28 February 2024

Prayer Book Piety (1)

 " ... going to church was a pleasure to her. She liked to hear the Lessons and the Collects, coming round year after year, and marking the seasons. The historical books and prophets in summer; then the 'stir-up' collect just before Advent; the beautiful collects in Advent itself, with the Lessons from Isaiah reaching on through the Epiphany; they were quite music to her ear. Then the Psalms, varying with every Sunday; they were a perpetual solace to her, ever old yet ever new. The occasional additions, too, the Athanasian Creed, the Benedictus, Deus misereatur, and Omnia opera, which her father had been used to read at certain great feasts; and the beautiful Litany ..."

Such is S John Henry Newman's account of the piety of a devout Anglican lay-woman in an ordinary parochial context ... we notice, of course, the absence of a Eucharistic element. I am a little puzzled that, apparently, the Benedictus was an 'addition' ... was it customarily replaced by the Jubilate? Does 'which' refer to the [Benedicite] Omnia Opera, or to all the items on the preceding list?

Intriguingly, Saint John Henry makes reference to the Deus misereatur, psalm 66 (LXX and Vulgate)/67 (Masoretic text). This optional alternative to the Nunc Dimittis was added in the Book of 1552. But there is something here of which not everybody may be aware.

This psalm had been a daily part of the Roman Catholic Morning Office, of Breviary Lauds, until the revisions imposed by S Pius X. What this means is that, from the day S John Henry and Henry Manning and Frederick Faber and all the rest of the nineteenth century clergy, started saying the Breviary Office, Lauds, for them, began with Deus misereatur

And, according to Durandus, the practice was of immemorial antiquity. 

Yes; custom ... stuff ... come and go; rupture or no rupture, the Psalter of S Pius X is what we use now ... but the (much more than) half a millennium during which Lauds began with Deus misereatur seems to me a long time. And the generations of clergy nourished by this practice must amount to rather a vast number of clergy ... century by century. 

It is not undeserving, surely, of respect and even of regret. Or am I just soppy?

And it is a diverting whimsy of History that, in the Church of England, it is legal to use Deus misereatur daily, ever since 1552 when that horrible zwinglian Cranmer tweaked his Evensong ...

A bit more on this psalm to follow.


bob said...

One may not use the Deus Misereatur on the 12th day of the month at Evensong

Joshua said...

The Benedictus (Luke 1:68-79) at Mattins was indeed customarily replaced by the Jubilate (Psalm 100 in English Protestant Bibles, equivalent to Psalm 99 in the Vulgate) - as seen for example in various well-known festive "Te Deum and Jubilate" choral settings of the morning canticles - evidently because the latter was shorter. The 1789 American B.C.P. contained the horrid Procrustean novelty of the Benedictus cut down to its first four verses only, so as to make it equal in length to the Jubilate (though from 1886 onwards, in succeeding editions of the U.S. B.C.P., it was permitted to use the whole of the Benedictus).

Moritz Gruber said...

Without any knowledge of the Anglican Office at all, but with a bit of knowledge of the Roman one, I'd say that "Benedictus" here is a misspelling for "Benedicite".

Rubricarius said...

But Roman Lauds did not begin with Ps. 66 Deus misereatur at all. Pss. 62 & 66 were the third, unchanging, 'psalm' of Roman Lauds. Monastic Lauds began with Ps. 66.

Chris said...

It may not be used as a canticle, but that's because it's the day it turns up in the course of the psalms - so it's compulsory that day and optional the other 29.

Chris said...

Except that "Omnia opera" must refer to the Benedicite. Unless, I suppose, the list originally read "Benedicite, omnia opera, and Deus misereatur," and was seriously mangled by an editor without the author noticing.

Giles Hawkins said...

"that horrible zwinglian Cranmer". Shhh, you'll upset the Ordinariate folks with their 'Anglican' liturgy.

William said...

bob: One may not use it in place of the Nunc Dimittis on the 12th of the month, but only because it occurs anyway at Evening Prayer that day in the ordinary recitation of the Psalter. So it can indeed be used daily (and is indeed compulsory on the 12th). Of course this assumes the use of the BCP’s 30-day cursus, rather than any later permitted schemes.

Chris said...

I would think, if using an alternative scheme, it would be appropriate to follow the intention, rather than the letter, of the rubric, which is to avoid using it twice in the one service irrespective of the date.

Chuck said...

Moritz---- The Benedictus and the Benedicite are two totally different canticles. The Benedictus is Luke 1:68-79 and is the Song of Zechariah. The Benedicite is more properly Benedicite, omnia opera from the Song of the Three Young Men 35-65 (Catholics would say its part of Daniel chapter 3). Then, to confuse matters a bit, there's also the Benedictus es, Domine which is the Song of the Three Young Men 29-34. The NRSV refers The Song of the Three Young Men as The Song of the Three Jews.

Chuck said...

Moritz--- The Benedictus and the Benedicte are two totally different canticles. The Benedictus is Luke 1:68-79 and is the Song of Zechariah. The Benedicite is more properly Benedicite, omnia opera and is the Song of the Three Young Men 35-65. Catholics would consider that to be part of Daniel chapter 3. And the NRSV Bible refers to the Song of the Three Young Men as the Song of the Three Jews. To confuse things a bit, there is also the Benedictus es, Domine which is the Song of the Three Young Men 29-34.

PseudonymousposterJohn said...

Dear Fr., this is not [yet] for publication. It is an idea I have had for some months now and I wanted as it were to run it past you first before wider publication. I hope it registers in your system. I had to search for a cranmer-related post it might be attached to. It may not be appropriate to publish this currently as it may appear to some that I am having a go without good reason. Now I AM having a go because I dislike untruth and myth making – especially by The Other Side… but I also think this is probably true.
The only serious historian I read on this period is Loades and it has been some time. The stuff currently around on the internet seems to confirm what I suspect, but in the absence of certainty it may be best to delay publication until then. In any case you have not introduced this subject. But as I say I would welcome your opinion.
I do not have a current email for you since you left S Thomas’s. IS mine visible? “JN”x12 at gee dot com

Burn 2
It struck me a little while ago that we may be dealing with a considerable dollop of mythology over the death of Thomas Crammer.
A lot was at stake (yes I know sorry) for the perpetrators/ adherents of the new ideology of protestantism but also some natural English style sympathy for victim of a nasty execution and some simple old fashioned mistakes.
[It has also become one of the myths of British imperialism – don’t worry too much about getting conquered; think of yourselves as (kinda sorta) British now, and after all, we have our own (quite) venerable protestant church and its services were written by this chap whom the papists burned and he displayed courage and fortitude at the end. And even if we no longer have the same King emperor there’s the commonwealth, so . . . ]

PseudonymousposterJohn said...

...So I looked into it again, and
Simply put I think the story that he burned his hand as a punishment for recanting his protestantism may be a myth that never happened. I put it no higher. I say it may be a myth, but I do not think this is just an idle surmise.
We receive a documentary tradition that crammer SAID his hand would burn as a punishment. That record is presumably accurate, but I do not think it goes any further.
How can one be sure at this distance of time?
First the method of execution
Burning at the stake is a nasty way to be killed, still used for female felons for centuries after we stopped burning heretics. In theory, they were supposed to be strangled first, but sometimes it didn’t work out. And the heretics usually had gunpowder bags attached. They would ignite with the heat before the flames touched, but it is not recorded that the principle protestants were shown that mercy. But they may have – it was one of the things between the condemned and the executioner and one of the reasons for giving them money. It seems to have been usual, all other things being equal.
There are woodcuts of deaths of Latimer Ridley and Cranmer, and a woman condemned a century later, showing them all with free hands gesticulating quite rhetorically as if preaching, and making pious speeches on scrolls. So people have assumed that this was how it was, they seem to be from the right period.

PseudonymousposterJohn said...

But there are also pictures /drawings of the condemned with their hands bound in front of them. They have restricted movement but can move their arms together.
And there are pictures of older burnings where the victims are bound with their wrists behind them, attached there to the stake.
Of the three possibilities the last seems likeliest, the second possible, but the first now strikes one as impossible. People with their arms free in front would not merely struggle, but have a fighting chance of breaking free or at least causing injury to their captors.
I think the woodcuts contain artistic licence. I know people who will not believe anything happened unless they see the footage on Youtube. That these images are certainly not. The clue is the speech scrolls. And it also makes a more interesting picture with better composition to have moving arms.
Unless Cranmer was given special licence to have free arms at the stake. This seems very unlikely, especially as he had audibly announced his intention to make a physical gesture against his detractors.
It seems highly unlikely he would have had the bodily autonomy to do anything, but doing what he is said to have done would require a great deal of autonomy as well as simply luck that there was a raging fire at a convenient distance in front of him before smoke or other events overcame his ability to do anything.
There does not seem to be a record of any impartial eyewitness at the event, independent of the statement of intention made in the church, that says, This prisoner did this strange thing and burned his own hand. Thinking like a lawyer being a real dick, I suggest you would need several affidavits from independent or hostile observers at the front of the crowd at the event and to be sure that they genuinely were present and had not colluded. Such things are not recorded. Later historians have assumed the hand burning took place because everyone else said it took place…
And there would also have to be visibility, free from smoke and too high a fire, for people to see something unusual happen, not just the usual chilling agonies of execution.
Maybe the executioners designed pyres to allow the victims to be seen to suffer, in the flames. But I think you could not guarantee that. burnings went wrong.
I think what we are dealing with is people who have read the accounts of the trials making the twin assumptions that Cranmer was able to act as he spoke and then that he did so. It has to be likelier that neither was the case. There is no independent witness statement where anyone volunteers that the alleged events happened and the likeliest factor is that all prisoners were bound for the journey to the stake, and why take the chance of freeing some more parts of them then?Everyone relies on Foxe and he relied on other sources who were as partisan as him. Why he used them. Several generations ago Foxe was rehabilitated as a relatively honest historian for the date. He could still make mistakes and assumptions.
Cranmer was a wordsmith and this is a good story. It is part of the mythos of the great and marvellous independent plucky Drake-infested Elizabethan England that after all his tergiversations Cranmer at last showed some mettle and performed this one act of physical courage in the face of the mean Queen whose mother he had enabled to be harried to an early death in the fens.
It may be just a story.
Not everything one reads in the media of any age is always the truth. Perhaps not often.

PseudonymousposterJohn said...

[Attacking another myth]

Could equally have a go the other way at the myth that Dr Pusey learned the doctrine of the Real Presence at his mother's knee and from impeccably anglican sources, thus proving it is in house.
While it kinda sorta is in house if Anglicans believed it, it was not preached publicly, anywhere at all I think.
I don’t think that what Lady Lucy taught her son, as learned from her own father, is evidence – as has been the usual claim of the Oxford movement – for some unbroken tradition of post sixteenth century Anglican intellectuals systematically adhering to a belief in the Real Presence as contained inside the modern Church of England and provided for by its vernacular formularies.
I once had an exchange with an old vicar whom I greatly respected, that the words of the 1662 prayer of oblation were patient of a reading or understanding that could include Reality of Presence and Its offering for the Living if not also the departed, but the whole point was that it was not explicit.
The debunk would be
Pusey's grandpa was a landowning aristocrat. Even if not personally a grand tourist and buying interesting Romish books while over there - I have forgotten - he could have inherited such a library from any number of forebears and so decided that that doctrine appealed and so consequently it was right to believe in it and do so.
I don’t think there is evidence that he preached such things to his tenantry in the churches he built on his estate – though there might have been little complaint if he had, so perhaps that proves nothing.
I rely mostly on Addleshaw for the history of Lord Harborough. He was an interesting man who had ideas on church design and architecture. But then so was archbishop Howley.