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The English Missal is a translation of the Roman Missal used by some Anglo-Catholic parish churches. After its publication by W. Knott & Son Limited in 1912, the English Missal was rapidly endorsed by the growing Ritualist movement of Anglo-Catholic clergy, who viewed the liturgies of the Book of Common Prayer as insufficient expressions of fully Catholic worship. The translation of the Roman Missal from Latin into the stylized Elizabethan Early Modern English of the Book of Common Prayer allowed clergy to preserve the use of the vernacular language while adopting the Roman Catholic texts and liturgical rubrics.
The only difference in content from the Roman Missal is the English Missal's inclusion of certain texts from the Book of Common Prayer, including optional prayers from the ordinary of the Prayer Book's Communion Service and the lessons for Sundays and major feast days from the Prayer Book's lectionary, which was itself taken from the earlier Sarum Use Mass of pre-Reformation England.
After the Public Worship Regulation Act 1874 threatened imprisonment for priests using ritualist liturgical practices, a custom arose of the celebrant saying the Roman Canon in Latin to himself silently (i.e., sotto voce, in a soft voice) in addition to saying the official texts of the Book of Common Prayer aloud. While enforcement of the Public Worship Regulation Act ended in 1906, the custom persisted, due in part to the fact that in the pre-Concilliar Roman Rite the Canon of the Mass was always said silently. For this reason, the Latin text of the Canon of the Mass was included in the English Missal in addition to the English translation.
The English Missal went through five editions. The first three were based on the Roman Missal of Pius V as revised until the time of Pope Pius X. The latter two editions include the revised Roman Catholic Holy Week of 1958. One American edition includes material that conforms to the American 1928 Book of Common Prayer.
In the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent authorization of the typical edition of the Roman Missal in English, the use of the English Missal has greatly declined. Especially in England, the modern Novus Ordo Mass of Pope Paul VI in English is widely used in Anglo-Catholic parishes. However, the use of the English Missal continues in a small number of liturgically traditional Anglican parish churches in England, the United States, and West Africa.
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