celebrated his first Mass in the Roman tradition in the Extraordinary Form (as pictured). It does appear to be something of trend, as the Ordinary of the US Ordinariate has recently issued a direction on the matter of Ordinariate communities using the Extraordinary Form (h/t The Way Out There);
Some of our clergy want to learn also how to celebrate according to the
Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. They are certainly encouraged to
do so, under the provisions of Summorum Pontificum and under
the supervision of the local bishop, to assist in those stable
communities that use the Extraordinary Form. But as the Extrordinary
Form is not integral to the Anglican patrimony, it is not properly used
in our communities.
The necessity for such a statement does, perhaps, indicate something of the tensions inherent to the Ordinariate project: maintaining the Anglican patrimony in a tradition which historically has rejected key elements of that patrimony. To think of some other distinctive elements of the Anglican tradition - communion in both kinds, and married priests - it will be interesting to see if Ordinariate communities will be able to retain these aspects of the Anglican patrimony over the longer term.
As for liturgy in the vernacular, it is notable that amongst the criticisms of the liturgy at the recent International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth - head of ICEL - disapprovingly noted, " the use of Latin in the people's sung parts was almost non-existent".
These comments and observations are not intended to be disrespectful of either the Ordinariates or the great Latin liturgical tradition. The Ordinariates do have ecumenical potential, potentially allowing Rome's respect for Anglican tradition to further intensify. As for the Latin liturgical tradition, it significantly shaped the Anglican liturgical experience (many of Cranmer's collects, of course, were translations of the ancient Latin collects).
It does give pause for reflection on the part of those of us who taken the Keble, rather than the Newman, Option. Our concern was that Anglicanorum Coetibus envisaged something rather different than a 'united not absorbed' future for Anglicanism. Instead, absorption would be more likely. The Latin liturgical tradition, communion in one kind and mandatory celibacy would, over time, become the norm.
The statement from the Ordinary of the US Ordinariate suggests that this need not necessarily be so - and for this Anglicans should be grateful, even while noting the need for such a statement to be made when the US Ordinariate is only months old. Reconcilation between Rome and Canterbury will not be aided if the Ordinariate project fails, if absorption is the outcome for those communities of former Anglicans making up the Ordinariates. Such a scenario would suggest that 'united not absorbed' is not, after all, possible.
Rather, our hope should be that the Ordinariates become a kind of first fruits, signs - albeit fragile and numerically small - of the gifts Anglicanism can offer to the church catholic. This will indeed be an exercise in hope. In the Roman tradition, there are those seeking to use the Ordinariates as a militant vanguard to batter Anglicanism. Amongst liberal Anglicans, there can be a barely concealed contempt for those former Anglicans walking the path of the Ordinariate.
Those of us who have chosen the Keble Option, however, will want the Ordinariates to retain significant elements of the Anglican tradition, that they might indeed be signs of encouragement for unity and reconciliation between Rome and Canterbury. We - the vast majority of catholic Anglicans who have remained within the Communion - have not chosen to walk the path of the Ordinariates because we believe in the need for further, deeper Anglican-Roman reflection on the nature of papal authority and on Anglican orders, and an acceptance of the ARCIC statements - rather than the Catechism of the Catholic Church - as the basis for agreement on matters of faith.
For ultramontanes, the Ordinariates are a triumphal expression of the Roman supremacy. For some Anglican liberals, the Ordinariates are where all Anglican conservatives should be - a home for sexism and homophobia. But nothing is to be gained by allowing the Ordinariates to become another front in the ecclesial culture wars. The witness of the Church in the post-Christian West requires a response and approach more authentically shaped by grace and hope.
For those of us catholic Anglicans (and it is important to again stress that this is the vast of majority of catholic Anglicans across the globe) who believe that our vocation to witness to catholicity requires us to remain Anglicans, we can yet prayerfully trust that our brothers and sisters in the Ordinariates will live out the hope expressed in Anglicanorum Coetibus - "maintain[ing] the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the [Roman] Catholic Church, as a precious gift ... and as a treasure to be shared" (AC III).
We do so trusting that the sharing of such gifts and treasures will contribute to the ongoing work of ARCIC, giving to Rome a much greater familiarity with the riches of the Anglican tradition and therefore intensifying the search for unity and reconciliation. We do so believing that Anglicanism has further treasures to share with the See of Peter and the church catholic, not fully recognised in Anglicanorum Coetibus. And we do so in grace and hope, that beyond pain, disunity and setbacks the peace of the Crucified and Risen One will be lived out more fully by the churches.