The Kalendars in the Anglican Missal

As is well known to users of the Anglican Breviary, there are two Kalendars contained in that volume. The Anglican Missal, similarly, has two kalendars. In the Anglican Breviary there is a supplement of local feasts provided for the different Anglican jurisdictions across the globe. A letter system is given to indicate which observations are customary in which region. The keen observer will notice that there is yet another distinction as far as kalendars are concerned. There is the Simple and the Universal Kalendar respectively. The simple kalendar contains a selection of feasts taken (mostly) from the Universal Kalendar for the use of Catholic Anglicans. The idea behind it is that the monastic kalendar and that contained in the Book of Common Prayer are both rather conservative and their sanctoral cycle is not quite so littered with double feasts. The supplement in the Anglican Breviary is not the same as the Simple Kalendar and has a different purpose. The former serves peculiarly Anglican interests to be integrated with either the simple or the universal kalendars.

The Anglican Missal does not have this triple division. It has what it calls a General Kalendar and a Local Kalendar. The Proper of the Saints, which begins on page E1 and ends on page E140, contains selected feasts and mentions in brackets feasts contained in the supplement To be Observed in certain Places and seems to function much like the simple kalendar and supplement of the Breviary combined. This establishes the Proper of the Saints (p. E1 to E140) as a baseline for the sanctoral cycle to which local feasts could be added from the supplement (p. S to S122).

Why is this interesting to me? Because like so many before me I too am looking for some common sense balance between the temporal and sanctoral cycles. The Universal Kalendar is so littered with double feasts that the ferial office is almost entirely obscured. The Book of Common Prayer and the 1962 Extra-ordinary Form of the Roman Church are too radical in their reforms. I wonder if the division of the Proper of the Saints such as the Anglican Missal does it could serve to solve the problem? Anglican Catholics would adopt the Missal’s Proper of the Saints (p. E1-E140) as a General Kalendar and local churches can add from the supplement (S1-S122) what they need or desire. This has the further advantage establishing a basic unity without a deadening uniformity.

This, of course, presumes that the Anglican Missal – rather than the Book of Common Prayer – be adopted as the rule for worship in Catholic leaning Anglican Jurisdictions. I am not aware of any jurisdictions that have done this, or seem likely to do this. The reason for this, it seems to me, is that many Catholic leaning Anglicans are unaware (some of hem deliberately so) of the un-Catholic nature of Cranmer’s reforms. I am not blind to some of the genuine gifst Cranmer has given to our tradition. I think it fair to say that English is established as a liturgical language next to Latin in the Western Tradition. Much of this is direcly dependent on Cranmer’s gift in writing liturgical English. In that light it seems reasonable to me to consider the Anglican Missal (and its companion the Anglican Breviay) as incorporating the Book of Common Prayer by placing it in a new (explicitly Catholic) context. Thus ambiguity is removed, the Prayer Book so many have come to cherish is preserved, and the ancient Catholic and Orthodox Faith is prayed and believed.

Fr. Gregory Wassen


About Father Gregory

I am an Anglican Catholic Priest, currently residing in Orvelte, the Netherlands.
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2 Responses to The Kalendars in the Anglican Missal

  1. setsuwa says:

    This is a side note, but I had initially wondered why the supplement gives feasts for different areas, but the United States is not included. I later found out it’s because the American PB had no saints days aside from the Major feasts until 1979.

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