Mark C., an Ordinariate member, had a comment to this post Can Anglicans have a Catholic identity ? that is worth a stand alone post in case readers skip the comments.
I think the question is not whether Anglicans can have a Catholic identity – many Anglicans have been claiming to have a Catholic identity since the Reformation, a fortiori since the Oxford Movement. For most of that time Catholics have been claiming that Anglicans were wrong in so claiming (although I will admit that there was and is much good in traditional Anglicanism).
The question is rather whether Catholics can have an Anglican identity. That is, can those who are juridically Roman Catholic, but come from an Anglican background, whether within the Ordinariates or not, claim to have an ongoing attachment to the “Anglican way.” It seems to me that there have been some attempts since the establishment of the Ordinariates to say that they cannot. Members of the Ordinariates have been told to avoid terms like “Anglican Catholic” or describing liturgy according to the Divine Worship Missal as the “Anglican Use” Mass. This is suggested for at least two reasons: first, the “avoid confusion” so that people don’t think that the Ordinariate liturgy is something other than a form of the Roman Rite, or that “Anglican Catholics” are to be confused with various Anglican continuing churches or Anglo-Catholics within the Canterbury communion; and second, I think, as an ecumenical gesture to the Anglican Communion of not using the term “Anglican” within official Catholic terminology.
I think Catholics of an Anglican background can and should rightly claim an Anglican familial identity, just as Ukrainian Greek Catholics or Coptic Catholics can rightfully claim a Ukrainian / Byzantine or Egyptian / Coptic identity within Catholicism, as much as some of their Orthodox or Oriental church brethren might be loath to admit it.
On the other hand, I don’t think the Anglican identity of Ordinariate or other Anglican convert Catholics should be exaggerated. In 2013, the CDF defined “Anglican liturgical patrimony” as “that which has nourished the Catholic Faith, within the Anglican tradition during the time of ecclesiastical separation.” While I don’t think that the Anglican patrimony should be limited to the liturgy, I think that this is a very useful definition: “that which has nourished the Catholic Faith within the Anglican tradition.” Therefore, “Anglican identity” cannot include elements of Anglican theology at odds with Catholic teaching (e.g. the Thirty-Nine Articles) and need not include elements of Anglican sensibility that are purely cultural or incidental to faith (e.g. C.S. Lewis and Dorothy Sayers may well form part of the patrimony, but P.G. Wodehouse and Jane Austen not so much, Simnel cake on Mothering Sunday, great, but tea and crumpets at the cricket match are superogatory).
It is also important to note that it is those elements within Anglicanism that have nourished the *Catholic* faith which are to be preserved.
I think a useful way to think of this is that the Catholic Faith in England was to some extent broken by the Reformation, and continued in this brokenness within both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church in England. So while Catholic doctrinal and sacramental integrity was preserved in recusant Catholicism, it retained only an essential core, much of which had to be hidden away and exercised in private from public view for fear of persecution. Many of the public and cultural elements of medieval Catholicism (which was arguably richer in England, “Mary’s Dowry”, than in many other parts of Europe) from Christmas festivities and May crownings, to choral chant, to Oxbridge patristic and classical scholarship, to the sense of public responsibility and mission for the community as a whole, was retained by the (now apostate, or at least schismatic) Church of England. The mission then of the Ordinariate and of Anglican Catholics is to bring back together the whole of the English Catholic tradition, Hooker, Laud, Andrewes, Ken, Keble and Pusey reunited with Campion, Southwell, Challoner, Wiseman and Newman, the public expressions of Catholic faith retained in the Anglican tradition with the fidelity to Catholic teaching of the recusants and later English Catholics.
There’s a lot here.
What elements within Anglicanism that nourished the Catholic faith do you think are important?
For me, the King James Version of the Bible (with footnotes to update or correct where necessary) is an element of Anglicanism that nourished the Catholic faith —and the Christian faith of the English-speaking world.
Morning and Evening Prayer and a tradition of praying the offices among lay people, not just clergy and religious.
C.S. Lewis, definitely.