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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/749

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BOOK


679


BOOK


"'Tlie Book of the Common Prayer and Administra- tion of the Sacraments and other Rites and Cere- monies of the Church after the Use of the Church of England". Before this date (with some recent exceptions) the services had always been conducted in Latin; and though there were various "uses", e. g. Salisbury, Hereford, Bangor, York, and Lincoln, these were all derived from, and for the most part identical with, the Roman liturgy. "Altogether, .some eighteen English uses are known. . . . With- <i;t exception these English Missals are Roman — l!iey have the Roman Canon to begin with; they have the Roman variables; in short, their structure is identical with that of the Roman Missal" (J. Wick- ham Legg, 27 February, from a correspondence in "The Guardian", February and March, 1907). Though the motive for the introduction of the new liturgj' is stated to be the desire for uniformity, simplicity, and the edification of the people, it is clear that this was merely a pretext. The real motive was the removal from the service books of the doctrines rejected by the Protestant Reformers. Lex orandi, lex credendi. The old books clearly contained the Real Presence, the Sacrifice of the Mass, Invocation of the Blessed Virgin and the Saints, Prayer for the Dead, the Seven Sacraments, with Auricular Confession, and a Sacrificing Priest- hood. The Act of Uniformity states that the king by the advice of Somer.set and the rest of the Council, "appointed the archbishop of Canterbury and cer- tain of the most learned and discreet bishops and other learned men of this realm" to draw up the new book. Who these were, besides Cranmer, cannot now be determined. No list is known earlier than that given in Fuller's "Church History", published in 1G57. However, "the history of the Prayerbook down to the end of Edward's reign is the biography of Cranmer, for there can be no doubt that almost every line of it is his composition" (Mason, Thomas Cranmer, 139). With regard to the authority by which it was composed and issued. Abbot Gaso.uet and Mr. Bishop have carefully gone over the evidence (Edward VI and the Book of Common Prayer, eh. x), and they have come to the same conclusion as the Anglican Canon Dixon, who affirms that "the Con- vocation of the clergy had nothing to do with the first Act of Uniformity of religion. Laymen made the first English Book of Common Prayer into a schedule of a penal statute. As little in the work itself, which was then imposed upon the realm, had the clergy originally any share" (Hist, of the Ch. of England, III, 5). The instruction given by royal authority was that the framers of the book should "have as well eye and respect to the most sincere and pure Christian religion taught by scripture as to the usages in the primitive Church". How this was carried out will appear when we come to examine the contents of the book. Meantime we may ob- serve that the Communion Service cannot be classed with any of the old liturgies, but rather resembles the form drawn up by Luther in 1523 and 1526. Both agree in the elimination of anything denoting offertory or sacrifice in the true sense of the words. "Even if it were not an ascertained fact that during the year when it was in preparation, Cranmer was under the influence of his Lutheran friends, the testimony of the book itself would be sufficient to prove beyond doubt that it w.as conceived and drawn up after the Lutheran pattern" (Gasquet and Bishop, op. cit., 228; cf. ch. xiii). Though there were of course some who welcomed the new service, the imposition of it gave rise to strenuous opposition m most parts of the country. By the time, however, that the Book of 1549 appeared, Cranmer had already adopted views more advanced than those contained vn it, and was preparing for a further revision. Early in 1550 an act was passed approving of a new ordinal


(see Anglican Orders) and the altars were removed and tables substituted for them in many places. In this same year Gardiner, while still a pri-soner in the Tower, made use of the words of the Prayer Book to refute Cranmer's own work on the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Saviour. About the same time Bucer completed his elaborate "Censura" of the Praj-er Book. Accordingly in 1552 a second Book of Common Prayer was published, in which everything in the First Book which had been fixed upon by Gardiner as evidence that the new liturgy did not reject the old beliefs, and everything which Bucer had objected to was in the revision carefully swept away and altered. Before this book could come into general use the old Catholic services were restored by Mary. After her death the Second Book was imposed by Elizabeth in 1559 with some few, though important, changes. Further changes were made in 1604 and again in 1662, but the Prayer Book as a whole practically remains what it was in 1552. "The position which was deliberately abandoned in 1549 and still further departed from in 1552 has never been recovered. The measure of the distance traversed in these new liturgies by those who controlled the English reformation can only be duly estimated on an historical survey of the period in which the ground was lost" (Gasquet and Bishop, op. cit., 307).

II. Contents. — The Book of Common Prayer is really a combination of four of our liturgical books viz., the Breviary, Missal, Pontifical, and Ritual.

(1) Tfw New Calendar. — The old Sarum and other calendars in use before the Reformation contained the fast days and the feasts for most of the days in the year. Among these were the Purification, Annunciation, Visitation, Assumption, Nativity, and Conception of "the Blessed Mary"; a large number of purely Roman saints; and All Souls' Day. Corpus Christi was kept on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. The Calendar of the First Prayer Book omitted the fast days altogether and gave only twenty-two saints' days, all being New Testament saints; the only feasts of the Blessed Virgin retained are the Piu'ification and the Annun- ciation; All Souls' Day is omitted, and there is no office for Corpus Christi. Hardly any change was made in this part in the Second Prayer Book, though the "dog Dales" are characteristically noted. The Calendar of the Third Prayer Book (1559-61) re- introduced the mention of the fast days and a goodly number of feasts; among the latter, the Visitation of the "Blessed Virgin Mary", the Conception and the Nativity of "the Virgin Mary"; but no special offices were appointed for any of these feasts. "The reason why the names of these Saints-days and Holy-days were resumed into the calendar are various", says Wheatly in "A Rational Illustration of the Book of Comm. Prayer" (Pt. II, Introd.), "some of them being retained upon account of our Courts of Justice. . . . Others are probably kept for the sake of such tradesmen as are wont to cele- brate the memory of their tutelar Saints. . . . And again, it has been the custom to have Wakes or Fairs kept upon these days; so that the people would be displeased if their favourite Saint's name should be left out. . . . For these reasons our second reformers under Queen Elizabeth . . . thought con- venient to restore the names of them to the Calendar, though not with any regard of being kept holy by the Church".

(2) The Brevian/. — The Sarum Breviary contained the canonical Hours, the Psalms distributed through the week, antiphons, versicles and responses, and Little Chapters much the same as the modern brev- iary — of course without the modifications since introduced by St. Pius V and later pontiffs. But