Mgr James D. Crichton (1907-2001)
Let us do justice to the many in the last one hundred and fifty years who have established the classical Liturgical renewal in Britain and Ireland.
There is some biographical material published on Mgr Crichton,
“Anamnesis”, Music and Liturgy, Vol 21, No 3, (Summer) 1995, 74-80.
The pastoral current
1. Mgr James D. Crichton’s pastoral writing spread the message of the Classical Liturgical Movement.
Changes in the Liturgy, Alba House, Staten Island NY 1965.
A Companion to the New Order of Baptism, G. Goodliffe-Neale,
The Liturgy of Holy Week, G. Goodliffe-Neale, London 1971.
Christian Celebration: the Mass, London 1971.
Understanding the Sacraments, London 1973.
Understanding the Prayer of the Church, London 1976.
“A Theology of Worship”, in C. Jones et al., The Study of the Liturgy,
SPCK, London 1968, 1978.
English Catholic Worship. Liturgical Renewal in England since
1900, ed. J.D.Crichton, H. E. Winstone and J. R. Ainslie,
Worship in a Hidden Church, Dublin, Columba 1988.
Lights in the Darkness: Forerunners of the Liturgical Movement,
Columba, Dublin 1996.
He was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1995 by the Pontifical Athenaeum of Sant’Anselmo, Rome, Abbot Jerome Theissen being Abbot Primate and Fr Albert Schmidt, OSB Rector.
2. Bursary for Liturgical Study: In his will, Mgr James Crichton left a sum of money to be invested for the benefit of any seminarian or priest of an English Catholic diocese to assist with their fees in their study at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, Sant’ Anselmo, Rome. The first bursary was available for Academic year 2006/7. Suitable applicants should reply in English or Italian to: Mgr James Crichton Bursary for the study of Liturgy, The Preside, Pontifical Liturgical Institute, Piazza Cavalieri di Malta, 5, 00153 Roma, Italia or e-mail:
- 3. The Society of St Gregory organises an annual James Crichton Memorial lecture along with its annual general meeting in November, and a Summer School each year.
- 4. Very little study has been made on the contribution of James Crichton so far. One doctoral thesis
J.D. Crichton’s Significance for Pastoral Liturgy in England,
was defended by Fr Daniel P. Grigassy, O.F.M., at the Catholic University of America, Washington DC in 1985.
Aidan Nichols, (18 July 2009) writes in his blog referring to his book,
Looking at the Liturgy: A Critical View of Its Contemporary Form, Ignatius Press, San Francisco CA 1996:
In liturgics, the work of Lancelot Sheppard, Mgr J. D. Crichton and Fr Clifford Howell presented, belatedly, the main lines of the twentieth century Liturgical Movement to British Catholics and, in Crichton’s case, expounded the texts and explained the rubrics of the reformed rites.They could not have expected the cat among the pigeons loosed by Dr Kieran Flanagan of the Department of Sociology at Bristol when he took up the criticisms of the reformed Liturgy – or at any rate its current presentation – made by such Catholic cultural anthropologists as Victor Turner and Mary Douglas as well as fellow sociologists from other Christian traditions, declared deficient the notions of rite, community and celebration with which pastoral liturgists had been operating, and called for the re-enchantment of the Liturgy by a re-thinking of these notions with assistance from such German-language theologians as Joseph Ratzinger and Balthasar.
© James Leachman, O.S.B., 2 July 2010