The Reformation in the sixteenth century produced a new and numerous series of rites, which are in no sense continuations of the old development of liturgy. They do not all represent descendants of the earliest rites, nor can they be classified in the table of genus and species that includes all the old liturgies of Christendom. The old rites are unconscious and natural developments of earlier ones and go back to the original fluid rite of the first centuries (see LITURGY). The Protestant rites are deliberate compositions made by the various Reformers to suit their theological positions, as new services were necessary for their prayer meetings. No old liturgy could be used by people with their ideas. The old rites contain the plainest statements about the Real Presence, the Eucharistic Sacrifice, prayers to saints, and for the dead, which are denied by Protestants. The Reformation occurred in the West, where the Roman Rite in its various local forms had been used for centuries. No Reformed sect could use the Roman Mass; the medieval derived rites were still more ornate, explicit, in the Reformers' sense superstitious. So all the Protestant sects abandoned the old Mass and the other ritual functions, composing new services which have no continuity, no direct relation to any historic liturgy. However, it is hardly possible to compose an entirely new Christian service without borrowing anything. Moreover, in many cases the Reformers wished to make the breach with the past as little obvious as could be. So many of their new services contain fragments of old rites; they borrowed such elements as seemed to them harmless, composed and re-arranged and evolved in some cases services that contain parts of the old ones in a new order. On the whole it is surprising that they changed as much as they did. It would have been possible to arrange an imitation of the Roman Mass that would have been much more like it than anything they produced.
They soon collected fragments of all kinds of rites, Eastern, Roman, Mozarabic, etc., which with their new prayers they arranged into services that are hopeless liturgical tangles. This is specially true of the Anglican Prayer-books. In some cases, for instance, the placing of the Gloria after the Communion in Edward VI's second Prayer-book, there seems to be no object except a love of change. The first Lutheran services kept most of the old order. The Calvinist arrangements had from the first no connexion with any earlier rite. The use of the vulgar tongue was a great principle with the Reformers. Luther and Zwingli at first compromised with Latin, but soon the old language disappeared in all Protestant services. Luther in 1523 published a tract, "Of the order of the service in the parish" ("Von ordenung gottis diensts [sic] ynn der gemeine" in Clemen, "Quellenbuch zur prakt. Theologie", 1, 24-6), in which he insists on preaching, rejects all "unevangelical" parts of the Mass, such as the Offertory and idea of sacrifice, invocation of saints, and ceremonies, and denounces private Masses (Winkelmessen), Masses for the dead, and the idea of the priest as a mediator. Later in the same year he issued a "Formula missæ et communionis pro ecclesia Vittebergensi" (ibid., 26-34), in which he omits the preparatory prayers, Offertory, all the Canon to qui pridie, from Unde et memores to the Pater, the embolism of the Lord's Prayer, fraction, Ite missa est. The Preface is shortened, the Sanctus is to be sung after the words of institution which are to be said aloud, and meanwhile the elevation may be made because of the weak who would be offended by its sudden omission (ibid., IV, 30). At the end he adds a new ceremony, a blessing from Num., vi, 24-6. Latin remained in this service.
Karlstadt began to hold vernacular services at Wittenberg since 1521. In 1524 Kaspar Kantz published a German service on the lines of Luther's "Formula missæ" (Lohe, "Sammlung liturgischer Formuläre III, Nördlingen, 1842, 37 sq.); so also Thomas Münzer the Anabaptist, in 1523 at Alstedt (Smend, "Die evang. deutschen Messen", 1896, 99 sq.). A number of compromises began at this time among the Protestants, services partly Latin and partly vernacular (Rietschel, "Lehrbuch der Liturgik", 1, 404-9). Vernacular hymns took the place of the old Proper (Introit, etc.). At last in 1526 Luther issued an entirely new German service, "Deudsche Messe und ordnung Gottis diensts" (Clemen, op. cit., 3443), to be used on Sundays, whereas the "Formula missæ", in Latin, might be kept for week-days. In the "Deudsche Messe" "a spiritual song or German psalm" replaces the Introit, then follows Kyrie eleison in Greek three times only. There is no Gloria. Then come the Collects, Epistle, a German hymn, Gospel, Creed, Sermon, Paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer, words of institution with the account of the Last Supper from I Cor, xi, 20-9, Elevation (always kept by Luther himself in spite of Karlstadt and most of his colleagues), Communion, during which the Sanctus or a hymn is sung, Collects, the blessing from Num., vi, 24-6. Except the Kyrie, all is in German; azyme bread is still used but declared indifferent; Communion is given under both kinds, though Luther preferred the unmixed chalice. This service remained for a long time the basis of the Lutheran Communion function, but the local branches of the sect from the beginning used great freedom in modifying it. The Pietistic movement in the eighteenth century, with its scorn for forms and still more the present Rationalism, have left very little of Luther's scheme. A vast number of Agendæ, Kirchenordnungen, and Prayer-books issued by various Lutheran consistories from the sixteenth century to our own time contain as many forms of celebrating the Lord's Supper. Pastors use their own discretion to a great extent, and it is impossible to foresee what service will be held in any Lutheran church. An arrangement of hymns, Bible readings (generally the Nicene Creed), a sermon, then the words of institution and Communion, prayers (often extempore), more hymns, and the blessing from Num., vi, make up the general outline of the service.
Zwingli was more radical than Luther. In 1523 he kept a form of the Latin Mass with the omission of all he did not like in it ("De canone missæ epichiresis" in Clemen, op. cit., 43-7), chiefly because the town council of Zurich feared too sudden a change, but in 1525 he overcame their scruples and issued his "Action oder bruch (=Brauch) des nachtmals" (ibid., 47-50). This is a complete breach with the Mass an entirely new service. On Maundy Thursday the men and women are to receive communion, on Good Friday those of "middle age", on Easter Sunday only the oldest (die alleraltesten). These are the only occasions on which the service is to be held. The arrangement is: a prayer said by the pastor facing the people, reading of 1 Cor, xi, 20-9, Gloria in Excelsis, "The Lord be with you" and its answer, reading of John, vi, 47-63, Apostles' Creed, an address to the people, Lord's Prayer, extempore prayer, words of institution, Communion (under both kinds in wooden vessels), Ps. cxiii, a short prayer of thanksgiving; the pastor says: "Go in peace". On other Sundays there is to be no Communion at all, but a service consisting of prayer, Our Father, sermon, general confession, absolution, prayer, blessing. Equally radical was the Calvinist sect. In 1535 through Farel's influence the Mass was abolished in Geneva. Three times a year only was there to be a commemorative Supper in the baldest form; on other Sundays the sermon was to suffice. In 1542 Calvin issued "La forme des prières ecclésiastiques" " (Clemen, op. cit., 51-8), a supplement to which describes "La manière de célébrer la cène" (ibid., 51-68). This rite, to be celebrated four times yearly, consists of the reading of 1 Cor, xi, an excommunication of various kinds of sinners, and long exhortation. "This being done, the ministers distribute the bread and the cup to the people, taking care that they approach reverently and in good order" (ibid., 60). Meanwhile a psalm is sung or a lesson read from the Bible, a thanksgiving follows (ibid., 55), and a final blessing. Except for their occurrence in the reading of I Cor, xi, the words of institution are not said; there is no kind of Communion form. It is hardly possible to speak of rite at all in the Calvinist body.
The other ritual functions kept by Protestants (baptism, confirmation as an introduction to Communion marriage, funerals, appointment of ministers) went through much the same development. The first Reformers expunged and modified the old rites, then gradually more and more was changed until little remained of a rite in our sense. Psalms, hymns, prayers, addresses to the people in various combinations make up these functions. The Calvinists have always been more radical than the Lutherans. The development and multiple forms of these services may be seen in Rietschel, "Lehrbuch der Liturgik", II, and Clemen, "Quellenbuch zur praktischen Theologie", I (texts only). The Anglican body stands somewhat apart from the others, inasmuch as it has a standard book, almost unaltered since 1662. The first innovation was the introduction of an English litany under Henry VIII in 1544. Cranmer was preparing further changes when Henry VIII died (see Procter and Frere, "A New History of the Book of Common Prayer" London, 1908, 29-35). Under Edward VI (1547-53) many changes were made at once: blessings, holy water, the creeping to the Cross were abolished, Mass was said in English (ibid., 39-41), and in 1549 the first Prayer-book, arranged by Cranmer, was issued. Much of the old order of the Mass remained, but the Canon disappeared to make way for a new prayer from Lutheran sources. The "Kölnische Kirchenordnung" composed by Melanchthon and Butzer supplied part of the prayers. The changes are Lutheran rather than Calvinist. In 1552 the second Prayerbook took the place of the first. This is the present Anglican Book of Common Prayer and represents a much stronger Protestant tendency. The commandments take the place of the Introit and Kyrie (kept in the first book), the Gloria is moved to the end, the Consecration-prayer is changed so as to deny the Sacrifice and Real Presence, the form at the Communion becomes: "Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving" (similarly for the chalice). In 1558 Elizabeth's Government issued a new edition of the second Prayer-book of Edward VI with slight modifications of its extreme Protestantism. Both the Edwardine forms for communion are combined. In 1662 a number of revisions were made. In particular the ordination forms received additions defining the order to be conferred. A few slight modifications (as to the lessons read, days no longer to be kept) have been made since.
The Anglican Communion service follows this order: The Lord's Prayer, Collect for purity, Ten Commandments, Collect for the king and the one for the day, Epistle, Gospel, Creed, sermon, certain sentences from the Bible (meanwhile a collection is made), prayer for the Church militant, address to the people about Communion, general confession and absolution, the comfortable words (Matt., xi, 28; John, iii, 16; 1 Tim., i, 15; 1 John, ii, 1), Preface, prayer ("We do not presume"), Consecration-prayer, Communion at once, Lord's Prayer, Thanksgiving-prayer, "Glory be to God on high", blessing. Very little of the arrangement of the old Mass remains in this service, for all the ideas Protestants reject are carefully excluded. The Book of Common Prayer contains all the official services of the Anglican Church, baptism the catechism, confirmation, marriage, funeral, ordination, articles of religion, etc. It has also forms of morning and evening prayer, composed partly from the Catholic Office with many modifications and very considerably reduced. The Episcopal Church in Scotland has a Prayer-book, formed in 1637 and revised in 1764, which is more nearly akin to the first Prayer-book of Edward VI and is decidedly more High Church in tone. In 1789 the Protestant Episcopal Church of America accepted a book based on the English one of 1662, but taking some features from the Scotch services. The Anglican service-books are now the least removed from Catholic liturgies of those used by any Protestant body. But this is saying very little. The Non-jurors in the eighteenth century produced a number of curious liturgies which in many ways go back to Catholic principles, but have the fault common to all Protestant services of being conscious and artificial arrangements of elements selected from the old rites, instead of natural developments (Overton, "The Non-jurors", London, 1902, ch. vi). The Irvingites have a not very-successful service-book of this type. Many Methodists use the Anglican book; the other later sects have for the most part nothing but loose arrangements of hymns, readings, extempore prayers, and a sermon that can hardly be called rites in any sense.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII
Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York