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Bishops (contrary to their wont) debating it in public like the other Houses. And its detailed consideration has now made some progress.
The Measure seems really hopeful as an antidote to a depressing state of confusion in public worship. It proposes no such impossible uniformity as has been hitherto the nominal law, nor yet a continuance of unregulated do-as-youplease, but an ordered variety and elasticity. Much of the scheme has now been before the Church for several years, and the feeling seems general that there is much to welcome in it, and much that can be conceded to those who specially want it, without any sacrifice of principle. All the variations from our existing Prayer Book are confessedly experimental, and rightly so, for we must see how this greater freedom will actually work; how new prayers and revised services will sound to the ear in church; and what more, if anything, will be needed for a solidly good new Book of Common Prayer. Meanwhile, there is to be no new Book during the tentative period, but only an optional supplement of variations from our present rite.
To begin with the Kalendar : the Measure enriches it with well-chosen additional names of saints, and one new
canonization,' King Alfred, perhaps as a set-off to the refusal to reinstate King Charles the Martyr. An inclusive commemoration of Saints, Martyrs, and Doctors of the Church of England' on the Octave Day of All Saints avoids the difficulty of selecting modern names for the roll. Benedictines and Dominicans, it may be noted, keep such a feast of the saints of their respective orders, though not on that day. Some omissions invite criticism. There are a good many ancient martyrs whose acts are now recognized as fictitious but whose names and early cultus have good evidence. Among such are the Sicilian Agatha and Lucy, and Valentine of Terni. Yet all these are deleted, while other names with much less historical support, such as Margaret, Catherine, Crispin, are retained. It goes hard to part with the May feast of the Holy Cross, even as a concession to modern historical criticism of the Invention by St. Helen. It seems inept to introduce Ignatius
the Martyr on December 17, which is merely a minor Western commemoration of his Translation. He might be given his chief Western feast, on the first of February, especially as St. Bridget of Ireland, the rival claimant for the day, is not proposed for it either. It is a gain to have St. Mary Magdalene and the Transfiguration raised to red-letter rank. Convocation having left February blank of lesser names, the Assembly proposes Ansgar of Sweden where Blaise stood. The E.C.U. does not forget Scholastica, St. Benedict's holy sister, on the tenth of the same month. But their notable proposals for the Kalendar are Joseph and the Falling Asleep of Mary. The former most Scriptural of saints has been added to the Kalendar of the new Canadian Prayer Book. The Falling Asleep of Mary is an Eastern and at one time Western feast, of the nature of similar commemorations of other saints. In the Middle Ages it was superseded in the West by the title Assumption, but it does not imply anything apocryphal, as the newer title can hardly fail to do.
The translation of impeded festivals to other days is provided for, in a code of rules for possible coincidences of fixed and moveable holy-days. The system of the New Lectionary has removed the previous difficulty as to Lessons when a feast was translated from its day of the month. In the new rules for 'concurrence,' the subordination of Sunday Evensong to the First Evensong of a feast on Monday should have exceptions. It would be a pity to alter for this cause the service of the season in Advent or Lent, or on Low Sunday, closing as it does the Easter Octave, or on Trinity Sunday. These are cases for modifying the Breviary 'rules called the Pie’ in applying them to our present form of service.
There is to be a dispensation from the Friday abstinence on certain other feasts besides Christmas, and Convocation having proposed to cancel the Vigils of St. Matthew and St. Thomas, the Assembly extends the process to all the other Vigils of Apostles. This relaxation has long been in force in the Roman Church. With fewer fast-days, no doubt we are to observe the remaining ones better.
We come now to the actual Services of the Church. Mattins and Evensong are to have alternative shorter forms for the Confession and its accompaniments at the beginning of the office. Venite is given a set of Invitatory Antiphons for the Christian year, whose course is so beautifully marked in this and other ways in the older Services from which ours were drawn. Each Sunday is to have proper Psalms instead of those for the day of the month ; such also are appointed for more holy-days than at present ; and there is a selection of Psalms for use at pleasure on other feasts. Of course the monthly recitation of the Psalter is seriously interrupted by all this, and the choice between variety and regularity is a difficult one. The recent drastic rearrangement of the psalms in the Roman Breviary was in the interest of regularity. By a happy thought, Psalms 113 and 141 are to be transferred to Evensong from Mattins. It is not surprising that strong differences of opinion have arisen over the proposals that for the sake of edification Psalm 58 and portions of 109 and others should be omitted from use and from the printed Psalter, and the use of the Athanasian Creed should be limited to optional recitation or reading at either Mattins or Evensong of Trinity Sunday. The Lessons may now, of course, be those of the New Lectionary, a secured gain which need not detain our attention here. For Evensong, E.C.U. proposes the singing of the fine Great O antiphons with Magnificat on the closing days of Advent, from 0 Sapientia onward. The suggestion is not different in character from the official one for Mattins invitatories. The Litany is revised, and a form of Compline (without the name) is provided, as well as many new Prayers for special occasions and needs. The suggested system of 'biddings ' and versicles before such prayers is noteworthy. Large proposals are made for shortening Services when two are joined together, and liturgical minds will shrink from some of this liberty.
Christmas Eve and Christmas cockcrow (' before dawn') get Collect, Epistle, and Gospel; the Circumcision an additional Collect and new Epistle; Holy Week the full liturgical Passions as of old (if desired)—to mention only a few of the
acquisitions in the Proper of Seasons. E.C.U. supplements and completes these in some important respects. The official provision for lesser feasts is a new step, but is too meagre to give satisfaction. It needs, for instance, to be supplemented by a Common specially for women saints, and a service for Holy Cross Day, which is suffered to remain as a mere name. E.C.U. again has proposals to meet these and other needs, including a Commemoration of the Holy Sacrament for Thursday after Trinity Sunday.
It will be best to glance at the rest of the Prayer Book before entering on the question of the Eucharistic service. In the Convocation proposals, Lay Baptism in case of necessity is taught. The teaching in the Confirmation service is enormously improved, and the Marriage service is made readable in accordance with modern taste but without weakening it. Reservation of the Sacrament of the Holy Communion for the Sick is provided for, and the Burial service is revised and enriched. In taking up these proposals from Convocation, the Assembly Committee adds others of its own. It does great things for the whole service of Visitation of the Sick. A Confiteor before absolution, a litany, and a Proficiscere anima christiana are among its new details. The consideration of Unction, however, is deferred until a Lambeth Conference Committee and also Convocation shall have dealt with it. To Convocation's rubric for temporary Reservation of the Sacrament of the Holy Communion for the Sick, the Measure now adds something pointing to a more permanent practice of Reservation. A new form of Commination service is proposed. In the Making of Deacons, Convocation's much-discussed revision of the interrogation on belief in Holy Scripture is adhered to. It runs : ‘Do you unfeignedly believe all the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament, as given of God to convey to us in many parts and in divers manners the Revelation of himself which is fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ ?'
In considering the Schedule in July, the House of Clergy postponed the questions of the Kalendar and Psalter. Some details of the Grey Book, such as its varied opening Sentences
for Mattins and Evensong, were adopted ; but not its proposal of an ' Act of Faith' (a series of phrases culled from St. John) as a weekday alternative for the Apostles' Creed. Venite might be omitted except on Sundays and feasts, and a new Canticle was to be selected as an additional alternative to Te Deum and Benedicite. (This last proposal recognizes a real need, for the completeness of our form of Mattins.) The E.C.U. proposal to make the Athanasian Creed obligatory on the Annunciation and Trinity Sunday failed; but its optional use on both days was sanctioned, or else its optional use in three parts, assigned respectively to Trinity Sunday, Sunday after Christmas, and the Annunciation. The E.C.U. proposal of a service of Prime was accepted, with a reservation on the question of including the Athanasian Creed in it. The House got as far as the Prayers and Thanksgivings.
The Laymen, who were also going through the Schedule at the same time, were in some ways more interesting than their clerical brethren. They agreed to add to the Kalendar names whose diversity may be indicated by citing a few of them : St. Joseph, Anne Askew, Thomas Cranmer, King Charles, Bishop Patteson. The appointment of a Proper service for St. Joseph was referred to the Bishops. On the other hand, the Falling Asleep of Mary was negatived by the Chairman's casting vote on an equal division, and the Commemoration of the Holy Sacrament by a large majority. The House declined to sanction the proposed omissions from the Psalter ; voted 'may' instead of 'shall' into the proposal to cut off the last four verses of Venite ; and 'shall' instead of' may’into the rubric for the recitation of the Athanasian Creed on Trinity Sunday. These laymen defend the very things that are supposed to be stumblingblocks to the laity. It is noteworthy also that they accepted the E.C.U. proposal authorizing the use of Chrism and the white Chrisom robe at Baptism if desired by the child's parents.
The consideration of the Order of Holy Communion was postponed by the laymen and not reached by the clergy, so that it still awaits both Houses. A consideration pre