Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Sarum Rite

From the Catholic Transcript:
Before the Protestant Reformation and King Henry VIII’s break with Roman Catholicism, the Sarum Rite was used in parts of England and Wales, as well as in Scotland and Ireland.

“Sarum” is the old English variant of the Latin Sarisburia; “Salisbury” in modern English. Salisbury is the site of the famed cathedral in which the Sarum Rite was observed. The Rite (i.e., manner of conducting the Liturgy and various ceremonies of worship) developed in Britain after the Norman Conquest. Efforts to revise the sacramentaries and ceremonials followed closely upon William the Conqueror’s Norman stamp on customs and practices. According to some historians, the changeover was especially evident from the time of St. Osmund, the second bishop of Salisbury (1077-99).

Father Joseph A. Jungmann, one of the greatest scholars of the history of the Roman Rite, notes in his opus magnum that following the Norman Conquest, “the Rite of Salisbury or Sarum was gradually developed as a distinct and, up to the Reformation, an essentially conservative and fixed arrangement, both for the entire service and more especially for the Mass. It was the standard not only in a great portion of the English Church but also here and there on the Continent.” (The Mass of the Roman Rite, 1949; English ed., 1959)

Now, of course, the Holy Father has elected to open up the doors of Catholicism to Anglicans not by establishing a new Rite, or by reviving the Sarum Rite, but rather by instituting a fresh structure within the Latin Rite in whole or in part, that of “personal ordinariates.”

However, in the authentic documents relating to these “personal odinariates,” reference is made to accommodating Anglicans desirous of embracing Rome by liturgical adaptations reflecting their own customs, some of which apparently do reflect the medieval English Sarum Rite.

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