David Warren, Anglican patrimony

One of our great living examples of Anglican patrimony, David Warren is also an example of how our patrimony continues in the Catholic Church even outside the ordinariates: an Anglican in the Roman Church, if you will.

davidDavid wrote recently on his blog of two great things that he misses from his Anglican days: the King James Version and the Book of Common Prayer. Now David is a friend and supporter of the Anglican ordinariate and has visited us for the occasional service at the Toronto parish of St Thomas More, where we continue the worship of God using as much KJV and BCP as we have so far been given to use by Catholic authority.

But it turns out that his friends who have remained Anglican miss the KJV and the BCP as well, “for both have been removed from church services by the Anglican bureaucracy. As the priest who received me into the Roman Church said, Anglicans make ideal converts. We already know at first hand what happens when liturgical, scriptural, and other received norms are “progressively” abandoned: the church itself disintegrates.”

This is yet one more example of how the Anglican tradition is in many respects dying out everywhere BUT in Pope Benedict’s ordinariates and the Catholic Church.

David continues:

…it was the beauty and poetry, the precision of phrase in the named works that appealed to me. Stable, as they had been for so many generations, and breathing elevation, it was possible to memorize extensive passages; to absorb something timeless, in its nature and in its aspirations. Almost every phrase in KJV and BCP could be read and prayed as catholic. One was drawn out of oneself; lifted. One learnt the language with the gestures, and in the dance of tradition, did not have to think where to step. For the dancer who must think is always stepping on one’s toes.

It is precisely the content of this “catholic” KJV and this “catholic” BCP that has been progressively captured by Catholic books, starting with the Book of Divine Worship and then the Anglican Use Gradual, the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham, Divine Worship: Occasional Services, Divine Worship: The Missal, the forthcoming St Gregory’s Prayer Book, and so on. While the KJV isn’t yet authorized for outright use as a lectionary in the ordinariate, various elements of our rite (such as the Last Gospel & the readings of Lessons and Carols) are taken directly from the KJV.

“Remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set.”

As David identifies, many generations have been steeped in the beautiful language of these timeless Anglican landmarks; thanks to papal authority, many future Catholic generations will be steeped in them as well.

10 thoughts on “David Warren, Anglican patrimony

      • Ah, I doubt it.

        >> 1. The magisterium of the Catholic Church has always maintained that the Authorized Version completed in 1611, more commonly called the King James Version (KJV) in popular parlance because it was King James who “authorized” it, contains serious translational issues that give rise to theological error. I don’t foresee the Vatican backtracking on that position. But the Douay-Rheims Translation, completed by the Catholic English College in 1610, is available to those who wish a Catholic translation in the English language of that era. Alternatively, the magisterium recognizes the Revised Standard Version (RSV) as the successor to the KJV, and it is available in a Catholic Edition that the Vatican has approved for liturgical use within the ordinariates.

        >> 2. The original Book of Divine Worship, BDW approved in 1983 for interim use of the parishes established under the so-called “pastoral provision,” actually was a Catholic edition of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). I don’t know why, but work on a final version of the BDW got put on hold when the interim edition came out and never got finished. With the canonical erection of the ordinariates, it’s obviously ripe for completion. Unfortunately, the Anglicanae Traditiones commission seems to be doing it a piece at a time. It would be nice to see a final edition, published in a nice hand-sized volume like the BCP sooner rather than later, but it will be called the BDW to avoid confusion between the approved Catholic edition and the various Anglican and “continuing Anglican” editions.

        The only thing that will change this is the reconciliation of the whole of the Anglican Communion. Unfortunately, several provinces of the Anglican Communion seem hell-bent on widening the schism rather than healing it.



  1. What is this “forthcoming St. Gregory’s Prayer Book” of which you speak, what is there to know about it, and when will it be forthcoming?

    (Whenever it is, at this point, I’m almost willing to bet real money it’ll be sooner than the Daily Office under perpetual and never-ending “review by the Vatican.”)


    • A planned ordinariate devotional. As mentioned above, not much is known about it, but it’s intended for use in all three ordinariates.



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