First, the system of alternative episcopal oversight allows our parishes to place themselves under the supervision of a male “flying bishop” who does not ordain women to the priesthood. On both the Anglo-Catholic and conservative evangelical wings of the church, “church within a church” structures are growing and flourishing. These structures are likely to become even more powerful over time.
Second, despite the best efforts of Pope Benedict, it is an open secret that the Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales has never been keen on the Ordinariate. It has become something of a disfavoured ghetto. Even if a priest or parish has a dubious relationship with the CofE hierarchy, crossing the Tiber is unlikely to improve matters.
Third, 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, a singularly marvellous liturgy that combines a beautiful translation of the Tridentine Rite in a 16th-century hieratic dialect with the highlights of the Book of Common Prayer. This is all almost certainly against canon law, but the bishops generally look the other way. Such freedom is generally not the practice of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, which, from the outsider’s perspective, seems rather more controlling of its priests and parishes.
Hmmmm! — freedom! bishops looking the other way! doing one’s own thing.
Yeah, those are hard habits to break.
But his closing comment: “On top of all that, of course, any priest going to Rome has to sign up to Apostolicae Curae, admitting the invalidity of their previous ministry. Is it a surprise that most do not?”
This is not technically true. No priest had this document waved in front of them and had to sign a declaration on the invalidity of their previous ministry. Their previous ministry was not a valid Catholic ministry, but that does not mean one has to deny one’s previous ministry and declare it sacrilege, which is what this statement implies.
The standard for belief is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Is Apostolicae Curae even cited in it?