Saturday, 7 July 2012

On Liturgical Peculiarities.

File:Pontifical Mass - 15th Century - Project Gutenberg eText 16531.jpg 

As I wander around the diocese a wee bit (Spiky Mike's for choice, Eyemouth if I'm with Rachel and not on duty and elsewhere if covering services) it has come to my attention that a new liturgical oddity has surfaced in the last few months. (The last oddity I noticed in all honesty was the funny habit of the congregation saying bits of the Eucharistic Prayer that the priest normally did solo, but this is now the "norm" in the SEC and it's hardly worth protesting about now).  We have now taken to praying for a new Trinity in the intercessions - viz "David our Primus, John our Bishop and Susan our Dean".

Now don't get me wrong, all three are good and godly and doubtless need and appreciate all the prayers they can get (don't we all?).  But I am somewhat baffled by this sudden and peculiar elevation of 2 "Offices" to equal status as an "Order".  The Bishop is the chief pastor of the diocese - the Primus is the elected Chair of the College of Bishops and "1st amongst equals" Not and never an Archbishop, quasi, virtual or otherwise.  One of the reasons the Anglican Covenant fell flat in Scotland was it's odd idea that "Primates" were super special and wise and needed more authority and less accountability to the clergy and laity of the Church.  That is not an idea the Scots have ever borne well with - I mean we shot Archbishop Sharp for that sort of thing in the old days.  Prelacy it was called and not at all the "pure and primitive episcopacy" that Bishops Jolly and Skinner sent to Connecticut in 17Oatcake!  Equally, Deans have never been elevated to near Episcopal status. (I can't actually recall hearing anyone pray for "Kevin our Dean" or even "John our Dean" prior to the recent vacancy in the See).  I can understand the enthusiasm for Susan and her breaching the glass ceiling and all that but...  it's a bit like praying for yer Archdeacon in England.  And I've never heard of that happening in the mass very often.

Then again, maybe I'm just the grumpy old man of Scottish liturgy!  It's all gone down hill since the '70 Liturgy (1570 I mean!).  And I do pray for them all.  When directed by the Diocesan cycle of prayer!  (It's probably an Asperger's sorta thing!)


  1. Grumpy? You? Heavens! It may interest you to know that the person who started the congregation of Holy T Dunoon joining in the Eucharistic prayer was arch-conservative, black-suited Fr Edgar, who became a butterfly late in life when I persuaded him to go on a Cursillo weekend and never looked back! But actually, he had us doing this before he went on Cursillo, so I wonder if you'll mellow when you're in your 70s...

  2. I might mellow in my 70's... but I wouldn't bet on it:-) Actually, I've got used to it and don't mind it at all. So I have mellowed quite a bit really!