(Please note that parts one and two were posted earlier on the blog–KSH).
There can be little doubt that the Order of Holy Communion in the English Prayer Book tradition ”“ starting with 1549, and moving through 1552 to 1559 where some slight recovery of Catholic ground was modestly extended in 1662 ”“ is hostile to ideas of Eucharistic Sacrifice and even Eucharistic Presence. At the high point of radical Protestant influence, under Edward VI, it appears to have been because Bishop Stephen Gardiner of Winchester, a conservative on the Edwardine bench of bishops, argued that the First Prayer Book was susceptible of a Catholic interpretation that Cranmer determined to embark on making a more thorough job of it in 1552. The great Anglo-Catholic liturgiologist Dom Gregory Dix describes in the final chapter of his The Shape of the Liturgy his own dismay on looking into the context of the two Edwardine Prayer Books in Cranmer’s other theological writings. ”˜[I]t is only painfully and with reluctance that have brought myself to face candidly some of the facts here set out, and I cannot but fear that they will bring equal distress to others’. The benign view of Cranmer’s liturgical revision taken by most High Churchmen (though isolated critical voices had never been completely lacking), and, after the Oxford Movement, by ”˜Prayer Book Catholics’, was, so Dix concluded, historically unsustainable. For Cranmer the Eucharist was instituted by Christ not so that his death might be offered to the Father but with the simple aim of its being remembered by us. The Second Prayer Book is the Eucharistic counterpart of the magisterial Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone: in Dix’s words ”˜the only effective attempt ever made to give liturgical expression to [that] doctrine’. Or as the then bishop of Ebbsfleet, Andrew Burnham, writes in his highly appealing study of the Liturgy, Heaven and Earth in Little Space, Cranmer was concerned to ”˜consecrate the congregation and not the eucharistic elements’.
All this explains the rise of the Anglo-Catholic demand for the supplementation of the English Prayer Book and indeed its quasi-replacement by some version of the Western Missal. As to its content, the demand was doctrinally motivated, though it often took the form of a legal argument ”“ namely, that the proper authorities of the two provinces of the mediaeval Church which formed the Ecclesia anglicana, the Convocations of Canterbury and York, had neither initiated the Prayer Books nor even authorized them except in the sense that they advised the clergy to make use of what was sometimes referred to as ”˜the Parliamentary book’.