People have been, not unnaturally, surprised at the provision in Anglicanorum coetibus that former Anglican bishops who, being married will not have been promoted to episcopacy by sacramental reconsecration, can be allowed to wear episcopal insignia. As many have commented, this is not without Catholic precedent in the persons of Abbots, archpriests, and certain ranks of monsignori; but I doubt whether one Anglican layperson in ten thousand has ever seen a mitre on top of someone who isn't called 'bishop'.
From time to time, people raise the question of Anglican Orders in correspondence with this blog. I have dealt with this quite recently, and I'm not going to re-re-iterate the hermeneutic I've been advancing since the early 1990s. If newer readers (Hi! welcome!) want to know what I have said, I'm sure that a search will enable them to find it. I will, however, iterate the curiosity I feel about the fact that, for a certain sort of RC, the Invalidity of Anglican Orders seems to be one of the central data of their Faith. I've always wondered why (no no no please don't tell me).
It does occur to me that if Benedict XVI had shared this preoccupation, he ought to have been on the look-out to avoid anything that gave the slightest impression that Anglican Orders might be valid. "Gracious", he should have mumurred, flexing his still slightly stiff wrist, "if I let these chaps continue to wear pontificalia, a lot of their laity will assume that good old 'bishop' so-and-so really was and is a bishop. I'd better legislate to ensure that they never absent-mindedly slip their rings on ... let alone anything else. We must make them promise to burn all their zucchetti. Their daughters will have to donate their coats to the Munich or Regensberg branches of Oxfam".
Mitraferous married Ordinaries will be able to do pretty well everything that 'real' bishops do except Ordination and, I presume, Chrism Masses. They will confirm; and this is perhaps more significant than anything else, given the anally retentive way that Anglican bishops, unlike any others in Christendom, have clung to the exclusive right to confirm. So when a congregation is visited by a prelate who, last time he came, was a PEV (flying bishop), and he's wearing the same mitre and ring and cross that he was wearing then with the same dalmatic under his chasuble, and carrying the same crosier, and he administers Confirmation as he did then, it is the continuities that will strike them rather more than some little technical discontinuities of which they may have been informed.
Benedict seems totally unworried by this. Some of my more ferocious readers must be a trifle disconcerted by his irresponsible levity.
Quite possibly, the poor old gentleman is enough of a Christian not to like rubbing peoples' noses in humiliation. More important, it demonstrates the great advantage of having a Pope who is, to his fingertips, a dogmatic theologian and an erudite one too. It makes him able to distinguish between what matters and what doesn't. And to be flexible where dogma is unthreatened.