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©1999 The Society
of Archbishop Justus, Ltd
again to all. Once again, the
Book of Common Prayer (1549 version) comes to the fore, as the
official celebrations continue. I happened to read this splendid bit
about the 1549 book, written from the point of view of a mythical priest,
James Whyte, at the time and if you will indulge me, I should like to
1549] the whole form of worship to which James was accustomed for
nearly fifty years had been swept away. The Latin Mass, which he had
been saying daily for twenty-two years, was now made illegal. So were
the offices for baptism, marriage, and burial which he had used. There
was now no form of service for hearing confessions (except in the
Visitation of the Sick), no invocation of saints, no mention of purgatory,
no system of indulgences.
Whyte obtained a copy of "The booke of common prayer and administracion
of the Sacramentes, and other rites and Ceremonies of the Churche:
after the use of the Church of England" and read it with some
dismay. It was published in the month of May, and ordered to be used
on Whitsunday, 1 June. There was, therefore, no time for James to
prepare his people for the changes which were being forced upon them,
for "any manner of person, vicar or other whatsoever minister"
who refused to use the new forms on that Whitsunday was punishable
by a heavy fine and six months in gaol "without bail or mainprize".
read it through, however, he realized that things were not as bad
as they might have been. The Mass was, of course like everything else,
in English; but the shape of the liturgy had been preserved and James
was allowed to wear his customary vestments. He noticed also that
there was now much more for the laity to do. In the old Mass they
could do very little; but in the new service worship was intended
to be much more corporate. And there was far more dialogue between
the priest and his people. It was also more edifying, as a sermon
had to be preached or a Homily read, at every mass.
Whitsunday 1549 James Whyte led his people through the first celebration
of the Mass in English. On the whole things went well, even at the
administration of the Sacrament when, for the first time in 300 years
or so, people were expected to drink from the chalice, though the
wafer was still not put into their hands but straight into their mouths.
Discussing the matter afterwards with his parishioners, James found
most of them confused and apprehensive. They had no proper preparation
for so radical a change in the customary worship, and they wondered
what would happen next. At the same time, there were some among them
who saw the advantages of the new rite and were prepared to see this
as a step forward'.
Anglican Spiritual Tradition, John R H Moorman, IX Bishop of Ripon,
that same year Anglican priests were allowed to marry! Goodness. We
think we late 20th-century folk have had to experience change in our
to our time and this web site. This week brings a host of parish sites
from round the world, which you can find in our New
This Week section. And the News
Centre is full of all manner of Anglican news. Brian has been
busy reorganizing the server directories that hold Anglicans Online
source files but has found time to report all the news that gives fits
to printers this week. Well, actually, from time to time our News Centre
does give people fits, but we keep reporting the news anyhow. In the
light of the quotation above, don't miss the inquiry, reported in the
News Centre, about whether or not Thomas Cranmer would have been interested
in joining a Prayer Book Society.
you next week, when Cynthia promises she won't mention the 1549 Prayer
Book. Brian makes no such promises.
updated: 6 June 1999