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Out of the question

05 September 2014


Your answers

Why do High Anglicans now seem to neglect the feasts of the Holy Family, Sacred Heart, and Precious Blood?

There has been a shift of direction. A solid, but probably diminishing, core of traditionalists continue to look to RC models of liturgy and Ultramontane devotional practices. For these, the Order of the Western Church, which provides for the observance of these solemnities (although the Precious Blood was abolished in 1969), is de rigueur.

But increasing numbers of genuine Anglo-Catholics are content to adhere to Anglican calendrical and liturgical arrangements, which have never included these feasts. Primarily, strict loyalty to Anglican principles is the reason that many do not keep feasts that were introduced at papal instigation in the 18th and 19th centuries, and emanated from the spiritualities of groups in the Roman Church.

This neglect in no way implies total rejection of truths about the sacred humanity of our Lord which these festivals may teach, but only a preference for upholding them within the pattern of established liturgical commemorations. On the Nativity of our Lord, for instance, High Anglicans not only celebrate the incarnation, but at the Crib honour the Holy Family. On the first Sunday after Christmas Day, Common Worship supplies a feast of the Holy Family in all but name.

Similarly, the feast of the Sacred Heart is a kind of double of Good Friday. A well-known Passion hymn gives glory to Jesus, who "poured for me the life-blood", so that "Louder still and louder, [we] Praise the precious blood"; or think of the verse "O dearest Lord, thy sacred heart With spear was pierced for me" in a hymn of Father Andrew SDC (New English Hymnal, no. 89).

The RC liturgist Josef Jungmann, in an important essay on the Sacred Heart, wrote: "We will not be astonished if, as a result of the opening up of the sources which flow in scripture and the liturgy, and of the newly aroused preference for the redemptive-historical perspective and for the primitive and dynamic in piety, we do not find speech about the sacred heart coming so directly and so readily. . . The mysteries of the story of Redemption, which flow from one another in splendid sweep in the course of the church year, have become much more luminous for us" (Pastoral Liturgy, 1962).

An increasing number of High Anglicans would agree with that statement and act accordingly.

(Canon) Terry Palmer
Magor, Monmouthshire


Your questions

Why is Michael - an angel - a saint? Which liturgy do we use on 29 September, as the liturgy for saints in Common Worship assumes a saint was a human being? J. B.


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