This Formulary adheres as closely as possible to the Roman Rite; here and there also, the equally ancient Cologne Rite has been made use of, but it is not so much a simple translation as a free rendering of it, in consequence of the complicated reasons mentioned in the Preface.
The Exorcisms are replaced by Forms composed exclusively of Biblical expressions. The so-called Abrenuntiatio Satanae (“Dost thou renounce the devil,” &c., p. 10) is to be found from the most primitive times in all baptismal Formularies, both Eastern and Western, in a nearly or in an exactly similar form as it appears (in the German language) in all diocesan Rituals. It is also retained in the Anglican and evangelical Liturgies. The proper interpretation of the Form is made clear through the prayer which immediately follows the unction, “To war against evil,” &c., and through the words in the address, “To declare your readiness always to withstand manfully the devil, and sin and its temptations, according to the commandment of Christ.” Nevertheless, after the precedent of the Rituals of Wessenberg and Winter, our Ritual supplies a second Form, which can be employed instead of that previously in use, but herein differing from those of Wessenberg and Winter, that it keeps closely to the words of the New Testament.
The Forms and Prayers which accompany each separate ceremony are so altered, that the symbolical meaning of the ceremonies may appear more distinctly. This meaning is to be explained simultaneously with that of the accompanying Forms at the times of instruction.
Some ceremonies are simplified, e.g. directions are given to touch the ears and the mouth with the finger, instead of touching the ears and the nose with spittle, and to leave out the anointing of the neck.
The rite is also thus far simplified, that the whole act is not, as is prescribed in the Romish Church, to take place, partly at the entrance of the church, partly at the font, but at one place, at the font or the altar of the church, or in the house.
The Priest shall be vested in surplice and stole, or, if preferred, in stole only. There need not be, as the Romish Ritual directs, first a violet and then a white stole; the Cologne Ritual orders only a white stole.
When the water for baptism is not consecrated on Easter Eve and Whitsun Eve, consecrated water must be taken, or water must be consecrated with the sign of the cross, as is customary during the offertory at Mass, in accordance with the directions laid down (p. 6) for the consecration of the salt.
The Gospel is taken from the Cologne Ritual.
The rite of Confirmation is not contained in the Roman Ritual, but in the Pontifical, because, by the Roman rule, Confirmation can only be administered by a Bishop. Priests may also administer Confirmation; at the same time, regard must be paid to the custom which has prevailed for centuries in the West, that no Priest shall confirm without an express commission from the Bishop.
The Formulary contained in the Ritual is a translation of that in the Pontifical, with very slight alterations.
The composition of formularies for common penitential devotions, with a general confession of sin, in preparation for the common reception of Holy Communion, is reserved (in accordance with a resolution of the first Synod) until the publication of a Prayer-Book which will contain a collection of prayers for general devotion. The Ritual has therefore only to provide the forms employed in private confession. These are a translation of the Formulary of the Roman Ritual. But, besides the closing prayer, “Passio Domini,” &c., the use of which is also optional in the Roman Ritual, the absolution from ecclesiastical censures is omitted, and a form of absolution is added after the analogy of its opening words, “Dominus noster,” &c.
It was the custom in the Western Church until the thirteenth century, as it is still in the Greek Church, to employ precatory forms, such as “May the Lord Jesus Christ pronounce thee, through us his servants, absolved from all thy sins.” It is advisable to retain the indicative form (with the given alterations) which has been in use during the last five hundred years, until more thorough scientific and popular explanations prove the admissibility and advisability of a return to the more ancient form, and over a more extended district.
IV. and V. COMMUNION.
We have only given a translation of the Latin forms hitherto in use for Communion. Prayers for general devotion for the Communion are reserved for the forthcoming Prayer-Book.
Also, for the Communion of the Sick, the Ritual only gives a translation of the forms of the Latin Ritual, leaving out non-essentials, and those portions whose use is optional in the Roman Ritual. (The form, “Receive,” &c., can only be used exceptionally, in the case of sick persons who feel their end approaching.) At the administration of the Church’s means of salvation to a sick man, it must be left to the Priest to select, in addition to the stated liturgical Formularies, what seems to him appropriate with reference to the particular circumstances of the case. The Appendix contains a collection of suitable prayers.
This Formulary adheres closely on the whole to the Roman Rite, but there are some prayers left out which in the Roman Ritual are marked as “not obligatory,” and some others are slightly altered. The prayer at the laying on of hands is placed, as is clearly more fit, before the unction, as in the Cologne Ritual, not after it, as in the Roman Ritual. (pp. 31, 36.)
A single unction is sufficient (most suitably on the forehead), and where it appears advisable, the Priest can confine himself to this. The Formulary concludes, however, with the form hitherto in use, as the command to limit the Priest to a single unction would give great offence.
In the Roman Ritual the Priest is ordered to anoint the five parts of the body which are looked upon as organs of the senses,—eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and hands, besides the feet and the loins. The anointing of the loins (in place of which the Cologne Ritual directs the anointing of the breast) is always to be omitted in the case of women, and, if it is inconvenient, in the case of men. There is no allusion to it in many of the diocesan Rituals. The anointing of the feet, too, is not found in some of the latter, e.g. not in that of Freiburg. In other Rituals various forms are found which differ from those in the Roman Ritual (i.e. “Ungo oculos tuos in nomine Patris,” &c.) These facts make the deviation of our Ritual from the Roman thoroughly and in every respect unimportant.
VII. SOLEMNIZATION OF MATRIMONY.
The Diocesan Rituals differ widely from each other, and from the Roman Ritual, in their marriage formularies. The Council of Trent (Sess. 24, de ref. matr., cap. 1) has expressed itself in favour of retaining the laudable customs and ceremonies in use in different parts of the Church at the Solemnization of Matrimony. In our Formulary, those which appear most suitable have been selected, and allowance has been made for local differences.
VIII. CHURCHING OF WOMEN.
This ceremony, which in the Western Church was first customary in the Middle Ages (in the Greek Church it is older), is not designated in the Roman Ritual a matter of duty, but only a pious and laudable custom. (p. 43, § 130.)
The meaning of this act is a thanksgiving on the part of the woman, and her benediction, that is, the invocation of a divine blessing upon her and her child.
If this rite is connected historically with the Purification of the B. V. M., and the fulfilment of the Mosaic regulation about the purifying of women after childbirth, and the presentation of the first-born, yet all reference to them is omitted in the Roman Ritual; an advisable course, to avoid misunderstanding. But in the Cologne Ritual, and in one form of the Freiburg Ritual, S. Luke ii. 22—24 is appointed for the Gospel. In the Cologne Ritual, even the following expression is admitted, “benedicere digneris hanc famulam tuam, quae ad imitationem sanctissimae Virginis Mariae, sese cum gratiarum actione purificandam in templo exhibet, et concede propitius, ut eam ab omni mentis et corporis contagio liberatam,” &c.
The custom of the woman holding a lighted taper is connected with the Purificatio B. M. V. (Candlemas). A symbolical meaning is attached to this custom in our Formulary, which has no reference to its origin (pp. 43, 45).
According to the Roman Ritual the woman is fetched from the church door, and conducted by the Priest to the altar, holding his stole in her hand. This ceremony, the directions for observing which are often a dead letter, is omitted.
It is only customary in a few dioceses for the woman to bring the child with her into church.
The Roman Ritual does not recognise any benediction elsewhere than in the church. The Wessenberg and Freiburg Rituals contain a form for a benediction in the house.
Some Rituals contain several formularies, others contain various prayers for various occasions, as “if the child is dead,” “or alive,” &c. Our Formulary is compiled in such a manner that merely trifling alterations are rendered necessary, by reference to varying circumstances.
Our Formulary is based on that in the Roman Ritual. Instead of Psalm xxiii., a few verses are taken from the appropriate cxxi.st Psalm, found in the Cologne Ritual. The prayers are somewhat enlarged.
IX. BLESSING OF HOLY WATER.
The sprinkling with water in the Liturgy is primarily a symbol of spiritual cleansing. A person who during divine service sprinkles himself, or allows himself to be sprinkled with water, declares thereby symbolically that he stands in need of cleansing from spiritual defilement caused by sin, and that he desires and wishes to make himself a participator in the same.
It has been the custom from very primitive times to consecrate beforehand the water required for this liturgical object, in the same way as baptismal water; that is to say, to notify by prayers and ceremonies that the water will be employed for objects connected with divine service, and to demonstrate in those prayers the symbolical signification of the water, and the idea which it is desired shall be prominently brought into view by its use.
It has also become customary to make the sprinkling with holy water one of the ceremonies which accompany the blessing, and symbolize its bestowal; the sprinkling of a person or thing with holy water should indicate in a way which strikes the senses, as the signing with the sign of the cross does, that God’s blessing is invoked from above on this or that person or thing.
This original and correct interpretation of the efficacy of holy water has become obscured, in the course of time, by various and superstitious imaginations. We must carefully keep at a distance all that can foster such imaginations, and we must encourage the right view in our instructions. We ought also to restrain as much as possible the use of holy water. To abolish it entirely on principle, would be not only hazardous, at least in some districts, in the face of prevailing custom, but also unjustifiable, because the precipitate abolition of a custom, which in its proper sense is Old Catholic, and which is capable of a reasonable interpretation which excludes all superstition, would shoot beyond the mark of a genuine reform.
On these grounds the sprinkling with holy water is retained in our Ritual in several liturgical offices, where its use is customary, and its abolition is not demanded on any special grounds; and a form for the blessing of the water is also provided.
Close adherence to the Roman Ritual was at the same time impossible. For the latter comprises not merely a very wonderful exorcism of salt and water, but also expressions which are only qualified to evoke superstitious notions. It involves attributing to the consecrated salt and water, on the part of those who use them, the power to produce “health of soul and body,” “to dispel sicknesses,” “to banish all evil spirits from the houses and homes of the faithful, and to scare away all that is antagonistic to the well-being and peace of the inhabitants.” The German Rituals of Wessenberg and Winter contain entirely new forms of consecration in lieu of the latter; and the superiority over these of the form contained in our Ritual, is marked by its strict adherence to Scriptural thoughts and expressions.
According to the Roman Formulary, the blessing of the water is usually performed in the sacristy, in the presence of an assistant-minister alone. According to the new Formulary, it is recommended that the water be blessed in church, either before or after Mass, in the presence of at least a part of the congregation. This will contribute both to keep superstitious notions at a distance, and to promote a correct interpretation of the use and significance of the ceremony.
 [A violet stole is not used in the Eastern Office.]
 [The Priest is the ordinary minister of Confirmation in the Eastern, the Bishop in the Western Church. But the Easterns admit that the Priest is only the deputy of the Bishop, by whom, as the remoter but efficient bestower of grace, the oil must have been previously consecrated. The Westerns have admitted that the Priest may act in exceptional cases by dispensation from the Bishop. Smith’s Dict. of Chr. Ant.; Bing. Antiq., bk. xii. ch. 2; Martene de Antiq. Eccles. Rit., lib. i. c. 2, art, 3. See also § 9 of the Cologne Office for Unction of the Sick, p. 32.]