In thinking about the various Anglo-Catholic tribes, one way to order them is to consider how they define Catholicism and particularly what set of documents, texts and liturgies they appeal to as final authorities. Is it Whole-Church-ness and thus an infusion of Orthodoxy? Or is it Roman-ness and if so, what council or councils are the best arbiter of this? So–you’ve got the Tridentine Anglo-Catholics who adhere to Trent and Counter-Reforation practice on one hand then the so-call Papalist Ango-Catholics who are willing to go along with Vatican II and current Roman use. M and I were having a discussion about this the other day. What we came down to is this: The Anglican heritage encompasses neither Trent nor Vatican II. In fact, being Anglican is pretty much a repudiation of Trent. That is, the sole decent argument for a Church of England apart from Rome that didn’t bring it all down to divorce is that the English use was different from the Roman use. Trent did introduce a novelty in trying to papally enforce one standardized liturgy.
If this is so, then why do we not look more to the uses of Sarum, Hereford, and York than to Trent? The obvious issue is continuous practice; these uses stopped being part of the lived liturgy of the people and now remain only as books. That’s fine for texts, but ceremonial is not captured as well even by descriptions. *Sigh* What’s a High Anglican to do…?