Autumn 1552 A.D. Cranmer and Ridley’s new 1552 Book of Common Prayer
A few musings on Prof. Bromiley’s work, 85ff. Bromiley, G.W. Thomas Cranmer: Archbishop and Martyr. London: Church Book Room Press, 1956. The quotation marks indicate the Professor’s words.
The new 1552 Book of Common Prayer was essentially the work of Thomas Cranmer and Nicholas Ridley, the bishop of London.
The new book was not submitted to Convocation but was accepted/passed by a “new Act of Uniformity in 1552.”
Penalties were threatened against “the great number of people in divers parts of the realm” who “did willfully and damnably…refuse to come to the parish churches” (Pollard’s Cranmer, 225).
But, before publication, the “runagate Scot,” John Knox, attacked the kneeling at communion rubric. John would never give up his objection, showing later that he never learned from it. His unteachable obstinacy would resurface in his unfortunately rash and contumacious disturbances in Frankfurt, Germany. In view of the attack, however, the Council “suspended printing” and asked Cranmer to consult with Ridley and Martyr. Cranmer protested that Parliament had accepted the rubric. If Scripture did not command kneeling, it didn’t command “sitting or standing,” Cranmer countered. The Council did not pass it, but did insert the black rubric as a “safeguard” against any thought of the “adoration of Christ in the elements.” While Knox’s objection had pastoral wisdom, given the wafer-worshippers in Lutheran and Romanism (a variance with little difference), the black rubric was a safeguard but also a rebuke to the "runagate Scot" (we still await Presbyterians to afford us an "explicit Biblical reference" to guide one as to sitting, reclining or kneeling, but we digress).
The 1552 BCP appeared in autumn 1552.
It went through several editions “but can hardly have come into sufficiently general use to exercise its full influence at the time.”
(1) 2 sacraments and occasional offices. This was a “break” with the medieval services.
(2) Emphasis was given to the “underlying Protestant doctrine.”
(3) Baptism—certain ancient ceremonies were abandoned “apart from the sign of the cross.” The consecration of the water = a simple dedication. Trine immersion became single immersion.
(4) Confirmation was a “confession of faith and prayer for endowment of the Holy Spirit.”
(5) Private auricular confession was abandoned and a “penitential introduction was prefixed to morning and evening prayer.”
(6) The 1550 Ordinal was revised and “objectionable features were eliminated.”
(7) The “most serious changes” were to the communion office. “Everything possible was done to make it clear that the service did not teach a real presence in the medieval or Lutheran sense. Right at the outset the mass vestments were forbidden.”
The minister was to be at the northward end of the “table” (not “altar”).
Ordinary bread. “…all forms of reservation were forbidden.”
Cranmer: “not even a superficial likeness” to the Mass remained.
The Kyrie Eleison was put to a new use.
The Gloria—“which previously heralded the coming of Christ” in the transubstantiory or consubstatiatory moment was now a thanksgiving at the end. No more conflation or confusion of the sign and the Reality. No more possibility of wafer-worship.
The Agnus Dei and “Blessed is he that cometh” was omitted because it might “easily be taken to imply the doctrine of substantial presence.”
“Take and eat this.” “Drink this” was altered.
The Prayer of Consecration had a new emphasis on “the sole-sufficiency of the one offering of Christ.”
Also, “to exclude any possible suggestion of prayers for the dead there was not even a commemoration of the departed.”
The 1552 BCP did not remain “long in use” but “has a very considerable historical importance.” “It marks a definite movement to the Reformed as opposed to the Lutheran view, not only in doctrine but also in the practical construction of worship.”
This was a “decisive break with traditionalists and the end of any possibility of compromise.”
UPSHOT from Prof. Bromiley comes at page 87.
The point: Lutherans and/or Roman traditionalists NOW “would have to read it [wafer-worshipping ubiquitarianism] in.”
Both were pre-emptively and intentionally precluded and excluded.
Only a “Reformed understanding can be deduced from the form and wording of the service on a plain and straightforward reading.”
The 1552 BCP was the basis of “subsequent slight revisions in the 1559 and 1604” and the “mostly superficial emendment in the 1662 BCP.” Same today (pre-1980s).
This is the “same underlying doctrine, identifying the Church of English with the Reformed family of churches. “To have given the Church a reformed Prayer Book as well as an English Bible was no mean achievement.”
Additionally, Cramer also wanted canon law revision.
The Romanst jurisdiction had introduced “confusion” into existing codes. Cranmer made slow progress, but faced a “combined hostility of common lawyers, courtiers, and a larger section of the populace.”
A draft emerged, the Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticarum, but Cranmer never succeeded in presenting this to Convocation or Parliament. This was due to the “opposition of Northumberland.” It never became law. Revisions were still medievalistic themselves and Prof. Bromiley notes that “perhaps” it is well “that is was never enacted.”
It included: (1) Death and forfeiture of property for heretics. (2) Jurisdiction was to go back to ecclesiastical courts. (3) Adultery had a “disproportionate severity: death or loss or transportation in case of laity.”
Cranmer widened the basis for divorce to adultery, desertion or cruelty.
There was an effort to “revive diocesan synods with lay representation.” Prof. Bromiley thinks canon revision of sorts should have occurred. Since Cranmer’s days, the “Church of England has suffered from a certain confusion and indiscipline.” It has made it possible for the reintroduction of unreformed doctrine and unacceptable practices.
The 10 Articles, the Bishops’ Book and King’s Book were attempts at doctrinal statements. But, Cranmer was never happy with the King’s Book.
By 1552, it was obvious that Cranmer and others had abandoned “transubstantiation” or a (Lutheran) substantial presence which had been normative since 1543.
By this time the following year, Autumn 1553, Queen Mary will be on the throne and the latter end of 1553 will be disastrous, but we'll postpone that to another day.