Saturday, May 29, 2010

Some thoughts about Morning Prayer

The last forty years have seen the almost complete disappearence of Morning Prayer as the principal act of public worship in Anglican Churches. It was almost as though the Liturgical Movement, which in Anglican circles tends to be dominated by Liberal Catholics, had set up Morning Prayer and Holy Communion in opposition to one another rather than as complimentary acts of worship. The battle cry of the "Lord's service on the Lord's Day" was a very seductive one for the marginalized clergy of the 1970s who embraced a more sectarian understanding of the Church as it was pushed out of the mainstream of society.

At one time I used to think that the thought process behind the Liturgical Movement's replacement of early Communion and mid-morning Matins by Parish Communion or "Slow Mass" was unassailable, but I have come to revise my opinions somewhat. The Parish Communion or "Slow Mass" attempts to combine the elements of a substantial Liturgy of the Word with the Eucharist. As a result the traditional Fore Mass was expanded by the addition of an Old Testament Reading and a Psalm, and the intercessionary element was frequently expanded. As a result the usual hour's service on a Sunday morning consisting either of Matins with a fairly substantial sermon, or a Sung Eucharist with a more modest homily was replaced by a protean monster of a service that tries to do everything in one go, or alternatively by a Sung Eucharist which ends up being light on Scripture and preaching. With the Slow Mass/Parish Communion arrangement heaven help you if Aunt Aggie of "praying the newspaper" fame, and a baptism coincide; chances are you are in for a two hour session which ultimately is somewhat liturgically incoherent.

Anyway, to get back to the point, I have come to the conclusion that parishes need to provide both Eucharistic and non-Eucharistic worship in order to prosper. Please note, I am not suggesting that we neglect the Eucharist, but rather suggesting that we do not put all our eggs in one basket and reach out to those who are not yet ready for Communion.

The first concern that I have about the "Slow Mass/Parish Communion" as the only service is that it creates something of a closed congregation. Part of the reason for this is that, except for a few very Anglo-catholic parishes, Anglicans have an engrained aversion to non-communicating attendance at Holy Communion. Semi-churched Anglicans are at a distinct disadvantage in parishes where the Holy Communion is the main or only service simply because they feel they ought not to be there. In short, they are accidentally excluded and this creates a much sharper distinction between the churched and the unchurched, which is a mixed blessing in a missionary situation.

Secondly, Morning Prayer is a very Evangelical service. For a start, it has a very heavy Scriptural componant. Even with the rather limp-wristed lectionary of 1943, it includes one medium length or two short psalms, and two fairly substantial lessons, one from each Testament. In addition to this there is quite a bit of Scripture in the liturgy itself. It also gives room for a more substantial, expository sermon than can usually be preached at Holy Communion. I generally find that twelve minutes is about your whack at "Slow Mass" if you want toretain any hope of finishing within an hour and a quarter or an hour and an half, but it is perfectly possible to go 20-25 minutes without going much over the hour at Morning Prayer.

Thirdly, not everyone is the same in their approach to the sacrament of Holy Communion. For example, some of us have a strong preference for fasting Communion, which becomes difficult if the celebration of Communion occurs at an hour later than 9.00am. Inspite of all the Liturgical Movement propaganda I have digested over the years, I still prefer to go to an early celebration and receive fasting, then come back later in the day for Matins or Evensong and an expository Sermon rather than put myself around a condemned breakfast and go to a mid-morning Eucharist. Others prefer the "Slow Mass" format. Others still, the old-fashioned Sung Eucharist. What I am saying is that one size does not fit all, and that priests need to listen to their people, and the people need to be open with their clergy about what they think will build up the Body of Christ in their particular parish.

In the old days, Morning Prayer and Communion were often combined. In the Church of Ireland the usual format was Matins to the end of the second canticle, then the Communion service with the non-communicants being prayed for and allowed to depart after the Prayer for the Church Militant. This occured monthly, and on the other Sundays Holy Communion was celebrated early. By the way, the 1928 American Prayer Book allows this too. If you think I am romancing look it up, or read "A Prayer Book Manual" (Boston, MA, 1943) where it is mentioned as one of the options for integrating MP and the Eucharist. Other parishes tackled the need for both Eucharistic and non-Eucharist worship by having a mid-morning Sung Communion and a late Morning Prayer, as was the case in my home parish in the 1960s and 70s. Still others has ealy and late said celebrations either side of Morning Prayer. Wherever one was, experiments were made, or at least the local pattern for worship was allowed to evolve to meet the demands of both the existing congregation and those of evangelism.

I guess what I am asking is for the parish clergy take seriously the need for non-Eucharistic worship, and also appreciate the need for flexibility in scheduling the parish's worship. I am also asking both clergy and laity to appreciate the breadth and the richness that exists in both our Eucharist and Morning Prayer Liturgies and allow both the opportunity to draw folks to Christ. One size does not fit all, and our attempts to make it so has lost Anglicanism a lot of support and membership down the years. The Anglican Way is both Reformed and Catholic and as a result we have to make room for both expository peaching and sacramental worship in our spiritual lives. The Reformers hoped to combine both within the Communion Service, but in all reformed traditions - Lutheran, Reformed, Presbyterian, and Anglican - the tendancy from about 1600 onwards has been for the two to inhabit different time slots and different services. Our belated attempts to re-realise the Reformers aspirations have not been altogether successful, so I would hope that we will have the courage to re-evaluate the teaching of the Liturgical Movement.

Friday, May 21, 2010

An American Use?

Some years ago the Anglican Society published a little booklet that outlined a ceremonial to be used with the 1928 BCP Communion service which they entitled "An American Use." In outline it was somewhat similar to the forms set forth by the Alcuin Club and by Dr Dearmer in the Parson's Handbook. It was also vocal in its defense of the integrity of the Anglican Rite, something which I fear many Continuers fight shy of because they have been taught that, when it come to liturgy, the Rome of Pius V and Pius X is right. This is the product of that unfortunate tendancy to look to Rome as the sole standard of Catholicity. And that, to put it mildly, is a mistake.

However, given the history of the Continuing Anglican Movement, I feel that one needs to be subtle about reintroducing the bulk of Anglicans to the idea that their liturgical tradition has an integrity and a ceremonial of its own. After all, we do not need another series of divisive liturgy wars. The tide has been running in favour of the Romanized version of Anglicanism for some fifty to sixty years which is about as long as the "Ritual Notes and Water" approach has been dominant. That said, I cannot help but feel that the times are changing.

Firstly, I think the Roman Catholic Anglican Ordinariates are going to syphon off the more enthusiastic and active Anglo-Papalists to Rome. This will be healthy for them, as it will enable them to realise the full logic of their position. Secondly, this will tend to make the unhypenated Anglican identity stronger within the Continuum, but this constituency will need to be educated. Thirdly, thanks to the late Peter Toon and others there is a greater awareness of "Classical Anglicanism" than there was at the end of, say, the 1980s. So what are the implications of this for the liturgy?

The first thing is to train more of the clergy to allow the BCP to be the BCP. In other words, we need to teach them a ceremonial that fits the BCP and does not cram it into the straight-jacket of someone else's ceremonial. The second step should be for some parishes to opt for being very definitely - even narrowly - BCP in their liturgical Use, though I hope that the Bishops and Rectors involved will use their collective loaves and authorize some suitable additional resources for minor holydays and Holy Week - for example "Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 1963" and the 1967 Scottish "Lent and Holy Week" booklet. Thirdly, there needs to be a concerted effort to reclaim the "Prayer Book Catholic" liturgical tradition from the taint of moderation and liberalism it has picked up in both the Church of England and TEC.

In order to get the ball rolling, so to speak, I want to conclude this posting with a few notes on the Scottish/American Prayer of Consecration.

1. Origins.
The Canon or Prayer of Consecration used in the 1928 BCP derives from that of the Non-Jurors as revised by Bishop Rattray in 1746 and 1764. The structure of the prayer is modelled on the Pseudo-Clementine Liturgy, which exerted a great fascination on early eighteenth century Anglican. In Pseudo-Clement, the Words of Institution are placed before the invocation of the Holy Spirit. However, much of the detailed wording derives from Cranmer's text of 1549 as modified in 1552 and 1637.

2. Structure.
The opening words of the 1764/1928 Prayer of Consecration are intended to follow on from the Sanctus. It is therefore best not to intrude the "Benedictus, qui venit" between the Sanctus and the Prayer of Consecration as the "Glory be to thee, O Lord Most High" of the Sanctus is echoed in the "All Glory be to thee" at the beginning of the Canon. After a brief passage stating the basis of the sacrament, the prayer passes first to the words of Institution; then to the Amnesis, which states what we commemorate by this sacrament; and then to the Invocation of the Word and Holy Spirit, which represents the climax of the consecratory monologue. This is then followed by the Oblation of ourselves as sanctified by the Eucharistic gifts to be a "reasonable, holy and living sacrifice." The prayer closes with a doxology.

3. Ceremonial.
After removing the cover from the Ciborium and the Pall or folded Corporal from the Chalice, the celebrant begins the Prayer of Consecration in a clear, loud voice opening and raising, then closing and lowering his hands at the opening words. He then continues with his hands in the "Orans" position until he reaches the words "until his coming again." He then performs the manual acts as prescribed in the BCP making sure that he lifts the large wafer to about face height to perform the fraction then replace it on the paten. He should also briefly raise the chalice to about face height at the words "he took the Cup." In the next paragraph he may elevate the paten and chalice together to about shoulder height at the words "which we now offer unto thee." This is a well attested Non-Juror custom that was preserved in the Scottish Episcopal Church until late in the nineteenth century. At the Invocation the celebrant should first join his hands and bow at the words "we humbly beseech thee, O heavenly Father." He should sign the cross over the paten and chalice together either once or thrice at the words "bless and sanctify with thy word and Holy Spirit." The priest then continues with his hands extended in the Orans position. At the end of the prayer he bows at the words "through Jesus Christ our Lord" then elevates the paten and chalice together whilst he recites the rest of the doxology. After the "Amen" he replaces the paten and chalice on the Corporal, bows (or genuflects) and then says the introduction of the Lord's Prayer.

By the way, it should be noted that in the above notes I took it for granted that the priest will join his hands and bow at the name of Jesus. This bow at the holy Name is required by the 1604 Canons, and is one of the few ceremonial gestures ever mandated by Anglican Canon Law. I should perhaps also add that one should be careful about changing existing ceremonial customs. If done at all, it must be done slowly!

Hopefully, that will get you thinking...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Prayer Book Catholicism

"Prayer Book Catholic" is not a term one hears very often these days. I have a suspicion that that may have something to do firstly with the disappearence of the Prayer Book in England, and partly because the liturgical revision has led to a drawing together of the mainstream A-C and Prayer Book strands in the Church of England. However, the term still has some relevance when talking about Anglo-Catholicism in the Continuum, even though "Prayer Book Catholic" has been a term little used in the USA.

One great characteristic of the American Continuum is that it is overwhelmingly a "small-c catholic" endeavour. Even the "Low Churchmen" can tick all the basic Anglo-catholic boxes - belief in the authority of Scripture, in the three Creeds, in the importance of the Early Fathers and Councils, in the apostolic origin of Holy Orders, in the Real Presence, etc.. The areas of dispute tend to lie in areas that are not core doctrine, such as what should we believe about the Blessed Virgin Mary and how important are Counter-Reformation devotions such as Benediction, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Thus, within the Continuing environment "Prayer Book Catholicism" represents a sort of middle ground, firmly rooted in the Prayer Book tradition of worship on the one hand, and firmly catholic in doctrine on the other.

Prayer Book Catholicism seems to have had its origin in the Bisley School of Tractarianism, and among those Ritualists who thought that being Anglican was at least as important as being Catholic. Doctrinally, it tended to have a more of an interest in the Early Fathers than it did in modern Roman Catholic theology and placed a strong emphasis on Scripture as the test of what should be dogma. This basic theologial emphasis will give you an idea of where and how moderate Anglo-Catholic theologians differed from Rome. The obvious areas of dispute are those dogmas, doctrines and disciplines of the Roman Church that deviate from the practice of the first eight Christian Centuries. This resulted in a strongly Biblical expression of Catholicism that, in practical terms, valued the integration the sacramental Christianity into the personal commitment to Christ and a striving after holiness characteristic of the old Evangelicalism.

In ceremonial terms Prayer Book Catholicism developed along two paths. The slightly older appraoch is the "English Use" which is a deliberate attempt to revive the such late mediaeval ceremonies as are necessary to the Prayer Book liturgy. This approach was first explored in the mid-nineteenth century, then again c. 1900. It was always most popular in the UK, but, apart from a brief vogue in the 1920s and again in liberal Catholic circles c. 1950, the English Use never really caught on in the USA.

The characteristic Anglo-Catholic approach to ceremonial in the USA, where there is no Ornaments Rubric to point us to the "second year of King Edward the Sixth" has been what I call either "Fortescue and Water" or "Ritual Notes and Water." This approach, adopting and adapting the Tridentine Roman ceremonial in celebrating the Prayer Book services, dates from around 1875 and became popular due to the availability of mass produced items for this style of liturgy. Strangely this led to one of the more visible characteristics of American "Prayer Book Catholicism" - when Roman Usage and the BCP came into conflict, the BCP usually won. That said, there are some widespread additions to the BCP Communion service of which Prayer Catholics are guilty. The most popular of these have been the use of some of the personal prayers of the celebrant, and the addition of the Benedictus, and the Agnus Dei to the Communion office, and less frequently, the use of the Ecce, Agnus Dei before Communion. Also some of the commoner visual elements peculiar to the older Roman Rite - "the big six" on the altar, tabernacles, genuflection, the major elevations, cassocks and cottas for servers have been widely adopted.

Some folks have been tempted to label this Romanizing, but I think it represents the evolution of an American version of Catholic Anglicanism. It is also so firmly entrenched that to launch a new series of liturgy wars aimed at making everyone English Use would be a sinful waste of time and energy when there are souls perishing for want of the catholic Gospel of Christ. There is also a level on which it seems a little odd to tie a country and culture that evolved Post-Reformation to a mediaeval aesthetic. On the other, we should not allow our adoption and adaption the Baroque liturgical aesthetic become a simple ape-ing of 1750s, 1850s or 1950s Rome.

At the end of the day, what Prayer Book Catholic need to be careful to do is be "Bible" or "Evangelical" Catholics. This approach requires our expression of Catholic theology to be rooted in the Scriptures (as expounded in the Early Fathers) and for our worship to be sacramental, dignified, beautiful. Concern for the outward in worship is an extension of the incarnational principle in Christian theology. God-made-man teaches us that the created world special to God and also reminds us that man is made in God's image. It also says something very important about the sacredness of the physical world which was, after all, created by God. This leads us to conclude that the use of human talent, beautiful art, vestments and music, and the engagement of the senses in worship all reflect the incarnational approach to Faith and are an offering acceptable to God. The incipient puritanism of much of American Protestant worship reflects as sort of muted dualism where the physical is "bad" whilst the spiritual is the only true good. This can lead to other disconnects - not just between faith and art, but between religion and morality, faith and conduct, etc.. The common repudiation of art, good music, ceremonial and ritual in worship reflect a religion that over emphasizes the Atonement at the expense of the Incarnation, or more dangerously, especially in the liberal circles, places too much emphasis on Jesus the Great Exemplar and Social Reformer, and not enough of Jesus God Incarnate, our Redeemer, the Christ.

As Christianity becomes marginalized by the Secular Progressive movement (and if you do not believe that is happening look at Western Europe) it becomes increasingly important to take a holistic approach to religion. Christianity should affect every part of the believer's life, not just Sunday mornings and Holydays of Obligation. Christianity should be taught not just as a religion, but as a way of life, a culture, an integrated system. Detaching Christianity from life - which is the logical consequence of teaching it as "just a religion" - actually plays into the hands of the secular progressives as it makes it far easier for them to portray Christianity as irrelevant to daily life - pie in the sky when you die.

When I talk about holistic religion, that naturally brings to mind another word that derives from the same Greek root - catholic. The essence of the catholic faith is both redemptive and incarnation. It values the physical as well as the spiritual as God-made. It is a culture as well as a religion. Thus in our teaching of the faith we need to teach ot just Christian theology, but Christian morality, Christian Liturgy, Christian Art, Christian Culture. If the Twenty-first Century is going to be the twenty-first Christian Century the Church is going to have to teach the fullness of Christianity in order to resist the in-roads of the Truth's two great enemies Secularism, and Islam. They are not shy about (mis)representing their errors as integrated world view; and we should be forceful in our declaration of Christian as the way, the truth, and the life.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Calendar for late May/June

The following Calendar derives chiefly from the Book of Common Prayer of 1662

MAY

16. SUNDAY AFTER ASCENSION - W; PP
17. Of Octave - W; PP
18. Of Octave - W; PP
19. Of Octave (St Dunstan) - W; PP
20. Octave Day of Ascension - W; PP
21. Feria - W
22. Feria - W

23. WHITSUNDAY - R; PP
24. WHIT-MONDAY - R; PP
25. WHIT-TUESDAY - R; PP
26. Of Octave & Ember Day (St Augustine of Canterbury) R; PP
27. Of Octave (Venerable Bede) R; PP
28. Of Octave - Ember Day - R; PP
29. Of Octave - Ember Day - R; PP

30. TRINITY SUNDAY - W; PP
31. Feria - G

JUNE

1. St. Nicomede, Martyr - R
2. Feria - G
3. Feria - G
4. Feria - G
5. St Boniface - R

6. TRINITY 1 - G
7. Feria - G
8. Feria - G
9. Feria - G
10. Feria - G (1928 PBCP - Corpus Christi - W)
11. ST. BARNABAS - R
12. Feria - G

13. TRINITY 2 - G
14. Feria - G
15. Feria - G
16. Feria - G
17. St Alban, Martyr - R
18. Feria - G
19. Feria - G

20. TRINITY 3 - (Edward, K. Wessex) - G
21. Feria - G
22. Feria - G
23. Fast - V/W
24. NATIVITY OF ST JOHN BAPTIST - W
25. Feria
26. Feria - G

27. TRINITY 4 - G
28. Fast - V/R
29. ST PETER - R
30. Feria - G

It should be noted that any day named in CAPITALS should have both a first and second Evensong. Lesser feasts have only a first Evensong. The lesson for the Lesser Feasts should be taken from the Common provided in the Proposed BCP of 1928.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Varieties of Anglo-Catholicism

A friend of mine once quipped that Anglo-Catholicism comes in more varieties than Heinz's sauces! In the UK there was a very definite "party system" within the Catholic Movement in the Church of England. The basic division was between those who put the Anglican tradition first, and those who regarded their membership of the Church of England as being an historical accident, and therefore tend to look to Rome for authoritative guidance. In the UK we referred to the former as "Prayer Book Catholics" and the latter as "Anglo-Papalists."

The archetypal "Prayer Book Catholic" parish used the 1662 BCP, but made a few, uncontroversial additions, such as the Benedictus and the Agnus Dei at the Eucharist. They would also give pride of place in the worship schedule to what was increasingly referred to as the "Sung Eucharist." Eucharistic vestments, and a ceremonial patterned on that of "the second year of King Edward VI" - or less frequently a very diluted version of Roman practice - were the norm among Prayer Book Catholics in Britain. In terms of theology, they aligned with figures such as Charles Gore, Claude B. Moss, and later Michael Ramsey.

The Anglo-Papalists favoured the English Missal or the Anglican Missal for the Mass. Most parishes continued to use the BCP for Matins and Evensong, and for the occasional offices, but the unofficial Missals were the rule for the Eucharist. However, Missal could cover a multitude of sins - anywhere from a mildly enriched BCP service through to the Tridentine Mass in English. Anyone who wants an idea of how this worked out in practice need only look at the Ninth Edition of Ritual Notes (Knott, London, 1946) which makes provision for both approaches to celebrating the Mass. Theologically, when they were not using Roman Catholic text books they drew on works such as those of Darwell Stone, Frank Weston, and Fr Carleton of "King's Highway" fame.

In truth, most Anglo-Catholic parishes fell somewhere between the two poles. For example, All Saints' Margaret Street in London was very "Roman" in its externals, but for most of its history they used a rite which was recognizably Prayer Book. As one of its Vicars (Fr. Cyril Tomkinson, if remember aright) noted "the rule here is music by Mozart, decor by Comper, choreography by Baldeschi, but, my dear boy, libretto by Cranmer." This underlines the underlying loyalty to the Anglican tradition, as enshrined in the BCP, felt by many in the Anglo-Catholic mainstream. In short - Roman in externals did not necessarily mean Roman in doctrine.

This final point was even more true of the Anglo-Catholic movement in the USA. Of course, there were, and are, parishes that are traditionally Anglo-Papalist - such as St Clement's, Philadelphia, and Church of the Resurrection, NYC. On the other hand, the "English Use" Prayer Book Catholicism so often found in the UK never got a lot of traction in the USA. Instead there was an indigenous form of Prayer Book Catholicism that drew on Rome for its externals, but generally kept close to the 1928 BCP in liturgy.

However, there was one thing that united Anglo-Catholics and that was the opposition they faced from Low and Liberal Churchmen. In a sense it was this common feeling of being somewhat "up against it" that provided the glue that kept the Anglo-catholic Movement together. Many of the problems that Anglo-Catholicism in the Continuum has encountered in the past thirty years have come from the fact that Anglo-Catholics are no longer the minority, but rather the dominant party within a much smaller church. This has led to some unfortunate behaviour with the formerly oppressed behaving as oppressors of those who do not share their views on theology and liturgy.

After thirty years of being Continuing Anglicans rather than Episcopalians there are signs that things are beghinning to settle down a little. Some of the shrillness that used to come from being a minority within the Episcopal Church has departed, and with it some of the liturgical preciousness has gone. Both of these developments are undoubtedly healthy ones, as they reduce the tendancy for "churchmanship" to be a point of division between Anglicans in the USA. However, our continuing, uncompromising commitment to Catholic Faith and Order in its Anglican expression do create some difficulties.

The first difficulty is that our commitment to ancient Catholic Faith and Order make ecumenism with Rome difficult. Our default position would be the Patristic Consensus that evolved after A.D.500 but before the theological "hardening of the arteries" that occurred under the influence of scholasticism. The modern tendancy of Rome during to make dogma things that are not Biblical constitutes a major bar to unity, and one that is not easily resolved.

Secondly, there are difficulties in our ecumenical contacts with Orthodoxy. The greatest of these seems to focus on what I call the cultural element. There is little conception of within Orthodoxy of a western orthodoxy. To the Greek Orthodox especially being Orthodox means being Eastern Rite, and if possible a Greek or a Slav. The old joke is that whenever a westerner converts to Orthodoxy he has to become Russian or Greek in order to fit in.

The third difficulty that has to be dealt with is our relationship with "neo-Anglicanism." The principal representative of this neo-Anglican perspective in the USA is the ACNA. In terms of doctrine there is potentially little that divides us, though I have to admit that the charimsatic and neo-evangelical elements in ACNA fill me with a mild form of dread. However, there is a truly major problem when it comes to ACNA's understanding of the doctrine of orders. In effect they try and embrace two contradictory positions, then compound the difficulty by treating Holy Orders as a secondary doctrinal issue when in truth, any matter that concerns the integrity of the sacraments is of the first important doctrinally speaking. Whilst the majority in ACNA would agree with the St Louis Continuum in saying that women cannot be admitted to Holy Orders, and influential minority continues to ordain women to the priesthood and diaconate. Even among those who reject the ordination women within ACNA their acceptance of the ancient three-fold ministry seems to be dependent on historical precedent, and not upon its Apostolic institution. Of course, I think I can assume that the Anglo-Catholic minority would accept the traditional view, but they are not in the driving seat in ACNA. When it comes to those in ACNA who ordain women to Holy Orders, they have to realise that this was the decisive issue which marked the Episcopal Church's departure from Catholic Faith and Order, and led to the departure of the original ACNA (now ACC, APCK and UECNA) from ECUSA. The new ACNA also has to realise that until it resolves its doctrine of Orders in favour of the traditional point of view it is impossible for the St Louis Continuum Churches to enter into full Communion with them. However, I have to make it clear that I wish them well, and pray that they return to the fullness of Catholic truth instead of trying to compromise with modernism and revisionism.

The Continuum's major task is to find a way of being a unified church not only in doctrine, but in organisation. This will not be an easy task, as we have become used to operating apart, but I would like to see the creation of a standing conference of Anglican bishops in the USA that will faciliate open channel communication between the three St Louis Churches, and begin to dissolve the distrust that has built up thanks to twenty-five years of sometimes ill-considered unilateral actions. Our major mission remains to be faithful witness to the Gospel of Christ and to the Catholic Faith and Order that he gave to His Church. Beyond that we should have no agenda.