A third reason for not joining the Ordinariate that our correspondent offers is that, ‘CofE clergy are allowed a certain latitude to run their parishes as they see fit. Many of the more Anglo-Papalist parishes use the Roman Rite, entirely unadapted. A few others still use the English Missal ** . . . This is all almost certainly against [Anglican] canon law, but the bishops generally look the other way. [T]he Catholic Church in England and Wales, from the outsider’s perspective, seems rather more controlling of its priests and parishes’.
Our correspondent might be surprised to learn that there seems to be a similar degree of latitude in the Catholic Church in this country! Liturgical practice, within the Roman Rite, is surprisingly diverse.
However, it is perhaps slightly perverse to cite rigid adherence to the Roman Rite and even the English Missal as a reason for remaining in the CofE, in defiance of its law and of bishops with whom one claims to be in impaired communion at best.
One of the great joys of being part of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is precisely the liturgical provision given to us by the Holy See. The Ordinariate’s Missal, Divine Worship – the Missal, is fully in accordance with the Roman Rite and derived from the BCP tradition of which the English Missal is a part. Why would one illicitly use resources of the Latin Rite as a sign of contradiction, when one can use that same strand of tradition as a defining sign of unity and communion?
In a recent post for the Catholic Herald, Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith commented on the beauty of the Ordinariate’s Missal, saying that it is ‘a gift to the whole Church’.
** It is of course a great irony that the only liturgical-ecclesial space in which the English Missal tradition finds completely legal expression today is the Ortdinariate itself, in the Ordinariate Missal Divine Worship – the Missal which is clarly an organic and Catholic development of the English Missal and Prayer Book tradition.