Saturday, July 08, 2006

Protestantism vs. The Anglican Missal

Western Rite Orthodox are occasionally told by some indefatigable detractors that our Liturgy of St. Tikhon is a "Protestant Rite." In that vein, I stumbled upon an essay discussing what actual Protestants think about missals generally. World-famous Anglo-Protestant writer J.I. Packer denounces the somewhat akin Anglican Missal, stating it contains:

rites incidental to the celebration of the Mass, such as making “holy” water and prayers for the dead.

...since Anglo–Catholicism insists upon having the Holy Communion (Mass or Holy Eucharist, as they call it) every Lord’s Day, gullible congregations were tricked into accepting this substitute for the Prayer Book without complaint. They were not even aware they had been robbed, given paste for the gem of our Protestant Anglican heritage.

It is sufficient to say that it has never been an approved service book of the Anglican Communion, and itself bears little relation to the Book of Common Prayer.

He calls the contention that the 1928 BCP is identical to the Anglican Missal "a bold sham."

We have seen similar indications that High Church catholics are unwelcome in Anglicanism -- from GenCon06 and Kate Schori, to be sure; but also from Dr. Peter Toon, those in the Continuum, and its affiliates.

Such Romaphobic criticisms are truer yet for the Liturgy of St. Tikhon as published in The Orthodox Missal, which contains invocation of the saints (direct), a stronger epiclesis, specific affirmation of the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, commemorations of Orthodox hierarchs and saints, etc.

With that said, those who grew up worshipping with the 1928 BCP typically don't recoil in horror upon assisting at the Liturgy of St. Tikhon in the Western Rite for the first time; quite often, they feel they have discovered a richer treasury of worship. And our Byzantine visitors tell us they often feel they have "truly prayed" in Western Rite services. In addition to ecclesiastical approval, the Western Rite's liturgies are self-authenticating, which (to bring matters full circle) is why they were approved in the first place.

The real thrust of Packer's article is that the Anglican Missal (and TOM) is incompatible with Protestantism, especially the Low Church party. We'll take him at his word on that.

(Ironically, Packer's anti-Orthodox article is housed at the website of a Protestant church body calling itself the "Anglican Orthodox Church." Another reason to thoroughly investigate obscure groups calling themselves Orthodox.)


Blogger C. Wingate said...

The Anglican Orthodox Church does not claim to be Eastern Orthodox. It claims to represent orthodox (small-o) Anglicanism.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Ben Johnson said...

Hi C (Couldn't resist),

1. Actually, it calls itself the "Orthodox Anglican Church," and the word Orthodox always appears as a capital-letter nominitive pronoun.

2. Its American variant calls itself "The Episcopal Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of America," -- which sounds a lot like "The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of [North] America."

3. Until very recently it described itself as "a Western-rite Orthodox Province of the Holy Catholic Church" and pointed out, "We are not associated with the Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church USA, nor the Anglican Rite Synod of America." Notice who's missing?

4. That and the fact that the church has a modified pdf file of our WRV's Liturgy of St. Tikhon on its website and used to open with an icon of Pantocrator has led to a certain amount of confusion...can't imagine why.

God bless,

3:26 PM  

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