‘Divine Worship is more than a collection of liturgical texts and ritual gestures. It is the organic expression of the Church’s own lex orandi as it was taken up and developed in an Anglican context over the course of nearly five-hundred years of ecclesial separation, and is now reintegrated into Catholic worship as the authoritative expression of a noble patrimony to be shared with the whole Church. As such, it is to be understood as a distinct form of the Roman Rite.
…Understanding what patrimony is and how it “works” is a necessary first step before we are able to articulate something more about the liturgical expression of that patrimony. From the outset, the Constitution itself articulates the necessity of the approval by the Holy See for any liturgical provision. This fact itself indicates that the Church is the ultimate arbiter of what is or is not to be considered patrimony. Let’s call this the first key to unlocking the concept of patrimony. It is not what you or I, or this scholar or that community says it is, but involves discernment by the Church, which is then confirmed by the exercise of ecclesiastical authority.
In this age in which liturgical matters are more likely to be debated on blogs rather than in scholarly journals, the judgement of legitimate ecclesiastical authority becomes increasingly important. Indeed, the very affirmation that there is such a thing as an Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony, which enriches the whole Church as “a treasure to be shared” enters the Catholic lexicon in 1970. On October 25 of that year, Pope Paul VI canonised forty English and Welsh martyrs. In his homily, the Holy Father praised “the legitimate prestige and worthy patrimony of piety and usage proper to the Anglican” Communion, words that were viewed both as a crucial validation of the special relationship between Catholics and Anglicans and as a confirmation of the existence of an Anglican patrimony worthy of preservation. By his authority, Pope Paul articulated a principle: for whatever other ecclesial deficits resulting from the lack of full communion between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, the Catholic Church acknowledges the work of the Holy Spirit in this body of separated brothers and sisters so as to be able to say that the manner in which the faith was nourished, proclaimed, and celebrated in the Anglican Communion these past 500 years adds to the vitality of the Church and enriches the body Catholic. In Anglicanorum coetibus, we see Pope Paul’s insight framed in Pope Benedict’s concern “to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church” not only “as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate,” but also importantly “as a treasure to be shared.”’
from the Hildebrand Lecture ‘The Worship of God in the Beauty of Holiness’, 21 June 2017
by Bishop Steven Lopes
Fr Lee Kenyon
A Treasure to be Shared
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