointed this out.

And Pelagianism was a heresy which Calvinist Evangelicals loathed almost as much as Catholics do.

Moi, I doubt whether Evangelicals had ever noticed this little detail before. Nor, I rather suspect, had anybody else in the previous four centuries. But ...

Dix simply loved hanging people on a gallows of their own making (the Argumentum ad hominem). So he made much hay with this detail. So it became politically impossible for the large Evangelical constituency in the C of E to defend "the Interim Rite". Calvin would have ... er ...

Consequently, when, later in the twentieth century, English Anglican worship was revised officially and legally, the arrangement known as the Interim Rite failed to find even the most optional of places. 

So the Rite which had been favoured by the bishops as an admirably big stick with which to bash the Romanisers has now been banned by the broadly-smiling wit of the late Dom Gregory Dix.


The Interim Rite also placed the Gloria in Excelsis Deo near the end of Mass (this had been done in 1552). So anti-Tridentine enthusiasts now did the same. Having the Gloria near the end would now be a sign that the Interim Rite was used in a particular church.

Terminal Gloria = No Roman Canon.

So the introduction of the Interim Rite had to be synchronised to happen everywhere on the same Sunday ... otherwise the laypeople of London would have voted with their feet. 

Feet are a thing Clergy have always feared.



Matthew said...

The Interim Rite was effectively authorised as Series One, with the Gloria in its traditional Western position (i.e. not at the end). This was the rite I encountered (complete with OT lesson added in front of the BCP Epistle and Gospel) when from time to time in the late 1960s and 1970s I worshipped at St Mary Steps, Exeter, under the presidency of Fr Michael Moreton.

william arthurs said...

Nine out of ten servers preferred the terminal Gloria because it allows just enough time to shimmer out (like Jeeves), wash and dry the silverware and lock it in the safe, before you shimmer back in for the final blessing. Counting those seconds is so important. In Church House Publishing's Guide to Common Worship, the eight eucharistic prayers are ranked in order of word-count, so that (it says here) the vicar can choose one that fits into the time-slot for the service. There was I, supposing that each was intended to express a distinct eucharistic theology. But this is an hard saying; who can hear it?

Cherub said...

So informative. Than you for this. As a former Anglo_Catholic priest, I did use the interim rite but had the Gloria at the beginning of the Mass, and adding some other well known words to the Prayer of Oblation (at its beginning) used after the Consecration, and of course, I Tarped.

RoodSquirrel said...

In case it's of interest, it looks like Southwell Minster is still using the Interim Rite - see youtube stream of last Sunday here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiwJGgPaLTk

Eastward Facing with Deacon and Sub-Deacon at the High Altar too. Smoke, Vierne Messe Solonnelle and (English) plainsong Gradale. Gloria at the end. No sacring bells though!