Monday 12 July 2010

Lovely Voice

is my stock phrase when I have to pass comment on the 'Archbishop' of Canterbury.

(Who was it who sent St Augustine to Canterbury? Oh yeh and St Cuthbert had hard words on his deathbed about avoiding the, 'We know better than the Pope when to celebrate Easter,' people. It's all in Bede.)

Splintered Sunrise has a great commentary on the present situation, quoting Fr L on Rowanspeak with a useful insight into how the folks who have to dialogue with Anglicans get on.

Personally, Anglicanism would cause me to short circuit big time. I have to be very careful to err on the side of silence when in Anglican Churches so likely am I to commit a faux pas. However, it must be hard to leave if you were born into it. It's not brill looking at lovely old Churches in the UK and none of them are Catholic, but we get by.

I might be a rubbish Catholic, but at least Catholicism is true and I know what I'm supposed to be doing.


Patricius said...

God bless the Anglicans- they are doing a fine job of looking after so many of OUR old churches!

Mulier Fortis said...

I have to say that the photo of Archbishop Rowan Williams which Splintered Sunrise is using is one of the least flattering I have seen... I think it's the same shot that Damian Thompson placed side-by-side with a photo of the muppet, Animal.

Most unfortunate...

Patrick Sheridan said...

Alas for the Anglican church. As the other Patricius said, they have looked after our ancestral churches far better than most Catholics have (or would have) in the last 40 years.

That said, the Book of Common Prayer is far more traditional than the liturgical books of 1962. Alas, as rare as ducks' teeth nowadays...

leutgeb said...

Define traditional.

Cramner (married to a German ex-nun), as I remember it, was burnt at the stake as a heretic, having first put the hand that signed the document by which he recanted, into the fire.

The Book of Common Prayer?
Including the 39 Articles?

Presumably, one of the reasons they have not been able to tamper with the Churches is because they are listed historical buildings.

Patrick Sheridan said...

The BCP is older for one than the liturgical books of 1962, Anglican Office sung BCP style does not contain the restructured Psalrer arrangement ordered by St Pius X (and so, ironically, to experience traditional Roman Liturgy, which is all but gone from most Catholic churches, one can look quite easily to the BCP!), and the BCP Collects for all Sundays of the year (except the ones for Advent, which correspond to the Sarum arrangement) are direct Cranmerian translations of the original Latin ones - untampered with (unlike the modern Roman ones).

Cranmer was a heretic (no one denies that), but a genius. As for the 39 Articles, only a few are doctrinally heterodox. One orthodox one reads: ''The Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the lay-people: for both the parts of the Lord's Sacrament, by Christ's ordinance and commandment, ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike.'' Whether what is adminstered in Anglican churches is truly the Blessed Sacrament under the form of wine is beyond this comment...

For its faults (and they are many) the BCP contains much good now neglected or repudiated by a large sum of Catholics (and some clergy too, lamentably), and it's still exquisite literature. Give me Cranmerian liturgy over the New Rite anyday!

The '62 books by comparison, used by so-called ''traditionalist'' groups, are a delusion, and in the end will have no objective value at all - whether in terms of Liturgy, or even in terms of aesthetics - they will be regarded as an aberration.

Hope this helps!

leutgeb said...

I am still mystified as to when tradition starts, in your terms or exactly what constitutes tradition.

Why not go back to the Psalms in Hebrew or Aramaic at the time of Our Lord?

Does age engender legitimacy?

Without authority, who is to say which version of the Psalms should be used?

As to only some of the 39 Articles being heterodox, some of them are outright rejections of Catholicism. That's the point of them, isn't it? My other subject is Maths so unless I could do 39/39, they are no good. 39 is a very unlovely number too- 3x13, yuck. Surely, they should have gone for 40, more Biblical and so much more tidy. You just want to sweep it up and round to one significant figure!

Aesthetically, I could agree up to a point (pretty churches, nice choral tradition and English), but when it comes to truth and authority I simply do not have any faith in Anglicanism. Not one little bit. How could you ever know what was right when it came to something important? You could just keep asking 'til someone gave you the answer you sort of wanted.

If I didn't believe my sins were being forgiven when I went to Confession, simply, I would never ever go.

As far as I can see Catholicism holds in 'creative tension' God's Truth with man's ability to turn everything into an utter shambles, even when trying to get it right. Cf the last 40 years and every other set of 40 years since The Fall.

I hope that in 200 years time the historians will say, 'Mm, that strange time when they translated everything into what was then a banal version of the vernacular, Mass attendance plummeted, vocations plummeted, the muddled headed tie dye wafflers took over and the original Dark Ages didn't look so bad after all.' Bring back the Fall of the Roman Empire, at least they had the Benedictines to sort out Western Europe!

If I go on any longer, this will have to be a post!

Cranmerian English, like Wagner, sounds nice, but is corrupting!

Patrick Sheridan said...

It is a very cogent question: when does ''tradition'' start. It is unfortunately beyond me. Perhaps tradition is that which ''the memories of men runneth not to the contrary'' or something? Or Tradition is that which has survived, anciently, into today which has not been ''tampered with'' by Popes (and there have been plenty of those) and would-be reformers. The New Rite is not traditional (it has a lot of old stuff in it which predates the 1570 Missal, but apart from these things is quite artificial).

Since (like my hero Tolkien) I am a medievalist, I just want medieval Liturgy - so surplices rather than lace cottas, a High Altar with a canopy (or ciborium) with two candles and a crucifix, Rood lofts, Presbytery screens, Pulpitums, a nice Gothic church and a schola of monks to sing the Office with High Mass after Terce. The cantors would be in copes for the greatest feasts, the Acolytes in tunicles etc...

Tradition is not established or dictated by the Church's authority. History shows that when a centralized authority has intervened in the Liturgy the results have been questionable at best (Urban VIII's new hymnody), deplorable at worst (the new Holy Week rites of Pius XII). The Holy See cannot say that a Tradition is not tradition anymore, or rewrite the Liturgy (which the Church has obviously done) for pastoral needs. What the Church ought to do instead is make the Liturgy clearer by fostering liturgical piety and devotion - make provision for more sung Office in churches, and explain the significance of it all. Having a Low Mass and a gabbling priest mumble from a book every week simply puts people off (it put me off).

What would I do (for the time being that is)? I would have priests celebrate Mass and the Office according to the tradition of the Church prior to 1911, with the traditional Office hymnody (that is, before Urban VIII rewrote them). Why 1911? Because this was the start of the modern 20th century process of liturgical reform - all disruptive of ancient norms. This way you can build on the liturgical renewal envisioned by Vatican II and incorporate many lost elements into the Old Rite. Why ''reform'' the Liturgy by destroying it when you can renew it in a traditional way?