Rorate Caeli

Aidan Nichols OP on the future liturgy of the Ordinariate

From a recent interview with Fr. Aidan Nichols OP, published in the English Catholic:

The Church of England Anglo-Catholics, from what I understand, do the ordinary form of the Roman liturgy. In the TAC (Traditional Anglican Communion -- Pascal) elsewhere in the world, there is a love for distinctly Anglican liturgies with Book of Common Prayer language, though corrected where necessary. What liturgical dimensions do you see as “gifts to be shared” with the wider Church as the AC suggested?

“English Anglo-Catholics (I gather) tend to retain some elements of the Prayer Book tradition, notably for weddings and funerals. Their parishes may also have Evensong and Benediction. But they will be asked to consider using the distinctive liturgical book which has been prepared for the English Ordinariate once it has received recognition from the Holy See (hopefully by Pentecost) – otherwise they cannot claim to have much distinctive patrimony, liturgically speaking. One reason why there is to be a distinct English book for those with an Anglican Communion background is because the TAC congregations who predominate elsewhere have a different liturgical history which will need to be taken into account. Relevant gifts could include: a high sacral register of liturgical language; the Catholicism-compatible elements in the historic Prayer Books; the Use of Sarum; the better aspects of modern Anglican revision.”


  1. What happened to the Anglican Missals; Knott, American, English etc which are direct translations of the Tridentine Mass? Will the Ordinariate allow it, or is it too Traditional for the majority of Catholic worshipers?

    The American Missal figures prominently in Anglican history in the Philippines.

  2. I assume you're speaking of the Anglican Use, created back in the 1980's. Having attended Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio when I lived there, I can attest to its beauty and high liturgical speech. The Ordinariate shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel. The books are there, all they have to do is start using them.

  3. Anonymous12:41 PM

    Sarum Use would be a beauty to share with Catholics whohave never seen it before. From what I understand its's rebrics are rich and it is musically beautiful. I hope this use becomes available. As a RC I would stop in for a Sarum Mass.

  4. Henry1:06 PM

    No, the Anglican Use is an Anglicized adaptation of the Novus Ordo. The Anglican referred to are hieratic English translations of the pre-1962 Tridentine Mass. A video of the Anglican Use liturgy can be viewed here:

  5. Anonymous1:21 PM

    I have commented on this over at the Anglo Catholic site. What it apparently means is that there will be two special ordinariate Mass texts. One will be for former Canterubrians, especially from the C. of E. in England. Theirs will be a mixtture of the N.O. and prayerbooks and will be arranged by Msgr. Andrew Burnham, one of the former C. of E. bishops now in the ordinariate.

    The other will be for the former TACers. It will be the liturgical treasure: a melding of prayerbooks and the T.L.M. in sacral English.

    Presumably, all the ordinariate priets will be allowed to use the one or the other or the N.O. or the T.L.M. A special text for the former TACers is what we've been praying for. As for anything from Burnham and company, I don't mind so long as it is not shoved down TACers throats, but apparently it will not be.


  6. Anonymous1:27 PM


    No, wrong, the A.U. is no good because (a) it includes the horrid N.O. Offertory in non-sacral England and (b) it is based on purely American prayerbooks, which non-Americans will not want and (c), even worse, it is not even from the grand 1928 American prayerbook but from the 1979 one.

    No, the Book of Divine Worship of the A.U. will serve as a model but only as a model for what Msgr. Burnham and company has in mind. I'm guessing that the final version will reject U.S. prayerbook passages for the English parallels of 1662 or 1668 (I can never remember which). It will, however, likely keep that ugly N.O. Offertory but put it in sacral English. Still not acceptable.

    However, read Nichols's comments carefully. He is saying that there will be a separate text for the former TACers across the ordinaraites. That is the text to pray about.


  7. Anonymous1:36 PM

    Bring back the Sarum Use or it might as well be the novus ordo.

  8. In an article on the subject of "patrimony," Msgr. Burnham, who is probably leading the Ordinariate's liturgical committee, said the following:

    "The particular question of the Extraordinary Form is complicated by three factors. First, neither the English Missal nor the Anglican Missal is from what Anglicanorum cœtibus calls 'liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition'. They may have been lawful in Korea and Masasi but they were never 'proper', that is lawful, liturgical books in England. . . .

    "The second complicating question, when we look at the Extraordinary Form and Anglican Patrimony, is therefore whether the Extraordinary Form ought lawfully to be celebrated in the vernacular. This is an a priori question for the Holy See and the most obvious answer is 'no'. The introduction of the vernacular was an innovation of the Ordinary Form and the use of the vernacular - the extent of which is itself controversial - one of the most obvious changes. . . .

    "The third complicating question is about the advisability of reviving what has become obsolete: the English Missal is scarcely used now in England; if there were a principled argument for reviving what is obsolete, the issue might be not whether the English Missal is revived but whether after nearly 500 years the Sarum Use should be restored. In either case the phrase 'Anglican Patrimony' is being used in a highly specialised way: we are talking about forms which very few people - English or Anglican - have ever encountered. . . .

  9. What is also key, in the same article, however, is that he imagines a form of the "Ordinary Form of the Anglican Use," which suggests the development of an Extraordinary Form, presumably based on the Sarum.

  10. Anonymous3:18 PM

    The Sarum Use is regrettably dead. A portion of the rubrics were handed down orally and are lost to time. At the famous authorized recreation, at Merton College, Oxford, in 1997, the liturgists filled in the gaps according to their own ideas, but they admitted having to make things up.

  11. Peter,

    I hope you are right, that there will be a TAC liturgy book for non-Canterburians, which presumably could include use by us AU folk who are coming over to the Ordinariate. While I do not disagree that the BDW has its flaws, it should be remembered that the full book does offer the 1928 psalter, as well as that of 1979 (one reason for its unwieldy heft), and that when it was being developed, in the late 1980's, it was probably not psychologically possible for the Roman authorities to have approved use of the old offertory prayers.

    I don't know if the formerly-rumored revision of the BDW is underway or is going to be superseded by the Ordinariate liturgical process, but presumably if a BDW revision is undertaken, it would be possible for the kind of thing you have mentioned to be corrected, at least by offering more options. However, I would be happy to have the whole BDW placed on the library shelves as an historical relic of a particular time and set of circumstances, to be replaced by the TAC book which presumably will be closer to the Anglican Missal.

  12. The various Anglo-Catholic missals have ways to Romanize (according to the Tridentine rite) the various Prayer Book liturgies. The American and Anglican Missals are the most typical.

    Knott's English Missal was printed in an edition that contained the American 1928 BCP rite.

  13. Anonymous5:49 PM

    In addition to what has already been posted from Mgr Burnham's November 2010 paper, here are some balancing comments on the English Missal/Anglican Missal from the same document:

    ...some of this material is very fine, those who produced it were not simply rebels but priests who believed passionately that the Western Rite was the patrimony of English Catholics, a patrimony impeded by politics, and that its vernacular form was a fruit not of the Reformation so much as a natural flowering of the development of languages and literacy.

    ...the translation of the Latin Extraordinary Form into sacral English might be no less significant ultimately than, and every bit as justifiable as, the translation of the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom from Greek into Old Church Slavonic, the language in which the Eastern liturgy is nowadays most often celebrated.

    ...just as the Latin Mass - in whatever form - appeals nowadays to many too young to remember pre-conciliar masses, so a revived English Missal or Sarum Use might attract - and even nourish - a whole new generation of worshippers.

    --Benedict Ambrose

  14. Anon. @ 15:18

    "The Sarum Use is regrettably dead. A portion of the rubrics were handed down orally and are lost to time."

    Unfortunately, this is correct. I spoke with an FSSP priest several years ago who related that there was interest in celebrating the Sarum Use at their seminary in Nebraska. The project was dropped when it was realized that there was no proper record of the complete rubrics. They did not want to just "make things up" and fill in the gaps.

  15. Anonymous8:31 PM

    Interesting, particularly with the soon to be received in communion with Rome of a historic Anglo-Catholic parish Mount Calvary Baltimore. This is a strictly traditional missal congregation (historic propers etc) with a rich liturgical tradition still visible today which in many respects represents what the venacular mass could have (should have?) been. I hope these folks are entering with their eyes open because Cardinal Wuerl who is in charge of the American Ordinariate is no friend of tradition at all and very much a supporter of the disaster called VaticanII). The Rome of 2011 is not the Rome of 1945 etc.

  16. Anonymous5:42 AM

    What Msgr. Burnham says about the English Missal is just wrong: there were, in fact, authorised translations of the T.L.M. into English. They were used in the late 1960s. There is in principle, therefore, no reason why an English translation of the T.L.M. could not be authorised for ordinariate use.

    However, I don't mind if he concentrates his attacks against the English Missal, which is the T.L.M. in sacral English (1884 edn.) What he writes about the Anglican Missal of 1921 is more troubling because it is a fusion of T.L.M. in sacral English and the English Prayerbook. In other words, unlike the N.O.M. and the American 1982 Book of Divine Worship, the Anglican Missal is actually worth celebrating and attending. It is actually worth the paper it is written on.

    But remember that Burnham is writing about the situation in England specifically in regard to the liturgical traditions of Church of Englanders. This need have no bearing on provisions for TACers, who are a significant proportion of the incomers in England and the great majority in Canada and Australia and a clear majority in the U.S.A. There is no reason why Rome could not grant an imprimatur to the TAC proposed version to be used across the ordinaraites.

    Burnham fudges when he says that 'proper to the English patrimony' means legal in the Church of England. Proper does not mean legal, and the Anglican tradition is broader than the Canterburian Communion of churches. The English and Anglican Missals were used both in the C. of E. and elsewhere and are arguably part of the Anglican patrimony on the grounds of continued usage.

    I find these arguments to be a bit thin coming from a faction in the Church of England that illegally used the Novus Ordo within the Church of England! Since where was the N.O.M. a legal liturgical text in the C. of E.?

    Now we see how these people will try to take over. But I am reasonably confident that H.H. will not force the TAC people to use a Burnham book with bits and pieces of the N.O.M. in it.

    What is really going on here is simple: the FiF compromisers, who held on in the Church of England until there was nowhere else for them to go, will use their influence in English society to try to control the English ordinariate. They want a quasi-N.O. liturgy so as to please the Marxist magic circle bishops in England. If they bow to the N.O. and use that noxious N.O. Offertory, for example, the liberal bishops will, in exchange, give them access to all the lovely Latin parish churches. Quid pro quo.

    The problem is that this lot has little influence in Australia or Canada or even the U.S.A., where the TAC predominates among incomers. If the TAC men get the liturgical treasure that is proper to their use, it will be difficult to forbid this to TAC incomers (up to 24 priests) in England.


  17. Anonymous5:46 AM


    Be sure that Canadians and Australians, never mind Englishmen, will never accept anything coming out of the U.S.A.

    The liturgical home of Anglicanism is Engand, not the American Republic. Therefore, any text to be used across the ordinariates shuld be based on the Elizabethan Prayerbook (1662 or 1668: I can *never* get that date straight for some reason).


  18. Anonymous10:33 AM

    I personally would want a return to Catholic tradition in my parish Mass, and in the Catholic Mass in general....this means a return of the Tridentine Latin Mass.

    Not a gradual influence of the "good" elements of Anglican worship. However beautiful parts of Anglican worship are, we must remember (and this has been astoundingly forgotten), that it is at the root and always will be...Protestant.

    I don't know about other traditional Catholics, but I don't want elements of protestantism-however beautiful or compadible with the Vatican II Mass- incorrporated into Catholic worship. It will confort those Anglicans who have converted or joined the Ordinariate, but it will harm the very meaning of the Catholic Mass.

    Anglicans can do as they like with their new Ordinariate, but the Catholic Mass should be gradually brought back to the Tridentine Latin Mass....not an introduction of more innovations into the Vatican II Mass, which has been rejected by tens of millions of Catholics over the last 40 years.

  19. If the Sarum Use is dead, which would mean the videos I've seen of it done were all with gaps filled in, then the next logical step would be the traditional Roman rite.

    I can't see how Anglicans could truly become Catholics in mind and spirit, and not just technically, while embracing the most visible signs of Cranmer's revolt.

  20. I have not checked back into what was said about the jurisdictional destination of Mount Calvary, but it seems to stick in my mind that they are coming into the Archdiocese of Baltimore. If this is true, then there is an interesting bit of information that I can impart: when Sister Elaine Swan, ASSP, gave a parish quiet day to us here at Our Lady of Walsingham recently, I asked her which version of the Office they use, and she said that when the Sisters came over into the Archdiocese in 2009, Archbishop O'Brien allowed them to continue to use the Monastic Diurnal Revised. The MDR is a revised version (how shall we say? somewhat Rite II-ized [Sister disagreed with this assessment, however] but still good) of the older Monastic Diurnal (the Anglicized version) that one can still buy from Lancelot Andrewes Press along with J. M. Neale's Commentary on the Psalms - well worth looking into -- and other good stuff.

    So I suppose it is possible that Archbishop O'Brien would allow the American Missal, if that is what Mt Calvary are using. OTOH, that might be a bridge too far for an American bishop, even one regarded as rather conservative (or maybe because of that).

  21. Let the Roman Catholics work on bringing back the EF into wider use. Let the Anglican Roman Catholics redeem Cranmer's English BCP and make it Catholic.

    It is unrealistic to expect that the TLM or EF will be used by many Anglican Roman Catholics. They will stick to English whatever happens even if the TLM is an option for them.

  22. Anonymous6:42 PM

    This has been a interesting read thus far! I would think that ultimately the Anglicans are going to have to accept the Anglican Use now being used by the current former Episcopalians in anglican Use parish. The bulk of Anglicans (though entering Rome) could never as a group agree on what the rite should look like so Rome is going to have to do it for them. Look at the many, many, many splinter groups who have left ECUSA to form their own version of Anglianism all their own magisterium all disagreeing over this point or that.

    As former Episcopalians my wife and I only attend the TLM (as it was in the begining, is now, and will be forever) sometimes when we read dribble in the parish bulletin we look and each other and think didn't we just go through this nonsense for the last 30 years as Episcopalians and shake our heads.
    Regarding the ASSP, while I have no first hand knowledge they may be using the Monastic Diurnal revision of 1962 published with English on one side and Latin on the other. A very traditional version of the MD.

    The road to Rome today is full of pot holes and unpleasnt surprises so please pray for all these folks making the journey. Give thanks for sites like Rorate Caeli.

  23. Anonymous10:04 PM

    Anon. 18.42:

    No, they will not have to accept the A.U. as it currently stands at all, and enough information has leaked to show that this is the case.

    In England, Msgr. Burnham is headnig a cmte. to revise the A.U. quite a bit for former Church of Englanders in England. There have been indications (e.g. from the TAC Primate), that TACers, at least in the shorter term, will continue to use what is familiar to them. In the longer term, it is planned to revise a liturgy for them. The leading TAC bishops submitted a text at Pentecost last and I hear that it is being considered favourably, although his is only heresay at this point.

    There is no way that English, Canadian and Australian former Anglicans will end up using a made-in-the U.S.A. text based on an American prayerbook and not the better one of 1928 but the bad one of 1979. Not a chance. It may be, however, that the A.U. text serves as a model for a revision. But I'm not sure that it will be the only one approved.


  24. Anonymous7:43 AM

    One more comment on Msgr. Burnham's words, as quoted here. He writes of what is proper to the Anglican tradition being what is legal within it. But nothing was legal within it, since the revolt in the sixteenth century was legally utterly null and void. Anglican law, in the eyes of Rome, is not law but lawlessness. Anglican law has no standing: theirs is a false sect, not a church. Therefore, when A.C. mentions what is 'proper' to the Anglican tradition, this cannot be the same as what was purportedly lawful in the Church of England, which is a 'Church' in name only.

    It follows that the English Missal and the Anglican Missal are no less legitimate as part of an Anglican patrimony than are texts approved by Canterbury. Canterbury does not enact laws, only abuses.


  25. Gratias7:45 AM

    The most important thing we can do to save the world and ourselves is to attend TLM weekly. It is a matter of life and death and each of us can contribute by being there.


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