Monday, September 13, 2010

Archbishops and Popes

As a county ecumenical officer, Debbie gets invitations to a wide variety of events and services from all church backgrounds. She recently got an invitation to Westminster Abbey for a service  of evening prayer in the presence of Pope Benedict and the Archbishop of Canterbury. It's the first invitation to a service I've seen where you are asked to bring ID, such as a passport, but it's all security, I guess.

She was also recently given a copy of a special booklet with the congregational texts for all the services during his visit, called "Magnificat". Given Debs isn't going to London, we thought we'd have a look at what she's missing. It's fairly predictable stuff, until you get to the exciting moment where (and I quote verbatim) "The Pope and The Archbishop exchange Addresses"

Rowan: "I live in that rather large place across the River. Lambeth Palace - yes the post-code is SE1 7JU. Do you need my mobile?"

Pope: "No, I prefer things in writing. Send anything to The Pope, The Vatican. It should reach me OK".

Following that the Dean will get the incense out and venerate the Altar and the Church Leaders. I'm not an expert on holy smoke, but I've never come across Church Leaders being venerated before. Must be an ecumenical matter, Ted.
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Matthew McMurray said...

At a service of Evening Prayer, the altar is censed during the Magnificat. Following that everbody is censed, beginning with the officiant, then usually the whole sanctuary party--clergy usually censed individually--then the choir, then the congregation. To cense both the Archbishop and the Pope presumably as equals is a great ecumenical move. Censing is not so much about veneration as it is about sanctification. Do they not cover this at Cranmer Hall?

Mike Peatman said...

The rubric clearly says "venerate" in this little booklet.

Censing is different and as you say implies cleansing or sanctification, as my Cranmer training taught me. Glad they also cover that at Westcott ;-)

Mike Peatman said...

PS My copies of the BCP and Common Worship don't have the bit about censing during the Magnificat. Must have bought the cheap version...

Matthew McMurray said...

It is slightly odd that it uses 'venerate'--or any derivative thereof--to describe what one does with the incense.

That is because the Church of England didn't feel that it was necessary to be in continuity with the rest of the Church. Unfortunately, Queen Mary didn't burn enough protestants and they had their wicked way with the doctrine, liturgy and practice of the Church, at least until the Oxford Movement brought a very good corrective to that. Guides to censing the altar and all other ceremonial can be found in such books as 'Ritual Notes' or 'The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite described'. You can't go far wrong with them. My copy of the 'Divine Office' doesn't have a rubric about censing the altar during the Magnificat either. See the above books, and many others.


Mike Peatman said...

It's Ok - we have the manual of ceremonial from Old St Paul's to tell us what we're doing wrong.

Matthew McMurray said...

Hehe! You never did show me that book! It's ok though--I have a couple of them here.

It might be too much of a shock to your congregation if you suddenly started doing everything according to OSP's manual of ceremonial! Mind you, they might like it, in a guilty sort of way! ;)