Prayer Book–The Standard of Worship
In the continuing Anglican Church, the Book of Common Prayer is (and remains) one work in two editions: The Canadian Book of 1962 and the American Book of 1928. Each is fully and equally authoritative. No other standard for worship exists.
Certain Variances Permitted
For liturgical use, only the Book of Common Prayer and service books conforming to and incorporating it shall be used.
The above quoted text is from a foundational document for the Continuing Anglican Movement: The Affirmation of St. Louis. It is obvious that the authors of this affirmation believe that the 1928 American BCP and the Canadian 1962 BCP are compatible with Christian Faith as it is expressed in under Section 2: “The Essentials of Truth and Order” citing among other things the “Seven Ecumenical Councils.” The authors of the affirmation and the author of this blog will have to agree to strongly disagree on that. These two Prayer Books are elevated to “Standard of Worship” which is very significant because what we keep on praying we will end up believing. The clause about “certain variances” is, I would say even more important than the elevation of the Prayer Books. Because the language specifically allows the use of “service books conforming to and incorporating” either of these two BCP’s. Clearly the Missals are allowed.
But not only the Missals. The text does not specify missals but it says “service books” which includes the various ways in which the services of Morning and Evening Prayer have been rendered in a more traditional and catholic form: The English Office Book, The Prayer Book Office, The Monastic Diurnal & Breviary Matins, but also the subject of this blog …. The Anglican Breviary. The latter contains all the propers from the ’28 and ’62 BCP’s as well as the Coverdale Psalter (but without the unfortunate ’28 hebraizing), the King James Bible for lessons, and counts the Sundays as does the BCP. Iow The Anglican Breviary fulfills the requirement of the Affirmation of St. Louis and is as much allowed for use as are the Missals!
There are no doubt difficulties to be overcome in beginning to use The Anglican Breviary but none of them of such gravity that they could not be overcome. The effort would be well worth the trouble. If you think that the use of the Missal has enriched the performance of the Mass you will certainly think the same of the performance of the Office with the Anglican Breviary.