Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Anglicans Comin' Home and their Booke

All this talk today about the Traditional Anglicans has been making me curious about the one thing that, if anything, identifies them as particularly Anglican.  That would be the Book of Common Prayer.  It appears that with every Anglo-Catholic group that comes home, and even the Western Rite Orthodox for that matter, Common Prayer is always adapted rather than replaced. 


I have very little experience with it, only having perused the 1979 Book of Common Prayer at Borders several times. That as a while ago but I remember that it at least looked Catholic at a glance, which is probably why it adapts so easily.  There are also several online editions I have looked at over the years.  Whereas I can swim in almost any Catholic Breviary now, I must admit the Book of Common Prayer is very alien to me.


There are several nice editions out there.  Oxford even has a version combo’d with the King James or NRSV Bibles.  But the only approved Catholic edition is the Book of Divine Worship which is currently out of print.  I read an essay in Chesterton’s Well and the Shallows that one of the reasons he would convert to Catholicism (if he already hadn’t) was the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.


Our martyrs during the protestant revolt loathed Common Prayer.  Some might have even taken serious offense at its adaptation for Catholic use.  But Tyburn Tree has long since been put out of commission. 


So do any readers have thoughts on Common Prayer?    Experience with it?


Scott said...

I have about 25 years' experience with the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, and I have to say I'll be a charter member of the BCP79 Preservation Society the moment a new edition is proposed.

The 1979 BCP was a victory for Anglo-Catholics, making it unnecessary to develop any successors to the unauthorized missals such as the English Missal, Anglican Missal, and American Missal. The 1979 BCP is also a fine breviary and devotional manual.

Matt said...

Thanks Scott for the great comment. Let me ask you, since you obviously have great experience with it, is there anything in the 1979 BCP that needs to be changed for Roman Catholic use?

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton