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Anglicans using new RC Mass translation?

I have been asked more than once, will Anglicans in NZ use the new Roman Catholic Mass translation?

There are Anglican communities here that draw on the Roman Rite as a resource for Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and other occasions. I understand that to be perfectly allowed.

I know people who insert what Rome provides as a proper preface, or add an appropriate phrase or sentence from the Roman Rite. I do not know of any community in this diocese (Christchurch) who use the Eucharistic Prayers from the Roman Rite. And, if there are any such Anglican communities in NZ, you might put their name in the comments below.

When I was in England I knew of one Church of England community that had translated the Roman Rite into Elizabethan English, and the priest used that Eucharistic Prayer “silently” with his back to the congregation!

I can imagine that in NZ, some Anglicans will look at the new RC translation/material and maybe use a preface, collect, or other seasonal or festal resources. I’m sure that, in doing so, RC uninclusive language will be amended. I am convinced that no NZ Anglicans will use the new RC Gloria, Creed, “Holy, Holy,…”. We will stay with the ecumenically agreed English texts we currently use.

The Church of England has a Canon (B5) which allows clergy to introduce variations in any form of service “which are not of substantial importance”. New Zealand has no such canon or allowance. In the Church of England the variation must be “neither contrary to, nor indicative of any departure from, the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter.” If doubts are raised, the Bishop can be consulted.

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, has issued a strong, solid pastoral letter Do this in remembrance of me against Anglicans using the new English translation of the Roman Rite. The whole piece is worth reading. I will just highlight some quotes from it:

  • The community is nourished by Christ’s own body and blood which is really present when we enact the last supper which he shared with his friends on the night in which he was betrayed. Among the very few commandments that he gave to us is “Do this in remembrance of me”.
  • The Eucharist is performative and not merely illustrative. “We take not Baptism nor the Eucharist for bare resemblances or memorials of things absent, neither for naked signs and testimonies assuring us of grace received before but for means effectual whereby God, when we take the sacraments, delivereth into our hands that grace available unto eternal life.” [Richard Hooker Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity V: 57.]
  • The Holy Communion is not something the church “puts on” to cater for our “religious” needs and feelings. It is the way appointed by Christ
  • In some parts of our church it can appear that the service of Holy Communion is an appendix to services of the Word and not accorded the central significance which the express command of Jesus would seem to warrant. The reformers of our own church, Cranmer and Ridley [as Bishop of London] desired more frequent communion than was the practice in the late mediaeval Western church. Calvin also commends weekly eucharistic practice in his Institutes [IV: xvii. 46], “At least once in every week the table of the Lord ought to have been spread before each congregation of Christians.”
  • A Diocese represents a developed form of the local church in which all the fullness of Christian truth and life is present.
  • Remembering the bishop by name in prayer during the celebration of the communion is more than an act of charity
  • Power in the Church of England is mercifully dispersed.
  • the Pope, … is undeniably the Patriarch of the West and as head of the Roman Catholic Church is charged with awesome pastoral and missionary responsibilities.
  • Priests and parishes which do adopt the new rites – with their marked divergences from the ELLC texts and in the altered circumstances created by the Pope’s invitation to Anglicans to join the Ordinariate – are making a clear statement of their disassociation not only from the Church of England but from the Roman Communion as well. This is a pastoral unkindness to the laity and a serious canonical matter. The clergy involved have sworn oaths of canonical obedience as well as making their Declaration of Assent. I urge them not to create further disunity by adopting the new rites.


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6 thoughts on “Anglicans using new RC Mass translation?”

  1. A Roman Catholic friend of mine in New Zealand emailed me to say that he does not see the new Roman Catholic Mass translation being widely used. I’m from the UK so I’d be interested to hear which Church of England community translated the Roman Rite into Elizabethan English as it’s something I’ve never witnessed. P French

    1. Thanks, Peter. I’m not sure what your first sentence means. Are you suggesting that some/many RCs in NZ will not use the new translation? I don’t think that’s how the RC Church works. I do not know if the community I mentioned would still be using the Elizabethan/RC rite so I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to name the community now.

  2. Chartres also makes reference to the ordinariate as the right place for those who wish to use Roman Catholic liturgy! This is a stronger statement than we’re used to in the CofE, but a welcome one.

  3. Thank you, Bosco, for highlighting this sound pastoral letter.

    I vote Richard Chartres for Archbishop of Canterbury! The bishop of London speaks real sense, quotes the Judicious Richard Hooker and logically points out the absurdity of Anglicans using the rites of a church which invalidates them, their ordained ministry and their sacraments.

    While various NZ high churchers might slip in elements of the 1970’s Roman rite (Pray that our sacrifice may be acceptable etc/This is the Lamb of God etc, post communions etc), in Australia some parishes and religious houses do use the 1970 Roman rite in its entirety. I wonder if Bishop Chartres’ approach will be followed: join the ordinariate or use the APBA!

    Some Australian clergy insert parts of the Roman rite into the APBA 1995 second order Eucharistic rite. The second order lends itself to this (by its generous rubrics and flexible structure) in a way which none of the 1989 NZ rites do.

    I, for one, vastly prefer the contemporary Anglican liturgies over the 1970’s or 2011 Roman ones. The almost flippantly short penitential section, the optional intercession section, the somewhat pointless but ever changing ‘prayer over the gifts’, the overly long Eucharistic prayers, the placing of the peace immediately before holy communion, are all serious design faults in my worshipping opinion.

    Now all of this is rendered in faux-Cranmerian prose reminiscent of 1950’s Missal English and will definitely disorientate more than a few nominal RC’s when they attend midnight Mass this Christmas. As if they needed further alienation!

    I see the new English translation as a liturgical expression of the RCC’s distancing of itself ecumenically as Ratzinger started to take control of the Vatican’s direction during the reign of the ageing JP2.

    Additionally, I like the term “pastoral unkindness” used in the pastoral letter and will use it whenever clergy try to warp the church’s liturgy into their own personal version of Christianity.

    1. Thanks for this thoughtful comment, Steve. I am trying to visualise how an Australian religious house, using the Roman Rite, would understand itself to be Anglican, and why it would do this? Is it because they accept women priests – is that all that is left? I have little experience of APBA. The Third Order appears more flexible than the Second? NZ Anglicanism has “A Form for Ordering the Eucharist” (p511ff) and, with the Alternative Form for Ordering the Eucharist, leaves almost anything possible here. Blessings.

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