The apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, which set up the structure known as the Anglican Ordinariates, says this regarding liturgy:
Without excluding liturgical celebrations according to the Roman Rite, the Ordinariate has the faculty to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See, so as to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared.
In the months since the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus was issued the shorthand term for this preservation of the tradition of those Anglicans entering full communion with Rome is “Anglican patrimony” (which AC employs in a passing reference). The first manifestations of this patrimony were rites for weddings and funerals issued in July 2012. Now, officially debuting today, we have the Order of Mass for the Ordinariates. [NB: the rite is not yet available online; when it becomes available I will post a link in the comments.]
This rite replaces the Eucharistic liturgies found in the Book of Divine Worship, which was a version of The Episcopal Church’s 1979 Book of Common Prayer adapted for the use of parishes of the Pastoral Provision. The Pastoral Provision was something of a predecessor to the Anglican Ordinatiates (I think mainly in the U.S.) that allowed for parishes to maintain an Anglican identity while being integrated into the local Latin Rite diocese; the Ordinariates, by contrast, are alternative, non-geographical quasi-dioceses for former Anglicans headed by ordinaries who are former Anglicans (but not bishops). The Book of Divine Worship basically took the two forms of the Eucharist found in the 1979 BCP (Rite I, in lightly modernized 16th century English, and Rite II, in modern English that utilizes the ecumenical translations also found in the 1973 Sacramentary) and inserted into them the section of the Roman Rite extending from the preparation of the gifts to the end of the Eucharistic prayer, replacing the Rite I and II Eucharistic prayers. Despite this Roman intrusion, the rite remained largely that of the American Province of the Anglican Communion.
The new Eucharistic Rite for the Ordinariate is a different beast entirely, and this for several reasons. First, the Book of Divine Worship was intended for former Episcopalians, and thus it seemed that the current Episcopal version of the BCP was the logical starting point. Over the centuries, however, Anglican liturgies had developed in different ways, so that the American 1979 BCP was notably different from the current Anglicans rites in, say, England or Australia, not to mention from the 1662 BCP, which is the Ur-text for all Anglican Prayer Books. So it no longer made sense to impose the U.S. BCP on the Ordinariate as a whole; something other than the Book of Divine Worship was called for.
Second, many Catholic-leaning Anglicans in England didn’t use the Anglican liturgy at all, having embraced the Roman Rite as reformed after the Council. Moreover, almost all U.S. Ordinariate communities had used Rite I exclusively. So the decision was made that there was no need to provide a modern language version of the Eucharist distinctive to the Ordinariates; those wanting modern English could simply use the current translation of the Roman Rite. The Order of Mass would be the “Cranmerian” option for the Ordinariates, and thus the principle way in which the Anglican patrimony of Eucharistic praying would be preserved.
Third, as becomes clear from even a quick look at the new Order of Mass, those who formulated this liturgy were not taking an existing Anglican liturgy and making the minimal changes necessary for it to conform to Catholic Eucharistic theology and practice (which was the approach of the Book of Divine Worship), nor were they taking the current order of Mass of the Roman Rite and inserting into it particularly valued elements from the Book of Common Prayer. Rather, it appears that the framers of this liturgy were out to craft what I would describe as an Anglo-Catholic Dream Liturgy – an Order of Mass that combined the best bits of Cranmer with some other bits from later revisions of the Book of Common Prayer with numerous elements of the Tridentine Mass as well as elements of the Roman Rite as reformed after the Second Vatican Council. The resulting liturgical stew will no doubt delight some and disgust others.
To illustrate what I mean, let’s take a quick look at the Entrance Rite, color coding it according to whether the item is from Cranmer, later BCPs, the Tridentine Rite or the Modern Roman Rite.
- Sign of the Cross (one might argue that this is also found in the Tridentine Rite, but there is is part of the private devotions of the priest and ministers, not a public part of the liturgy; it is also used in some modern Anglican revisions of the BCP).
- Collect for Purity (“Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open…”)
- Summary of the Law (this can be replaced with a version of the Decalogue incorporating a Kyrie-like response, in which case the Kyrie is omitted)
- [or, all of the above can be replaced with the Prayers at the foot of the altar.]
- Kyrie (Cranmer’s translation (“Lord have mercy upon us”), Modern Roman six-fold form)
- Gloria (Cranmer’s translation, Tridentine and Modern Roman position)
- Salutation (found here in the Tridentine and some later BCPs)
- Collect (found here in all four sources)
All of this can be done at the altar or at the chair, but not, as Cranmer directed, at the “north” (i.e. left) end of the altar.
The other distinctively Cranmerian elements are some parts of the some versions of the Prayer of the faithful (which, oddly, is optional on weekdays), the invitation to the confession and the form of confession itself (located after the prayer of the faithful — more or less where Cranmer put it) along with the “comfortable words” drawn from Scripture, the Prayer of Humble Access before communion, the thanksgiving after communion, and the final blessing that references Philippians 4:7. In addition, we have more-or-less Cranmer’s translations of the texts of the Ordinary, making possible the preservation of the Anglican tradition of liturgical music that has grown up over the centuries. All of these texts are quite beautiful and one could see why former Anglicans would want to retain them in their liturgies.
From modern Anglican liturgies is the versicle and response at the breaking of the bread: “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast.” This is a feature of North American Anglican liturgies and one wonders what the Brits and Aussies think of its inclusion. I don’t seem much else taken from contemporary Anglican Prayer Books.
Additional Tridentine elements that get included are the Offertory Prayers (with the Modern Roman Rite prayers as an alternative), the Tridentine version of the embolism at the Lord’s prayer and the prayer at the sign of peace, the special version of the Agnus Dei for requiems, the three-fold “Lord, I am not worthy…”, and the option of the Last Gospel. None of these were ever, to my knowledge, part of official Anglican Rites of North America, England, or Australia (the location of the three Ordinariates). They were, however, not uncommon additions among “extreme” Anglo-Catholics, particularly in England, who shoehorned them into Cranmer’s liturgy (the most extreme Anglo-Catholics simply replaced Cranmer with an English translation of the Tridentine Mass). I can’t help but wonder how illegal additions to official Anglican liturgies constitute part of the “Anglican patrimony.”
From the modern Roman Rite, in addition to the option of the prayers at the preparation of the gifts, we have Eucharistic Prayer II as an alternative to the Roman Canon. It has been retrofitted with “Cranmerian” diction, so as to match the rest of the rite, and is restricted to use on weekdays. Again, one wonders how a 20th century text based on a 4th (?) century prayer translated into quasi-16th century English has much of anything to do with the Anglican patrimony.
It seems to me clear that the drafters of this liturgy have gone well beyond the task of incorporating elements of the Anglican patrimony so as to create the liturgy that at least some Anglicans of the Anglo-Catholic party desired all along. I cannot help but wonder, however, what principles were operative in the drafting. Why, for example, use the Tridentine form of the embolism rather than the modern form? Why have two sets of offertory prayers? Why make the Last Gospel optional rather than mandatory? Was it simply, “I like this bit” and “You like that bit” and “Let’s have something for everyone”? Comprehensiveness has been an Anglican ideal at least since Queen Elizabeth I, and perhaps in this sense this Order of Mass does truly represent that aspect of the Anglican Patrimony, drawing as it does from so many sources. It does raise the specter of odd mix-and-match liturgies that include the Anglican entrance rite (with the Collect for Purity and the Summary of the Law), modern Roman offertory prayers, and the last Gospel.
Liturgy as experienced is often quite different from liturgy as analyzed. Approached analytically, this Order of Mass for the Ordinariates seems a mishmash that often lacks any rationale. Perhaps it prays better than it reads. I can’t help but wonder, however, if the end result isn’t a case of what someone once called “fabricated liturgy.”