posted on the Benet Biscop Oblate Chapter website on January 7, 2017
As always, Fr. John Hunwicke provides fascinating food for thought. Today, he posted a couple of quotes related to what we might refer to as the state of the Anglican patrimony in Anglicanism itself.
- Dr. Rowan Williams (former archbishop of Canterbury) stated recently that the “Anglican Church no longer shows so clearly the same combination of rootedness in the early Christian tradition and unfussy, prayerful pragmatism”.
- Gary Bennett, in his preface to the 1987 Crockfords, referred to the demise of “the usual Anglican assumptions about the authority of Scripture and the normative character of patristic usage”.
Whether these “no longer” statements are true of the Anglican Communion is a question I wouldn’t know how to address and shouldn’t try to anyway. But as a former Episcopalian who is convinced Anglicanorum coetibus values, in its reference to the Anglican patrimony, something much more profound than anglophilia, I think it’s worth another effort at circulating among Ordinariate Catholics the idea suggested in the quotes above that the essence of the Anglican patrimony has its deepest roots in patristic spirituality.
There are those who give a ready assent to this statement and refer to their love of the writings of the Church Fathers. But “patristic spirituality” involves more than assenting to the writings of the Church Fathers. It’s a matter of reading the Fathers, reading Scripture, celebrating the liturgy, and living one’s day-in-and-day-out life as one integrated whole.
Elsewhere, others and I have mentioned why the language of the Prayer Book tradition (and thus of the Divine Worship missal) was meant—before the ink of the first version of the prayer book was dry—to be a different kind of language so that it would resonate in the memory. Fr. Hunwicke refers to “one old Anglican custom,” which was “to learn the week’s collect each week.” As in the Rule of St. Benedict, so in the intent of the Prayer Book compilers, if one is kneading dough, pray the week’s collect or a Psalm or the Magnificat …; tilling the field, pray the week’s collect or a Psalm or the Magnificat …; walking from lecture hall to one’s room, pray the week’s collect or …; etc.
Contrast all of this with a comment that appeared recently on another blog:
“An Anglican who becomes Catholic is going to do it for comprehensive intellectual reasons, and indeed reasons of conscience, and a cutsey-pie [sic] prayer book isn’t going to do much one way or another. … Bring back Aquinas.” Continue reading