Divine Worship, Where did it come from?

Divine Worship:

The Missal expands Church’s diversity in expression, unity in faith.

The Missal, a definitive book of liturgical texts for the celebration of Mass in the Ordinariates around the world, has been approved and promulgated by the Vatican for use beginning the first Sunday of Advent, November 29, 2015. The authorization of the new missal marks a milestone in the life of the Ordinariates. The Sacrament of the Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life, and Divine Worship: The Missal provides a way for the Ordinariates to celebrate the sacred liturgy of the Catholic Church with an “Anglican inflection.” The missal uses Prayer Book English – language derived from the classic books of the Anglican liturgical tradition – that is fully Catholic in expression and content. 

Drawn from various Anglican sources and the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, the new missal is an authoritative adaptation of the Roman Rite. Over the past five years, the Vatican – guided by the interdicasterial Anglicanae Traditiones Commission – reviewed and winnowed centuries of Anglican texts dating back to 1549, then assembled the best of them together, in accordance with the Roman Rite. The formal establishment of a missal that uses the great poetic language of the Anglican heritage is a nod to the gift the Ordinariate communities are being asked to pass on to their members and to the entire Catholic Church. Anglicanorum Coetibus, the apostolic constitution that gave a path for Anglican groups to become Catholic, asked the Ordinariates to maintain “elements of their liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions” as a “treasure to be shared” with the wider Church. The promulgation of Divine Worship: The Missal also signifies a benchmark in the liturgical history of the Catholic Church. The new missal marks the first time that the Catholic Church has sanctioned liturgical texts deriving from the Protestant Reformation.The Ordinariate Observer sat down with Msgr. N. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, and Dr. Clint Brand, English Department Chair at the University of St. Thomas in Houston and member of the commission that advised the Vatican on the liturgical texts, to discuss Divine Worship: The Missal. Below are excerpts from that conversation. 

What is Divine Worship: The Missal?

Dr. Brand: It is a pastoral variation of the Roman Rite for the members of the Personal Ordinariates in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the United States. It is an adaptation of the Roman Rite for the sanctification of the faithful in the Ordinariates, to serve the liturgical mission the Catholic Church. 

Msgr. Steenson: Divine Worship: The Missal fits firmly and squarely in the Latin rite. It is not a separate rite for an autonomous ritual church. This missal is firmly part of the Western liturgical tradition.Dr. Brand: Let there be no mistaking: This is not an Anglican liturgy separate and distinct from the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. This is not an Anglican Use Rite. It does not reflect Anglican Eucharistic theology. It is not a Protestant service dressed up as a Catholic Mass. It is the Catholic Mass of the Western Rite, filtered through the Anglican experience, corrected and expressed in an Anglican voice.

Can any Catholic attend Mass according to Divine Worship?

Msgr. Steenson: Yes. Any Catholic can meet his or her Sunday obligation in the parishes and communities of the Ordinariate. 

Why was Divine Worship: The Missal developed?

Dr. Brand: The [Vatican’s interdicasterial Anglicanae Traditiones] commission that I served on was constituted to advise the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Divine Worship on the implementation of the apostolic constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus. Article III of the constitution says that the Holy See will approve liturgical forms for the Ordinariate from the books proper to the Anglican liturgical tradition, in accordance and conformity with Catholic norms. So Divine Worship: The Missal is the first fruits of that provision in Article III of the apostolic constitution.

How did the commission assemble the new missal? 

Dr. Brand: Anglicans have a tradition going back more than 400 years of adapting and translating Latin liturgical texts into English. It is a tradition that began with the translation of the Bible and continued with the development of the Books of Common Prayer. Anglicans pioneered a set of conventions and a memorable style for rendering Latin texts faithfully into English.The Anglican tradition, then, created an impressive collection of texts which were, in effect, mostly translations and variations of ancient prayers from the Roman Rite. The [Anglicanae Traditiones] commission assessed this collection of texts going back to [the first English Book of Common Prayer of] 1549 and ranging through the Prayer Books of different countries — England, Scotland, Canada and the United States — to distill and assemble the richest, most faithful selections for this adaptation of the Roman Rite. 

Will the faithful of the Ordinariates readily recognize the language of Divine Worship: The Missal?

Dr. Brand: Divine Worship: The Missal is representative of the Anglican tradition, as expressed in many different countries, conformed to the Catholic faith. It is not identical to this or that Book of Common Prayer or to any particular edition of the Book of Common Prayer. It includes familiar prayers, but it also offers expressions or elements that will be new to everyone.

How does the text of the new missal reflect Anglican patrimony, while also being fully Roman Catholic?

Msgr. Steenson: Anglican patrimony can be defined by as many people that happen to be in a room at that time. The Holy See helped us to define what is genuinely Catholic in these Anglican texts. Left to our own devices, we could not have defined our patrimony, simply because it is too various and too diverse; every congregation has a definition of ‘what is’ the distinctive Anglican patrimony of those they represent. Anglican patrimony was principally expressed locally, not universally. The Holy See needed to come in and help us ‘see it.’Dr. Brand: The [Anglicanae Traditiones] commission concluded that Anglican patrimony is that which has nourished the Catholic faith within the Anglican tradition and promoted aspirations to full ecclesial unity. The commission in effect said, ‘Anything within the Anglican tradition that nourished Catholic longings and shaped this desire for unity with the Church is legitimate.’ Any texts that didn’t do that were best left behind. 

Can Ordinariate communities use the Roman Missal instead of Divine Worship: The Missal?

Dr. Brand: The Anglican tradition of worship derives from a language of prayer that has a distinctive idiom – a dialect, so to speak.  It features a sacred vernacular in a “high” verbal register — with “thees” and “thous” — one that is both elevated and intimate and one that goes back to a time before the memorable phrases of the King James Bible. In the 1960s, around the time of Vatican II, a lot of Anglican churches started adapting their liturgies for expression in contemporary idiom. But the older Prayer Book language survived and continued in use, so you have two streams of Anglican prayer: one traditional and one more modern.So when Rome faced the challenge of representing one liturgical voice for all the Ordinariates, the question of traditional versus modern language came up. The Holy See — understandably quite proud of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal as the new norm — said, in effect, that if you come from contemporary language in your worship, use the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Why? Lots of contemporary texts [from the Anglican tradition] that seemed convergent with Anglican prayer books are no longer in sync with the Roman Rite. In some ways, the new English translation of the Roman Missal is actually more in tune with the older Books of Common Prayer than many Anglican texts in contemporary English.So we have the Third Edition of the Roman Missal for those who have been shaped by contemporary language and worship and for whom that is evangelistic and sanctifying. Then we have this traditional, distinctive Divine Worship: The Missal that represents the language of the long Prayer Book tradition from 1549 through the 1960s and surviving yet today.Msgr. Steenson: On the First Sunday of Advent, the Eucharistic texts in The Book of Divine Worship [the first ritual book used by the Ordinariates] will be repressed, and at that time, all of our loose-leaf binders that have served as the altar missal will be repressed. In the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, every public Mass celebrated in our communities will be offered from the newly published missal. 

What is the significance of this new missal to the Ordinariates and the Catholic Church?

Msgr. Steenson: This is historic. This is the first time in the history of the Catholic Church that the liturgical texts of a separated Christian community have been brought back into the life of the Church of Rome. This missal is now recognized by the Church as standing side by side with the Roman Missal. 

Dr. Brand: This missal is the fruit of receptive and realized ecumenism. Ecumenism isn’t just talk anymore — it is a real movement. People who come into the Ordinariate are completely and fully Catholic, yet bring with them the gifts of their Anglican heritage and lay them at the feet of Peter. Peter has now given the gifts back to us and said, ‘Use this to make more Catholics.’

Msgr. Steenson: In Unitatis redintegatio [the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism], the Catholic Church specified what it would look like to bring Christians into communion. One of the points is that they would bring their own distinctive traditions to the Church; they would not be suppressed or absorbed. Our traditions are meant to mutually enrich each other. Dr. Brand: With this missal, the Holy See sends a message to all the faithful within the Ordinariates: They are an enduring, permanent part of the Church, charged with the mission of evangelizing. 

The Anglicanae Traditiones Commission
Divine Worship: The Missal was developed under the guidance of the interdicasterial Anglicanae Traditiones Commission, whose task has been to identify Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony and to incorporate it into Catholic worship for the Ordinariates. Advising the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Divine Worship, the commission included:
• Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P., Chair of the Commission and Assistant (Adjunct) Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
• Msgr. Steven J. Lopes, Coordinating Secretary of the Commission and a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
• Msgr. Andrew Burnham of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
• Auxiliary Bishop Peter J. Elliott of the Archdiocese of Melbourne
• Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone of the Archdiocese of San Francisco
• Father Uwe Michael Lang of the Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri in London
• Dr. Hans-Jürgen Feulner of the University of Vienna, Austria
• Dr. Clinton A. Brand of the University of St. Thomas of Houston, Texas 
• Father Andrew Menke, Associate Director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship and former staff member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
• Consulter Msgr. Peter Wilkinson of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

This article reprinted with permission from The Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter 6/21

Growing Pains

Growing Pains

Growing Pains, all churches have them, even the earliest church. In Acts we see the first issue that came to pass after the ascension of Jesus.

Acts 15:4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.  But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up, and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses.”

Acts 15:4-5

The fledgling Church was still trying to decide how to merge Gentiles and Jews. The Jews were insisting that the Gentiles be circumcised, the gentiles were not to fond of this idea. This was an issue that could have easily created the first schism in the Church. How was this avoided? Peter stood, as the first among all the apostles, and reminded those present of the mission of the Church, to save souls. What will bring the most souls to Christ.

I was reminded the other day at a parishioners home, of the Baptist church I spent 11 years across from. Good Shepherd Episcopal was right across the street from First Baptist Wichita Falls. The Baptists were all about saving souls; it’s the mission, right? They would do this by offering iPads to those who regularly attended, offering Chic-fil-a after their service, (Wichita Falls for years did not have a Chic-fil-A franchise…they shipped it in from Layton OK!) they even went so far as to baptize kids at the water park. This certainly, from the surface, looks to be bringing “the most” to Christ. But if we look closer, the offering of worldly things like iPads and chicken is a bribe to follow Christ, and don’t get me started about baptizing at a water park. We are to come to Christ, as ones who have surrendered to Him, not as one who was enticed to worship.

And this is what brought the apostles together, instead of breaking them apart; the humility of surrendering to Christ. Coming to Christ should not be seen as a contest of wills. The Jews saw circumcision as a right of passage…“we did, why shouldn’t they have to”? Coming to Christ should not be seen as a competition; we surrender to Christ, that is all.

Coming to Christ should be seen as charity. Love of God and Love of neighbor. This means you bend where the Church allows, but stand firm where the Church does not. As traditional Christians we are sometimes branded as hateful, as we do have to lay down the law in places. We should be aware of this and learn to bend when we can.

The apostles were divided at the council of Jerusalem, no doubt. They, as all subsequent councils, agreed that they would present their arguments, listen, reflect, but in the end, they would agree with the decisions of the council, whether they agreed with it or not.

Some might question how this is not abused as a practice. For one, we have had 21 ecumenical councils, and the Church still stands and holds the truth of the Gospel. In this we should remember Peter’s final words in his address to the Jerusalem Council.

Acts 15: 19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the pollutions of idols and from unchastity and from what is strangled and from blood.

Acts 15:19-20

Peter was stating that though he had directed the Church not to follow one of the traditions of Judaism, he still instructed the Church to stand against the known heresies. There are limits; but God guards His Church, and the powers of Hell will never overcome it.

As we grow there will be discussions, maybe even an argument. We should hear each other out in a Christian manner. We will act in charity and love towards one another. We will decide these difference in accords with the Ordinariate practice and the law of the Catholic Church. And after the discussion is ended and decided, we should all pledge to walk forward together to grow the Catholic Church here in Cleburne, remembering that schism nor rancor ever grew a church.

God Bless

Fr Scott

Who Are We?

I have been writing a pamphlet for new parishioners. We have been growing at a pretty nice clip of late, and I wanted to have something that I can hand to them that will give visitors some insight as to who we are. I have used, as my guide, this statement that was created through suggestions from our congregation.

St John Vianney is an authentic, faith filled traditional community that is committed to welcoming all to the Catholic Church through education, service, fellowship and worship.

SJV Parishioners

I have always said, we must know who we are in order to grow as a community. So here is a line by line breakout of the above statement.

We are authentic. We preach the gospel at St John Vianney. God’s Word will not be ignored nor soft peddled, we will preach God’s Word no matter who it offends. Why are we so adamant about this? The Gospel is God’s Word. Modern times has brought a culture that thinks they can chart their own course, do what they wish, make their own decisions not only on what they will be but also who they will be. Gender fluidity, homosexuality, ramped sexual promiscuity, abortion, disappearing human rights, and inadequate ethics; these are but a few of societal problems we see. These sins stem from a deadly pride that has humanity re-writing God’s Word. This pressing issue can only be combatted with God’s authentic Word.

We are faith filled. We are a church that believes in God. We believe in Jesus, the only Son of God. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the counsellor. We believe in the Triune God, and furthermore we believe this One true God is the only way in which we can be saved. We show forth this faith through works. Our works are shown in charity. Charity is rightly seen as helping the poor, but we also show our faith through charity in how we treat each other. We try our best to treat each other with respect, always putting others feelings before our own. We are a community in Christ at SJV, and Christ taught us to love one another. We do our best to imitate Christ in all His teachings, especially showing ultimate charity in how we treat our fellow parishioners.

We are traditional. The Ordinariate was formed out of the patrimony of the Anglican movement. Anglicanism was schismatic, and at times even heretical. However, the Church has found within Anglicanism a patrimony, that which is of God. Pope Benedict XVI brought those elements out of Anglicanism and into the Catholic Church and ensconced them in the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. We are a traditional expression of the Catholic faith. Most who come to us from the Ordinary Rite of the Catholic Church are seeking a more traditional mass than the one St. Pope Paul VI created. For the Sunday mass and the Saturday vigil, our clergy is canonically bound to use Divine Worship. On the weekdays we also use Divine Worship. It may be different as opposed to the mass many cradle Catholics are used to, but give it time and the profound beauty of the liturgy will become clear.

We are committed to welcoming. The Ordinariate was created to welcome Anglicans home to the Catholic Church. We likewise welcome the un-churched to the Catholic Church. Bringing the un-churched and Anglicans to the Catholic Faith is why we are in existence. The pastoral provision was created by St John Paul II, and still exists to allow Anglican clergy a path to ordination and service within the Ordinary Rite. If we were here simply to be “another” catholic Church, we would be superfluous. The Ordinariate is focused on proselytizing Anglicans and those who have strayed from Christ, enticing them to come back to the Church. We do welcome cradle Catholics also, with the knowledge that we are a missionary church focused on bringing our non-Catholic brethren back home.

Lastly, we are teachers and servants. It has been said many times that Ordinariate clergy excel in preaching and teaching. This is God equipping us for a purpose, the purpose I spoke of in the previous paragraph, to save souls. The Ordinariate focuses on methods to gather both the faithful and unchurched together and educating them in the faith. This is done through fellowship and service. Fellowship and service provide an excellent conduit by which we can bring people to the faith. These two elements provide presence in the community, it’s the best advertising we can hope for. Through fellowship and service we get to know our community. Once they get to know us, we can then invite them to get to know Christ through the Catholic faith.

As we grow, we will see St John Vianney through many changes. Hymns, mass settings, furnishings, and vestments may change, but we should never lose sight of who we are and why we are in existence.

Will you Ascend or Descend?

For over a decade, standing at the altar I had a beautiful stained glass window of the ascension right in front of me. The disciples, all gathered, looking heavenward as Jesus ascends to the right hand of the Father. This represents not only Jesus’ victory over death and the grave, but also gives us hope of bodily resurrection ourselves.

But is that all? Standing looking at the ascension window for over a decade gave me time to think. Yes there is the obvious hope of resurrection, and that hope gave me joy. But it also gave me pause to think, “how can I make certain that I can also one day ascend to heaven”?

Protestants believe that one can be assured of ascending to heaven if they will proclaim Jesus as Lord. I found this problematic on the surface, as there have been some very evil people in history that proclaimed Christ as their Lord while perpetrating evil works on their fellow man. But as we go deeper into reformation theology we find that the reformers believed (and currently hold) that man is created evil, irredeemable. Nothing we can do through works can justify our brokenness to the Lord; except proclaim Him as Lord. The word “nothing” to me is pretty absolute, so how can such an action, or dare I say work, (proclaiming Jesus as Lord) justify us with God? If we can do nothing of our own accord; how is it possible to walk to the front of the church and say a prayer and be saved? Of course the more savvy protestant will bring predestination to the table in order to fix this problem. It was not your “work” of saying that Christ is Lord that saved you, you were created for God, where as others where created for the devil. Those who claimed Christ as Lord were predestined to do so, it was no work on your part. This did not sit well with me. If I were predestined, that is made for God, while others, maybe even a family member, was made for the devil, why then did I have to do anything? I was made for God, case closed. Even if I lived the most deplorable life, and my brother who was made for the devil lived the most holy life, I would still ascend and my brother would be thrown into the eternal fire. Of course, the reformer would return with irresistible grace. If saved, I could not help but do godly actions. But if this is true, I have another issue; please raise your hand if you have never sinned. Irresistible seems to be a different word than what I learned in grade school, perhaps it’s resistible for “minor” mortal sins but irresistible for “major” mortal sins? And lets not even bring up the idea of free will!

Catholics are justified by faith through baptism and subsequent good works. As we are all born in the image of God and all meant for good, we all are called to do the works of the Father as He lays out. Some of us choose to pick up these works, some of us chose not to. As we work with the Father, at times we fall short of the mark. At these times we have by the grace of God through the work of Jesus on the cross an opportunity for complete and final forgiveness through the sacrament of confession.

As we look at the ascension, and wonder how we too might be taken into heaven, we should all to readily see that God has made us for Himself. He wants nothing more than for us to be with Him…all of us! He wants us in heaven so badly that He has not only given us His only Son as a living sacrifice, but He also gave us the sacraments of the Church as supernatural steps back to Him. But we must choose this path, it is not chosen for us. If we wind up in hell, it is because we chose to be there. If we wind up in heaven likewise, it is because we took advantage of all the graces God has given us in the Church.

Please do not think that your life has already been written, and that you simply are who you find yourself to be right now. It may well be beyond your personal ability to change, but it is not beyond God’s ability. Within the Catholic Church there has been made available to us grace upon grace, all of which are there to help us change for the better.

As we look at the ascension we should all make the choice that we too will be ascended. We should then act upon that choice by making frequent confessions (monthly…or at the occasion of mortal sin) and going to mass habitually. We should pray daily and do the works God has called us to do.

Let us rejoice in the ascension, knowing that Christ has gone before us preparing the way not for a few, but for all who chose to follow Him.

God Bless

Fr Scott

Prepare for disaster!!

Prepare for uncertain times.

I was just listening to the radio, and as usual, I had to turn it off after a half an hour. What I learned in a short time is that we are soon to have shortages and hyper inflation. Evidently everything from chlorine to gasoline, bread to beer, sodas to peanuts will become rare commodities and priced so high we will need a wheel barrow of money to purchase anything. So I thought I would write a public service note so to help everyone know what they must have for the pending doom.

The first “must have” is a book of litanies. As we all know the first order of business in any crisis is to keep a level head. “Nothing going on here, everyone just stay calm” is a great punch line these days, but it is based on truth. The calm mind finds a way; through any tragedy. How do we stay calm through troubled waters? We pray. I have found through the years that in crisis it is hard to pray. Our minds are so gripped by what is taking place that all we can get out is a mess of “Lord help me’s”. We need calm, and that calm is found in true prayer. Litanies are excellent for calming the mind. There are litanies to God, to Christ, to the Holy Ghost, to Mary…to all the saints, individually or en-masse. Have two or three of these books around at all times, and pray them every time you feel over whelmed. For an added spiritual bonus, rosaries work wonders to calm an unsettled mind also.

The next must have is a monthly confession schedule. Every-time we are faced with crisis, our own mortality confronts us. Nobody is ready to die, so we panic. The easy answer here is be ready to die. OK…I don’t mean to be anxious to die, just ready. Be in a state of grace. I hate planes. The thought of one person in the front making a decision of life or death for the rest of us on the plane ….that nobody can opt out of…makes me uncomfortable. So before I board, I make certain I am ready to die; I make my confession. Knowing this, coupled with the fact that nobody gets out of this world alive (unless you are assumed into heaven…) allows me to have a reasonable hope that if the worst does happen, I am ready for eternity. Make your confession often! I have noticed that too many in the Catholic Church believe that most sins are venial, and so they do not confess them, or just do not go to confession. Most of the sin we do can boarder on mortal, so why not get rid of it? Called the driver that cut you off a name, might be mortal. Watched a show that would have been R rated in the 70’s and X rated in the 50’s but now is on network prime time? Likely boarders on mortal. Talked about your neighbor in a not so flattering way? It needs to come to the confessional.

Lastly, put mass on your calendar, as close to daily as you can afford. Go to mass. Everyone knows that going to mass will usually pep us up. Daily mass will do super natural things to your attitude. There is a peace that is found in mass, that once multiplied by daily reception, really does help you see God and His workings around you. Give it a try! What’s more, we are starting adoration from 4-6:30pm on Wednesdays, give it a try, I think you will find a new person in the mirror after a few months.

Prayer, confession, mass, this should top your list of things to have during the next crisis…and maybe a stash of toilet paper. When life gets serious, it is time to get serious about our relationship with God.

God Bless

Fr Scott