Tom’s Digest critiques the proposed Divine Offices

Tom B. over at his blog Tom’s Digest has begun a series critiquing the proposed draft of the Divine Offices for the Personal Ordinariates to replace the Book of Common Prayer.

He writes:

Rome should take its time, and the three ordinaries, the Congregation for Divine Worship, as well as anyone else involved in the official drafting process, should seriously consider ironing out some real problems that make the draft as it currently stands, in my opinion, unfit for prime time.


One of the weakest points of the Ordinariate’s draft is that it (understandably) wants to have the best of all worlds — the Anglican Prayer Books, and both classical and modern forms of the Roman Rite — but goes about it in such a clumsy way that it ends up potentially falling short of them all.

The most evident symptom of this in the divine office drafts is the abundance of one powerful little word, “may,” in the rubrics.

Archbishop Cranmer understood that in order for his Prayer Book offices to achieve their goal of being the largely unchanging platter on which substantial daily portions of the Psalms and Scriptures could be served up in a systematic fashion, options at the celebrant’s discretion had to be kept to a minimum.


Divine Worship by contrast has lost the strongest feature and driving purpose behind Cranmer’s project and the whole classical Prayer Book tradition: a mandatory and relatively uniform simplicity.

Here is why: from beginning to end, the draft offices are full of, “The celebrant may” do this, omit that, add the third thing, choose between the following options…

This post got shared on the Anglican Ordinariate Forum and other similar discussion groups on Facebook and some interesting discussion ensued.

Part of the reason why the proposed offices have so many options is they combined practices from former Anglican jurisdictions using different versions of the Book of Common Prayer.  I hope, though, once the offices are approved, that each Ordinariate can publish its own Catholic Book of Common Prayer with its regional variations, such as the collects praying for the Queen in Canada and the U.K. but leaving out all the options never used in that area, or, as Tom’s Digest suggests, putting the options into an appendix.

Several months ago, I interviewed John Covert, creator of the

This site offers the Morning and Evening Prayer (plus Midday Prayers and Compline) with the opportunity to choose the Psalms from the lectionary or from the daily BCP cycle of daily readings; plus the readings and collects for the day.   Covert said he tried to make it as close as possible to what he was able to piece together about the draft office books.

But he, too, seemed to hope whatever Prayer Book gets published is simple and easy to use.  He told me it must “pass the Grandma test,” so Grandma can use it on her own without a lot of explanation.  

While many are eager to see the Office Books published, we continue to use the 1962 Canadian Book of Common Prayer for our Mattins and Evensong and our offices are very close to what Covert has on his site.  We add the Angelus and for Evensong, the Phos Hilarion, and the Marian Anthem.

On the Forum, Christopher Mahon offered some opinions that I thought were worth passing on here. Included is some of the discussion:

Christopher Mahon The author is correct to say the Holy See should take its time with the office. The important thing is for ordinariate communities to simply pray mattins and evensong as we have always done.

It’s not like the apostles went out after the Ascension and got all worked up about praying daily until Peter had gotten around to reviewing, editing, and promulgating formal books. They just prayed as they were accustomed. The books followed.

In other words, the books are meant to reflect the received tradition. In the case of evensong and mattins, that tradition is already given to us.

  • Steven Rabanal Basically, do what’s patrimonial and don’t worry about it, right?
  • Christopher Mahon Exactly. Here’s an interesting thought experiment. People sometimes worry that if the Holy See issues a book that modified a prayer or custom, we might have to give up the customary way of doing it. But what if the Holy See instead issues a book that adds options to what we usually do? That’s not a bad thing if it’s trying to capture and reflect received patrimonial tradition, but it could easily cause confusion and entice some local folks to changing their custom.

    Bottom line is we should keep calm and carry on patrimonially.

  • Claudia Brown It’s very important to work at it until a version “for the ages” is produced. Amongst us Romans, the Post-Vatican II work of the ICEL (International Commission on the English Liturgy) was an ongoing food-fight for years, producing “interim” versions of texts which would be deemed official for some number of years (like three) until something “definitive” could be agreed upon. This was a mess for all the obvious reasons, but its most singular achievement was the absolute destruction of what had been the UNIVERSAL use by the Congregation of a personal Missal.

    Except for such pockets as the FSSP, this former custom has never really recovered. So much for the vaunted “Age of the Laity”!! The loss of the Missal, in my view, was a strategic act of hyper-clericalism. Get it right the FIRST time, no matter how long it takes.


10th Anniversary Pilgrimage May 2020

IMG_20160427_102833The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter has posted details of May 3-14, 2020 Pilgrimage in honor of the 10th Anniversary of Anglicanorum Coetibus for those coming from North America.

Led by Bishop Steven Lopes and Ordinariate clergy, the pilgrimage starts in London and includes visits to Oxford, Cambridge, Norwich, and Walsingham.  May 9 is a free day to sight see in London, capped by a Solemn Mass with the three Ordinariates and lay faithful from North America, the UK and Australia to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution that paved the way for groups of Anglicans to join the Catholic Church through their own diocese-like structures.

On May 10, the pilgrims will fly to Rome for several days that will include Mass every day in various historic churches in Rome, including St. Peter’s Basilica, and participation in the weekly Papal audience on Wednesday, May 13. Continue reading

2019 Conference on the Anglican Tradition announced

The Anglicanorum Coetibus Society has just announced in the latest issue of our journal that the next conference on the Anglican tradition in the Catholic Church will be happening this November 15th & 16th in Toronto, Canada.

AUC 2019 teaserAccompanied by an article detailing the history of the Anglican Use conferences hosted by the Society in previous years, the announcement in both the journal and on the Society website makes clear that this conference will be our main celebration of the tenth anniversary of the promulgation of Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which introduced to the world the personal ordinariate for Catholics of the Anglican tradition.

Further details will be posted in due course on the Society’s webpage dedicated to our annual conferences, but it will feature speakers on the Anglican tradition, time for socializing and getting to know everyone, and three choral liturgies that will be our prime expression of thanksgiving, including the singing of a Solemn Te Deum.

As the Anglican ordinariate community looks to the future, we can never forget what Pope Benedict did for us. But the full consequences of his bold move will continue to unfold over future generations. This conference is an opportunity both to celebrate this anniversary and to explore what the future has in store for the Anglican tradition and our community.

For as we know well, in entering the Catholic Church our future has finally been secured. Thanks be to God for what he has done for us, and let’s celebrate together in Toronto this November!

New issue of our journal on the Anglican patrimony

We’re pleased to announce that the latest issue of Shared Treasure (née Anglican Embers) is being sent out within the next few days. This will be Volume IV, No. 9, and it contains some important pieces, including some news that the Society is announcing about an upcoming conference.

img_6002The biggest piece in the issue, and certainly the most important, is the latest paper written by Professor Hans-Jürgen Feulner, who was a key member of the Anglicanae Traditiones Inter-dicasterial Commission that the Holy See established a few years ago to produce the liturgical books of Divine Worship that are used by the Ordinariates. Dr Feulner takes a look at the establishment of Divine Worship: The Missal and examines its inner structure and character, while raising some fascinating possibilities for future developments of the Catholic Church’s Anglican patrimonial liturgy.

This new issue also includes excerpts from the writings of John Keble and J. R. R. Tolkien on the Annunciation. There is news included from both the Ordinariates and the Society, an analysis of the latest revision made by the Holy See to the Complementary Norms governing the life of the Ordinariates, and the latest installment of the Rev. W. Chave McCracken’s 1959 analysis of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll’s Left Hand (or the Religious Symbolism of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland).

This latest issue has been sent out electronically to Society members and is available to them for download on the Society website. Hard copies are being mailed to journal subscribers and should arrive soon.

The work that goes into producing the Society’s Journal depends on the support of Society supporters, and for their support we are most grateful. We’re excited to get our copies!

10th Anniversary Thanksgiving


Do you remember where you were when you first heard  Pope Benedict XVI would be publishing an Apostolic Constitution allowing for the creation of Ordinariates for Anglicans wishing to become Catholic and at the same time allowing them to preserve aspects of their patrimony?

I was at the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) annual plenary.  The picture above is from last year, as I no longer have pictures from 2009.

How did you feel?  Were you shocked? Exhilarated?  Disbelieving? Overcome with gratitude and thanksgiving? Wary?  Concerned about your future? Where were you when you heard? What did you do? Who did you talk to?

It’s hard to believe it is now almost exactly ten years since that day.  We have so much to be thankful for.  It’s pretty amazing when you look at how far we have come! Continue reading

Dominion Day news of Fr Kenyon’s return to Canada

As Canadians celebrate Canada Day, historically and still known by many as Dominion Day, some good news for the Deanery of Saint John the Baptist has been announced. Our former dean, Father Lee Kenyon, is being appointed pastor of the ordinariate parish in Victoria, British Columbia, and will be moving with his family back to Canada over the summer in order to take on the assignment in the fall. The timing is even more fitting given that it was also announced today that Blessed John Henry Newman, the namesake of the Victoria parish, is to be canonized this October 13th.

1537790_10152626443396324_6748423335415170536_oThe previous pastor, Monsignor Carl Reid, who succeeded Fr Kenyon as Dean of Canada when the latter was given permission to minister in the Diocese of Shrewsbury in England a few years ago, has just recently been named as the new ordinary of the Australian ordinariate, taking over the reins from Mgr Harry Entwistle.

Fr Kenyon was instrumental in guiding our Calgary parish into the Catholic Church back in 2011. As the parish website says, “After almost a year spent in prayer, study and discussion under the leadership of Fr Lee Kenyon, the parish voted by nearly 90% in November 2010 to accept Pope Benedict’s generous invitation for us to come into full communion with the Catholic Church, through the provision of an Ordinariate.”

Fr Kenyon is much beloved by the Canadian ordinariate community and the news that he has been asked to take on this assignment in Victoria is encouraging news for Canadian Catholics of the Anglican tradition. The Deanery of Saint John the Baptist looks forward to welcoming the whole Kenyon family back to Canada!

Cardinal Newman canonization Oct. 13

Pope Francis announced today that he will canonize Cardinal John Henry Newman on Oct. 13.

The Catholic Herald reports:

In February, the Pope signed a decree recognising a second miracle attributed to Blessed John Henry Newman, the inexplicable healing of a woman with a “life-threatening pregnancy”.

Blessed John Henry Newman was one of the most prominent converts to Catholicism from Anglicanism of the 19th century.

He was already an esteemed Anglican theologian when he founded the Oxford Movement to return the Church of England to its Catholic roots, before himself converting to the Catholic faith.

He was renowned as a brilliant thinker and was made a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII.

This is excellent news for those who have registered already for Symposium 2019 to mark the 10th anniversary of Anglicanorum coetibus.

Here is the link to register for the Symposium.  Spaces are limited.

Accommodation in Rome close to the centre city might be hard to find.  I have stayed with the Suore Brigidine at their via della Isole location.  It’s about 5 km outside the centre city, so you’d need to take a bus or a cab, but it is clean, quiet, and relatively inexpensive for Rome.