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The Book of Common Prayer and its liturgical descendants are the elements of Anglicanism that will be preserved for former Anglicans and Episcopalians who have entered the Catholic Church, an official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has reported.

In November 2009, Pope Benedict released the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, creating a permanent home for Anglicans who wish to be reconciled to the Catholic Church but hoped to retain portions of their “Anglican patrimony”. In an interview published in the December issue of The Portal, Mgr. Steven Lopes of the CDF defined this distinctive “patrimony”.

“We here have thought a lot about what constitutes Anglican patrimony, particularly as it involves the liturgy, and we have a working definition. It is to say that ‘Anglican liturgical patrimony is that which has nourished the Catholic Faith, within the Anglican tradition during the time of ecclesiastical separation, and has given rise to this new desire for full communion’,” Mgr. Lopes said.

In October 2013, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham – the English branch of the Ordinariate — launched a new Mass text which included passages from Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer.

“’It has nourished the faith’: these expressions from the Anglican prayer books and how they are interpreted through the years – I’m thinking of the Comfortable Words, the Summary of the Law, the Collect for Purity, the Prayer of Humble Access – these are not museum pieces. They have sustained people in their faith because they have given expression, beautiful expression, to the truth! It is a truth of God that truly liberates us and draws us deeper into the mystery of God and of ourselves. The fact that these prayers capture this truth in such a magnificent way sustains faith.”

“’Throughout the years of ecclesiastical separation’: well, that acknowledges the fact that Anglican liturgical patrimony is not just 1549 or 1662, nor is it just 1928 or 1976. We can’t go back to a specific period and say ‘this is it’, but you have to look at the whole Anglican experience to see how that faith was nourished’,” Mgr Lopes said.

He added that it was ironic that many Anglo-Catholics who have joined the Ordinariate did not use Anglican prayer books as Anglicans but the Roman rite.

“We have many people in the Ordinariate who are unfamiliar with some of that wider tradition, the depth of tradition, in Prayer Book forms and Anglican Missal forms of worship. In a certain sense it’s an irony because here’s this wonderful liturgical patrimony and we have Ordinariate communities saying ‘wait a minute, that’s actually quite new’,” he said .

Mgr Lopes added that if an Ordinariate community simply uses the Roman Rite it becomes “indistinguishable.” 

In August 2013, Mgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter – the American branch of the Ordinariate – stated the Latin mass was not to be used in Ordinariate congregations. Clergy who “want to learn also how to celebrate” according to the traditional Latin mass were “certainly encouraged to do so” under the “supervision of the local bishop,” Mgr. Steenson said, so as to “assist in those stable communities that use the Extraordinary Form.”

The traditional Latin Mass, (the Extraordinary Form) “is not integral to the Anglican patrimony, it is not properly used in our communities,” he added.

The Book of Common Prayer and its liturgical descendants are the elements of Anglicanism that will be preserved for former Anglicans and Episcopalians who have entered the Catholic Church will preserve in the new Anglican Ordinariate, an official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has reported.

In November 2009, Pope Benedict released the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, creating a permanent home for Anglicans who wish to be reconciled to the Catholic Church but hoped to retain portions of their “Anglican patrimony”. In an interview published in the December issue of The Portal, Mgr. Steven Lopes of the CDF defined this distinctive “patrimony”.

“We here have thought a lot about what constitutes Anglican patrimony, particularly as it involves the liturgy, and we have a working definition. It is to say that ‘Anglican liturgical patrimony is that which has nourished the Catholic Faith, within the Anglican tradition during the time of ecclesiastical separation, and has given rise to this new desire for full communion’,” Mgr. Lopes said.

In October 2013, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham – the English branch of the Ordinariate — launched a new Mass text which included passages from Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer.

“’It has nourished the faith’: these expressions from the Anglican prayer books and how they are interpreted through the years – I’m thinking of the Comfortable Words, the Summary of the Law, the Collect for Purity, the Prayer of Humble Access – these are not museum pieces. They have sustained people in their faith because they have given expression, beautiful expression, to the truth! It is a truth of God that truly liberates us and draws us deeper into the mystery of God and of ourselves. The fact that these prayers capture this truth in such a magnificent way sustains faith.”

“’Throughout the years of ecclesiastical separation’: well, that acknowledges the fact that Anglican liturgical patrimony is not just 1549 or 1662, nor is it just 1928 or 1976. We can’t go back to a specific period and say ‘this is it’, but you have to look at the whole Anglican experience to see how that faith was nourished’,” Mgr Lopes said.

He added that it was ironic that many Anglo-Catholics who have joined the Ordinariate did not use Anglican prayer books as Anglicans but the Roman rite.

“We have many people in the Ordinariate who are unfamiliar with some of that wider tradition, the depth of tradition, in Prayer Book forms and Anglican Missal forms of worship. In a certain sense it’s an irony because here’s this wonderful liturgical patrimony and we have Ordinariate communities saying ‘wait a minute, that’s actually quite new’,” he said .

Mgr Lopes added that if an Ordinariate community simply uses the Roman Rite it becomes “indistinguishable.” 

In August 2013, Mgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter – the American branch of the Ordinariate – stated the Latin mass was not to be used in Ordinariate congregations. Clergy who “want to learn also how to celebrate” according to the traditional Latin mass were “certainly encouraged to do so” under the “supervision of the local bishop,” Mgr. Steenson said, so as to “assist in those stable communities that use the Extraordinary Form.”

The traditional Latin Mass, (the Extraordinary Form) “is not integral to the Anglican patrimony, it is not properly used in our communities,” he added.