The Secker Society

 

ANGLICAN WORSHIP AND SACRAMENTAL THEOLOGY

By The Rev’d Canon Kenneth W. Gunn-Walberg, PhD

The conceptual framework prescribed for this paper was that it would be a positive presentation of traditional Anglican principles from both a biblical and historical perspective and in the light of the contemporary issues in contrast to traditional Anglicanism, especially as expressed in the Affirmation of St. Louis and in the Thirty-Nine Articles. The rubrics further attached to it were that Anglican worship should be examined in the light of contemporary liturgies, the Roman Rite, and the proposed revision of the Book of Common Prayer to bring it in line with Roman views. This perforce is a rather tall order; so let us begin.

The late Pulitzer Prize winning poet W. H. Auden stated that the Episcopal Church “seems to have gone stark raving mad … And why? The Roman Catholics have had to start from scratch, and as any of them with a feeling for language will admit, they have made a cacophonous horror of the mass. Whereas we had the extraordinary good fortune in that our Prayer Book was composed at exactly the right historical moment. The English language had become more or less what it is today … but the ecclesiastics of the 16th century still processed a feeling for the ritual and ceremonies which today we have almost entirely lost.”1

While one might quibble somewhat with what he said, he certainly would have been more indignant had he witnessed me little more than a decade after his death celebrating the Eucharist before the Dean and Canons of St. Alban’s Cathedral outside of London with the lay reader cum acolyte pushing before me at least four different books all in contemporary English. It was in vain that I had reviewed the 1662 Prayer Book and the English Missal in preparation. England and Canada were both hurrying to catch up with their American cousins in liturgical revision. Memories of youthful visits to All Saints, Margaret Street and the Church of the Annunciation, Bryanston Square then seemed most distant. In the interval it became apparent a quite different church was in gestation.

But let us now go back in time to the beginning as we seek to discover the principles of Anglicanism and the nature of its worship and see how we got here from there.

Auberon Waugh, the curmudgeonly son of a more curmudgeonly father, once quipped that the Anglican Church was “born out of the dynastic pretentions of a syphilitic king”. Percy Dearmer and his like would not agree, but it is true that by 1536 the English Church was an Erastian independent Catholic Church. The only immediate liturgical changes were that the pope was no longer mentioned in church prayers and the Feast of St. Thomas à Becket was abolished. Certainly books and pamphlets were being published urging more changes and they were exerting influence, but were unofficial.

In 1543 a Royal Injunction mandated lessons at matins and evensong to be read in English. In the year of Henry’s death in 1547 Archbishop Cranmer issued a Homily on Good Works in which he listed those elements of the Roman Catholic cultus to be terminated, yet the Latin Catholic rites remained normative for public worship. The Council of the new young King Edward VI was solidly Reformist and the way was now clear for official reform. On 9 June 1549 the Book of Common Prayer appeared and by an Act of Uniformity all Latin Catholic rites ceased. Then in 1552 came yet another Prayer Book to succeed the first.

Let us briefly consider Cranmer’s mind-set. Did he have a plan? Did he control the situation or was he the victim of domestic and immigrant elements whose intentions went further than his own? In 1548 had come the Order of the Communion issued under a Royal Proclamation. It provided a preparatory prayer in English appearing before the communion service which had been derived from various Continental sources including Martin Bucer and Philip Melancthon. A rubric in the Royal Proclamation stated that the order would stand only “until other order shall be provided.” This explains the 1549 Book, but there was also a statement that encouraged those in authority “further to travail for the Reformation” and setting forth “such godly orders” assuring further reform which came in 1552. Martin Bucer, in the interim, wrote to allies at the time,

“…[W]e have heard that some concessions have been made both to a respect for antiquity and to the infirmity of the present age; such, for instance, as the vestments commonly used in the sacrament of the Eucharist, and the use of candles, so also in regard to the commemoration of the dead, and the use of chrism; for we know not to what extent or in what sort it prevails. They … affirm that there is no superstition in these things, and that they are only to be retained for a time, lest the people, not having learned Christ, should be deterred by too extensive innovations from embracing his religion, and that rather they be won over.”2

Who was it that Bucer had heard from? Most likely it was from those Continental reformers who had been given chairs at the English universities and were acolytes of Calvin. Then in 1551 John Knox arrived in England and was made Chaplain to the young King. Such was the motley group that the gentle, vacillating Cranmer had to deal with and be bullied by as the second Prayer Book was being composed and then issued in 1552. Procter and Frere, in their History of the Book of Common Prayer, wrote:

“Thus against the Archbishop’s will and without consent of the Church, English religion reached its low-water mark and the ill-starred book of 1552 began its brief career. Ridley officiated at its first use in S. Paul’s on All Saints’ Day; the choir of S. Paul’s was finally devastated, the organ silenced, the bishop in bare rochet, and his clergy in bare surplices filled in the details of the picture; and thereafter all communion ceased except on Sundays.”3

Were the new services popular? Scholars differ and widespread distribution of the Prayer Books coming in quick succession was difficult and printing was hardly an instant process. While having great import, as Anglicans were to, over the centuries, be divided over 1549 and 1552 as party emblems, the reforms were short-lived as Edward VI died on 6 July 1553 and the Protestant Council collapsed. Mary Tudor became Queen on 6 July 1553.

How Mary became Queen and how Elizabeth succeeded her is beyond the scope of this paper, yet Elizabeth was to prove to be a great Queen. To Edmund Spenser Queen Elizabeth was in his The Faerie Queene (London, 1590) “Gloriana”; to Shakespeare she was “a pattern to all princes living with her and all that shall succeed.” She was in the streets of city and town and rural paths of Britain “the Great Lioness”. It was to the Catholic Emperor Ferdinand of Germany she wrote in 1563:

“We and our people—Thanks be to God—follow no novel and strange religions, but that very religion which is ordained by Christ, sanctioned by the primitive and Catholic Church and approved by the consentient mind of the early fathers.”4

And so it is today that we as faithful and traditional Anglicans hold the Faith and Order of Apostolic Christendom and our mother church, the Church of England of days past. We keep the Catholic Faith and Practice of the undivided Church of the early ages of Christianity. Bound together by the Book of Common Prayer and the Apostolic Succession of the Bishops, and witnessing to traditional Christian values as expressed in our theology, worship, and morality. It should be noted that Emperor Ferdinand’s hard stance that communion should be in both kinds led to the Pope’s conceding such to him in his territories.

It was the Elizabethan Prayer Book which was the third and most enduring of the earliest editions and provided the contextual framework in which Queen Elizabeth and William Shakespeare to the sturdy rural housewife and the yeoman farmer both lived and died. All Englishmen and women were by law required to attend the parish church on Sunday. Thus in the parochial church and in the great cathedrals, the nation knelt in prayer. The commonwealth was being forged and God, in whose hands the destinies of all souls were lodged, was being worshipped in spirit and in truth and in the beauty of holiness.

When, however, we examine the actual use of the Prayer Book we find the Puritans continued to regard it as popish and ungodly. The Black Rubric which we shall discuss later had been dropped to their chagrin. The phrase in the Litany for deliverance “from the tyranny of the Bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities” also disappeared and the Ornamental Rubric which read that vestments used were to be those of the second year of the rule of Edward VI—which was taken to mean the medieval vestments, and in 1561 a large number of saints’ days appeared. In 1566 Archbishop Parker clarified the Ornaments rule somewhat yet the demand that cope and surplice be worn at least in cathedrals did not amuse the nascent Puritans. Some Puritans conformed but made use of the “corrected” Prayer Book, the so-called unauthorized Compromise Book. As for Roman Catholics, some conformed, and then when it was seemingly safe trundled off to Mass; others paid their fine and attended clandestine Masses. Then there were those within the Church of England, particularly in the North and in Cornwall, who kept their altars, vestments and other ornaments and interpreted the Prayer Book in a pre-1549 manner. Then there were proto-Latitudinarians who may well have been a majority who, while professing Christianity, were not especially enthusiastical about their faith.

In addition Cranmer had been insistent that Communion be celebrated every Sunday, but this was not common and the rubric stating that the curate was to be informed if a person desired to take communion either after Morning Prayer on Sunday or the day previous lead to infrequent communion and thus the church as Eucharistic community was rather still-born. Matins and ante-communion became normative despite the urging of Cranmerian Bishops to the contrary. It was down to Richard Hooker to re-vivify the Book of Common Prayer which he accomplished in 1597 with the fifth book of his monumental Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (London, 1597) constituting a protracted and profound apologia. Then came the Caroline Divines including John Cosin, William Laud, and Lancelot Andrewes who began with diligence to restore the fullness of the Prayer Book rites especially in terms of the eucharist both doctrinally and in praxis.
One of the items in the imposed conceptual framework of this paper was to examine the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion and their relevance to the present situation. We all know, I presume, the anecdote of the Anglo-Catholic priest with his Roman cassock with its thirty-nine buttons. Whenever a button was lost, it was not replaced, but by the thought, “there goes another of the Articles.” Seemingly, when all were gone, they were replaced with a zipper or risk arrest for indecent exposure. Before continuing, this reminds me of a late nineteenth century Anglo-Catholic parish where the standard priestly street wear had been for some time a cassock and biretta. When a new rector arrived he chose to wear a lounge suit or what we now call a business suit. One elderly woman of the parish was heard to say to a neighbour, “Our new priest is very Catholic; so much so, he dresses just like a Jesuit.”

The genesis of the Thirty-nine Articles was in part the penchant of the Continental reformers of the sixteenth century to promulgate confessional statements reminiscent of the creedal period of the fourth and fifth centuries, yet the Articles were more of an effort at reconciliation than a partisan protestant document. Henry VIII had avoided such judgemental screeds as, prudentially, he was disposed to the old faith; yet Cranmer, while a patristic scholar, was to draw significantly from the Wurtemburg Confession of 1552 in devising the Forty-two Articles of 1553 which received the royal signature from Edward a month before his death.

With the accession of Elizabeth in 1559 after the calamitous reign of the benighted Mary once again the matter of doctrinal definition for the re-established Church became a matter of pressing necessity. The Convocation of Canterbury set about to revising the Forty-two Articles. The draft had been penned by Archbishop Parker with the aid of Bishop Guest of Rochester. Parker had succeeded Cardinal Pole who died an untimely death and was duly consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury in Lambeth Palace on 17 December 1659 by four bishops after the requisite preliminaries and the account is replete and lengthy despite Roman claims to the contrary.

The Articles were reduced from forty-two to thirty-nine with the Queen herself making not insignificant changes both agreeable to her Faith and her desire to conciliate her Catholic subjects. Royal Assent was given to the Articles on 29 May 1571. Henceforth, they were the law of the land and all clergy who had been ordained during the reign of Mary and all candidates presented to a benefice and all presented for ordination were to subscribe to them.

The Articles were directed against the errors of the Latin Church in the Medieval period and the contemporaneous dangers posed by “Anabaptist sects”. They are both moderate and comprehensive and would not measure up to the positions held by Lutherans on the one hand and Calvinists on the other. Anathema to Rome, they certainly are not on the table today as Anglo-papalists “negotiate” their absorption. They have, however, served the Church well and continue to do so. They are not Articles of Faith per se nor are they tests of our faith, for the doctrines of Anglicanism are contained within the Prayer Book as a whole and the Articles themselves are to be understood through the lens of the teaching of the Prayer Book in its entirety yet depending on time and place they were and are to be implicitly or explicitly subscribed to.

The Puritans campaigned against them at the Savoy Conference of 1662 which had attempted to reconcile the “godley people” to the Prayer Book; albeit, given the recent Civil War, the Bishops were not in a mood for concessions. In 1792 in Scotland, civil disabilities were repealed against non-jurors if they were to publicly and by name pray for the Royal family and subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles. Earlier, it was the Laudians–in particular Jeremy Taylor and Robert Bramwell—after the Restoration who had persuaded the Irish Convocation to abandon the extreme Calvinist Articles and accept the Thirty-nine Articles. One might note, also, that Article XXIV “Of speaking in the Congregation in such a tongue as the people understandeth” has been quite an impetus for missions and translations of the Prayer Book in all areas where the Empire expanded and indeed beyond and today the 1662 Book exists in 150 languages. The Articles, as Professor Bricknell indicated years ago, are “Treasure in Earthen Vessels”.

Now, let us examine the Black Rubric which recently has been the subject of renewed interest as reflected in the back and forth concerning it in certain corners of the internet. Scholastic theology had facilitated the division of the eucharist from its patristic roots. Frequent communion had long ended and by the end of the Medieval period the Blessed Sacrament had been reduced to an object. It was to be adored, it was to be reverenced, it was to be seen, but not with any regularity was it to be consumed. Such eucharistic theology on a popular level led to interesting results. The major theme in Christian piety became not the perfect obedience of the Son unto death but the effusion of His blood, not long ago returned to by Mr. Mel Gibson and still a mainstay of Roman Catholic devotion. There also appeared “miracle stories” which featured flesh and blood replacing the consecrated elements.

The miraculous transformation stories usually involved Jews and skeptical Christians who converted as a result of witnessing the change from bread to quivering flesh. Also, female ascetics—notably Saint Catherine of Siena—made the claim that she could survive solely on the consecrated host. She died at the age of thirty-three—emaciated. Such food deprivation was not uncommon as an ultimate test of devotion. The reification of the Eucharist into a sacred object culminated in 1264 when the Feast of Corpus Christi was made universal with its procession of a consecrated host within a monstrance and carried through the streets of towns, villages, and cities. St. Francis had written, “these most holy mysteries I wish to have honoured above all things and to be reverenced and to have them reserved in precious places.” While the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 had attempted to settle the matter of eucharistic definition through doctrinally positing transubstantiation, it also required reception, but only once a year, which underscored the objectification of the Sacrament. Viewing the host had become a substitute for receiving it.

Such was the background to which the Reformers reacted with their desire for frequent communion and against a corporal presence which they identified with the Real Presence. The 1549 Book of Common Prayer, significantly, did not contain the notorious Black Rubric. The 1552 revision had—inspired by John Knox—introduced what his critics stated was the doctrine of the “real absence”. He, also, desired communion to be received sitting. Kneeling, he thought, was “a diabolical invention”. The declaration regarding kneeling in the Black Rubric stated in part: “It is not meet … that any adoration is done, or ought to be done, either unto the Sacramental bread and wine, there bodily received, or unto any real and essential presence there being of Christ’s natural flesh and blood.”5

This statement was a last minute addition and was inserted into the Book as a separate leaf. In later copies it was printed after the third rubric following the communion. It is not itself a rubric per se, in that it is not or should not be printed in red. As we have observed, Queen Elizabeth, upon her accession, replaced the Latin Mass usage of the reign of Mary with a more catholic version of the 1552 Book and the Black Rubric was eliminated.

It was restored in 1662 with a significant change in that only a “corporal presence” was denied rather than the prior reference to a “real and essential presence” thus avoiding a crude materialism while not denying the Real Presence.

It is the presence of the Black Rubric which has largely caused the Anglican Catholic Church (birthed out of the international congress at St. Louis, 1977) to preclude the 1662 Book from being listed as a Book in conformance to the 1928 American and the 1962 Canadian Book, et al. That the 1662 Book was accepted and defended by Froude, Keble, Pusey, Eliot, et al., and that it was the Book that carried the Faith to distant parts continues to cause the matter to be raised at Anglican Catholic Church Provincial Synods.

On the other hand, the Reformed Episcopal Church (initially organized in New York, 1873) officially embraces the Black Rubric and while accepting kneeling for reception warns that “no adoration is intended or ought to be done unto the Sacramental Bread or Wine there bodily received, or unto any Corporal Presence of Christ’s natural Flesh and Blood.” One might therefore conclude that the Reformed Episcopal Church believe transubstantiation of the recipient and not the elements.

Then there are the interesting articles of the Constitution of the Anglican Church of North America (that inaugurated in Bedford, Texas, 2009) which state:

“1.6. We receive The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.”

And then in regard to the Thirty-nine Articles:

“7. We receive the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1571, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief.”6

Thus it accepts the 1549, 1552, 1559, 1604 (which introduced the Catechism into the matter), and “the literal and grammatical sense of the Thirty-nine Articles”, whatever that might mean, but probably not the eighty-seven page Tract 90 in Newman’s analysis of Article XXVIII and it both accepts and does not accept the Black Rubric.7 However—returning to our historical narrative—after the disruptions of the seventeenth century came the eighteenth which until recently has been viewed as a period when Latitudinarianism was in the ascendant and services were tedious and boring, if not outright dreary; but in many parish churches, royal chapels, collegiate churches, and cathedrals, worship was alive and done in the beauty of holiness and with dignity. Confirmation was taken seriously. In 1709, for example, one bishop, William Wake of Lincoln, confirmed 12,800 candidates in 24 centres. Also, theological debate was vigorous with Unitarianism finding some support but with a Trinitarian reaction.

Then, also, there were two other significant developments—the Methodist movement and the second and third generation of non-jurors. Beginning with the latter initially: there had been two centres—England and Scotland. A not insignificant number of Church of England clergy, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, as they had taken an oath to James II, refused to break their oaths by taking an oath to William of Orange and, as a result, were deprived of their offices. In Scotland, the results were similar and both groups were known as non-jurors and as a result of the contacts between the two, the next generation sought and effected some alterations in worship which were to have consequences later in terms of the American Prayer Book and even later the Canadian Prayer Book. Changes, however, were not without vigorous exchanges between what became known as the “usagers” and the “non-usagers”. The former looked back to 1549 and ancient liturgies seeing 1552, 1559, 1604, and 1662 as being tainted by Calvinism. Principally they sought the addition of an epiclesis, that in the chalice wine should be mixed with water, that the Prayer of Oblation should follow the consecration, and the restoration of prayers for the dead. The non-usagers remained loyal to the 1662 Book. Thus two streams of eucharistic theology within Anglicanism were the result. It was the Scottish rite that Samuel Seabury undertook for American eucharistic use which itself had been derived from the 1549 and the 1637 usages and he was in large part successful. Thus Anglicanism was set on a new course. No longer was it the Church of England at home and abroad worshipping from the 1662 Book. The Scottish “usagers” had become truly international with the corollary that Anglicans abroad could adapt their liturgy to their perceived need unfettered by the English parliament.

With the dawn of the nineteenth century there was to arise in England after the Napoleonic troubles the Romantic Age with manifestations in art, literature, religion, and politics. Young England and Sir Walter Scott championed medievalism. Gothic revivalism was promoted as the only authentic style of church architecture. Antecedent even to the Oxford Movement was the trend to make the communion table the focus of worship. Thus with Keble’s Assize Sermon on 14 July 1833 came the start of the movement which ended its first phase with Newman receiving conditional baptism at Littlemore on 8 October 1845 and being received into what he termed “the Church of Christ”. In the interval, a sense of ecclesiology and decency in worship had been restored to much of the Church.

The second and third generations of Tractarian priests or “Anglo-Catholic”, as they came to be termed, slowly reintroduced Catholic ceremonial practices. At first the appurtenances were not especially earth-shaking—a cross and candles on the altar, wearing of a surplice, and reintroducing the credence table. Holy water, incense, and parish eucharistic vestments were to come later; to be followed by missals, ritual aids, and statuary, etc. What were the overall results? Nigel Yates in his Anglican Ritualism in Victorian Britain 1830-1910 (Oxford, 1999) has indicated that prior to the twentieth century the number of churches having adopted a full Catholic ceremonial and vestments was relatively small. The same applies both to Canada and the United States. Yates’ study also finds the belief held commonly amongst students of the movement that it was more popular amongst the working-class parishes than middle-class parishes is simply wrong. It is my opinion that similar sociological and historical studies would find similar results in the U.S. and Canada.

The lasting and often overlooked or under-regarded results of the nineteenth century were the organ becoming the instrument of choice for Anglican worship and hymn books becoming the source of congregational singing—most significantly Hymns Ancient and Modern (the first full edition of which appeared in 1861). What had been the province of dissenters now became ubiquitous in Anglicanism whether High, Broad, or Low; whether Morning Prayer or Sung Eucharist or High Mass, candles and a cross were on the altar and organists were in demand. It was the late Victorian pattern of worship that shaped the desire of many laity and priests to continue what was familiar over several generations when radical changes in the second half of the twentieth century were to arrive.

In the early twentieth century, the Great War postponed any attempts at Prayer Book revision, but in 1927 in England and in 1928 in the United States new books did arrive. In the United States in 1928, as in 1892, the revisions were minor. It was too early for the Liturgical Movement in Europe to have much influence, if any. New prayers for “social justice” and “the Family of Nations” perhaps might be seen as things to come. In the Prayer for the Whole State of Christ’s Church was added “And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear, beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love and service” which was quite controversial as was the proposed rearrangement of the constituent elements of the Eucharist itself and in particular the Prayer of Humble Access. While the first American Prayer Book of 1789 had continued the Scottish form of the consecration prayer, the general structure was that of the 1662 Book. While the Scottish Consecration Prayer structure was adopted, there had been protests at the time that it encouraged Eucharistic Adoration.

The late Peter Toon noted that the 1928 Book had two outstanding characteristics. They are its flexibility in its use, in particular, of the options available in Morning and Evening Prayer to render each longer or shorter; and, secondly, it was no longer compulsory to recite the Exhortation , “Dearly beloved brethren” every Sunday. Also, a shorter Invitation—“Let us humbly confess our sins to Almighty God” could be substituted. All passages of Holy Scripture were taken, not from the King James version but from the Revised Version—but not the Epistles and Gospels—and the Psalter was newly translated to eliminate many archaisms. The Ten Commandments were to be read at least one Sunday in each month and not necessarily every Sunday.

Despite being composed at the end of the Roaring Twenties the book—as did its predecessors—recognized that sin is sinful and that we are to confess our sins to Almighty God in a penitent and humble manner, albeit in the Penitential Office for Ash Wednesday some of the stronger expressions were altered or deleted. So too in the service of Baptism the words “all men are conceived and born in sin” were removed. In the Visitation of the Sick, sickness as a form of punishment from God is deleted as God is seen as a healer who desires wellness. Then in the Marriage Service reference to the “headship of the male” was dropped and the promises and vows are alike and both assume the same obligations.

There was, also, the attempt made to make the book more germane to the life of the nation and to the life of the Church as reflected in Prayers for the Armed Forces, providing a Collect, Epistle, and Gospel for Independence Day, a Bidding Prayer, a service for the Burial of a Child, Collects for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week, and the Office of Instruction to replace the older Catechism.

As we now turn to Canada, it should first be observed that the American Revolution had quite reverse consequences for the Anglican Church in the former colonies and Canada. The Revolution had all but destroyed Anglicanism in the former colonies whereas it was virtually responsible for the birth of an English-speaking Canada and a substantial Anglican presence as a high percentage of Loyalists were Anglicans and loyal to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and to the Crown.

However, unlike in England, the Church in Canada was, on the down-side, not to be established and hence was, on the up-side, not to be bound by Parliament and was to be self-governing. It was not, however, until the coming of the railroad and the Confederation of the provinces in 1867 that a national church would be contemplated. In 1890, at a conference in Winnipeg, it was decided that a General Synod would have jurisdiction in matters of doctrine and worship. The first Synod was convened in 1893 and declared the Church to be in full communion with the Church of England and in the fellowship of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Indeed the Church was to be called until 1955, the Church of England in Canada.

The Church from the outset was divided into High and Low and Broad Church elements. The Low Church party wanted to retain the 1662 Book and the first request for revision did not take place until the General Synod of 1902. A proposed revision appeared at the 1905 Synod and was rejected by the House of Bishops in “the best interest of the Church.” In 1908, however, the Lambeth Conference declared that adaptations and “enrichment” of forms was admissible and even essential if the Church was to carry on its mission to different races and cultures. The Church of England itself was moving toward revision and many English bishops wanted Canada to be a testing ground and urged Archbishop Matheson to pursue a “safe and wise” revision.8

As the project commenced, High Churchmen and Anglo-Catholics wanted to draw on the legacy of the 1549 Book; but when the revised book appeared it was, at least in terms of the Eucharistic rite, virtually unaltered. There were many minor changes elsewhere, but only in the marriage service were the revisions more substantial. The 1662 Book referenced marriage as a remedy for “carnal lusts”; “brutish lusts” and fornication and such were replaced with more civil, polite, and positive statements regarding hallowing the union of man and woman. Thus it was that this the 1918 Book became the first Canadian Prayer Book and it was canonically proclaimed in 1922.

High Churchmen and Anglo-Catholics continued to lobby for change along the 1549 lines and the 1928 English Book kept their hopes alive—but briefly—as with its rejection by Parliament it quickly became an item of history and not use. A proposed revised Eucharistic rite appeared in 1952 and resulted in criticism from all sides with much of the criticism centering on the third paragraph of the Prayer of Consecration. It contained no oblation, no epiclesis, and no anamnesis for starters and the general language was seen, not as the beauty of holiness, but rather as insipid and mundane. Those who continued to place their hopes in the 1928 English Proposed Book were not at all pleased. Bishop Philip Carrington of Quebec agreed and he sent to the committee responsible a recommendation quite similar to the 1928 English Proposed Book which resulted with minor changes being incorporated into the 1959 Book approved by General Synod in 1962.

If the mid-sixties were a mistake, the seventies were a disaster. In the background for the Church was the Liturgical Movement which ostensibly sought renewal, but was based on flawed premises leading to destruction of ancient formularies, worship practices, hymnody, and architecture. Earlier, Dom Gregory Dix in his Shape of the Liturgy (London, 1945) sought to find an original, pristine, and so-termed apostolic core to the Eucharistic liturgy premised on a seven- or four-action shape of the liturgy, yet this is difficult to support especially since so little is known of the nature and contents of early synagogue services and the early Christian services and the fusion hypothesis became sheer speculation as Bryan Spinks indicated in his “Mis-shapen: Gregory Dix and the Four-Action Shape of the Liturgy”.9

The Lambeth Conferences of 1958 and 1968 had given great emphasis to liturgical revision and the Conferences were book ends to the Vatican Council of 1962–65. What emerged in the Anglican world were Alternative Service Books of which those in Canada and Great Britain were trumped in the U.S.A. by a new “Prayer Book” based on a series of Prayer Book Studies and then a variety of “Trial Services”. The arrival of the American Prayer Book—the title being high-jacked from the earlier books for it is really an Alternative Service Book—approved in the year 1976 and ratified by the 1979 General Convention, and with the infamous Dennis Canon and the banning of the use of the 1928 Book meant the collapse of the Common Prayer tradition in what is now the Episcopal Church or T.E.C. and was to lead to three and a half decades of triumphal liberalism and major changes in doctrine, discipline, and worship with traditionalists forced to leave their buildings for the most part and to start anew in the wilderness of a society which had largely abandoned the “permanent things” and where soon a myriad of soi-disant Anglican traditionalist groups were competing for minds, souls, and bodies.

The beauty of holiness has, as we have seen, largely been triumphed over by capricious chaos in worship and an abandonment of divinely sanctioned order. The immanence imparted in the traditional Prayer Book liturgies, hymnody, and, indeed, architecture has been forfeited to a democratic leveling and Liberalism’s commitment to relativism and closely related nominalism. All is not lost for those who hold that all ideas are not equal. To use an analogy, when ancient Israel was faced with the menace of Babylon there was consideration given to forging an alliance with Egypt somewhat akin to the present desire by some of our former ranks reaching out to Rome. Not a good idea in prospect—not a good idea in retrospect. Rome has much to answer for in getting us into this liturgical mess and we can now see what the Novus Novus Ordo looks like and it does not look very good; and, surprisingly does not bear any resemblance to the Canadian 1962 or 1928 American Book or any other Book or Missal conforming thereto. Hymnody will continue in the folksy mien of the 1960s which Archbishop Rembert Weakland so championed. Indeed, it was he who not only brought musical desacralization into the American Roman Church which proceeded step by step alongside the cultural revolution in America and which Pope Paul VI attempted to halt with the issuance of Musicam Sacrum on 15 March 1967. That the American liturgists were immune to his plea was clear only the next year when the Musical Advisory Board met in Chicago and at the Mass folk songs by Pete Seeger and Phil Ochs were sung as the liturgy’s music. The rationale was that all things are sacred and that all music was suitable for the liturgy.

To examine Anglican worship and sacramental theology “in the light of contemporary liturgies, the Roman Rite and the proposed revision of the Book of Common Prayer to bring it in line with Roman views” presents several challenges. Firstly there is a profound asymmetry between Rome and Anglo-papists in number and hence influence both in Britain and within the Traditional Anglican Communion. In Britain the lamb of Anglo-Papalism laid down with the Romano-Papalists and now there is no more lamb left as they were already “Roman Rite Anglicans” and easily devoured. When the downwardly mobile Bishop John Broadhurst—now Monsignor Broadhurst—visited my parish for a Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen meeting several years ago I extended the courtesy to him of celebrating from one of our three missals. He made his choice and it became obvious that it was a book long foreign to him. It may have been the Monsignor whom Aidan Nichols stated said to him when he was asked if The Book of Divine Worship (Mt. Pocono, Pennsylvania, 2003) produced for the Anglican Use Parishes in the U.S.A. might be commended to Forward in Faith, UK the reply received was that anything connected with the Prayer Books tends to be, “We can’t go back to that”—it is worth attention that the changes which were introduced in 2013 as Divine Worship were accompanied by the statement that those unsatisfied with them had the recourse of adopting the Roman Rite.

The sentiments were underlined when I visited Forward in Faith, UK headquarters in London at the former Catholic Apostolic Church of the Irvingites for a noon Mass. There were no service books, missalettes, or whatever in the pews so I picked up a copy of the only book in sight and it was the 1928 Grey Book. I was delighted, but when the Mass began, it was tawdry, incomprehensible, but mercifully brief. Afterwards I dined with the Forward in Faith Secretary and asked about the Grey Book. He told me someone had dropped it off the previous day, but he had yet to catalogue it and put it in the library.

The Affirmation of St. Louis recognized the crises that modernity posed and deserves to be re-visited as a basis for Anglican unity. Its “Principles of Doctrine”, “Principles of Morality”, “Constitutional Principles”, “Principles of Worship”, and “Principles of Action” remain quite pertinent today as the crisis of Anglicanism continues domestically and abroad. Since the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen sponsored the St. Louis Congress in September 1977 which adopted the Affirmation, the Fellowship has continued to promote harmony and communication between various jurisdictions by meetings, conferences, and its publications: The Certain Trumpet and The Directory of Traditional Anglican and Episcopal Parishes. Since the Affirmation which was the impetus for a formal church structure many peculiar groups have been established using elements of Anglican liturgy and governance, but seem to have little regard for the principles of the Affirmation and to the validity of Orders. In looking forward, the 1995 Statement on Church Unity published by the Anglican Parishes Association for the Anglican Catholic Church remains an excellent work on problems and challenges inherent in the seeking and realization of unity.10 To conclude, I quote the Epistle Dedicatory, belonging to another component of Anglican worship—the King James Bible—for it rather sums up our purpose today:

“… if, on the one side, we shall be traduced by Popish Persons at home or abroad, who therefore will malign us, because we are poor instruments to make God's holy Truth to be yet more and more known unto the people, whom they desire still to keep in ignorance and darkness; or if, on the other side, we shall be maligned by self-conceited Brethren, who run their own ways, and give liking unto nothing, but what is framed by themselves, and hammered on their anvil; we may rest secure, supported within by truth and innocency of a good conscience, having walked the ways of simplicity and integrity, as before the Lord.”11


1 W. H. Auden, A Certain World, New York, Viking Press,1970, p.85.

2 A. H. Couratin, “The Holy Communion 1549”, Church Quarterly Review, vol. 164, 1963, pp. 148-159.

3 Francis Procter and Walter Howard Frere, A New History of the Book of Common Prayer, London, Macmillan, 1908, p. 85.

4 J. M. Rigg, ed., Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs Preserved Principally at Rome in the Vatican Archives and Library, Vol. 1, H. M. Stationery Office, London, 1916, p. 155.

5 Joseph Ketley, ed., The Two Liturgies, A.D. 1549, and A.D. 1552: With Other Documents Set Forth by Authority in the Reign of King Edward VI, The Parker Society, Cambridge, 1844, p. 283.

6 Published in Bud Davis, Celebrate Anglicanism, Anglican House Publishers, Huntington Beach, California, 2014.

7 John Henry Newman, Remarks on Certain Passages in the Thirty-Nine Articles, J. G. F. & J. Rivington, London, 1841.

8 Charles Helfing and Cynthia Shattuck, The Oxford Guide to The Book of Common Prayer, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 187.

9 Bryan D. Spinks, “Mis-shapen: Gregory Dix and the Four-Action Shape of the Liturgy”, Lutheran Quarterly Review, vol. 4, 1990, pp. 161–177.

10 Published in Statement on Church Unity, Anglican Parishes Association, Athens, Georgia, 1995.

11 The Holy Bible, Conteyning the Old Testament, and the New: Newly Translated out of the Originall tongues: & with the former Translations diligently compared and and reuised by his Maiesties speciall Commandement, London, Robert Barker, 1611, pp. iv–v.


Published in Anglican Tradition Vol. 1, No. 7, 2015. © The Secker Society, 2015.

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