Parish Priests and Their People in the Middle Ages in England

By Edward L. Cutts | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII.
THE PUBLIC SERVICES IN CHURCH.

THE public services on Sunday in a parish church were Matins, Mass, and Evensong. We do not propose more than to take an outside view of them; the reader who cares to do so may without difficult obtain a missal and breviary, and study their contents. We may, however, make two remarks bearing upon the important general question of the popular religion of these Middle Ages. The first is that there is a widespread error on the subject of the "Mass" in the minds of those who have never opened a missal. It is taken for granted that it was the most corrupt and idolatrous feature of all the Roman corruptions; on the contrary, the Eucharistic service of the Mediæval English Church was very little altered in substance from that of the sixth century, and is so sound that it is inconsistent with some of the modern Roman corruptions in doctrine and practice. The Matins and Evensong of those times consisted of an accumulation

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