The Black Rubric

Note: Since publication, my views on the eucharist and its elements (bread and wine) have somewhat changed. The point in this article was to differentiate Anglican eucharistic presence from the Genevan/Calvinistic one. After further reading, Anglican sacramentalism ought not be mistaken for Lutheran though it is indeed closer to the German idea than Calvin’s. Unlike the Calvinist, Anglican eucharistic doctrine generally agree the elements are separated for use by the both prayer and Word, and the point of focus is indeed in the elements. Nonetheless, the bread is spiritually eaten by faith and not carnally so (as the black rubric says). This might be called “phillipist’ as the Variata is the best continental approximation, usually employing the terminology of ‘sacramental union’. Otherwise, the Anglican is generally more conservative than the Calvinist, giving a true objectivity to the bread and wine which the Genevan commonly does not. The Black Rubric should certainly be treated as part of the historical Prayer Book which lends definition as to how Anglicans uniquely understand the Eucharist contra Rome, Geneva, and Zurich. Please read this superior article by Bp. Peter Robinson, A Conservative Reformation .  Another that reviews terminology of ‘sacramental union’, evident in our articles, is Mr. Lavender’s Laudian Theology of the Lord’s Supper. And, interestingly, Dr. Tighe identified article 29 as a concession to Luther rather than a rejection of consubstantiation. So, perhaps my piece isn’t totally off the mark. These are also superb essays on the same: Novak on Eucharist and Dr. Crouse on Anglican SacramentalismFr. Hart has suggested a convergence of thought between Protestants (represented by Anglicanism) and Rome. Hopefully, together, these links suffice until I can better edit the post below.  For now, note that the Lutheran makes greater plea to the christological statements following the ecumenical council Chalcedon as I partly show below. 

Background: Like the Vestment Controversy, the “Black Rubric” was a topmost Puritan grievance from the middle of the 16-th century until the Toleration Acts in 1689. The Black Rubric concerned bodily gestures of the laity during communion, decrying ‘adoration’ of bread and wine. Divines like Thomas Cranmer hoped to restrain ‘superstitious’ lay devotions (e.g., genuflecting, bowing, and kneeling unto the bread) that persisted through the Edwardian regency despite Puritan remonstrance.

Though the rubric Calvinist-inspired, it confusingly gave leeway to veneration of the host, angering Puritans who wanted a more consistent condemnation. Normally rubrics were highlighted in red ink. It was the only prayer book rubric printed in black font, hence its name. The Black Rubric stated:

We do declare that it is not meant thereby, that any adoration is done, or ought to be done, either to the Sacramental bread and wine there bodily received, or to any real or essential Presence there being of Christ’s natural flesh and blood. For as concerning the Sacramental bread and wine, they remain still in their very natural substances, and therefore may not be adored, for those were Idolatry to be abhorred of all faithful Christians. And as concerning the natural body and blood of our savior Christ, they are in heaven and not here. For it is against he truth of Christ’s natural body, to be in more places than one, at the same time.

The controversy around adoration illustrates how tightly prayer and theology are bound together. Minutia such as how the sacrament is received can become a great liturgical matter with deep theological ramifications. Relatively simple rules intended to restrain error—e.g, “scripture alone” or RPW– too frequently explode into larger hermeneutical, creedal questions, especially where the issue does not render itself easily interpretation or “necessary consequence”. Amazingly even the smallest bodily gesture could speak volumes regarding the nature of the bread, having even creedal implications. In reality there are few ‘transparent’ matters but many more complex questions. The Black Rubric was one such dilemma.

Puritans believed measures like the Black Rubric evidenced Episcopacy’s wish to restore Roman Catholicism. Thus the matter was both dire and urgent. When the Solemn League and Covenant (SLC) was finally adopted by Puritans (Long Parliament 1643), the Black Rubric was just one of many complaints which justified English civil war beginning in 1642. But the black rubric controversy was rooted in earlier, acrimonious debates on the continent that began in Germany between Reformed and Lutheran parties. This debate later spilled northward into Britain where partisans differed over the extent Roman Catholic sacramentology required revision. Debates around the Supper are summed by two main categories, the Black Rubric properly belonging to the second–

1. The elements of communion as an offertory sacrifice,
2. The mode of Christ’s presence during the Supper.

Christ’s Presence: With respect to adoration and real presence, amongst Protestants only Lutherans and Calvinists gave the Supper a spiritual realism. Zwingli and the Anabaptist reduced the entire rite to an empty symbol, not departing grace but only stirring the heart to contemplate Christ. This view is called memoralism. However, the Zwinglian position will not be discussed here since in the English Church all parties rejected it. All parties were “realists”. The Henrician Church was either Recusant (Romanist) or Lutheran. By the time of Prince Edward IV possessed the throne, the church added Calvinist definitions. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, the principal author of the BCP, was himself a Lutheran won over to Calvinism in the 1546. But these differences were enough. Though much of England’s Protestantism might be said to have been a mixture of Calvinistic and Lutheran opinion, the combination was nonetheless tense if not volatile. Their disagreement was not over realism in the rite but the over the consecrated bread itself conferring grace.

Both Lutherans and Calvinists believed the command, “take, eat this in memory of me” bound the limits by which Christ could say to have been ‘present’. Thus, adoration (if permitted at all) had to be connected to the activity of ‘eating’— not carried about or displayed. Luther considered genuflection and other forms of adoration during the rite “indifferent” given these acts of veneration were not separated from an immediate intent to eat. The bread could not be smuggled home or placed in a monstrance on the altar since its purpose for nourishment not gazing. Calvin held a more restricted view, shaped least not by the regulative principle but especially by the mode through which Calvin conceived grace conferred in the rite.

Natural eating was not Calvin’s focus. The difference with Luther revolved around interpretations of the ‘verba’, “this is my body”, i.e., “hoc est corpus meum”. Calvin preferred a figurative interpretation while Luther (like the Roman Catholic) insisted on a literal. Calvin argued the bread cannot circumspect the flesh of Christ given Christ’s humanity was located in heaven not on earth or in bread. Christ’s flesh cannot be swallowed by the mouth or gnashed by teeth. Moreover, the human nature of Christ could not be “all places at once”. Thus, it was improper to speak of the bread as containing or carrying the substance of Christ. If Christ is not localized in or around the bread, then how His death is appropriated by the believer becomes the crucial question. Calvin’s answer is the Holy Spirit, through the administration of the rite, raises the hearts of men spiritually into heaven whereupon they really and truly communicate with the substance of Christ.

Though this sounds very “memorialist”—a symbol that stirs faith upward– Calvin insists a real, spiritual reality lay hidden behind the rite. Calvin is focused on the rite as a whole, especially the faith of those who commune with Jesus, not particularly the bread. Calvin’s Supper may be generously called an ‘upward epiclesis’, evidenced by his liturgical preference for the Sursum Corda, “lift up your hearts”. The ‘key’ idea for Calvin is the Eucharist is a true ‘ascent’, the partaker raptured by the Holy Spirit. However, this was a radical departure from earlier understandings of communion since the “ascent” technically shifted focus away from the word-consecrated bread toward faith working inside men, essentially ex opere operantis. Calvin’s new emphasis is more the congregation rather than any particular element in the rite. The “body” for Calvinism is no longer a tangible bread that we may touch for greater faith but an ‘intellectualized’ body corresponding to the saving faith of congregants. Already there’s a strong sense of iconoclasm (displacing all visual symbols) in this schema which is absolute under RPW.

Luther’s literal approach toward the words, “this is my body”, challenged him to explain how the bread could localize Christ if His body remained in heaven. For Luther, Christ’s humanity was capable of descent to earth (a downward epiclesis) according to Christ’s homostasis with His own divinity. Though an economy of man and divine exist in Christ, Jesus remained was a single person, not two. Both the miracles and sufferings of Christ—e.g., walking on water, raising from the dead, ascending into heaven, virgin birth, dying on the cross, his passion, etc—were necessarily experienced and executed by one and the same person who never ceased being both divine and human simultaneously. To say otherwise would render impossible any claim that “our God died for us”. According to Luther, the real presence of Jesus “in, around, and under” the bread is likewise miraculous, the quality of omnipresence belonging to Christ’s divinity yet inseparable from His humanity by reason of His entire person. Luther pressed the homostasis of Christ in order to explain how ubiquity may communicate human activity (death) to the bread.

Unlike Calvin, Luther avoided ambiguity regarding locale of grace. Calvin somewhat equivocates or confuses the means of grace by emphasizing an invisible element “in, around, and under” the ‘hearts of men’. Consequently, it is unclear what role the bread plays, and the related efficacious channel for grace is now generalized and abstracted to the rite itself of which the congregation is the principle component. Calvin ushers a radical shift. In contrast, Luther retains the concrete center and efficacy of the bread as an objective sign and seal. His focus is not the hearts of men but how the creative-word divinizes the bread (and in turn, our souls). In fact, Luther’s efficacy operates outside and independent of faith working, ex opere operato. The reality of the Christ’s Body “within and around” bread does not depend on man’s belief. If men partake in unbelief, they do so to their condemnation. The sacrament remains efficacious with or without proper faith. Luther seems to set the Roman error straight without a radical departure from earlier devotions, and this kind of conservatism is more in character to Anglicanism. One might then understand how Lutheranism lends itself to tolerate adoration while Calvinism quickly marginalizes traditional devotion.

Emphasis on faith working (reception) shifted ecclesiology away from the altar toward the pews. Under Calvin the spotlight is not the verba uttered by the minister over bread and wine but on the piety of the congregation. This shift favored a new view of the church as democratic assembly if not a flattened hierarchy of elders. No more was the president accompanied by deacons and con-celebrants in the Eucharist prayer and rubrics. No more was the role of distribution exclusively in the hands of clerics. If the rite is so generalized, the implication is grace has no (or at least a very weakened) ecclesial medium, allowing faith to be understood in more pietistic ways.

Puritans called adoration “bread worship”. The matter was far more complex. Not only at stake was traditional lay-piety but the Creedal and Apostolic traditions that the Church of England based her Orthodoxy upon. For Puritans the black rubric represented license to idolatry. For recusant Romans and Anglicans the black rubric was at best hastily conceived and confused, serving no good purpose. Both parties disliked the Rubric’s simultaneous permission/condemnation of adoration. Queen Elizabeth wisely omitted it from the 1559 version resulting in a great diversity of practice. Some parishes continued kneeling while others forbade. This uneasy situation lasted until 1643 when kneeling was finally banned. However, if the Crown bowed to Puritan accusations of idolatry, England’s historical orthodoxy would have been compromised.

Ecumenical Councils: A great scandal of Protestantism is its selective appropriation of the councils. Protestants define orthodoxy as the Councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon. Yet this is misleading since Chalcedon is only one of five councils which explain the Nicaea formulas. Protestants conveniently dismiss the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth councils on the basis they only reaffirmed Chalcedon. This simply is not true! We cannot fully understand nor appreciate Chalcedon without acknowledging the Councils that followed, namely Constantinople I and II. This is especially true for the Sacrament debate that borrowed heavily depended upon these Christological councils. Calvin drew heavily from Chalcedon, but Luther understood Chalcedon in light of ecumenical synods that followed. It is a gross example of Reformed ‘higher criticism’ with respect to Patristic sources to appropriate Chalcedon at the expense of Constantinople.

Calvin’s understanding of the verba’s “body” or “meum” conceded Zwingli’s contention that Christ’s body unalterably remained in heaven, incapable of descent or ubiquity due to natural limitations. Calvin evoked the chalcedonian formula, “two natures, without confusion…the distinction of natures being in no way abolished because of the union, but rather the characteristic property of each being preserved”. Calvin especially appealed to Leo’s seminal dictum, “each nature does what pertains to it—the human to the human, the divine to divine’. Jesus’ humanity (i.e, his passion and death) therefore could not do what was improper to it, i.e., to become “in and around” the substance of bread. Rather, the omnipresence of God belonged separately to the divine nature and these properties are not shared. Thus, Calvin forces a radical wedge between Christ’s human and divine attributes, supposedly mustering orthodoxy in defense of Zwingli’s iconoclasm.

However, Calvin’s appropriation of the fourth ecumenical council is a highly selective. While Chalcedon did insist on the distinction of man and divine, it also confessed the inseperable and indivisible unity of divine and human natures, both concurring in “one person and one substance,not as if Christ was parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and only begotten God, Word, Lord, Jesus Christ”. Calvin conveniently passes over this unity of natures as one substance and person of Christ, making what is to be one, rather two (as the divine cannot deify or commune with the human). Also, Leo’s dictum of proper activity his later writings which, far from revoking his earlier Tome, elaborate the chalcedonian doctrine where “divine action neither damage the validity of the human nor do human actions damage the fullness of the divine, and between them neither is their property absorbed nor persons doubled”. Furthermore, Calvin ignored Chalcedon’s simultaneous affirmation of Cyrill’s Second letter that stressed the unity of the natures in one Person, “Godhead and Manhood completed for us one Lord and Christ and Son by their unutterable and unspeakable concurrence into unity”, especially since the councils that clarified Chalcedon were decidedly Cyrilian. Therefore, Calvin is rather biased about both the foundational documents and Chalcedon’s wording.

Calvin’s radical approach toward Christ’s two natures effectively doubles the person of Jesus, approaching Nestorianism. While Calvin would not deny the ubiquity of the divine nature, he radically divides the two natures in such a way that the same is not granted to the Person of Jesus. It is as if Calvin forces confusion with ‘nature’ and ‘person’, Worst, Calvin’s Nestorianism, if consistent, logically divorces Jesus’ divine miracles from His Manhood and vice-versa. This is very similar to Nestorius’s rejection of Theotokos (“one who gives birth to God”). If God cannot participate in Jesus’ humanity, then how can we say, “God died for our Sins”, since death is proper only to human nature? This is what Calvin is really saying, replacing nature for person.

More damaging to Calvin’s arguments against ubiquity (or a “downward epiclesis”) are later ecumenical councils (Constantinople II and III) that necessarily clarified Chalcedon in order to avert similar doublings of Christ’s persons. These later councils dealt with the will and miracles of Jesus, insisting that neither divine nor human actions could be confused; neither could they be isolated from each other. When Jesus ascended into heaven, his human nature necessarily accompanied the divine. Likewise, when Christ died on the cross, His divine nature shared His death. It is rather a false proposition to say either God or Man died. Constantinople III claimed One Person died. To say otherwise divides or doubles His single Person. Constantinople III also said regarding His crucifixion:

“We recognize the miracles and the sufferings as of one and the same Person, but of one or of the other nature of which he is and in which he exists…believing our Lord Jesus Christ to be one of the Trinity and after the incarnation our rue God, we say that his two natures shone forth in his one subsistence in which he both performed the miracles and endured the sufferings through the whole of his economic conversation and that not in appearance only but in very deed”

Constantinople II described the unity of two natures in one person a “synthetic and hypostatic union” (canon 4). Synthetic union meant two unconfused natures which are untied but do not allow separation. The Seventh canon condemned those who divide the natures making of them two persons or entities. And, finally the ninth prescribed worship of Christ by single adoration–

9. If anyone says that Christ is to be worshipped in his two natures, and by that wishes to introduce two adorations, a separate one for God the Word and another for the man; or if anyone, so as to remove the human flesh or to mix up the divinity and the humanity, monstrously invents one nature or substance brought together from the two, and so worships Christ, but not by a single adoration God the Word in human flesh along with his human flesh, as has been the tradition of the church from the beginning: let him be anathema.

Conclusion: Far from viewing themselves a new or primitive Church, Magisterial Protestants leaned heavily on Patristic sources like Chalcedon to justify their claim that Rome had departed from apostolic faith. While Rome fell back on medieval scholastics, Protestants borrowed from older fathers like Augustine, Jerome, and Leo III, disproving the claim that Reformers breeched tradition. However, when Lutheran and Calvinists confessions were presented to the East, Greeks could not “amen” Protestant orthodoxy simply because Reformed faith was so eclectic and partial with quoting the Fathers. Augustine’s predestination minus his sacramentology, or Leo’s two natures without Cyril’s one Person, revealed their critical and even innovative approach to orthodoxy which the East rightly calls ‘over-intellectualized’.

The Puritan rejection of adoration really entailed a new concept of worship. How does God communicate His graces? The Reformed favor weak ecclesial structures, democratizing church government to deprive prelacy of its disciplinary power. Traditional sacramental piety suffered the chopping block, and low clergy allied themselves with Radicals (like Zwingli) led the charge. The gravity of communion shifted away from the consecration of the bread to the internal disposition of the heart. Under the Zwingli, iconoclasm joins with the spiritualization of the Eucharist. Calvin’s subsequent appropriation of Zwingli’s Gnostic division of Spirit and Matter is too unstable to be reconciled with either Luther or early lay devotion. Like the Black Rubric (oddly condemning yet permitting adoration), Calvin’s insistence on the Real Presence, generalizing it to somewhere in the rite itself but nowhere particular, is a ‘useless equivocation’.

The end result is confusion. We cannot identify the channel of grace either in the president or consecrated elements. Worse, by rationally tearing asunder what God has declared one (His Eternal Son taking a rational soul and very body), we risk approaching separate Christs vs. the One Christ. The eighth of Constantinople II declares this doubling a falsehood, and, ironically, in the context of worship Calvin may be advocating idolatry,

“those who divide or split up the mystery of the divine dispensation of Christ and those who introduce into that mystery some confusion are equally rejected and anathematized by the church of God”.

Receptionalist and Memoralists alike ought to ask themselves this question, “Did God die on the Cross”? If God died on the cross in union with perfect man, then couldn’t perfect man likewise be given to us in and around bread in union with God? Our response to this miracle may indeed be veneration; after all, Christ accepted the adoration of the hemorrhaging woman touched his garment. When God declared himself “in, around, and with” the Burning Bush, Moses likewise removed his sandals before God’s presence.

The question of God’s presence in the bread (where He proclaims I AM HERE) is essentially Christological. In this respect Luther, not Calvin, comes closer to the sum of patristic faith– “the faith of Leo, Cyril, and Nicaea”. The question boils down to the Mystery of the Incarnation—how two distinct natures can be indivisibly united in One Person for our salvation.

13 responses to “The Black Rubric

  1. 3.8 hours at the office, 1.2 billed. Ugh. The up side is I had time to read this.

    First, just for fun: Have you ever seen a PB with actual ruby rubrics? I think I’ve seen 1; I don’t remember what year or country. I’m sure you and I think of ruby rubrics as being proper to the Missal these days.

    Second, I think it just needs to be said, for anyone else out there reading this, that the Black Rubric was in some printings of the 1552 PB, but not in the 1662. The 1662 did require ordinary bread be used for the Sacrament, nothing like the very special stuff we use. I didn’t look at the Elizabethan PBs. Didn’t some edition call for the laity to receive Communion seated, or was that just debated, not required?

    NB: We can generally look at PB editions to determine what Parliament concluded in the years they’re named for, but I go back and forth as to how helpful they are in telling us what actually happened in English churches. Of course, the Black Rubric wasn’t even approved by Parliament. To understand Anglican liturgy in practice, contemporary historical documents, ranging from recorded debates in Parliament to the music of Byrd, Tallis, Gibbons, through to Vaughan Williams, are helpful.

    Again, just for fun: I was reading the Tract on Fasting recently, and Newman or Pusey or whoever wrote it sites the rules for fasting adopted by the American Church in 1789 forward as evidence of what actually occurred under the 1662 PB. I thought it was kind of cool that we crazy colonists would be sited as a liturgical authority. It also connects to failed research I did for Fr. TC on a possible influence of the never-used 1689 PB on the 1789 and later American PBs.

    One last general, prefatory remark: I thought it was universally acknowledged that it was the Puritans who snuck the Black Rubric into the PB in the first place….?

  2. After all that throat-clearing, let me actually respond.

    I’m uncomfortable calling Abp. TC (not the Fr. TC I did research for) a divine, just because I’m used to that term being used in the “Westminster Divines” context. I understand, however, there is contemporary (to Abp. TC, that is), or near contemporary, authority for calling all consecrated ministers of those days “divines.”

    More importantly, when I did my research on the 1549 and 1552 BCPs, the scholars I read were of the opinion that the we couldn’t know TC’s liturgical preferences beyond what’s in the 1552 BCP. Some say there is evidence between the 1549 and 1552 BCPs that TC was against sung services. My research was just on the Communion service, but I note now quickly that the 1549 has “Matins” and “Evensong” while the 1552 has Morning and Evening Prayer. (Fr. JA has the habit of referring to Evensong even when we won’t actually sing it. I’d lightheartedly correct him, were it not for this excellent authority. But maybe he’s reading this and is hereby corrected…)

    Another note on your Background: Kneeling v. sitting in receiving Communion is hardly a minutia in practice. In the generally less educated, less literate days of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, whether one knelt, stood, or sat in church (and whether the Celebrant wore liturgical or academic vestments) would have been a huge deal.

  3. Re: 1…Christ’s Presence

    NOT “not departing grace” but “not IMPARTING grace”

    Why do you choose 1546 as the date Abp. TC adopted Calvin’s position on the Eucharist? The 1549 PB is (Roman) Catholic. TC’s book on the Eucharist came out in 1550 or 1551.

    I think everywhere you have “homostasis” you mean “hypostasis.” I understand the spell checks are not schooled in theology. I don’t know what “homostasis” is in theology.

    Also, replace “president” with “presbyter.” “Presbyter” is a great word. It’s biblical. St. Jerome just transliterated it for the Vulgate, so it’s Greek and Latin. Some English translations keep this up. And it’s in the 1928 PB. I find it thus applicable to consecrated ministers in the East and West, whether Calvinist, Lutheran, Roman, or Anglican.

  4. Re: “Ecumenical Councils”

    I don’t read Greek, but I’ve seen “tokos” in other contexts, and I think your translation goes too far. There have been councils and schisms over how to render theotokos into Latin. Maybe we should just stop trying to translate it. “Theo” is “God.” “Tokos,” from what I’ve read, is a common Greek word for “carry” or “bear.” We say in English, “Anne Boleyn was already carrying Henry VIII’s child when they were married.” But we also say, “Anne bore Henry his first legitimate son 3 or 6 months after they were married.” But I’ve seen “tokos” in a context similar to “It is hard work carrying the groceries upstairs.”

  5. Re: “Conclusion”

    I have Orthodox Presbyterian friends, too, and their polity is by no means deprived of disciplinary power when it comes to matters our RC brothers would call “moral.” I might be willing to go along with you when it comes to matters our RC brothers would call “of faith.” The Orthodox Presbyterians I know are so well catechized it’s hard to imagine their having to deal with heresy. Certainly their polity puts the formation/definition of doctrine into the hands of the laity, and if they read what I’m about to say in my final comment, they’d be aghast at my deference to our clergy.

  6. Re: the whole

    My problem as an Anglican with adopting the Lutheran view of the Eucharist is that the Lutheran teaching, called “consubstantiation,” has been around for 450 years now and is not buried in obscure writings, and yet I have never heard a priest of our jurisdiction, whether one we both know or the ones I met in Vir., recommend it for study or belief. Granted, I know no priests of our jurisdiction who are particularly interested in Luther, but if Luther and his spiritual sons had worked out a doctrine of the Eucharist good and acceptable for Anglicans, why not just say so? Nor do we need to limit it to Anglicans teaching today. The people behind the Oxford Movement were familiar with Luther, and yet as they developed our uniquely Anglican teaching on the Real Presence (which I have a name for, but I won’t write it here, for fear of a round scolding from certain clergy), they didn’t adopt Luther’s teaching wholesale.

    But maybe you’re not doing that, either. I agree that Luther was closer to the truth on this point than Calvin or Zwingli.

    Something to be aware of, especially now that we’re nearing the end of Lent, Fr. WS in Vir. says some Ecumenical Council or other declared there was to be no kneeling at Mass during Eastertide.

  7. Re: conclusion

    Yes. I find the conservative Presbyterians to be excellent at moral discipline. This is an aspect of reformation that I certainly admire (the penitential aspect) and wish to keep/expand. One reason why conservative Presbyterians are well catechized is because they have a fairly involved confession and catechism (short and long) which they use! I believe we threw the baby out with the bathwater when we tossed the 39 Articles out. This was not very councilar of us! At least we could have done what the REC initially did, modify the 39 to 35… This is a pretty big deal since I know the good of using Articles.

  8. Re: the Whole.

    Regarding the Black Rubric’s history. I am not clear on this. Between 1552 and 1662 there were three PB revisions. Though the 1552 PB was not adopted by Parliament, much of it carried over into the 1559 version. Subsequent modifications under James and Charles were minor. Looking at my copy of the 1559, the communion service describes reception of the host, “And after the people, in their order, be given in their hands kneeling”.

    The 1662 says the same, “The people also in order, into their hands, meekly kneeling”. So it looks like kneeling was prescribed. However, the Elizabethian version did not bother to qualify the nature of kneeling– be it done by reverence or adoration. It is silent here, Elizabeth saying nothing positive either way, and I am sure this upset the Puritan party. However, despite the restoration being portrayed as a defeat of Puritanism, the 1662 prayer book is more evangelical, restoring the Black Rubric by positively denying localized, corporeal presence, “it being against the truth of Christ’s natural body to be at one time in more places than once”.

    I hate to guess, but I believe the 1552 version allowed the option to receive without kneeling. There was often a fair degree of silence to allow parishes to use their own conscience, and those who preferred Geneva would have sat during receptions as was done in the Scottish Kirk. Before I forget, yes, the origin of the black rubric was Cranmer’s last minute attempt to keep Puritans happy. I think it failed however because if anything the Rubric permits ‘veneration’ yet denies ‘adoration’. What good is that? It won over neither puritan nor recusant. I also believe Cranmer had a secondary motive. The Archbishop had in mind a protestant synod with between with the Swiss and Germans, but sadly Edward IV died, dashing hopes for a larger protestant league.

    Thomas Cranmer’s liturgical preferences are probably harder to pin down than his view on sacrament. However, even here there is development. As you already know, Cranmer moved in the evangelical direction not catholic. To the extent I talk about the Black Rubric, I am really discussing two deeper subjects: 1. The manner of real presence in the sacrament. 2. how worship confesses doctrine (RPW).

    The Black Rubric acknowledges just how important this ‘minutia’ can be. RPW raises more questions than answers. More often it avoids problems by quietly treating this minutia “indifferent”. According to RPW, all worship must be biblically prescribed, otherwise it cannot be done. If this is true, then how does a strict Regulativist justify distribution of the bread in pews vs. a table? Or praying with hands clasped? Isn’t silence or omission also liturgically significant? All of this might be considered ‘minutia’ but for seventeenth century England it translated to civil war.

    I agree minutia is important and nearly every bodily action has liturgical significance in worship. Worship is highly embodied, and, of course, how we receive sacrament (treat the bread) tells us volumes about our belief in real presence. Sitting was a Puritan reaction, and it redirected veneration toward the people, whereas kneeling admitted something specific to the altar, bread, and priest. Between the two views on eucharistic bread, we have two views of ecclesiology. Thus the black rubric and kneeling had very deep implications!

    In this post I wanted to point out there were two positions one could take with respect to real presence without following the path of Rome– Lutheran and Calvinist. Often contemporary Calvinists will casually dismiss a localized presence and veneration of sacrament as logically impossible since “Christ’s natural body is in heaven”. However, to me this seems like an incredible oversimplification of 16th century debates on sacrament. The Lutheran position is much more complex, and both Calvin and Luther are really debating the christology of Chalcedon. Where I find Calvinists disgenuine is the car blanche rejection of the writings of Cyril (and even portions of Leo) which were foundational to Chalcedon as well as later ecumenical synods which clarified the fourth ecumenical council. At the heart of Calvinist receptionism is a quasi-Nestorianism which treats the human and divine natures of Christ as two persons (two homostases). Anyway, it is wrong for Presbyterians to blyly dismiss adoration of sacrament, calling such merely ‘Romanist’. These matters are far deeper than they realize, the argument being creedal in nature.

    While you are right about Anglo-catholic views (which if anything seem to “de facto” adopt transubstantiation?), the 16th century Church of England went through a number of transitions. After Cranmer, who migrated from Lutheran to a Calvinist position, in Elizabeth’s Articles of Religion (1563-71), the inclusion of Article 29, is a definitive break from receptionism/virtualism, “although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth”. The only way to reconcile Article 28 w/ 29 is by Lutheranism. This is a reproachment with the Ten Articles of 1536 which were very German.

    I’d like to say more regarding the political circumstances of Lutheran vs. Reformed in 1571 as well as the theology of Elizabeth’s archbishops. But there was a Lutheran move away from Calvin under Elizabeth. At least, this is what Fr. Michael has told me, and my recent readings on the 39 Articles seem to suggest the same, sort of mitigating the influence of Cranmer and the Swiss refugees.

    PS> Regarding “homostasis” vs. “hypostasis.” I wanted to use “homostasis” which I believe means “one person”. Despite two natures, there is still one Person, sic. Christ. Homostasis requires us to accept the hypostasis of Christ’s natures, divine and human. They do implicate one another, and I probably should have used both terms.

  9. Here is an email I received from a Lutheran priest clarifying what Lutherans confess regarding the sacrament of the bread:

    Sorry this has taken me so long, but I was away from my e-mail for a while.

    I am not 100% certain how you are using the term corporeal, but we could confess a true bodily presence. The Lutheran Confessions, specifically the Formula (Solid Declaration VII 98-102) use certain terms to describe the modes of Christ’s presence, the circumscriptive mode, that in which a body normal exists, occupying a “circumscribed” space, the manner in which our bodies may be present, and then the diffinitive mode, where the body is actually present, but not circumscribed, his presence in the Sacrament or as he passed through locked doors, and finally the repletive made, what we would call his omnipresence. Though helpful they cannot completely help us understand the mystical presence of Christ’s true body and blood in the Sacrament. Lutherans like to stick with the words “This (bread) is my body.” The reference to chewing with the teeth, I believe, is when Luther defended Pope Nicolas for forcing Berengar (who denied the real presence) to say that when we chew the bread, we are chewing the body of Christ, for what happens to the bread happens to the body of Christ. (You can find this discussion in AE 37 p. 300 ff). He said this in defense of the truth that the bread is the body of Christ, therefore… However, our Lutheran Confessions also reject what is called a “Capernaitic” eating, (from the events in Capernaum John 6), that is, we reject the eating in the natural, human way in which we consume food. Rome, I believe, and the Orthodox, do as well.

    Hope this helps for starters.

  10. I’m looking for an informal, completely or semi-anonymous blog to help explain the whole concept to my boss, after showing him a respectable, signed blog attached to the Chronicle; but I don’t think one revealing several posts at work, or my complaining about my work load, is quite the one to choose.

  11. Pingback: The King’s Allegiance « Anglican Rose

  12. Michael O'Farrell

    Remember what Chesterton said after his conversion to Roman Catholicism {without, at this point, my quibbling over the adjective}:–

    “Suppose there is a Family quarrel; and one of the sons leaves the house, declaring, “There shall be no more wine!” And suppose that, later on, he decides there should be wine after all. I believe the thing for him to do is to return to his Father’s house and say, “We will drink the first glass of wine together”. He ought no to set up over the hill in a house of his own, drinking his wine alone”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s