Book of Common Prayer

Article

Book which contains the “Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church after the use of the Church of England.” It was adopted by the realm of England as the standard service book by the first Act of Uniformity passed, 21 January 1549, ostensibly to make for uniformity by having it in English but actually to abolish the use of the Catholic service books, e.g., those of Bangor, Hereford, Lincoln, Salisbury, and York, and to eliminate those tenets and practises condemned by the Reformers. Among these were the Real Presence, seven sacraments, auricular confession, the Mass, prayers for the dead, and the invocation of the Blessed Virgin and saints. In 1552 a second Book of Common Prayer was published to meet the criticism of the imprisoned Catholic Bishop Gardiner and the “Censura” of Bucer. The restoration of Catholic services upon the accession of Mary I prevented the wide use of this 1552 edition, but a third and revised edition was published in 1559, after Elizabeth ascended the throne. The use of the Book of Common Prayer was forbidden by Parliament, 1645, under penalty of fine and imprisonment and in its place was substituted the Presbyterian Directory for the Public Worship of God in the Three Kingdoms. Under Charles II the Book of Common Prayer was revised in 1662 to comply with Presbyterian demands. By order of a Royal Commission in 1906, the edition of 1662 underwent a further revision and as approved by the National Assembly of the Church of England in 1927, was submitted to Parliament. The House of Lords accepted it but it was rejected by the House of Commons on the grounds that an alternative order for the administration of Holy Communion with proposed reservation of the Eucharist to make it available for administration to the sick, favored the doctrine of the Real Presence. This objection was met by amendments specifically repudiating any manifestation of belief in the Real Presence. Ancient Catholic Missals, Breviaries, Rituals, and Pontificals in use prior to the reign of Edward VI had comprised the sources for the original book. These were purged of things pronouncedly Catholic and numerous ancient feasts and saints‘ days were deleted from the Calendar. Several saints were added, some omitted, in the revised edition of 1928. It contains daily morning and evening prayers, Collects, Epistles and Gospels for the year, order for Holy Communion, Baptism, Confirmation, Matrimony, visitation of the sick, burial of the dead, churching of women, the Psalter, ordination of priests and deacons, consecration of bishops and the Thirty-nine Articles of religion. In April 1928, the Assembly of the Church of England finally approved the revised prayer-book measure, which was however rejected by the House of Commons on 14 June. In 1929 the Anglican bishops have incurred much censure by ordering the use of the rejected Book of Common Prayer in Anglican churches.

MLA Citation

  • “Book of Common Prayer”. New Catholic Dictionary. Saints.SQPN.com. 22 August 2010. Web. 17 September 2014. <http://saints.sqpn.com/book-of-common-prayer/>