A new gradual in the Anglican tradition

A new Anglican-tradition gradual in prayerbook English for Catholic use has been published. “The Saint Peter Gradual: The Chants of the Mass for Sundays, Solemnities, and Feasts” has been made specifically for Anglican ordinariate use but is helpful also for celebrations according to the Roman rite (OF). Published by Newman House Press, it was prepared by the Canadian ordinariate Dean, Fr Carl Reid, and is an adaptation of The English Gradual of Francis Burgess.

img_5720Dean Reid’s gradual reproduces the essential psalm tones and chants of the Burgess in the same modern notation, and the texts of the propers are presented according to the arrangement as found in Divine Worship: The Missal.

This is only the second gradual ever developed specifically for the Anglican patrimonial liturgy in the Catholic Church, and New Liturgical Movement has already reported on its publication. The first such resource was The Anglican Use Gradual, arranged by C. David Burt and published originally in 2004. That volume remains in use today, but with the changes implicated in the switch from the Book of Divine Worship (2003) to Divine Worship: The Missal (2015), an updated and revised edition has been prepared and awaits publication.

A third new gradual for the Anglican Use is also rumoured to be in development by yet another editor. That third volume, and David Burt’s newly updated Anglican Use Gradual, would both be in traditional plainsong notation. One uses mostly Burgess-style psalm tones and the other the more melismatic Gregorian chants, both adapted to the DWM arrangement of the minor propers. All three of these new graduals will make it easier for ordinariate and other congregations to glorify God in accordance with the Anglican tradition.

These works, while arguably individually incomplete or imperfect, build upon the work of previous generations and make the Anglican patrimony yet more available for the purposes of Catholic worship. Unfortunately, the reticence of The Saint Peter Gradual’s introductory material to properly credit our “Anglican” patrimony will only encourage a growing sense of an inexplicable antagonism towards uttering the a-word, which is odd given how explicit Pope Benedict was. img_5725(This problem is awkwardly highlighted by the erroneous mention of “Divine Worship: The Roman Missal” in the table of contents.)

This gradual doesn’t identify its own Anglican tradition, but it clearly falls therein. Interestingly, “The English Gradual” on which it is based, being self-evidently Anglican, refers to itself as in relation to the “Western Rite” and as falling within the tradition of the “English Rite”, and its chants have been used in our Anglican Use congregations, both pastoral provision and ordinariate, for years.

In spite of the identical openings of the English Gradual’s Preface and the Saint Peter Gradual’s Editor’s Note, asserting that “These simple settings… are intended for the use of parish choirs…”, there are other statements that seem to touch on the frequently misunderstood post-conciliar call for “actuosa participatio”. At one point, it is suggested that “congregational access to the propers of the Mass” is one of “the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions” of the Anglican Communion that Pope Benedict called “a precious gift”. Later on, in the Bishop’s foreword, it is said that “What is… ‘patrimonial’ about this collection is not only that this Gradual preserves these chants for Catholic worship, but that it makes them available as the property of the people and not simply as a resource for the performance of expert choirs and cantors.”

Of course, most of us will see the simpler fact: What is most patrimonial about this is that these are the same chants many have long used as Anglicans! They are our old Anglican propers and chants re-published for us to continue using as Catholics. This is a continuation of our Anglican tradition for which we can but give thanks, but only if we can first recognize it as such.

Elsewhere, our Anglican patrimony is recognized obliquely as “the noble patrimony of English Christianity” that Anglicanorum Coetibus mandates us to treasure and share, or as “our Ordinariate patrimony”. Never, sadly, is “Anglican patrimony” explicitly identified or credited. This is, of course, a strange hang-up that Anglicanorum Coetibus itself does not suffer from, as the whole Apostolic Constitution is centred on recognizing, preserving, cherishing, and sharing the good, true, beautiful and Catholic essence of the Anglican tradition, and as it explicitly permits us to establish seminary programs for our future priests to form them in the ‘Anglican patrimony (cf. Art. VI §5). It never once mentions anything “English”.

Let us not shy away from speaking proudly of this very thing; let us give thanks precisely because this new Catholic volume is a significant preservation of our specifically Anglican patrimony.

2 thoughts on “A new gradual in the Anglican tradition

  1. Perhaps part of the confusion about “Anglican” patrimony is reflected in the content of this blog. Apparently it includes 1) all aspects of Catholicism as practised in the British Isles before the creation of the Anglican church 2) the life and witness of those who resisted the creation of the Anglican church, to the death in many instances 3) members of the House of Stuart and other lifelong recusant Catholics with a British connection 4) former Anglicans who converted to Catholicism 5) Anglicans who did not convert to Catholicism, but were theologians or artists or otherwise interesting people. What is the difference between “Anglican” and “English” exactly?

    Liked by 1 person

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