Does Canon B5 give the priest discretion to set aside
all the authorised Creeds and Affirmations of Faith in Common
Worship and to introduce instead an alternative of his or her
Canon B5.1 does give the minister conducting worship discretion
to "make and use variations" to any authorised service. This,
however, extends only to those variations "which are not of
substantial importance". Common Worship sets out in its
rubrics and notes those elements of the service where the minister
may exercise discretion.
First, page vii of the Main Edition contains a note saying that
it comprises "material, the use of which falls under the discretion
allowed to the minister under the provisions of Canon B5"; so it is
clear that any discretion to vary important elements (such as the
Creed) extends only to those alternatives provided within
Common Worship itself. In respect of the Creed
specifically, the rubric covering use of Creeds and Authorised
Affirmations of Faith on page 138 of CW Main Edition says:
"At a celebration of Holy Communion, the Apostles' Creed or the
Athanasian Creed in an authorized form may be used in place of the
Nicene Creed, or an authorized Affirmation of Faith may be used."
Further, on page 173 the rubric that appears before the (Nicene)
Creed in the Order One service reads: "On Sundays and Principal
Holy Days an authorized translation of the Nicene Creed is used, or
on occasion the Apostles' Creed or an authorized Affirmation of
Faith may be used." The rubric for the Order Two service suggests
that no variation from the printed Creed is permissible.
I was taught that, in the main, the Nicene Creed should be used
on Sundays and holy days, but it was permissible for the minister
to exercise his or her discretion on occasion and to use an
alternative Creed or authorised Affirmation of Faith as long as
this was done only infrequently. Midweek communions can use any
authorised Creed or Affirmation of Faith. But that is the limit of
any minister's discretion. It is not permissible under the rubrics
or Canon B5 for a minister to use a Creed or Affirmation of Faith
that is not authorised in accordance with Canon B2.
Ultimately, if your correspondent is concerned that a priest may
be acting outside permitted discretion, Canon B5 itself provides a
way to resolve the matter. B5.4 says that any question about
permitted levels of discretion "may be referred to the bishop in
order that he may give such pastoral guidance, advice or
discretions as he may think fit".
(The Revd) Alan Fraser
Great Barr, Birmingham
. . . It is a matter of substantial importance in the terms of
Canon B5, that in order to exhibit unity in the faith, credal
statements in worship should never be private or locally contrived
compositions, but those universally recognised by the Church - or
at the very least have been carefully crafted as scriptural
affirmations that express that faith in due proportion.
(Canon) Terry Palmer
Is Advent still a fast? If so, to what extent?
Out of the Question, Church Times,
3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y