Project Canterbury











[The Original was published at Bonn (P. Neusser), 1875,
under the following title:—]







Transcribed by Peter Owen, 2006



Translator's Preface

Extract from the Decrees of the Second Synod






Communion of the Sick

Unction of the Sick

Solemnization of Matrimony

Churching of Women

Burial of an Adult

Burial of a Child

Blessing of Holy Water

Explanatory Notes

Appendix—Prayers for the Sick

The General Intercession

[Transcriber's Note: Only the English text has been transcribed. The book also contains, as footnotes, Latin and German extracts from the Rituale Romanum, Pontificale Romanum, Rituale Friburgense, Rituale Salisburgense, Rituale Coloniense, Rituale Moguntinense, and Rituale Argentinense. A common numbering system is used for all the rites, so when a section occurs in the Latin or German text but not in the English, its section number is missing below.]


Munich, June 23, 1876.

ALTHOUGH not a member of the Synod, and therefore having had no hand in the composition of this “Ritual,” I perceive with pleasure by the translation that the interest taken by many members of the Church of England in the Reformatory Movement called “Old Catholic” is still unabated.




[The Catholisches Rituale forms the first of a series of vernacular Prayer-Books for the Old Catholics of Germany. Other offices are in preparation, including a revised Missal (Beschlüsse der zweiten Synode der Altkatholiken des deutschen Reiches, Bonn, 1875, pp. 13, 14). The Rituale consists of a translation of the offices contained in the Roman Manual, and of one service (Confirmation) contained in the Roman Pontifical, for the reasons assigned on p. 66; to which are added, in an Appendix, certain prayers for special occasions. An Introduction and Notes explain and defend the various changes which have been made, especially the substitution of the vernacular for the Latin language. The modern Roman, and some of the old German offices, have been printed in this volume in parallel columns, to exhibit accurately the variations which have taken place in the text and rubrics; and the following editions have been made use of for that purpose :—

1. “Agenda Ecclesiastica, non pastoribus solum et capellanis verum etiam omnibus sacerdotibus summo opere necessaria, ac tali distincta ordine. Modus baptizandi Catechuminos, Modus inungendi infirmos, Exorcismus salis et aquse, De solemnizatione matrimonii. Ad introducendum nuptam. Ad introducendum mulierem post partum. Insunt et alia secundum diocesim Coloniensem.” (G. L. on vellum, per Petrum Quentell, 4to., Coloniae, 1521; British Museum, c. 41. d.)

2. “Agenda S. Coloniensis Ecclesiae, jussu et auctoritate Reverendissimi et Sanctissimi D.D. Ferdinandi, Archiepiscopi Coloniensis, etc. ad usum archdioecesis Coloniensis evulgata.” Coloniae Agrippinae, Anno M.DC.XXXVII.

3. “Agenda Ecclesiae Moguntinensis, per Reverendissimum in Christo Patrem, et amplissimum Principem ac Dominum Wolfgangum, Archiepiscopum Moguntinum, etc., necessariis quibusdam additionibus auctior, et multis locis emendatior jam denuo typis evulgata, A.D. M.D.XC.” (Brit. Mus., 3366. bb.)

4. “Liber Agendorum secundum antiquum Usum Metropolitanae Salisburgensis Ecclesiae, mandato et sollicitudine Reverendissimi et Illustrissimi D.D. Joan. Jacobi Archiepiscopi ac Principis Salisburgensis, et S. Sedis Apostolicas Legati, A.D. M.D.LXXV.” (Brit. Mus., 3365. b.)

5. “Alter Catholischer und Christlicher Brauch, so die Priesterchafft der Saltzburgichen Provintz im Furstenthum Bayern, in Auspendung der hochwürdigen Sacramenten halten sollen, aus dem Saltzburgichen Agendbüchel gezogen mit vilem Christlichen teütchen vermanungen und erklärungen fur die Layen.” Ingolstatt, A.D. M.D.LXV. (Brit. Mus., 843. e. 14.)

6. “Rituale Argentinense, auctoritate ementissimi et serenissimi Principis Armandi Gastonis, Cardinalis de Rohan, Episcopi et Principis Argentinensis.” Argentinae, A.D. M.DCC.XLII. (Brit. Mus., 1219. k.)

7. “Rituale Archidioeceseos Friburgensis jussu et auctoritate, excellentissimi et illustrissimi in Christo Patris ac Domini Domini Bernardi Sacrae sedis Friburgensis Archiepiscopi et Metropolitae etc., editum.” A.D. M.DCCC.XXXV. Friburgi Brisgoviae.

8. “Rituale Romanum, Pauli V. Pontificis Maximi jussu editum, et a Benedicto XIV. auctum et castigatum.” Mechlin, A.D. M.DCCC.LXX.

9. “Pontificale Romanum, dementis VIII. ac Urbani VIII. jussu editum, et a Benedicto XIV. recognitum et castigatum.” Romae, M.DCCC.LXIX.

Nos. 1 and 2 are the only old Cologne Rituals to which access has been found possible in England. A Manuale Pastorum, published at Cologne A.D. 1862, in which portions of the old Cologne Agenda have been reprinted, omits the rubric for the communion of infants from the Baptismal Office (p. 13). Other editions have been published, in 1598, under Archbishop Ernestus; in 1614, under Archbishop Ferdinand; in 1720, under Archbishop Joseph Clemens. Like other nearly obsolete diocesan uses, it is incomplete; the burial services and various benedictions being, for convenience’ sake, usually bound up with the Breviary, or in separate Vigilienbücher. The history of its gradual suppression under Vatican pressure is told in Die Liturgie der Erzdiocese Köln, by a German priest of Ultramontane sympathies. Köln, Boisseree, 1868.

The points of difference between the new Ritual of the Old Catholics and the Offices of the Roman Manual lie mainly in—

(a.) Slight alterations in the language, sometimes with a merely grammatical, sometimes with a distinctly doctrinal significance (§§ 134, 135).

(b.) Considerable alterations in the rubrics.

(c.) The omission of certain collects and points of ceremonial, e.g. the exorcism of salt in the Baptismal Office, &c.

(d.) The addition of new prayers and addresses.

(e.) The retention of national customs, e.g. the use of two rings in the Marriage Service.

(f.) As a net result, a considerable abbreviation of the various offices.

Further alterations were desired by the leaders of the Old Catholics, but from principles of expediency have not at present been carried out, e.g. the abolition of the indicative form of absolution (p. 67), of sprinkling with holy water (p. 70), of the anointing of various parts of the body in extreme unction (p. 67). Communion in one kind is retained without comment; but Dr. von Döllinger made the following statement on the subject at the fifth Conference at Bonn, 1874 :—

“With regard to Communion in both kinds, I think it right to say that we Old Catholics consider the use of the Eastern and English Churches to be the right one, and that we are only doubtful as to when it will be possible to introduce a change in that matter among ourselves, in an orderly and regular manner.” (Report of Proceedings, Rivingtons, 1875.)

The following seem to be the chief points in which the action of the compilers of the Old Catholic Ritual resembles that of the Reformers who drew up the first English Book of Common Prayer:—

(a.) An adherence, in all essential points, to the ancient formularies of the Catholic Church.

(b.) The substitution throughout of the vulgar tongue for the Latin language.

(c.) The addition of new matter, chiefly in the form of explanatory or hortatory addresses.

(d.) The publication of a vernacular form for the reception of Holy Communion before the issuing of a revised Missal, corresponding to the Order of Communion, in English, published on March 8, 1548, in anticipation of the complete Office of Holy Communion in the Prayer-Book of 1549.

(e.) Many early editions of the Book of Common Prayer have private devotions for special occasions bound up with them, resembling the prayers, “claiming no official character,” which form the Appendix of the Old Catholic Ritual.

(f.) The Old Catholic Ritual and the Anglican Prayer-Book are alike the result of carrying out into practice a principle laid down by one of the earlier Roman Pontiffs, in generous words, which might form the motto of each national Use, and which embody the strongest possible protest against the rigid modern rule of Vatican uniformity:—

“Placet mihi, ut sive in Romana, sive in Gallicarum, sive in qualibet Ecclesia aliquid invenisti, quod plus omnipotenti Deo possit placere, sollicite eligas et in Anglorum Ecclesia, quae adhuc in fide nova est, institutione praecipua, quae de multis Ecclesiis colligere potueris infundas. Non enim pro locis res, sed pro rebus loca nobis amanda sunt. Ex sin-gulis ergo quibusque Ecclesiis quae pia, quae religiosa, quae recta sunt elige, et haec quasi in fasciculum collecta, apud Anglorum mentes in consuetudinem depone.” (Gregor. Mag., Epist. ad Augustinum.)

Throughout the following pages the German words Rituale and Agenda have been translated by “Ritual,” instead of the more familiar but exclusively English term “Manual.”

In cases where an old Agenda contained several alternative forms of a service, that one has been selected for use which appeared to throw most light on the origin of the Old Catholic Office.

The German orthography and punctuation have been left for the most part unaltered, because, though somewhat antiquated, they are not sufficiently so to render the text unintelligible to the modern reader.

Scriptural quotations have been made from the Authorized Version, except in the case of the Psalms, which are quoted from the Book of Common Prayer.

The translator is responsible for the foot-notes between brackets.]


21, 1876.



1. The Synodal Representative Body is commissioned to print the German Ritual according to the plan laid before them, with the alterations accepted at the sitting of the 19th of May.

No alterations may be made in the text, except such as are of a purely editorial character,

2. A Preface, and Explanatory Notes, with an Appendix of Prayers for the Sick (and a General Intercession), are added to the Ritual. These additions claim no official character.

3. The carrying out of last year’s decree with reference to the addition of the Latin Formulary, and the translation of the same, is deferred for the present.

4. The Ritual will be entitled a “Catholic Ritual, published according to the decrees of the first two Synods of the Old Catholics of the German Empire.”

5. This Ritual is to be used in all the Old Catholic congregations in the Liturgical acts concerned, where no particular circumstances render it advisable to retain the former customary Ritual.

6. The clergy are recommended to explain the ceremonies and prayers of the Ritual at their classes of religious instruction, and when it shall be necessary, in the pulpit; or to explain the reasons of the alterations of the Ritual from former usage in special addresses, and particularly to insist upon the judiciousness of employing the German language.

7. The General Intercession appended to the Ritual is to be used on Sundays after the sermon, so far as previous custom or other reasons do not interfere with its use.

8. All clergy and congregations have the right to send in proposals for the alteration of the Ritual of the Synodal Representative Body up to the 31st January, 1876.