Rorate Caeli

NLM: "The Potentialities of the English Missal for the Ordinariate and the Roman Rite"

The Ordinariates for former Anglicans established by Anglicanorum coetibus can be something mediocre and tame - but they can also be something truly great for the whole Church. The name of the game-changer is "The English Missal" (the Anglo-Catholic translation of the traditional Roman Missal in Early Modern English), not as the sole rite, but as a possibility open to all their priests - and our friend Shawn Tribe, of The New Liturgical Movement, explains why.

It all depends on the will and determination of the leadership in the Ordinariates. They can give this great gift to the universal Church, or they can just remain as a mostly uninteresting  and uninspiring ghetto. It is their choice.

Some recent events put my mind once again to the matter of the English Missal.

The English Missal, as many of you know, is essentially a hieratic English translation of the pre-conciliar Missale Romanum. It was a missal which had been used by various Anglican Catholics, or Anglo-Catholics, in the 20th century.

Fr. John Hunwicke, who himself described the English Missal as "the finest vernacular liturgical book ever produced," summarizes its contents and its use accordingly:

For most of the 20th Century, Anglican Catholic worship meant a volume called "The English Missal". It contained the whole Missale Romanum translated into English; into an English based on the style of Thomas Cranmer's liturgical dialect in the Book of Common Prayer. The "EM" took everything biblical from the translation known as the King James Bible or Authorised Version.

I have often commented on my own hope -- one which I know is shared by many others -- that we would see the English Missal (or something closely akin to it) form one of the liturgical options made available within the context of the Ordinariate. Now it will no doubt be quickly pointed out that the use of the English Missal was by no means universal even amongst Anglo-Catholics and would be generally unfamiliar to many other Anglicans; from what I have gathered from others far more familiar with the situation within Anglicanism, this is certainly true. In light of that, it perhaps would not be the right choice to make it the sole liturgical book of the Ordinariate (which should presumably include a liturgical book which is much closer to something like the Book of Common Prayer) but it surely could be made available as an additional option, a kind of "Extraordinary Form" if you will -- the analogy here is imperfect but I think it gets the basic idea across.

The benefit, from my perspective, is that this liturgical book combines some of the very things which form an important and identifiable part of the Anglican patrimony -- namely, beautiful hieratic liturgical English with correspondingly beautiful English liturgical chant and options for the use of English sacred polyphony -- with the familiar Catholic texts and ceremonies of the Roman liturgical books. In that regard, my own feeling is that it provides a very worthy synthesis which could be well suited to the Ordinariate and its mission -- taken alongside another liturgical book more akin to the BCP. [Read the whole article at The New Liturgical Movement.]


Jon said...

Indeed, and with twice as many perspective Ordinariate parishes in North America as FSSP apostolates, the use of the English Missal would provide your average Joe Pew Latinphobe the opportunity to see the splendor of his own patrimony and maybe petition for a little bit of it at home.

Such a move would be a tremendous boost toward the Great Restoration, a fact I'm sure not lost on the Levada's of this world.

Ben Vallejo said...

The problem was, is and will be that the English Missal was never authorized by any Anglican bishop, however good it may be. In the Philippines this was at the root of the conflict between the Rev John Staunton of the Sagada mission and the Rt Rev Governuer Mosher, Episcopal Bishop of Shanghai who had oversight over the Episcopal Church in the Philippines after Bp Brent resigned his missionary bishopric.

Bp Mosher forbade the use of the English Missal since it was not authorized even if the Episcopal Church in the USA looked the other way when Anglo Caths in America used it. Staunton wrote a spirited defence which is now a classic about living the Catholic life in the Anglican Communion. In short, in typical Anglican fashion, Staunton ignored his bishop!

But I digress. I honestly believe Rome will never be keen in authorizing a Mass book which was never authorized by a separated church. This sets a bad precedent. Unlike the Anglican churches, Rome values obedience even if its bishops look the other way!

Rome will likely cobble something new and yet ancient. It is doing so at present. This is something that Traddies won't be amused about and will blame on Vatican II!

Ben Vallejo said...

Erratum. It was not Bishop Mosher but Bishop Graves of Shanghai. Sorry for the Episcopal history mix up!

NoRancor said...

Not to be off-putting towards the A.O., but there are a plethora of fine, traditional, slavishly accurate yet beautiful translations of the TLM in hand missals already. I perused the Knott Missal today, and find Fr. Lasance or a Dom Gaspar Lefebvre missal from the 1920-1940s to be every bit as reverent as the Knott.

pewpewaliens said...

"remain as a mostly uninteresting and uninspiring ghetto"
English Missal, (or hieratic vernacular translations in other languages (dutch!) for that matter) would be great though. I think they have a point, in that most of the faithful are not interested in Masses said entirely in latin.

Woody said...

Great thoughts, but I am not sure that Msgr Burnham, who seems to be leading this effort, favors the EM that much. As a straw in the wind, I am told that the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham, when it is released in September (the new target date), will be basically an office book suubstantially derived from the proposed (but not passed by parliament) English 1928 BCP. As I appreciate it (and you can get the English proposed 1928 BCP from Canterbury Press),the form of office therein was more Roman than the 1662, or the US versions (even the 1979), and in fact may preserve some of the Breviary formats fomr before the Pian revisions (Peter or someone can confirm or correct me on that point) so in that area it should be very good. As to the Mass, we shall see...

Matt said...

This is very interesting news and a great topic. Shawn brings up a few curious points.

For one, "It all depends on the will and determination of the leadership in the Ordinariates. They can give this great gift to the universal Church, or they can just remain as a mostly uninteresting and uninspiring ghetto."

This coming on top of Steenson's recent put-down of the Forma Extraordinaria, I have an inkling, the Ordinariate's mgt choice will be for the uninspiring. I can't quite see it as happening another way because the attitude has already been laid open.

Secondly, "The English Missal, as many of you know, is essentially a hieratic English translation of the pre-conciliar Missale Romanum."

Rome is already reworking a Missal for them, so what form is it going to be? It was already announced the standard Novus Ordo references would be eliminated and replaced with pre-Conciliar terms, i.e., dropping "Ordinary Time" for Sundays After Pentecost, returning the 'gesima Sundays to their appropriate dates,.

Rome allowing two competing Missals for the Ordinariate will only compound the issues already at hand and even create yet more divisive sentiment in the Ordinariate and also the Church at large.

Peter said...

Perhaps the use of the English Missal in the Ordinariate could be a way for the traditional Holy Week to find its way back to the Church! Several Anglo-Catholic churches use it, but I don't know if they are likely to join the Ordinariate.

Matt said...

pewpewaliens said, "The English Missal, (or hieratic vernacular translations in other languages (dutch!) for that matter) would be great though. I think they have a point, in that most of the faithful are not interested in Masses said entirely in Latin."

How would they know what the Faithful of the Ordinariate be interested in? Just like Rahm Emmanuel saying what the values are of all of Chicago? Obviously he was facing in the wrong direction. Any Ordinariate-wide forums held, any town-hall discussions on what they really would like to see in their newly created Ordinariate? More than likely not!

P.K.T.P. said...

This issue has been debated before. The English Missal of 1912 and the Anglican Missal of 1921 have been compared. The latter comes in various editions, such as a later American one and some from later on in England. I am not an expert in all the various editions and invite some experts from Anglican traditionalism to comment.

The problem with the English Missal, in a word, is that it does not preserve the Anglican literary patrimony. It is mostly the Traditional Latin Mass rendered in sacral English. Had it been adopted in 1970 instead of Bugnini's Protestant concoction of that year, much of the devastation in the Roman Mass might have been avoided.

Still, there would have been a problem. Once you introduce a vernacular which ordinary blokes can understand readily, the same blokes, now morphed into 'liturgists', can demand more and more 'accessible contemporary' translations and then it's goodbye to reverence. This is one reason why it is a serious mistake to have the priest in a T.L.M. repeat the lections in the vernacular from the pulpit. It will lead by degrees to less and less reverent translations, robbing the Mass of its spirit of sacrality. The Celebrant's disposition may not be the problem, but Rome will simply approve 'several optional translations' and then gradually abolish the reverent translations in favour of 'popular' trash. The Douay-Rheims is the beginning; the Blue Jeans Bible is at the end of the slippery slope.

For the ordinariates, the answer is not to adopt something Roman in a sacral form but to preserve something traditional in Anglicanism in a sacral form, something which is deCranmerised but otherwise connected to a cultural tradition that is familiar to a people. Without that patrimony, what do you have but fancy? The best form overall is not the English Missal of 1912 but the Anglican Missal of 1921. This was a marriage of the Roman Offertory and Canon with bits from the 1662 English prayerbook for the rest. Unfortunately, however, the 1921 version has a rather bad translation (even though in sacral idiom) for the Offertory, and the translation for the Canon is not the greatest. But the arrangement of prayers in the Ordinary is good.

These issues should have been resolved long before the ordinariates were erected, as I and many others insisted for many years. Now we are in this mess, and now the liberals are wrecking havoic in the liturgy of the ordinariates. We have the Novus Ordo trainwreck as the norm for England and a seriously-defective Book of Divine Worship of 1983 for the U.S.A; we have the King James Bible and Douai-Rheims and even the R.S.V. sacral replaced by a non-sacral 2nd edn. R.S.V. We have the Novus Ordo Protestant Offertory intruded into the B.D.W. in a non-sacral form, creating a discontinuity with the rest of the wording in the Ordinary. It is a total disaster. Worse of all, 'liturgical experts' from Forward in Faith have emerged to fix it all. They have insinuated themselves into committees and they want to replace the wisdom of the fathers with their own brilliant knowhow. We all know precisely where that will lead. The problem is that the Forward in Faith gang in the English Ordinariate has a completely different liturgical sense (one which is 'conservative' but not traditional) than have the TAC men. And then you have liberals from NewChurch interfering.


P.K.T.P. said...

Despite my last post, the English Missal might be a good option for an interim period. Since it is entirely Roman in content, the C.D.W. cannot argue that it needs to be vetted for doctrinal content, and its translations of the Roman prayers are all said to be very good.

The important thing is to give Anglo-Catholic ordinariate priests some option to whatever may emerge from the new liturgical committees--committees which include sucn non-traditionalists as Msgr. Burnham and Bishop Peter Elliott.

As far as I can see, this entire issue is a dead horse, however. The liberals have moved in and have taken over. While the English Missal would be a good interim recourse in the shorter term, in the event of its exclusion, the best option is simply the Traditional Latin Mass. Despite what Msgr. Steenson claims, in present law, the local bishops have absolutely zero authority to 'supervise' the celebration of that Mass by ordinariate priests. The limited supervisory powers clearly belong to Msgr. Steenson because he has all the powers of a local bishop over his priests except insofar as limited by the terms of A.C., which nowhere mentions the T.L.M.; on the contrary, from Art. III, it is clear that the T.L.M. is a free option of all his priests and, under Art. IV, this is under his own authority.

There is still some hope here and there. Sadly, the TAC lacked the financial resources from 1991-2011 to put its house in order liturgically and juridically so as to present to Rome a complete package for a uniate church. As a result, much of it has been absorbed into a mish-mash dominated by former Anglicans who were against womanpriest but not liturgically traditionalist at all. The fact that former Anglicans who dominate the ordinariate in England are almost all attached to the Novus Ordo Mass is a diaster of incalculable consequences. The fact that TAC men in England (the three they deigned to admit) are now under these same 'neo con' wannabe Anglicans is a catastrophe. It might be lovely to think that we can all be friends and work together happily. But experience shows that this is naive. Liberals talk the talk of tolerance but they do not practice it: they are complete hypocrites and always have been.

Given Msgr. Steenson's recent statements and given the nature of the 1983 B.D.W. beast being re-arranged now with no sacral English for the lections, Canadian former TACers would be wise to bide their time and remain, for now, as personal parishes, personal quasi-parishes and chaplaincies under the local Roman ordainaries, particularly where those ordinaries are friendly. If need be, the Canadians could eventually form their own ordinariate directly from such communities.

I was against putting my own countrymen under an American jurisdiction. But the problem has turned out not to be that the Ordinariate is American but that it is becoming dominated by the liberal bishops of both the U.S.A. and Canada. He who has the gold makes the rules.


Kumquat said...

PKTP seems to think that contemporary English leads to lack of reverence.

This has NOT been the experience of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church (in communion with Rome), which has been using such diction in her English-speaking churches internationally since 1968.

Admittedly, the translation has been tweaked recently, but what's the matter with that? Even the late Abp. Joseph Raya's magnum opus BYZANTINE DAILY WORSHIP (affectionately called BDW) can be improved.

P.K.T.P. said...

Here in Canada, the sole incoming community from the Canterburian (non-TAC) Anglican Church of Canada, has joined the U.S. Ordinariate. The priest there, and his assistant, are the only two Canadians so far to be ordained for the U.S. Ordinaraite. The Parish Priest there is an extremely gracious man, and I can only wish him and his community well. He has a true sensus catholicus and, being from the Canterbury Communion, he may no doubt find that working with Msgr. Steenson is natural and extremely beneficial to his community. Msgr. Steenson himself hales from the same Canterbury Communion (E.C.U.S.A.) and has undergone, no doubt, the same sorts of experiences there before he was received.

For the TAC men in Canada, however, I think that they should at least consider joining the Australian Ordinariate instead of the American one. This suggestion is in no way meant to criticise Msgr. Steenson. My feeling on it is simply that the new Australian personal ordinary, Msgr. Entwistle, is a former TAC bishop: he comes from the same community. The former TACers may have their 'uniate fellowship' in potential here. Since these jurisdictions are personal, in law, anyone outside the given territory can belong to them (well, any former Anglican can). So even former TACers in England or the U.S.A. could theoretically transfer to the Australian structure and use the same liturgy and share in the same patrimony as that jurisdiction.

This might also help the Australian structure. As far as I can see, it is VERY small. It looks as if it might have about as many people in it as you could fit into a drawingroom.

As far as I can see, former TAC communities in Canada could simply bide their time and then apply to Msgr. Entwistle. (It would have the added advantage of keeping our boys in the Commonwealth of Nations, where they belong.) In the case of former TAC people in the U.S.A., why not? Some of those communities have now chosen to stay out of the U.S. Ordinariate. I have not reviewed A.C. recently but I think that they could apply to join the Aussie one instead. If not, they could simply remain in special personal parishes and chaplaincies under local bishops.

I repeat that this suggestion is not in any way anti-Steenson. Unlike some of the former TACers, don't really have any strong feelings for or against Msgr. Steenson. He is mostly an unknown factor to me, except for his unfortunate comments on the plae of the T.L.M. in his Ordinariate. I merely think that former TACers might be happier under a former TAC bishop. It's that simple.


P.K.T.P. said...


I could not disagree with you more. It has little to do with the prayers of the Melchite Catholic Church and everything to do with expectations in the English tongue. I am very familiar with the Ukrainian case. In a word, the replacement of the 1958 sacral English translation by the new one has seriusly undermined the spirit of reverence in the Ukr. Byzantine Church when English is used. I'd rather be present in Ukrainian and follow it in my old Missal in sacral English. This brings much more solace to the soul and adds the advantage of hearing Ukrainian sung, which is a much more melodic language than is English.

The new translation is not worth the paper it's written on. The old one was beautiful and moving. I write from experience, having worshipped for yeaws at the local Ukr. Byz. church.


P.K.T.P. said...


I would add only one point. Liberals are good for only one thing: they are experts at destroying anything comely, anything holy, anything moving, anything beautiful. They are expert demolitionists whether their medium be brick or song or word or stone or canvas. They cannot leave anything good alone. When they see or hear anything good, they have an instant itch to update [i.e. destroy] it.


Andrew K said...

I'll keep the TLM. Having grown up Novus Ordo, I have already abandoned one missal written by mischievous characters.

Why would I want to adopt a slightly older one?

Peter said...

There seems to be another Peter commenting here. I am not Peter @ 17:36.

Though I thought Peter's comment interesting, I really don't think the English Missal is an option for the Ordinariates. We know that Mgr.Burnham is not working along those lines. And I don't see Rome providing the English Missal as an "optional extra" for the Ordinariates, anymore than I see Rome allowing an English translation of the 1962 Missale Romanum as an "optional extra" for the wider Roman rite. (Anyway, I can't think who'd want it !)

No. An English Missal is wishful thinking.

Besides, the Ordinariates will always have the option of using the Roman liturgical books (and Anglicans and Anglo-Catholics seem to have been using the novus ordo Missal for years.

As P.K.T.P. says in his comment, these issues should have been resolved long before the Ordinariates were erected.

Now, it's too late. The discussion, though interesting, is academic.

New Catholic said...

It was long thought by most "liturgists" and canonists that the matter of the abrogation of the Traditional Roman Missal was merely academic. Pope Benedict XVI proved them wrong in 2007. "Hope springs eternal," a great English Catholic wrote.

A Sinner said...

"Anyway, I can't think who'd want it!"

You obviously have a narrow exposure to opinions. I know many people who have been pining for just this for many years, and can see a much wider application for it generally.

John L said...

Actually the only thing that can give the Anglican Ordinariate any long-term prospects is the Sarum rite. I say this as an ex-Anglican myself who went to Book of Common Prayer services during my Anglican days. The 'Anglican patrimony' is the patrimony of a criminal organisation, the Church of England, that suppressed the Catholic Church by state terror and lies; and the Book of Common Prayer was put together by one of the leaders of this project. The 'Anglican patrimony' will only be important to people who leave the Anglicans and have an attachment to it because of their Anglican past. One the supply of these people is sued up, there will be no-one who will be interested in becoming a priest in an ordinariate devoted to this 'Anglican patrimony', and the organisation will eventually die out as a result. If the Sarum rite is adopted as an option for the ordinariate, there will be a real reason for its existence; the preservation of the distinctive liturgical patrimony of Great Britain. That is the basis for a long-term project. The 'English missal', as other commenters have noted, is by its nature simply a halfway house between the Roman rite and a 'reformed' liturgy; it will not offer anything, and will be used as a weapon against traditionalists who want to have the Latin rite in the Latin language. I am surprised that you do not take this last factor into account, New Catholic.

New Sid said...

Thanks to P.K.T.P. for a lot of material for thought, and especially for the last comment - vary true, and sad, considering the influence liberals have in so many areas of culture.

Any member of the various Ordinariates who is attached to the Novus Ordo for his or her worship should join the mainline Roman Rite. I really can't see how the NO is even an option in the Ordinariate. In that case, all you're left with is a group of former Protestants who have agreed to leave their errors and join the Church, but only if they can be in their own building, separated from others, yet worshipping just like them. If the liturgy is the same, what's being accomplished?

(Changing to New Sid, as I overstepped an existing commenter Sid the other day. My apologies.)

NoRancor said...

John L, I concur, and have stated the same in another Ordinariate post on the TLM and the Ordinariate. The Sarum Rite is the rightful patrimony of Anglicanism, not the BCP of 1549, et seq...

The Sarum Rite is to Franz Herzog von Bayern, the Duke of Bavaria and rightful Catholic heir to the British throne, what the Cramnerian Rite is to the house of Windsor (aka Herzogtum Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha).

The BCP also implicitly supports the novus ordo, being a Cramnerian derivative.

Peter said...

A Sinner,

Well, it's very difficult to know peoples' views when they don't express them ! Do you know of any organisation which publicises its views on the subject ? I don't, but I'd be interested to know.

No one has ever said to me after Mass (I only ever attend the old Mass) on a Sunday morning: "Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could have Mass in English !"

No, that's not true. I once heard a man express these sentiments in, I think, 1958. When, years later, he saw the sort of English they foisted on the novus ordo Mass, he promptly joined the Latin Mass Society !

Robert said...

@ Peter:
"I once heard a man express these sentiments in, I think, 1958. When, years later, he saw the sort of English they foisted on the novus ordo Mass, he promptly joined the Latin Mass Society !"

Great observation! No one would want to worship in a language they understand. All rorate readers have seen how the Novus Ordo has been implemented with all it's hieratic language is just a failure... Yes given a choice between a terrible N.O. mass or the TLM celebrated reverently I would always choose the TLM. But what the discussion is about what people would choose between a reverent TLM or a reverent and hieratic English mass.

Matamoros said...

Jon said "Indeed, and with twice as many perspective Ordinariate parishes in North America as FSSP apostolates, the use of the English Missal would provide your average Joe Pew Latinphobe the opportunity to see the splendor of his own patrimony and maybe petition for a little bit of it at home.

Such a move would be a tremendous boost toward the Great Restoration, a fact I'm sure not lost on the Levada's of this world."
What? Sorry - am I on a traditional Catholic blog? We're talking about a "liturgy" that largely comes from God's enemy Cranmer. Are you the people who were praying or SSPX to end up in the same stable? I am becoming more grateful it didn't work. The Ordinariate as a concession to people who weren't easily going to make the move to the true Church any other way is one thing. Trying to spread aspects of a false Church that died a natural death in the Catholic Church is another. You make me find Bishop Williamson's newletters more and more convincing. Wake up. If you are Catholics, you know what your grandparents would have said of this.

Old Sid said...

New Sid, Apology accepted gladly.

Matamoros said...

Oh thank you. God save the Queen.