On Saturday, 18 July, a Mass was offered according to the Ordinariate Rite, more correctly known as the Ordinariate Use, and was accompanied by the Mass setting for Five Voices by William Byrd, 1540-1623, expertly sung by the New Chamber Choir. William Byrd was an English composer of the Renaissance. He wrote various types of sacred music for use in Anglican services, although he became a Roman Catholic in later life and wrote Catholic sacred music as well. The Ordinariate Use fitted perfectly with the setting by William Byrd. It was as though one was made for the other to provide a Mass of exquisite beauty.
The Ordinariate Use is unique since this is the first time that the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith has approved a liturgy that has taken prayers and shape from another denomination. But it is important to recognise that the Ordinariate Use is a thoroughly Catholic Rite. Simply put, the compilers of the Ordinariate Use took the shape of Thomas Cramner’s 1549 Rite for the Church of England and catholicized it.
However, further consequences of history have also made their mark on the Ordinariate Use. At this point it is important to note that the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, does not refer to the liturgical traditions of the Church of England but to the ‘liturgical traditions of the Anglican Communion’. This includes the rites favoured by Anglo-Catholics in this land such as the English Missal and the Anglican Missal, but also rites used by the British Colonies throughout the world.
The influence of the Episcopal rites used in the USA have particular importance. After the independence of the Thirteen Colonies, the Scottish Episcopal Church took the step of consecrating Samuel Seabury at Aberdeen in 1784 as the first Anglican Bishop of the United States of America. In this way, it can be said that the Episcopal Church in the United States owes much of its origins to the Scottish Episcopal Church.
As a result of the liturgical reforms during the second half of the twentieth century, traditionalists produced the American edition of the Anglican Missal, that followed closely the English Missal with the exception that it included three Canon’s, namely the American Canon, the Canon of 1549, and the Gregorian Canon said to be based on the Canon brought by Saint Augustine to England. Whatever its origin, the Gregorian Canon is central to the Ordinariate Use, and reflects the ancient tradition of the Catholic Church.
The Ordinariate Use with its Occasional Services and Customary of Daily Prayer brings the richness of its traditions to the diversity of the Universal Catholic Church. The experience of the past, on which the Ordinariate Use draws its ethos, can help question the present and inform the future. Its contribution to the Catholic Church is invaluable.
The Sheffield Ordinariate Group meets once a month at the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Spring Water Avenue, Sheffield, S12 4HJ. Everyone is welcome.
For full details please visit www.ordinariate.co.uk/where to find us/sheffield.