I was delighted to receive an enthusiastic response from Bishop Patrick Dunn to my hope that Anglicans and Roman Catholics (and others interested) work together to produce English language translations that can, as much as possible, be used by anyone in those denominations. Let us pray that this gets some real traction.
In this post, I want to respond to one comment:
I think such a proposal would require Anglicans to simply adopt Roman Eucharistic prayers. I can’t see Roman bishops doing otherwise.
Firstly, my proposal is not to have a shared full missal. That would be great. But having the same texts for the Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, etc. would be a very positive step forward (or back to what we had earlier!). This also means being able to share musical resources.
And, secondly, this hope of mine is not at all connected to rumours of an “Ecumenical Mass” text being worked on secretly.
But, even though a fully shared ecumenical Eucharistic rite is not at all what I had in mind, I still want to say that it is not as beyond the realm of possibility as some might think because many Eucharistic Prayers are not created de novo (ex nihilo). So phrases from (and almost whole) Eucharistic Prayers are shared by Roman Catholics and Anglicans (Episcopalians).
Possibly the most popular shared Eucharistic Prayer is RC number II. It is based in part on the third-century liturgy of Hippolytus of Rome. An Anglican Prayer Book of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa has the exact same wording in its Third Eucharistic Prayer as the Roman Catholic one (the 1970s English translation). Canada’s Book of Alternative Services Prayer 2 and the Church of England’s Common Worship Prayer B have much akin to this.
A Prayer Book for Australia Thanksgiving 3 is clearly an Anglican version of the Roman Catholic Eucharistic Prayer III.
The Roman Catholic Eucharistic Prayer IV draws from the Apostolic Constitutions of Antioch and St. Basil’s Eucharistic Prayer. Once again, this shared heritage means it is found in Canada’s BAS Eucharistic Prayer 6 and The Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer Eucharistic Prayer D.
As to Roman Catholic Eucharistic Prayer I (the ‘Roman Canon’), used for at least a millennium and a half – I’m not aware of a formal Anglican version of it. Some Anglican priests (and communities) use this prayer as is (I’m not aware of anyone in NZ doing this). I did encounter, once (again not in NZ), I knew of a parish where the priest used the Novus Ordo Eucharistic Prayer I translated into Elizabethan English and used sotto voce (in a “quiet” voice) facing East (ie. with the priest with his back to the congregation)! No; I am not making this up.
In order to use the Roman Catholic Eucharistic Prayer I licitly (unless someone tells me there is an authorised version in the Anglican Communion), you would insert the parts into one of the authorised Eucharistic Prayer frameworks [TEC has two; NZ has one]. Furthermore, NZ has just altered its Anglican Constitution to allow individual bishops to authorise stuff.
In my book Celebrating Eucharist, I have used the NZ authorised framework giving my Eucharistic Prayer 3 modeled on the one found in the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus (ie. the basis of RC Eucharistic Prayer II). And, using the same framework, I produced my Eucharistic Prayer 4 based on an ecumenical prayer with its source in the liturgy of St. Basil (so, akin to RC Eucharistic Prayer IV).
In the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, any of the above Eucharistic Prayers (from around the Anglican Communion or from my book) may be used at any time.
Do you know of any other Anglican Eucharistic Prayers that are very similar to the Roman Catholic ones?
To be continued…
Image: Orans on a Roman Mural