Thursday, September 04, 2008

Response to Fr. Hunwicke

I have long respected Fr. John Hunwicke, coiner of the phrase "the Dutch Touch," even though I do not share his Anglo-Papalist sentiments. Normally, he argues his points very well, with a gentle style of forceful logic that seems very English in temperment. However, a recent post on his blog does not sit well with my convictions.
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In his piece entitiled, "What's Mass for?" he argues for silent celebration, a practice that Pope Benedict XVI also lauded in one of his pre-elevation books; but, a practice I object to. Hunwicke's argument centers on the Sacrifice of the Mass as its most important feature. He writes:
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But the centrality of Sacrifice, in the last resort, is more important than the worship or reception of the Sacramental Christ. I hesitate to blunder carelessly and over-simplistically around in so great a mystery; it is certainly true that both ....and is more important than either ... or. But, to be simple and crude, the Eucharist is firstly a sacrifice; only when we have said this do we go on to say that it is (we can't get away from the terminology of our Jewish roots here) a communion sacrifice.
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Then he lists the features of the Eucharist in the order of their priorities as he sees them:
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In the last resort, the Lord's Body and Blood are present substantialiter et realiter upon our altars primarily to be the propitiatory sacrifice which (since the first Holy Week) replaces the the Temple cult; secondarily, to be received so that Christ's Body and Blood can (Dr Pusey's banned sermon citing a great crop of Eastern Fathers is good on this) be commingled with ours; thirdly, to be adored.
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How exactly did Fr. Hunwicke come up with this list of priorites? Is there a scriptural and theological justification for teaching such a list of priorities in this matter? Although I have no arguments against the third point itself, it is worth noting that it has the weakest support in antiquity.
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Obviously, we cannot reject the theological truth of Eucharistic Sacrifice. In a recent comment on a very different topic, Fr. Laurence Wells reminded us of the very clear Biblical support for this ancient doctrine: "I could develop this further, with St. Paul's use of the terms leitourgos and hierogounta in Romans 15:16: 'because of the grace given to me by God, to be a minister of Christ Jesus in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering (prosphora, a term denoting sacrifice) of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.' A person who rejects a sacerdotal concept of the ministry would have a hard time explaining away this and similar texts." We may add that simple statement from the writer to the Hebrews, comparing the superiority of the Eucharist to temple sacrifices (that were about to be abolished), "We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle."(Heb. 13:10)
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Nonetheless, how does Fr. Hunwicke conclude that there exists this order of priorities? Furthermore, how does this make a silent celebration in any way desirable? We could as well argue from the sixth chapter of John that receiving the sacrament is, indeed, the highest priority (e.g. v.54: "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day"). In this light the understanding of the people is crucial. The warning of St. Paul in I Corinthians chapter 11 only makes this all the more apparent. "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." (I Cor. 11:26, 27).
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Continuing, Fr. Hunwicke brings up one of the worst problems in Medeival practice with seeming admiration:
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Look at it diachronically: most Christians in most Chrisian centuries have attended Mass without communicating. S Pius X's great campaign for Frequent Communion does not need to be denigrated but it is not simpliciter the whole Christian tradition.
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Attending Mass without communicating does not fit the Lord's instructions: "And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." (I Cor.11:23,24) Should we return to the times of ignorance and darkness, in which the people attended Mass without participating at all, excluded by celebration that, if audible, was in a tongue not "understanded of the people," usually without communion? The high point for them was adoration, looking up at the right time when they heard the bell, never partaking of the food and drink of eternal life but maybe once or twice a year, if then.
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To correct this error, the Church of England provided a Mass in the language of the people, and called the Mass by the very Biblical name Holy Communion. They emphasized the Lord's own command to eat and drink it, mindful of St. Paul's teaching to do so in a worthy manner. Furthermore, they corrected the error of clericalism in this service by having the people participate in the prayers and worship. This was because the Eucharistic Sacrifice is not merely the offering of the priests, but through the priests the offering of the whole Church. The sacrament is mystically tied to the Church as the Body of Christ, no longer relegated to mere spectators of esoteric priestcraft, an inferior class inhabiting the court of the Gentiles.
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Do we really want to restore a time in which the priest, instead of facing east to lead the people in their prayers, did so merely to turn his back on them? Should we restore practices in which the understanding of the people counted for nothing? In addition to the theological reasons for the Reformation, one major reason also must be weighed in the scales: For centuries people were kept in the darkness of ignorance, and treated as if the Word of God had not been inspired to teach them and to turn their reason into Right Reason. For centuries the need for faith was kept secret. The clear light of understanding was a revolution, and there is no going back because knowledge is a kind of liberation.
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Silent celebration ceases to be the sacrifice of the people through the priest, and restores clericalism. What good is a tongue that the people understand if that tongue is not heard? It may as well be the gift of tongues applied wrongly: "Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?...Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. " (I Cor. 14:6,15-17)
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Fr. Hunwicke continues:
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Or it can be done done silently; catechesis will have no trouble explaining that it is silent because it effects the great act of consecration and sacrifice; silent becuse it effects this without essentially needing lay participation or even understanding; silent because the priest is in the holiest possible commerce with God rather than saying something for the interest, diversion, or even edification of the people.
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This is true, since we do not argue with the validity of such a celebration.* Rather, Anglican priests were never authorized to celebrate in silence for the same reason they were not allowed to use a language foreign to the people (and this ought to be what we, as Anglicans, Continue). It is a bad idea to exclude the people from participation in the worship, prayers and understanding of the Church. We should not go back to clericalist practice, such as silent celebration. Valid it may be, but wise it is not.
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Finally, Fr. Hunwicke concludes by writing.
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At S Thomas's, I inherited a Eucharistic Prayer which says that Christ on the Cross made 'by his one oblation of himself once offered a full perfect and sufficient sacrifice oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world'. This prayer ... I'm not sure who can have composed it ... looks superficially like a piece of Proddy polemic. I have sharpened up the text by simply changing the indefinite article a to the deictic pronoun this.
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I cannot sympathize with a lawless approach to liturgy, and I find it quite annoying when anyone, be he High or Low, treats the Book of Common Prayer tradition with disrespect. Furthermore, we are in serious trouble when a piece of Biblical truth, whether phrased eloquently or haltingly, is dismissed with the partisan expression: "Proddy polemic." Frankly, the "a" is correct, inasmuch as the connection between the once for all sacrifice and the mystery of the Eucharist is about to be stated in the prayer that follows.
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On this one, I can't applaud Fr. Hunwicke.
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*Though complete silence brings up a possible problem of invalid Form.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

I stopped reading Fr Hunwicke's essay when he let fly with the phrase "Proddy polemic."

According to Prayer Book Studies IV
(1957), p. 251, the language which he treats so dismissively did not orginate from a Protestant source at all. It is traced to the Antididagma of the loyal RC Cathedral Chapter at Cologne, who were protesting against the Protestantism of their Archbishop Hermann. This language is also found in the King's Book issued by Henry VIII in 1543. PB Studies wrote:
"Both of these sources sought to emphasize the orthodox doctrine of the sufficiency of the One Sacrifice of Christ, against the popular mediaeval misinter-pretations of a ritual Immolation of our Lord in repeated sacrifices of masses' --which the soundest Catholic theologians condemned, then as now."
Proddy polemic indeed!

I generally enjoy Fr Hunwicke's comments, but this time he is badly informed.
LKW

William Tighe said...

Fr. Hunwicke has written more on the subject:

http://liturgicalnotes.blogspot.com/2008/09/whats-mass-for-jewish-view.html

Brian G. said...

I feel rather sorry for Hunwicke+; he was clearly born 500 years too late.

Paul Goings said...

Fr Hunwicke, I believe, is not suggesting that the entire liturgical rite should be conducted in silence, but that the "low voice" should be used for the Canon of the Mass (the Prayer of Consecration). This was, of course, the practice of the English Church for over a thousand years, and Rome continued it until the 1960's; it is also the practice of the Oriental Churches, except for the actual words of institution. Is is also permitted by the rubrics of the 1928 (American) B.C.P., and possibly other Prayer Books as well.

An Anglican Cleric said...

Wow.

Yikes.

Wow.

This is awful theology and utter disdain and lawlessness for the Anglican tradition. The Western Orthodox left ++Cranmer's words alone because they were biblical and orthodox (how can he not have known that Abp. Cranmer penned this prayer?)--it takes an Anglo-Romanist to rewrite the prayers at the altar and argue for the worst practices of the pre-Reformation Church. Silent masses, noncommunicating masses, etc. etc.

As Brain G. noted, this man would have been happier 200 years before the Reformation, and he definitely wouldn't be happy in the modern Roman Church.

Just amazing.

The Welsh Jacobite said...

Anonymous forgets (or misses) the fact that much of what Fr Hunwicke writes is tinged with irony, and needs to be read with this in mind. His use of the phrase "proddy polemic" is a typical example. (Not letting fly with - more mischievously dropping into the conversation!!)

Matthew David Nelson said...

I share your objections.

I know that in the East, the sacraments in the Mass is primarily the "medicine of immortality." And, if anything, the BCP drips even richer with language of deification: ". . . that Christ may dwell in us and we in him."

Of course, we do recognize the "re-presentation" of THE SACRIFICE ONCE OFFERED and we do sacrifice "ourselves and our whole lives" to Christ in the Eucharistic Liturgy. But, as we now most frequently call this service "Holy Communion," it is difficult to rank the theme of sacrifice above "partak[ing] of the divine nature."

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Paul Goings wrote:
Fr Hunwicke, I believe, is not suggesting that the entire liturgical rite should be conducted in silence, but that the "low voice" should be used for the Canon of the Mass...

I think you are mistaken about this. Low voice is not unusual, and is what Ritual Notes directs (for what it is worth, which in my opinion is not much). But, silent celebration is a Roman Catholic practice and has never been associated with anything other than the Tridentine Mass. It means silence, with the words formed by open mouth like Hannah in I Samuel. There is, to my knowledge and memory, nothing about it in sources from antiquity.

poetreader said...

In Part 2 of his article (link indicated above) Fr. Hunwicke mitigates his earlier remarks, but still isn't out of the woods. I responded to an email on the subject with the following

And there we have it. A sacrifice is a communal event, NOT something the priest does on his own, but something the priest does with the full participation of the people. Thus I have problems with the very idea of a liturgical prayer which is a private matter between the priest and God. While the ordained priest partakes of Christ's priesthood in a way that the rest of us do not, his priesthood is without meaning except as it is within the priesthood of all believers. I'm a layman. As such I cannot venture to speak the Eucharistic Prayer as the priest may, but his prayer is my prayer, not his alone, My priesthood is a part of his priesthood, and his offering
is my offering as well. There is no part of liturgy where my presence is not welcome, yea, desired. Huntwicke, part 2, makes clear that sacrifice for sin without the feast is not sacrifice at all, either in the OT or in
the New.

ed pacht

Anonymous said...

Paul Goings,

What rubric are you referring to in the 28 BCP?

Thanks,
Jim+

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Hunwicke wrote, "catechesis will have no trouble explaining that it is silent because it effects the great act of consecration and sacrifice; silent becuse it effects this without essentially needing lay participation or even understanding; silent because the priest is in the holiest possible commerce with God rather than saying something for the interest, diversion, or even edification of the people."

It seems to me catechesis will have a bit of a problem reconciling Fr. Hunwicke's theories with what I was taught about the Sacrifice of the Mass:

(a) "Liturgy" is "the work (of the people)" so the Sacrifice is the re-presentation of Christ's One Sacrifice of Himself once offered not just of the priest but of the whole worshipping community;

(b) This is the reason Anglican tradition has not been patient of solitary Masses celebrated by a priest alone without a congregation to participate; and

(c) This is why the priest, almost immediately after the Canon of Consecration commences, turns to the people and asks their permission to proceed on their behalf and as their agent:

Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up unto the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanks ("make Eucharist") unto our lord God.
People: It is meet and right ("fitting and proper") so to do.

But then, they know so much more about these things in England than we benighted colonials do. That, after all, is the place where Anglo-Catholics use the Novus Ordo Missae and the place which produced the Alternative Service Book which gives the 1979 "Prayer Book" a run for its money.

John A. Hollister+

Paul Goings said...

But, silent celebration is a Roman Catholic practice and has never been associated with anything other than the Tridentine Mass. It means silence, with the words formed by open mouth like Hannah in I Samuel.

This did happen, I have no doubt, at some R.C. Masses. But it was never licit. The rubrics indicated that even the "vox secreta" (which is how the low voice was termed) should be heard by the celebrant himself. Insofar as silent celebrations occurred, they were an abuse.

In terms of the rubrics of the 1928 American B.C.P., the Prayer of Consecration is preceded by the following rubric:

When the Priest, standing before the Table, hath so ordered the Bread and Wine, that he may with the more readiness and decency break the Bread before the People, and take the Cup into his hands, he shall say the Prayer of Consecration, as followeth.

Earlier in the Prayer Book, the section entitled "Concerning the Service of the Church," this rubric is given:

NOTE: That in the directions for the several Services in this Book. it is not intended, by the use of any particular word denoting vocal utterance, to prescribe the tone or manner of their recitation.

Thus it cannot be said that the use of the low voice is forbidden.

Canon Tallis said...

Since the core of Anglicanism is to be found in the prayer book tradition, I was extremely pleased when Father Hart wrote "I find it quite annoying when anyone, be he High or Low, treats the Book of Common Prayer tradition with disrespect. Furthermore, we are in serious trouble when a piece of Biblical truth, whether phrased eloquently or haltingly, is dismissed with the partisan expression: "Proddy polemic."" I realise that for many who call themselves Anglicans the denigration of the Book of Common Prayer has become central to their view of themselves as either "Catholics" or "Evangelicals," I am elated when, without making an idol of it, it is defended for what it is and what it was intended to do if only we were obedient enough to our own tradition to do it. Of course there are places where this is done, but the message of the Continuum and of Anglicans generally would be so much stronger if our attachment to that tradition were the more evident in our actions. In the places where Rome or any other group of Christians is teaching and doing what is commanded by Holy Scripture, we should commend them, but we should also never be afraid to assert the commandments of God to be found int he same Scripture when we find them being assalted or flagrantly violated. Given the circumstances of many in the continuum, it may not always be possible to do all that we should in the highest tradition of the same, but we should all be doing everything that we possibly can and pushing than envelope every time possible.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The Church of England Anglo-Catholics seem to have no respect at all for the Book of Common Prayer. They just don't realize what a treasure Anglicans have.

Sandra McColl said...

"The Church of England Anglo-Catholics seem to have no respect at all for the Book of Common Prayer."

In their favour: all they legally have is 1662.

Against them: but the Anglican tradition supplies plenty of ways of spiking up 'Prayer Book' which are still recognisably Anglican and distinguishable from other traditions, and they have largely ditched all of them in favour of whatever is in fashion among the Irish.

On balance: For the most part, they would appear to be embarrassed by being mistaken for being Anglican and therefore prefer to queen around pretending to be what they are not.

Not that I wish to imply that, by being of that embattled party of the laity that would like to see the clergy more positive about the good things about being Anglican (which are not limited to the SSC) and would like not to be denied Anglican things when I can easily get Roman things within easy walking distance, I am of the party that considers mention of anything positive about being Anglican merely an excuse to indulge in a bit of Rome-bashing.

It's a difficult tightrope that I walk, I know.

Anonymous said...

From Sandra:

"In their favour: all they legally have is 1662."

The 1662 BCP gets much opprobrium and many snide references, but actually it is a pretty good Prayer Book. On the deficit side, the Black Rubric (which, after all, doesnt prohibit kneeling, but merely gives a bad interpretation thereof) and the absence of the "second half" of the Prayer of Consecration, with its anamnesis.

But it does have a splendid form of Absolution (in the form for Visitation of the Sick). It says that Matrimony was instituted of God "in the time of man's innocency." That was hacked out of our 1928 book, probably owing to Darwinian influence. And it contains the words in the Baptismal Office which I consistently insert "forasmuch as all men are conceived and born in sin."

The 1662 BCP is a far richer and more catholic rite than Novus Ordo.
Too bad the FIF people fail to grasp this.
LKWells

Sandra McColl said...

I agree, the marriage service was excellent, but in my 1662ish childhood and youth, I tended to go to HC more often than I got married (or even played for a wedding), and it's the bit that gets used most that ultimately gives the flavour to the whole book.

poetreader said...

1662 is not a bad place to start. What is there is magnificent, and should be treasured. It does have a few problems, however, in what is not there, in two specific areas: one is the lack of adequate prayer for the departed, and the other is the truncation of the Eucharistic Prayer. While the rites are valid and entirely Catholic as they are, they fall short in these respects of a full expression of Catholic faith and practice. It is this that the Missals attempt to remedy, and they demonstrate (as do a number of other solutions) that it is not necessary to abandon Anglican liturgy in order to express more fully the center of Cathoilic Tradition.

In short, there is no reason whatever to disapprove of 1662, no matter how much one thinks one needs to add to it.

ed

Canon Tallis said...

And why is it that 1662 is all that they legally have? I think it would be that the Anglo-papalists and the extreme low church folk both did everything they could to prevent the prayer book of 1928 from getting through parliament. The pseudo-papists wanted to continue using the missals although such use was a complete violation of their ordination vows while the low churchmen wanted to continue doing solemn morning prayer and sermon in the pretense that the BCP was intended to be so used. The behaviour of either party was honourable or honest, but the bishops never had the backbone to insist that either do what they had publicly promised. And that failure was the seed of all our troubles. If there is no discipline in the church, there is no place where you can stop those who wish to carry you where they will. If you do not make deacons and priests fulfil the contract with the church made by their ordination vows, why have them make them at all.

The same, of course, is true of sexual morality. I am sometimes tempted to believe that origin and use of the missals had as much to do with the wide spread homosexuality among the Roman clergy as it did with anything else. It seems to me that every attempt to out Roman Rome was also an attempt to scandalize the bishops, deans and archdeacons of the English Church, a sort of psychological 'mooning' by the younger sons of the gentry who had taken the cloth. The writings of Frederick Anson and the life of folks like John Henry Newman, Ronald Knox and others certainly suggest such a motive.

Anonymous said...

Sandra: "I tended to go to HC more often than I got married."

Thanks for clearing that up, Sandra.

And Poetreader has pointed out a third serious deficit in 1662, the absence of a really adequate "Commemoration of the Faithful Departed." I agree.

And I'm sure the advocates of SSB would smile with pleasure at Paul Going's logic that what is not forbidden is permitted. If this logic works for mumbled Masses, why not SSB?

Back to Fr Hunwicke. Since Welsh Jacobite has pointed out my lack of sophistication in grasping Fr Hunwicke's subtle humor (too subtle for this country parson in the pine woods of Clay County FL), I have troubled myself to read carefully his comments on his own blog, as well as the several e-mails I have received. Fr Hunwicke has found litle support but received quite a beating. I thank him for bringing up the Neusner book, which I look forward to reading. I believe that he and Neusner are right about several things.

The notion that "listener fatigue" explains the preference for EP II, the shortest of the lot, is simply silly to an unusual degree. It is not the poor "listeners" who select the shortest Prayer, but the priest, who probably has another Mass to say. It is only human nature to select the quickest and easiest; who can be blamed?

The sacrificial nature of the Christian Eucharist has been well established, by the studies in Biblical theology by Max Thurian ("Eucharistic Memorial"), Joachim Jeremias, and others. The very words "Do this," with "touto" (this) having "to pascha" (the Passover) as its antecedent, and the imperative "poieite" (Continue to do) is found in the LXX for offering sacrifice. The Arndt & Gingrich Lexicon even cites this verb in connection with the Passsover meaning "celebrate."

Well and good. Nothing new here. But I cannot take seriously the argument for a mumbled Prayer of Consecration. The Congregation of Rites took nearly 500 years to catch up with Thomas Cranmer, and then did a botched job of it. It has every little that attracts me.
Perhaps it is Fr Hunwicke's delicate and precious thread of humor which has eluded my dull mind.
LKW

Paul Goings said...

And I'm sure the advocates of SSB would smile with pleasure at Paul Going's logic that what is not forbidden is permitted. If this logic works for mumbled Masses, why not SSB?

But not only "not forbidden," but explicitly provided for. This differs from the 1549 B.C.P., which ordered, with respect to the Canon, that the priest "shall saye or syng, playnly and distinctly, this prayer folowyng:" So, while Fr Wells' interpretation of the rubric in question might be the commoner one, it can by no means be construed as the correct or only one. If that were true, you might as well say that vestments, since they are not provided for, are also forbidden. But perhaps Fr Wells believes that as well? On the other hand, Fr Wells' own parish uses a liturgy which (illicitly) reorders the B.C.P. rite so that the Gloria in excelsis occurs after the Kyrie; so perhaps obedience to the rubrics of the B.C.P.--according to his interpretation of them--is only for other priests and parishes?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I recall that Ritual Notes describes "low voice" to mean that the celebrant gets a little quieter during the Canon of Consecration. The implication is that he can be heard by the congregation, since the same direction applies to the Summary of the Law and, if I recall correctly, the general Absolution.

The point is, it is not the same thing as silent celebration.

The Orthodox priests close the doors of the iconostasis, and this is in some ways like silent celebration; but, how much does that practice actually resemble what Christ did? He spoke clearly in the hearing of his disciples. The straight forward celebration involving all the people, leading them in their worship during "this my sacrifice and yours" is the best way.

Anonymous said...

Here is the rubric which Paul Goings uses to defend mumbled Masses:

NOTE: That in the directions for the several Services in this Book. it is not intended, by the use of any particular word denoting vocal utterance, to prescribe the tone or manner of their recitation.

This appears on page vii in BCP 1928.

This rubric first appeared in 1928, not being found in 1892 or earlier. The purpose of its insertion was to defend the choral service, which many Low-church bishops were attempting to suppress. It authorizes intoning the Proper Collect, etc. Stated briefly, it meant "Say = say or sing." To claim that "say = say aloud or mumble" is surely a perverse interpretation.
LKW

Sandra McColl said...

Saying in a low voice has suggestions of the old teaching/public speaking trick of actually speaking quietly to make the audience shut up. When the music resumes they can go back to talking and rustling their plastic bags, but they have to be quiet during the Canon. It accords with normal congregational practice.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, where to begin? Paul Goings opines:

"So, while Fr Wells' interpretation of the rubric in question might be the commoner one, it can by no means be construed as the correct or only one."

When you wrote this, Paul, I had offered no interpretation at all. I only pointed out the flaws in yours. I have now remedied that defect.

Paul continues:
"If that were true, you might as well say that vestments, since they are not provided for, are also forbidden. But perhaps Fr Wells believes that as well?"

I have pointed out the fallacy of reasoning "What is not forbidden is automatically authorized", as you and certain revisionist bishops seem to agree. That is quite different, wouldnt you say, from reasoning "What is not authorized is thereby forbidden."

Paul again:
"On the other hand, Fr Wells' own parish uses a liturgy which (illicitly) reorders the B.C.P. rite so that the Gloria in excelsis occurs after the Kyrie;"

Have you not heard, Paul, that in Churches subscribing to Affirmation of St Louis the Missals are authorized? So what makes our practice illicit? Last I heard, you were still in TEC. So your remark about what is illicit for us is highly out of order.
LKW
LKW

Anonymous said...

As members of the Continuum, we are
reformed catholics in the Anglican
tradition.

Non-communicating masses, silent
masses, masses said by a priest with no congregation present, etc., violate every principle of the English Reformation.

As has been expressed here so validly, and so well, by several commentators, the Prayer of Consecration is the prayer of all the people. Only a Priest or a Bishop may lead that prayer, but it is a prayer of all the people,
and should be a prayer of all the people in the congregation.

In our parish, you will see the lips of the congregation moving, but not hear voices, as our people pray the Prayer of Consecration with the priest. It seems to me, that that is as it should be.

1928 BCP Supporter

Diane said...

"most Christians in most Chrisian centuries have attended Mass without communicating"....you see this as a negative. Are you implying that the christians at mass are not participating since they are not verbally communicating?? If so, that is silly. Personally, I don't say a word at mass and I am fully participating and praying and meditating on being part of 'heaven on earth'. It has been said that St. Therese never uttered a word at mass, but the look on her face told anyone that she was fully vested and participating in mass.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

"most Christians in most Chrisian centuries have attended Mass without communicating"....you see this as a negative.

You had better believe I do. How absolutely out of step with the clear words of Jesus Christ.

Sandra McColl said...

Diane, 'communicating' has nothing to do with speaking in this context.

Albion Land said...

I think we need to explain to Diane that, when used in reference to the Mass, the word "communicating" has nothing to do with talking to people. It means to "receive (or take) communion."

Paul Goings said...

The point is, it is not the same thing as silent celebration.

Indeed. And insofar as silent celebrations have occurred, they were both illicit and abusive. But I argue that this is entirely different from using the low voice for various parts of the Mass.

[H]ow much does that practice actually resemble what Christ did?

I am generally leery about liturgical arguments that begin with the circumstances of the Last Supper, which was conducted in the context of an actual meal (as was the early Christian Eucharist) and while the participants were semi-reclined on something like couches.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Father Hart that it is absolutely unacceptable to disrespect the Book of Common Prayer, and call oneself "Anglican." I'm sure that opinion coming from me surprises no one here.

What I've always found somewhat interesting is that the 1979 Episcopal book actually implements the Anglican Missal in Rite I. The 1979 moves the Gloria In Excelcis to a position following the Kyrie Eleison just like the Anglican Missal. It adds the Agnus Dei just as the Anglican Missal, etc.

While I don't approve of the 1979 book, and realize that there are serious doctrinal changes in that book regarding Baptismal Rites, Consecration Rites, Ordination Rites, etc., I think it weakens the position of Continuum clergy who use the Missal, which conforms to the 1979 book, when criticizing the 1979 book. To the average Episcopalian (even good orthodox ones who are my friends), they view criticizing the 1979 as very hypocritical, because so many in the Continuum claim to support the 1928 BCP and yet ignore it, criticize it, and refuse to use it as is. Instead they prefer to use Missals which essentially change the 1928 BCP into 1979 Rite I.

1928 BCP Supporter

Paul Goings said...

[If this was already moderated out of existence, then please ignore my resubmission; but, if so, please email me explaining why.]

Stated briefly, it meant "Say = say or sing." To claim that "say = say aloud or mumble" is surely a perverse interpretation.

I disagree. And I know of no authoritative clarification. As I said, your understanding of this is the commoner one, but, since the alternative merely authorizes something which is entirely traditional in Catholic Christendom, I don't see how it could be condemned as perverse. And "mumble" is inaccurate and disingenuous.

I have pointed out the fallacy of reasoning "What is not forbidden is automatically authorized", as you and certain revisionist bishops seem to agree. That is quite different, wouldnt you say, from reasoning "What is not authorized is thereby forbidden."

Indeed, you are very correct about this, Father. But since it is not forbidden, and since it is traditional, I believe that the situation is more akin to your latter case.

Have you not heard, Paul, that in Churches subscribing to Affirmation of St Louis the Missals are authorized? So what makes our practice illicit?

But if the Missals are permitted, then the use of the silent Canon is as well. The traditional Latin modes of the voice for the various parts of the Mass are provided for in both the Anglican Missal and in the English Missal. So, if the missals are authoritative, then there should be no theoretical disagreement over the use of the silent Canon.

Last I heard, you were still in TEC. So your remark about what is illicit for us is highly out of order.

This is correct, but I fail to understand the relevance.

Anonymous said...

1928 BCP Supporter,

I fear that you have missed the whole point of why many of us objected to the 1979 book at great cost to ourselves for the past 30 years. This has nothing whatever to do with the location of the Gloria in excelsis or use of the Agnus Dei.

If you have read any of the early literature of the Prayer Book Society (by Carroll Simcox, William H Ralston, Dorothy Parker, and many other learned priests of that generation, "men of whom the world was not worthy") then you would be better informed about the doctrinal problems of the Baptismal Office, Marriage Office, Forms for Ordination, Catechism, lectionary, etc etc.

As for the Gloria in excelsis, moving it forward has ample precedent in the 1549 BCP. To show that there is nothing especially "Catholic" (much less Roman Catholic) about moving it up to the historic place, simply consider that this has been the Lutheran practice since the Reformation. This has no doctrinal significance whatever. It is a non-issue, like the matter of "TARPing" (taking ablutions in Roman place), which used to be such a brawling controversy years ago. As for the Agnus Dei, did you know there is a rubric in the 1928 BCP (on page 82, in fact) which provides for it? The 1940 Hymnal provides several musical settings for it.


I am afraid that you are giving away the entire case against the 1979 book when you dispense such bad information and deal in trivia.

I have my own problems with both the Missals, particularly that notion of "merit." But the reason they have proved problematic from time to time, here and there, is not the Missals themselves, but their usage by unskilled priests who have not been properly trained in how to use them. I refer to such practices as saying in a very loud voice prayers which are intended to be said softly (e.g. the Offertory Prayers) and (horribile dictu!) having the Deacon read the Last Gospel, with full Gospel procession. When the Missals are used intelligently and accurately, they do not usually disconcert the laity and cause no problem.

But I manage to make do with my well worn Altar Service Book, saying the Preparation in the sacristy with Layreader and Acolyte, moving the Gloria up front, adding the Orate fratres, Ecce Agnus Dei and Domine non sum dignus, which my congegation and I say from memory.

I really care nothing for the good opinion of those allegedly "orthodox" Episcopalians who attempt to find fault with inconsistencies of us storefront types, while they are willing to living in the moral sewer known as TEC.
LKW

Paul Goings said...

I really care nothing for the good opinion of those allegedly "orthodox" Episcopalians who attempt to find fault with inconsistencies of us storefront types, while they are willing to living in the moral sewer known as TEC.

Well, I suppose if ad hominem arguments are all that you have, then I guess that you're going to use them. How very sad!

Anonymous said...

LKW:

If you had actually read what I said, you would have noted that I
already noted the problems in the
Rites of Baptism, Confirmation,
Ordination, etc., that are found in the 1979 BCP.

I am well aware that the Agnus Dei is in the 1940 Hymnal to be sung.
We sing it every Sunday.

The point I was trying to make is that the 1979 Rite I incorporated the Anglican Missal.

I share the opinion that it is a shame one cannot make a comment without ad hominem attacks being launched against myself or other orthodox Christians.

Such ad hominem attacks, and the attitudes that cause them to be launched is one of the major problems facing the Continuum.

1928 BCP Supporter

poetreader said...

Paul, that snappish little comment is beneath a man of your quality. You know perfectly well what is being said. You are on the outside of the Continuing Church, and, as such, you simply do not know what standards are in effect, nor, really, care very much, and you make your judgment of us on the basis of your experience as a very atypical member of TEC.

Your situation is entirely unlike ours. You are in a parish which remains within TEC while consciously rejecting its liturgical discipline. Most of us would find remaining in that structure impossible, and most of us would also find the failure to observe the liturgical discipline of one's own jurisdiction to be, at best, problematic.

Paul, I'm not standing in judgment of you. I'm not where you are, but I am distinctly not in communion with your bishop. Now, give me one reason I should be more interested in your opinion of what is proper in my rite, than I would be in the opinion of a Greek Orthodox who thinks I should do things his way.

In the matter at hand, if Fr. Hunwicke, as a C of E priest determines to do things a certain way in his parish. that's really none of my business. However, if he determines to tell me how I should do things, then it becomes a matter of discussion. S. Clement's can do as it will, undoubtedly admiring Fr. Hunwicke, but neither St. Clement's nor Fr. Hunwicke is authority among us.

That is not ad hominem resoning, but rather a realistic assessment of what authority does apply.

ed

Paul Goings said...

Now, give me one reason I should be more interested in your opinion of what is proper in my rite, than I would be in the opinion of a Greek Orthodox who thinks I should do things his way.

And yet... this entire 'blog post was a critique of the opinions and practice of a priest in the Church of England. So, fine, I accept that my opinions are irrelevant to you and Fr Wells, and I understand why, and I respect your position; but then why are either of you commenting here? I should think that all of the usual aphorisms apply: what's good for the goose is good for the gander; if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen; and etc. But it would appear that what really holds true is this: Some animals are more equal than others.

And it would also appear that Fr Wells was entirely willing to engage with me, apostate or no, right up until I presented him with an unpleasant contradiction.

Matthew David Nelson said...

Although this blog has a reputation for vigorous debate -- and I would not want to squelch that -- we must also remember that we are Christians debating on a public Christian blog.

I write only as a reminder to all, and I throw no stones at anyone because I am guilty the most. In future, I shall strive for more civility without sacrificing honest, straightforward debate. Let us all strive for both charity and clarity.

Diane said...

We are obligated to attend mass each Sunday and on Feast Days. If I am unworthy to receive the body and blood of the Lord (haven't gone to confession to confess a mortal sin, etc.), I still am obligated to go...so there are times when I will attend mass and will not receive....this is legitimate. There are other instances when people will attend mass and not receive. Are you saying this is wrong?

Anonymous said...

Alas, I find myself simultaneously the target of a TEC member who defends mumbled Masses and a Prayer Book Suppporter who is irate over the location of the Gloria, both of whom complain about "ad hominem" arguments. I am thankful for my strong sense of irony.

Supporter, if the 79 liturgy was influenced by the Anglican or American Missals, it was for the better. Think of how much worse that book could have been. Here is what you wrote:

"The 1979 moves the Gloria In Excelcis to a position following the Kyrie Eleison just like the Anglican Missal. It adds the Agnus Dei just as the Anglican Missal, etc."

Do you honestly think that dozens of good priests endured poverty and humiliation from TEC over the position of the Gloria? Get real!
And if you sing the Agnus Dei every Sunday, why are you griping about it in the 1979 book? What is your point?

In your fulminations over the Missals, you might be interested to know that the founder of the Prayer Book Society, Fr William H. Ralston, was known as an Anglo-Catholic and was quite adept at celebrating from the Missal.
LKW

Sandra McColl said...

No, Diane. We're not saying you have to receive if you go, nor that you shouldn't (or don't have to) go if you are not going to receive. We're just saying that the pre-Reformation (which was also, I understand, the pre-Vatican II) practice of most of the people not receiving most of the time, which included, on my rough understanding of things (which people better qualified can clear up) celebrations of the Mass at which no provision was made for communication by the congregation. There's little or nothing we're advocating that wasn't advocated, or at least made possible, by the Second Vatican Council. We just did it 400 years earlier and (so far as the blatant disrespect for the dignity of worship or even for the Blessed Sacrament that pervades much of present-day Roman practice) better.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Diane wrote:
There are other instances when people will attend mass and not receive. Are you saying this is wrong?

Of course not. The subject was a late medieval practice in which laity were not encouraged to receive, and sometimes simply given no opportunity. No one should want that to be restored, and certainly the pope would agree (just read his pre-elevation books on liturgy and the Eucharist).

1928:

I did not publish your last comment because I hope you will continue to comment here. Only four of us are the bloggers, and the rest are readers, some of whom comment, most of whom probably do not. If you take offense at a comment, then why treat the whole blog as anathema? Forgive, forgive.

Let us consider where we all seem to agree- except for Diane whose [Roman] Catholic convictions (I trust that brackets may make that necessary clarification less offensive) have been made clear.

The Book of Common Prayer is the standard for Anglican worship. The approved Missals are a perfectly licit supplement. The liturgy is the work of the people, and the priest leads the church in common prayer and worship.

These are bedrock principles, and the details may vary from place to place.

Alice C. Linsley said...

In Orthodoxy the sacrifice is bloodless, and the mystery is no less for the fact. This doesn't mean that the Blood of Jesus Christ isn't present. It is the only Blood present, so that were the priest to accidently cut himself while at the altar, he would have to leave immediately.

Matthew Nelson said...

Thanks Alice. I think the historic language about the "unbloody sacrifice," is in rebuttal to the false charge that Christians perpetrated gross cannibalism in the mass. Indeed, blood and body of Christ in the mass is present supernaturally, not on the ordinary, material plane.