Monthly Archives: January 2019

How Anglicans Worship – Part 7


Now we reach the very heart of the Eucharist.  For those awaiting my recommendation here, I would have thought it was obvious: the Gregorian Canon.  Naturally I refer to the one printed in the Anglican Missal, specifically, the American edition, but the version found in the English Missal is just as good.  I recommend it for a few reasons.  First, it is our ancient tradition, the canon brought to the British Isles by St Augustine, and not much different from that used for centuries prior to him.  Second, it is free from the distortions of anti-catholic changes of the reformation.  Third, it includes commemorations of the Communion of Saints, and of the Faithful Departed. Fourth, it has the epiclesis before, not after, the consecration.

As for technique, the traditional manuals deal in detail with those concerns, and if you follow Lamburn or Fortescue, you can’ t go wrong.  If you find yourself forced to use the 28 American canon, of course the Fraction should not occur in the Consecration.

There are, I understand, ecclesial bodies that will mandate the use of the 1928 American canon, and of course, in those places we must make use of the usual corrections that Anglicans have made over the years: moving the epiclesis to its proper place preceding the Qui pridie (to be more accurate, in this case I suppose we ought to call it the Qui eadem nocte) and inserting the commemoration of the departed.  These aren’t ideal, of course, but we do what we must.  I once knew an otherwise fine Anglo-Catholic bishop who forbad the Gregorian canon in his diocese, but he has since retired, and his successor did not continue the proscription, thanks be to God.  If you are forbidden the Gregorian but not required to use the 28 American Canon, then my secondary recommendation would be the 1549, with the needed adjustments, of course.

Our Father

Following the Canon we encounter the Our Father.  Ideally your congregation will have been taught properly and allow you to begin the prayer, then joining in with “who art in heaven.”  If they have been infused with modernist notions, though, you will probably have to teach them.  A reasonably gentle way to do so is to not even hesitate between “say” and “our;” they will eventually catch on.

I support praying the embolism in its traditional place, after “but deliver us from evil,” but there are many places that are not used to that and will barrel on right through the ascription.  One can often get the laity accustomed to the embolism by praying it afterwards, as the Anglican Missal prints it, and then gradually swinging them around to praying it in the customary place.  I value the embolism not merely because it has centuries of use, but because it offers some doctrinal reminders that Anglican laity often need to hear, so as much as I oppose the very concept of didactic prayers, here’s one I value.

How Anglicans Worship – Part 6

From the Offertory through the Sanctus

The final prayer of the Offertory, Suscipe Sancta Trinitas (“Receive, O Holy Trinity”) is one I urge to be prayed out loud, not only as a signal to the faithful, but as a reminder of some essential doctrinal elements.  As a reminder, that prayer is:

Receive O holy Trinity, this oblation which we offer unto thee, in memory of the passion, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in honour of blessed Mary ever-Virgin, of blessed John Baptist, of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, of these and all the saints, that it may be to their honour and our salvation, and that like as we remember them on earth, so in heaven they may plead for us. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Immediately following this is the most appropriate place for the intentions to be read out, along the lines of something like this:

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered to the glory of God and in honor of blessed Mary Ever-Virgin and all the saints, and with special intention for this parish, for N., N., … and thanksgiving from N., N., … and for the peaceful repose of the souls of N., N., and all the faithful departed.

Then the Orate Fratres, and the people’s response, and finally the Secrets, the Prayers over the Oblations, as the modern books list it.  After following these directions, the Intercessions (Prayer for the Whole State) are redundant and not wanted.  The General Confession, it could be argued, is also redundant, if the proper preparation has been followed at the beginning, and it could also be omitted.  In any event, even if the General Confession is done here, the so-called “Comfortable Words” are unnecessary and best omitted, as Anglo-Catholics and High Church Evangelicals did for nearly a century before the unpleasantness of the 1970s..

We’ll pick up next time with a discussion of the Canon – and some perhaps surprising recommendations for which Canon to be prayed, as well as some necessary corrections.