Damian Thompson on the Ordinariate Mass



I love the Ordinariate, though I despair at the lack of support it has been given by the English Catholic bishops and the sneers directed at them by Anglo-Catholics who have decided to stay put. Fair play to Cardinal Nichols, though: he has lent them one of London’s most beautiful little churches, Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street.

A few weeks ago I went to their main Sunday Mass. It was a disorientating experience, but in a good way. Although technically a ‘usage’ of the Roman rite, it’s effectively a rite in itself and the most uplifting English liturgy I’ve ever encountered. As a cradle Catholic I’m shamefully ignorant of the Prayer Book and so was unfamiliar with its jewel, the Prayer of Humble Access:

We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.

We’ve had good support in Canada, especially here in Ottawa with Archbishop Prendergast.

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