From Fr Alan Cooke


Some of us old ‘uns find it hard to understand how people like Andrew Sabinsky and Endre Kormos (‘The Young Tractarians’, April issue) so gladly embrace new technology while at the same time being so wedded to sixteenth-century liturgy and some of the utterances of the Fathers of the first Christian centuries.

The authors of the Book of Common Prayer and of the Tridentine Missal were equally mistaken in asserting that they alone could claim early Christian precedent for their respective liturgies. Features such as the introductory prayers before the altar, the place of the Peace, and the Last Gospel (in the Tridentine rite) and the lack of a coherent Eucharistic Prayer (in the BCP) are accretions to, or derogations from the integrity of the early eucharistic rites, and have been rightly reformed.

As for patristic exegesis, the Roman Breviary still contains such puzzling examples as this excerpt from S. Andrew of Crete, appointed to be read on Palm Sunday:


‘For he is pleased to have shown us this gentleness, he   who is gentle and who “rides upon the setting sun”, which refers to our extreme lowliness….As the first fruits of the whole batch of man he is said to “ride upon the heaven of heavens to the rising sun”, which I interpret as his own glory and divinity….’ 


Is this sort of stuff really a help to catholic Christians in the twenty-first century?


The Reverend Alan Cooke 

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