The Anglican use

I was delighted to learn that there is an Anglican Ordinariate group at Holy Rosary Parish in Indianapolis, and made  a field-trip today. For the record, it was an Anglican-use Mass celebrated by a Latin-Rite priest with faculties in the personal ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter and hosted by Holy Rosary. I left with two overriding questions: How can I get people back in my hometown interested in coming to this and how can I start the groundwork for bringing this to my hometown?

Just a few words on the Mass itself: It presents itself as a hybrid between the Book of Common Prayer (and through it the Sarum Missal), and both uses of the Roman Rite. It did not appear to precisely-follow the texts of the Book of Divine Worship, as I had expcted. For example, the words to the penitential rite were supplied by the BCP’s penitential rite for the Divine Office, a text very familiar to me because I often use it (mutatis mutandis) as an act of contrition: “Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou them, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou them that are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.” The Eucharistic Prayer was essentially the Roman Canon. Much (although not all) of the liturgy is celebrated versus apsidem, which will be familiar to cathedral-going Anglicans and those who prefer the Tridentine Mass, but it is perforce celebrated entirely in English.

It remains to be seen what (if anything) is different in the forthcoming Ordinariate Use, which is said to be subtly-different. But it’s a beautiful and interesting liturgy, and I think that it will have a far broader appeal than simply defecting Anglicans. I think that this is what people have been looking for. I have a theory about the resurgence of the Tridentine Mass, especially among the young. While I don’t doubt that some people are truly attached to it, per se,  I think that many are there because they’re done with the usus modernus and see no other alternative. They’ve given up. They are burned out on the mediocrity in which the usus modernus is usually celebrated and they’ve given up hoping for it to be fixed; they flee to the usus antiquior not because it cannot be celebrated poorly or because the usus modernus must be, but because that is how things usually pan out. Well: Enter the Anglican use. Like the Tridentine Mass, it’s adherents are self-selecting and traditionally-inclined; beautiful, reverent liturgy is at the core of its identity. I suggest that the Anglican use is a silver bullet; if I am right in what I have said above, it is precisely what many people are looking for (and have hitherto found only imperfectly in the extraordinary form). Looking forward, what do I see? Possibilities.

Shall we begin?