SMM1 responds to Dr. Bill Tighe on Cranmer and the 1662 BCP

SMM1 writes:

I take it as a high compliment indeed — or else as a sign of masochism — that Prof. Tighe should devote any thought and time during his Labour Day long weekend to (what he must regard as) a total demolition of my off-hand thoughts in response to Psallite Sapienter‘s suggestions about what was “fit for purpose” in the 1662 BCP Communion Office.  I happened to check my e-mail on Monday and found a message from Deborah in which she speculated that books were “flying off the shelves” in my study as I crafted a reply.  [snip of some identifying details in which SMM1 explained why that was not the case]  And even now, I ought to be busy preparing for a lecture that I have to give next week on the effects of economic and agrarian growth in the High Middle Ages on the Church, a subject of which, being but a humble country liturgical historian, I am genuinely ignorant.

The fault is, of course, mine, in that I described more recent studies as putting Cranmer “more squarely in the camp of Calvin,” which Prof. Tighe has reasonably understood to mean that I think recent scholars have said that Cranmer explicitly or implicitly subscribed to Calvin’s eucharistic theology.  In this I have been guilty of speaking in shibboleths, of assuming that most will read “Zwinglian” and think “real absence” as against “Calvinist,” which has the vernacular equivalent of “spiritual presence.”  I do not repent of using the words “true presence,” which are popularly associated with Calvin’s teaching, because Cranmer himself used them (though as MacCulloch points out this phrase is more characteristic of his pre-1546 usage).  I readily advertise that MacCulloch prefers “spiritual presence” to describe Cranmer’s views “from at least 1548” (p. 392), a modification that MacCulloch sees as the only one necessary in the earlier and, for me, persuasive assessment in Brooks’s Cranmer’s Doctrine of the Eucharist.

Before Prof. Tighe’s admirably succinct and comprehensive essay achieves immortality as a linked source on Wikipedia, perhaps I may be allowed to state more fully my own thoughts, since he was entirely within his rights to dismiss my views in the absence of a presentation of them.  This is an unpleasant task for me, because it is entirely beside the point I wanted to make.  For my money, let Cranmer have any Eucharistic doctrine he likes.  What we do the the BCP Communion Office is a different question, to which I’ll turn in a second section.

1. SMM1’s reading of Cranmer’s Eucharistic doctrine

Those who have argued most strongly for Cranmer’s agreement with Bullinger have simultaneously, to my mind, shown how tenuous is the connection.  As Prof. Tighe remarks, Cranmer is a Zwinglian only “incoherently,” a judgement based on the opinions of Cyril Richardson.  What other readers need to know, however, is that Richardson identifies the root of that incoherence in a conflict in Cranmer’s own intellectual presuppositions between, on the one hand, a biblical and patristic realism tied to the Incarnation and the union of the believer to Christ and, on the other hand, a late scholastic nominalism that prevented him from allowing Christ’s “body” to exist in more than one place simultaneously.  This conflict denies him the possibility to give total assent to any one author.  As he wrote in one of his letters:

I have seen almost everything that has been written and published either by Oecolampadius or Zwingli, and I have come to the conclusion that the writings of every man must be read with discrimination.

Prof. Tighe aptly summarizes Bullinger’s view that in the Eucharist there is no grace connected with the sacrament itself.  At the opposite Reformed extreme there is Calvin’s belief that “the internal substance of the sacrament is conjoined with the physical signs” and that this grace is none other than “the proper substance of [Christ’s] body and blood” (Short Treatise, sec. 17, Beveridge’s translation).  Prof. Tighe, with Gregory Dix, suggests that we are deluded by Cranmer’s vocabulary (the scriptural image of “eating” and “drinking” — or even “chewing” and “digesting”) into thinking that the Eucharist is any more than one opportunity when a Christian may be nourished in body and soul by feeding on Christ’s body and blood.  I cannot deny the force of the argument, for Cranmer at times writes in this direction.  Against this, however, there are passages in his later writings that nevertheless would attribute to the elements a functional, and not merely an occasional, quality, as when they are called “effectual signs of grace” in the 42 Articles of 1552 (art. 26), or in this passage from the Answer to Bishop Gardiner:

And although the sacramental tokens be only significations and figures, yet doth Almighty God effectually work, in them that receive his sacraments, those divine and celestial operations which he hath promised, and by the sacraments be signified. Or else they were but vain and unfruitful sacraments, as well to the godly as to the ungodly (Parker Society edn., vol. 1, p. 148).

And immediately before this place Cranmer makes his famous equivalence of Holy Communion with Baptism:

I mean not that Christ is spiritually either in the table, or in the bread and wine that be set upon the table; but I mean that he is present in the ministration and receiving of that holy supper, according to his own administration and ordinance: like as in baptism, Christ and the Holy Ghost be not in the water, or font, but be given in the ministration, or to them that be truly baptized in the water (Ibid.).

The corollary of this is as follows: withdraw the water poured and you have withdrawn the grace of baptism.  Withdraw the bread and wine consumed, and you have withdrawn both “efficacy” and “substance” from the Eucharist (PS vol. 1, 395-6).  And it is no accident that Cranmer’s 1552 BCP creates striking parallelisms in the structure of the rites for both Holy Communion and Baptism:  the reception of the elements, like the immersion in the water, forms the hinge around which turn a prefatory approach in faith and a subsequent prayer giving thanks for the grace conferred — and it is interesting to note here how absolute is the prayer of thanksgiving for baptism in its certainty about regeneration.  (From a personal perspective, I find the resulting emphasis on the Eucharist as the repeatable part of Christian initiation to be entirely salutary, and very much in line with ecumenical thought today.)

The text about “efficacy” and “substance” that I have just alluded to, from the transcript of Cranmer’s heresy trial, shows how problematic all this is.  And the root is, I agree with Richardson, in Cranmer’s inability to reconcile in his own mind what were to him two conflicting truths:  the local presence of Christ’s body in heaven, and the real, substantial, effectual partaking of that body by the faithful in the Eucharist.  As Colin Buchanan points out, Cranmer will subscribe to the most extreme realist position you care to suggest, so long as realism attaches to reception by the communicant, not to consecration.  The result is a sui generis Eucharistic doctrine, one in which the elements themselves are effective signs without themselves containing the substance of what they effect.  It is neither Lutheran nor Swiss.

I do not expect to have persuaded Prof. Tighe with so cursory an argument, but at least I will have clarified what I meant in ascribing to Cranmer something more than a Zwinglian understanding of the Eucharist, and in showing that this conclusion is there for all to draw even in the writings of scholars who would detect a strong affinity with Zurich in Cranmer’s words.  He is never willing to relinquish a sense of sacramental realism, a fact that comes through well in MacCulloch’s treatment.  I would see Cranmer’s inner conflict as the stirring of the waters out of which a more matured Anglican doctrine of “receptionism” (whose growth Prof. Tighe has partly outlined) would emerge, a view I share with William Crockett (Eucharist: Symbol of Transformation, p. 168). As for Dix’s sticking point about the patriarchs eating and drinking Christ’s body and blood by faith without the Eucharist, I say we must accept this too:  it is after all scriptural (1 Cor. 10:4), and I have in any case never been able to see how one is to reconcile Anselm’s influential understanding of the “backward” effect of the sacrifice of Calvary without some such accommodation.  It is the knife-edge that Cranmer had the walk.

2. What about the BCP?

Having said all this, I want to return to where it all started, namely the article on the Psallite Sapienter blog about what aspects of the 1662 BCP are still “fit for purpose.”  As I said at the outset, my concern about the “Dix meme” is that it sets people hunting for negations in Cranmer’s text.  Let me state candidly my considered opinion, which is that liturgical texts are ultimately inadmissible as evidence in the study of their authors’ Eucharistic doctrines.  Liturgy functions at the level of image and symbol, and symbols function through their plurality of reference.  Suppose we take the most obvious apparent negation in 1552:

graunt that wee, receyving these thy creatures of bread and wyne, accordinge to thy sonne our Savioure Jesus Christ’s holy institucion, in remembraunce of his death and passion, maybe partakers of his most blessed body and bloud

This phrase has been taken as a summary of Cranmer’s mature doctrine of the Eucharistic presence as a partaking through reception rather than a presence attached to the elements.  And yet a look at all the scriptural connotations of the word “partakers” draws us immediately into the sphere of sacrifice.  Likewise the word “creatures” may be taken to refer to the enduring state of the elements throughout the rite (Cranmer’s intention), but there is no need for us to do so.  They are creatures at least until they are consecrated, surely!  But more important is the symbolic referent — and I know I’m abusing my readers’ patience here! — since “creatures” has a prophetic significance:  our minds are drawn to the “living creatures” of Ezekiel, with one wheel upon the earth that was lifted up to heaven, whom is seated the likeness of the glory of the Lord.  Their appearance is as of burning coals — like the coal taken from the heavenly altar to touch the lips of Isaiah (a favourite patristic image for the Eucharist).

No doubt I will be called utterly fanciful.  But you see what I mean:  the scriptural vocabulary of the English liturgy opens itself up to significations beyond those intended by the compiler.  I will venture a silly contemporary comparison.  To read the 1662 Communion Office guided by Cranmer’s writings is like re-reading the “Harry Potter” books after J.K. Rowling announced that she had always had secretly in mind that Professor Dumbledore was gay.  No doubt there will be a growth industry in “queer readings of Harry Potter,” but it would be silly to say that the text is confined to that interpretation just because the author subsequently revealed this intention.  Liturgies are like the characters of a novel:  their “meaning” is out of the control of their authors, who often have scarcely any idea of the full significance of what they have written.

I do not, of course, mean that the whole of 1662 must be read “allegorically” to be Catholic.  It suffices to read it as itself, as if it were a monolith dug up from the sands, having no earlier models with which to compare it.  Prof. Tighe presses into evidence the case of Cranmer’s excision of the words “in these holy mysteries” from the Prayer of Humble Access.  This may be significant to Cranmer’s theology, or it may not.  By my own lights, it seems to me far more sensible to think that the transfer of the prayer’s position was the main thing.  Cranmer had to get it before the “prayer of consecration” (not his name for it) so that there would be no question of adoration.  Since he connects the “holy mysteries” with the moment of reception, in its new position the prayer can’t rightly speak of them with a demonstrative determiner.  And in any case, the phrase is still there immediately afterward, in the second prayer of thanksgiving.  Short of the discovery of new notebooks showing Cranmer’s thoughts on the mechanics of the rite (like those that exist for the BCP daily office), we cannot know the significance of the changes of wording.  We must take it as it is, and from its existing state, interpreted from the standpoint of experience and liturgical theology as theologia prima, a richness of meanings is allowed to flourish.

This is the basis on which I propose a “semiotic” interpretation of the BCP.  As I said in my original note, I have no illusions about this yielding any immediate fruit for the Ordinariates.  But it will be important in the long term, both within Anglicanism and ecumenically.  Why?  Because the 1662 BCP has lately attained an intra-Anglican and ecumenical significance that it never previously had:  it has been taken as the official liturgical and doctrinal standard of both the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and the GAFCON primates in their 2008 Jerusalem Declaration.  Those who study the liturgy and who care about the reunion of the Church should take note of this, because this action has in some ways added definition to what “Anglican Patrimony” will mean in future ecumenical engagement.

This is why I am dissatisfied with the “fit for purpose” approach to the BCP.  The long-term ecumenical project must engage with it on its own terms and show how a truly apostolic, patristic, catholic faith can be shown to be the text’s natural foundation and goal.

I had the idea for this approach when reading a critique of Alexander Schmemann’s liturgical theology by Prof. Peter Galadza.  Schmemann laid significance on the “little entrance” in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, when the Gospel book is brought out from the sanctuary into the nave.  Schmemann insists that it must be interpreted according to its original function, which was the entrance of the whole people into the nave through what later became the “royal doors” into the sanctuary, mirroring the people’s entry into the heavenly sanctuary.  Galadza questions how this historical insight can possibly relate to the experience of the people at the Liturgy today.  Surely now its semiotic content is not an entry of the people, but a kind of theophany in which Christ descends from heaven (symbolized by the sanctuary veil) to speak in the Gospels. (I may be using the wrong words to convey the argument — I don’t have the article to hand.)  We cannot experience the liturgy in terms of its archaeological states of development.  There is only the “eternal now” of worship, in which the symbols acquire and disclose their multivalent meanings.  It struck me that the recital of the Ten Commandments at the beginning of the 1662 rite was even more dramatic seen from this perspective:  it is not didactic, but covenantal.  And the union of the worshipper with the sacrifice of Christ brought out in the location of the reception of the elements in 1552/1662 seemed the very image of the developing todah sacrifice described by Gese and Ratzinger.  And to my mild surprise, the words did not stand in the way of the “architecture” of the rite — though I am of course aware of what Prof. Tighe is at pains to point out, namely that the idea of the Eucharist as sacrifice was anathema to the Reformers.  In spite of them, the BCP is deeply sacrificial in structure and even in wording, when the words are taken in their primary, scriptural sense.

Just one more example to show where I’m taking this.  Psallite Sapienter points out Dix’s observation that putting the prayer for the monarch before the Collect of the day was probably to prevent a further turning of pages, but that the result is a further instance of the BCP’s intolerable Erastianism.  That may be right.  We can’t know.  There is another possibility, namely that the proper collect ought to be understood, not as the conclusion of the opening of the liturgy (the “Gathering of the Community”) but as the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word.  In the Roman Rite, the collect seems originally to have been the conclusion of the entrance rite, originally following the Introit (and later the Kyries and Gloria).  Such at least is the theory of Jungmann (followed by Willis).  But in the liturgy of Sarapion, there is an invariable “collect” prefixed to the lessons, which asks that the people may be attentive and edified by what they hear (Dix thought this to be the origin of the Roman collect).  When we look at Cranmer’s original collects, they often seem to fill this function (“Grant that we may so read, mark, learn, etc.”; “Pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity…”).  Some have complained that this introduced the idea of “themes” in the liturgy, a complaint with which I have sympathy.  But it would seem that Cranmer saw a link between the collect and the lessons, even if his liturgical experience would not permit him to put a secondary collect before the collect of the day.  In the so-called “Liturgy of Comprehension” (the failed BCP revision of 1689), most of the collects have been re-written to reflect on themes in the epistle, read immediately after it.  So in the 1662 transposition of the collect, we probably see this understanding in effect: the collect belongs with the readings, not with the Commandments.  Just think how many homilies we have all heard or read that purported to reveal the “link” between the collect, epistle, and gospel, and we will see that this is exactly how most preachers have understood it too.  This leaves us with the prayer for the monarch as the conclusion of the “entrance rite,” and I find it remarkably fitting:  both prayers ask that God will govern/rule the heart of the monarch, just as the people have prayed that the Decalogue may be written into their own hearts.  All that is needed is a ceremonial distinction between the conclusion of the entrance rite and the beginning (with the proper collect) of the Liturgy of the Word.  For instance, the presiding priest or bishop might lead the entrance rite from the altar rail and then ascend to the altar to pray the collect.  That would put any notion of “Erastianism” in its proper place:  the monarch is prayed for as one of the people, and she too now turns her ears to attend to the word about to be proclaimed, the words by which she too will be judged.

It is this project, a semiotic re-reading of the 1662 Communion Office, that I hoped would elicit advice from Deborah’s readers.  I was hesitant to put the idea in public view, because I knew that there would be many ready to “correct” me about Cranmer’s Eucharistic doctrine, without paying any attention to the question of how we are to read the liturgy in front of us today.  I cannot help but recall Newman’s similar failure with Tract XC, in which he insisted that Anglicans today ought not to be bound to the intentions of the framers of the 39 Articles, but only to their words, words susceptible of a Catholic reading.  I contend that Anglo-Catholics ought to undertake a similar re-reading of the BCP today.  But perhaps it is unlikely:  for those who have fought so long for the Catholic doctrine, the BCP Communion has come to mean — can only mean — a rejection of the Catholic doctrine.  Indeed, it means a rejection of sacramental grace altogether, since Cranmer must have rejected it too.  I think of Charles Reding in Loss and Gain, confronted by a tutor who thinks that Article 22 denies, not the invocation of saints, but the intercession of saints.  A rejection of the BCP Communion on the grounds that it is “Zwinglian” is an equally unfortunate error, a reading of words that are not in fact there.  And that error leads to an “Anglican” version of the Mass that is purely aesthetic in value, a sop for those dear souls who just wished things could have stayed the same.  We have these in our modern Anglican liturgical revisions too, where the old words are draped around pseudo-Hippolytus, Christus Victor, and Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry.  I spew them out of my mouth as neither hot nor cold.

This post is in response to this one of Dr. Bill Tighe’s

Who was responding to this one by SMM1

Who was responding to this post in the Australian blog Psallite Sapienter.



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7 Responses to SMM1 responds to Dr. Bill Tighe on Cranmer and the 1662 BCP

  1. Pingback: SMM1 responds to Dr. Bill Tighe on Cranmer and the 1662 BCP | Catholic Canada

  2. Joshua says:

    (Deborah, you may like to put this in a post, or leave this as a reply here.)

    Let us now establish what is at issue here. Having opened the classical BCP – never mind that few now use it, whether here in Australia, or in the UK; and of course Canada has its own BCP (not that there it is used much either), and likewise for other corners of the Anglican Communion – I looked to see what of its Patrimony, as regards the Eucharist, was “fit for purpose” or, rather, doctrinally orthodox, and thus assimilable for use in the full communion of the Catholic Church in union with Peter. I left aside High Church ceremonial, and all such considerations; I left aside all old attempts at fitting together the Holy Communion from the BCP with the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Mass; I looked at the BCP Communion Office, and (to my satisfaction at least) showed how virtually all of it could be suitably adapted for use as part of a variant of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Mass – which is confirmed by finding precisely that done in the already-existing Book of Divine Worship for use in the USA by Catholic parishes following the Anglican Use. But I did note that some parts of the BCP’s Eucharistic rite would not pass the test of orthodoxy: above all, the Prayer of Consecration; also, some phrases in other parts needing rewording or deleting (such as the second half of the words of administration of the Sacrament, which date from the notoriously Protestant 1552 BCP).

    As I think I may have mentioned, if any Anglican liturgy were found acceptable in toto for the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, it would be that found in the Scottish BCP of 1929; or again, that of the Nonjurors, as drawn up in 1718. But to be frank, the latter was never used but by a tiny remnant for a generation three centuries ago; and the former is not so much used even among the tiny Scottish Episcopalian denomination any more (having been replaced in the main by odder more modern liturgies).

    However, as the Prayer of Consecration in the 1662 BCP consists of a thankful remembrance of the all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, followed by a prayer that those receiving the bread and wine would be partakers of His Body and Blood, and then a recital of the Institution Narrative, it is clearly insufficient to express Catholic doctrine about the Eucharist – instead, it well inculcates receptionism (Hooker’s new heresy) and the Protestant tenet that Christ’s Sacrifice is not made present here and now in the Eucharist, but was offered up once for all. Whatever may be claimed, rather tongue-in-cheek it may seem, in Sæpius officio (wherein its Anglican authors had the bare-faced cheek to claim their mutilated remnant of a Eucharistic Prayer, being as it is derived from the Roman Canon, is somehow clearer in its exposition of Catholic doctrine than the hallowed and most ancient Canon itself – a rude claim, be it noted, that falls under a Tridentine anathema against any who would impugn the Canon of the Mass), the Prayer of Consecration in the 1662 BCP is manifestly heretical: indeed, how could it be otherwise, since it was specially designed to teach novel doctrines. If a priest in valid orders pronounced it, it would of course serve to consecrate the Sacrament validly – but just as plainly it would be grievously sinful to use such a prayer.

    The learned Canadian who has replied so courteously to my initial foray has, I think, mistaken me in a way: for he surely realizes that, while offering oneself up in union with Christ is excellent and holy, and to adore with all worship Christ as one receives the Sacrament is but our bounden duty, and to consider reading the Ten Commandments as a restatement of the Covenant (though that be pious), is still not to acknowledge that the 1662 BCP’s Prayer of Consecration is hardly a suitable Eucharistic Prayer: Taylor and Cosin and many other Anglican divines privately hoped for a better, as their drafts at the time of its imposition demonstrate: they and such worthies as Johnson, Vicar of Cranbrook, while defending the validity of the 1662 service and what they saw as its orthodoxy (an attempt I charitably seek to sympathize with, yet unquestionably reject), felt that the 1549 was arranged in the proper order, and had been mucked with in deference to Continental Protestants, and had not been returned to in 1662 only because of the hopes of reconciling Protestants to the newly-restored Church of England, hopes that proved abortive. Their liturgical heirs, the English Nonjurors (who died out) and the Scottish Episcopalians (who survived persecution and still survive in small numbers), therefore restored the rightful order as they saw it to the Eucharistic Liturgy.

    Quite frankly, to say that all the Anglican attempts to restore the older and more Catholic order of the Liturgy, by producing a fuller Eucharistic Prayer, are somehow lesser than Cranmer’s project, more ambiguous even, is to be manifestly contrarian and to oppose all serious liturgical scholarship. Protestant Anglicans may be pleased by the 1662 BCP’s Eucharistic rite: Catholics will never be, and it is hardly ecumenical to put forward something that most Christians – the Catholics, the Orthodox, and members of other ancient Eastern churches – would see as not a true and proper Eucharist at all.

    Even if the 1549 BCP’s arrangement of the Prayer for the Church, the Prayer of Consecration (including a rather more acceptable epiclesis, praying that the elements may “be unto us” Christ’s Body and Blood, which is capable of bearing the interpretation that the bread and wine not merely subjectively but objectively cease to be bread and wine, and truly and wholly become His Body and Blood) and then the Prayer of Memorial (i.e. Anamnesis) and Oblation were used, it would still constitute a Eucharistic Prayer that is mala sonans – suspect and disturbing, because it was Cranmer’s first chopping about of the immemorial Canon of the Mass. The later Scottish tradition, drawing on the abortive 1637 BCP for Scotland, and refined throughout the first two-thirds of the eighteenth century, reaching its classic form in 1764 before being brought to final form in the 1929 Scottish BCP for the small Episcopalian body in that country, better orders and phrases the Eucharistic Prayer, by setting the Prayer of Consecration first (containing the Institution Narrative), then the Prayer of Memorial, Oblation and Invocation (putting a proper Epiclesis after the Words of the Lord, as done throughout the Christian East), and then the Prayer of Intercession, pleading the merits of the Lord’s Sacrifice for all the quick and the dead. But even this most Catholic arrangement still may be taken as dangerously ambiguous, I am constrained to note; though a Catholic would of course read it in conformity with sound doctrine. For the avoidance of all doubt, the only Anglican Eucharistic Prayer that evades Cranmer’s seductive phraseology (and thus repudiates his sophistry) is that of the Nonjurors, drawn up in 1718: for it replaces Cranmer’s Prayer of Consecration and Prayer of Oblation with extracts from the Liturgy of St James and that of the Apostolic Constitutions – needless to say, such is hardly Anglican Patrimony however, and it would be mad archæologism to ever propose its revival.

    So, as to being “strictly BCP” in worship, of course the laudable Offices of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer are to be retained; but as to the Eucharist, the best that can be done is to combine all acceptable parts of the BCP’s Order for the Holy Communion with “the Secret and the Canon and the Dominus vobiscum” as a humorous poem puts it. Such a combination, whether, like the various Anglican Missals of old, adding the best BCP bits into the matrix of the Traditional Mass, or doing the same with the modern Mass, as the first edition of the Book of Divine Worship has demonstrated can be done, is manifestly dignified, well-phrased and pleasing (we pray) to God and man, insofar as any imperfect human service may be said to be.

  3. Pingback: Psallite Sapienter responds to SMM1 | Foolishness to the world

  4. William Tighe says:

    I am sorry to be responding so belatedly to SMM1’s stimulating and very subtle essay. He and I were already agreed that Cranmer was (as per Richardson) “inconsistent;” SMM1’s essay has convinced me that this “inconsistency” can cut in several directions and has wider implications than Richardson saw, or was interested in discussing. I think it might have been useful, though, to include some brief consideration of Bucer’s *Censurae* on the 1549 BCP eucharistic rite, and Cranmer’s response to them (“response” in the sense of to what extent the 1552 rite represented an implicit acceptance or — as seems to me mostly the case — rejection of Bucer’s views as reflected in them), as Bucer’s views on the Eucharist seem in many respects most foundational to those of Calvin.

    I appreciate as well the subtlety of the section “What about the BCP?” I am not sure that I am convinced by what SMM1 writes about the removal of the phrase “in these holy mysteries” in 1552, but I find it at least plausible, although perhaps it would have strengthened, perhaps, the argument to consider along side the removal of the phrase the significance of the alteration of the “epicletic” phrases immediately preceding the Words of Institution in the 1552 rite from those in the 1549 rite.

    As to more practical matters, I largely agree with Joshua’s criticisms and reservations, and particularly with what he writes in his antepenultimate paragraph, and most particularly its last sentence. It is perhaps useful as well as pleasant to contemplate these matters in theoria — and perhaps that is sufficient justification in itself — but what use can it be hoped to serve? Anglo-Catholics have rejected Cranmer’s rite along with what they perceive as its theology (or else, as in some Continuing Anglican circles, fit their understanding of Cranmer’s eucharistic theology to their own views, and nevertheless subject his rite to “improvements”); the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church will never allow the use in their respective communions of such a rite as 1662 (or any other Anglican rite) without at least some significant alterations and substitutions; and Evangelical Anglicans seem content to allow a relative free-for-all of eucharistic theologies and liturgical practices, often with no particular interest in Cranmer’s distinctive views. What constituencies are there for a repristination of 1559/1662?

    • Brian Palmer says:

      I think all Anglicans and Roman Catholics should convert to the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, the true faith and the root from which all other churches stem.

  5. Pingback: The debate on Cranmer and the Liturgy continues | Foolishness to the world

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