The Ordinariate, established by the last Pope under the terms of Anglicanorum Coetibus, was an attempt to bring Anglicans into the Catholic Church with elements of their gifts from the past, their Patrimony as it was called. Since that time, there have been diverse attempts at describing what this Patrimony might be. Principally, there have been two quite different opinions: what you might call the view of the Patrimony from outside, and the view from inside; the latter being the view of those of us who have come from the Church of England itself.
For many, but especially those outside the Church of England, it has been largely a matter of liturgy, and especially of liturgical language. So, quoted in a recent edition of the Portal magazine, Mgr Steven Lopes of the CDF has said "the Anglican Liturgical Patrimony is that which has nourished the Catholic Faith, within the Anglican tradition during the time of ecclesiastical separation, and has given rise to this new desire for full communion". That definition is helpful, and one with which I think many former Anglo-Catholics would agree. Where we might not agree, though, is when Mgr Lopes goes on to speak specifically of the Book of Common Prayer, in particular of elements of the Communion Service, as the repository of our liturgical patrimony. "I'm thinking" he is quoted as saying,"of the Comfortable Words, the Summary of the Law, the Collect for Purity, the Prayer of Humble Access - they have given beautiful expression to the truth! It is a truth of God that truly liberates us...." Oh, if only the Prayer Book had been allowed to liberate us. For some overseas that might have been the experience; it might have freed American Anglicans, for instance, from the stifling 'liberalism' that has gradually infected and killed their church. In England, though, the Prayer Book has been an instrument of oppression, and the attitude of many of us is very different from our overseas cousins .
Now Mgr Lopes acknowledges that Anglican Liturgical Patrimony "is not just 1549 or 1662". "You have", he says, "to look at the whole Anglican experience to see how that faith was nourished". Well, for many of us it came as a relief to have Series II and Series III and then the Alternative Service Book. All these took little steps in a more catholic direction - by reducing the recital of the Ten Commandments to the Summary of the Law of which Fr Lopes so approves, by allowing rather careful prayers for the departed, and even a little hint of Mariology. But we saw none of this as 'Anglican Liturgical Patrimony'. It was a reversion, rather, to our pre-reformation heritage; and the way we found to do it was through Roman Catholic models.
So then, is there a Liturgical Patrimony which we want to bring into the Catholic Church? For me, at least, there certainly is. First, there is the tradition of preaching at the Eucharist. Indeed, in the Prayer Book it is ONLY in the Holy Communion Service that the minister is instructed to preach. This ancient tradition is now recognised within the Catholic Church, but Anglicans, and especially Anglo-Catholics, have always valued preaching. In the 1980's it is a fact, surprising to some, that St Stephen's House, the last remaining Anglo-Catholic theological college in England, spent more time on homiletics than any of the other Anglican colleges.
Then again, Hymnody has been a valued element in Anglican Liturgy. Especially through the English Hymnal and its derivatives the hymns sung in worship have been from the great tradition, and have preserved much that Catholic worship has undervalued. "How marvellous" say some 'cradle' catholics when they join us for Mass: "You sing words written by St Bede and by Chesterton, St John Damascene and Gregory the Great!" And so we do, along with hymns by St Ambrose and the Wesleys, Sam Johnson, Bishop Ken, John Keble and so many others. These are not just little ditties, but profound vehicles of theological truth and holy worship. True Patrimony. Because they are given such good things to sing, former Anglicans really DO sing - and have been surprised at how many Catholics do not so much as open their hymnals.
The daily Offices of Morning and Evening prayer and the Psalter are a great part of the Patrimony. Again, it is not just a matter of the printed words, but the way they are used. On beginning in a new parish I was told that one lady who rarely came to church said to our Churchwarden "I am glad he is doing things properly". "What do you mean?" he asked. "Well, I hear him ring the bell each morning and evening before the Offices". Morning and Evening Prayer offered by the Vicar, often joined by some of his parishioners, on behalf of the whole parish - that is Patrimony, surely? Perhaps more truly Patrimony than the daily Mass (a fairly modern introduction in Anglicanism).
Above all, in liturgical celebration it is not so much the words you say as the way that you say them. The Missal can sound solemn and thoughtful, or as empty as a recital from the phone book. The same is true of collects from the Prayer Book, or chapters from the King James version of the Bible.
Some translations certainly are more poetic than others. Compare two versions of the collect for the first week of the Church's year: "Attend to the pleas of your people with heavenly care, O Lord, we pray, that they may see what must be done and gain strength to do what they have seen..." "O Lord, we beseech you mercifully to receive the prayers of your people who call upon you; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same...." The second, with its balanced phrases, is the more poetic - and therefore the easier to sing or say. The former is stilted and clumsy ('attend to the pleas' indeed! .. a little like attending to the washing up). For my money, the prayer book collects give us masterly versions of the Latin originals. These do not depend for their effectiveness on language which has fallen into disuse - replacing 'thee' and 'thou' and 'which' with 'you' and 'your' and 'who' does no damage to Cranmer's collect. To me it seems rather a pity that the Use of the Ordinariate not only retains the archaisms, but copies and multiplies them ("not as we ask in our ignorance nor as we deserve in our sinfulness but as though knowest and lovest us.".&c &c) But if it keeps the Americans happy, I suppose we must stay with it. And it is what we have been given, so we must - until we can manage something better.,
So there is a liturgical patrimony; but it is not just a matter of words. Rather it has to do with our manner of celebrating, what might be summed up as "the beauty of holiness" - and this surely is something we all seek, whether cradle catholics or ordinarians? What is more, some of the words which Mgr Lopes finds so beautiful (he cites the prayer of Humble Access) will always have, for some of us, an element of their past history. Cranmer used that prayer in order to break up the Canon of the Mass, and turn people's thoughts from God to themselves. He also used it to stress the need for Communion in both Kinds against the then Catholic custom of reserving the chalice for the priest. However beautiful its words, the smell of where it comes from hangs over it.
So far I've been concerned mainly with Liturgy, since some seem to think this is the totality of our Patrimony. Besides liturgy, though, there is also an Anglican Pastoral attitude; the sense that everyone within a geographical area is the responsibility of the Vicar; a vision which derives from the Induction service where a Bishop says to the new incumbent "Receive the cure of souls which is both mine and yours..." But this part of the Patrimony, which is to me its more important element, because its more clearly evangelistic, will need treating at length another time.