Chartres and the Roman Rites

Chartres and the Roman Rites

Just in case anybody in London Diocese was in any doubt, Chartres has made it very clear.

The Pope has recently issued an invitation to Anglicans to move into full communion with the See of Rome in the Ordinariate where it is possible to enjoy the “Anglican patrimony” as full members of the Roman Catholic Church. Three priests in the Diocese have taken this step. They have followed their consciences.

For those who remain there can be no logic in the claim to be offering the Eucharist in communion with the Roman Church which the adoption of the new rites would imply. In these rites there is not only a prayer for the Pope but the expression of a communion with him; a communion Pope Benedict XVI would certainly repudiate.

At the same time rather than building on the hard won convergence of liturgical texts, the new Roman rite varies considerably from its predecessor and thus from Common Worship as well. The rationale for the changes is that the revised texts represent a more faithful translation of the Latin originals and are a return to more traditional language.

Priests and parishes which do adopt the new rites – with their marked divergences from the ELLC texts and in the altered circumstances created by the Pope’s invitation to Anglicans to join the Ordinariate – are making a clear statement of their disassociation not only from the Church of England but from the Roman Communion as well. This is a pastoral unkindness to the laity and a serious canonical matter. The clergy involved have sworn oaths of canonical obedience as well as making their Declaration of Assent. I urge them not to create further disunity by adopting the new rites.

There will be no persecution and no creation of ritual martyrs but at the same time there will be no opportunity to claim that the Bishop’s directions have been unclear. All the bishops of the Diocese when visiting parishes will celebrate according to the rites of the Church of England allowing for permitted local variations under Canon B5.

“How may Christ take form among us today and here?” One of the most encouraging developments in the life of the Diocese is the growth and vigour of many traditional parish churches. The current London Challenge expresses the commitment of the Church in London to maintain and strengthen the network of parish churches but at the same time to complement their service by even more local neighbourhood or network expressions of church life.

These developments raise in an acute way the question of our understanding of the conditions in which Christian groups meeting regularly together for study, worship and mutual encouragement can be identified as churches in the fullest sense, local manifestations of the body of Christ. One of the conditions for such identification is the celebration of the liturgy by an ordained minister in communion with other ministers assembled around the Bishop.

The Canons of our Church make generous provision for Eucharistic hospitality for all those who confess a Trinitarian faith but the inner life of the Church and our capacity together to present Jesus Christ today and now is nourished by our participation in a common eucharistic celebration. I pray for a renewal of this dimension of our life together. I look for ways and opportunities to do this and to enrich our church traditions in a common witness to the gospel.

For those who are confused, a quick summary.

  1. There are new rites being introduced into the Roman Church starting Advent Sunday
  2. Some Anglicans who are positioned a way up the candle might be considering  using them
  3. This would be treated by the Diocese of London as using unauthorised liturgy
  4. If priests want to use Roman rites, there is an Ordinariate for that
Nice to see a Bishop being both bold and plain in his language. Means what he says and says what he means.

14 Comments on “Chartres and the Roman Rites

  1. Of course, whatever about the rest of it, this stumbles on the first point. New rites are not being introduced. What’s been introduced is an improved translation of an *existing* form of an *existing* rite. It’s the same rite, identical with that celebrated in countries where English is not spoken.It’s certainly not the case that the English-speaking countries have a new rite all of their own!

    Does Chartres not understand this? I hope it’s not, rather, that he doesn’t care.

    • @thirstygargoyle

      The issue is that the new texts (and in some places they are substantially different from the old texts, not just a better translation) diverge from the agreed ELLC texts –

      I think he (and others like myself) understands far more than you think.

      • @peterould@thirstygargoyle

        I’m not disputing the right of an Anglican bishop to tell his priests what they can and should legitimately do, of course, and I think he has a point when he basically said ‘look, if you want to be Catholic, be Catholic, because you can’t have it both ways’.

        Where I can’t agree with you that the changes to the translation have created – in any sense – a new rite of the Mass.

        All they’ve really done is bring the language of the Mass into line with the language used in French-speaking, German-speaking, Italian-speaking, and Spanish-speaking countries, etc.I’m not convinced that common Christian prayer should be significantly different in English-speaking countries than everywhere else. It was always weird in Ireland, where, for instance, the English translation of the Gloria differed in surprising ways, with lines even being omitted from the English version.

        In truth, I wouldn’t even call these new texts, and more than I’d call, say, the Fagles translation of the Iliad a different text from the Fitzgerald translation. They’re both just translations of the one text. Likewise, the texts of the Mass haven’t changed; it’s merely that the translation has been improved.I’m curious, though, in what ways do you think the translation is substantially different?

        Aside from issues of discipline and identity – and perhaps questions of aesthetics – would you have any real problems with the more literal rather dynamic translations being used? After all, I regularly used to attend an Anglican church of a conservative evangelical persuasion, and there they regularly used slightly different translations again, so it’s always seemed to me that the Church of England allowed its clergy quite a lot of leeway in these regards.

  2. Is this really a “new” problem? As is oft-noted and as oft-ignored, liberal-persecuting evangelicals never seem overly fussed by the plethora of High Church services that go in the C of E and quite plainly run afoul of the BCP….

  3. It’s also worth noting that the good Bishop has rather a lot to say about those who are further down the candle, to use Pater’s words, who don’t use the authorised rites of the Cof E either (prayer and worship often being extemporary or in made up forms) and whose understanding of liturgy or worship doesn’t extend to the centrality of the Eucharist as envisaged by Cranmer (with the Book of Common Prayer provision for weekly celebrations of Communion.

  4. It’s also worth noting that the Bishop has something to say to those ‘further down the candle’ about the importance of regular Holy Communion as envisaged by Cranmer and the reformers and the centrality of the Eucharist in its own right rather than what is common practice ‘by a near exclusive focus in some parts of the church on the ministry of the Word’.

    • It’s also true that the new deviations from the (ICEL or is it ICET) texts contribute to the further distancing of the Roman church from the rest of western Christendom and is a further retrograde step away from a common understanding between the Churches

      • @Richard Ashby Excellent point Richard. At Glasgow’s only Evangelical episcopal church, not only is proper liturgy not followed, but what’s used instead is brief,random excerpts from Common Worship (presumably because, once you add in all the Shine Jesus Shine type inane songs, egotistical guitar solos, and even more egotistical hour-long windbag sermons, there’s not enough time for the Summit and Source of the Christian Life). I gather that Common Worship isn’t even supposed to be allowed in Scotland! Ideally, this would be merely a local problem, and England’s anglican evangelicals would have much more taste and sense. But I suspect that if Bishops did start cracking down ,and sending teams of liturgy police around the land’s churches, then snake-belly low evangelicals would have much more to worry about than “liberals” or Anglo-Catholics (wasn’t there a Lambeth Resolution against not using proper alcoholic wine in Holy Communion once? Ribena – presumably because said churches have yet to receive corporate sponsorship from a soft drinks company – tends to be the tipple of choice for evangelical “Eucharists” )

        • @cerebusboy@Richard Ashby I can’t comment on St Silas, Glasgow, but I have NEVER known an evangelical Anglican church use Ribena for the Eucharist. On a few rare occasions when we had communion for all back in my last church (namely Easter Sunday), we used, with the Bishop’s permission, unfermented red grape juice.

          I for one am <b>not</b> comfortable with variations away from authorised liturgy (and in the case of the CofE, Common Worship provides enough variation to permit any Evangelical Anglican leader worth his or her salt to style a service suitable for the context of the congregation he is serving.

          Where I attend (and am about to be licensed to) we have at least one well attended Eucharist every Sunday if not more than one. Not all Evangelical Anglican churches fit your stereotypes Ryan!

      • @Richard Ashby Richard: do you really think that it is the Catholic Church that has caused this “further distancing”? That seems, if I may say so, a rather parochial view, like the man who breaks away from a march down a side street and wonders why everyone else has gone the wrong way. Or the old joke about the woman who hears on the radio an announcement “Danger: a man is driving the wrong way round the M25. Drivers should take care” and calls her husband to warn him. “Careful darling” she says, “there’s one car driving the wrong way round the M25”.

        “One?” says the husband. “There are thousands of the bastards!” Was the ordination of women not a “retrograde step away from a common understanding”? Or any of the other myriad Anglican innovations and revisions of the last sixty or seventy years? The barque of Peter maintains her position very well indeed (as do the Orthodox). If others chooses to jump over the side and swim off on their own, who’s really diverging from whom?

        • The Roman church got out of step with much of Western Christendom in the 16th century The pope declared Anglican orders ‘absolutely null and void’ more than a century ago and has never conceded that it might have been wrong to do so. I have never understood why some Anglicans have spent their lives looking over their shoulders at what Rome might be up to, and still do, and cite what Rome thinks. Only the other day I was told again that the CofE shouldn’t consecrate women Bishops until Rome says that it is ok to do so. In the 16th century, no doubt, some said we can’t do anything about the sale of indulgencies until the pope says so.

          On the specific issue of the new translation, the move away from the Ecumenical texts, without, as far as I know, discussion or consultation with Ecumenical partners is surely a ‘further distancing’.

        • @Richard Ashby

          “The Roman church got out of step with much of Western Christendom in the 16th century”

          This just isn’t true historically, I’m afraid. It’s like reading the old newspaper headline: “Fog in Channel – continent cut off”. Argue what you like about the right and wrongs of the Reformation (can we, Peter, can we?), but when the music stopped, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, most parts of Germany, and most of central and eastern Europe all remained Catholic (and of course the old faith remained popular in England and had to be brutally suppressed).

          In any case, I’m still not quite sure how you’re judging who is out of step with whom. Is it a numbers game? A geographical spread game? A truth game? If it’s the latter, by whose authority is the truth proclaimed? Christ’s, you say, hoping to get around the problem that way; but who should I look to if I want to understand that revelation fully? If The Bible – whose interpretation of the Bible; Rowan Williams’? Peter Jensen’s? Gene Robinson’s?

          Why on earth should ecumenical partners have the veto over Catholic liturgy? With all due respect, the Anglican Communion is a mess at the moment; its moral theology, its ecclesiology, its liturgy, its whole raison d’etre. The Catholic Church has many serious problems, but clarity of teaching authority and understanding of its Christ-ordained purpose are not among them.

  5. Never mind the Roman Rites!!!

    Glenda says “I wanna know all about the Roman Wrongs”!! GEDDIT??!!!!!!

    (Ed – That’s enough Glenda Slag)

    {Sorry – couldn’t resist it!}

  6. I agree with Bishop Chartres. Sadly, for those of us in North America who subscribe to the Articles of Religion, in their plain and intended meaning, and who use the actual 1662 BCP there are no bodies with which to associate. You either go-it-alone or must belong to an organization which denies them outright or is lying through its teeth.

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