Patrimony: The Order of Mass for the Anglican Ordinariates

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.

Anglicanorum coetibus

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.”


  1. Anglicans have a long history of mixing and matching, or using scissors and paste to produce an “on-the-spot” liturgy. They do it more today
    than ever before. Liberally borrowing from all over the east with wide use of icons, etc. So, this new rite will be in good company.

    Cranmer was a master at creating the hybridized rite. He drastically simplified the rubrics for the offices, and made matins and evensong the setting for a “reformed” service of the Word, with a place for a newly added sermon, but with the intention that the eucharist should follow.

    If the Ordinariate preserves anything else, I’d hope it would be Cranmer’s Great Litany and the subsequent English works composed for the offices. They’re part of an almost 500 year old patrimony that continues to be enlarged by talented composers to this day.

    I’m wondering, is this new liturgy just for the UK, or do churches here have to use the same rite? If they do, I see some likely difficulties, since most U.S. Anglicans use the 1979 EPUSA rites, or the 1928 BCP and like them.

    The prayers at the foot of the altar and last gospel are found in most Anglican Masses, but in some places John’s gospel is said as the celebrant returns to the sacristy. Some places use those horrible prayer cards, or the prayers are recited from the missal.

    In a few Anglican Masses on “YouTube” celebrated ad orientem the epistle and gospel are read from the altar facing the people. A small lectern looks better here than having to hold the book. The intro to the preface is sung or said facing the congregation.

    Catholics outside the AO of a more traditional bent and longing for a replacement for the Novus Ordo, but who aren’t drawn to the all Latin 1962 Tridentine rite, should be very pleased with this hybridized rite.

  2. Fritz, you describe it so colorfully :-).

    What was the process by which this text came about? E.g. was it pulled together/composed by some body that would be analogous to ICEL, approved by some body analogous to the national bishops’ conferences, and submitted to Rome for an imprimatur?

    Also: while it does seem as though this was patched together as sort of a “dream liturgy” … it seems to be a dream for one very narrow and specific segment of worshipers. Inasmuch as Anglicanorum coetibus was positioned as a development in ecumenism – or at least, I hoped it might turn out to be an ecumenical development – this text, as described here, doesn’t seem very, er, appealing, to anybody who doesn’t happen to be a specific type of Anglo-Catholic. If reunification between the Catholic church and the Church of England on a much grander scale is ever to happen, presumably it would call for yet another set of texts.

  3. Jim is probably right that the appeal is limited to “a certain type of Anglo-Catholic,” but that type is (at least in North America) the type that provided the impetus for the ordinariate. From a perspective outside Anglicanism looking in, it may indeed seem odd that “illegal” customary additions should be thought part of the “patrimony,” but that is how the living tradition of Anglo-Catholicism developed. “Ur-text” or not (and in fact it has never been normative in the Episcopal Church, which followed the very different Scots tradition), the kind of communities that serve 1662 straight up are not Anglo-Catholic and certainly not ordinariate-bound. (If indeed such a place exists of any liturgical ilk: many a new rector has found the hard way that “We just want a straight BCP service” means “We want the BCP the way we’re used to it/the last rector did it/how I grew up with”).

  4. For someone like I am there is much to love here. Archbishop Lefebvre famously said that he’d rather have the old rite in the vernacular than the new rite in Latin. I agree whole-heartedly. Add to that the hieratic English and we have a win-win. Glory be.

    As to the sniping about the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and Last Gospel, they have been a niche and part of the Anglican Patrimony since at least the 19th-century Oxford Movement, at least one hundred years older than the Novus Ordo Missae.

    It is also interesting to note that it was Marini I who spoke up, during the formation of the Book of Divine Worship, for including the Coverdale translation of the Roman Canon that was so hoped for by the Pastoral Provision folks back in the 80’s. One of his more charitable moments.

    Can’t wait to see the actual text. Are we going to have, “Ye who truly and earnestly repent you of your sins . . .”? I hope so; I’ll finally be able to go to a vernacular Mass and receive Holy Communion. All the wonderful periodic sentences!

    Oh, Happy Day!

    1. @Christopher Douglas – comment #5:
      I’m not sure there was any “sniping” at the prayers at the foot of the altar or last gospel in my post. But maybe sniping, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

      I’m also a bit puzzled at your final paragraph. What is currently preventing you from going to a vernacular Mass and receiving Holy Communion? The absence of prayers at the foot of the altar and the last gospel?

    2. @Christopher Douglas – comment #5:
      I served on the special committee which compiled the Book of Divine Worship in 1983. I can assure you that Piero Marini did not speak up for the inclusion of the Roman Canon in traditional English. I strongly supported it, and was alone in that position. It was then-Archbishop Virgilio Noe who gave me the opportunity to present the case in favour of it, and it was eventually approved. Marini expended much of his effort steering the committee towards the 1979 BCP, and the unfortunate success of his efforts came through in the BDW. Thankfully, much of that is now corrected with this revision.

  5. I get the impression that they were aiming for one liturgical book that could conform to the multiple liturgies already being used in many of the churches that joined the Ordinariate. It seems one could pick options that will make the rite flow a little more like the Knott Missal, and other options that might make it flow more like the BCP. I wonder if it might have been better to simply have several options of complete ordinaries available that used the same propers and calendar rather than to have one ordinary with tons of options.

    I don’t know anyone personally who is part of the Ordinariate or who was part of the older Pastoral Provision. From what I have encountered online, there seems to be much more enthusiasm for the old Offertory prayers than there are for the new ones, and for “Tridentine” prayers over OF prayers in general if a choice has to be made between the two. I’ve always had the impression that many groups continued to use the old BCP and Rite I not only for its language, but also because they didn’t care for Rite II’s similarities to the OF. I would have been more surprised had the modern embolism after the Lord’s Prayer been used.

  6. Apart from those things that are specifically of the Anglican liturgical patrimony, I do believe the door is now flung wide open for an appendix allowing as an option for the Novous Ordo Latin Rite TPATFOTA, the EF’s Offertory Prayers and the Last Gospel, not to mention rubrics for the Roman Canon more like the EF’s as well as clearer rubrics for ad orientem.
    We visited the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith last week and a priest on the staff there stated the CDF had reviewed all the Liturgies of the Ordinariate along with the CDW. I asked about our own rite and the possibility of an appendix for the EF options in our Missal. He said with the right advocates, that would not be too far fetched.

    1. @Fr. Allan. McDonald – comment #7:

      Though many here may not like it, that makes a great deal of sense, since TPATFOTA, the longstanding Offertory Prayers and Last Gospel, and the rubrics for the Canon are more properly Latin Rite patrimony than Anglican patrimony.

      Who might be those “right advocates” to whom requests might be directed?

      1. @Matthew Morelli – comment #9:
        The “Pastoral Provision” of 1980 in the USA came about because of two seperate groups of Episcopalians in the USA who petitioned the then prefect of the Congregatioin of the Doctrine of the Faith to allow priests and congregations of the Episcopal Church to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church. One of those priests who headed one group called the “Society of the Holy Cross” was Father James Parker who was pastor of a small Episcopal Church in Albany, Ga called St. Mark’s. I was stationed in Albany as my first assignment in August of 1980 and Fr. Parker was good friends with my new pastor. He came to lunch one day and told of this fantastic story that he and some other Episcopalians were petitioning Rome and that he was longing for the day when he would be a Catholic priest. I thought to myself at the time, “under Pope John Paul II, you don’t have a snow ball’s chance in hell.” I didn’t say it out loud of course. And the next thing you know, Pope John Paul II approved the Pastoral Provisioin, Fr. Parker a married man with children is ordained a Catholic Priests, moves to Boston to work with Cardinal Law as head of the group bringing dissaffected Episcopalians into the Church. I believe he is in Charleston, SC now. So when groups of priests advocate things with Rome, things sometimes get done and low and behold from that humble Episcopal parish in Albany, Ga there is now the Anglican Ordinariate which has a Mass that is the envy of many regular Latin Rite Catholic now. I guess the question is “why do the Anglicans get all the priviledges?” I feel like the older son in the Prodigal son story.

  7. Hieratic English? Stuff and nonsense! The language of the Prayer Book was intended to be warm and intimate with just the right amount of reserve. Indeed when the BCP was rendered into French the Tu of the Protestants instead of the Vous of the Catholics was used for Thou. Why? The Vous was considered too formal.

    Hieratic? The service of the BCP was intended to be anything but. A plain table with the people gathered around the minister. Indeed the invitation, Ye who..draw near has been an ever reminder of this glorious ideal.

  8. From the information I see here, it looks like a product remarkably similar to the Anglican Missals, which were high quality products in my mind, despite Fortescue’s apparent dislike of them.

    It’s strange to hear anyone using the Novus Ordo accuse this rite of being a mish-mash. The four Eucharistic prayers in the Novus Ordo are all mish-mashes of various other rites. I think the present ordinariate rite, based on what I have seen, will teach the Catholic faith in a way that despoils Egypt, as it were, in the best possible way. It sounds much more well thought out than the BoDW.

  9. We now have at least three approved Eucharistic rites for the Roman Rite: the novus ordo, the extraordinary form, and now the rite for ordinariates. Yet we have a Roman insistence that our English translation of the novus ordo be the same no matter how English is spoken in the various countries of the world. (I suffer from that hobgolem of small minds, a respect for consistency.)

    1. @Alexander Larkin – comment #13:
      The Ordinariate’s priests will not be obliged to use the new Missal. They will also be able to celebrate Mass according to the Roman Rite in both its ordinary and extraordinary forms reintroduced by Benedict XVI in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. (Vatican Insider)

  10. Has anyone found a link to the Order of Mass for the new Use?

    I have to say: this liturgy is in some ways (minus the Anglican particularities like the Collect for Purity, Comfortable Words, &c.) a what-might-have-been of post-conciliar Mass if we had stayed with the 1965 Missal (that had been revised according to Sacrosanctum Concilium).

    I hope bishops in Usus Novior Latin Rite dioceses will be generous with allowing their priest’s faculties to say this Mass!

    1. @Dylan Barker – comment #15:

      I hope bishops in Usus Novior Latin Rite dioceses will be generous with allowing their priest’s faculties to say this Mass!

      novus has no comparative form. It has a superlative, novissimus. c.f. L&S sv. novus. recentior is closer to what you mean.

  11. Dylan Barker : I hope bishops in Usus Novior Latin Rite dioceses will be generous with allowing their priest’s faculties to say this Mass!

    I think that is highly unlikely, since it is a liturgy for parishes of the Ordinariates, not of the regular Latin Rite dioceses. I presume that Anglican Use parishes that have chosen to remain part of their diocese, like Fr. Phillips’ parish, will also use it, but I can’t think of any reason why it would become a general option for non-Ordinariate priests.

  12. Deacon B: On the whole, you seem to be fair, for which I thank you. What I meant was, that when I’m in New York City, I go to Saint Thomas Church (Episcopal) to be inspired, but I can’t receive Holy Communion there, since her priests can’t confect the Eucharist. (Nowadays, I can go to Holy Innocents for the TLM.)

    Fr. Phillips: You’re right; It was Noe, who eventually became Archpriest of St. Peter’s and who changed a word in Ubi Caritas. He changed it by fiat, as liberals tend to do. Memory didn’t serve. Sorry.

  13. Oh, this reminds me of a story in Augustus Hare’s Walks in Rome.

    Briefly, an Italian noticed his brother emerging from the Sistine Chapel. ( Evidently it was off limits to the natives.) The Italian asked his brother how he managed entry. The brother responded: ” I turned heretic yesterday.”

  14. A full text of the Order of Mass is still not, at least to my knowledge, available, but here is a chart of the changes from the Book of Divine Worship, with a rationale for each. I’m not sure of the provenance of this chart, so I don’t know the degree to which the rationale represents the actual thinking of the drafters, but some of it is quite interesting — for example, the desire to make the liturgy more clearly “western” by eliminating quasi-Byzantine elements that had found their way into modern revisions of Anglican liturgies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.