Quiñones and Cranmer

Fr Hunwicke has come up with some interesting articles about the use of Scripture at the daily Offices:

There is quite a lot in common between the Prayer Book Office and the radically simplified breviary of the Spanish Cardinal Quiñones. When I was doing my university work on the Tridentine missal, I remember reading this by Louis Bouyer (Life and Liturgy, London 1956, pp. 45-47).

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There is nothing, after all, very startling in the fact that some Anglicans could see the way out of the chaos of the Reformation and out of a merely negative and superficial Counter-Reformation even sooner than most Catholics.   Such a fact is easily explained by historical causes.   For Richard Hooker and his disciples, the Caroline Divines, were reacting from within Protestantism itself against its own excesses.   They naturally possessed, therefore, both a clearer and a deeper perception of its root fallacy than most Catholics could have, since Catholics could only see the final effects of this fallacy from outside Protestantism, but could not have learned from the same personal experience what were the fundamental failures from which these final effects had flowed.  On the other side, these same Anglican Divines were not prevented in the least by their position from maintaining what had been good in the original surge of Protestantism and what had been good in the general movement of Christian humanism from which it had proceeded.  To defend their allegiance to their own church against the Puritans, these men were actually led on to emphasize the best tendencies in the primitive Reformation, — and to emphasize them the more as the Caroline Divines wanted to discard the evils of the Reformation as it appeared in its full development.

Such a desire, of course, often succeeded in making up a Via Media that was merely an illogical and ineffective compromise between yes and no. But in some superior minds and loftier souls, it produced at least a few beautiful sparks, potential beginnings of something far better than a compromise. Not only Hooker, but Andrewes, Laud, and later Cosin and many others of that school saw clearly wherein lay the great failures of Protestantism: — that its pretence of going back to the Church of antiquity was unsound, and that it was in itself as much of a novelty with no precedent as was that state of affairs against which it was rebelling. And these same men saw clearly that in order to answer the Protestant rebellion it was hopeless to treasure, along with practices that were truly traditional, the merely medieval corruptions out of which the errors of Protestantism had previously developed. In these ways, and to this extent, the Caroline Divines rediscovered something of what Christian humanism might have become in the midst of Catholicism itself, had men like Cardinal Quignonez in Spain or Cardinal Pole in England and Italy been in the forefront rather than Luther and Calvin.

How, then, can we best sum up these primary intuitions of what the liturgy should be which the Caroline Divines exhibit both in their written works and in practices that were actually carried out for a time in the Church of England? These men felt, first, that the liturgy should be the common and effective worship of the Christian people. They were opposed, therefore, to any re-building of those screens between the sanctuary and the nave which some modern Anglo-Catholics were later to make so fashionable. The services were not to be performed by some specialists instead of the people, but actually by the people. And this desire did not imply anything anarchic or out of order, for these men had suffered from the Puritans’ recklessness in such matters and abhorred it. On the contrary, they understood that the Christian people as such was to constitute a Church only with due reverence paid to the hierarchy as instituted by Christ and His apostles, and to the institutions which had been received from authentic Christian antiquity.

According to the Caroline Divines, this Christian tradition was not to be received as a dead letter to be carried out only materially, in the exact shape in which they had received it from its most recent and more or less untrustworthy transmitters. The true tradition was rather to be disengaged from all spurious and unhealthy additions, and thus renewed in its primitive freshness, in order to be re-expressed in a frame which should make it accessible to the people of that day. Hence the insistence on the use of the vernacular, and on a systematic educational effort to make the people understand not only the letter but the spirit of the liturgy. Hence also the attempt to have the whole Bible read during the course of the ecclesiastical year, but read in its traditional context of praise and prayer, in constant reference to the mysteries of Christ’s life and Passion seen as permanently actual and living, in and for the Church.

However, what was the actual success of the Caroline Divines, and what was best in their thought and in their lives? The limitations of that success are no less instructive for us today than are their first principles themselves.

We must say, first of all, that in everything done by these men there was too great an element of intellectual aloofness, of a refined but unpopular aristocracy of the mind, to make their efforts successful except among the very few. We cannot admire too much the personal piety which is exhibited in the Preces Privatae of Lancelot Andrewes, or the familial way of worship and of Christian living shown by the community of Little Gidding with Nicholas Ferrar. But we must realize that these beautiful achievements were appreciated by very few people, and had no power of widespread influence, for they had too many of the qualities of the scholar and of the highbrow English gentleman to appeal to more than a very small elite.

Secondly, and in close connection with this first defect, we must realize that although their reconstruction of antiquity was much more successful than that which was so unjustifiably the boast of Protestantism, still it was an artificial reconstruction and not a true revival. They acknowledged occasionally that good qualities were to be found in many aspects of the Middle Ages or even in the Roman Catholicism of their times against which they struggled ceaselessly; yet these men were, in their deepest hearts, antiquarians. To recapture the past—a very beautiful past, it is true—and to make it stand immobile was their ideal. And such an ideal separated them from the living Church no less than from the living world.

But the most striking failure of their work arose directly from their being out of communion with the Church. What was admirable about their work, and what had such a measure of success that it has endured even until our days in the larger Anglican churches, and, especially, in the cathedrals, is a Divine Office which is not a devotion of specialists but a truly public Office of the whole Christian people. This Office has some defects:—an exaggerated brevity in the psalmody, a too easy acceptance of the contemporary fashion for elaborate polyphony which tended to make the Office once more something heard rather than sung by the people themselves; and, finally, too lengthy prayers of intercession (along the lines of those preces feriales and litanies of all kinds which were a legacy from the Medieval period). But, in spite of these defects, we must admit frankly that the Offices of Morning Prayer and of Evensong, as they are performed even today in St. Paul’s, Westminster Abbey, York Minster, or Canterbury Cathedral, are not only one of the most impressive, but also one of the purest forms of Christian common prayer to be found anywhere in the world. This success makes even more striking the almost complete failure of the work of the Caroline Divines with the very core of the Christian liturgy, that is, the Eucharistic celebration.

* * *

Fr Hunwicke makes this observation:

However, Cranmer was obsessed by the need for simplicity. Medieval clerics did not have an ORDO; they had to work things out for themselves. The raw materials were to be found in a Directorium called Pie. Cranmer, notoriously, observd that “the number and harshness of the Rules called the Pie, and the manifold changings of the Service, was [sic] the cause, that to turn the Book only was so hard and intricate a matter, that many times there was more business to find out what should be read, than to read it when it was found out”. So, lamentably, in his other draft Cranmer went instead for a lectionary based entirely on the civil year’s Calendar; Genesis started at the beginning of January and marched inexorably on, ignoring
the Ecclesiastical year. And this was the model which he followed in his first English Prayer Book of 1549.

These days, we can be thankful for a Sarum calendar. The Sarum Office is quite a handful, but really no more complicated than the 1568 Roman Breviary or the traditional Benedictine Office – provided you have the books. Personally I use the monastic office, in spite of its occasional incompatibilities with the Sarum missal. The books are easy to find – and read when travelling.

Here’s a convenient Monastic Diurnal (book of day hours without Matins) in Prayer Book English, which is in print and can be ordered.

* * *

Sorry these links are in French, but are indispensable for knowledge on the Breviary.

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7 Responses to Quiñones and Cranmer

  1. James C says:

    Father, I had my first experience of the Ordinariate Use this weekend in Oxford, and I have to say that Msgr. Burnham and his collaborators have done a spiffing job! I could so far as to say that they have succeeded where the Caroline Divines failed.

    • Michael Frost says:

      James, Do you know of a web site that has the entire liturgy available? They seemed to be hesitant to publish it on line. I can’t wait for Dale and others to opine. And to compare this liturgy to the various AWRV and RWRV liturgies.

    • What seems strange about this whole thing is that the Ordinariate project did not assimilate something originating within Anglicanism (Anglican Communion or the Continuum, other than “spare parts” and not a complete rite), but only reconstructed an “Anglican” tradition only from within the Roman Catholic Church. It is both symptomatic of the fact that Anglicanism does not have a satisfactory Eucharistic liturgy and the problems of the modern Roman rite. I can understand the position of those who say that there is no justification for the Ordinariates to have a proper rite, and therefore no justification for the Ordinariates themselves – that Anglicans should make the choice between staying where they are, “converting” or giving up religious practice. I don’t have such a position myself, but I’m outside it all, having chosen to join a continuing Anglican Church that never had anything to do with the Ordinariate movement.

      I remember once writing an article about an image of totally dismantling a car to take the pile of parts to another place, and then using only some of the better selected parts to build something new with them.

      The fact that their order of Mass has not been published would seem to indicate that there is no unanimity of support for it in the Roman Catholic Church and perhaps also within the Ordinariate communities. It is certainly not a secret withheld from anyone who attends an Ordinariate Mass, but a sign of fear of polemics. The matter itself is therefore controversial and not “settled”. That’s how it looks to me as someone very far from it all.

      Anglicanism once had a coherent Eucharistic liturgy – the Use of Sarum, as Rome had its rite, though subjected to a series of modifications since 1570. One would think that it would suffice to use a good English translation of Sarum (if the use of the vernacular is taken for granted) and do, things like revising and clarifying the rubrics. Such a translation was done by Canon Warren in 1911, and it is a very good one.

      • James C says:

        “It is both symptomatic of the fact that Anglicanism does not have a satisfactory Eucharistic liturgy and the problems of the modern Roman rite.”

        Indeed. Having experienced what I witnessed in Oxford makes me wish Paul VI had hired Anglo-Catholics to construct his new Mass (if he had to have a new one at all!). It didn’t seem cobbled together by a bureaucracy like the Novus Ordo: Leave it to Anglican liturgical artisans to craft a a rite that feels organic (at least when all the traditional options are chosen like they were in Oxford)!

        Alas it isn’t online yet—I suppose it may be controversial among some. Perhaps they want to wait until it is ready for publication.

        As for the Sarum in English option, well, of course. But certain things aren’t possible in the current climate, and that is one. This new Ordinariate Use is the best one could hope for, a very agreeable stew of the English Missal with the BCP (and its Sarum elements) and some Pauline seasoning.

      • Indeed, people have the informed choice of whether to join the Ordinariate or make other choices. This might be of interest to some of our readers, but I’m not personally concerned.

      • Dale says:

        Fr Anthony, I think, personally, that the issue with the Ordinariates is far graver than the simple problem of liturgy. I think that it will have a fairly short shelf life, and not from the same issues that affect so-called western rite Orthodoxy, but the simple problem of number of future clergy and the smallness of Anglican Use parishes. With the demand that all future clergy be celibates, I think that the vocation crisis affecting the rest of Rome will spell the doom of the Ordinariates.

        I am basing this upon what happened in Las Vegas, Nevada, with the Anglican use parish of St Mary’s; which was a fully converted parish of the Episcopal diocese, St Christopher’s, Boulder City, Nevada. The Anglican Use parish purchased a former Protestant church, restored it for traditional Catholic worship, and it was absolutely packed every Sunday; great choir, beautiful music and dignified worship; but when the founding priest, Fr Clark Tea, was forced to retire because of health issues, there was no one to take over, and the local Roman diocese, whose average parish numbers in the thousands, was not going to waste even a once a week, Sunday, priest for a few hundred ex-Anglicans. The property was sold and is now a mini-mart parking lot; the people, several of whom I know personally, arrived one Sunday for Mass to be confronted with a hand-written note stuck on the front doors telling that from now on they were to attend the local Roman Catholic parish; no one had even been informed that the parish was closing. I think that this will most likely be the end result; there are simply not enough Anglican Use members to really warrant wasting priests on them.

        I am not blaming the local Roman authorities for what happened; they simply have no priests for a booming diocese; from a pastoral stand-point it would make no sense to continue to service a, by their standards, small Anglican group who, once again from a Roman stand-point, simply want pretty liturgies.

      • Michael Frost says:

        Dale, Would be interesting if someone would ever write the history of the American Anglican Use parishes. Circa approximately 1981-2013. There were so few to begin with, they never had much critical mass, and their numbers seemed to be slowly declining over time. I always wondered how many actually worshipped using the 1979 BCP dumbed-down Rite (II?) versus the other more traditional Rite (I?). My brother went to one in Las Vegas back in the 1980s or 1990s. Sadly, unlike say the PNCC, I never was in a city on a Sunday that had one. I reget never having had the chance to worship in one.

        Your thoughts about the Ordinariates clergy and the Ordinariate’s relationship with local diocesesan bishops are probably accurate. The one Ordinariate priest I’m aware of in my State has been working in a regular Latin Rite (Novus Ordo) parish for some time. At first to fill in for a priest on leave/sabbatical, but now assigned. I doubt he’s using the Ordinariate liturgy for any liturgies, though I do hope he can and does some during weekdays. Would seem so sad to go Ordinariate and then not be able to worship publicly with the liturgy.

        One reason I want to study this new liturgy is to see how the liturgy reflects Rome’s uncategorical rejection of both Canturbury’s historic Eucharistic theology as well as the validity of their ordinations. I suspect that every major change made was to ensure that no Ordinariate RC could argue that Rome’s acceptance of this new liturgy implied any acceptance whatsoever of the validity of either their former Anglican clergy or former Anglican Eucharist? Thus the need to study both the Offertory and Eucharistic canon.

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