WHAT WOULD BE INVOLVED
• By FR. HUMPHREY J. T. JOHNSON
By 78 votes to 39 the Lower House of the Canterbury Convocation has resolved that the time is not opportune for further consideration of the question of transposing the " prayer of oblation " in the Anglican Communion service, although such a change has been counselled by the Upper House. Those who see only the surface of things will think that men who can seriously occupy themselves with such an apparent trifle in the midst of a great war must be deficient in a sense
of proportion. Yet small though the matter may appear, there are signs
that opinion in the Church of England has been deeply stirred by the proposed change. Its opponents are not
actuated by a blind conservatism; for although no alteration in the actual wording of the Communion service has been proposed they believe that a great principle is at stake.
In the sequence of its various parts the Communion Office of 1549
closely followed the Mass; in the office of 1552, which is substantially the one still in use, resemblance to the Mass has been almost obliterated, the Com
munion taking place immediately after the prayer of consecration. The Com munion service of the " Prayer-book as proposed in 1928," like those of the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Pro
testant Episcopal Church of the United States is a compromise between those of the two Edwardian books. But it proved too " Romish " for the House of Commons.
What the Bishops would now like to do is to sanction the transposition of the detached fragment of the Canon of 1549 called the " prayer of oblation " from its present place after the Communion to its older place before it.
But such a proceeding is highly obnoxious to the Protestant conscience;
for by increasing the space between the consecration and the Communion it is feared that there will he time for a
" superstitious " veneration of the elements to mature in the minds of the worshippers. And so in this seemingly
trivial controversy it is claimed that the foundations of the English Reformation are involved.