Volume > Issue > A Bold Venture in Liturgy

A Bold Venture in Liturgy

GUEST COLUMN

By Mary Alma Parker | July-August 1985
Mary Alma Parker is the Librarian for St. Bede’s Theological Library in Brighton, Massachusetts.

On August 20, 1980, the Holy See publicly announced its Pastoral Provision as a positive re­sponse to requests from former Episcopal priests and lay people desiring full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. The decree provided that these laypeople and former Anglican priests would be permitted to retain “certain elements of their own Episcopal (Anglican) heritage.” At that point just what these elements were to be was not clear.

The Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith appointed Bishop Bernard F. Law of Springfield-Cape Girardeau (Mo.) as its ec­clesiastical delegate for the Provision, with a man­date to propose these “elements” for consideration in Rome.

Since the principle of lex orandi, lex credendi has always been central to Anglicans, it was vital that the “elements” consist of the real underlying element, the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). Throughout the centuries this book, in a succeed­ing variety of editions, whether along national lines or according to historical updatings, has been an adhesive for Anglicans. It has been a ready refer­ence for faith and morals, enabling the man in the pew to order his life in accordance with the Angli­can way.

Now in our time an edition of the BCP has appeared under the auspices of the Roman Catho­lic Church, which does what none of its predeces­sors did — or wished to do — or could do.

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