‘With the inclusion of... a liturgical provision in Anglicanorum coetibus, the Holy See acknowledged the legitimate patrimony of Anglican ecclesial communities coming into full communion. The presumption here is that an essential part of that patrimony must be liturgical since worship expresses in a most tangible way not only the ethos of a community, but also the faith that prompted it to seek full communion in the first place. Just as it would be unthinkable to describe the Catholic Church without reference to its liturgical and sacramental life, so it would in some sense be for every ecclesial body. The manner in which an ecclesial community worships uniquely expresses its inner life.
The publication of Divine Worship was of historic significance in that this is the first time the Catholic Church acknowledged the value of liturgical forms in use in communities that emerged in the sixteenth century reformations and, moreover, undertaken to incorporate them. To be sure, the Church over the years has drawn elements of the musical traditions of these communities — such as hymns, motets, and chorales — but never official liturgical texts or usage.
…It is remarkable that the Catholic Church should have undertaken a formal process such as the Anglicanae traditiones Commission to identify and incorporate the richness of Anglican liturgical practice. In constituting a body of authoritative texts duly approved and promulgated by the Holy See, Divine Worship is true to the fundamental character of a liturgical “patrimony”.
It is massively important to recognise that the liturgical books comprised by Divine Worship arise from an exercise of Peter’s authority over the churches that recognises the authentic faith of the Church expressed in Anglican forms of worship and confirms that expression as a treasure or patrimony for the whole Church. In other words, the universal Church recognises the faith that is already hers expressed felicitously in another idiom. The elements of sanctification and truth that are present in the Anglican patrimony are recognised as properly belonging to the Church of Christ and thus as instruments of grace that move the communities where they are employed towards the visible unity of the Church of Christ subsisting in the Catholic Church (cf. Lumen Gentium, 8). By further enriching those expressions through access to the Magisterium that authentically interprets the Word of God and preserves Christian teaching from error, the Catholic Church proposes this form of worship anew as an efficacious means of sacramental grace for future generations.
To be sure, the sources are Anglican, and many of the liturgical texts in Divine Worship have their origin in a situation of ecclesial rupture. Yet there is a powerful dynamism at work in the reintroduction of these texts in communities now in full communion with the See of Peter. It is not just that they are given a “new lease on life” in a new context or successive generation. These liturgical forms “return” to the Church having been purified and transformed in Catholic communion. Words pronounced at other times and in other context are no longer simply Cranmer’s poetry or an English assertion of independence from Rome, or now merely the eloquence or piety of the priest celebrant who speaks them, but rather the words of the Church and her faith’.
from a talk entitled Anglican Patrimony: A Perspective from the Holy See
given at a conference The Gospel and the Catholic Church: Anglican Patrimony Today
Oxford, April 2018, by Archbishop Augustine Di Noia OP
‘Am I grateful for my Anglican heritage? Yes, I am. Where did I first learn the Catholic Faith? At home, in the vicarage. Therefore I rejoiced when news of the Ordinariate came from Rome. I have been hoping for something like this for years.
…The Pastor of the nations is reaching out to give you a special place within the Catholic Church. United in communion, but not absorbed - that sums up the unique and privileged status former Anglicans will enjoy in their Ordinariates.
Catholics in full communion with the Successor of St Peter, you will be gathered in distinctive communities that preserve elements of Anglican worship, spirituality and culture that are compatible with Catholic faith and morals. Each Ordinariate will be an autonomous structure, like a diocese, but something between a Personal Prelature (as in Opus Dei, purely spiritual jurisdiction), or a Military Ordinariate (for the Armed Forces). In some ways, the Ordinariate will even be similar to a Rite (the Eastern Catholic Churches). You will enjoy your own liturgical “use” as Catholics of the Roman Rite. At the same time your Ordinaries, bishops or priests, will work alongside diocesan bishops of the Roman Rite and find their place within the Episcopal Conference in each nation or region.
There is no “hidden agenda” here, no popish trap!... This is a step of faith in Jesus Christ and his Church. It involves accepting all the teachings of the Church on faith and morals. Such a personal assent of faith needs to be formed and informed. To use an Anglican expression, please “read, mark, learn and inwardly digest” the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This summarises the Faith “once given”, embodied in one Word of God that comes to us, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, through Scripture and Tradition.
There will be sacrifices, but humility and suffering are parts of a faith journey - and many of you have already suffered much for the sake of conscience.
Yet you do not come to the Ordinariates with empty hands. As I learnt forty two years ago, you will lose nothing - but you will regain an inheritance stolen from us four centuries ago. That heritage was largely recovered by the giants of the Oxford Movement. I believe they smile on us now. In these early days, let us keep praying with them, so that together we may patiently work out how Pope Benedict’s project can be achieved’.
Bishop Peter Elliott, 2010 (Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Melbourne, 2007-2018)
‘Among the opinions we can be sure to encounter is a certain uneasiness with our Missal’s use of traditional language and even the snarky charge that Divine Worship is really just a “Tudorbethan fantasy, an exercise in mock-Tudor nostalgia, or a Cranmerian pastiche with limited appeal and prospects only for evangelising a small set of gin-sipping anglophiles.” I exaggerate for effect, but only slightly – just wait until the blogs light up and start smoking with both sharp criticism and misplaced praise for the linguistic register of Divine Worship. Criticism of our sacral dialect is to be expected and is in fact quite understandable, given what we’ve lived through in the general linguistic confusion of the last fifty years and given the unfortunate politicising of liturgical expression, but I would suggest too that such misapprehension can be an occasion to rediscover and rethink the evangelising potential of Catholic worship in our distinct sacral idiom.
First observation: Liturgical language is not primarily a means of description or information; it is not and has never been the diffuse idiom of everyday communication and commerce; rather it is the Church’s focused, concentrated instrument of mediation to effect, to incarnate our participation in the saving mysteries of our faith and to immerse, to wash the faithful in the figural meanings of Holy Scripture.
Second observation: Liturgical language is stylised, enacted speech with its own kind of intelligibility, and far from excluding archaic elements it welcomes a modicum of traditional expressions and some ritualised conventions that “reach to the roots”, resonate in the auditory memory, and habituate an experience of worship wider, deeper, older than ourselves, transcending the gathered congregation in time and space to represent and configure our incorporation into the Communion of the Saints.
Third observation: Liturgical language is recursive and immersive; it bears and demands repetition, day by day, week by week, season by season, year by year, without ever exhausting its capacity to stimulate meditation and work ongoing conversion of life; its words are “poetic” in the sense of being athletic, even ascetic, by gently, insistently stretching the limits of expression in order to exercise, train, tune, and elevate our faculties that we might lift up our hearts to God and open out our lives in love and service.
Along these lines, recent decades have seen some new appreciation of the function of liturgical language, though it’s been an appreciation forged in fires of controversy and some ashes of compromise - as well you know. Still the ecclesial context is vital – what a difference it makes to be fully, unambiguously Catholic! Words, of course, signify their meanings in context, according to their arrangement, occasion, and purpose, the time, place, and attitude of their utterance (ad placitum ab suppositio as medieval grammarians were fond of saying). When we recite the familiar words of the Nicene Creed, I believe one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, those words must mean something very different to us as Catholics than when we said the same words as Anglicans (with our fingers crossed!). It makes a profound difference to pray the Mass with the Collect for Purity at the beginning and the Prayer of Thanksgiving at the end, clustered now not around an equivocal Prayer of Consecration (one not altogether clear about what exactly it’s doing), but irradiating from the confidence of the Roman Canon and the power of the Holy Sacrifice. Such a context can literally transfigure the significance of familiar words. Yet we also know from our Anglican experience that the rich words of the Prayer Book can fall flat and ring hollow when an otherwise lovely lex orandi gets detached from an authoritative lex credendi and leaves lex vivendi prey to the zeitgeist of “lifestyle politics” and sets souls adrift.
It seems to me, then, that we have to learn to read our own Anglican history and to examine our habits and affections in a new key, a new context, not so much for the defensive retention of a “goodly heritage”, but to discover in its resources a new impetus for transfiguring mission’.
from a talk entitled Very Members Incorporate:
Some Reflections on the Sacral Language of Divine Worship
2 February 2015, by Dr Clinton Allen Brand KSG
‘The idea that there is a unique Anglican approach to Scripture was first proposed to me years ago during those first conversations that would eventually lead to the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. I must confess, initially I found this idea puzzling, partly because the greater incorporation of Sacred Scripture in the liturgical life of the Church is one of the express desires of the Second Vatican Council and even more recently underscored by the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God and the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini of Pope Benedict XVI. And yet, consistently and from various sources both Anglican and Catholic, historical and contemporary, one finds the assertion that the Anglican liturgy is distinguished by the prominence it gives to Scripture in the conduct of public worship and in the promotion of biblical piety.
There is a culture within Anglicanism wherein scriptural words, and images are almost a default starting position, a culture nourished and preserved in the parochial celebration of the Divine Office. This bears witness to the hallowed tradition of English monasticism which informs so much of Anglican worship. Additionally, the inclusion of the various scriptural “touchstones” throughout the Eucharistic liturgy (the Summary of the Law, the Comfortable Words, the Sentences, the fraction anthem “Christ our Passover”) is a distinctive Anglican feature which informs, underscores and punctuates the liturgical action. While the biblical intuition is present from the very beginning of Anglicanism when the insistence on the vernacular found expression in the beauty of the King James Bible and “Prayer Book English”, this approach to Scripture is more about reading the Bible liturgically, allowing the words and poetic cadences to linger, penetrate, and take root in the soul as a sustained, communal lectio.
Let us be mindful, though, that this approach to Holy Scripture is what one might call “less tangible” patrimony. One cannot point to it as demonstrably as one would point to, say, Evensong. As patrimony goes, its contours are much more subtle, defying both simple definition and replication. And yet, one need but read some of the Pastoral and Plain Sermons of John Henry Newman to see an eloquent example of this approach’.
from a talk entitled The Mission of the Ordinariate given 2 February 2013 in Houston
by Bishop Steven Lopes
The photos above show the Church of St John the Evangelist, Calgary, in the Canadian province of Alberta, whose Feast of Title it is today. It was my very great privilege to be able to serve this parish for almost nine years as both the Anglican priest-in-charge and, six months later, the Catholic parish priest, a feat that was only possible on account of the courage and faith of the people in accepting, all the way back in 2010, the gracious invitation of Pope Benedict XVI to enter into the fulness of Catholic communion under the provision of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. It was a document that gave life and hope for the future to this historic Anglo-Catholic Prayer Book parish in the Anglican Diocese of Calgary (second only in age to the cathedral). Happy feast day, St John’s clergy and parishioners!
Hosanna! yet again,
Another glorious day,
Ye cherubs sing and play,
Ye seraphs swell the strain.
Hail! highly favour’d man,
Thy name and lot transcend
All praise that e’er was penn’d
Since first the verse began.
O dear to Christ supreme,
His bosom friend declar’d,
And yet for all he car’d
With tenderness extreme.
As Benjamin was blest,
When he to Egypt came,
By Joseph full of fame,
And honour’d o’er the rest.
But Christ was meek and poor,
No chariot his to ride,
No Goshen to divide,
No favours to procure.
Yet in his realms above,
Which are the highest heav’n,
First of th’ elect elev’n,
Thou claim’st thy master’s love.
Christopher Smart, 1722-1771
Merciful Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church: that she being enlightened by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that she may at length attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Today marks the ninth anniversary of the promulgation in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum cœtibus. It was this Constitution which gave life to the personal ordinariates on three continents, and which provides the norms by which the ordinariates were established and their ecclesial lives governed.
The Constitution represents a great gift on the part of the Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church to those Anglicans who, over many years, petitioned the Holy See for some form of corporate reunion with the Catholic Church. That response - the gift of the ordinariates as the means for achieving this prophetic unity - continues to be a blessing to those of us who have accepted this most generous offer and now abide happily in peace and safety - and with not a few precious treasures of our Anglican heritage in tact - within the Barque of Peter.
The full text can be read here.
‘[T]he Holy Father Benedict XVI – Supreme Pastor of the Church and, by mandate of Christ, guarantor of the unity of the episcopate and of the universal communion of all the Churches – has shown his fatherly care for those Anglican faithful (lay, clerics and members of Institutes of Consecrated life and of Societies of Apostolic Life) who have repeatedly petitioned the Holy See to be received into full Catholic Communion.
The Introduction to the Apostolic Constitution lays out the ratio legis of the provision emphasising a number of things which it might be useful to point out:
The Church, which in its unity and diversity is modelled on the Most Holy Trinity, was instituted as “a sacrament – a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all people” (Lumen gentium, 1). For this reason every division among the baptised wounds that which the Church is and that for which the Church exists, and constitutes, therefore, a scandal in that it contradicts the prayer of Jesus before his passion and death (cf. John 17:20-21).
Ecclesial communion, established by the Holy Spirit who is the principle of unity in the Church, is, by analogy with the mystery of the Incarnate Word, at the same time both invisible (spiritual) and visible (hierarchically organised). The communion among the baptised, therefore, if it is to be full communion, must be “visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff”.
Although the one Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church governed by the Successor of Peter and the Bishops in union with him, there are also elements of sanctification and of truth to be found outside her visible confines, in the Churches and Christian Communities separated from her, which, because these elements are gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling towards Catholic unity.
Those Anglican faithful who, under the promptings of the Holy Spirit, have asked to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church have been moved towards unity by those elements of the Church of Christ which have always been present in their personal and communal lives as Christians.
For this reason, the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus by the Holy Father, together with what will follow from this, indicate in a particular way the movement of the Holy Spirit.
The juridical means by the which the Holy Father has decided to receive these Anglicans into full Catholic communion is the erection of Personal Ordinariates (I § 1)’.
from The Significance of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum cœtibus
by Fr Gianfranco Ghirlanda SJ
‘The English tradition both before and after the Reformation has left its mark on Catholic theology, worship, and pastoral practice. One need only think, for example, of Blessed John Henry Newman whose influence on the Second Vatican Council has been well documented and acknowledged. With the publication of Anglicanorum coetibus, there is now a structure within the Catholic Church that both gives that English tradition concrete expression as well as fosters is growth. The Ordinariate, with its “catholicised” English liturgical patrimony, is being invited to be a guardian and promoter of its own long and varied tradition as a gift to be shared with the whole Church.
The institutional importance of Divine Worship for the Ordinariates is considerable. More than simply giving the Ordinariates an outward distinctiveness that creates a profile for their parishes in the vast sea of Catholic parochial life, Divine Worship gives voice to the faith and tradition of prayer that has nourished the Catholic identity of the Anglican tradition. There is much in this tradition that remains to be recovered: the zeal for sacred beauty, parochial experience of the Divine Office, a robust devotional life, a developed biblical piety, the vast treasure of sacred music’.
from Divine Worship and the Liturgical Vitality of the Church by Archbishop Augustine Di Noia OP
‘I believe the very existence of the Ordinariates is a manifestation of the determination of the Catholic Church to pursue the quest for Christian unity in the face of mounting difficulties. Your bond with the Successor of St Peter is an expression of his role as “the first servant of unity”. To those outside the Church you give a witness of the unity in diversity, even within the visible expressions of the Latin Rite. Within the Church you are a sign of the presence of the Universal Church in the particular Churches. Moreover, within the full communion of the Catholic Church you are called to share in the mission of evangelisation, bringing the specific gifts that form part of your patrimony.
...[A]ll of this can only be achieved if we understand communion not simply as a theological or canonical notion, but as something that has be lived and expressed in practice in sharing our daily lives with each other and with the other more traditional structures of the Church. It is our ongoing response to the suggestions of the Holy Spirit calling us to the perfection of charity, to holiness’.
from a talk by Fr Gerald Sheehan at the 2015 Ordinariate Festival
Church of the Most Precious Blood, London Bridge
Nine years ago today came the news from Rome (announced by William Cardinal Levada) and London (announced at a joint press conference by the Archbishops of Westminster and Canterbury) that the Holy See was to establish the provision of personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering into the Catholic Church. It was an historic day, one that I recall vividly as I sat reading the news, with a giddy head and pounding heart, at the desk in the study of my Anglican rectory in Calgary. Whilst it wasn’t easy to take in the magnitude of what was being heralded, my instinctive reaction was one of unbounded joy and excitement. I ran up the stairs, calling to my wife: ‘They’ve done it! They’ve made a home for us!’ I was an immediate and enthusiastic convert, eager to learn the detail of this offer (the actual document, the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, wouldn’t be published for another twenty days), and to share what was being offered with my parishioners, in hope – though not necessarily expectation – that they would share my enthusiasm for exploring what this might mean, in practical terms, for our small Anglican community.
Just over two years later, and after much discussion, prayer, study, and constructive negotiation with our Anglican brethren in the local diocese, we entered into the fulness of Catholic communion with the Successor of Saint Peter, ‘lock, stock, and barrel’, as it were. And so this newly-minted Catholic community of the Ordinariate began a fresh chapter in its century-old life, having succeeded in the goal of all true ecumenical dialogue – realised ecumenism – which is only possible within what Blessed John Henry Newman memorably called, ‘the one fold of the Redeemer’.
St John’s, Calgary continues its life and mission as one of the founding parishes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, and my prayers today on this anniversary are for its clergy and people as they endeavour to preserve the great treasures – spiritual, liturgical, and pastoral – of our Anglican patrimony, and share them with the wider Church to which they are now happily joined. Oh, yes, and a prayer of thanksgiving is also due to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, without whom none of us in the Ordinariate would be where we are today!
O Lord Jesus Christ, who, when thou wast about to suffer, didst pray for thy disciples to the end of time that they might all be one, as thou art in the Father, and the Father in thee, look down in pity on the manifold divisions among those who profess thy faith, and heal the many wounds which the pride of man and the craft of Satan have inflicted upon thy people. Break down the walls of separation which divide one party and denomination of Christians from another… and bring them all into that one communion which thou didst set up in the beginning, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Teach all men that the see of Saint Peter, the Holy Church of Rome, is the foundation, centre, and instrument of unity. Open their hearts to the long-forgotten truth that our Holy Father, the Pope, is thy Vicar and Representative; and that in obeying him in matters of religion, they are obeying thee, so that as there is but one holy company in heaven above, so likewise there may be but one communion, confessing and glorifying thy holy Name here below. Amen.
Blessed John Henry Newman, 1801-1890
‘Anglicanism and the official Protestant bodies tolerate almost every species of heterodox theology and disordered morality. The Anglicans, who once claimed to follow St Vincent of Lerins in holding only what all Christians at all times and in all places have believed, now teach what has never been believed anywhere by anyone, even on the far left of heresy… A man can deny the Virgin Birth and Bodily Resurrection of Christ and end up as Lord Bishop of Durham. There is even a “Sea of Faith” group for Anglican atheists. The chief consequence of twentieth-century ecumenism would seem to be the even greater distancing of the Reformation communities from the Catholic Church. The hopes of the Anglo-Papalists are in ruins. Or are they? In 2009, by the motu proprio Anglicanorum coetibus, Pope Benedict XVI established a Personal Ordinariate for Anglicans reconciled with the Catholic Church, which would seem to fulfil the aspirations of the long neglected Anglo-Papalists of the 1930s. As Archbishop Augustine Di Noia OP has recently said, in the Ordinariate we see a work of the Holy Spirit and an answer to the Church’s prayers for Christian unity. Reunion has come to pass, not “all round”, but for those brave souls who relinquished the material comforts of the Anglican Establishment in order to profess the Catholic faith, in the divine integrity of its truth, with and under Peter’.
Fr John Saward, from his foreword to Reunion Revisited: 1930s Ecumenism Exposed, 2017
by Fr Mark Vickers
Continuing the theme of yesterday’s feast of Our Lady of Walsingham, today I’m sharing the original version of the Walsingham Pilgrim Hymn, written by Sir William Milner (1893-1960) and sung to the tune Lourdes, with its familiar refrain of the Aves. The hymn was revised by Father Hope Patten’s successor as Administrator of the Anglican shrine, Father Colin Stephenson, in 1960 (after Sir William’s death that year, and two years after Hope Patten’s death - canny timing, that). The version below is taken from the third edition of the The Pilgrims’ Manual, dated 1949 (the first edition was published in 1928, but the hymn predates this, as Father Cobb, in his history of the shrine, indicates that the first issue of Our Lady’s Mirror in 1926 mentions the hymn). In my 1949 manual the hymn is prefaced with these brief words of explanation: ‘This processional is based on the mediaeval legend, long loved by our Catholic forefathers’.
Comparing the two versions is an interesting exercise in literary taste, history, memory, and mixed emotion. The older form of the hymn is longer by five verses and, for those who enjoy the stuff of legend, it happily fleshes it out somewhat, particularly on the detail of Richeldis’ vision of the Virgin and the miraculous circumstances of the erection of the Holy House at the hands of Our Lady herself, with Lady Richeldis’ chaplain receiving an honourable mention. Also notable is that whereas the updated version of the hymn references Henry VIII as a ‘king who had greed in his eyes’ (the older version speaks, more poetically, of his ‘covetous eyes’) in relation to the treasures and wealth of the shrine, the older version sounds a more merciful note of regal rehabilitation (‘But his soul did repent, when he came for to die/And to Walsingham’s Lady for mercy did cry’). This is lacking in the present form, which feels, to me at least, notwithstanding the historical accuracy, just a tad heart-rending (especially when the accompanying organ sounds an ominous note during the verse; though I do realise that this is much enjoyed by others of a more mischievous disposition).
Father Stephenson’s version also includes a curious verse which, like the above, as an Anglican I always considered peculiar given the shrine’s place within the life of the established Church of England. Now, as a Catholic of the Ordinariate, it’s certainly much easier, theologically, to sing (‘And this realm which had once been Our Lady’s own Dower/Had its Church now enslaved by the secular power’), but its continued presence within the canon of the Walsingham Pilgrim Hymn of the Anglican shrine is even more baffling in light of the happy existence of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Sir William’s version makes no mention of this emasculation, thus rendering it more coherent for those Anglicans who have not (yet) taken up the generous offer of the Ordinariate which, if nothing else, promises that liberty for the Church from the slavish excesses of the secular power...
Of course the older version had its critics long before Father Stephenson amended it. Michael Yelton, in his excellent history of Father Hope Patten and the Anglican shrine, notes that Sir William’s words ‘have often been criticised for their banality,’ and references Bishop Henley Henson’s (then-Bishop of Durham) attack on it as ‘pitiable rubbish’. But in these days of revived traditional worship in its hieratic register of English (think Divine Worship: The Missal...), I rather like it. It won’t catch on too widely, of course, because the present version, now nearly sixty years old, is much-treasured, not least because there are some memorable and even fun verses to be found therein (‘Then lift high your voices, rehearse the glad tale/Of Our Lady’s appearing in Stiffkey’s fair vale’, and ‘So crowded were roads that the stars, people say/That shine in the heavens were called Walsingham Way,’ for example). Nonetheless, perhaps Sir William’s old hymn can be dusted off and brought out in an Ordinariate context from time to time where the rhyming of ‘meads’ with ‘bedes’ is happily married in verse, and where the use of such old-fashioned phrases as ‘celestial-crowned’, ‘full wondrous’, ‘for to die’, ‘right soon’, ‘forthwith goodly store’, and the like might be regarded as (albeit antiquated) treasures to be shared... Anyway, judge it for yourself.
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham, Patroness of the Personal Ordinariates of Our Lady of Walsingham in England and Wales (where it is a solemnity), and of the Chair of St Peter in the United States and Canada. Devotion to Our Lady under this ancient title is something held very dear by Catholics and Anglo-Catholics alike, and for those of us who came into the fulness of Catholic communion in the See of St Peter through the provision of Anglicanorum coetibus, it is especially significant. Before today’s feast was appointed as such on the calendar, in 2000, today was Our Lady of Ransom. It was a feast which, in England, focused the Church’s attention on the conversion of England, the return of apostates, and the forgotten dead. All appropriate themes given the ravages of the Reformation, and equally appropriate, then, that this devotion should be localised to the great and historic centre of Marian devotion and pilgrimage in England in Walsingham, a place which has become a focus for intense prayer for the reunion of Christendom, and for the rightful return of England to Our Lady as part of her divinely-given earthly dower. The photos above are from a visit to Walsingham in October last year. Our daughter Richeldis is greeting her namesake (the Saxon noblewoman, Richeldis de Faverches, to whom Our Lady appeared in this village in 1061), and our son Dominic is assisting me as I offer the Holy Sacrifice, according to Divine Worship, in the Slipper Chapel, under the watchful gaze of Our Lady of Walsingham... and our daughter Verity. A blessed feast!
‘At Walsingham we should glory in all that unites us, and mourn in deepest penitence for all that divides us. In this place where we have recovered so much we may regard prayer for the full recovery of Catholic unity as a special obligation.
What of the future? It is the hope of all concerned with the Shrine that it may more and more take its place as a great spiritual force for evangelism and conversion in this land which was once “our Lady’s Dowry,” and which is so many ways at the present day is no great credit to her patronage. It is a visible demonstration in this world of unbelief that God became man in the fullest sense - He had a human mother - He lived in an ordinary little house - all these things are stated without equivocation in the Shrine of the Holy House of our Lady of Walsingham, and perhaps as you [ponder] its foundation, destruction, and restoration in our own time you may be led to think that God has allowed this to happen that the message of “The Word made Flesh” may come with special force in this age of materialism and that the warmth of devotion from England’s Nazareth may play its part in the conversion of England’.
from England’s Nazareth: A History of the Holy Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, 1959
by Donald Hole, revised by Colin Stephenson
O Mary, recall the solemn moment when Jesus, thy Divine Son, dying on the Cross, confided us to thy maternal care. Thou art our Mother, we desire ever to remain thy devout children. Let us, therefore, feel the effects of thy powerful intercession with Jesus Christ. Make thy Name again glorious in this place once renowned throughout our land by thy visits, favours, and many miracles. Pray, O Holy Mother of God, for the conversion of England, restoration of the sick, consolation for the afflicted, repentance of sinners, peace to the departed. O blessed Mary, Mother of God, our Lady of Walsingham, intercede for us. Amen. - Walsingham Pilgrims’ Manual.
O Lord, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church: and, because she cannot continue in safety without thy succour; preserve her evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Collect for the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, from Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘This is one of the most popular of the collects, especially loved by the clergy who are inclined to include it in any set of prayers they are called upon to say.
And why should they not? It is concerned with the Church, the special family of God to whose service they are pledged, and it emphasises the intimate relation the Church bears to God. It is his Church, the particular instrument of his revelation and redemption, the means by which the work of his Son is continued through the generations, the ‘body’ by which the Christ still functions on the earth.
As such it is of immediate concern to everyone of us. It is not a remote, inaccessible ideal. It is our near neighbour in the local parish church; it brings heaven to the meanest mission altar; it is on our doorstep in the figure of vicar or curate.
...“Let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church”. God’s agape or love, which is the very essence of his being, when it is directed towards men, the human element in the Church, necessarily manifests itself as pity or compassion. From the supreme height of his power and purity we must appear of a frailty that must call out all his desire to protect. Consequently having been cleansed, the Church prays to be defended, having full confidence that God will answer the prayer.
...The fact is that in the midst of all these dangers, open or disguised, the Church cannot continue in safety without God’s succour. We therefore ask him not only to set up a defensive barrier against its perils but also to preserve his Church evermore by filling it with his goodness.
What precisely the goodness of God means in this connection it may not be easy to say. But at least it includes the notion of kindness, which is of the essence of God’s nature and the foundation of all human virtues.
The safety of the Church depends entirely on God’s kindness, that is, compassionate love, and if all depends on kindness, obviously the Church herself must endeavour to reflect the same fundamental virtue. Our essential safety depends on our continued possession of it.
If we become afraid of losing love, or fear that kindness is disappearing from the Church, let us remember that the indwelling life of the Church is the Spirit and that Spirit is love. We can only lose the Spirit by losing life itself, and that the Church can never do’.
from Reflections on the Collects, 1964
by William Wand KCVO, 1885-1977 (Bishop of London 1945-1955)
Keep, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy: and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall; keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Collect for the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity, Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘The Collect is ancient and, with the [Prayer Book] Epistle and Gospel, is the same as used before the Reformation, though both Epistle and Gospel are lengthened. It is interesting to notice how constantly the frailty of our nature is insisted on in the Collects.
In this Collect as elsewhere in the Prayer Book we call ourselves God’s Church. Keep us, thy Church, with thy perpetual mercy! We need God's protection because of our frailty or fragility; our good resolutions are so apt to be broken. So we ask to be kept from hurtful things to be given things profitable to our salvation.
...The Collect does not tell us the names of the things we need, but it says plainly that we need God’s help to keep us from things hurtful. God’s help comes to us through prayer and sacrament, through conscience guiding us, through God's holy inspiration, through the gifts of the Spirit, and they will lead us to things profitable to our salvation.
Just as we need to be careful about little things if we are to be profitable, in things spiritual we must be equally careful if they are to be profitable to our salvation. We need above all things the gift of holy fear... [w]e should be afraid to think or say or do anything which would injure God’s Holy Name, or his Word or his Church. If we have this sort of fear it will lead us to things profitable to our salvation’.
from Teaching the Collects, 1965, by H.E. Sheen
Almighty and everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Collect for the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘The Collect is very ancient and, together with the Epistle and Gospel [in the Prayer Book], is the same as used in England before the Reformation.
This Collect asks for an increase of the three Christian virtues, faith, hope and love, which are also gifts of the Spirit. St Paul said these gifts would abide when the extraordinary gifts of the Church’s earlier days would pass away. Once more the Collect reminds us that mere obedience will not suffice; we must love to do what God commands. Our obedience must not be thaa of a servant, but that of a child.
It was Quinquagesima when we spoke about these three Christian virtues mentioned in today’s Collect, and we dealt very fully with the last - charity. Now although charity may well be the greatest of these three virtues, we cannot do without faith and hope. They form a kind of Trinity of virtues because each is necessary to the others; they are complementary, they complete each other, and all are necessary if we are to obtain God’s promises’.
from Teaching the Collects, 1965, by H.E. Sheen
Today is the Passion of Saint John the Baptist (the ‘Decollation’ in old money), and on account of Saint John being the patron of the Ordinariate deanery in Canada (because St John is the older patron of (French) Canada; being officially proclaimed so by Pope St Pius X in 1908) today is observed as a feast in those communities of the Dominion. So a very blessed feast day to the Ordinariate clergy and faithful in the True North. May the prayers of St John Baptist keep you strong in that faith once delivered to the saints.
‘Dance for me’, time
says. ‘Half of my kingdom
if you dance well’.
The machine does so
Coming with its request
At the end not
For humanity’s head but
Its heart on a platter.
R.S. Thomas, 1913-2000
Almighty and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh that thy faithful people do thee true and laudable service: grant, we beseech thee; that we may so faithfully serve thee in this life, that we fail not finally to attain thy heavenly promises; through the merits of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Collect for the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘This is most certainly a prayer that assumes that human beings are made in the image of God to be his servants not only in this life but in the age to come. They are creatures who by God’s mercy look forward to a rich, full and everlasting life in the kingdom of God, where their service of the Lord will be richer and fuller and progress from glory to glory. However, in this prayer is also the biblical assumption that the fulness and quality of the life to be enjoyed in the age to come is related to the type of life that is lived in this evil age.
The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is addressed as the “Almighty” (the Sovereign, All-powerful) and as “merciful” (showing pity and love to the undeserving). Then, in bowing before his presence (by the device grammatically of the relative clause) his people remember that their vocation in this world, as Christians in the Household of God, is that they serve God fruitfully even as they daily pray, “Thy will be done”. Also they remember that their right serving of their God and Father is dependent upon his gift to them of grace, mercy, wisdom and strength. The little word “only” emphasises that they are wholly dependent on God’s help to serve him aright.
If the vocation of the creature is to serve the Creator, who is the Father and the Judge, in the name and merits of Christ Jesus, then it is most appropriate for the people of God to ask for spiritual strength to offer this service daily in the right mind and attitude and with appropriate fervour and consecration. “Grant, we beseech thee,” is an emphatic way of showing total dependence and asking for total help with the intention of offering complete service.
The end of man is to enjoy and glorify God for ever. The Gospels and Epistles place before Christian believers an array of promises of eternal life with rewards for those who, in this world and life, faithfully serve the Lord and their fellow men. Implied in the words of petition is a warning that we may fail to attain to the enjoyment of the content of the promises of heavenly bliss.
This prayer is offered not only through the one Mediator, Jesus Christ, but specifically through “the merits” of the same Lord, for the attainment of the promises is only possible by what he has done for us and for our salvation’.
Peter Toon, 1939-2009
Almighty and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire, or deserve: pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Collect for the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity from Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘God is always ready to take the initiative. That is where he differs so markedly from ourselves, and also is the distinguishing mark of his bounty. Of that bounty three distinct features are suggested by the collect: his benevolence, his forgiveness, and his generosity.
First, his benevolence, his goodwill, is shown markedly in the fact that his knowledge of our need is greater than ours and his giving is consequently more thoughtful than ours. He anticipates our wants like a mother choosing presents for her child. He knows our actual need and takes the earliest step in teaching us to realise it too. In fact, he induces us to want what we need.
He is even more ready to hear than we pray. One would have thought that we should have been quick enough to ask for anything we want, but God is quicker still, waiting for us to make our request.
This suggestion of readiness is contained in the term “mercy” which comprises the content of two Hebrew words, one meaning active benevolence and the other steadfast reliability. God is not kind by fits and starts, as were the old pagan gods and goddesses. He always continues in one stay: in him is no variableness nor shadow cast by turning. He is the same, good and kind, yesterday, today, and for ever’.
from Reflections on the Collects, 1964
by William Wand KCVO, 1885-1977 (Bishop of London 1945-1955)
O God, who declarest thy almighty power most chiefly in shewing mercy and pity; mercifully grant unto us such a measure of thy grace; that we, running the way of thy commandments, may obtain thy gracious promises, and be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Collect for the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity from Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘Today’s Collect begins with a wonderful thought. God does not chiefly show His almighty power by the great and marvellous things that He does, but by His mercy and and pity towards us, whom He has created, and who have sinned so badly and so often. He desires above all things that we should be free from every taint and influence of sin. It is more wonderful to think of God forgiving the sinner than performing marvellous works. The chief way in which He declares His almighty power is by showing mercy and pity.
...We sometimes think that pity means being sorry for someone and saying so. That is not what God’s pity means. It goes with mercy, and means that God not only sympathises with us, but actually does something to relieve our suffering and sin. He shows mercy. The Publican in [the] Gospel shows how God's pity works. He prayed “God be merciful to me a sinner”. After his prayer he felt different. Jesus said, “He went down to his house justified rather than the other”. He felt in his heart God's mercy and pity. He felt God's pity, and so he was sure of His mercy’.
from Teaching the Collects, 1965, by H.E. Sheen
Let thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of thy humble servants: and that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please thee; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Collect for the Tenth Sunday after Trinity from Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘To pray is to speak to God. Our Collect is about prayer. We ought to be able to speak to God about anything, including our thoughts and actions. He is interested in us and likes us to speak to Him. We may want to ask Him for something, that is petition, or we may want to thank Him for His gifts, that is thanksgiving, or we may want to pray for others, that is intercession, or we may want to praise Him for being what He is, that is adoration. Or again, we may want to confess our faults and failings, that is confession. So you see there are five different kinds of prayer, all of which have their place in our prayer life. Confession is often very necessary, but intercession and adoration are the best kinds of prayer because they are unselfish. All types of prayer are acceptable because God is our Father.
The Collect asks that we may pray in such a spirit that we may obtain our petitions. It prays that we may ask such things as shall please Thee. We shall only please God in our petitions if we ask for the right things - if we pray in the spirit of the Lord Jesus. Then it will be in His Name. So we must learn to love God more and more. We must thank Him for His gifts, we must learn to pray for others, and this means that we shall confess our sins. We must try and use the best type of prayer, Adoration. An old peasant who could not read or write used regularly to go in church each day and kneel before the Blessed Sacrament. One day the Cure D’Ars asked him what he said, and the reply was that he said nothing, “I just look at Him, and He looks at me”. That is adoration. If we learn this type of prayer, and pray more for others, when we come to our own petitions they will more and more become the things that will please God’.
from Teaching the Collects, 1965, by H.E. Sheen
Grant to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things be as rightful: that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee, may be thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Collect for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity from Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘Can anything be better than to have a “nice disposition”? Not to be sulky, or bad-tempered, or proud, or arrogant: to be biddable, clubbable, imperturbable; to be ready with employers, easy with friends, and affable with those of less degree; and to be all these things not by constant effort but with the ease of a natural manner, just because we really are like that. Surely there are not many of us who would not like to be just that kind of person.
Then why aren’t we? Is is that we were not born that way? Or is it that we don't take the trouble to be nice to people? Anyway, we must feel that the desired disposition can be acquired, or we should not pray, “Grant us the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful”.
It may be that “disposition” implies something that lies behind actual thoughts. It is the whole set or trend of the mind, and people are prone to display one kind of attitude or another from birth, just as in the horticultural field some beans are by nature tall and some short.
If that is so, then the prayer is that any deficiencies in our natural disposition may not be allowed to affect our actual thoughts, much less our actions. Even if we cannot prevent wrong thoughts arising in our minds, we pray to have the wit and wisdom to turn from them and to give ourselves to the thought of something good and lovely and of present usefulness.
...We may recognise only too well that we ourselves do not naturally display that lightness and cheerfulness of disposition. Even to ourselves we seem much heavier on hand than that implies. We are dull, lethargic, apathetic, naturally disposed to see the dark side and to find something to grumble at. If we ever show any quickness of emotion it is likely to be anger.
Of course we can’t change ourselves. We can’t jump off our own shadow. But what we cannot do, God can. We need a complete change of nature, and God can give it to us. As St Paul says, we really may become new creatures, a new creation. “We, who cannot do anything that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will”’.
from Reflections on the Collects, 1964
by William Wand KCVO, 1885-1977 (Bishop of London 1945-1955)
In the Calendar of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter today is the memorial of Our Lady of the Atonement. It is an observance rich in significance for the Ordinariate in North America since Our Lady, under this title, is the patroness of the first Pastoral Provision parish within the United States, Our Lady of the Atonement, in Texas, established in 1983 under the care of Fr Christopher Phillips.
The Pastoral Provision is essentially the precursor to the Ordinariate in the United States and Canada, provided for by Pope St John Paul II in 1981 to allow for the establishment of personal parishes, the ordaining of Anglican priests to the Catholic priesthood, and the retention of elements of Anglican liturgical practice, in a form which later came to be known as the ‘Anglican Use’. Last year the Vatican determined that those remaining parishes of the Pastoral Provision that had not yet entered into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter were to be transferred to its jurisdiction. It was at this time that Our Lady of the Atonement entered the fold.
The devotion of Our Lady of the Atonement has its roots in the life and work of an Anglo-Papalist priest, Lewis Wattson. In 1899 Wattson, together with a small group of Anglican nuns, founded the Society of the Atonement, referencing Romans 5:11 (“We also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement”), and professed religious vows, with Wattson taking the name Paul James Francis. From its foundation the Society, though a part of the Episcopal Church of the United States, promoted corporate reunion with the Holy See and the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. Ten years later, in 1909, the Society - seventeen members strong - realised this goal for themselves with their own corporate reception into the Catholic Church. The process of canonisation for Father Paul, now Servant of God, was opened by Cardinal Dolan in 2015.
Within the Catholic Church the Society soon flourished - and flourishes still. Ten years after their reception into the Church the title ‘Our Lady of the Atonement’ was approved formally by Pope Benedict XV, with today’s feast day being approved by the Holy See in 1946. Given the roots of the devotion it was fitting that Father Phillips and his former Anglican community, now reconciled with the Holy See, should choose to dedicate themselves to Our Lady under this venerable title that is so expressive of that heartfelt desire - of Christ Himself - for his followers to be one with one another in Him. As Father Paul once said: “When we, therefore, give to our Blessed Mother the title of ‘Our Lady of the Atonement’, we mean ‘Our Lady of Unity’”. Father Paul’s prayers, together with those of Our Lady, have certainly sustained the steady growth of her parish in San Antonio over the past thirty-five years, as it has sought to share the treasures of the Anglican patrimony within the Catholic Church as a way of fulfilling Our Lord's prayer that “they may be one”.
'[Our Lady] is necessarily “of the Atonement” since it was the will of God that she play a necessary part in the atonement or redemption. This is not to say that without her man would have remained unredeemed but that God’s plan gave her a large share in the redemptive work. When we address the Blessed Mother, as “of the Atonement”, we mean then, that there is some very close bond between the atonement and her, that she belongs to the atonement and the atonement to her. Mary, although her part is in no way similar in nature to that of her divine Son’s, cooperated with Jesus Christ, as no other creature did, in his work of reconciling man with God.
Her claim to this high title rests most solidly on the fact that she consented to become, and became the mother of the Redeemer; that she suffered with Jesus during the passion; and that all graces merited for mankind by Christ have come to us through Mary’.
Fr Paul of Graymoor, Servant of God, 1863-1940
O God, who dost gather together those that have been scattered, and who dost preserve those that have been gathered: we beseech thee, through the intercession of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Atonement; that thou wouldest pour out upon thy Church the grace of unity and send thy Holy Ghost upon all mankind, that they may be one; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Today, in the Calendar of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, is the feast of the Most Precious Blood. From 1849 to 1969 it was part of the General Roman Calendar, but was removed on account of its commemoration, as a theme, in the Masses of the Passion, Corpus Christi, the Sacred Heart and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It remains however, in the Ordinary Form, as a Votive Mass, but it does not feature, under this title, in the Ordinariate’s liturgical usage. Rather, in Divine Worship: The Missal, provision is made for a Votive Mass of the Five Wounds, a medieval devotion, popular in England especially, which was found in the missal of the Sarum Use. The emblem of the Five Wounds was notably employed on the banner rallying the faithful - clergy, religious, and lay - in the famous Pilgrimage of Grace between 1536-1537 which saw unsuccessful uprisings across Northern England in protest at Henry VIII’s break with Rome and the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Highly appropriate, then, that such a hallowed devotion, dear to Ecclesia Anglicana, should be revived in a collection intended to preserve, liturgically, the English spiritual tradition within the Catholic Church. The Collect and Postcommunion for the Mass of the Five Wounds in Divine Worship make specific mention of the Precious Blood, and whilst there is no feast of the same, it would be both suitable and felicitous to offer this beautiful Mass in this month of July, which remains dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of Christ.
Today is the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, the patronal feast day of the Ordinariate Deanery of Saint John the Baptist in Canada. It was my privilege to serve as Dean for five years, and so my heartfelt prayers today are with all the communities, clergy, and laity as the Ordinariate continues its mission to preserve and share the great treasures of the Anglican tradition across the great dominion.
A former parishioner in Calgary wrote to me this morning, informing me that “We had hot weather up until today when it rained all morning and into the afternoon. We've had alternating periods of heat and rain and the city is looking green and gorgeous”. Such an image put me in mind of Christopher Smart's poem, written for today’s feast, which both echoes the abundance of that welcome summer growth in the world around us, as well as the great potential for spiritual growth within the barrenness of our mortal nature.
The Catholic Truth Society here in England has produced a limited print run of Divine Worship: The Missal in a smaller format, which will be of great use to those who desire to see - and share in - the treasures of the Ordinariate Form of the Roman Rite. Presently, this is only possible by accessing the expensive altar edition of the missal, so this initiative opens up the missal's contents to a much wider audience. Of particular note will be the texts of the propers, the musical settings, the appendices, and the Rubrical Directory. The missal is available for pre-order here.
A fortnight ago I began the process, as a private initiative, of renewing some travel/portable altar cards for the Ordinariate Form. The initial work had been completed back in 2014 by an Anglican clergyman working in Walsingham. This was prior to the publication of Divine Worship: The Missal and so textual amendments needed to be made once the final version of the missal was approved. I took this opportunity to create a set of cards to complement the artwork found in the missal, which is the work of Martin Travers (1886-1948), who had illustrated an edition of the Anglican Missal in the 1940s. The set below is presently en route to the Ordinariate community of Blessed John Henry Newman, in Victoria, British Columbia.
Fr Lee Kenyon
A Treasure to be Shared
The Acolyte’s Toolbox