Monday, December 21, 2009

Learning ignorance

Part of a comment from another thread (here on this blog) demonstrates something observable on a large scale. Someone whose identity is unknown made the kind of remark that is quite useful as Exhibit A:

I will not miss all of the protestant crap that has dogged Anglicanism for so many years. I will not miss the ambiguity of the BCP (Book of Common Prayer) communion rite. I will not miss the disunity that exists from parish to parish. The every rector and bishop as a pope concept will also be but down [sic] as we will be unified with the Holy See on all matters of Faith and morals. We are seeking to repair the church from 5 centuries of protestant heresy...

The assumptions that are embedded in this sample are instructive for all of us, for they demonstrate a particular brand of ignorance that has to be acquired through learning. Not just anyone could be so well-read in all the wrong stuff, so as to produce so genuine a specimen of regurgitated misinformation. It takes real learning to be that ignorant. My brief reply at the time does not do justice to the hard work and effort it took to comment with such abandon, with such confidence, with such a air of what it truly means to be sophomoric.

And, if you want to go from being merely ignorant to being profoundly stupid, I suggest the following curriculum as the kind of learning to labor at, in order to achieve the goal.

1. Anglicanism under Archbishop John Hepworth
2. History of Doctrine through the writings of John Henry Cardinal Newman
3. Anglican History under and /or through ANY official Roman Catholic sources
4. Current Roman Catholic polity and Anglican Orders by reading The Anglo-Catholic.

This combination of learning is guaranteed to take you from mere ignorance into the profoundly sophomoric religious confusion of a relatively new brand of Anglo-Catholicism that is a shell of its former self, or, rather, a substitute for the real thing. As such it stands in contradiction of the truth that we have been publishing here for quite some time.

Let us take apart the comment in order to make each point serve the purpose of genuine information, by its refutation.

"...I will not miss all of the protestant crap that has dogged Anglicanism for so many years...We are seeking to repair the church from 5 centuries of protestant heresy..."

Certain Anglicans react to words exactly like the poor soul who wrote that. Many years ago, I too would react to the word "Protestant." But, then again, the route to education lies through the Sophomore Pass, and once upon a time I had only just emerged from that spot on the trail. I also thought that "Protestant" was the opposite of "Catholic." Rather than writing to address this point again, I will refer the readers to a previous essay, written years later, after I had recovered from the wrong influences.

I will not miss the ambiguity of the BCP (Book of Common Prayer) communion rite.

Translated, this means that the poor man who made the comment is looking for the Rite to express an exact theory of either Transubstantiation, Receptionism, Real presence or Real Absence. He is unable to see that the Rite exists in the context of a well thought out theological position that is neither Tridentine, Lutheran or Zwinglian, but rather Biblical and Patristic. That later writers would draw out more is a testimony to its authenticity. Here, again, it is enough to refer to previous posts, such as this one and that one. Come to think of it, this one also gets to the point.

Furthermore, he is blind to the fact that the Communion Rite says everything (Lex Orandi Lex Credendi) that needs to be said for a valid sacrament, and for the benefit of the people. The Gospel is proclaimed in the service in a direct way that too much addition threatens to obscure. The meaning of the sacrament and its soteriological significance is stated fully, as is the reality of Christ's Presence in the sacrament. The full context of Eucharistic Sacrifice and the summary of all true sacrifice is stated in terms more clear than any other Mass or Eucharist in Western liturgy.

I will not miss the disunity that exists from parish to parish.

I have yet to find perfect unity anywhere in the Church, whether from parish to parish or even within a given parish. This is not a distinctly Anglican problem, and the poor man (or woman) may become a Roman Catholic, a Baptist or a Greek Orthodox, etc., only to find that Original Sin affects everybody. In the Anglican Catholic Church we are very much aware of our own battle with sin, as a hospital for sinners rather than a club for saints. But, we have Canons and a Constitution as well as adherence to a body of Doctrine of faith and morals. That is as much as can be expected from the human side; for the rest we need the Holy Spirit-which is, itself, one of the doctrines.

The every rector and bishop as a pope concept will also be but down [sic] as we will be unified with the Holy See on all matters of Faith and morals.

He (she?) is being set up to experience disillusion when his Platonic ideal of Roman Catholicism crashes against reality. This I have seen many times, and I believe the Roman Catholic Church would be only practical and responsible to put up a sign somewhere that says, "warning, do not look for perfection here."

But about the first part, that "every rector and bishop a pope" business, I see in that a criticism of Anglicanism that came directly from Archbishop John Hepworth, I believe as the original source. Unlike Archbishop Hepworth, I was raised in Anglicanism, baptized by an Episcopal priest in 1958 and raised in that church when it was still faithfully Anglican. The Anglican ethos is as much a part of me as the marrow of my bones. Apart from the weird schismatic portions of what some call "Continuing Anglicanism" (but that we cannot recognize as such), his criticism demonstrates to me that he has no grasp of the Anglican ethos at all. It misses the target, and describes something altogether unknown within Anglicanism. It tells me that we are not dealing with genuine criticism, but something utterly manufactured by the critic. It tells me that I am not dealing with a fellow Anglican.

The answer for those who have learned ignorance is to keep learning, but to gather facts from different and better sources. Get through the Sophomore Pass and beyond it.

35 comments:

Canon Tallis said...

What is it possible to say except one huge "Thank You" for picking out and responding to the quoted comment. The one part of Anglicanism which has always bothered me is the hatred for classical prayer book Anglicanism among a certain type of (?) Anglo-Catholic. One wonders why they ever bothered with three years of seminary and the whole thing. The only one for whom I ever discovered a rational explanation was a priest from Oklahoma whose mother told him he would be disinherited if he became a papist. When he inherited after she died, he poped as quickly as he had the case.

Hugo Mendez said...

Well, I suggest a degree of caution here. When you say, "the Rite exists in the context of a well thought out theological position that is neither Tridentine, Lutheran or Zwinglian, but rather Biblical and Patristic," one should not forget that most of the Canon of the Roman Mass is not rooted in the "Tridentine" "theological position." It is ancient, and as "patristic" as a rite can be precisely because it developed organically in a patristic matrix (!). Its core predates the formulations of IV Lateran, Trent, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, etc. by centuries and centuries.

The BCP, on the other hand, existed in a world populated by these competing interpretations, was informed by, and reacted against, many of these, following its own synthesis of the biblical and patristic material. Using the Roman Canon allows the Anglo-Catholic to transcend the debates of the 16th century altogether, and recapture the liturgical-theological spirit of the first millennium church, in a way (I'm sorry) the BCP simply cannot, nor could have. And of course, if an Anglo-Catholic desires to be rooted in the scholastic and counter-reformation theology of the Western Church, there are reasons why the BCP's anaphora are inadequate.

Canon Tallis said...

H. Mendez wrote: "one should not forget that most of the Canon of the Roman Mass is not rooted in the "Tridentine" "theological position." It is ancient, and as "patristic" as a rite can be precisely because it developed organically in a patristic matrix (!). Its core predates the formulations of IV Lateran, Trent, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, etc. by centuries and centuries."

Yes, it developed "organically" because it is and was only too plainly a cut and paste job done by someone who could read Latin - well, almost - but not write or rewrite in a so that it was proper Latin. The scholars of the Italian Renaissance were especially pained by it.

Anyway, its lacks have been plainly recognized by the modern Roman Church which substituted the New Order for the ancient one. And when one considers the most ancient canon known to liturgical scholars, there is nothing lacking in any of the classical prayer book canons. But when has real scholarship even mattered to someone overwhelmed by the fantasy of it all. One only has to follow the New Liturgical Movement blog to realize that.

And as for my friend who swam the Tiber, or as the French used to say, "went Ultramontane," so many years ago, I had intended to say that he left "as quickly as he had the CASH." I hadn't thought of him for years and I now wonder what happened to him.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Hugo mendez:

The Book of Common Prayer is older than the Tridentine Mass, older than the Council of Trent by a few years. The only authentically ancient contents of the Tridentine Mass are also preserved in the Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion.

David Gould said...

Having just read Mackenzie and Brightman's the History of the Book of Common Prayer to 1662, it was very clear to me that the bishops of the English Church in the period 1549-1662 were fighting the incessant attacks of Puritan and Protestant divines who were determined to separate the English Church from the Catholic and Apostolic Faith.

The dilution of Catholic practice - the simplification of baptism, the loss of the amanesis in the mass, the eradication of prayers for the dead and invocation of Our Lady and the Saints, were not adequately restored in the 1662 Book. I suspect that the bishops did as much as they could.

Certainly in many ways we have an era in which some remarkable steps were made to bring the mass to the people in the vernacular, and to elevate the connection between priests and people to the Word of God.

It was also a climate of unrelenting hostility to vestments, to "ornaments" in church, even in the face of Queen Elizabeth I's private chapel, in which candles, vestments, unleavened host and crucifixes remained.

Maybe it is not so disimilar to our age. Like the English bishops who by one vote retained the BCP calendar that we have today, our Church is under attack from secularism, from heretics in TEC/ACNA etc and yet the requirement of the great commission of Our Lord is incumbent on Anglicans today as it was in the 16th and 17th century.

Mark VA said...

From the Roman/Traditional perspective:

Father Hart:

The Traditional Latin Mass is sometimes called, wrongly, the Tridentine Mass. Some of those who do so often want to create an impression that this Mass was invented ("cut and pasted") during that council. Thus, it is worth repeating that the Council of Trent codified, not invented, this Mass. It was necessary at that time to codify it, due to the influence of the Protestant Reformation on the liturgy.

The roots of the Traditional Latin Mass go back to the waning days of the Roman Empire, and are themselves rooted in the even older Sacramentaries. Over the past millenium and a half, via the process of organic development, this Mass has arrived at its present form.

The problem here lies, I suspect, in our differing appraisal of the liturgical organic development itself. Those on a quest to recover what they see as "authentically ancient contents" of liturgy, will often see only unwelcome accretions past some date or Coucil. Thus, using a mostly subtractive method, they encapsulate their litury in some "historical" framework. Others will see such organic development as wisdom of the ages, to be learned, cherished, and handed down. If any pruning does become necessary, it will be done very sparingly, with a scalpel, and with Pope's approval.

El Capitan said...

The difference between Trent and the BCP was the codifying of a rite (Trent) and making up a new rite with a very defined protestant theology. While the 1549BCP was essentially Catholic the 1552 was definately protestant and reflected Cranmer's protestant thought. While 1662 and later 1928 BCP pulled back from the excesses of the 1552 rite it still contains elements of protestantism. Trent used an anciend canon (the same canon as found in the sarum usage) and permitted local usages if they were over 200 years old. Trent did not invent anything new and is therefore much more ancient than the BCP.

poetreader said...

What was novel about the rite established by Trent was its codification by a process of subtraction of a universally binding rite for the whole church and the elimination of anything reflecting a contemporary view. Its exception made in the case of rites over 200 years old serves only to emphasize the denial that the present day may have a voice in defining the worship of God. This was absolutely and radically novel in the Western Church, which had always, from the very beginning, had a large variety of ever-developing usages. The Mass of Trent, though intending to be antiquarian, was not, incidentally, a 200 year old rite, but a quite recent variant form. It is entirely proper to call the now "extraordinary" form of the Roman Mass, "Tridentine" for that reason. Incidentally, of course, the current liturgical practice in Rome is indeed entirely novel, to a degree found neither in 1549 or in US1928, and, though in a somewhat different direction, no more radical than 1662.

ed

Brian said...

What I don't understand is why people like this ignorant commenter hate classical Anglicanism so much.

You don't like it? Fine. But why troll the blogosphere whining about it? I don't have a lot of enthusiasm for the Pentecostal movement (pun intended), but I really have better things to do that post vitriol to some Rick Joyner fan page. Ironically, these "hard" Romanists have a lot in common with the more bitter Calvinists who hate a Roman Catholicism they only know through the debates of half a millennium ago.

Hugo Mendez said...

As I see it, the issue is not in whether the BCP is a better reconstruction (e.g., "the only authentically ancient contents of the Tridentine Mass are also preserved in the Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion"). Rather, the issue is the fact that the BCP is a reconstruction, conceived during a period of significant eucharistic debate, and was created in reaction to existing positions. As Fr. Hart noted: "the Rite exists in the context of a ***well thought out theological position that is neither Tridentine, Lutheran or Zwinglian" On the other hand, as Mark VA noted, the core of the Roman Canon (and in fact, many of its later additions) predate the eucharistic controversies by centuries.

If one wants to praise the BCP because it transcends "Tridentine, Lutheran or Zwinglian" formulations, I have one better: use a rite (Sarum, Roman, etc.) that predates all these debates, and was not artificially created to react to any of them.

And saying all of this, I still want to make it clear: I like the various editions of the BCP. I hope the new ordinariates incorporate much more of the BCP than the BDW did. But I can understand why an Anglo-Catholic would ultimately be dissatisfied with the BCP. Of course, dissatisfaction with the perceived theology or words of a book of Anglican worship is not itself a betrayal of Anglicanism; the BCP has undergone several editions over time precisely through these concerns. Nevertheless, Fr. Hart is right; the individual who wrote that comment definitely appears to be jettisoning Anglicanism more generally.

Fr. John said...

Mark VA wrote:
"The Traditional Latin Mass is sometimes called, wrongly, the Tridentine Mass. Some of those who do so often want to create an impression that this Mass was invented ("cut and pasted") during that council."

Mark VA,
Better tell the faculty in the school of theology at the Catholic University of America about this, a whole generation of Roman priests are being misinformed, that is, if Mark VA is correct and the CUA faculty are wrong in their designating the older Latin Mass as "Tridentine."

and:
"Thus, using a mostly subtractive method, they encapsulate their litury(sic)in some "historical" framework. Others will see such organic development as wisdom of the ages, to be learned, cherished, and handed down. If any pruning does become necessary, it will be done very sparingly, with a scalpel, and with Pope's approval."

That is almost exactly what my Eucharistic Theology professor at CUA said about the work of JPII and BXVI within the ICEL, except that he left out that part about "pope approval."

I have seen the galley proofs of the (2005) work on the English language Mass. It looks amazingly like the 1928 BCP.

Mark Va, it is hard to understand where you are coming from when you write like a liberal CUA professor. I was at first thinking you were a traditionalist.

Nathan said...

What I find very telling is that the Roman Canon is made up of a list of petitions and reflexive references. The BCP reserves the very necessary petitions to the second half of the oration and begins with offering all glory to Almighty God.

Nathan
'nocal'

Joe Oliveri said...

But when has real scholarship even mattered to someone overwhelmed by the fantasy of it all.

Forgive me, but I'll take the scholarship and Latin knowledge of men like Duchesne, Jungmann and Fortescue over the mind-boggling prejudices one often finds here.

Indeed, Anglican scholars have rarely tried to make a curate's egg of the Roman Canon -- but then they didn't have the erudition of our Canon Tallis. Evidently the only true scholars left to modern Christendom post in the comment boxes of The Continuum.

These days I'm re-reading Eucharistic Sacrifice and the Reformation (1967) by Francis Clark, SJ. The author quotes just as many Anglican authorities as he does Roman -- because they are recognized authorities on his subject. Clark's work remains a definitive study to this day precisely because it is a work of scholarship. It is colored by his own perspective, of course; but then so was Dix's The Shape of the Liturgy, Proctor and Frere's A New History of the Book of Common Prayer, and many other invaluable works that are no less scholarly because they were written by someone with a point of view.

Avoiding works that treat of ecclesiastical history in England simply because they were written by Roman Catholics is absurd -- particularly if we're talking about modern, non-polemical studies. Quite frankly, I wouldn't have expected an editor of Touchstone magazine (and a friend of Dr. William Tighe) to argue that Roman Catholic authors are to be dismissed outright when one is looking for reliable information on a given period of Church history.

poetreader said...

Excuse me, Joe, but where do you find Father Hart as telling anyone NOT to read and consider such RC sources? Those that he is criticizing in this piece make the error of consulting ONLY such sources, and making their viewpoint the only one.

Yes, we do see errors in the RC works of history and theology, and do not hesitate to mark them as such. Yes, you see errors in our take on those matters, and do not hesitate to marke them as such.

We here do indeed hold many RC scholars in high regard, while not hesitating to point out places where their denominationally specific viewpoint invades their reasoning. The Father Clark you reference (I confess I haven't read him) certainly sounds like a reasonable sort taking a similar attitude toward our scholars. That is where intelligent conversation can happen.

Those Father is criticizing are not taking an attitude like Clark, but instead a polemical and narrow attitude that assumed our scholarship to be worthless. Such are indeed on the sophomore track, which Clark apparently has transcended.

As for me, (to turn your own words around) I will take Hooker, the Caroline Divines, and such as Charles Grafton and Francis Hall, with a host of others, over the mind-boggling prejudices of the sort Fr. Hart is discussing, prejudices that certainly show themselves in a post like this from an otherwise reasonable man.

ed

Joe Oliveri said...

[W]here do you find Father Hart as telling anyone NOT to read and consider such RC sources?

Ed, you must have taken away another reading than I did from the following:

And, if you too want to go from being merely ignorant to being profoundly stupid, I suggest the following curriculum. . . 3. Anglican History under and /or through ANY official Roman Catholic sources (etc.)

Note: any is emphasized in the original.

This would suggest that studying any Roman Catholic works on Anglican history is a sure way to render one "profoundly stupid."

Admittedly, I'm not sure what Fr. Hart means by official (a book with an imprimatur? a course at a Catholic university?). Perhaps he can clarify. However we gloss it, one cannot escape the recurring theme of this blog of late that romanists are largely imbeciles. And poor Latinists, and money-grubbers, too -- with a hat tip to Canon Tallis. As if to say of the TAC: Good riddance to that lot, they'll be in like company.

We're entering the Christmas season, and The Continuum is still relentless in its criticisms of the TAC and anyone associated with The Anglo-Catholic blog. Now we're even trawling that site's comment boxes for anonymous posts to hold up to scorn.

The whole thing is very depressing to watch. I think I'll be avoiding all blogs during the Octave. Maybe things will calm down after the New Year.

William Tighe said...

Concerning the Roman Canon, I am in total agreement with what Hugo Mendez and Joe Oliveri write about it, rather than the pretentious ignorance of "Canon Tallis" on the subject (to which I will return in a moment).

Since Gregory Dix was a notorious Anglo-Papalist, let us leave aside his enthusiasm for the Roman Canon, and especially since it was shared by two learned and erudite Anglo-Catholic clergyman-scholars of his generation, neither one of them a papalist, Edward Craddock Ratcliff (1896-1967) and Geoffrey Grimshaw Willis (1914-1982). The former of these climaxed a brilliant academic career as Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge (and was about to become Orthodox at the time of his sudden death in 1967) and discussed the Roman Canon in several articles reproduced in the posthumous *Liturgical Studies by E. C. Ratcliff* ed. A. H. Couratin and David Tripp (SPCK, 1976); the latter was a learned autodidact (as well as Rector of the lovely Anglo-Saxon parish church of Wing, Bucks., before blindness caused his early retirement) who wrote several books on St. Augustine, his ecclesiology and liturgical practice before turning to the Roman Rite and publishing *Essays in Early Roman Liturgy* (1964) and *Further Essays in Early Roman Liturgy* (1968) -- both by The Alcuin Club -- as well as the posthumously-published *A History of Early Roman Liturgy to the Death of Pope Gregory the Great* (1994).

Both of these scholars were unstinting in their praise of the Roman Canon, its primitivity of tone, the archaic simplicity and dignity of its Silver-Age Latinity (so disliked by those Renaissance pedants beloved of Canon Tallis, some of whom could barely use the word "Deus" of the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, preferring the much more "classical" Jupiter), and perhaps even reflecting, as Willis suggested, the language and stylistic concision of pagan Roman prayer formulae, and the connection it has with the pre-Constantinian roots of Latin Christian worship and euchology; they would certainly smile to read it characterized as "a cut and paste job" and perhaps wonder at the scholarly qualifications, training and attainments of such a critic.

These men has their disagreements: Ratcliff wanted a reformed Anglican liturgy to be based on the most primitive forms available, while Willis was, by and large, an opponent of liturgical "reform" (but wished to have the Roman Canon authorized as an optional alternative in the Church of England), but while they both thought that the 1662 BCP was "valid" and "adequate" they both rejected Cranmer's eucharistic theology and thought that his views were too much reflected in both the 1549 and 1552/1662 to make them in any way "satisfactory," however "valid" and "adequate."

I would, however, amplify their views in one respect: alongside the Roman Canon there is one other surviving Eucharistic Prayer that is possibly coeval in its origins, even if in some ways subject in later times to a degree of that cutting and pasting which Canon Tallis so strangely ascribes to the Roman Canon -- the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, a prayer which Ratcliff (who mastered Syriac as an undergraduate) thought to be very ancient, and of which a contemporary Anglo-Catholic clerical Syriac scholar of the Church of England, Anthony Gelston, produced a critical study, *The Eucharistic Prayer of Addai and Mari* (Oxford University Press, 1992), which corroborates Ratcliff's views of its great antiquity.

In that light, I am pained to see my friend Robert Hart write something so much at variance with the historical truth of the matter, as regards the "Canon" or "Anaphora" or "Prayer of Consecration," as that "The only authentically ancient contents of the Tridentine Mass are also preserved in the Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion."

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Bill:

What exactly is in the Tridentine Mass that comes from The Eucharistic Prayer of Addai and Mari? The latin Masses and, consequently, the Book of Common Prayer, follow a different pattern.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Joe Oliveri wrote:

Now we're even trawling that site's comment boxes for anonymous posts to hold up to scorn.

The comment was here, not there.

About the official RC version of the history of the Church of England, we know it to be a simplistic and misleading version, not even worthy of a Hollywood or Disney kind of history. The official RC version, as taught, subjects historical fact to their religious beliefs about the papacy, and all it amounts to is a polemic that vilifies the English. "It's all,about Henry demanding a divorce"- to which I say, "Hogwash." If there is a balanced and accurate RC publication about the Church of England, please bring it to our attention. I am aware of nothing but the usual distortion they pump out.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

There is a distinction to be made between some RC scholars and the official RC version of our history, some of which their better scholars have also criticized for being partisan and simplistic.

There is nothing wrong with the various old versions of the Latin Mass, but neither is the BCP lacking any of the essentials of what makes those Latin versions valid and edifying. It retains them, and does so with more conservatism than has been at work in the RCC since Vatican II (possibly until now, as soon as their latest Mass gets circulated for general use).

The additions in the BCP of placing the Eucharistic Sacrifice (yes, exactly that) in the context of Christ's completed once for all Sacrifice by offering Himself, is completely harmonious with everything the Catholic Faith has always taught. That it needed special clarification and emphasis makes sense, and to change it now would not make sense.

Other additions, the Comfortable Words, The Prayer of Humble Access, were not inventions of Cranmer exactly. The Prayer of Humble Access is drawn out of older Latin Masses.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Here's a good commentary on the Anaphora of Addai and Mari: http://www.kaldu.org/3_chaldean_culture/TheAnaphora_ApostlesAddai_Mari.html

William Tighe said...

"What exactly is in the Tridentine Mass that comes from The Eucharistic Prayer of Addai and Mari?"

Nothing; that was not my point, which was, rather, that the Roman Canon and the Anaphora of Addai and Mari are most likely the two oldest EPs in continuous use to this day -- all other Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Assyrian EPs being compositions of the period ca. 350 to 550 (and so having a much greater integration of form, content and structure than these other two).

It may be that part of the Coptic "Anaphora of St. Cyril" (the late version of the Anaphora of St. Mark, now used by them only once a year), the part before the Sanctus (its longest part) goes back to the Third Century as well, but it is been much altered and expanded.

Fr. John said...

There is no consecratory prayer in the liturgy of Addai and Mari, yet the Vatican has allowed the Syriac Church into intercommunion with the Holy See in spite of the lack thereof.

Again, my leftists professors at CUA pointed this out as an example of why the Novus Ordo is acceptable, indeed preferred, over the more accurate English translations of the ICEL.

"We don't need no stinkin' consecration!"

Fr. John said...

By the way, antiquity does not automatically equal orthodoxy.

Fr. John said...

And while we are talking about ancient liturgies, let us not for get the liturgy of St. James, also still in use, of equal antiquity, and recognizable to any Anglican Catholic.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this post a bit of a straw man? I mean it hardly takes erudition to critique a very poorly articulated comment from another blog post.

And as for Canon Tallis's story that he thinks depicts a 'rational explanation' of a priest who became Catholic only after being ensured of his inheritance - well, I'm not sure what you are implying, but you should be able to do a whole lot better than that.

Robert Andrews

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Brethren,

I am struggling to work out what we are arguing about. The Tridentine Mass was obviously not a new composition of the 16th Century. It was a "standardisation" and unification of previous versions of the latin Rite. In some ways this process worked well, whereas other aspects were less ideal. The Last Gospel was not always a public reading, and its omission in the Anglican and much later Roman reform is sensible and fair enough, for example. But retaining it is also fine as a constant reminder of the foundation of the Faith in the Incarnation.

In some of the Offertory prayers, it is unclear which offering is being referred to, different opinions being expressed by RC theologians over the centuries, and some of the language seems to anticipate the Sacramental Sacrifice of Consecration, or can not be taken too literally or else it implies a supplementary, independent and repetitious offering of Christ occurring during the Mass. The greater clarity of BCP rites in this respect is good, but the language of liturgy is a poetic-like, mystical one, where pressing phrasing to a "logical" conclusion may mis the point.

Nevertheless, there have been Anglican theologians since the 17th Century at least who claimed that the latin Mass was orthodox. Our Anglican Missal contains the Gelasian Canon and a number of translated (mostly in the "low voice") prayers in the other parts of the rite, while implying the optional nature of many of them at least, e.g., the Secrets. I prefer to use the 1549 Canon therein. In fact, that's the main reason I use the Missal.

Once we have accepted, as most (though not all) here on each "side" seem to do, the validity, beauty and essential orthodoxy of the BCP rites and the old latin Rites, is there any need to decide which are "better"? Are not such comparisons odious?

I am always frustrated to find that. whether it be Anglicans occasionally accusing the latin rites of error or grave deficiency, or Romans sometimes accusing the BCP rite of error or grave deficiency, there is seldom any attempt whatever to back these claims up with specific examples or show conclusively that each example really must be considered unorthodox or otherwise significantly problematic.

The one exception is the severing and separating of the parts of the Canon in the 1552 -1662 BCPs. Anglicans and Romans can and have agreed that this was undesirable and unnecessary. Hence the reconnection in other BCPs. But even here, there is no omission of what is essential, only clumsy reorganisation.

Again, what are we arguing about?

PS: Joe, the problem with works such as Clark's and the discussion in the old Catholic Encyclopedia regarding Anglicanism and Eucharistic Sacrifice is that they ignore the fact that the positive statements made by Anglican reformers, divines and formularies are quite sufficient to satisfy the ancient Catholic and even Thomistic definitions of Eucharistic Sacrifice. The reason that they can do this is that they pretend that the Catholic doctrine of the Sacrifice of the Mass at a binding level says more than it does. For example, by claiming that Catholicism requires a distinct and physical oblationary act with Christ as the object in the Mass, they can successfully exclude Anglican understandings. But since it is and always has been permissible to teach in the RCC that the only sacrificial act of atonement, properly speaking, in the Mass is the self-oblationary death of Christ on the Cross, sacramentally represented and effectually operative (Cf. Article 28 of the 39, and Lancelot Andrewes' statements), this objection is undermined.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Robert Andrews wrote:

Isn't this post a bit of a straw man? I mean it hardly takes erudition to critique a very poorly articulated comment from another blog post.

No, it is an answer to a real position taken by many people, and to their detriment. It is a perfect summary and sample of propaganda that needs to be vanquished. The comment was on this blog, by the way.

And as for Canon Tallis's story that he thinks depicts a 'rational explanation' of a priest who became Catholic only after being ensured of his inheritance -

Well, I do get it. Those who pretend that Rome is the answer, and that they are leading the way, are actually obstructing the way for those who really want to get there. They need to stall, because they need their following.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

William Tighe wrote:

Nothing; that was not my point...

Well, Bill, I cannot figure out what your point was. I said that those essential elements of the Tridentine Mass that are truly ancient, have been preserved in the Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion. You brought up several things, culminating with a reference to The Eucharistic Prayer of Addai and Mari. I hope you are not going to tell us that the BCP rite is based on the Genevan service again, because I cannot even see the similarity between them. But, the Latin Mass, oh yes. Our Holy Communion is directly from it. If you get down here some day we will have to have some beer and talk over many things.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart wrote:

"...But, the Latin Mass, oh yes. Our Holy Communion is directly from it...."


Could you please be more precise - when you say the "Latin Mass" do you mean of the Missal of Paul V or the Sarum Use or? I am guessing you mean the Missal of Paul V, but it is not clear.


Sean W. Reed

poetreader said...

I'm not entirely sure I follow this question, since Sarum and Trent are actually variants of a common tradition, justly called the Latin Mass. It was clearly not the Missal of Trent that Cranmer consulted, as that variant was approved well after Cranmer's work. Cranmer himself, whether one agrees with his choices or not, was clearly working from more than one medieval variant of the Latin Mass.

ed

Fr. John said...

Sean Reed,

You mean the Missal of Paul VI which was created in 1963/64. It is also known as the Novus Ordo. This is the Latin version which the English speaking world has such a bad translation of, and JPII and BXVI have labored to fix via the ICEL (International Commission on the English Liturgy).

The revisionist/leftists portion of the RCC do not want a better translation, they want to keep the Novus Ordo translation they have now.

As I have already noted, the proofs of the new English language translation from the ICEL look a lot like the 1928 BCP. The current translation is, to me, reminiscent of the 1979 BCP. That is why the so-called "Anglican Use" also sounds like the 1979 BCP.

We Anglican Catholics can be sure we have the superior liturgy as Popes JP II and B XVI have implicitly told us so by their criticisms of the current English translation being used in the RCC.

The RCC Latin Rite parishes are using the Missal of Paul the VI in the original Latin. That leaves the Anglican Catholic Church with the older liturgy, albeit in English.

Anthony said...

I think what has annoyed some people (including me) is Canon Tallis's claim that the Mass of Pope Pius V "was only too plainly a cut and paste job done by someone who could read Latin - well, almost - but not write or rewrite in a so that it was proper Latin."

Anonymous said...

First, I must confess to a typo from multitasking. I wrote the Missal of Paul V when I should have written the Missal of Pius the V (following Trent).

Ed, your point is where I was heading.

While I do have little trouble connecting the dots between various portions of the BCP and the Sarum (or other uses on that time period) I have always found trying to connect the BCP toward the Missal of Pius V more difficult than the Sarum.

We use the Sarum 3-4 times a year, and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, each Wednesday, in addition to our regular schedule of Masses according to the Anglican Missal, and I find it particularly edifying to have the opportunity to pray all of these masses, with some degree of regularity. Praying the Mass, in the context of each of these, I find to provide some excellent opportunities to think through what it is that is happening in the Mass, and that the Mass truly transcends time from its institution by our Blessed Lord until this very day.






SWR

Canon Tallis said...

I am absolutely delighted to have irritated Bill Tighe so. But since I had memorized the "Gelasian" canon well before he was in diapers and still in my dotage know a little Latin, I expected more knowledge of the origin and evolution of the Roman canon than he has shown here. I think it is quite clear to all scholars of the same that with very minor exceptions its text was fixed by the time of Gregory the Great. But the text which we have from that time shows every evidence of having been radically revised so that the form in which we have received it is not that in which it was originally written. It is certainly not in the original order of the prayer. Roman authorities admit as such. In short, it isn't any secret and hasn't been for quite some time.

The questions then are when was the prayer originally written and what were its sources and then, when was it revised and under what influences? I don't know what the Anglican scholars quoted by Doctor Tighe were thinking, but it is almost certainly much later than the silver age of Latinity. The reigning theories or theory is that its origin come from the translation of prayers from Antioch and that the revised order comes from Alexandrian influence. There is no question as to its orthodoxy, at least as far as I am concerned, but I do think there are some very pointed criticism which can be made of it from a point of how it handles the words of our Lord. But that is purely personal.

One thing I do understand, however, is that if the English church at the times of its reformation had decided to use even Coverdale's excellent translation, it would probably have lost the country to Calvinists and puritans. The mindset is too entirely different. But rabid fans of all things Roman would hardly understand that.

The real triumph of the Roman canon in the West was a political one and the action not of the Roman see but of the imperial policy of the Emperor Charles the Great who deliberately suppressed the Gothic rite and adopted that of the Roman Church, edited and revised by Alcuin of York. It was also he who pushed the filioque on the Roman Church although it resisted for a time. There are Orthodox scholars who blame Charles' actions as the starting point for the Great Schism between East and West.

El Capitan wrote: "Trent did not invent anything new and is therefore much more ancient than the BCP." But what Trent did do was insert into the missal and especially into the canon rubrics that enforced ceremonial actions which were invented during the earlier period of the 16th century and which previous printed versions of the Roman missal had not included. In short, they discarded the ancient ceremonial associated with that canon and substituted another which changed the emphasis of the text. The modern equivalent is the celebration across the altar which, thank God, Benedict XVI appears on the verge of suppressing.

I very much agree with a good deal of what Mark wrote about liturgical development and revision with the exception that I believe that the Novus Ordo while well intentioned shows just how difficult it is to get these things right in a single swoop. Benedict is being much more cautious about what he is doing, but the question remains as to his ability to get it done before he dies.

Canon Tallis said...

Actually, I should thank Doctor Tighe for reminding me of the work of Willis and Ratcliff. I have not re-read the work of either in too many years and will do so in the near future. I am sure that i was also enjoy reading the work of the younger scholar he mentions in that his conclusions reflect the belief of earlier scholars that I have read and trust. Liturgically I would have to agree with Ratcliff that reform should be based upon the earliest models available.

However I must protest his assertion that I have any great love of the Renaissance Roman clerics who turned up their nose at the Latinity of the Roman canon. What they recognized was that it was of the period of Latin's greatness as a language and it is almost surprising that they didn't insist that it be revised by being put in better Latin. Frankly, I am glad that they left us the text as they received it. In the meantime I am scrambling through my mess of books for a recent one by a Roman liturgical scholar - well, I had better find it before I attempt to pull from my memory what he has to say about what we can know about early Roman liturgy.

I would also like to thank Alice Linsley for the reference on the Liturgy of Addai and Mari. I will certainly fellow up on that.