Use of 1662 Book of Common Prayer

I like to use Morning and Evening Prayer from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer in my private devotion. I just love the majestic language of this liturgy. I add some prayers to Mary when using it (the thing it lacks most!).

I do use Catholic prayer books, particularly the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin. I sometimes wonder if I ought to stop using the BCP and use Catholic prayers exclusively, but I would definitely miss the BCP.

Do any Catholics here use the BCP in your private devotions?

I use the Prayer Book. Its doctrine is thoroughly Protestant and Reformed and thus, if you are converting to Roman Catholicism, I would say you probably shouldn’t use it. It does not contain “prayers to Mary” (as you put it) because the English reformers rejected the practice as not found in Scripture.

The liturgy for communion in the BCP does not really reflect the doctrine of Transubstantiation (whatever issues that raises for Anglo-Catholics) . Other than that, can you give any examples of where the BCP contradicts Catholic doctrine? This would be helpful to me.

Funny, many of the reformed thought the 1662 Prayer Book was far too Catholic.

If, like me, you believe in attributing meaning to something based on the original intended meaning of the author (rather than the modern practice of squeezing new definitions into old phrases to suit your own opinions) -

The main one is, “And there is no health in us.” This is a very clear statement of the Reformers’ belief in the doctrine of Total Depravity. Article X sets forth the doctrine:
The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith; and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.
In other words God must sovereignly call man to himself in order for man to come to God, with the natural corollary that God does not call all men to himself (because not all come).

You should use the Book of Divine Worship if you like the language of the BCP (which is brilliant), but with the work going on with the liturgies of the Ordinariates, it’s currently out of print, but a new edition should be expected soon.

That said, you can still find PDF’s of the old edition:

It’s based on the 1979 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, so it has that awful “Rite Two”, but that has already been explicitly disallowed by the Ordinariates. The Order of Mass is also no longer up-to-date but if you’re just into devotional prayer, the Rite One is perfectly usable and is in Tudor English.

I do have the PDF. The differences between the 1662 book and the Book of Divine Worship are not massive, so I’m not sure I have much reason to give up using my copy of the 1662 BCP. I find it easier to pray from a book than from my computer screen.

As an Anglican, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest, however, I’m not sure what the RCC would think.

It is best to look at the 1662 Prayer Book exactly as it is, a compromise between factions. There were high church vs. low church factions and Reformed, Lutheran, and Catholic factions. It is clear when reading the 1662 Prayer Book, with an unbiased eye, that nobody really won out with this prayer book, hence why I and many refer to it as a compromise (kind of like the Articles). Those who lean Catholic see the book as being more Catholic and those who are Reformed see it as being more Reformed. To this day, there are Anglo-Catholics who think that it is the most Catholic prayer book and there Reformed/evangelical that think it is the most Protestant prayer book. That right there shows you the brilliance of the 1662 Prayer Book and the ability to compromise between factions.


That seems a lot of precise theology to squeeze out of what on the surface seems a rather equivocal few words. I’m sure that’s how Calvinistic Cranmer would have understood the words ‘no health,’ but would all those divines who revised the prayer book in 1662 have seen it that way? The Church of England was not at its most Reformed and Calvinist stage in 1662.

Blessed John Henry Newman went to considerable length (and raised considerable ire in Oxford, and in England generally!), trying to demonstrate that the 39 Articles are in fact not incompatible with Roman Catholic doctrine ( ). Although bear in mind he was still an Anglican at that point, and the Catholic position on the doctrine of the BCP isn’t necessarily Newman’s. What the BCP really is, of course, is an outstanding and linguistically-beautiful compromise between factions of reformers.

Personally, I don’t use the bulk of the morning/evening liturgy in my own prayer, although I do often turn to the collects, many of which I think are among the most beautiful ever written in English.

Tue enough. But I wonder what would be the RC reaction to the concept that we have, by nature, followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, offended against God’s holy laws, done the things we should not do and left undone the things we should do, And there is no health in us. Absent grace, perhaps. Prevenient grace, even. Shows up in Trent .Even to the wording of Article 10. Any comments?


Yeah, the Collects are great, though I like to use them as part of the morning and evening prayer.

The Anglican congregation I used to be part of used the 1928 American BCP, and for private devotions I said Morning & Evening prayer out of that book:

Forms of Prayer to be used in Families (via Society of Archbishop Justus)

There is nothing in these prayers offensive to faith or morals; on the contrary, they are quite “Catholic” in flavor.

In the BCP generally, there *are *things offensive to faith (e.g. the substitution of Protestant rites for the sacraments; the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, and other Protestant omissions and substitutions); but there’s nothing wrong with Morning and Evening Prayer in themselves, especially as a private devotion.

When I became Catholic, my priest said it was fine to use these for my own private devotion, and for awhile I did. Eventually, however, I switched over to the Liturgy of the Hours, because it is the official prayer of the Church.

I agree.


I don’t think the wording of the penitential prayer is at all contrary to Catholic teaching.

Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism are both anathematized by the Catholic Church.

I am somewhat of the same mind. But no authority, to be sure.


I haven’t warmed to the Liturgy of the Hours. I regularly use the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, as I find that very theologically rich and love the Marian emphasis.

Indifferently is correct. The introductory division of MP and EP (sentences, exhortation, confession and absolution) was not found in the First BCP of 1549 but was added in 1552 - the most ‘Reformed’ version of the English prayer books. It remained in all subsequent versions.

The orders for MP and EP are ++Cranmer’s abridgements of offices from the Sarum Breviary. MP is an abridgment of Matins, Lauds and Prime: EP an abridgment of Vespers and Compline. By simplifiying and condensing the old offices, the English Reformers offered ‘a new opportunity for the laity of uniting their hearts and voices with those of the clergy in a constant service of daily prayer and praise’.

Most of the beautiful Collects in the BCP are Cranmer’s translations from the Sarum Missal. In turn, most are from ancient sources such as the Sacramentaries of Leo, Gelasius and Gregory the Great dating from the 5th and 6th centuries. The Collects for Saint’s Days were re-written by the Reformers in the mid 16th century to remove requests for their intercession. Most of the Epistles and Gospels follow the pattern of the Sarum Missal.

Indeed, Art. X represents part of the Catholic faith that was retained by the Anglican revolters. I did not means to say that *all *the articles of religion individually are contrary to the Catholic Religion, but the articles generally, and most of them individually, are offensive either to faith or to the authority and discipline of the Holy See.

I don’t doubt that. I’m just wondering if those who decided to retain that part of the prayer in 1662 really understood it the way the more Reformed Anglicans had in 1552. The Arminian party was pretty strong in the 17th century.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit