Thursday, 16 June 2011

"Patrimony" or (moderate) Liturgical Abuse?

"Ordinariate" Benediction?
The photo is of the Officiant (Msgr Andrew Burnham) and attendant Deacons at Benediction following the Ordinariate offering of Solemn Evensong at the Dominican Priory at Blackfriars, Oxford, yesterday, a suggested offering of "Anglican Patrimony".

I had a hunch that rather than the historically patrimonial "Scarf & Hood" for the sung offering of the BCP Office, as may be seen in most Anglican Cathedrals up and down the country, a Latinate ceremonial would be employed, as is common in most Anglo-Catholic parishes. Of course, it has not been unknown for Copes to be worn on Feasts in such places, but certainly there has never been a tradition of the more Sarum or historical Latin Rite practice of "Rulers in Copes" etc. I'm rather curious then as to why so many Copes were seemingly employed for this offering of Prayer Book Evensong. I wonder if the Exhortation and General Confession were even offered at the beginning of the service, rather than the later practice of beginning the service with "O Lord, open thou our lips" (which as any Catholic knows is only ever said at the beginning of the first Office of the day - never at the evening offering)? [Noting that the 1928 Prayer Book, though never legally recognised by Parliament, did offer an "Alternative Order for Morning/Evening Prayer" omitting the Exhortation & General Confession.]

What's more interesting and perhaps disturbing is this take on the Latin Rite service of Benediction with assistants in Cope rather than the usual and rubrical Dalmatic [when Benediction is offered in its more "solemn" form]. As the service of Benediction is not to be found in any of the historical or contemporary offical liturgies of the CofE [i.e. Book of Common Prayer 1549, 1552, 1559, 1662, 1928, the Alternative Service Book 1980 or Common Worship] one would assume that these "Latin Rite" Catholics of the Ordinariate would celebrate this service according to the lawful rubrics of the Latin Rite*? No. It would seem that being of the Ordinariate means one continues that signature Anglican liturgical penchant for improvisation. So Copes for the assisting Deacons rather than their proper Eucharistic vestment which denotes their Order, as would be proper on such an occasion, the Celebrant only of course in Cope (with humeral veil at the appropriate time).

I'm sure it was "glorious" and all very impressive to watch. I'm sure the Latin Rite Catholics were left in no doubt that their new Ordinariate brethren truly believe the same doctrine concerning the Eucharist. However, this wasn't "Anglican Patrimony" unless by that one means a penchant for doing liturgy "impressively" but without historical or rubrical precedent? I always thought the more recent Anglican patrimony was to observe the rubrics better than the Romans themselves? Why this made up ceremonial then? Seems to me that Ordinariate liturgy is going to be a "bit of what we fancy" than an exercise in serious historical patrimonial expression or liturgical praxis.

Do the Ordinariate clergy fulfill their obligation to recite the "Prayer of the Church" by employing the BCP Offices? No. So why offer Evensong? Its as nonsensical as traddie RC's offering old rite "Vespers" once in a blue moon when it is not a part of their normal recitation. What does that say about one's understanding and relationship with the liturgy? Do they recite the LOTH Office privately before or after these archaeological forays, if only to maintain the continuity of a recitation designed to be prayed whole? No. I rather suspect not. I suspect they even probably permitted themselves to regard their offering of Evensong as equivalent to Vespers and Compline and a fulfillment of their Canonical obligation? 

Of course the Ordinariate, it is hoped, will offer something better than the above video... However, the same abuse of principle regarding rubric and liturgical law seems to be as extant in the developing Ordinariate as it is for most Roman Catholic parishes around the world. The fact that in the Ordinariate, things may be done a little better i.e. "classically" than elsewhere, even so, the only "patrimonial" principle Anglo-Catholics and Roman Catholics share perhaps is, "Father is always right" even when he is wrong!

P.S. I'm more than aware that similar rubrical inconsistencies were/are common in Anglo-Catholic circles, but one would've hoped that conversion to "actual" Catholicism might have provided an opportunity for such affectations to be "done away with" rather than perpetuated... everything being that much more "legal" (i.e. Canonical) now than previously... There's no need to "out do" (let alone "pretend") anymore folks, you ARE Catholics!

*Perhaps this is a "new" liturgical custom/prerogative for the Ordinariate when Benediction is offered? 


Andrew said...

Whilst I agree with your comments, I must point out that no lesser an authority than Dr Fortescue allows the use of Assistants in cope when Benediction follows directly on from Vespers, in the colour of those Vespers of course (unless black).

Anonymous said...

Call me a cynic but I'm beginning to suspect that "Anglican Patrimony" is going to mean a taste for gin and French (and maybe other examples might be found in A.N. Wilson's "Unguarded Hours"...). Oh, that isn't serious enough is it? But, we don't even have an "Ordinariate Liturgy" yet, and wont that be a mash-up of Prayer Book (1662/1928/CiW1984/ASB) and modern Roman Rite. So, will it be even as "good" as any of them? I am sadly getting a bit disillusioned with the whole Ordinariate concept :(


Anonymous said...

When Benediction follows immediately after Vespers, copes (which are worn for Vespers by officiant and deacons) are retained. Going out and changing is unnecessary and prissy. Read your Fortescue.

Canon Jerome Lloyd OSJV said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Canon Jerome Lloyd OSJV said...

Reading Fortesque it is by no means clear that after the Anglican (Protestant) service of "Vespers & Compline" the Celebrant and Assistants don't retire before offering the Catholic service of Benediction...

A certain liturgical logic (redolent of Fortesque, though not "Ritual Notes") might suggest that indeed they don't go and change as this would perhaps be "fussy", IF one was prepared to accept their use of a Protestant Office as equivalent to fullfilling a Catholic recitation of the same Offices and a Catholic Cleric's canonical obligation. "Fussiness" however is not a consideration most Anglo-Catholics would seem normally to be concerned about.

If one of the Orders of Evening Prayer from the Book of Divine Worship had been used and IF that Rite is a) Canonically permitted in the Ordinariate of OLW and b) has similar rubrics to the Traditional (Tridentine) Rite of Vespers; one might have had a point. Somehow I don't think either Rite I or II EP was used from the BDW? If either were, they certainly wouldn't seem to be expressive or recognisable as an "English" Anglican patrimony in any case.

Anyway, there is nothing in the historic Anglican patrimonial formularies containing anything like the rubrical directions of Fortesque or the (former) SRC etc for "Evensong" (a non-Catholic Office) let alone Benediction and so the normal Catholic liturgical principles would seem to be alien to the Rite [Evensong] being employed.

Actually the "liturgics" are not really the point of my criticism, that's an aside (though the principle of "lex credendi, lex orandi, lex vivendi" is). The main point is concerning the principle of a liturgical Office. They don't use the BCP so why offer it? Why observe a whole other Office and liturgical Rite i.e. the LOTH the rest of the week bar this occasion? Archaeology then? It obviously isn't an "organic" development as the BCP Office has no history with the development of the LOTH.

AndrewWS said...

I was there. As I understand it, the Evensong part was as laid down in the Book of Divine Worship, which *is* licensed by the RC authorities. You can tell because the intercessions are different; no 'O Lord, save the Queen' for a start - unfortunately.