Catechism of Perseverance

Bishop Overall revised 1604 Short Catechism

Perhaps longer Catechisms have a troubled history in Anglicanism? Their absence certainly is not due to any penchant for ambiguity or aversion to scientific theology.  Early catehcisms, like Necessary Doctrine, were established, as Henry says, for “the abolition of controversy”. Their intent was not only to educate baptismal candidates but also clergy. The 1928 BCP short catechism (probably the longest of the Anglican short catechisms) has kept traction, especially amongst Anglo-Catholics, but the longer varieties seem to have fallen by the wayside, where length is identified with ‘puritanism’.  There are a number of Anglican Longer Catechisms which not only prove valuable for seminary students but nurture growing faith by expounding questions sprouting from baptismal and eucharistic creeds.

Binding Standards Together:
Catechisms, both short and long, have an earlier history in England than most Anglicans suspect. The first Anglican catechism was the 1537  Bishop’s Book, and this, in some sense, was partly owed to Henry’s 1521 Defense of the Seven Sacraments contra Luther. Not only this, but the ordering of catechetical subject-matter came from medieval primer which Henry reformed from 1535-1545. The 1543 King’s Book reconciled some of these differences. The Henrician period is often viewed as archetypical catholic, yet during Henry’s reign three Larger Catechisms were published. After Henry’s death, Cranmer’s 1548 Shorter Catechism carried forward Henrician doctrine with the exception of replacing transubstantion with a moderate Realism. Nonetheless, it was enough to justify suppressing carnality in the Mass.

Binding Catechisms together with various other standards was not uncommon–their combinations illustrating the intertextuality of Anglican thought. The 1536 Ten Articles were included in Henry’s Great Bible. The 1553 Convocation continued the same, binding together Poynet’s Larger Catechism with Cranmer’s 42 Articles (see first chapter, Edward VI’s Catechism). Once Geneva bibles began to arrive in England (with Calvin’s catechism inside, sic. 1560), English Bishops reciprocated. In 1562 Elizabeth restored Henry’s project, commissioning Nowell’s Larger Catechism along with Appointed Bibles (the Bishop’s Bible). In 1578 the Articles, Jewel’s Apology, and Nowell’s Catechism was proposed to be printed in single volume. Thus, the idea of binding standards together is not new. Indeed, as Fr. John Hollister notes, the BCP itself binds together several books that were originally separate,

“Allied to this is the concept that the set of covers we are accustomed to think of as “the Book of Common Prayer” actually binds together several books that were historically distinct: a Breviary (the “Common Prayer”); a Missal; a Psalter; a Manual (for the various other services that a Priest normally takes, such as Baptism, Matrimony, Burial, etc.); a Pontificial (for the various services that only a Bishop takes, such as the Ordinal, Confirmation, Institution of a Rector, Consecration of a Church, etc.); and the remnants of a Primer (the “Family Prayer” section in the 1928 BCP)”. Continuum Blog, Sept. 18 2007

King James commissioned Bishop Overall to close discrepancies in subject-matter between larger and shorter catechism by adding a section on sacraments.  Against Puritan wishes, Overall purposely preserved the brevity of Cranmer’s cacheticism,  admitting tenderness for confirmands by not “taxing withal the number of ignorant Catechisms [as] set out in Scotland”. Even with additions Overall’s catechism remained shorter even than medieval primers. Nonetheless, while shorter catechism was used for mostly for children, the larger catechism alongside the Articles continued mandatory for aspiring “ministers” training in the University– those liable to teach or touch doctrine by courts of law or elected office (so university grads were compelled to subscribe, pledge assent, etc.).

Prayer Book Usage:
Percy Dearmer’s Parson Handbook has an entire chapter devoted to frequent catechizing. Catechism is treated as a regular part of Anglican public worship. Percy makes two very important points. First, Catechism is a liturgical. The Prayer Book requires it not only every Sunday and Holy Days (if possible) as part of Common Worship but exclusive to the end of Evening Prayer, “The Minister of every Parish shall diligently, upon Sundays and Holy Days, or on some other convenient occasions, openly in the Church, instruct or examine”. Evening catechism comes from the Injunction. When these were neglected, the habit of Sunday School thereby arose, introduced by  Methodists for want of Anglican clergy performing their duties.

“Canon 59 not only insists upon this catechism on Sundays and Holy-days, and orders parents and master to send those in their charge, but also orders the Bishop to inflict excommunication, for a third offence, on any Minister that neglects his duty therein…The prayer book knows nothing of Sunday schools, which became a necessity owing to the want of ‘diligence’ on the part of the clergy… One lesson of the rubric is the main part of the teaching should be given by the clergy, whose duty it is to become experts in catechizing, and not by Sunday-school teachers, who in the nature of things are not generally experts”.

The later 1604 injunction ran the same:

‘Item: That ye shall every Sunday and Holy Day throughout the year openly and plainly recite to your parishioners, twice or thrice together, or oftener, if need require, one particle or sentence of the Pater Nosier, or Creed in English, to the intent that they may learn the same by heart: and so from day to day to give them one little lesson or sentence of the same, till they have learned the whole Pater Nosier and Creed in English, by rote, And as they be taught every sentence of the same by rote, ye shall expound and declare the understanding of the same unto them, exhorting all parents and householders to teach their children and servants the same, as they are bound in conscience to do. And that done, ye shall declare unto them the Ten Commandments, one by one, every Sunday and Holy Day, till they be likewise perfect in the same.”

Second, Percy advises Catechism not only for young people but also matured communicants. Deeper expositions of catechetical faith, which Percy calls, the “Catechisms of Perseverance”, ought not be avoided. This, perhaps, is where medium and longer catechisms have purpose, suggesting not only spiritual nurture for those after Confirmation, but additional clerical self-discipline and education. Dearmer says,

“Indeed, the strict interpretation of the rubric can be carried out with excellent results by making a ‘catechism of perseverance’ of those young men and women who have passed through the ordinary catechism– the members of this catechism of perseverance can come to Evensong, sit in the front seats near the pulpit, take notes, and write analyses; and, when it is well established, questions of an intelligent nature might well be put to the members…these young people (the ‘servants and prentices’ of the rubric) round the pulpit would tend to keep the parson from our besetting sin of ‘talk’, and, at the same time, his instructions would be quite up to the level of the older members of the congregation, and — he would have to prepare his work carefully.”

Liturgical Nature:
Dearmer believes the restoration of England’s faith hinges upon careful observance of prayer book rubrics and prayer. Catechism is liturgical. Whether bound or not, shorter and longer versions are implicitly part of the Prayer Book. The Offices of Instruction were included in the 1928 Prayer Book for with post-confirmandees in mind. Notice the extra appendage not in the short Catechism regarding the polity of church and her bishops. Not only are both An Instruction and Catechism tied into Evening Prayer but also many collects specific to perseverance. Hall says, “the Church Catechism has the double value of embodying officially expressed teaching, and of containing language which once effectually memorized, will grow in meaning with the increase of the learner’s years and experience”. Liturgical repetition for years before confirmation (Bishop visitations seldom were frequent) enabled memorization. The overall idea is for the church to produce men–by public prayer, preaching, and sacrament– not only capable of intellectually comprehending and living their baptism but, as Grafton says in his chapter on sacraments, to produce “soldiers for Christ”. For Hall this cycles back into apologetics, retention, and mission.

“But the mental preparation thus prescribed is only the beginning of a Christian layman’s religious education, which should be continued under cempetent and orthodox teachers, pari passu, and in intelligible connection, with his secular education. The reasons for this are threefold. In the first place, one cannot cease to advance in religious knowledge without gradually losing vital hold upon what he has previously learned– a law observable in every sphere of education…Thirdly, with advancing years and widening experience many religious problems come to the fore, both theoretical and practical, which require for successful handling a more mature religious education than can be received during the years of childhood. Many instances of falling away from true religion are due to the fact that religious knowledge is so generally neglected by professed Christians. Because of this neglect they are quite unable to discern the obvious fallacies of the anti-Christian and anti-catholic arguments which eager controversialists thrust upon their attention. They readily become victims of secular and critical propaganda, and are lost to the Church of God…To be an intelligent Christian one must have learned why he is a Christian and Churchman. He must know what his churchmanship involves in faith and practice”

Articles and Larger Catechism are dubbed ‘puritanical’ or ‘precisionist’. The want of definition is often requested by liberal and Papist. While Puritan confessions often represent the worst and most crude of biblicist prejudice, doctrine expounded by necessary deduction or ‘scientific’ rigor (original languages and logic) is not uncatholic. Indeed, the Creeds themselves arose on the same basis as confessions– i.e., to silence heresy– and, in so far as this is true, they are likewise ”negative definitions’. Also, like the Creeds, confessional statements build upon one another (e.g., from Trinity to Christology to incarnation to atonement, etc.). If we understand our homilies, prayer book, catechisms, articles (etc.) as based soundly upon ancient Creeds (and vice-versa), then how can we say neither Articles nor long Catechisms are Liturgical (no less so than the Athanasian…?).  JI Packer pointedly remarks,

“Theologically, and in terms of themselves, both have the same nature. For the creeds are confessions of Christ against views that in some way deny Him, just as the Reformation statements are; and the Reformation statements are standards of evangelical orthodoxy, just as the ecumenical creeds are. Both exist to safeguard and express the unity and purity of Christian faith against the depredations of heresy. Both were formally received in the church as means of discharging the church’s responsibility to proclaim and preserve the gospel. The basic relation between the creeds and confessions is not one of contrast, but of continuity and development: the confessions supplement the creeds by drawing out the soteriology which they imply, just as the Athanasian Creed supplemented the Nicene, and the Nicene the Apostles’, by amplified statements on the Trinity and incarnation.” (The Thirty-Nine Articles, Latimer Press)

In a similar apology regarding the fundamental nature of Articles to Creed, Rev. R. Meredith notes,

I noted earlier that it is completely wrong­headed to divorce the Thirty-Nine Articles from their im­mediate context, the Prayer Book. This is an important consideration, for the Prayer Book states clearly its com­mit­ment to the three Creeds:  The Apostles, Nicene, and Atha­­nas­ian.  This is germane to the present discussion, for the Articles follow very closely with The Creeds. Just as all three Creeds begin by con­fessing the Trinity, so the Thirty-Nine articles begin the same way. In fact, the first five Articles are essentially a restatement of the Church’s con­fessional standards. But why is this so important? It is important because one of the chief strengths of the Thirty-Nine Articles is their firm grounding in the tradition of the Church: a tradition which is rooted in her understanding of The Holy Scrip­tures. It is a strong point, for it states for us clearly that the Protestant Churches’ under­stand­ing of Sola Scriptura was never meant to undermine or ignore tradition. This is a concept that needs hearing today as perhaps never before. A proper view of tradition is necessary as a weapon against postmodern thought, and is a necessary corrective for those who would twist Scripture beyond the bounds of its historical inter­pre­tations.

Ecumenicalism with both East and Rome has done much damage. Often we engage it from very weak and self-castigating positions, asymmetrically enjoining ‘foreign’ episcopates (as the Supremacy Oath would call them) without a sense of our own identity. Identity is not reducible to ornament but more importantly is the faith received by a distinct patrimony shaped by history, race, law, custom, and language (see Bicknell on Article 34). Our grievances and prohibitions against both Roman idolatry and Protestant enormity is irrevocably part and parcel. While we tie our hands behind our back, the latter come in the ring slinging rather bare-fisted. With respect to foreign episcopates both East and Rome have their really massive Longer Catechisms.  Rome’s established hers under Pope Pius V in parallel with the Reformation. The present-day RC longer catechism is, of course, 72 Article tomb which even catechumens study. Even the Orthodox, who hide in mystic silence, have Longer and Shorter catechisms. Here is the 1823 Longer Russian Orthodox Catechism.

All this reminds me of Bp. Grafton who flattered St. Tikhon in vain hopes of someday winning ecclesialistical recognition. Grafton was sorely disappointed when Tikhon held firm to Cyprian ecclesiology, chrismating an English priest against Grafton’s pleas. Read about this rather obscure yet important affair between Tikhon  & Grafton here.

Next: 1604 Canons

34 responses to “Catechism of Perseverance

  1. But when the Church of the Advent of Christ the King burned down in the 1906 earthquake and fire, Tikhon sent his own chalice and paten to the parish so that the Eucharist could be maintained. The still have it (or did, the last time I was there) although it is never used.

    The time was not ripe but he was moving things back together again.


  2. Hello +Lee,

    Please don’t think I am trashing St. Tikhon. I agree with you. The time must be ripe, and before Anglicans go in hot-pursuit after ecumenical ties they best get their own house in order. I must be preaching to the choir, but domestic reordering for Anglicans, in my opinion, amounts to embracing the fullness of our standards which best define catholic reception. At least this ought be our starting point. I believe the intent of both King Henry and Elizabeth was to give England a larger catechism (if not a long one, then at least regular, short catechetical instruction) that synergized w/ BCP and Articles. It would not have been an unusual expectation. While Anglicans reduce their faith to ‘sola creedo‘ the East and Latin church have ironically rebutted Reformation questions with their own confessions and longer catechisms! Dearmer’s sagacious advice regarding ecumenicalism was not ‘cafeteria catholicism’ but principled adherence to formulas which best apprehend faith.

    I should have added the following quote by Dearmer. Here is Percy’s self-confident and self-identifying Anglicanism, and I believe it is very true and necessary if there ever be true unity amongst the historical epsicopate–

    “If English Priests had stuck to their formularies as Romans and Easterns have to theirs, then the English Church would to-day be as marked as the Roman or the Eastern Churches are by such practices as frequent Services, fasting, the supremacy of the Eucharist, and the use of distinctive vestments for the Sacraments. Those who still fancy that obedience is insular would do well to consider seriously what alternative they have to propose. They will find that the only alternative is anarchy, under which each parson may set up his own ideas of Church order and worship; and these ideas have persistently differed, not in details only, but in essentials, from the principles of the Church Catholic. By this system; or want of system, you may have a pseudo-Romanism in one parish, a pseudo-Puritanism in another, and a decorated worldliness in another, but in few will you have Catholic worship and order. Nor will you gain the respect or trust of the rest of the Church or of the world at large… But loyalty to the Prayer Book disarms the enemies of the Church, at the same time as it restores the effectiveness of her friends. And if we set–as we should–the fortunes of the Church Universal above those of our own communion, we shall still do well to remember that the weakening of Anglicanism would remove the greatest agency which God in His providence has left in the world for the reunion of Christendom.” (Loyalty to the Prayer Book)


  3. Would that Established Anglicanism–as well as large portions of the Continuum that have also strayed in different ways–return even to the simple (though not simplistic!) catechism of the Book of Common Prayer. Even such a basic house-keeping step as that would go along toward reviving our cause. Indeed, we just need to get back to the truly catholic Catholicism of Irenaeus and Athanasius, not the uncatholic ‘Catholicism’ of B16 and Black Bart.


  4. It is precisely the literal obedience to the rubrics of the classical prayer books which I believe is extremely important to practice, to actually do in each and every parish which claims to be Anglican. If the priest observes the Ornaments Rubric and the parish sees to it that the chancel remains as in times past, then the visual of Anglicanism will be seen to be both Catholic and different from the Roman brand.

    The current crisis in which TAC/ACA is preparing to go to Rome or, at least, push their people into subservience to the Church of Rome would never have had a chance of happening if every Anglican bishop, priest and deacon had followed completely what Dearmer recommended in Loyalty to the Prayer Book. The real tragedy is that those who are doing their best to expose the theological fraud of the TAC bishops and their fairly mindless followers, are themselves setting up Rome as an authority by their use of the various missals, the Roman scheme of liturgical colours and Roman ceremonial, especially in the canon in which they genuflect, elevate and genuflect after each of the words of administration as if these were in themselves consecratory. Rome itself admits that all early liturgies had a prayer asking God to make the elements our Lord’s body and blook, which prayer took place after the recital of our Lord’s words, but these words only began to acquire their “hocus pocus” authority in the very late middle ages. Now, of course, for Rome they are everything.

    The problem, bluntly stated, is that the majority of our “Anglo-Catholics” are ashamed of Anglicanism and believe that only Rome is truly Catholic when a very good case can be made for Rome not being truly “according to the whole” because of her rejection of the clear teaching of Holy Scripture about orders and her embrace of what St Paul calls “the doctrine of devils.” But that would be offensive and upset Rome and just wouldn’t be nice. Well the truth is not always “nice.”


  5. Dear Death and Bp. Lee,

    Perhaps Continuuing (Denver Consecration) Churches are divided between the Newman vs. Grafton legacy. ACA seems to represents the ‘Romeward bound’/Newman party while ACC (of late) the modern-Eastward/Grafton one?

    The problem is both reject Anglican standards, or marginalize such that we are like a wave rolling back and forth between Latin and Eastern religions. The whole time the gem of Anglicanism is ignored or seriously truncated. Curiously, the polemics used by Anglo-Catholics against the settlement are the same used by 20th century liberals.

    I kind of bash the “blank check” approach toward Eastern Orthodoxy. But please notice my qualms are with the very-late and early-modern Eastern patriarchs/councils– not with the first five or six centuries of the church universal. While no doctor, I trust what was paved by Anglican divines in the 16th-18th centuries (the height of scholarship) as a correct reception and continuation of catholicism more than what passes for ‘learnedness’ in Anglicana today (such as what came out of the Cambridge Society and their related successors), etc..


    • Although I have not seen the entire ACC, I am aware that the Midwestern Diocese is particularly Victorian Anglo-Catholic in outlook–all lace, rosaries, sacred-heart stuff. I also know that some parishes in the Mid-Atlantic are decidedly loyal to the BCP. And, yes, others have “Western Orthodox” leanings, at least when they write. So, what the ACC seems to stand for, as far as I can tell, is an odd mix churchmanship that excludes Evangelicals and Liberals. I guess standing against these two errors is better that than embracing them, but such definition by negation indicates the the ACC (as well as the APCK) is still groping around in the dark for one positive direction on the Anglican Compass. Perhaps if they would all just blow the dust of their Books of Common Prayer and actually crack the spines of the things . . . .


  6. The ACC is doing the hard thing of working its way back to an Anglicanism of the Book of Common Prayer and its central tradition, a tradition which more than ninety percent of its clergy and laity have never experienced. Consider if you will how few American dioceses had a truly prayer book parish. We had one in Oklahoma with a priest like John Paul II in that he had not been seminary educated but had read for orders and was recognized throughout the diocese as the most liturgically and theologically astute priest we had. But one tiny parish does not make a movement, and Anglicans who are dead on anti-missal may equally be attached to other just as toxic parts of the Roman and anti-prayer book Anglican program. The chief offender is the use of the Roman scheme of liturgical colours rather than that of the English church as set forth in the Alcuin Club’s Directory of Ceremonial.

    When Grafton was a postulant in the Society of St John the Evangelist, it was entirely English use and Anglican in its outlook. Its founder would do nothing which was not normally Anglican. The same outlook was part of the culture of the Community of the Resurrection founded by Charles Gore and Walter Howard Frere. Neither would have any truck with Trent and both were directly involved in the Alcuin Club and its publications. Bishop Frere was directly involved in the revision of the 1662 prayer book which resulted in “The Deposited Book” which was doomed by an alliance of low churchmen and Anglo-papists because it would have provided the bishops with real teeth to effect the type of loyalty and obedience to the prayer book and its tradition which the Puritan party in the CofE had been attempting to subvert and destroy from the time of Elizabeth I.

    So what is to be done? The easy answer is to know and use the prayer book appropriately. That is also the hard answer because of what Bishop Frere in his revision of Proctor’s A New History of the Book of Common Prayer called “the false tradition.” Only now there are two false traditions. The first is that of the Puritans and involves a refusal to use the prayer book and ornaments as ordered. The second is that of the Anglo-papalists who have chucked the BCP for one of the missals or for the Novus Ordo of the Roman Church itself. Either will always involve a corruption of the soul because they require a level of intellectual dishonesty that eventually will lead to the situation we now have with TAC/ACA and the myth of the Roman and Papal supremancy.

    We can do better – and we should.


    • I am beginning to think that any Anglican revival must center on the Deposited Book, as it is a valid edition of the Book of Common Prayer that has the great virtue of offending Liberals, Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics alike. Indeed, only true Settlement Anglicans can really get stuck in it.


      • The REC’s prayer book has two rites for communion: the 1662 and 1928. This is a big departure from Cummin’s 1874 version. The Deposited Book is no difference from the 1928 with the exception of bedside offices.


  7. Cummin’s revision of the prayer book was based upon the Liturgy of Comprehension which William of William and Mary attempted to force on the English Church. It was throughly rejected in the lower houses of Convocation because the lower clergy after the horrors of the Interregnum were not about to go “Puritan.” This liturgy also served as the model for the first proposed American prayer book which in turn was rejected by the English bishops for its lack of Catholic orthodoxy. They wanted something as close to 1662 as possible in as much as that rite was a return to the most primitive model of the Eucharist as found in the writings of Justin Martyr. As best as anyone can tell or guess, this model was destroyed at Rome at the beginning of the fifth century by Gelasius who incorporated the prayers of the people into the canon. The only remnant of the older model in the Roman rite is the Solemn Collects in the Good Friday rite.

    1549 followed the Gelasian and Gregorian model, but 1552 deliberate went back to the older pattern. The English non-jurors and the Episcopal Church of Scotland, both the results of William’s attempts to Calvinize the Church in England and Scotland, did the further liturgical and patristic scholarship which resulted in the more patristic canon which Seabury persuaded the American Church to adopt.

    The problem with the REC is that while it when through a period of using the American prayer book of 1928, the reversion to 1662 is, liturgically and theologically, a step backward. What it does confirm is that there is still there a large Puritan minded remnant that believes that the English reform was intended to ground it in the ideas and ideals of the continent instead of those of the sub-apostolic church. They would have been wiser to simply adopt the American book of 1928.

    One of the problems with Anglo-papalists is that they believe themselves to be much more theologically and liturgically informed and astute that “mere Anglicans.” They are not. Indeed the reverse is true. Bishop Gore who was a real Anglo-Catholic openly detested those whom he accused of getting their theology from the penny pamphlets in Westminster. The only major Anglican theologian to have come from the Anglo-papalist party was Eric Lionel Mascall. He may have liked the pseudo-romanist liturgical antics of same, but his theology, as shown by the English divines he quotes, was classically Anglican.


  8. Bp. Lee,

    I am not convinced keeping the 1662 is a theological and liturgical ‘step-backward’ vs. 1928. I really don’t have an opinion yet, so will say neither way. However, notice with the influx of APA churches, the 1928 has gained (re)newed impetus in the REC. REC has experienced rapid growth from the reorganization of North American Anglicanism. I would not make a final judgment about the status of the 1928 but note it has gained a new lease on liturgical life that may prove more permanent than what ACC/PCK/UEC might offer? As of now, the 1928 is besieged by Romano-Missals in these latter jurisdictions.

    Back to the earlier point– I am actually considering the merits of 1928 vs. 1662. For me, this namely amounts to judging the difference between Usager and Non-usager Jacobite theology. My question, “What is your opinion about the 1637 epiclesis location vs. the 1734? The location seems to have a significant impact, in my mind, on Settlement theology, so it’s worth pondering. Another question– what is your opinion regarding the relative ambiguity of the 1928/1798 epiclesis vs. the 1734? Isn’t the 1734 more explicit about what is being ‘changed’ vs. blessed? The exact wording is different between rites last time I checked.


  9. I haven’t read the Usager rationale for epiclesis. I don’t know how necessary or fundamental they believed it. It would surprise me if they thought its absence nullified the sacrament (by a deficiency of form?). After reading a little bit, I have some thoughts.

    What is interesting is how the he 1928 and 1662 rubrics deal with bread and wine when exhausted. In the 1662 the second consecration begins with “Our savior in the same night…” and ends with the anamnesis (“This is my body given for you; do this in rememberance…”). In the 1928 the entire anamnesis is repeated (as above) but the consecration is not finished until the epiclesis which follows the Verba is concluded. This seems to give the epiclesis a much higher role.

    The problem is how the Sarum rubrics work with the Eastern prayer. The slight elevation of bread and wine upon each Verba confuses at what point the elements are efficaciously confected. Is it accomplished upon the prayer of the church or the ministered Word? The West has emphasized the Word while the East the prayer. And, while the epiclesis is indeed ancient, it’s strength, location, and object have varied over time.

    The 1552, 1559, and 1662 versions resolved the question by removing the epiclesis entirely. But the 1637 and 1549 left it untouched, keeping it in the traditional Western location where the epiclesis preceded the anamnesis. Consequently, emphasis remains on the Verba or anamnesis. When Usager prayer books reorganized the epiclesis in favor of the Greeks, they not only located confection away from the Word but strengthened the epicletic wording, replacing the phrase,”that they may be unto us” (1637 BCP), with the more literal, “that they may become”. This moves the prayer away from the faith of the recipient toward an objective change in the elements.

    When the Scottish liturgy was ‘received’ by the PECUSA in 1789, the epiclesis was watered down. Rather than saying what Usagers and Seabury had, “that they may become”, the 1784 says, “that, we receiving them according to Christ’s Holy institution…”. This is much weaker and most likely was amended to conform better to the English. The 1928 BCP says the same as the prayer has not changed since the institution of the American BCP.

    I find the overall reorganization of the Usager liturgy unsatisfactory. In exchange for relocation the epiclesis after the anamnesis, it was stated in a weaker way than the 1549 and 1637. Not only this, it shifts the power of consecration from the Word to the church prayer. In my mind, this opens certainn theological doors not healthy for Anglican formularies. If an epiclesis makes baptismal water, like bread and wine in the eucharist, an “efficacious and objective” sacrament, what stops us from using epiclesis prayers on icons, candles, incense, marriage rings, salts, oils, church bells, etc..? Does the church or Christ instutitute sacraments for the remission of sins? Father Hart has said regarding the efficacy of the Word in Sacrament (by example of the thief on the cross),

    But, even though the sacrament itself was not available to him, the power of the sacrament was present and grace bestowed by that power. For that power is the word of God. It is the power of the word of God that transforms water into the matter of a sacrament, and the word of God spoken by a minister (“in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost”) that both signifies and effects grace to salvation. The power of baptism was present in the words of Christ himself: “Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise.” So we see that even though God is not bound by the rule, the principle is still there, that of the power of his word working through the grace imparted by the Holy Spirit. The power that makes baptism a sacrament, that fills the actions of the Church through form, matter and intention, was present in the word of the Lord spoken, in this case, from the cross.

    The prohibitions against icons and other ceremonies established by King Henry asked the above question, and this is why they were supressed. While sympathetic toward a stronger epiclesis and the Greek location for the prayer, I think the arguments need to be considered, and until then I feel the 1637, 1549 versions are far superior. Not only this, but the 1549 and 1637 work well with the Sarum ordinance. My guess was the 1789 and 1928 were received in so far as the object the prayer was purposely ambiguous. It is too bad the SEC couldn’t reuse 1637 but printing costs were so extravagent in those days. The division consequently became 1662 vs. 1734.?


  10. Is it worth considering the fact that the Usagers presented a liturgy of their own construction as “Laud’s Liturgy” to an 18th century Scotland whose knowledge of the 1637 liturgy didn’t really extend beyond the legend of the infamous “Mass” at St. Gile’s?

    What might the political implications be of presenting the 1734 office as representing the views of Charles I in the context of Scottish Jacobitism?


    • Hello CV,

      I believe the 1637 and 1734 liturgies are as different as the 1662 and 1928. If you are asking about a continuation of rite from Charles I in Scotland, then the non-Usagers would have been close to the mark, if I understand you correctly. Scottish Jacobite Anglicans, as you know, were divided over liturgy.


  11. Sorry to detract with my less than germane inquiries. I look forward to reading H Lee Poteet’s response to your questions.


    • No problem, CV! Good to hear from you! I have no final opinion on the 1928/1789 rite vs. Articles. It is a very weak epiclesis that– more than earlier versions– directs the prayer from the bread to the faith of the people. It’s ambiguity makes it tolerable since early church prayers, I believe, were blessings for the people not the specifically the bread.
      I prefer the 1637 and 1549 location, however, by the same reason Fr. Hart gives. The Word is sufficient. The overall ambiguity of the American epiclesis makes it tolerable. I’ve been told the Usager view of epiclesis belongs to late antiquity. Anyway, not something I would fuss over unless an WRO-type epiclesis was adopted as ‘official’.


  12. The epiklesis is necessary and its natural position is after our Lord’s words of administration. They were inserted in the canon as authorization for what the Church is doing. Please read the American canon carefully as to what it is actually saying and doing.

    The problem is that when somewhere between Gelasisus and Gregory I the Roman canon was revised from its Syrian original order to that of Alexandria, it was given what seemed to be a double epiklesis, one before and one after those of our Lord. But historically in the West it was ‘Supplices te rogamus,’ the one after which was considered the most important and the one which counted. The innovation in the West was to consider our Lord’s words of themselves as consecratory, i.e., the theory of “Hocus Pocus”.

    You are wrong in believing that 1552, 1549 and 1662 do not have an epiklesis. May I quote it? “Hear us, O merciful Father, we most humbly beseech thee: and grant that we receiving these thy creatures of bread and wine, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood: who in . . . .” What you have here is an attempt to return to what they believed was a more exact recreation of what happened in the upper room. God is blessed, a prayer is made for His doing what our Lord said was done and then – and this is the important point – our Lord’s words of Administration are recited followed by the priest and others receiving communion. Then there is another prayer, they sing a hymn (the Gloria) and are sent out with a blessing.

    As the non-jurors and the Scots grew in knowledge of the earliest liturgies, they improved their canon. Seabury carried it to us which we adopted with a slightly weakened epiklesis and we and they went a bit further in returning to the practice of the earliest Church. And this is why a return to 1662 is in fact a step backwards.


    • hello Bp. Lee,

      We often praise Non-Jurors as anticipating the catholic revival of the 19th century. However, often ignored is their division over the epicletic liturgy. More specifically, we are talking about the non-juroring “Usagers” who represented a minority viewpoint. The majority non-juror view was that the 1662 was sufficient.

      A more protestant friend of mine has called the 1928/1789 liturgy “prolix”. Maybe now I understand his criticism. You pointed out a second epiclesis, quoting the petition immediately after the invocation. Why have two weak epiclesis following the anamnesis? Does this make liturgical sense, or is it just messy?

      I think it’s worth noting the rather “water-down” version of Seabury’s 1786 invocation is not the Usager epiclesis. It would probably be considered ambiguous, even ‘calvinist’, compared to the 1734 Scottish liturgy. That being said, in my opinion, the same ambiguity saves the 1789/1928 canon from entirely departing from the historical continuity of earlier prayer books where emphasis is placed on the sufficiency of the Word. The hocus-pocus, in my mind, is not uttering the institution but expecting a change in substance which late antiquity believed by the epiclesis prayer?

      At the moment, I would prefer the 1637 or 1549 examples. They are more clean. But I can live with the American. I guess the difference is the Holy Spirit is prayed for. But the Western understanding became, ‘the Holy Spirit proceedeth through the Son’…”Where the Word is the Spirit too”, etc. The East never bought that?

      Now that I’ve cornered myself, I admit a rudimentary understanding. A lot is either second hand opinion or reasoning based on the Articles. My concern is how an emphasis on the epiclesis vs. verba for confection can impact the relative weights of tradition and scripture. I began pondering all this when I read the Roman Catechism which claims the sacraments (hypothetically there are an infinite number of sacraments for Latins) are all created by an epicletic prayer. If Rome is right about the ‘efficacy’ of such a prayer, then the church can turn nearly anything into a ‘sacrament’. Moreover, for Rome all these sacraments have a “real substance”, and for Latins ‘realism’ means their substance changes. This leads one into some ridiculous conclusions.

      But if employing an epicletic prayer in this fashion results in Rome’s conclusion (not unfamiliar in the East either), then ‘hocus-pocus’ and a radicalization of tradition is what is gained. This is the logic for my caution with the relocation of the 1637/1549 epiclesis after the verba. That being said, what is in the 1789/1928 is purposely and tolerably weak.

      I am inclined to think the non-juror minority were wrong, and the 1789 modification was a ‘step-forward’ compared to the alternative (full adoption of Seabury’s rite). Perhaps a transition from 1928 to 1662 is a loss, but even in the REC exclusive-1928 parishes are allowed. As for myself, I am happy to keep the 1928 prayer book the way it is. However, if the invocation was tweaked to be stronger– e.g., St. Tikhon’s or the new WR liturgy– I’d have some serious reservations.

      I believe if something is good, don’t change it. This goes for bible translations as much as the prayer book. The pace of 19th and 20th century BCP revisions obviously reflected a ‘crisis’ within Anglican theology or at least church discipline. If I dare be upbeat, at least nothing eclectic is being pursued by the ACNA liturgical committee. But in the end, unfortunately, local option will rule… the ACNA’s liturgical diversity is a formidable obstacle.


  13. Gentlemen,

    Fascinating discussion on an intriguing topic. I believe there has been a chronological mistake regarding the 2 canons in the REC BCP. The first of the canons to make it into what was then the revised REC Prayer Book (around 10-12 years ago) was in fact the 1662 canon. Only after that was the eucharistic canon from 1928 introduced into the REC BCP. Our parish uses 1928; others stick to 1662. Having both in one Prayer Book, I would say, is rather nice. It cannot be a bad thing to have the canons from what are arguably the most beloved editions of the Common Prayer tradition in the last eighty years.

    This is a wonderful blog. Catholic Anglicanism is a chimera, apart from its 16 & 17th century patrimony. That patrimony represents the Anglican appropriation of the universal faith of the ancient Catholic Church, and must include all the Anglican formularies, including the Articles of Religion. Keep up the good work.



    • Hello Mark,

      Your last paragraph is quotable. Without standards how do we appropriate ‘catholicism’? While it’s very true the church interprets scripture, the next question is “which church”? It stands to reason we should elect our own patrimony, and this is why we need to stick to traditional Anglican formularies. We are convinced about the labor of our 16th and 17th century divines!

      In correspondence with Bp. Lee, he shared something interesting regarding self-confidence in our own liturgical tradition:

      “Which would you say is most like what is known of the earliest liturgy of the Church, the communion service of the 1552 Book of Common Prayer or the Roman missal of Pius V? Here I am assuming that you remember the discussion between myself and Bishop Meade over the “truncated canon of 1662.” Well the answer would be what is frequently but inaccurately called the most protestant of the prayer books. When you read Justin Martyr’s description of the worship of Christians in the middle of the second century in conjunction with Doctor Walter Howard Frere’s The Primitive Consecration Prayer it is simply a no-brainer. The primitive canon was even more truncated than that of 1552 and forward. Somewhere about the time of Ambrose the prayers of the people were suppressed and that material was stuffed into what became – with more changes – the Roman canon but the second prayer book is closer to the worship of the early church and, yes, the epiklesis follows our Lords words.”

      If you peruse the blog, be sure to check out the PAX DEI page. I made three links there prominent which I believe everyone should have bookmarked, etc., if they don’t already. The last of which (SABCL) is a Prayer Book Society organ.


      • Charles,

        An undifferentiated Catholicism, a Catholicism, in other words, which appeals to “the faith and practice of the ancient undivided Church”, sans the historical concreteness of the Anglican patrimony, is a nebulous thing. The irony is that it stands in antithesis to Newman’s claim (I paraphrase)that to be catholic one must be deeply immersed in ecclesial history. That patrimony, of course, is not limited to the 16th and 17th century; it extends back to the founding of Christianity in the British isles. But to suggest that the reform of the English Church is a dispensible component of the Anglican patrimony is to make Anglicanism into a “paper church”(to borrow an aspersion used by over-zealous RC and EO polemicists).

        A Prayer Book Society named in honor of Abps Cranmer and Laud? What a zany idea 😉


  14. Mark,

    I don’t quite know whether to agree or disagree with you. I do agree that Anglicans are what they are and are as bound to their history as any other set of Christians. Unfortunately, it is when we tend to separate from that history that we begin to get more than a little lost.

    The fathers seem to believe that it was St Paul himself who first carried the gospel to Britain and I guess that we must have been a bit of ok in that most of epistles are written to individuals or to local churches who had gone off tract. Either that and in contrast to the Romans, the Corinthians and others when the ancient Brits received their epistle, they burned or buried it rather than making copies and sending them out to all the other churches. Or maybe he just snubbed us and never sent a letter because he thought us so far gone that it would have been impossible to reform us.

    What is clear is that the Christian faith came to Britain very early because the tile floors of vanished Romano-Celt villas indicate that the Christian mysteries were celebrated therein. And then there is St Alban whom the best authorities down date at about 204 rather than 304 and it is known that the British Church sent episcopal delegates to the Council of Arles in 312.a

    One of the real problems with Anglicanism as I see it is that it has almost too much history and unfortunately most of those who achieve clerical office among us have almost no taste for it and not much taste for theology either. Consequently rather than seeing the more than really big picture, they confine their view to some really small part of it while trying to deny that the rest of it exists. We also have the sad habit of pretending that we are unable to read so that we ignore both those parts of Holy Scripture, the Creeds, the General Councils or even the rubrics and other directions in the prayer book which make us uncomfortable or make demands upon us that we would just as soon ignore. Proctor and Frere in A New History of the Book of Common Prayer has a whole list of such things which one party or another attempts to deny the existence of. Bad form!

    And then there is the even more difficult problem that half of the people in a country like the United States have I.Q.s of 100 or less while there are always those in the top half trying to take advantage of them and any others they believe they can dupe. Names will not be mentioned but they should be on all prayer lists. It is said that the continued use of the 1928 prayer book will give most people about a 124 point advantage on the SAT test. I personally know of a case where a young man who was border line psychotic dropped to mildly neurotic after a year of almost daily morning and evening prayer at the college chapel in Denton Texas. Oh, there was also the addition of frequent communions, but the whole thing was a great deal cheaper and less tramatic than visits to your local psychiatrist.

    So if you aspire to really soak yourself in the patrimony, you are going to have to do a great deal of reading: The Bible, the Fathers, The Creeds, The Councils and the great liturgies and divines following that. Or you can simply go to Church on Sundays and Holy Days and even the occasional week day morning or evening prayer provided the local priest can read and takes the rubrics of the prayer book as well as the vows that he took at ordination seriously. I thought it was more fun to do both.

    As for Cranmer and Laud, they both died for the truth of Holy Scripture and Holy Church so that whatever their personal failings – and we all have them – they were faithful to the end and our Lord received them even as He did St. Stephen.


  15. Bp. Lee

    I’m not certain where we disagree; unless it concerns a misapprehension as to the Anglican patrimony. It is an ancient one, and includes the Romano/Celt Christians, Alban, Augustine of Canterbury, Bede, Alfred the Great and other worthies. But no Prayer Book Catholic worth his salt would disparage this legacy, would he? Acknowledging as normative formularies, canons and divinity from the 16th and 17th-centuries in no way conflicts with embracing the glories of our pre-Reformation past (or, if it does, than it is all over for Anglicanism). After all, we take our cue from Bp. Cosin: “Protestant and Reformed according to the ancient Catholic Church”.

    As for the SABCL, I know its founder, Fr. Hassert, quite well. And, as regards the two Archbishops for whom it is named, what Prayer Book Anglican wouldn’t regard them as heroes?


  16. Well, I just blew a response but I think I can do it again. I wished to say to Mark that his last entry had the clarity which I desired to see. He is right in that no real prayer book churchman would wish to reject either the patrimony or the tradition of British faith from the arrival of Joseph of Arimathea and the planting of his staff. Those who reject any substantial part of it, either the Elizabethan Settlement or the Articles generally don’t really know them or have been persuaded that they are something other than they actually are or were intended to be. Perhaps they desire to be seen as something other than Anglican, but to be a real Anglican is to be as Catholic as any in the whole of Christendom.


    • It has been my experience that Evangelicals, Anglo-Catholics and Liberals within the Church all believe and propagate the false opinion that the Book of Common Prayer and the Articles are very Protestant within the sense of the Continental Reformation–that is very “Reformed” in the sense of the of the proper noun as it is commonly used today.

      As these three parties comprise the vast majority of the vocal portions of those who call themselves Anglican, a false popular perception that Elizabethan-Settlement-Formulary Anglicanism is essentially Calvinism with fancy dress and an episcopal polity.

      Thus, we ought not be surprised that the true explication of the Elizabethan Settlement and its constitutional formularies that was comprised in the best of the Jewel, Hooker, the Caroline Divines, the Non-Jurors, and the Old-High Churchmen, has simply been consigned to the dust bin of history and is no longer considered the sole, proper understanding and meaning of the words Anglican and Anglicanism.

      How to revive the historically accurate meaning and content of Anglicanism proper–which is neither Evangelical, Anglo-Catholic, nor Liberal in their partisan senses–remains a perplexingly difficult question.


      • Hello Death,

        Here’s a simple answer to your question. Authentic Anglicanism might be jump started the same way it was torn down– publication of devotional literature, establishiment of publishing houses, constellations of holy societies, regular canons between priest, conferences/congresses, lay connexions, etc.. I am simply describing the structure of the Anglo-Catholic revival. It was not altogether different from Methodism, organization-wise. It equals a massive education campaign both inside and outside the church. ? We are not totally destitute since some of this already exists– PBS society, Fr. Hart’s blog, perhaps certain magazines? I think a first step would be getting priests together who agree with this brand of churchmenship. Kind of like the “Society of the Holy Cross” but for prayer book anglicans. ?

        BTW, Death, when talking of protestantism let’s not mistake ‘magisterial’ protestantism for today’s evangelicism. Magisterial Protestants, generally speaking, were mutually engaged in the same project, referencing scripture in original languages in context of patristics, taking their cue from Erasmus. All parties, including Romanists, were trying to discern scripture through tradition. The first protestantS to break from this ‘science’ were the Anabaptists and Zwinglians, and from Switzerland it spread like a Cancer. It were these parties in the 1520’s (and their extreme biblicism) that would ultimately rob the mantle of Protestantism, eroding it into something rather unrecognizable from its origin. I think Anglicanism, ultimately, must retreive both the original sense and vector of Protestantism as well as curing the popular notion of ‘catholic’. Amongst magesterial protestants, however, Anglicans were most successful in recapturing and retaining the early church. In my opinion, the closer reformation unfolded in cities close to Zurich, the more these centers of reformation (Geneva, Wittenburg, Canterbury) were infected by the Anabaptist virus. Looking back at our own reformation, what would have happened without the intervention of Queen Elizabeth against the House of Commons and even Lambeth Articles. There were a number of junctures where we can thank the Crown, and this was an institution both anabaptists and separatists railed against.


      • Good thinking—look to the past for patterns that might work in the future.

        Important High Church/Prayer-Book Catholic organizations were the SPCK (publishing house), the Alcuin Club (liturgics society), the Cambridge Camden Society (church architecture group), and the Anglican Society. Indeed, once upon a time, Churchmen had significant resources . . . . Perhaps, we must be limited to “New Tracts” for now.

        Still not sure weather Fr. Hart really fully stands within Anglican tradition given his perverse attachment to Roman Missal ritual embellishments.


  17. Charles, I think you are looking at a good part of the answer. A good deal of the problem for the last hundred years has been the lack of education for ordinary Anglicans and the people who desparately need to be Anglicans. The Anglo-Papalists did a fairly good job of things in England but what you found in their parishes was so off putting to the majority of English men and women that it didn’t get much beyond the parish door. Of course, Lewis did a wonderful job with his war time broadcasts which became Mere Christianity while Dorothy Sayers did an equally good job with her radio play, The Man Born to be King.

    But that was then and this is now. And, yes, Father Hart is doing a wonderful job with The Continuum especially with that last slap down defending the importance of the Articles. On the other hand, Death is right about those defects of his liturgical practice. When you use the Roman Colour scheme, have six candles and the missal on the altar, you have come a far way of confining yourself to truly Anglican practice. But he is only doing what he and most other American Anglican priests have seen for well over the last sixty years. Where are they going to see someone doing it right?

    So what do we have at our command; what can we use to change things? Well, first of all we have the blogosphere. Then there is Facebook and Twitter and Flickr. Have any of you seen the great posts there showing some of the best Anglican use churches, altars and vestments? And who is there to do it? I guess that of necessity is going to be us. But who better?


  18. Hello Charles,

    Your response to Death’s question is on the money. There must be a ressourcement of the authentic patrimony. And I, for one, cannot see how this will be realized apart from your suggestions. I especially like the idea of a Prayer Book catholic devotional society along the lines of the SSC.

    We can be thankful for those societies and individuals that are devoted to the propagation of Reformed Catholicism. But my impression is that they tend to operate somewhat autonomously. I suggest that a much stronger and more effective apologia for Prayer Book Anglicanism would result from their coming together. An annual seminar along the lines of the Atlantic Theological Conference (A Canadian Anglican event, featuring Choral Evensong, Eucharist and topical lectures by leading Canadian Anglican theologians, such as The Rev. Dr. Robert Crouse) might be one way to achieve this.

    In addition to the resources youv’e mentioned, there is also the web page for The Canadian Prayer Book Society. It may be the finest source of Anglican spirituality and theology on the web.


  19. I hope that all of you will pardon me if I go back to the question of the the proper format and theology of the Eucharistic canon. We reached a point in the discussion and then jumped to something else. Consequently, I feel the need to backtrack just a bit.

    The oldest extant Eucharistic Canon is found in the Verona Fragment. Bishop Frere reprints it in the Latin original in The Primitive Consecration Prayer. It is about the length of the prayer book canon from 1552 through 1662. In it the epiclisis follows our Lord’s words, which as I pointed out earlier were essentially words of administration, words said in the giving of the sacrament to his apostles. This blows all of the theories, both Roman and Anglican, of the protestant identity of the Anglican canon out the door. Our Lord’s words are the authority for the Church to do what it does and it does so by asking the Holy Spirit to bless the bread and the wine so that they may be what our Lord both ordered and promised.

    What surprises me is the truth of Death’s statement that both the Puritans, the liberals and the Anglo-papists want the prayer book to be Protestant in the non-Anglican sense of agreeing with the Continental Reformers, but what we find when we really come to know the reality of the earliest Church and their prayer books is that it more closely resembles the description given of the worship of the early Church as described in the work of Justin Martyr (A.D. 150) and the earliest known complete canon. The work of the non-jurors and the Scots recorrects the placement of the invocation of the Holy Spirit but it does not essentially change its theology.


    • Hello Bp. Lee,

      I still prefer the 1637 and 1549 epiclesis simply because it is closer to Sarum worship-order, and what I believe best reflects 1559/1662 BCP’s theology. It’s the word of God– not prayer of a saint– which confects the bread. Maybe I oversimplify? When we relocate the emphasis onto the prayer of the righteous, we get something rather charismatic. The East has such a reputation? I still think the 1637 and 1549 are superior/tighter.

      Can we agree that the 1928 epiclesis is not the Usager one?


  20. Hello Death, +Lee, and Mark,

    My guess is BCP revival begins with blogs where people of like-mind find one another. Those belonging to the ‘conformist tendency’ are presently scattered as individual parishioners or clerics. A diocese which takes on the project would provide a natural gravity and visible point of unity for rallying this brand of churchmanship. Meanwhile, radiating BCP conformist ideas outward is the only thing we can do, either by blog, email, or articles. Father Hart’s site is probably the greatest example of an influential blog, setting an high benchmark.

    Since Fr. Hart has been mentioned several times, I will add my thoughts. The recent discussion at the Continuum was enlightening. When push comes to shove, I believe Fr. Hart holds the ACC line (which can be a fuzzy one). His basic arguments against the Articles would have little traction if we were discussing the Creeds. For example, substitute the Creeds for Articles in the following statement by Fr. Hart, “Furthermore, as I have said above, the Articles [or Creeds] refuse to be the standard, for making them the standard contradicts Article VI. Of the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.” Isn’t the working assumption behind both Creeds and Articles is their derivation from scripture?

    We have ‘confessions’ because it is necessary to express the mind of the church against private opinion, especially when heretical. This does not mean subscribed articles are ‘infalliable’, without appeal, or apart from the witness of scripture.. Yet the Articles were given to clarify scripture. Do they no longer? Here are Fr. Hart’s assumptions:

    1) the Articles are basically unreliable, not really clarifying tradition or scripture. Fr. Hart seems to admit this, ” Considering that it takes real work of genuine scholarship to safeguard the Articles from those who will see them always as unmitigated Hyper-Calvinism, or unmitigated Lutheranism, or who will use them selectively and perversely like Mizz Jefforts-Schori, it would be foolhardy to require assent to the Articles from all members.” Is this why Articles are no longer a standard (secondary) for Anglican faith? The Reverend Hart’s explanation sounds a lot like the ACC’s 1995 Athen’s Statement.

    What is missing from Hart’s analysis is the Articles were not written in a vacuum. Subscription was never given to Articles alone. Clerics vowed to teach and enforce three standards– canon, articles, BCP. These three define one another. If these three working together fail, then further definition might be sought in tertiary standards– homilies, longer catechism, salient books of divinity (Hooker, Andrewes, Jewel). Our tendency is to set a well-established hierarchy on its head. We pick our favorite priest, say Newman or Deacon, and then place their individual writings above the BCP or Articles, for example. But in the final analysis, Articles were never alone, and they existed alongside the other formulas, in a hierarchy of authority. Once we compromise the constellation of written authority, then the whole Settlement begins to unravel and is indeed unreliable.

    2) Articles are not binding like the Creeds, and making them so would create an Anglican Magisterium. While the Articles have never been necessary for baptism nor communion, they historically have been a test to Anglican Orders. They have also been used to silence public preachers, whether lay or ordained, from teaching error/private judgement.While they surely have a more limited, derivative authority than the Creeds, it doesn’t mean Articles cannot defrock or excommunicate. What was the ultimate result for Puritans ignoring disciplinarian censors in the 1630’s? Since when did the CofE ever treat Articles as a Magisterium? These are non-sequitur arguments raised by Fr. Hart. The Articles were always capable of amendment and change, e.g., the modification in 1552 vs. 1563. Even REC and Methodists provide an example of reduced subscriptionism which the ACC should learn from.

    For me, subscription is a question of Anglicans being honest about what they believe. If we believe the Articles are doctrinally mistaken, or its sections regarding discipline have expired, etc., then why not clarify? Thirty-nine is not a magic or sacred number. There could be 35, 20, or 7. But the point is to define what we believe with respect to the radical protestantism and Romanists. Not only this, but to work out what we believe as a Church in relation to our Settlement patrimony. If we must break from classical Anglican subscription/assent, why? Otherwise, you will see this flower-pot approach to church doctrine continue, and what one parish teaches may be very different from another, doctrine being a random smattering of Anglican, Orhtodoxy, Romanism, and Protestant teaching. That’s not Anglicanism. It’s not media via.

    So, it seems Fr. Hart will often champion classical Anglican standards– be it the BCP or Articles– but suddenly, at particular moments, reverse course. In the end, the Articles, like the prayer book, is a local option in the ACC, dependent upon the parish priest to pick and choose which ones best fit into Missal worship. The ACC certainly refers to Articles, but it is in a more or less arbitrary (non-normative) way?

    However, this is not to say the ACC is against articles per se. In practice, there is great flexibility. What I enjoyed the most about Fr. Hart’s defense was how he read the Articles into ACC Constitution, Canons, and synodal statements. I hope his interpretation becomes salient, helping others in the ACC.


    • The tendency to isolate standards (or, what is worse, to set them in opposition, one to another) has been with us for some time. Proposing a stark contrast between a “papist” Prayer Book, and “Calvinist” Articles, for example, goes as far back as William Pitt. And, oddly enough, this misapprehension was co-opted by later churchmen of both Anglo-catholic and low-church sensibilities.

      On the other hand, there are also historical examples of appealing to a unified front of liturgy, Articles and canons. (One can certainly find it in early Caroline and Restoration divines, such as Bramhall and Beveridge, and later on we see it in 19th-century figures like Sadler and Browne. In our own time, it was employed with great success by the late Fr. Louis Tarsitano).

      I agree with you that such an appeal is an important way (not the only one, of course) to reveal the authentic voice of the Anglican patrimony.


  21. Hello Bp. Lee,

    I was reading Bard Thompson’s Liturgies of the Western Church where both Justin Martyr’s First Apology and the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus are given. Regarding the invocation in these liturgies the commentary was interesting.

    The 1928/1789 canon with respect to both Hippolytus and Justin is indeed more ancient a liturgy than the Usager. Thompson says, “Unlike the epiclesis in the later Greek, it did not make reference to the conversion of the elements; rather it asked that the Holy Spirit descending “upon the oblation of the Holy Church,” would work effectively in the hearts of the communicants” (p. 18). This justifies the 1789 version against Seabury’s.
    Evidently, the Usagers took their epiclesis from John Chrysostom’s canon which says, “…and make this bread indeed the precious body of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ…”. You are correct, the 1928 uses a very primitive form, and in Hippolytus the epiclesis is after the Verba.

    But with Martyr there seems to be a range of opinion regarding the form of consecration, Thompson says, “Finally, Justin state state that the breead and wine were consecrated…Some scholars have understood this to mean, ‘by the prayer of the Word [Logos] which comes from him [=God],’ in which case the elements are hallowed by the operative power of the Logos. But other scholars have taken it to say, ‘by the word [formula] of prayer which comes from Him [=Jesus],’ in which case the elements were blessed after the example of the Lord, who took bread, gave thanks and said, Do this for my anamesis…It seems most likely that Justin intended the latter, for he conceived the Eucharistic prayer to be essentially a ‘thanksgiving’, and he referred to the consecrated elements as having been ‘eucharistized’– ‘thanked upon’. ‘ (p. 6)

    I would guess the prior opinion is a defense of the Western omission while the latter supports an invocation after the anamnesis. Justin, however, does say, “The apostles in the memoirs compose by them (which are called gospels) have handed down what was commanded of them: that Jesus took bread, and having given thanks, He said, Do this for my anamnesis, this is my body…” (p.8). Justin is not precise, and I think unless one reads Justin from the standpoint of Hippolytus, there is room for opinion over the epiclesis’s location not to mention content?


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