If you browse through the Pontificale Romanum as it so admirably was before the post-Conciliar depravations, you will discover that the most solemn liturgical blessings and consecrations both of persons and of things had one constant feature. They began like the Preface of the Mass, with Dominus vobiscum; Sursum corda; Gratias agamus; Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare .... This is how Major Orders were conferred; how Chrism and the Paschal Candle were blessed; how Abbots, Abbesses, Virgins and Queens, Churches and Altars, were solemnly blessed. The custom was not 'primitive'; but expressed very beautifully the 'primitive' understanding that it is by Thanksgiving, Eucharistia, that things are blessed and made over to God. Nowadays, apart from the Mass, the Paschal Candle appears to be the only survival in the Novus Ordo of this noble custom (apparently, in modern liturgical theology, candles are more sacral objects than Bishops or even Virgins!). Couratin provides the Prayer for the Ordination of Priests remodelled in this way. Here we have something more than just an elegant literary embellishment; it is in itself a theological statement. Priests are something more than the merely functional. They are consecrated, changed, just as the Eucharistic Elements themselves are consecrated and changed.
The Rite of Ordination which I have described was only used in one Anglican diocese (as far as I know) and possibly only during two episcopates, those of Kirk and Carpenter. I must emphatically disclaim any intention of investing my narrative with any broader theological significance. But that Diocese was a rather special star in our Anglican firmament (fuit Troia, fuimus Troiani ...), and Kirk was a profoundly significant figure in that now long-vanished Anglo-Catholic world of Dix and Mascall and Farrer and their associates. Surely, it cannot fail to be a matter of interest precisely how just such a bishop solemnly administered the Sacrament of Holy Order in his Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford?
How happy are those Oxford flocks
How free from heretics;
Their clergy all so orthodox
Their Bishop orthoDix.
Bishop Harry Carpenter was succeeded by Kenneth Woolcombe, an enthusiast for the the ordination of women who was put in despite scant experience of the parochial ministry because he was regarded as a high-flyer who would almost certainly go on to Canterbury. Exactly what happened I don't know; I had moved on to Southwark (the C of E has no system of Incardination). But an enormous collapse undoubtedly occurred in the diocese. There is no trace now of that great old succession of scholar bishops and erudite parish clergy.
As the current Roman regime apparently moves towards the 'nuancing' of Humanae Vitae, we should also remember Bishop Charles Gore, who so unambiguously and so robustly denounced the apostasy of Lambeth 1930 in this matter of conjugal ethics. His witness is part of our Patrimony.
May I thank all those who, on this day of my Golden Jubilee, have sent me good wishes. Above everything, thanks be to God that by his merciful grace I have kept the Faith.