Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The American Missal.

These pictures of an Anglican (American) Missal High mass have been sent from a friend at Nashotah House seminary in America. The parish is All Saints Cathedral in Milwaukee using the old high altar that is (unfortunately) rarely used anymore. This used to be a regular missal mass parish until after Vatican II. Here you see the introit.

The censing of the altar, and here you see the proper use of lifting the celebrants chasuble which is retained in many Churches today, even when using Roman cut vestments. In the middle ages, chasubles were conical in shape, so the fabric would, if one stood with arms down, go right over your hands. The Deacon or clerk at certain times in the Mass would fold the chasuble down into the inner elbow recess. Later German Chasubles sometimes had a curious button on the shoulder and a string near the edge of the chasuble that was pulled up and secured before the presentation of the oblata. The Liturgical Movement to an extent reintroduced this cut of vestment, but the fashion fell out in the Nineteen Seventies.

The singing of the collect.

Proclamation of the Gospel from the ambo. I used to enjoy attending the English Missal High Mass at Saint Luke's Southport, when they had such a thing. I wonder if it would not be a good idea to have a loose body, akin to the Latin Mass Society, which listed Missal Masses and Parishes, organised training days and pilgrimages and produced magazines. I get the distinct impression that the reintroduction of the Missal might be one of the flowerings of the New Oxford Movement. If there is still such a thing.

I am not so sure about the surplices, but I suppose it is authentically Medieval. Regular readers may recognise our friend Andrew Bartus acting as Liturgical Deacon in this training day. I should point out that it was not a Mass per se, but a 'dry' Mass, enacted to teach the use of the Missal.

What are our thoughts on the English (or American) Missal? Would it revitalise the Religious Life of our Church? Does it have enough of a unique charism to appeal to a new generation of questing Anglicans? If we are to remain where we are, then there will have to be a distinctiveness to our cultus, something which is missionary in its attraction and presentation of Divine Truth to the many in other Parishes who would be attracted to worship the Lord with us. There are many brave and good people who 'stick it out' in their Parishes who would benefit from a missionary effort from us - a last and prolonged push for orthodoxy, for if Anglo Catholics remain without due provision and do not see themselves as missionaries, then there is certain death.

Part II of the Dream of the Rood tomorrow, I promise!