A Welcome Addition – On The Gift of St Luke’s Parish to the Church

You have likely heard of the wonderful new addition to our Catholic Archdiocese here in Washington, St. Luke’s Episcopal, now preparing, as a complete parish, to enter the full communion of the Catholic Faith.  I have not commented before now for two reasons. First others have done a fine enough job of that already, their reports are linked on New Advent.org A second reason is that Fr. Scott Hurd, who writes for this blog, is the Cardinal’s “go to man” for this exciting moment and I would rather he be the one to give the most info.

But let me simply say here how happy I am for this great blessing to our Church.

A Fine Pastor – I was privileged to meet Fr. Lewis about a year ago as the process was beginning. He is a fine pastor, and has led his congregation very carefully through this process. Interestingly he is a married Episcopal Priest and, upon his ordination to the Catholic priesthood, will be the fourth married priest we have had in this Archdiocese. (Fr. Hurd is another married priest).

The Anglo-Catholic liturgy is a very beautiful form of the Liturgy, dignified and possessed of a great sampling of the older form of the Latin Mass, brought together with an elegant vernacular tradition. There is also fine hymnody which comes from the Anglican tradition that I wish we Roman Catholics would learn more of. I love to play from the English Hymnal which combines the best hymns, well arranged, and with wonderful English verse, and some of the finest translations of the Latin hymns as well.

May God Bless the people of St. Luke’s Parish in their time of transition. Briefly we will enjoy them as members of this Archdiocese. But eventually they will become members of the Nationwide Anglican Ordinariate being set up in this country.

Gifts! As is the case with some many who have joined the Catholic faith in recent years from other Christian denominations, the members of St. Luke’s bring wonderful gifts with them that will enrich us, even as we too will enrich them. May Jesus who prays for unity, be praised, and may our thanksgiving resound mightily to God.

10 Replies to “A Welcome Addition – On The Gift of St Luke’s Parish to the Church”

  1. I had the delight of going to an Anglican Use Roman Rite Catholic Mass at St. Anselm’s Abbey awhile back (they just had another on Saturday). There are several elements of this form of the Rite that we “Latins” should take note of:

    1. Ad orientem. Very, very important. The worst decision made after the Council was to change the worship orientation of the Mass.

    2. Communion rail. Again, a huge mistake to take this away. We wonder why we see so much desecration and lack of belief in the real presence.

    3. Both species communication. This is denigrated by Traddies, but mostly because it’s been done so poorly. The Church, though, makes it clear that the Eucharist is given a more full sign when both species are used. This does not have to mean a lay woman holding a chalice for you to drink out of. It can mean (as it does in Anglican use) the priest or deacon intincting the host in the precious blood and placing upon the tongue of the communion-rail kneeling communicant.

    4. Hymnody, to a point. I was distressed that the Anglican Use Mass I attended replaced several Mass propers with hymns. What’s good for the goose (Novus Ordo) is good for the gander (Anglican Use). Propers should win rock/paper/scissors over hymns. But where vernacular hymns are appropriate (entrance procession, offertory, communion, recessional), the Anglicans have much, much better music.

    5. Hieratic language. I’m not personally a fan of thee/thou English, but it is a sacral language within the vernacular.

    6. Accurate translation. It’s sad that this is an advantage, but it is for the next six months.

    7. Integration of the Divine Office. While it’s not the same Divine Office as the Roman Rite, the Anglicans do have a good parish tradition of “Mattins” (Matins/Lauds/Prime) and “Evensong” (Vespers/Compline). Most of the time, the Anglican Use Society down here meets for Evensong, not Mass. Latin Rite parishes need to get on with doing what Sacrosanctum Concilium called for–at least have public vespers, at least on Sundays and solemnities.

    8. Coffee hour. Anglicans seem to like this. As a bitter Irishman born 50 years too late, I like to get out of Mass without talking to anyone. But I’m in the minority here, and I can tell you that the pastries are good at the Anglican Use events I’ve attended.

    9. Ars celebrandi. The Anglican Use folks tend to take their ars celebrandi seriously–from vestments, to attire of the people, to liturgical items. Not every Latin parish tends to this as they should.

    There are a few disadvantages, where the Latin Rite is superior:

    1. No Latin. This is obvious, but the whole Anglican Rite is in English. That simply isn’t the language of the Church. There should at least be some Latin.

    2. Married clergy. Like the East, priests cannot marry, but married men can become priests. This will be phased out in the ordinariate, but it really is merely a vestige of Cromwell’s revolt against Rome.

    3. Divine Office is pretty weak. The psalter is more dense than the Liturgy of the Hours (which isn’t saying much), but it’s nowhere near the one-week Roman Office of Pius X.

    4. Book of Divine Worship. This is what Anglican Use parishes use, and it really is a kind of Frankenstein monster. It has elements of the 1928 and 1979 Books of Common Prayer, the Second Edition of the Novus Ordo Roman Rite, and some parts from the Anglican Missal that Anglo-Catholics use. Hopefully, the ordinariate will come up with a better solution.

    5. Gallicanism. The Anglican Use is not universal in the same way the Roman Rite is. The calendar is really a bare-bones Roman calendar with lots and lots of English, Irish, Welsh, and Scottish saints. There’s a danger that this form of the rite will become “English Catholicism” rather than “Catholics who are English.” But, maybe this isn’t so bad. After all, we have particular calendars for religious congregations and bishops conferences, so maybe we can have a culturally-based one, too. The Council seemed to call for a proliferation of particular calendars, another part of Sacrosanctum Concilium yet to really be implemented.

  2. “Anglo-Catholic liturgy”? Interesting, interesting. Perhaps more such liturgies will add to Catholicism, at least temporarily.

  3. I also welcome them back to the Church! But I (as a non-theologian) am confused as to a couple of things. Maybe you would post on these:

    1) If we are a “universal” Church, why are there different rites? It seems like we are not practicing the same ceremony and that we are really “sister Churches” rather than one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. If I went into a Anglican rite Mass, would I be confused as to what I am supposed to do? And to such a degree that they may not even know I am Catholic (same for Eastern and the others).

    2) Why don’t we just have one rite?

    Thanks (in advance) if you decide to post on this. I want to be unequivocally happy, but it seems like we are just having the same problem of a divided Church this way. and seems like it is just a way of incorporating more revenue (to view it in a cynical way).

    1. Well I suppose a quick answer to why we have numerous rites is that when there is something so big (widespread) and ancient as the Catholic Church, there are going to be local variations that set up over the centuries. The Eastern rites set up in the eastern part of the empire, which spoke, largely Greek. They have several expressions of the Divine Liturgy (Mass), e.g. The Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, St. Basil and so forth. In the West too we have essentially what is known as the Roman Rite, but there are variations of it such as the Ambrosian Rite, Gallican, and Sarum. Again the reasons for these variations are largely due to space and time. Communications were not as quick and interactions not as common as in today’s jet-set age. Hence these differences came to be accepted over time since the essentials were not in question, just adaptions and elaborations. Every now and then the Church does something of a house cleaning and eliminates things which have either been recent and not stood the test of time or things which have come to been seen as acretions or needless repetitions. Back during the Council of Trent a 200 year rule was used to cut back on some of the local adaptions. If something was not more than 200 years in use, then the norms of the Roman Missal had to be followed.

      None of the local adaptions or rites differ in essentials. All have a consecration, liturgy of the Word and so forth. It is only some the details (e.g. which readings, how many, roles of various clergy in the ceremonies, how and when to use intercessory prayers etc) which differ. Hence we are not in violation of the one, holy catholic and apostolic marks of the Church. There is a diversity in detail but a fundamental unity in essence. None of the rites bespeak doctrinal differences.

      The Anglo-Catholic rite, as far as I know, is based fundamentally on the Sarum rite of the Western liturgy.

      1. Thanks for the response; however, I have one more question as a result (especially since I have no idea what a Sarum rite is).

        If there are details that are different, if I were to go to a Anglican Mass (which based on your post, I am actually thinking about if it is as dignified as you posit), would I be able to follow without a Missal? If I liked it better than my parish’s service, can I start going there?

          1. My understanding is that cradle or Latin Catholics may attend and communicate at Anglican Ordinariate parishes but would not be able to register in one as a member, whereas those of us who were baptized as Anglicans and have converted would be able to do so.

          2. Laur R. I think cradle Catholics can become registered members of an Anglican Use parish. If Rome is smart they permit them to join, or they may instead just go on to an Anglican or Lutheran parish.

  4. Married clergy. Like the East, priests cannot marry, but married men can become priests. This will be phased out in the ordinariate, but it really is merely a vestige of Cromwell’s revolt against Rome.
    To phase out the married men becoming priests? Where is that written in the Ordinariate? If true, Anglican clergy who are married and want to become Ordinariate priests will have second thoughts about applying to enter the Ordinariate.

    Sorry, but having married clergy isn’t a vestige of anything having to do with Oliver Cromwell. Anglicans had married priests long before his time. Where do people come up with this rubbish?

  5. 3. Divine Office is pretty weak. The psalter is more dense than the Liturgy of the Hours (which isn’t saying much), but it’s nowhere near the one-week Roman Office of Pius X.
    Most Anglicans use Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer for the public celebration of the office. I think it far better than the Roman which is too involved. The Roman office is better suited for private devotion and maybe for religious communities of nuns and monks, or cathedral canons. However, the BCP is a true “cathedral office” , a liturgy of the Word with a glorious tradition of music the Roman office never had. It’s built upon scripture and psalmody alone. Much more popular with most Anglicans, Lutherans, and other Protestants..

    Only Anglo Catholics and some Roman-rite Catholics seem to like the Roman breviary translated into English (the Anglican breviary). I don’t consider this to be the true Anglican patrimony.

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