Saturday, 19 November 2011

Anglican Bishops and Roman liturgy

Extracts from the recent comments of the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres [here] concerning the new translation of the Roman Missal are all over the web at the moment. [Full text here]
Many Anglo-Catholics, Anglo-Papalists particularly, of course, have used the English translation of the Roman Missal since the 1970s after it was first introduced - many parishes abandoning the English Missal in order to come into line with the current practice of the Western Church. Due to the particular nature of the English Reformation, and the liturgical changes, they would argue, which were forced upon an unwilling Church in the sixteenth century, there have always been those Anglicans, Dom Gregory Dix included, who have laid claim to the Latin Rite liturgy as part of their legitimate heritage. It wouldn't seem a wholly unreasonable step for those who have not yet joined the Ordinariate (an open-ended process, as everyone agrees) to use the new, corrected translation, rather than continue to use a version not now authorised by anyone.
Having said that, coming from the Church in Wales, I don't have an axe to grind either geographically or liturgically in this, but, as regards Bishop Chartres' specific comments, it would seem a curious time pastorally, when many clergy and their families are suffering from the extreme stress of facing a highly uncertain future while they wait for the synodical process to play out , to take the opportunity to, shall we say, stick the episcopal boot in.
He won't persecute, but he disapproves. I'm afraid, for the Catholic Movement, episcopal disapproval has long gone with the territory. We have learned to live with it.

Here's something to cheer us up: it's not, of course, to be regarded in any way as a comment on the above:


  1. I live in England; if my parish priest were celebrating the Eucharist using either the Roman rite (ancient or modern) or no liturgy at all (just reading 1 Cor 11.23-26 over the elements) - and I have experienced both of these in the C of E - I would request him, firmly, to desist and to use the authorised forms of service, and I would refer the matter to the Church Wardens, and if necessary to the Bishop, if he refused. This is because BOTH these forms are every bit as illegal as it would be for a woman priest to preside at Mass in a Resolution A parish.
    (This is without prejudice to the argument as to whether either of these forms of celebrating the Eucharist ought or ought not to be legal in the C of E; and I might also add that my present parish priest is a godly and honourable man who would never dream of breaking canon law in either of these ways.)

  2. You would refer the matter if this were an established and accepted situation in the parish for several generations?
    However, the issue is even more complicated when one examines the history of liturgical revision over the decades. Many parishes 'gave up' on officially sanctioned Anglican rites after the debacle when the 1928 attempt at revision hit the buffers with such catastrophic results. To be mischievous for a moment, perhaps not so many would be tempted to use "illegal" or "unauthorised" rites if our liturgical revision weren't such a blatant matter of horse trading in committee between the various theological traditions within Anglicanism. The authorisation of a Canon which unambiguously affirmed the eucharistic sacrifice (without being subject to an evangelical veto)would have been a step in the right direction, perhaps?


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