We enter here the last stretch to the finishing post of the conference.
Monsignor Andrew Burnham, former Anglican flying bishop of Ebbsfleet, and one of the three Anglican bishops whose conversion coincided with the erection of the Ordinariate in England, spoke to us about the Ordinariate’s proper liturgical books: Divine Worship: The Missal and “the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition” (Anglicanorum Coetibus, III). He was one of the committee that compiled the liturgical books for the Ordinariate Use (as were Fr Uwe Michael Lang and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, both present at the conference).
Mgr Burnham began with a brief historical survey, noting that in Bl. John Henry Newman’s time there was some talk of an Anglican uniate Church to facilitate conversions to Rome. Soon enough, clergy in increasing numbers converted anyway, and by the 1950s married Protestant clergy were being dispensed from the obligation of celibacy so as to be ordained in the Catholic Church. By the 1970s whole parishes were coming. This highlighted the desirability of them being provided with some liturgical books that reflected their heritage and formation while remaining clearly faithful to Catholic teaching. In the American Church Episcopal converts were provided for in this way, but their books have now been superseded by the Ordinariate’s proper books recently released.
Part of this provision is a tweaked liturgical calendar based on the modern calendar of the Roman rite. Such tweaks include the raising of the memorial of Bl. John Henry Newman to a feast, and that of Our Lady of Walsingham to a solemnity. Also part of their calendar is a return to traditional nomenclature for particular times of the year. Thus there are no Sundays in Ordinary Time as in the rest of the Roman rite Church. Instead there are Sundays after Trinity as well as the ancient Rogation and Ember days, and the pre-Lent -Gesima Sundays [the sad loss of which in the modern Roman rite I have written about before].
The Anglican 1928 Prayer Book, which failed to get parliamentary assent for being too Catholic, is a source for many texts. Weddings and funerals remain faithful to the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) wording and ritual. So the groom still “worships” his bride with his body, and the knot is still tied. The rite of Baptism includes an option for the rite of placing salt in the mouth of the candidate for Baptism.
The Eucharistic rite 1 in the Ordinariate’s Divine Worship: The Missal is pretty much Miles Coverdale’s translation of the Roman canon (Eucharistic Prayer 1). Matins and Evensong are largely taken from the BCP as no official office books have yet been issued apart from the Customary for the English Ordinariate. It should be noted that the liturgical roots of the Ordinariate Use are mainly to be found in the Roman Missal rather than the BCP. There was a movement to revive the pre-Reformation Sarum Use but this failed despite Sarum’s having satisfied the doctrinal conditions; but it had not been a living liturgical tradition since 1549.
The fitting complement to this paper was the Pontifical Mass in the Ordinariate Use the very same evening at the Ordinate church in Warwick Street, just off Golden Square near Piccadilly. The celebrant and preacher was the Ordinary himself, Mgr Keith Newton, who hosted a lovely soirée after the Mass. The Mass was not totally dissimilar to the Novus Ordo Mass, but with discernibly unique traits, such as more adequate prayers of repentance and Eucharistic humility, a fine communal thanksgiving after Communion (which we could well do with), and the Last Gospel. At least in the pontifical Mass the kissings of the altar and crossings that are found in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass are retained. The particularly impressive thing for this correspondent was that it manifested an English vernacular that was appropriate to the solemn dignity of the Mass.
The closing address of the conference was delivered by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, who proved himself an active participant in the conference as a whole and a most approachable prelate indeed.
He taught that in the realm of liturgy there was need for reconciliation. Many in the Church have tended to push the traditionally minded into the corners and peripheries of the life of the Church, into ghettos almost. Conversely, some of the traditionally minded can spurn all that is not according to their concept of tradition, living in a sort of quarantine, a self-manufactured ghetto. Those who seek the restoration of tradition in the liturgy and the “reform of the Reform” must recognise that such reforms cannot be rushed, nor imposed with a heavy hand, but must grow organically over time, and bringing the people with them not racing ahead of them.
His Excellency also clarified that those who pay attention to liturgical detail are not necessarily rubricists. The quality of our living will demonstrate that. Such attention to detail is, in fact, the mark of love for we pay such close attention to detail only to those things we value, esteem and cherish. The little things are revelatory of love. [We might remember our Lord’s own words, that those who prove themselves faithful in small things will be entrusted with the great.] The little things become burdens only when they are not done with love, not least love of God and the desire to make Him and His people happy.
This of course reflects the quality of our relationship with God. When our relationship with God is deficient or in decline, we will find our relationships with neighbour and with creation similarly damaged. The sacramentality of Mass properly received makes our acts of charity into sacramental moments: when one gives to the poor he receives Christ from us, but so too we experience Christ in the poor man, for when we give to him to eat, we give to Christ Himself. [This is liturgy lived to the full.]
Lastly Bishop Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon, one of the organisers of the event, along with Dom Alcuin Reid and Fr Uwe Michael Lang C.O., brought the conference proper to a formal close. He announced that the next conference would be in Milan, from 6-9 June 2017, and extended a warm invitation to all present, and beyond.
And so we came to Ite missa est.
The next, and last, post on the Sacra Liturgia 2016 conference will draw some conclusions from and identify some landmarks in the conference as a whole.