Page 2, 11th September 1959

11th September 1959
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Page 2, 11th September 1959 — SARUM RITE
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Organisations: Anglican Church
Locations: Dublin

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SARUM RITE

SIR.-Having just read your report of Fr. Michael Hollings' words published on August 14, may I be permitted to utter a word of criticism. which I do with diffidence and respect ?

(I) Undoubtedly the lack of music in our churches is partly or maintj,-due to our 75 per cent. majority of Irish. who kept the faith alive in their own country for 300 years without music. Even now in Dublin a sung Mass is rare if not non-existent; there seems to be quite literalb no time" for it, with one Mass following immediately on another every half-hour all Sunday morning, and each one crowded.

As to hymns, the inajority of our clergy are not interested in them, any more than are those of the laity who have grown to love the liturgy and practise meditation.

But-and here again Fr. Hollings is dead right-to the bulk of the English nation, both Anglican and non-Conformist, hymns mean a very great deal, many of which are truly devotional, It is a thousand pities that so little use is made of them in our churches, and all converts miss them.

It is a disputed point whether hymns, orthodox in themselves but with strong non-Catholic associations, should be encouraged in our churches or not. and into this I am not competent to enter. but all heretics, from Arius to Luther, made tremendous and successful use of hymns among "the people".

Should not the Church do the same? (Incidentally. I myself have collected, over the years, some really magnificent hymns which I would like to get published, if someone would help me.)

(2) But as to the restoration of the completely obsolete "Sarum use" of St. Oswald, one must ask : "Why?" Apart from being unknown in the world today (I speak under correction) it is more ornate and "Eastern" than the simple and dignified Roman use that has replaced it.

For example. at the Offertory there was an elaborate procession of the unconsecrated elements when they were brought into the church; after the Consecration there was no genuflection, but a low bow from the waist; though candles were lighted round about the altar, on the Rood Screen and elsewhere, two and only two were ever lighted on the altar itself, even at High Mass; the altar had no gradines, the two candlesticks standing directly on the InellSO. for no doubt the low Gothic East windows, coming right down to the altar, would make the light of tall candles invisible.

The above are only one or two of the differences that I can remember off-hand that would strike the eye, but many of the prayers and ceremonies were also different from those to which we are accustomed. Surely to restore the Sarum use today would be not only pointless but a source of distraction to priest and people alike. especially as the Roman is universal.

As to Anglicans themselves, an attempt to restore the Sarum use in the C. of E. was made 50 or 60 years ago by the late Rev. Percy Dearmcr. then vicar of St. Mary the Virgin's, Primrose Hill, in his quite bulky "Parson's Handbook", but he cannot be described as having been a liturgical scholar, and all high churches now follow the Roman use. It was really an effort to remain faithful to the Book of Common Prayer.

Occasionally one comes across a "Percy Dearmer four-poster" altar in an Anglican church, with its two candles and missal lying on a cushion, but they are considered very "mod-high" as we call them, and the Sarum rite is not followed. In effect, Percy Dearmer's movement has died out, and, that being so, would there be any benefit in trying to restore it in England? Would it help unity?

B. E. Kenworthy Brown Goring-on-names.




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