17 June 2012

Oh, the Coverdale Psalter...

Everyone says they love the Coverdale Psalter, the grace of its language, its majestic tone.  Most people have never used Coverdale's Psalter exactly as he wrote it, but rather we have worshipped with it via various recensions and twigglings over the years.

The American recension of 1928 is to my mind one of the very best.  It does have single problems with the elimination of the word "Satan".  A closer reading of the Vulgate and Septuaginta also has suggested worthy corrections.

Currently, the best version I have encountered is in The St. Dunstan's Plainsong Psalter published by Lancelot Andrewes Press -- a press of the Western Rite Orthodox who are also of the Anglican Patrimony, my friends.  Frankly, I recommend the adoption of this Plainsong Psalter as it is.  It is a wise revised edition of Canon Douglas' great Plainsong Psalter.  It includes Sarum tones and other ancient British tones.  Its version of the Coverdale Psalter restores some things got wrong in the American 1928 recension, and it makes other slight alterations that make the text sing doubly in the mouth of a worshipper.

This press, Lancelot Andrewes Press, is one of the reasons to cheer among the Anglican diaspora.  They have brought Dr. Neale's commentary on the psalter back into print. Deo gratias!  They have published a gorgeous Western Orthodox edition of The Book of Common Prayer.  They have made Lancelot Andrewes great prayers available in a beautiful edition.  And the version of the Rule of St. Benedict in Latin and English sold by them is the one I use.

If you cannot tell, I think very highly of them and of the Western Rite Orthodox clergy and people.  The Western-rite Orthodox shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in north Texas is headed by a most lovely man, a priest of sincere devotion.  They are part of the Anglican patrimony that must not be forgot by us in the Catholic Church.  

Their beautiful new edition of the American Missal should be considered by all those making liturgical decisions for the future of the Ordinariate. Why, you may ask?  The Divine Liturgy of St. Tikhon within it is an authorised liturgy by the Holy Synod of the Antiochian Orthodox Church.  It is an Anglican liturgy edited in line with suggestions from the great St. Tikhon.  It is a liturgy judged wholly Orthodox by one of the most ancient of Orthodox Churches, Antioch.  Surely, this Liturgy should be at least reviewed for study by the liturgical Working Group... whose membership no one seems to know for certain. (A bad sign and easily remedied by posting their names on Ordinariate websites i.e., 'Our Delegates to the Working Group' et al.)  

I think it important as it provides a way to rescue the lost language and spiritual devotion arising from that found in the Scottish-American Eucharistic Prayer of the Prayer Book tradition.  If the Latin rite in its normative form has four Eucharistic Prayers, surely the Ordinariates and Anglican Use parishes may  as well?

A final word about the Lancelot Andrewes Press: their St. Ambrose Prayer Book is magnificent.  In the tradition of private prayer books like The St. Augustine Prayer Book of the Episcopalian Order of the Holy Cross, it is a volume much loved by my dear mother.  The cover is soft and lovely. The size is easy for one to hold.  The pages are printed on the best paper.  I think it is a splendid effort and shows that the Anglican Patrimony is alive albeit within the Antiochian Orthodox world.

+Ut omnes unum sint.