Fr Derek Cross of the Toronto Oratory of St Philip Neri gave the final talk at ATC 2019, our ninth conference on the Anglican tradition in the Catholic Church, and his talk – St John Henry Newman on the Liturgical Act: A Patrimonial Reflection – can now be viewed online on both YouTube and Facebook.
A former Anglican like Cardinal Newman, Fr Cross explored his fellow Oratorian’s treatment of the liturgical act in worship, reverence & ritual, and its bearing on the ordinariate’s Anglican patrimony, now an officially commended aqua vitae in the Catholic Church. Touching on “the Anglican communion’s reputation as a liturgical church & the desire for liturgical continuity expressed by Anglicanorum Coetibus,” Fr Cross references prophetic hopes for “An Anglican church, united with Rome but not absorbed – an Anglican uniate church,” & speaks of the work ahead of us to ever more fully appropriate the Anglican intellectual and liturgical patrimony.
To illustrate his reflections, Fr Cross takes note of various writings by Cardinal Newman, many of which are found in the recent book published by Dr Peter Kwasniewski: Newman on Worship, Reverence, and Ritual. This extensive collection forms the basis of the reflections comprising the talk, and Dr Kwasniewski has done the Anglican Catholic community a favour in placing all of this wealth in one place for our ease of reference. As Fr Cross puts it, “What better accompaniment to this weekend’s celebration can one imagine? This book is a primary witness to the liturgical theology of that great Oratorian priest who was in sundry ways the father of Anglicans who have enacted a recourso back from their alma mater to the grandmother Church…”
Prefacing his reflections on Newman, Fr Cross first cites two important and relevant quotations. He first turns to Fr Henry St John, the nephew of Newman’s close friend Fr Ambrose St John: “Few Catholic priests can have had such concentrated Anglican antecedents and background as mine were. I can truly say that all the best things in Anglicanism are still in me at every human level, intuitive, affective and intellectual, integrated now into my Catholicism. These have been incorporated into my Catholic life and, I am very sure, perfected by it. But the roots of this composite are thoroughly Anglican and I am deeply grateful for the ethos of the Church of England and its doctrine which had penetrated and built up the family, parents and brothers and sisters, in which I was bred… Our vision of the future must be that one day there will still be the Catholic Church, the same in its essential structure and truth. Towards unity with her, the churches now outside the Catholic Church will move. The Church will open wide its arms and accept all that is good and true in customs and in usage; in ways of thinking, worshipping, and government, that these churches have practiced and valued in their separated life. By this, the Church of Christ will be greatly enlarged and enriched. All that the Catholic Church now stands for will still be the substance of the Church’s structure. In less essential things, there will be a far wider variety of custom and usage, as there was in the early days of the Church’s history. As I look back over more than fifty years during which history has been in the making that must be the vision of our ecumenical hope and prayer.”
Next cited is Fr Aidan Nichols in The Panther and the Hind: “An Anglican church united with Rome but not absorbed – an Anglican uniate church – is perfectly feasible but it can only be constructed on the basis of a selection from among the elements I have mentioned. It might be a church with a religious metaphysic drawn from the Cambridge platonists, supplying as this would a doctrine of creation, and an account of the human being in the image and likeness of God, necessary to the theocentric humanism of any truly Catholic tradition; a doctrinal and sacramental ethos, taken from the restoration divines, with their stress on the inseparable inconnection of incarnation, church, and liturgy; and a missionary spirit borrowed from the evangelical movement and centred therefore on the universal significance of the Saviour’s atoning work; the whole to be confirmed and where necessary corrected by acceptance of the framework of the Roman Catholic communion, including the latter’s teaching authority to determine those many questions of faith and morals which historically have kept Anglicans divide. In such a way, numerous elements of the Anglican theological tradition, classics both as texts and persons, could find repatriation in the Western patriarchate, in peace and communion with that See with which the origins of English Christianity are forever connected.”
Thus Fr Cross lays the foundation for his exploration of Newman’s thought on worship, reverence and ritual as it touches on the liturgical act and the patrimony of the Anglican ordinariates. Fr Cross’s talk will be published in full in an upcoming issue of the Society’s journal, but for now it can be watched in full here: