He goes on to say:
"Catholics in full communion with the Successor of St Peter, you will be gathered in distinctive communities that preserve elements of Anglican worship, spirituality and culture that are compatible with Catholic faith and morals. Each Ordinariate will be an autonomous structure, like a diocese, but something between a Personal Prelature (as in Opus Dei, purely spiritual jurisdiction), or a Military Ordinariate (for the Armed Forces). In some ways, the Ordinariate will even be similar to a Rite (the Eastern Catholic Churches). You will enjoy your own liturgical 'use' as Catholics of the Roman Rite. At the same time your Ordinaries, bishops or priests, will work alongside diocesan bishops of the Roman Rite and find their place within the Episcopal Conference in each nation or region."
This is the same thing we have been hearing all along. As usual, the promise is made without quoting the constutution itself, or its norms. Well, of course, that has to be the way they write, since quoting it will not help their case. Their whole message is based on believing impossible things (and I am sure the good bishop believes them).
The first impossible thing to believe is that the details set out in the constitution guarantee the things Bishop Elliot and others keep promising. Anglicanorum Coetibus seems to exist on different levels, one that is fantasy and one that is hard cold reality. The fantasy has been described in Bishop Elliot's optimistic words, and those of others such as Abp. Hepworth. The reality is the constitution itself. By reiterating many points of Canon Law that the constitution cannot and does not change, what actually emerges is nothing like "an autonomous structure, like a diocese, but something between a Personal Prelature (as in Opus Dei, purely spiritual jurisdiction), or a Military Ordinariate (for the Armed Forces)...similar to a Rite (the Eastern Catholic Churches)." Instead, what emerges is a rule that no bishop will be allowed to resist an extension of the Pastoral Provisions and "Anglican" Use. Inasmuch as that is what Rome has offered, we see no reason why the TAC, even with help from a Roman Catholic bishop, would continue the presumption of extending an offer beyond the one we all may read for ourselves.
The second impossible thing that requires much effort to believe, is that the constitution will guarantee the treasures of Anglicanism when, in fact, it identifies absolutely nothing of the sort. Instead, it reiterates Canon Law, specific parts of Roman Canon Law, that should make everyone see how very hard it will be to obtain anything they are hoping for. But, even if that were not the case, the promises are made of preserving supposed Anglican things, but the written guarantee of protection is not in the text of the constitution or norms.
To use an illustration, the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States (also called the Bill of Rights) specified rights that the Federal Government would forever protect as coming from God, and as belonging to all people. The Americans in the various state legislatures were not asked simply to trust the good intentions of the Federalists; they had their rights guaranteed specifically (and even with that we have debates, over such things as the right to bear arms, that have gone all the way to the Supreme Court). But, Bp. Elliot's approach to Anglicanorum Coetibus can be summed up in one simple phrase: "Trust Rome." Gee, don't they always do the right thing?
The third impossible thing to believe is that Rome wants to protect any unique treasures of Anglicanism. Bishop Elliot himself says he was raised as an Anglican in a vicarage, and converted to Roman Catholicism. In one place he says, "Am I grateful for my Anglican heritage? Yes, I am. Where did I first learn the Catholic Faith? At home, in the vicarage." But, at the end he says, "Yet you do not come to the Ordinariates with empty hands. As I learnt forty two years ago, you will lose nothing – but you will regain an inheritance stolen from us four centuries ago." I ask which is it? Does he value his Anglican heritage, or does he see it as the criminal act of thieves who stole the Catholic faith from the people of England? Considering the muddle and confusion of these contradictory statements, it is reasonable to ask, with all due respect, if he even knows his own mind.
That's less than Alice's six impossible things to believe before breakfast, but if I keep thinking a few more may pop up.
In a commentary on this, by Mr. Campbell on the same blog, we see that those who are Enthusiastic about the Roman constitution do not value Anglicanism at all:
"I do hope we’ll lose a few things, actually. While valuing all that is good and true in the English Reformation, we must forever lose our sectarianism and anything and everything that does not accord with the Catholic Faith that comes to us from the Apostles. Above all, we must lose our pride — and finally submit to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church in humility and with filial obedience to the Successor of St. Peter..."
This confused man seems to believe that we who are Anglican by conviction, and who regard our way as the better way to be a Christian, are simply sinful and proud. His statement shows that he misses the whole point of what the English Reformers, and later Anglican Divines, achieved. Were I to ask him just what it is that he values in Anglicanism, he might be unable to answer. In fact, when he called me on the phone for a conversation late last year (the only conversation we have ever had), I did ask him. His answers were only in the negative, and I recall them vividly: "Well," he told me, "I don't worship the Book of Common Prayer or the Thirty-Nine Articles." I do not worship them either, but I am still waiting for a positive answer, if he has one.
Other than Elizabethan language, some married clergy, maybe a few hymns or a few essays by C.S. Lewis, what do any of these Anglicanorum Coetibus Enthusiasts value in Anglicanism? I have said already what I value, and in several places. As Fr. Kirby has written very effectively, Rome has adjusted to many of these things over the years; but, don't expect them to admit that they learned anything from us.
In fact, when the Coeti bus arrives in Rome, all the power for everything will be in the hands of the Roman Catholic Church (the same people who brought you-well, you know). Your clergy will become laymen, some of whom might possibly be "ordained" "again" later, after a few years. This wonderful miraculous Ordinary who is sent to give you all your heart's desire will be appointed for you. Instead of "an autonomous structure, like a diocese, but something between a Personal Prelature (as in Opus Dei, purely spiritual jurisdiction), or a Military Ordinariate (for the Armed Forces)... in some ways...even similar to a Rite (the Eastern Catholic Churches)," you will be part of the local Roman Catholic diocese, with whomever they have already as a bishop, and no matter which team he plays for. But here is some good news: If you feel the Ordinary of the Ordinariate is not being fair, or not doing his job, you can write a letter of complaint that might even be read by somebody in Rome, if it gets that far.
The reality is that Roman Catholic Canon Law will apply to you. For example, some of you have been divorced and have remarried after receiving a Decree of Nullity from an Anglican bishop. Well, now you can wait for the local Roman Catholic bureaucracy to consider you for one of their annulments, and maybe it will be granted. In the meantime, you will be forbidden to receive Holy Communion. Oh, didn't they tell you that? How careless of them. Don't worry, it might take only a few months-or years; some of you may be able to afford the process, if you have the money it takes. Or, maybe you could just change your name to Kennedy, since that has been known to speed things up and get the desired result.
There is yet one more impossible thing to believe after all: It is impossible to believe that anyone who says, "we must lose our pride — and finally submit to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church in humility and with filial obedience to the Successor of St. Peter," is in any sense of the word Anglican. It is not necessary that anyone be an Anglican, and certainly you can be a Christian without Anglicanism; but it seems like a basic requirement of simple honesty itself when one uses the name "The Anglo-Catholic" or "The Traditional Anglican Communion." Under the circumstances, it is impossible to believe we should take those names seriously.