Rorate Caeli

U.S. Ordinariate: Traditional Mass "not integral to the Anglican Patrimony", "not properly used in our communities"

Editorial Note: The whole matter, in fact, revolves around the tastes of the U.S. Ordinary, Msgr. Steenson, and what he views as the Anglican Patrimony. 

Why "tastes"? Because unless one interprets such "Patrimony" exclusively as one limited to a period that began, in the official books, around two decades after the separation of the majority of English episcopate from Rome - and excludes the whole history of Latin Christianity in England before the schism, the period of Queen Mary I, the sacrifice of thousands and thousands of men and women who believed one could be English and worship along with the Bishop of Rome, the countless converts who knew only the Traditional Mass, and the also countless Anglicans who, not having the courage or the will to take the final step, still reintroduced almost all elements of traditional Latin worship in the Anglican services - then the words of the American Ordinary do not make sense. Which they do not. 

It is obvious that the purpose of the Ordinariate is also to protect some kind of "Anglican Patrimony", but it is wrong and historically inaccurate to say that the "Extraordinary Form is not an integral part of the Anglican Patrimony". On the contrary, the Extraordinary Form, or rather, the Latin Mass understood in its, to use his words, "integral" sense, which includes all manners of traditional worship in Latin (not only of the post-1570 Roman variety, but almost identical to it, and identical in the Canon) that spread throughout Europe, and that Saint Augustine established firmly in England, and that English missionaries, such as Boniface and Willibrord, spread even more widely in Europe - this traditional  Latin Mass, in its several traditional rites and forms, including in the vernacular forms introduced in  Anglican settings in the 19th Century, is much more an integral part of the Anglican Patrimony than a Missal approved in 1970, and the Book of Divine Worship approved following all the general lines of the 1979 American Book of Common Prayer, and the guidelines of the Congregation for Divine Worship in the strong Bugninist composition of the early 1980s. 

Since the U.S. Ordinariate is also a part of the Latin Church, it is also absurd, and offensive, for its Ordinary to claim that the "Roman Missal [of Paul VI] 3rd edition could be used", while the Traditional Mass, that under Summorum Pontificum can be celebrated by any priest in the Latin Church freely, is "not properly used in our communities". Its history, as said above, makes it clear that it is proper in all senses of the word, and that it is proper to Ordinariate Catholics as it is to all Catholics of the Latin Church. 

Therefore, of both main points mentioned by the U.S. Ordinary, one is simply untrue (that the Latin Mass is not "integral to the Anglican Patrimony"), the other (that it is not "properly used" in "our communities") is an overstretching of his powers. Both are offensive to history, justice, and common sense. In either case, what is clearly shown is the Ordinary's personal antipathy towards the Latin Mass and to those people, traditional Catholics. Perhaps that is also part of the "Anglican patrimony": personal vicissitudes become law, it was like this with Henry VIII, right?


The Liturgy of the Ordinariate and the Latin Mass

In response to certain questions that have been asked about the use of the Latin Mass in its Extraordinary Form in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson, Ordinary, issued this statement:

"We rejoice in the liturgical richness of the Catholic Church. We in the Anglican tradition certainly welcome the Holy Father's concern that the Mass be understood as a living, continuous tradition. The communio sanctorum compels us to read and engage with the Church's tradition with a hermeneutic of continuity.

"The particular mission of the Ordinariate is to bring into the fuller life of the Catholic Church those enduring elements of the Anglican liturgical patrimony which are oriented to Catholic truth. This liturgical identity seeks to balance two historic principles -- that Christian prayer and proclamation should be offered in the vernacular and that the language of worship should be sacral. This is what Anglicans understand when they speak of the prayer book tradition.

"The liturgy of the Ordinariate is superintended by an inter-dicasterial working group (of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW)). At the time the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was established, the CDW provided important guidance for our liturgical use: The Book of Divine Worship Rite I should be amended to bring it into conformity with the Roman Missal 3rd edition, particularly the words of Consecration. For those congregations that prefer a contemporary idiom, the Roman Missal 3rd edition could be used.

"We have therefore asked that the congregations of the Ordinariate follow this direction. Some of our clergy want to learn also how to celebrate according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. They are certainly encouraged to do so, under the provisions ofSummorum Pontificum and under the supervision of the local bishop, to assist in those stable communities that use the Extraordinary Form. But as the Extrordinary Form is not integral to the Anglican patrimony, it is not properly used in our communities. The Ordinariate will remain focused on bringing Christians in the Anglican tradition into full communion with the Catholic Church. We also are pleased that the Church has provided for the continuing use of the Extraordinary Form, particularly as a pastoral response to traditional Catholics, and regard all of this as a well-ordered symphony of praise to the Blessed Trinity." 

[Source: U.S. Ordinariate; tip: New Liturgical Movement (sidebar)]


From the very moderate and most trustworthy blogger on the Ordinariates, Christian Campbell at The Anglo-Catholic, we also have the following:

I have it on unimpeachable authority that there is on ongoing crackdown on those AU/Ordinariate priests who would dare to learn or celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite on the part of Steenson, Hurd, and Chalmers. The affected priests are naturally frightened, and unwilling to go on record, but make no mistake, the leadership of the U.S. Ordinariate at present has set itself against both Summorum Pontificum and Anglicanorum coetibus. I have it on good authority that this intimidation, an abuse of power, is being report[ed] directly to the Roman Authorities. And the contention that the traditional Latin Mass has no bearing on the Anglican Patrimony — this simply has me flabbergasted. Is there just a shortsightedness on the part of the Ordinary, or is he ignorant of the history of English Catholicism?

We love very much our brothers and sisters in the Ordinariate, or who wish to join the Ordinariate, and, curiously enough, we believe many of them disagree with the personal inclinations of their Ordinary. They should make their position and disagreement, and their grievances, known to him, as provided by Canon Law, and publicly, if necessary.

P.S. Final notes, by contributor Augustinus:

(1) One of the flagship parishes of the American Ordinariate has a scheduled Traditional Mass: Mount Calvary, in Baltimore, has it at least every Friday (officially), and reportedly more often than that.

(2) Celebrating the Traditional Mass -- even in Latin, -- has not been unknown in Anglo-Catholic circles. It was also often the norm as a translation in the ancient English commonly used in worship.

"High Mass" in Saint-Jude-on-the-Hill, parish church of the Church of England
(Hampstead Garden Suburb, Greater London), 1939
(3) The history of the Anglo-Catholic movement simply cannot be understood without the pivotal position of the Traditional Mass.