Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A 17th century Rite II

As I mentioned Monday, the Prayer Book Society and the Anglican Mission in the Americas are producing a new edition of the 1662 BCP. Monday afternoon, PBS president Peter Toon gave more details:
It is a regrettable fact that most of the forms of service designed for use since the late 1960s in western Anglicanism have sought to set aside the pattern and doctrine within the historic Book of Common Prayer, and replace them with a shape and theology that is a mixture of ancient structure and modern doctrine. Even where some of the historic content has been preserved, as in Rite One services of the 1979 Prayer Book of The Episcopal Church, it is made to fit into the “shape” of the modern Rite Two.

Therefore, there is a real need in contemporary Anglicanism for the availability of classic Common Prayer in a way that is acceptable and usable by those who currently use Rite Two, or the Canadian 1985 Book, or the like. There is an open space developing for use of traditional services in contemporary English, where the doctrine and devotion of the historic Anglican Way are present, known and received.
Thus, the project is oriented at AMiA (low church) parishes — many of which switched to the Rite II 1982 prayer book before fleeing ECUSA in this decade.

I guess there was no reason for the PBS/AMiA to worry about the Anglo-Catholics, who can read the original edition online in 17th century language not that different from the 1928 BCP. Here is the collect for Sexagesima (two days ago)
LORD God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Still, there is a big question of how far the PBS/AMiA went towards Rite II — in particular, did it follow the modern mainline Protestant (and Catholic) ICET translations of the original Latin? For many, the key test is the first response of the Sursum Corda.

Latin1662 BCPICET
PriestDominus VobiscumThe Lord be with youThe Lord be with you
PeopleEt cum spiritu tuoAnd with thy spiritAnd also with you

The older translation is more literal, and the two translations are not the same. Update: The Toonian 1662 BCP says “And with your spirit,” which preserves the meaning while dropping the thees and thous.

Of course, there are other innumerable other differences between the 1662/1928 renditions and the ICET. Some are inconsequential, such as “thy” vs. “your”; but others have doctrinal implications, such as “I believe” rather than “We believe.” Will the new PB modernize the Lord’s Prayer? Almost every Rite II parish I’ve attended still says “Our Father, who art in heaven.”

The whole point of the ICET was to unify English translations in modern language. If the PBS/AMiA project adopts the ICET, it can use the musical settings of Hymnal 1982, but it also adopts what many consider to be doctrinal errors.

If this project is not to be bound by ICET, then will this AMiA liturgy use responses unique in the English language? Or is there an opportunity to develop a contemporary, orthodox liturgy? The LCMS is the only remotely orthodox Protestant group in the current CCT, but perhaps Pope Benedict XVI could bring the US Catholic bishops to the table.

Either way, will this mean new musical settings to go with the new words? Rite II parishes abandoned Hymnal 1940 (in small part) to be able to sing “And also with you” and “Lord have mercy”.

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