30 July 2012

Not integral

I have read Msgr. Steenson's latest statement regarding the use of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass by Ordinariate clergy and congregations.

Msgr. Steenson writes:

"But as the Extrordinary Form is not integral to the Anglican patrimony, it is not properly used in our communities."

The first part of this statement "But as the Extroardinary Form is not integral to the Anglican patrimony" is, of course, not true.  

It may be correct that Msgr. Steenson and his new crop are all 1979 Book of Common Prayer folks who never added a jot or tittle from outside the book.  However, that does not describe the majority of Anglican Use Catholics and anglo-catholics who were longing for the Ordinariate structure.  In the USA many worshipped with the People's Anglican Missal and other missals which are the Extraordinary Form put into Tudor English with elements of the Prayer Book tradition added.  In several provinces of the Anglican Communion, the Extraordinary Form albeit in Tudor English or local language was an authorised form with certain emendations, additions, and alterations.  Did those peoples and parishes not exist?  Were they not Anglican?

Needless to say, the Missal Anglicans around the world were and have been deeply rooted in the Extraordinary Form albeit in English even if they are unaware of to what extent that is true.  And Prayer Book Episcopalians in the USA have long added elements from the Extraordinary Form or the Sarum Missal to their ceremonial and manner of celebration.  The assertion that the Extraordinary Form is not integral to the Anglican patrimony is simply, incredibly wrong -- unless he is trying to say simply that the Ordinariates will not celebrate the Mass in Latin. ... Could he really be saying something that odd?

These statements don't drop out of the sky.  They come because of an issue raised.  Not referencing the issue directly is a calculated risk because it breeds even greater clouds of confusion. As it is, his statement reads as a rejection of the commonly held belief that the Anglican Patrimony pre-dates 1549.  How very unfortunate for the Ordinariates if Msgr Steenson's statement is indeed the official opinion. 

Anglo-Catholics have long insisted on the continuity of the English Church experience going back to the Sarum Missal and even to some of the ancient antiphonaries and Anglo-Saxon prayers. I suppose if the Ordinariates are saying that the part of the Anglican Patrimony that they are embracing only goes back to 1549, those in the Ordinariates can bid farewell to the Sarum Use in its entirety.  What a pity. And the English Missal? Well, good-bye to you, too. And the full propers of the Mass?

The odd thing is that such statements don't need to be made unless a problem has arisen.  Statements like this don't get issued because of a couple of questions arising.  And not referencing the particular problem is a poor administrative decision in any organisation... especially the Church.
. . .
There is a tale, a story, or perhaps it is a myth, oft-repeated, that the Personal Ordinariates are the Pope's personal project.  It sounds good, but what does it mean?  It seems to be invoked anytime someone questions anything done by Cardinal Wuerl or the USCCB or by the current hierarchy of the Ordinariates.  It may be a convenient cloak behind which to hide, but eventually even the Wizard of Oz finds his curtain pulled back ... as shall we all on that dreadful Day of Judgement that draweth nigh.

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favourably on thy whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of thy Providence, carry out in tranquillity the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

+Arise, shine, for thy light hath come!