Friday, April 07, 2006

A Touchstone of Error about the Liturgy of St. Tikhon

Apparently, confusion about the Liturgy of St. Tikhon is not confined to Orthodoxy (real or vagante). On the Pontificator's blog, a Byzantine Catholic professor and contributing editor to Touchstone magazine misrepresented this Western Rite liturgy.

In the comments of a post at Pontifications, a Mr. David Terwilliger asked, "How do you suppose Rome would view the Antiochian Western Rite (St. Tikon’s) Prayer of Consecration? As I understand it, it is simply the Anglican Rite (somewhat of a blend of the 1979 and 1928) with a stronger epiclesis and objective 'transmutation' of the bread and wine into the Body of and Blood of Christ."

Enter William J. Tighe.

Admitting he had not "seen a copy of this rite," he did not feel constrained from utterly dismissing it. After someone posted a link to (a defective version of) St. Tikhon's Liturgy, [1] he replied:

I am writing from memory, but the Prayer of Consecration in this liturgy is clearly that of the Scottish Communion Office of 1764, but with additions and at least one alteration, and perhaps with some deletions as well. The part of it that precedes the Words of Institution is pure 1764...By contrast, the words from “Be mindful…” onwards, concerning prayer for the departed and fellowship in the Communion of Saints, is taken directly from the Roman Canon of the Mass. I am not certain about the deletions....
William Tighe concluded:

At a guess, I would imagine that Rome would wonder what contemporary Anglican constituency there would be for what some might see as a peculiar kind of hybrid rite, and would want to know why there would be a desire for something beyond the most “conservative options” that can be had by using the current “Anglican Use” services.
Mr. Tighe's memory must be rusty, indeed. One need not invoke every Prayer Book in the history of the Anglican communion to understand Western Rite praxis. The Liturgy of St. Tikhon is, to any layman's assessment, very clearly a word-for-word adaptation of the Anglican Missal Mass with two notable changes (one to the 1928 canon): deletion of the filioque and a strengthening of Cranmer's epiclesis. It has nothing whatever to do with the 1979 BCP or any other rendition of the Prayer Book, [2] much less the myriad of willy-nilly conflations, additions, and deletions one would gather from his characterization. It is a fully Orthodox version of a liturgy High Church Anglicans would find instantly familiar, with a minimum of modifications -- one of which is alluded to in the Anglican Missal itself. [3]

Compare this with the "most 'conservative options'" of the "Anglican Use" services:

  • The Book of Divine Worship takes the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, not the missal nor 1928 BCP, as its starting point.
  • It includes both Rite I and Rite II versions of Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Communion.
  • In Rite I and II, the Anglican Use services delete the Anglican canon, substituting the Novus Ordo's "improved" version of the the Roman canon. (Not the traditional Gregorian canon; that is an option only in the Western Rite.)
  • This NO canon includes the defective translation of "pro multis" -- mistranslated "for all." Apparently, even some Roman errors are infallible.
  • This canon includes the Novus Ordo's misleading "Let us proclaim the Mystery of Faith." In the words of Cardinal Ottaviani, this Memorial Acclamation introduces "ambiguity about the Real Presence under the guise of an allusion to the Last if Christ's real coming will occur only at the end of time, rather than there on the altar itself."
  • The Penitential Rite includes the forms of the '79 BCP -- but the Comfortable Words may or may not be recited.
  • The Offertory Prayers are the modern NO Roman Rite, based on the Jewish table grace, Berakoth.
  • The "Prayers of the People" may be something approaching the traditional "Prayer for the State of Christ's Church" -- or it may be a version of the Byzantine Great Ektenia (Litany), or another version of these prayers altogether.

On the pontifications thread, one Anglican Use defender noted, "The Anglican Use contains all of the essential elements of the post-conciliar Missal of Paul VI, together with components and ceremonial from the Roman Missal of 1962, and the medieval Use of Sarum, not to mention echoes here and there of the Byzantine Rite and Eastern Catholic liturgies." (He omits a strong dose of the 1979 BCP and two injections of Judaism.) It seems this is, in fact, "a peculiar kind of hybrid rite" -- a step up from the baser forms of the Novus Ordo, but many steps removed from the splendor of the Anglican Missal, let alone the Liturgy of St. Tikhon.

I assume Mr. Tighe did not mean to mislead or mispresent this venerable liturgy. This post is offered for his reference and to clarify any confusion his comments may have engendered.


1. In Mr. Tighe's defense, the link posted was to something called "The Episcopal Orthodox Church," not the WRV, and the text on their site was the misleading arrangement found in the St. Andrew's Service Book. However, none of this could account for his erroneous comments.
2. The original "Russian Observations Upon the American Prayerbook" critiqued the 1892 BCP, but St. Tikhon's was not drawn up until after the 1928 book had been issued. While I know St. Tikhon's is in no wise built on the '79 BCP, I welcome feedback from Subdn. Benjamin Andersen to see if I missed any technicality. To the best of my knowledge, and to the observance of any educated layman, this would seem correct.
3. "Note: The words 'and the Son' are a later edition to the text of the Nicene Creed." (Anglican Missal footnote on the Nicene Creed, p. 275).

Labels: ,


Blogger Benjamin Andersen said...

Good post!

About the whole 1892 / 1928 thing: You're correct that, even though the Russian Synod commented on the 1892 American Liturgy, Antioch dealt with the 1928 American Liturgy as significantly improved in its Anglican Missal form. The 1928, even without the Missal improvements, is still a considerable improvement over the 1892.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Ad Orientem said...

On an unrelated note has anyone hear anything about the much rumored Universal Indult that +Benedict XVI is supposedly preparing for the Missal of Pius V?

2:57 PM  
Blogger Ben Johnson said...

I had heard what you had, which is to say: I heard there was such a rumor.

9:42 AM  
Blogger James the Thickheaded said...

You are too charitable. Dr. Tighe is exceedingly dismissive of any and all things anglican, posting that he wishes a speedy and well-deserved oblivion thereon. No matter whether one worships in ECUSA, RC-Anglican Rite, WRV-Antioch, or in a Continuing church, I find this attitude tough to see as very christian. Fact is, I fear his frequently aggressive posts reveal the uneasy balance we all find ourselve walking between trying to adhere to an authentic faith by word, dogma and doctrine and becoming modern pharisees. And yet, in turn offsetting these pulls is the endeavor to understand modern divergence as simple heresies of good intentions gone awry, it is equally easy to fall into, "Awww, what's all the fuss about" complacency. Thus I find it hard to see how folks seem to post such cavalier comments. I guess I think the Orthodox priest who suggested that time spent on the internet blogs was definitely risking temptation probably knew what he was talking about!! Maybe they'll update the prayerbook guide to self-examination for confession to list blogging.....nah!

6:39 PM  
Blogger RC said...

Just for the record, it may not be accurate to attribute the quote in this post to Cdl. Ottaviani, as he did not write the entire text of his famous "intervention"; his name only appears on the cover letter with which he presented it to Pope Paul VI. At least one other author is known, the Dominican Michel Guerard des Lauriers, later a "sedeprivationist" prelate.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Chris Jones said...


I cannot let pass your remarks about my good friend Dr Tighe. It is true that he can be quite "dismissive", as you put it. But it is not true that he is thus dismissive of "all things Anglican". Dr Tighe is quite sympathetic to some things Anglican; specifically to the Anglo-Catholicism of the mid-twentieth century -- the Anglo-Catholicism, for example, of Alec Vidler, H. A. Hodges, and the excellent Eric Mascall (the last of whom was a close friend and influence upon Dr Tighe).

I think that Dr Tighe concluded (sadly, perhaps) that this brand of Anglo-Catholicism, for all its proximity to classic, orthodox, patristic Christianity, could in the end only approximate the fulness of the faith -- precisely because it is only one style of Anglicanism among many. If that was his conclusion, he is in very good company; many Anglo-Catholic converts to other confessions (myself included) have thought likewise. If Dr Tighe is "dismissive", he is not dismissive of that classic, patristic Anglicanism (which sadly is no more); he is dismissive of the liberal caricature of Christianity which Anglicanism has become. From where I sit, that is an ersatz Christianity which richly deserves his contempt.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Chris Jones said...

An addendum to my last comment: I may have left the impression that Dr Tighe was, like myself, an Anglo-Catholic convert to another confession. This is not true. Although he travelled in Anglican circles for a number of years, he never became an Anglican. He was raised, and remains, a Catholic.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Susan Peterson said...

The Anglican Use mass as celebrated by the St. Thomas More Society in Scranton, uses the traditional Roman Canon as translated by Coverdale, I am told, so that the language is contemporary with Cranmer. This does reduce the sense of discordance in the language, and of course, it is a more venerable canon.

The rest of what you say appears to be factual as to what is in the rite, leaving aside your commentary about it.

I don't know why the "Let us proclaim the mystery of faith" was considered important enough to have to have in this rite. But there is no way anyone thinks of the first acclamation as denying that Christ is present on the altar. After all, it is true that He will come again in glory, as well as that He is Eucharistically present, isn't it? Mentioning more than one truth of the faith at the same time doesn't make one truth deny the other.

Mr.Tighe perhaps ought to have realized that someone to whom your rite is dear would read his comments, and therefore he should have formulated his thoughts with enough care to withstand a not unbiased critic. But his tone was not snide. There was no gleeful seizing on whatever bit could be vulnerable to criticism. He didn't cite criticisms of dubious validity from hierarchs of your own communion.

Your correction of any errors of fact he made could easily have been undertaken without these petty and distasteful "Our rite is better than your rite" remarks.

We have to adhere to and maintain the truth of the faith before any false unity, but we shouldn't for get that we have one Lord who calls us to be One as He and the Father are One...and even before that,and when that is not immediately possible, who calls us to love one another.

Have a Blessed Holy Week and Easter

12:01 AM  
Blogger Ben Johnson said...

Hi Susan,

Thanks for posting. I welcome your participation, though I disagree with some of your comments.

To begin, a factual clarification: No version of the Anglican Use Mass is permitted to use anything but the Novus Ordo-ized Roman canon. As I understand it, this was decreed from above. If the local society is using the Anglican canon (1979, 1928 or whatever year), it is acting wrongly.

Cardinal Ottaviani describes precisely why the "Memorial Acclamations" are misleading; the old consecration formula called the Blood of Christ in the chalice "the mystery of faith"; now the "mystery of faith" is extrapolated to the Eschaton. The contrast suggests the chalice is NOT the mystery of faith.

Mr. Tighe's comments would not withstand the critique of the most unbiased critic, because they are demonstrably factually in error.

If you read his comments, he actually DID "cite criticisms of dubious validity from hierarchs of [the Orthodox] communion." I will assume he made his comments in good faith, but either way, he certainly seized the opportunity to promote the AU at the expense of the WRV.

Because one sets the record straight does not mean he does not love his fellow Christians. But it seems one is always at risk of being called the instigator when he replies to dismissive and erroneous criticisms circulated by other parties to promote their own communion.

May you have a blessed Easter, whether you celebrate it on the 16th or the 23rd.

2:59 AM  
Blogger Susan Peterson said...

First as issue of fact. The group in Scranton uses a translation of the Roman canon...the "Tridentine" or "Pian" canon. I am sure of that-I have compared it with translations in old missals. I am told this translation was made by Coverdale, a Protestant, who was also the translator of the psalms which are in the prayer book. I understood that this translation was made for study Protestants could point out what was wrong with it according to their theology. But I just heard it said that before Cranmer, the first thing which was done was translate the mass into English. I am confused as to whether this is that translation. Someone sent me a translation purported to be Coverdale's and there are a few minor difference between that one and the one in the Scranton Anglican Use. But the important thing is that it is the Tridentine (and before that too I know) canon, not the Novus Ordo canon, except that they are required to use the words of institution exactly as they are said in the new mass. I am not sure why, since the Tridentine mass is a legitimate option with the permission of the bishop, and this bishop permits it liberally, the Anglican use couldn't use the whole thing. It might be wanting to avoid inflaming the "for many" vs "for all" controversy. About which I avoided speaking since I am naive about it; ignorant of the arguments generally used. (Naively, it seems that yes, multis does mean for many, that all is certainly many, that Jesus did die for all, although some choose not to accept it. I don't think saying "for all" implies universalism. I am not sure the original "many" implied "but not all" To say He didn't die for those who would eventually reject Him and be damned, seems like a very radical form of predestination to me...but, as I said, I am naive to this, we are getting 'beyond my pay grade'.)

I didn't reread Mr. Tighe's comments. I remember following a link from Pontifications to an Orthodox hierarch who was saying something like "our liturgy is what constitutes our unity" and who didn't think the Western Rite was a good idea for that reason. Maybe that was a link from his comment and I was mistaken. However this comment didn't criticize the particular wording of your rite, but rather thought it shouldn't exist at all. I think the two are separate issues.

Personally I only skimmed your rite and intend when I am not at work to read it more carefully. To be honest, in my quick overview I received the general impression that it was able to use more of the BCP and was more coherent in style. I probably avoided going back to reread it because as a Catholic and a fan of the Anglican Use, but one who feels it doesn't quite make it as a stylistically coherent liturgy, I found it depressing to contemplate that you may have done it better. Which is quite possible Until I read it again I reserve saying absolutely that this is so.

That is separate from thinking it is a good thing to do. My reason for saying it isn't a good thing to do would not be that your heirarch who thought it isn't. You won't like my reason at all, but I think you probably can guess what it is....

I think WE are the church in the West.

And there is that natural funny feeling about your using 'our' liturgies. It gives me a funny feeling to think of going to the historic rite of my church, and not being able to take communion.

But then, we did,and do, this also, and in fact for the last few months I have been worshipping at a Byzantine Rite Catholic church. (and love it). So I guess I don't have much basis for complaint on that score.

Surely you can see though, that this situation is not what Our Lord intended for us. I pray that He will lead us together, the way that He knows the Church ought to be. That prayer doesn't say the Orthodox all have to become Catholic or the Catholics all have to become Orthodox. It admits that our understandings can be limited and puts our path into God's hands. I think we can all make this prayer even though we have different strong understandings of what we think God has shown us about what that way would have to be. Just, that we may come to unity, in the way that God wills it.

A good prayer for the Triduum, and beyond, for our whole lives, probably.

Susan Peterson

12:03 PM  
Blogger James the Thickheaded said...

Chris -
Dr. Tighe has posted that ECUSA is evil and wishes that it would cease to exist. Seems rather a dismissive position to post to me. He has also posted a one-sided history of anglicanism considerably at variance with recognized sources. I am happy to hear that somewhere he has shared a more charitable view. Does my private view differ from his? THe impulse is hard to resist, but I guess my view is that there were innumerable dark periods in church history period, and without being selective, I think there is no question Anglicanism is in its own dark period. I left the Canterbury Communion and perhaps someone such as Dr. Tighe who remains in his native church can't relate to the pain this entails, but I do not wish it ill. Though one leaves one's parents home as we grown, one doesn't necessarily wish them ill...even where they may be wrong.

5:22 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home