The English Missal, or Knott Missal, is in different ways an important part of both the Anglican and Roman patrimonies, being the essential way in which Anglicans celebrated the Roman rite in the 20th century, and the principle liturgical vernacular of what we now know as the Extraordinary Form. Fr Hunwicke calls it the “finest vernacular liturgical book ever produced.”
“O send out thy light and thy truth, that they may lead me and bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy dwelling:
That I may go unto the altar of God, even unto the God of my joy and gladness; and upon the harp will I give thanks unto thee, O God, my God.
Why art thou so heavy, O my soul? And why art thou so disquieted within me?”
Shawn Tribe writes on this and on sacral hieratic (or prayerbook) English in the new Liturgical Arts Journal:
“One wonders: had the vernacular been introduced in a way that was more sacral and majestic, augmenting rather than displacing Latin, and had the treasury of sacred music not only continued to utilize Latin but also expanded to include vernacular forms of chant and polyphony – in the vein of a Tallis, Byrd or Healey Willan – how very different our experience and reaction might be?”
The use of the vernacular, at least in part, was permitted by the Holy See for the older form of the Roman rite in certain lands and tongues, but never in English. Were it to be done, we should hope that it would be the established sacral English translation that has already been in use for generations, as found in the English Missal, and not a newly-devised translation.
It is worth pointing out that the English Missal illustrates well the distinction in Anglican usage and history between the ‘Anglican rite’ (as found in the BCP, or perhaps the Anglican Missal) and the ‘Western Rite’, as it was often called (i.e. the ‘Roman rite’). While not licitly used by Latin Catholic priests (although it has been done), the English Missal cannot be said to be a different rite than the Roman, as it is merely a translation. But the Anglican liturgy more properly so-called, while closely related to the Roman, was distinct and is descended from its own Sarum antecedent. The Divine Worship Missal used in the ordinariates aims to give expression to this Anglican liturgical patrimony but is influenced by the English Missal as well.
Given that Anglicanorum Coetibus grants to us the use both of our own Anglican liturgical books and also of the Roman rite, it could be argued that ordinariate priests should be able to avail themselves of the latter part of this provision by the use of the English Missal.