Dix, Gregory. The Shape of the Liturgy. 2nd ed. London:Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005 (republished from 1945 original edition).
Chapter 16, “The Reformation and the Anglican Liturgy.” pp. 613-734
After some debate Dix added chapter 16, primarily because the Anglican communion accounts for a large number of worshipers and due to the need within the Anglican communion for clarity (Dix 2006, 613). The controversy in England in the 16th century was over the liturgy of the Roman rite (Ibid., 615). Cranmer’s reforms attempted first to return the eucharist to corporate action rather than the work of the liturgist (Ibid.). Second, the mass was rescued from being a spectator event (Ibid., 616). Third, the language became the vernacular (Ibid.), an innovation which Dix discusses at length. Fourth, the mass became not dependent on seeing only, but involved hearing as well (Ibid., 620). Finally, there was an attempt to restore the eschatological view of the liturgy (Ibid., 621).
The issue which led to the Reformation was the fact that, while holding to historic doctrine and liturgy, the Medieval church tried to add to it through the work of the priest (Ibid., 625). Returning to the liturgy would have settled the disputes. However, both sides pushed in different directions, thus losing altogether. The Romans protected the special roles of the priesthood while the Protestants - in Carlstadt, not Luther, abandoned the security of the liturgy (Ibid., 631). Dix expounds on some of the doctrinal differences of the various factions.
In 1533 Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, began working to resolve these challenges, seeking the agreement of his monarch in all things. He consulted with English bishops on doctrinal matters related to the Mass (Ibid., 640). In 1548 (after the death of Henry VIII), the bishops released an Order of Communion which Dix details thoroughly (Ibid., 643ff). Cranmer himself seemed to have a flexible view of communion, or at least one which evolved over time. Dix discusses several of these details, citing evidence given at Cranmer’s trial (Ibid., 648ff). His view is clearly that communion is man’s work, remembering Christ and taking symbols of him.
Dix next considers Cranmer’s work with the liturgy (Ibid., 656). His prayer book of 1549, though novel, was widely used. It was not, however, accepted in the long run. In 1552 a version which left more of the liturgy behind and appeared more Zwinglian appeared (Ibid., 659). The offertory and prayers depart substantially from the traditional liturgy (Ibid., 661). There is also a strong element of the symbolic and spiritual view of communion (Ibid., 667). This Zwinglian tendency of the liturgy, which conflicts with the actual Anglican doctrine, may be an element in the conflicts within the Anglican communion to this day (Ibid., 670).
In the Elizabethan restoration Cranmer’s liturgy was restored almost in whole (Ibid.). ed to move the liturgy of the eucharist from Cranmer’s Zwinglian point of view closer to transubstantiation (Ibid., 675). This was the work of royal decree. The shape of the liturgical action remained but its interpretation changed to match the monarch’s view. Dix speaks at length about the lasting effects of a politicized view of doctrine and practice. Anglican practice remains governed by decree of the Crown and act of Parliament (Ibid., 699). He then closes the chapter by suggesting means by which a revised and effective liturgy can be made to grow again in the Anglican communion.