“We do not presume…”

ordinariate useOver the years as an Anglican  I waited for the publication of each new round of services. I took part in anguished discussions with fellow Anglo-Catholics as to how to make the best of these new rites. I read (and occasionally wrote) articles which tried to assess how much the Anglo-Catholics had got through the Synod, and what the Evangelicals had blocked or removed.

None of that happens in the Catholic Church. A few weeks ago we received the text of the Ordinariate Use, and last Thursday Mgr Newton, the Ordinary, celebrated it at the Assumption, Warwick Street. It is now one of three forms of the Mass which Ordinariate priests may legitimately celebrate, using it as it stands, and knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the Catholic Mass which has been celebrated for 2,000 years.

I had forgotten just how deeply the texts of the Book of Common Prayer have sunk into the memory of people of my age. Although the Sunday Communion Services of my childhood were very definitely low-church, they were conducted with a gravity and reverence which has all but gone from that section of the Church of England. So taking part in the Mass last Thursday I found my lips moving with the words. In the preparatory prayers which we recited with the Celebrant while the Entrance hymn and chant were being sung, I was transported back to side-chapel of St Paul’s Weymouth, early on a Wednesday morning, when I served Fr Henry Maude each week.

At the heart of the new Use all controversy has been removed: and of that I am very glad. Cranmer’s prayer, which the 1662 revisers called the Prayer of Consecration, to which from the 1960’s onwards was joined the Prayer of Oblation – and all in an attempt to construct a ‘valid’ Eucharistic Prayer – all this has gone. The Anglicanae Traditiones group which prepared our Mass rite has reached back before the break with Rome, and placed the Roman Canon at the heart of the liturgy. This also places the rite firmly with the current worship of western Catholics throughout the world, the use of 16th century English notwithstanding.

Within the Ordinariate Use as we have been given it, it is possible to discern at least three ‘forms’ which may be quite properly used. It is my hope that careful and thoughtful reflection, which will need some considerable time, will allow us to see how and when the Use may be most fruitfully used. Liturgical discussion has its place, but only to serve the worship of the living and true God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ himself gave us the Eucharist as the perpetual memorial of his suffering, death and resurrection until the end of time. There may well be time given to legitimate discussion about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of worship – but only so that we may enter humbly prepared into the mystery itself and find ourselves with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven, as we sing, “Holy, holy, holy.”

cosham altar


About Scott Anderson

Formerly an Anglican priest (ordained 1975) received into the Catholic Church in February 2012, and ordained to the Diaconate on 27th July 2013. I took early retirement, and divide my time between London and northern France. I am deeply committed to the Ordinariate as a gift of the Holy Spirit in the search for unity. Like many Ordinariate members I feel a personal gratitude to Pope Emeritus Benedict, together with loyalty to our Holy Father, Pope Francis. My blog tries to make a small contribution to the growth of the Ordinariate by asking questions (and proposing some answers) about the 'Anglican Patrimony'. I have always been fascinated by the whole issue of growth and decline, and therefore concerned for appropriate means of evangelisation in western Europe. I believe that the Holy Spirit is constantly renewing the People of God and that we must be open to him. My love of music and motorcycles will occasionally surface in my posts. On Saturday 19th October 2013, I was ordained to the Priesthood at Most Precious Blood, Borough, by the Most Revd Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, for the service of the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham. I continued to serve the Ordinariate group and Parish at Most Precious Blood until the end of 2014. Subsequently, I helped in the care of the Ordinariate Groups at Hemel Hempstead and Croydon, and in the Archdiocese of Southwark, until the beginning of September 2015. With the agreement of my Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, the Bishop of Amiens appointed me Administrator of the Parish of Notre Dame des Etangs (Pont Remy) in Picardie, France. This appointment is to last for a year, to give the Bishop the opportunity to assess the future of the parish.
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3 Responses to “We do not presume…”

  1. Pingback: Careful and thoughtful reflection | Ordinariate Expats

  2. Harry says:

    I followed the pingback and was really troubled by this:

    “Now that the Ordinariate Use is being celebrated in Ordinariate communities throughout the UK and soon in the other Ordinariates, requests are being received for the text of the new Order of Mass to be made public on the internet. Again we have been specifically requested not to do this and to discourage controversial debate, and we hope that you will understand why.

    It is felt that the Ordinariate communities and subsequently all interested people should encounter the new Mass first of all in its celebration, with careful catechesis, so that they understand the principles according to which it has been drafted and the treasure which it represents.”

    It just adds to my unease about the Ordinariate Use, we or do I mean they, are re-introducing something which I, and I think others, last encountered in our twenties – I’ve got a bus pass!

    If “controversial debate” is anticipated this approach seems more likely to spark it off. The comment about careful catechesis is verging on the patronising and hints at clericalism.

  3. Harry says:

    Well, front page of the Catholic Herald today for the Ordinariate Use.

    I really liked the shorter report by Eyewitness Miguel Cullen with the headline “Incense swirls as Ordinariate makes history”

    A memorable comment was “At the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, the censer burned continuously , the music had an Anglican touch and the unusual order of service made for more nervous genuflections than those of a young man on the brink of a marriage proposal.”

    The usually pro-Ordinariate editorial comment was more subdued, ending with “Has the Ordinaiate succeeded? We encourgage our readers to seek out an Ordinariate Use Mass and decide for themselves.” That and only one letter (published so far), very much anti the Use – well there we are.

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