Wednesday, December 03, 2003

The Book of Divine Worship

. . . .arrived the other day. As some (most? a few?) of you know, a Pastoral Provision allowing " former faithful of the Episcopal Church . . . [to]. . . retain certain liturgical elements proper to the Anglican tradition" has been in effect in the United States for some 20 years or more. The liturgy in question includes a daily office based principally upon the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and a rite for Mass containing influences from the BCP, the traditional Roman rite and the Pauline Rite. The texts have been available on the web for some time now but it has only been in print in book form since last November.

My copy arrived last week and it is a treasure. The Mass liturgy is, of course, only theoretical for a Californian. The nearest Anglican Use parish is in Texas. It would almost be worth it to go to Texas just to hear the ancient Roman Canon clothed in the reverent 16th century English.

The book is very well set-up. It is hard bound with red covers. And enormous! It's 27 pages shy of 1,000. The print is in a pleasing type face, much the same as that shown in PDF format on the web. There is plenty of white space on the page, making it a pleasure to read.

There are two "rites" for each service, a "Rite I" in what is usually called liturgical English, that is using thee and thou and other pleasing archaisms, and a "Rite II" using modern English.

There is an official but not very informative website for the Pastoral Provision here. It never had much and it hasn't been updated in two years. Instead, look to the parish websites like Our Lady of Walsingham or Our Lady of the Atonement. A link to the Boston Congregation of St. Athanasius is at the left.

Having said that you can find the text of The Book of Divine Worship on line, I now find that you can't. It used to be here. But as you can see, the PDF files have been taken down. But you can order the book from that site. If you're at all interested in liturgical prayer, it will be $30 well spent.

[Why "Book of Divine Worship" rather than, say, Catholic Book of Common Prayer or some such? The answer I've received is that it is named to honor the Vatican Congregation of Divine Worship who were very helpful in its compilation.]