What was wrong with the US 1928 Prayer Book?

Discussion in 'Liturgy, and Book of Common Prayer' started by Mockingbird, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. Mockingbird

    Mockingbird Member

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    United States
    Here is my critique of the old (1928) American Prayer Book. I have one for the 1979 book, too, but this is enough for now.

    I. General:
    a. No peculiar rites for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or the Easter Vigil. (I didn't even know that there was such a thing as an Easter Vigil until I heard it from the proposed new book in 1977.)

    II. Morning Prayer:
    a. Reduced suffrages. (Presumably this was because, on Sunday, the Litany was expected to follow.)
    b. No provision for use of antiphons with psalms. (Antiphons were only allowed with the Venite.)
    c. The congregation was required to kneel at the prayers. The old traditional posture for prayer, standing, was utterly forbidden.
    d. No provision for a hymn or anthem, as in Evening Prayer, after the collects. (Though this was mitigated by the general rubric allowing hymns at the beginning and end of any service and before and after the sermon. On the other hand, the rubrics didn't actually provide for a sermon at Morning Prayer, though this was universally ignored.)

    III. Evening Prayer.
    a. No Phos hilaron or other opening hymn as part of the rite (though the general rubric on hymns would have permitted it as the very first thing, before the Sentence of Scripture.).

    IIII. Communion:
    a. Tablecloth required to be of linen. Cotton, wool, or other fabrics utterly forbidden, even were they never so fairly bleached nor so finely woven.
    b. Reserving consecrated bread and wine for the sick and shut-in utterly forbidden. (The canons must have been changed, or else this rubric was widely ignored, for I remember seeing reservation-tablernacles since I was small.)
    c. Gloria in excelsis forbidden to be sung in its traditional place after the Collect for Purity. (The only thing the rubrics allowed here were the Ten Commandments, the Summary of the Law, and the Kyrie "if the Decalogue hath been omitted.")
    d. Frankenmass option lacking in elegance. Morning Prayer would be said up to the first canticle, then the full communion service would start. (The new BCP's approach is more elegant, It allows part, or even all, of Morning Prayer to serve as the Synaxis of the Eucharist.)
    e. No "The Lord be with you" to introduce the Sursum Corda. Celebrant required to say "Lift up your hearts" immediately after the Comfortable Words.
    f. Bidding of the Bedes broken into two pieces, one part (the Bidding Prayer) before the offertory and optional, and one part (Prayer for the Whole State of Christ's Church) after the offertory.
    g. Prayer for the Whole State of Christ's Church (2nd half of the Bidding of the Bedes) and confession of sin intrude between Offertory and Eucharistic Prayer.
    h. No provision for the eucharistic elements to be brought to the table along with the alms.
    i. No kiss of peace.
    j. Eucharistic prayer gives thanks for the atonement only. No mention is made of creation, or of any part of salvation history prior to the atonement, except as might occur on high holidays in the Preface.
    k. People apparently required to kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer (though the rubrics do not explicitly so state--they say that the people must kneel for the confession, then are silent about posture during the eucharistic prayer, implying that they remain kneeling.) The old traditional posture, standing, forbidden at least by implication.
    l. People required to kneel to receive communion. The old traditional posture, standing, utterly forbidden.
    m. People forbidden to say the Prayer of Humble Access together with the celebrant (though this, in my experience, was universally ignored.)

    V. Marriage rite:
    a. No provision for the bride to give a ring or other marriage-gift to the groom.
    b. Procreation given priority over joy in the rehearsal of purposes of marriage.
    c. No kiss of peace.

    VI. Baptism rite:
    Nothing wrong here, but the consecration of the water in the new BCP is better.

    VII. Confirmation rite:
    Nothing wrong with the rite itself, but the rubrics and canons were understood as ordinarily requiring that one be confirmed before receiving communion. I never received communion until after I was confirmed. I would never advocate a return to that understanding of the sacraments.

    VIII. Calendar:
    a. No black-letter days. (But the canons must have been revised at some point, for The Lesser Feasts and Fasts was available since I can remember.)
    b. Marginal Easter Season. Fridays during the Fifty Days were considered fasting-days as if they were any other Fridays. An antiphon was provided for the Venite for use from Easter to Ascension Day, and, though the rubrics don't explicitly so state, the Sentence of Scripture marked "Easter" was presumably allowed during the same period. At Communion, a proper preface was provided for "Easter Day, and seven days after." The Pascha Nostrum (which was printed with the Collects, Epistles and Gospels, not within the Morning Prayer rite) was permitted "throughout the Octave" but not otherwise.
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  2. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    Franciscan - Anglican
    I was going to say that 1662 BCP had pretty much those differences as well didn't it? I think it is simply just a matter of a changing world, some people like change and some people don't. I feel comfortable in the fact that the message of Jesus Christ is still the same.
  3. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    This is an impressive critique.

    I am a new Anglican. I was confirmed in 2011 after attending an Episcopal Parish for a little over a year. So, I came into the Anglican Church with the 1979 BCP.

    Very interesting post and comments.