Until now, I have been pushing for the simple
revival of the Use of Sarum and its being the Anglican
Use. I have exaggerated to the same extent as those Catholics
who would like to see the extraordinary use made the
official Roman rite and the modern rite abolished - and
millions of Catholics being told to get used to it
as they were in 1969 as the new missal was imposed.
Pope Benedict XVI does not work that way,
but has on numerous occasions, even as Pope, decried the
ostracism against those who prefer the traditional rite.
Truth be told, this Pope obviously wishes the two uses of
the Roman rite (as he described them in Summorum Pontificum)
to coexist and influence each other. Having lived in continental
Europe and having known something of the old French and
Belgian liturgical movements, I appreciate the need for
a more balanced spirit in the liturgy, between the extremes
of counter-Reformation rigid rubricism and the "heresy"
of formlessness which all too often prevails in the celebration
of the modern liturgy.
One example of liturgy we have overlooked
is the European monastic patrimony, carefully restored and
nurtured since the days of Dom Guéranger and the foundation
of Solesmes. The Benedictine movement did more than anything
else to get people to learn to sing Gregorian mass settings
and begin to participate in the sacred action with some
intelligence. The monastic liturgical movement simplified
vestments and introduced flowing chasubles, copes, albs
and surplices. In the 1990's, I spent six months as a working
guest at the Abbey of Triors in France, a daughter house
of Fongombault, grand daughter of Solesmes. I was able to
live the liturgy (1965 Roman rite and Monastic Office) in
its plenitude and solemnity. The processions in the cloister
were very "pre-Reformation" rather than rigid counter-Reformation.
Those monasteries kept a different spirit from the dioceses
or the various religious congregations of priests founded
since the sixteenth century.
The monastic movement was often applied in
French and Belgian parishes after World War II and often
before. One shining example was the parish of Mesnil-Saint-Loup
under Father Emmanuel in the nineteenth century. Anglicans
would do well to study the Liturgical
Movement in the Catholic Church and be aware that only
one tendency within it was in favour of a liturgical vision
reflecting modern deconstructionism and secularism. Many
other strands within this movement were noble and inspiring
in their vision.
As the Holy Father seeks to create a situation
in which there would be free interchange between the two
forms of the Roman rite to influence each other for the
better via a long process of organic development, the same
could be possible with the Anglican Ordinariates. We could
have Sarum in either Latin or English, or a combination
of the two languages, alongside an improved version of the
Anglican Use containing more familiar material from the
post-Reformation Prayer Book tradition.
It is true that the Prayer Book was the "novus
ordo" of its time in Anglicanism, and was imposed by
brute force - on pain of a highly unpleasant death. As the
centuries passed, it became the patrimony of "parish Catholics",
people who continued to frequent their parishes as in pre-Reformation
times without too much of a thought for church politics
or the concerns of the clergy. In this way, a Catholic spirit
did survive in spite of the radically Protestant regime
in the English Church.
Concretely, I would see the Anglican Use Order
of Mass as something very positive. I would proceed by removing
the parts borrowed from the modern Roman rite which were
in 1980 a sine qua non, but much more relative now.
In their place, I would substitute the relevant parts of
the Sarum ordinary. For example, the preparation of the
chalice, the offertory prayers, the Roman Canon, the prayers
after the Lord's Prayer for the Fraction (including Christ
our Passover). I have a copy of the Book of Divine
Worhip and David Burt's beautifully edited Anglican
Use Gradual. I like the wealth of prefaces and prayers of
the faithful, and this all comes in with the Pope's ideas
of opening up the wealth of liturgical diversity, bringing
both old and new from the treasure-house.
The Proper can be that of Sarum minus the
sequences. In such a way, the Anglican Use and the Sarum
Use could be perfectly harmonised, and would function according
to the same calendar, temporal cycle and lectionary. I would
certainly like to help Fr Phillips contribute to the future
work of a liturgical commission - as he would be likely
to be on it.
I am not in favour of borrowing to any great
extent from the counter-Reformation Roman tradition any
more than the rite of Paul VI. We should not refuse the
Roman rite (either form) when pastoral ministry calls on
us to do so, but within our own usage, we should
be Anglican and English - or English-inspired.
Such a liturgical vision of an eventually
converging dual rite would incorporate the treasures of
post-Reformation times: the hymns of Charles Wesley and
many other inspired Christian poets, the musical tradition
of nineteenth and twentieth century Anglican cathedral choirs,
Anglican chant for the psalms, settings for the Magnificat
and Nunc dimittis, the Versicles and Responses, the
hundreds of choral anthems and much more.
I have every reason to believe that a "Sarum-ised"
Book of Divine Worship alongside an optional use of the
Sarum Use itself and the already explicit possibly of using
the Roman Rite (either form) would not leave a single Anglican
unsatisfied. The diversity is limited, but made very flexible
by the use of a Book of Divine vastly improved by the removal
of the "lame duck" Novus Ordo material.
I have read and considered Fr Hunwicke's arguments
for the "Roman" Anglicanism of the Society of St Peter and
St Paul, the Big Six on the high altar, churches
like St Mary's, Bourne Street and a counter-Reformation
ethos, though very different in spirit from the Society
of St Pius X or pre-Vatican II continental Catholicism.
Many do feel alienated by the "Roman" and baroque tradition
in Anglicanism: baroque altars, baroque vestments (yes,
I use them too), lace albs, cottas, birettas - all the things
they have at Gricigliano! The only thing is that at Gricigliano,
they are continental Roman Catholics.
I can understand the visceral attachment many
have to the Prayer Book, and what in the Prayer Book needs
to be kept and reused in a Catholic context. There is the
Collect for Purity, the Summary of the Law, the magnificent
prayer of confession, the absolution, the Comfortable Words,
the Prayer of Humble Access, the Thanksgiving. All these
prayers figure in the Book of Divine Worship, and
would presumably be kept in a revised and improved version.
Despite the wide use in England of the modern Roman rite,
I think there is still a bedrock of Parish Catholics
who would be attracted by a rite containing these prayers
from the Prayer Book, and the whole rite being in the same
style of English language.
I have said many things and I try to be positive,
not to please the greatest number, but to find a way forward
by comparing the issues in Anglicanism with the wider crisis
in the Catholic Church over issues of identity and patrimony.
We can tease out what is most characteristic of our liturgical
tradition in a hermeneutic of continuity bridging the pre-Reformation
and post-Reformation traditions. I'm sure the Holy Father
is looking to us for inspiration, as we are certainly going
to prove to become a laboratory for the regeneration
of the entire Church. I see wider issues than the number
of candles on the altar or buttons on the Vicar's cassock.