So what is Anglican patrimony anyway?

Does it include fiddleback vestments?  Christopher Howse at the Telegraph opines:

Does Anglican patrimony include fiddleback chasubles? If this question means nothing, do not despair, for it is the ecclesiastical equivalent of an interest that rivet-counters or gricers take in the wheel arrangement of locomotives (2-4-0, and so on).

Anglican patrimony is a thing that the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is supposed to express within the Roman Catholic Church in England. It is exemplified by Coverdale’s translation of the Psalms, which is used at Evensong in Ordinariate churches.

The Ordinariate does not yet have its own Communion service (Eucharistic liturgy) or Missal. For this purpose work is being done to revise the Book of Divine Worship. That book is used by Roman Catholics in America who follow the Anglican use; it is based on the American Book of Common Prayer. These waters are complicated, like the Thames at Oxford, with backwaters and hidden streams.

And while we ponder the role of Anglican patrimony within the Ordinariates,  Fr. Anthony Chadwick as an interesting post pondering Anglican patrimony for Continuing Anglicanism and how touched by the Reformation it can or should be.

If conciliar Catholicism were better known, conciliar as in the reforming Council of Constance placing the Episcopate over the Pope acting alone, this would be far more healthy than being hidebound to Reformation formularies. With a conciliar Catholic approach, we can have the Bible and the liturgy in the vernacular, keep popular religion and the taste for miracles and wonders in check, keep the clergy from becoming corrupt, get the laity to learn their catechism and develop an interest for more advanced doctrinal, historical, spiritual and liturgical study, and so forth. The problem with Protestant Augustinianism is that is is too narrow, like asking a great French chef to cook a fabulous meal with only one saucepan, a pound of potatoes and water. I prefer people like the Methodists with their high church theology and low church services to having to be narrow in one’s theological vision and then “playing at religion” by doing high services without any underlying justification. Did not some of the Reformers lament abominations of popish masses?

Another objection to Protestantism is that it was a reaction against a very specific situation in history. Since the sixteenth century and up to our own times, there have been changes. In Roman Catholicism, the issues involving corruption and superstition were addressed by the Council of Trent and the Counter Reformation. There was the dispute between Jesuits and Jansenists which cleared many of the difficulties surrounding Augustinian theology. Then, from the nineteenth century, there is a whole movement in theology, ecclesiology, church history and historical criticism leading to the Ressourcement, the appeal to the Fathers of the Church. With exposure to that kind of theology, who wants to return to sixteenth-century pseudo-scholastic polemics which were as narrow and asinine from the Roman point of view as from the Reformers? One who has seen sunlight will not return to live in the cave and see only shadows and imaginations. What we would like to continue is colour, beauty, diversity and joy.

All very interesting.

Meanwhile, last night I attended a lecture by David Lyle Jeffrey on the reliability of modern Scriptural translations.   The event was put on by the new Ottawa Theological College, a school that seems to be largely the efforts of evangelical Anglicans who broke away more recently from the Canterbury Communion over the authority of Scripture (the real issue behind the gay marriage/actively gay clergy debate which is the tip of the iceberg of the authority problem).

It was good to be with these people last night and David Lyle Jeffrey’s lecture was superb —and in some ways I am much more comfortable with a Bible-believing, evangelical Anglican who tries to the best of his or her conscience to submit to God’s teachings therein than I am with my more liberal Catholic brothers and sisters who are steeped in modernism and secularism perhaps without even realizing how much so they are.



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15 Responses to So what is Anglican patrimony anyway?

  1. Nicely said Madame! I seek to be one of those Bible-believing, evangelical Anglicans, myself! And I value and see some “evangelical” Roman Catholics too. And I hope those “in” the Anglican Patrimony (Ordinariates) also! Btw, but sadly Fr. Chadwick always gives a short version of his own as to the historical of the great English and Anglican part of the Reformation! The Augustinian Protestant, and especially Calvin’s view here, is always a bitter pill for Anthony! But Calvin did call God’s decree of reprobation: a horrible decree – decretum quidem horribile fateor! And yet, he says: “But though the discussion of predestination may be compared to a to a dangerous ocean; yet in traversing over it the navigation is safe and serene, and I will also add pleasant, unless any one freely wishes to expose himself to danger. For as those who, in order to gain an assurance of their election, examine into the eternal council of God without the Word plunge themselves into a fatal abyss, so they who investigate it in a regular and orderly manner as it is contained in the Word derive from such inquiry the benefit of peculiar consolation.” (Calvin, Inst. III. 24)

  2. Pingback: So what is Anglican patrimony anyway? | Catholic Canada

  3. Mario Josipovic says:

    I do need to take some issue with this line from Fr Anthony Chadwick’s post: “With a conciliar Catholic approach, we can…keep popular religion and the taste for miracles and wonders in check…get the laity to learn their catechism and develop an interest for more advanced doctrinal, historical, spiritual and liturgical study, and so forth.”

    Wow, this straw man again! Makes one want to say “Down with Protestant Tropery!” (if “tropery” is a word).

    I recommend Eamon Duffy’s Stripping of the Altars as a corrective to the idea that English Catholics on the eve of the Henrician Schism – pious average folk who sought intercession of the Saints and prayed for souls in Purgatory – were ignoramuses. To the contrary, they were surprisingly sophisticated in their (largely correct) understanding of Catholic theology.

    I recently read a letter from the widower of St Gianna Beretta Molla, Pietro Molla. His peaen of love to his Sainted wife is heart-movingly passionate – typically “Italian Catholic”! – and yet full of profound Scriptural understanding.

    After many years of studying this phenomenon, I still cannot put my finger on what drives this Protestant sensibility – that is, this deprecation of “Catholic” devotions and manners of worship because they don’t feel right for one’s self. My earnest hope is that this sensibility not drive the Ordinariate’s aesthetic and devotional choices. Anglican Use Catholics should be free to rely on and nurture whatever historical Anglican forms most open their hearts to worshiping and glorifying Him and maintaining communion with the Church Militant, the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant.

    • grahame thompson says:

      Yes I agree. A friend from my days in the ACC used to say that Anglicanism allows great diversity in doctrine but is rather limited when it comes to devotion. Catholicism, on the other hand, is able
      to incorporate all manner of devotion while being more precise when it comes to doctrine. There are course exceptions among Anglicans.

  4. EPMS says:

    Perhaps it is helpful to define “Anglican Patrimony” as whatever familiar element a given Anglican finds helpful in making the transition to the Catholic church, rather than as anything objective. Trying to blend say,Thomas Cranmer, Palestrina, Charles Wesley, and the fiddleback chasuble into a coherent statement is doomed to failure. It has been stated many times that when the revised BDW is ready it will be the norm for all Ordinariate parishes worldwide, and I think that at this point, when liturgical optimism will have to give way to realism, it will be apparent that “diversity” is not an Anglican value that will have made the cut.

    • Don Henri says:

      There will still be diversity with the universal new BDW, in the same way there was diversity in England in the last days of the 1662 prayerbook: same text, different choreography. Some parishes will have a full Tridentine ceremonial with all the baroque trappings and fiddleback (Blessed JHN in California for example or St Timothy’s Fort Worth). Some other will have a more restrained approach inspired by the English Use and the Sarum rite, with conical chasubles, riddel posts etc… (many groups in England, and a few in the US such as the parish pastored by Fr. Venutti in Alabama). Some other will celebrate this new BDW in an environment barely distinguishable from what is done at the local Catholic Church: versus populum, modern ceremonial and vestments, with perhaps a greater care as to the ars celebrandi and a greater reverence of the congregation (and good singing too), I think about Christ the King Towson, and many groups in England.
      About blending Wesley, Palestrina, and Cranmer, many CofE parishes have done exactly this for about a century! The (very coherent) statement (at least before you start having women-priests) is that this community, while part of the Latin Church (hence Palestrina and Tridentine ceremonial) is also part of the Ecclesia Anglicana, hence liturgy by Cranmner, and is also benefiting from some features of later developments such as wesleyan metrical hymnody.

      + pax et bonum

      • porys says:

        Off – topic (sorry Deborah for spaminng): Don Henri – will you march in this year pilgrimage Paris – Chartres, which starts tomorow? (I ask because I will).

      • Foolishness says:

        No. But I will be in Rome as of Pentecost through Corpus Christi.

      • Rev22:17 says:


        You wrote: No. But I will be in Rome as of Pentecost through Corpus Christi.

        Sounds wonderful! If you decide to visit the Vatican Museum and the Capella Sistina, be sure to arrange a tour. If you go on your own, you probably will have to stand in line for a couple hours to get in via the “general admission” entrance. Tours bypass the lines completely and enter directly through the adjacent group tour entrance, with little wait.

        And if you have (or can make) time, the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls is well worth the trouble to get there.

        Bon voyage!


  5. One of the most important bits of Anglican patrimony is the Authorized Version, which the Ordinariate is not allowed to use.

    • Foolishness says:

      I hope someday the Authorized Version will be authorized for Ordinariate use. No one’s telling it we can’t use it for our own private devotions and daily offices, so I’m still using mine. We have to continue to make a case for the KJV.

      • In my opinion Rome will never allow the KJV, it is quite simply a Reformational document and translation!

      • Rev22:17 says:


        You wrote: I hope someday the Authorized Version will be authorized for Ordinariate use.

        There are three compelling reasons why it seems very unlikely that the Vatican will ever approve the Authorized (or “King James”) Version of the bible for liturgical use.

        >> 1. The English language has evolved considerably, and many words now have meanings significantly different than their meanings half a millenium ago. As a result, translations of that era are likely to give rise to major misunderstanding.

        >> 2. In the past five centuries, many Jewish and Greek manuscripts have surfaced that scholars believe to be considerably more reliable than the manuscripts from which the Authorized Version was translated. Thus, contemporary translations are considered to be more reliable than translations of that era.

        >> 3. The magisterium of the Catholic Church has long maintained that there are significant errors in the Authorized Version, and has consistently rejected its formal use in the Catholic Church on this basis.

        Note that the first two of these reasons also extend to the Douay-Reims Translation completed in 1610 (one year before the Authorized Version), which is the work fo Catholic scholars exiled in France.


    • Amen there Sam!… It’s really a Protestant version!

  6. EPMS says:

    Catholics of a certain generation were brought up with the idea that the AV was some kind of direct attack on the Catholic faith, and rejecting it was a badge of identity, like not saying “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory.” Those of a later generation or less traditional bent generally prefer more accessible translations. So it is hard to see who will support its acceptance in Catholic public worship after 4 centuries.

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