So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Ordinariate Mass (Divine Worship): a brief historical description.

A few lingering misconceptions persist about the Ordinariate Mass, i.e., Divine Worship.

True, there are things uniquely Anglican in the Missal, but do not forget that Cranmer, heretic he was, translated from the Latin into beautiful English (the gold standard, really!) the prayers of the ancient Sarum Liturgy, which had established itself by the 11th Century as the local liturgy of Salisbury, England. For instance, from Sarum, the Collect for Purity belonging to the Ordinariate Liturgy:
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit (purifica per infusionem Sancti Spiritus cogitationes cordis nostri), that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy name: through Christ our Lord. Amen.
In fact, many of the prayers in the Ordinariate Missal (Divine Worship: the Missal) are Cranmer's translation of the pre-Tridentine Sarum Mass, a liturgy that has much in common with the Use of Rouen, from France.
(T)he Use of Rouen and that of Sarum were almost identical in the 11th century. A curious and interesting illustration of this will be found in an extract of a Rouen manuscript missal, assumed to be 650 years old ... . The Rouen Pontifical, of about 1007 A.D., quoted in the same work, shows a like affinity of that of Sarum and Exeter in later days.—Google Books: xxiii, The Sarum Missal in English (1884) by A.H. Pearson.
Sarum, as mentioned, properly the Use of Salisbury, England, was an elaborate ritual, eastern in flavour, occasionally revived in Anglo-Catholic (Oxford Movement) circles in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Another source from which the Ordinariate Missal draws is the English Missal, the Tridentine Mass in English.

Of course, Cranmer had inserted some ambiguous language in some of the prayers he himself composed which found their way into the "reformed liturgy" that became the Anglican communion service. The most contentious prayers were not included in the Ordinariate Missal. Others, such as the Prayer for Humble Access, are wholly orthodox:
We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.
As mentioned, some prayers Cranmer himself composed, such as the Almighty and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee, were problematic given the protestant rejection of the orthodox belief in Transubstantiation. That is to say, the prayers were worded in such a way to permit ambiguity. However, Dr. William Oddie, a convert from Anglicanism to the Church, has noted:
Now, there can be little doubt that when he wrote this (Almighty and everliving God...), Cranmer had come to believe, under Zwinglian influence, that the central phrase in the Eucharistic prayer, “This is my body”, was to be understood in a merely symbolic way, that transubstantiation (which under Henry VIII he had stoutly defended) was now to be understood as “a blasphemous deceit”, and that Christ’s spiritual presence in the sacrament was dependent on the faith of those receiving it. So when, in the post-Communion prayer I have just quoted, he gives thanks for “the spiritual food of the most precious body and blood of thy son our saviour Jesus Christ”, by the word “spiritual” he doesn’t mean that His Eucharistic presence is real and objective. But he wanted those who still hankered after the faith in which they were brought up to be able to suppose that the prayer actually bore a Catholic meaning. It’s all very slippery. The fact is, however, that it can indeed bear such a meaning: and the CDW has now implicitly defined that when used in the context of this authorised Catholic liturgy, it does bear it.
Like the Extraordinary Form, Divine Worship has the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. Though Eucharistic Prayer II is permitted for use, the Roman Canon is used almost to the exclusion of EPII (in hieratic English) borrowed from the Novus Ordo. The Offertory prayers are those found in the Tridentine Missal. The daily lectionary cycle is that of the Ordinary Form with important adjustments for ancient feasts restored to the Ordinariate Divine Worship. A beautiful Mass restored in the Ordinariate is the Votive Mass of the Five Wounds of Jesus.

Dr. Oddie's comments conclude this all too brief post:
(Divine Worship: the Missal) is entirely repatriated from either post-Reformation or pre-Reformation Catholic sources, and authorised by the congregation for Divine Worship with the full backing and approval of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Additional elements of the Sarum Rite included in the Ordinariate ordo may be found in the sequence of Major Propers for the Sundays in Advent, which differ significantly from those used in the Roman Tridentine Rite. The numbering of Sundays after Trinity rather than Pentecost is another custom adopted from Sarum.

Source material and additional reading:

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