Saturday, 12 May 2007

A little more on ecumenism

A couple of mischievous priests recently posted the new ICEL translation of Mass on their blogs. Good for them. One spin-off of the new version (when it happens) will be that the textual convergence of the various English-speaking Christian communions will be broken.

When I was a University chaplain, I had to share premises with the Anglicans, and often new Catholic students (especially from overseas) would wander into the Anglican Eucharist (which occasionally even had incense) and detect nothing wrong. Until, that is, Canon ffitch-Bracegirdle presided. Canon Sharon-Louise ffitch-Bracegirdle, that is. The Book of Common Worship, which the Anglicans use these days, can with very little work be pummelled into a real semblence of the Novus Ordo Missae, often with identical texts.

The other day I came across a copy of An Order of Worship and Second Order for Worship of the United Reformed Church. Presbyterians, in other words. Calvinists, that is.
Well, I was at University in Scotland, and I remember Presbyterianism.
Oh come, let us worship the Lord in song, singing hymn number five thousand and sixty four, but omitting verse seventy six because it mentions that Jesus had a mother!
But this book is an order for the URC Eucharist.

It begins with an Introit ('Scripture Sentence')
Then the Collect for Purity (from the Sarum Mass & Anglican liturgy)
A form of Confiteor and 'absolution'

Liturgy of the Word.
Intro and OT reading.
NT reading (Epistle and Gospel)
'Special Acts, (such as Baptism)'

The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper
Invitation, then,
Offertory. Did I say Offertory? Yes, I said OFFERTORY!
What is that awful sound I hear?
O tell me true, I crave!
It is the sound of Calvin's bones
rotating in their grave.
Prayer: Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation……become for us the bread of life.
Blessed…it will become for us the cup of salvation.
and a third Blessed are you prayer concerned with offering ourselves. Nice.

The Thanksgiving.
Preface dialogue (without The Lord be with you)
Preface and Eucharistic Prayer along the lines of EP4, with Sanctus.

Our Father
The peace.
Lamb of God, exactly as we have it.
Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

The 'sharing of the bread and wine'
'The body of Christ, given for you
The blood of Christ, shed for you'

Postcommunion prayer
Nunc dimittis (odd, but nice, idea)
Psalm, Give thanks to the Lord for he is good

Dismissal & Blessing (in that order)

Well, as I say, I was used to the Anglicans converging, but I was completely startled to see the Presbyterians having even anything like an ordered liturgy, let alone one that could quite easily be mistaken for the Novus Ordo Missae.

Do you believe in conspiracy theories?


Anonymous said...

Good points, Father. Despite living in Scotland, I really don't know a lot about Presbyterianism. However, when I was still an Anglican, our Church's litury was essentially the Scottish Episcopal Liturgy of 1970 and the Roman Missal grafted nicely on to each other.

Henry Bloggings said...

So good their Lordships are making an ecumenical break by moving the Feast of the Ascension to Sunday. Protestants will follow the primitive Biblical dating and we Catholics will do our own thing. You see the Bishops are turning their backs on Ecumenism.

Anonymous said...

I did that once Father - wandered into a 'service' in a hospital chapel that seemed to be Mass - took me a while to realise - then I had to extricate myself!

John L said...

Well, the Novus Ordo mass was written to make exactly this sort of convergence possible, so it should not surprise anyone.

Anonymous said...

Calling the URC echt Presbyterians is a joke, right?


Fr Justin said...

Someone suggested I should clarify that this service is not one church's ad hoc communion; it really is the official text for the URC in the UK.