Question from on 07-30-2007:
Why is the Anglican/Episcopal eucharist or mass of the Book of Common Prayer considered defective or invalid by the Catholic Church? Can a Catholic priest say Mass using the Book of Common Prayer?
Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 08-01-2007:
When Henry VIII died, who for all his moral faults had no intention of changing the Catholic sacraments, his 9 year old son Edward became king and fell under the sway of the Protestantizing Archbishop Cranmer. The Edwardian Ordinal by which Anglican clergy were henceforth ordained was missing the true Catholic idea of the Priesthood as sacrificing. This Protestant direction of the Anglican Church was confirmed by the 39 articles of religion approved during Elizabeth I's reign (1572). Concerning the Mass article 31 states,
XXXI. Of the one oblation of Christe finished uppon the Crosse. The offering of Christ once made, is the perfect redemption, propiciation, satisfaction for sinne, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said that the Priestes did offer Christe for the quicke and the dead; to haue remission of payne or gylt, were biasphemous fables, and daungerous deceites.
Furthermore, article 37 confirms and imposes the Protestant ordination rites of Edward and Cranmer on Anglicanism, stating,
XXXVI. Of consecration of Bishops and ministers. The booke of Consecration of Archbyshops, and Byshops, and orderyng of Priestes and Deacons, lately set foorth in the time of Edwarde the sixt, and confyrmed at the same tyme by aucthoritie of Parliament, doth conteyne all thinges necessarie to suche consecration and orderyng: neyther hath it any thing, that of it selfe is superstitious or vngodly. And therefore, whosoeuer are consecrate or ordered accordyng to the rites of that booke, sence the seconde yere of the aforenamed king Edwarde, vnto this time, or hereafter shalbe consecrated or ordered accordyng to the same rites, we decree all such to be ryghtly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered.
In today's book of common prayer you will not find the same polemical language, but the repudiation of Catholic doctrine is clear, as the current version of article 28 shows,
28. Of the Lord's Supper. The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the mutual love that Christians ought to have among themselves. Rather, it is a sacrament of our redemption through Christ's death. To those who rightly, worthily, and with faith receive it, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ, and similarly the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ. Transubstantiation (the change of the substance of the bread and wine) in the Supper of the Lord cannot be proved from holy Scripture, but is repugnant to the plain teaching of Scripture. It overthrows the nature of a sacrament and has given rise to many superstitions. The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper only in a heavenly and spiritual manner. The means by which the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is by faith.
Hence, the Catholic Church judges Angelican Orders to be defective, and Catholics may not use Anglican rites. There is an Anglican use liturgy for convert clergy who have been ordained to the Catholic Church, but it has been corrected of such errors by Rome in order to accord with Catholic teaching.