Friday, June 10, 2011

The Pope has now turned the Book of Common Prayer (well, quite a bit of it) into a Catholic liturgy

By William Oddie at The Catholic Herald

Excerpt:"...What the Pope, God bless him, has actually done is to re-appropriate a liturgy whose origins were in the first place entirely Catholic. As the Anglo-Catholic liturgist and divine Percy Dearmer (a friend of G K Chesterton) pointed out, the first Anglican Prayer Book “was not created in a vacuum, but derives from several sources. First and foremost was the Sarum Rite, or the Latin liturgy developed in Salisbury in the 13th century, and widely used in England. Two other influences were a reformed Roman Breviary of the Spanish Cardinal Quiñones, and a book on doctrine and liturgy by Hermann von Wied, Archbishop of Cologne.”

The Eucharistic liturgy which emerged was, of course, entirely defective from a Catholic point of view, simply invalid, and deliberately so: it was made brutally clear that this was not the sacrifice of the Mass. But Cardinal Quiñones’s attempt at streamlining the Breviary was adopted virtually in its totality. The Morning Office – a conflation of Lauds and Matins, and the Evening Office, and Evensong – a conflation of Vespers and Compline (thus containing both the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, both of course in wonderful Tudor English) – were thus irreproachably Catholic in their origins and content.

And it has to be said that the result was something of great beauty. What beautiful prayers these offices contained! Correction: contain. I reread some of them yesterday; by the time I had finished, I was overwhelmed by what I had so lightly cast off and by the wonders that now were restored to me, with a wonderful irony by the Holy Father himself. I wonder if at Blackfriars they will say, in gratitude for all the blessings vouchsafed to them in Anglicanorum coetibus, that wonderful prayer, the General Thanksgiving:
ALMIGHTY God, Father of all mercies, we, thine unworthy servants, do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men; [*particularly to those who desire now to offer up their praises and thanksgivings for thy late mercies vouchsafed unto them.] We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all, for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful; and that we show forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen..."

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