Monday, January 2, 2012

Thomas Cranmer on the Rigors of Ribbon Flipping

Thomas looks tired from figuring out the psalter and  propers

I already mentioned last week that a convert and former Episcopalian clergyman, with whom I had a delightful conversation, joked that while he got used to praying the Liturgy of the Hours, he worried that he "didn't have enough fingers to be a Catholic,"  after being so well used to the simpler Book of Common Prayer.  

He even sent me a quote from Thomas Cranmer--that famous architect of England's break with the Catholic church--complaining about the same thing. I'd put this in Gothic type just for fun, but it's hard enough to figure out in modern type:

Moreover the nombre and hardnes of the rules called the pie, and the manifolde chaunginges of the service, was the cause, yt to turne the boke onlye, was so hard and intricate a matter, that many times, there was more busines to fynd out what should be read, then to read it when it was faunde out.

I'm wondering if "called the pie" is merrie olde Englishe for "took the cake". Surely many new students of the breviary will sympathize with "there was more business to find out what should be read than to read it when it was found out." 

Some creative person at  could make a funny ad for their breviary app with this, ending with "Stop Thomas! Don't let breviary frustration drive you away from the true Church founded by Christ!  Our handy Divine Office app takes all the guesswork away and has you reading the correct psalms for the day with a single click!"


  1. Much as I have been appreciating the eOffice during this Advent and Christmas, I observed this morning that the "real book" can come in handy. You see, it's the only way my family knows that it's Prayer Time for me rather than leisure time. There's no possible way I'd be doing anything else with my Liturgy of the Hours book in my hands. Not so with an electronic device.
    Interruptions happened. More than once. From the same (adult) person, whom I did tell politely (the first time, anyway) that it was prayer time.

  2. You know, that would be a good topic for a post--what to do when people interrupt us at prayer. I mostly accept the interruption without comment, but as you say, a prayerbook in one's hand is a way to communicate without words that you are already occupied. Although sometimes, around here, this is not enough of a visual clue for the interrupters! So it's something good to offer up. But we'll definitely have to discuss this topic on a future post.