With recent events still fresh in mind, other things have fallen behind. A number of book reviews are delayed, although they should be posted in due time.
I would be nearly negligent if mention was not made of publication of Divine Worship - The Missal. This is the missal featuring the liturgical observance of the Anglican Ordinariate. To say this missal collects the premiere elements English liturgical patrimony may be a stretch. Divine Worship, however, delivers by re-introducing classical liturgy into the Roman Church by way of the vernacular.
I have to state that I am not now nor have ever been involved with any of the controversies surrounding either a) the proper rite of a restored Catholicism in England nor b) the difficulties leading up to the promulgation of Anglicanorum coetibus.
I confess to have a cursory knowledge of the liturgical patrimony of England and I am often prone to see it through rose colored glasses. I have furthermore never been involved with the Anglican Church outside of attending liturgies here and there in Boston and Providence. My impression then as now was that this should have functioned as some sort of template when the Roman Liturgy was translated (thrice over) into English.
There are controversies on both points and, plainly, this post will not pretend to address any such concerns. This "preview" reflects the perspective of someone who spent the better part of his life in the Roman Church and devoted a tremendous amount of time and effort (some would say undue time and effort) to study it and earn the credentials for having done so.
The immediate concern, therefore, has little grounding in the preservation of the English liturgical patrimony as such, but rather the application of the English liturgical tradition to a larger context. In this respect, the "event" quality of Divine Worship is that it if the first credible offering of a liturgical book in English under the umbrella of the Roman Church. This is from the perspective of the quality of English utilized and the contents of the liturgy itself. While we can quibble with points of the missal's contents, it stands as a break of silver lining in the at times dark clouds of liturgical renewal, most especially at the parish level. This missal is evidence that genuinely elevated English and a classically Western liturgy CAN in fact function under the aegis of Rome in the current climate.
Praise has been coming in from the corners of the web that one would expect:
The CTS blog has more information and a host of photographs of the volume's interior. CTS knows how books ought to be bound and its liturgical editions have been the best in recent memory.You can get a good look at some of the texts - enough to make anyone familiar with the old liturgy long for the liturgy according to this book. In accordance with the "English" character of this liturgy, contents reflect the Latin liturgical tradition as it developed in England - this is not a mere translation of the so-called Tridentine liturgy.
What the future holds for this missal is any one's guess. The desire of any party to frame this liturgy as proper to Anglican groups only seems self limiting at best, or imposed isolation at worst. There is an argument to made that English speaking Catholicism ought to avail itself to the Ango-Catholic liturgical tradition. Where we hear so much talk of "inculturation," culturally speaking, the Anglo-Catholic tradition set the tone and terms for the liturgical expression of the English language. To that extent, one could argue the liturgy reflected in the contents of the Divine Worship ought to be a normative expression in the English speaking world.
In brief, this is probably the single liturgical book I would most like to review. I suspect review copies will be scarce to non-existent, which would be a shame. Latin Christianity desperately needs a vernacular liturgical expression of this quality. Realistically speaking, this ought to be the template if not the actual model for moving forward with a sensible vernacular liturgy in English speaking countries. Furthermore, it provides a canonical outlet for Roman Catholics to retrieve pieces of the Latin liturgical tradition from which they have been estranged since the Reformation.
In sum, I would like to see this book succeed on all accounts, both in terms of sales figures and in terms of the number of parishes using it as a legitimate option for liturgical observance.