Setting: The family dinner table with reference to the girls’ school, a nondenominational Christian school populated largely populated by Roman Catholics and conservative Evangelicals with a sprinkling of mainliners and two hardcore Catholic Anglicans. H is now in 5th grade; G is in 8th (!).
H: Dad, do the Roman Catholics have Rite I and Rite II?
Me: Umm… Not really, what do you mean?
H: Well, when we did class prayer in 3rd grade we used Rite I, in 4th grade we used Rite II, and now in 5th grade we use Rite I again.
Me: Oh, and your 3rd and 5th grade teachers are Roman Catholic while your 4th was nondenominational, right?
H: Right. Before we started class I asked [teacher] if we were going to use Rite I or II and he didn’t seem to know what I meant.
Me: [Realizing that she was referring to the Lord’s Prayer] Ah—no. They don’t call things Rite I and II. We do that. They’d call Rite I “traditional language” and Rite II “contemporary language.”
H: Oh. Why are Rite I services usually the early services?
Me: Well, usually the people who go to the early service are older people. There’s this idea that Rite I is for the older people and they’re more comfortable with it since it’s closer to the sound of the ’28 prayer book that a lot of them grew up with. I think some people in the Church were hoping that Rite I would just die out as the people who grew up under ’28 did, but I’m not sure that’s what we’re seeing…
G: So—as the people Grandmommy’s age [Baby Boomers] become the old people does that mean that we can make the early service Rite II because that’s what they like, and we can have Rite I back for the main service?
For the record, the church the girls and I attend now uses a mix of Rite II and EOW (we’re currently slogging through “EOW 3 season”). However, when we go to M’s church the first service is Rite I and that tends to be their preference. This isn’t something that we have consciously directed them towards—it just seems to be what they like…