Anglican liturgy before Oxford
  • Last year, the Prayer Book Society of England celebrated this Holy Communion service: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYpY8JHM7Uc&t=1294s
    Apparently, this is how the Holy Communion was celebrated everywhere in the Anglican world prior to the Oxford Movement. However, this is a said service; I wonder how a sung service would be done.

    Broadly speaking, how did the pre-Oxford Movement Anglican liturgy looked like? Most Anglican services I have seen were heavily influenced by Catholicism, with chasubles, incense, ad orientem and so on; it is especially with regards to the Sacred music (lots of plainsong). But was this the case prior to the 1840's?
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,791
    However, this is a said service; I wonder how a sung service would be done.

    Poorly. Even the 'great churches' that we think of: St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and, especially, King's, Cambridge, were in a very poor musical state from the death of Handel until the Oxford Movement got into full swing. The service began with a metrical Psalm: Either from Tate & Brady or Sternhold & Hopkins, then the service proper (usually Mattins, Litany and Ante-Communion) was read. An anthem might have been attempted at some point during the service; and the service would have ended with another metrical Psalm. (King's was still on a diet of Tate & Brady until A.H. Mann came in.)

    This is what it probably would have sounded like--but most likely not as good: these people rehearse, whereas many choirs then didn't. The major difference at some of the 'great churches' is that untrained, out of tune boys would be singing, or rather, screeching, instead of women, and in place of a band, an organ would be used, the more adventuresome playing a continuo part independent of the vocal bass.
    https://youtu.be/_xnW69BeBJc?t=172
    Thanked by 1Jehan_Boutte
  • Perhaps Merbecke's setting of the ordinary and other bits?
  • It is so interesting to me. The Oxford movement was a sea change level event. More interesting to me, as I read this and other posts, is the conflict that arises when reality challenges our romantic assumptions. There was awful and/or limited music before and after Oxford, just as there was and continues to be before and after Trent, and, more importantly for me, before and after the Second Vatican Council. Reality is, then and now, very few places of worship have solid, well rehearsed music, in any style, during worship. People make music as they are able in their given circumstances. As I have grown older, this is enough for me. It is the reality of their heart felt praise that matters most.
    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,699
    Something may be gleaned from studying Jebb's Three Lectures on the Cathedral Service of the Church of England (Leeds, 1841) Here, which I have not done.
    Merbecke AFAIK only set the 1549 edition of BCP, which was obsolete after a couple of years. Jebb was the first, I think, to revive him. OTOH there have always been those who preferred older editions of the liturgy, there were surreptitious users of Anglican practices from before 1662, quite as much as of Catholic practices from before 1962! Clergy would all have known Latin, and the BCP in Latin incoporated (probably deliberately) bits from 1549 which had been dropped in English.
  • A very good book on the subject of Oxford Movement struggles is called Rivers of the Flood. I read this back in the early seventies or so. By Dom Anselm Hughes of Nashdom Abbey and now available from Abe's Books, it is a very good account of the hardships, hurdles, prejudices, enmity, and incremental progresses that were experienced by many priests as the Anglo-Catholic identity began to evolve. I remember one anecdote about a priest who was imprisoned by his bishop for teaching his children the Hail Mary, in Latin, yet. Those were not easy times. I do believe that the Anglo-Catholic movement was the work of God. While it became widespread, it's too bad it didn't come to flourish as the defining character of the C of E. If it had, we might well have come to see a rapprochement between Canterbury and Rome (I dreamed of this in my youth). But there were large numbers of powerful people, both C of E and Roman, who were apoplectic at the thought. Where Oxford Movement Anglo-Catholicism flourished its people and their faith was indistinguishable from that of the Romans - but for the question of the nature of the Petrine supremacy and a few reservations shared with the Orthodox - not to mention that distinctive Anglican touch of reverence and dignity. One would have thought that their Catholic neighbours would have egged them on as friends. Far from it! They scorned them and held them in contempt. Things could have been more positive, brotherly, and loving - and a far lovelier outcome might have flowered forth.
    _________________________________

    Dom Anselm Hughes, Benedictine monk of Nashdom Abbey, who wrote Rivers of the Flood, was musicologist who left many books about mediaeval musical practice and theory. His works on the subjects of mediaeval music and liturgy, both Eastern and Western, are amongst the most important of the early to mid XXth century.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    yes, I think that it's important to stress that Mattins was more popular than Holy Communion in a number of places into the mid-twentieth century. The Anglican moves towards Rome, at least in terms of acknowledging VII and reforming accordingly, have displaced Mattins, it seems, and Holy Communion/the Eucharist/whatever it is called seems to be very common, even celebrated daily, however poorly; the daily communion service at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin in Oxford was more embarrassing than any Mass which I've attended, if only because the bar is on the floor, and it was the most agnostically low mass setting that I've ever seen, meaning that they didn't clear the bar. That is, the celebrant looked clearly uncomfortable with vestments and things like signs of the cross (which is apparently why some celebrants bless themselves at the end but bless others at the beginning in the CofE, I noticed), clearly had a very low view of the eucharist even for an Anglican, a laywoman read the Gospel in jeans… then he used their version of EPII from Common Worship.

    Before the Oxford Movement, and before the 1960s for the holdouts, if you had Holy Communion more than once a month, you were "lucky." Sheldon Vanauken talks about this in A Severe Mercy, if indirectly; he greatly enjoyed Mattins, as it was.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,699
    The BCP Sunday morning has a sequence of three services: Matins, Litany, and Ante-communion* , most of the congregation would leave after Matins. Any music (psalms and anthemn), was concentrated in Matins and Litany. Dearmer was a leading light in the "Parish communion movement", somewhere I have a pamphlet of his on how to persuade people to "stay on". In most places, up to 100 years ago the full communion service was only used perhaps four times a year.
    * ≈Mass of the catechumens + Creed and Biddings.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • In my childhood it was communion once a month and holy days, but whether matins or communion all was done with dignity and reverence. (And most parishes had an early morning communion service which had a faithful attendance.) Then i met some Anglo-Catholics and all that changed. Queen Victoria is said to have said that communion should be had no more than once or twice a year because it was such a special thing that one wouldn't want to abuse it.

    There is certainly a disconnect between the very orthodox words of the communion service in the BCP and what most people actually believe or are taught. I have even witnessed priest who, after the prayer of consecration and the prayer of humble access fervently prayed and stated quite plainly that we are receiving the very Body and Blood of Jesus, turn around and assure their people that it really wasn't. But then, I've heard a number of Catholics say of the mass that it's just a memorial - and trashed up masses are far from rare.

    Yet through it all, some sort of Catholic sensitivity survived and was passed on. To read the works of Archbishop Laud and the Caroline Divines of the seventeenth century is to have revealed an intensely profound faith and sense of sinfulness, and of devoted gratitude and awe for God's work through our Lord that could hardly have been bettered by a Catholic.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,699
    One of the devices Dearmer used was to get the congregation to sing the Ordinary. The Parson's Handbook recommends no more than three settings for a typical congregation - Merbecke, folk song (ie English traditional) and 'a good modern setting'. Do NOT let the choir usurp the peoples' part. It does look as though Dearmer (who was not an Anglo-catholic) had read and taken on board Tra le sollecitudini and other liturgical movement ideas.
  • How was Dearmer not an Anglo-Catholic? I always assumed he was.
  • It depends a little on what you exactly mean by Anglo Catholic, which admits of shades of meaning.

    I think from The Parsons Handbook we would say he was an original prayer-book Anglican: and during the prayer book controversy in 1928 he favoured the reformed one (which was rejected finally) because it was as if a restoration of the original Anglicanism of the 1500s. That got him called an Anglo-Catholic, to be sure: but he didn't believe in transubstantiation and he was certainly a man of the “doctrines and practices of the Reformation”.

    He was also a socialist: but that doesn't bear on the Anglo Catholic question, since some who very much were Anglo Catholics were towards socialism, the labour movement, and social action, from the late 1800s through until the 1930s, or later.
    Thanked by 1Jehan_Boutte
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,699
    Jehan_Boutte : I am not at all qualified to pontificate on the meaning of these labels. But his definition of Catholic is:
    Beyond any doubt, every one who is baptised is admitted into the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church consists of the whole company of Christian people in this world and the next. Dearmer Reunion and Rome(1911) p.5
    So the label Catholic was not distinctive, for him.
  • Funny: I could almost sign his definition with both hands.
  • davido
    Posts: 506
    In my experience, Protestants that use that definition of catholic usually do not capitalize the “c”. The Presbyterians would sign that definition.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 980
    I've gone to a few Methodist services. When they get to the part of the creed that says One Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, there is an asterisk after Catholic. Below, there is a footnote stating that 'Catholic' means universal.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Some, though not all, American Lutherans, such as the Missouri Synod, substitute 'Christian' for 'Catholic' in the Creed. They are very paranoid about that word. Of course, Dearmer's definition is pretty standard amongst Protestants who use the word at all - even many 'evangelical' Anglicans - though certainly not Anglo-Cath0lics and some other Anglican manifestations, who honestly perceive the Anglican Church to be one of the three brancbes, Roman, Orthodoxy, and Anglican, which are believed to be co-equal manifestations of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church with the Bishop of Rome being the Fist amongst Equals, and whose orders and sacraments are thought to be as valid as anyone else's, Roman or Orthodox. As with the Orthodox, the Petrine supremacy as held by Rome is a grave stumbling block - as is the usual nature of Roman liturgy, which frightens them away.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • True, but Dearmer is right in the sense that any baptized Christian is part of the Catholic Church because of his baptism. Now, of course, I don't think Dearmer would have the same understanding of the Catholic Church as we do.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,546
    but Dearmer is right in the sense that any baptized Christian is part of the Catholic Church
    highly questionable if not erroneous
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,358
    If memory serves, that was the basis for the Inquisition to assert jurisdiction over any baptised person; the Inquisition had no jurisdiction over the unbaptized.
    Thanked by 2Jehan_Boutte tomjaw
  • Yes. The Church can exercize jurisdiction over heretics on the ground that heretics are part of the Church through their baptism (even though their heresies are incompatible with membership of the Church). This is the rationale behind the Inquisition. That does not in the least mean one can be saved outside the Church or that the "Branch Theory" was true after all - since it isn't.
    Thanked by 1MatthewRoth
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,546
    never heard of the branch theory... can you elaborate?
  • The Branch Theory is the idea that the Church is made up of three Communions or "Branches": Rome, Constantinople and Canterbury. It is a theory elaborated by Anglo-Catholics in the 19th Century.
    No need to say, it is unacceptable from a Catholic point of view.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,699
    Branch theory is whatever you make of it, it seems.
    Branch theory - Wikipedia
    en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Branch_theory

    People also ask
    What are the 4 branches of Christianity?

    What are the six branches of Christianity?

    What are the three main branches of Christianity
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,546
    there is one root... i think they are confusing roots with branches
  • Well, the Eastern Orthodox and the Anglicans are kind of like branches. They just took a tree saw to themselves a while back :).
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 630
    I am suspicious of asterisks. If something by common understanding means A, and you have to add an asterisk pointing out that really it means B, then it probably really does mean A.
  • (*) except when it means C
  • Elmar
    Posts: 370
    Credo(*) in unum(**) Deum(***), Patrem(****) omnipotentem(*****), ...
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,699
    "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."
  • Francis,

    The idea of the branches and the "any baptised Christian" theory don't come from the same soil, originally.

    "Branches", so far as I know, originates among Western Protestants, mostly Anglicans, and seems to arise out of the idea that one can be happily Catholic and still thumb one's nose at the bishop of Rome -- who is, in this reading, just a wayward Italian missionary. ( The people who created this theory didn't know that sometimes the wayward missionary would come from the ends of the earth, or the land of fire, not Italy, but let that pass. I think you'll see it not in Gallicanism, but in the 16th century's growth of the nation state.

    "Any Baptized Christian" (ABC for short, here) builds a strange building on the idea that baptism is necessary for salvation. It concludes (and you can see multiple manifestations of this in the documents of Vatican II) that since our common baptism makes us all followers of Christ, those folks we don't like must be our separated brethren rather than heretics and schismatics. At some level, we see the full flower of ABC in two places in the relatively modern world: "Anonymous Christian" and "Mere Christianity".
    Thanked by 1francis
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,546
    So then heretics and schismatics no longer exist? Where are the references to this odd thinking?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,223
    So then heretics and schismatics no longer exist? Where are the references to this odd thinking?


    Those words are only used today by misanthrope Trads who hate the rest of us anyway.
  • Francis,

    Of course they still exist. If the words are out of favor, the reality they describe is, if anything, more prevalent now than in ages past. Apostasy, also not a word in common use, describes accurately far too many "Catholics" in public life.


    Charles,

    All joking aside, "misanthrope Modernist" is far more accurate than "misanthrope Trad" ever was or ever will be.

    Thanked by 2tomjaw francis
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,223
    Chris, both can be pretty obnoxious at times. Those words are like many others, casualties of political correctness which is why we seldom hear them these days.
  • So then heretics and schismatics no longer exist? Where are the references to this odd thinking?

    Yes, they do, for a baptized Christian can reject the Faith, either parts of it, or the whole thing. Because of this, there are degrees in schism.
    Thanked by 2francis MatthewRoth
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,546
    Let's clarify... heretics and schismatics will ALWAYS exist... including apostates... Mary, keep us all from these errors...
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,546
    there are degrees in schism.

    There may be degrees, but it is all schism. Slapping your wife on the cheek is just as bad as stabbing her in the back. Kissing Jesus on the cheek can be just as bad (or worse) than crucifying him on a gibet. In the case of THE kiss, I think it was indeed the worst.

    Branch theory could be likened to parallel universes, I suppose. "Let's just create an alternate reality and live there instead of here."
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Modernists attempt to adapt the Church to the world, changing teaching, practice, belief, architecture and music in the name of becoming relevant to "modern man", thus demonstrating that they don't understand man, the being. Ask a cultural anthropologist if there's a greater way to destroy a people than to pursue exactly this paradigm.
    Thanked by 1irishtenor
  • Elmar
    Posts: 370
    ... heretics and schismatics ...
    ... the reality they describe is, if anything, more prevalent now than in ages past.
    How do we know? Even in the generation of my grandparents, it was still socially inacceptable not to appear as a faithful catholic, I know people of my age who still experienced this as kids.
    Unfortunately facebook&twitter deleted all pre-21st century posts.
    Branch theory could be likened to parallel universes, I suppose.
    As a physicist, I like this one especially - still maintaining that the 'multiverse theory' isn't even a theory properly speaking.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 630
    In what era were there no occultists, alchemists, witches, promoters of heresies, or sinners making up excuses for their mortal sins ?
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 980
    The one before the fall?
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    In fact, that the church can, but usually chooses not to, exercise coercion over all of the baptized faithful is really important for interpreting Dignitatis Humanae, if anyone here is unfamiliar with the numerous writings of Thomas Pink, P. Edmund Waldstein, and others.
  • Returning to the present topic: the Anglican liturgy before the Oxford Movement then, did not nearly resemble what one can see in many Anglo-Catholic churches?
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,358
    No, it didn't.
  • Correct, Jehan -
    The Oxford movement (and there was also The Cambridge Movement) was centuries in the making. It was the final flower of Catholic leaning clerics and lay persons who had from the very beginning always been a thorn in the side of the arch-Protestant majority. Read the XVIIth century Caroline Divines (a 'divine' is a theologian, not an immortal person) for a fair look at more-Catholic-than-Protestant conviction in the C of E, which came to bud in the Oxford movement - though the Oxford Movement was more concerned about orthodox faith and theology than liturgical ritual, and remained, ritually, very simple. Still, no matter their orthodox beliefs, they, like all in the C of E (and the Orthodox themselves) could never have accepted the Petrine supremacy as held by Rome.

    Further, there were, in the full flower of Anglo-Catholicism, two principle points of view, or 'parties', namely: those who stressed their native Catholic heritage and championed Sarum usage, and those who 'aped Rome' and tended more or less to emphasise a Roman praxis. This later led to the early XXth century English Missal, which was an almost verbatim translation of the Tridentine rite and its attendant Canon into Prayer Book English.

    To this day Anglo-Catholic clergy and people use the Novus Ordo and shun the BCP.

    In the early negotiations leading to the Ordinariates, we Americans, contrary to our English cousins, discovered that the English C of E 'Catholics' do not hold the BCP in the same treasured way that we Americans do. In their experience it is identified with the cruelties and persecutions of the early C of E. (It should be mentioned, in fairness, that Catholics perpetrated their share of cruelties and persecution when, under Mary Tudor, they were in power.) We Americans really don't identify the BCP in the same way. We love it and its beauteous and unsrpassed hieratic English, and treasure it as a very intrinsic part of our heritage and identity. Not so the English who have a different experience with it. All this took arduous negotiating to arrive at what is now the Ordinariate Use. Rome gave us pretty much a blank slate in the formation of the Ordinariate Use, concerned mainly about the doctrinal orthodoxy of its contents - and pointing out some peculiarly Anglican characteristics which we ourselves where quite unaware of as being distinctly Anglican..

    One of our great liturgical scholars at Walsingham played a major part in these proceedings and has said that it was surprisingly difficult reaching unity with the English members of the various panels. Today, in the US and Australia the Ordinariate Use is the only one which we use. Not so our English friends, who quite often use the Novus Ordo in both English and Latin as much as they do the Ordinariate Use. I find this to be quite disappointing, liturgically schizophrenic, and lacking in a true Ordinariate identity.

    Sorry, I have tried to answer your question, but have elaborated on more than you asked for. The typical C of E liturgy before the Oxford movement could be said to have been lower than the most low church that we of today could imagine. Indeed, today's low church compared to pre-Oxford Movement usage would seem positively high church.

  • Thank you for your answers.

    M. Jackson Osborn: your answer was long, but very interesting to read. Thank you for taking the time to write it.