In other words, they hadn't bothered much about doctrinal standards during the quarter of a century since Vatican II, but, with papalist Angicans knocking at the door, the very highest standards should now be demanded. High and fancy bars to jump over; small and delicate hoops to squeeze through, were the welcome they wanted to be offered to us.
What made this particularly wounding was that it fitted perfectly into the parody of our position which the secular media, and our enemies, were trying to fix upon us. According to this narrative, the only reason we had for leaving the Church of England was that we were all misogynists. Indeed, we were probably all homosexuals. (The paradox, the absurdity, of this was that it was precisely at this moment that some homosexuals within the Anglo-Catholic community had cottoned onto the idea that if "Theological Development" could provide an alibi for extending priestly ordination to women, then it could also give cover to the possibility of extending marriage to homosexuals. To a man, that lot stayed within the C of E. They may have been misogynists, but they had a canny eye for the main chance.)
So this was a painful moment to be given such a kicking by the CBCEW. It was, of course, around this time that the Prefect of the CDF, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, asked the memorable question "Whatever are the English bishops so afraid of?" We rather arrogantly and uncouthly thought we knew the answer (viz, that we were so much more Catholic than they were); but probably the reason was more prosaic. To quote Fr Aidan's 1993 paper again:
"During the Press Conference convoked to hear the statement, the somewhat ambiguous comment was authoritatively made that the bishops did not favour the idea of a 'parallel church'. 'Parallel', we may ask, to what? A Uniate church for Catholic Anglicans would not be a parallel church to the ordinary Latin church in this country any more than is the Byzantine church of the Catholic Ukrainians. These are not parallel churches: they are convergent churches, churches with differing spiritual patrimonies converging on the divinely given centre of peace and unity, the Petrine see at Rome."
Last year, when the South Indian Catholics in Great Britain were so splendidly given their own eparchy, there were (so unverifiable rumour has it) still voices among some English Catholics which asked whether this might not create 'confusion' in the area of jurisdiction. That is to say, there may still be people who don't understand the plurality of Catholicism; the coexistence within the One Great Tradition of many different traditions, the great richness of many Catholic cultures. This failure in cultural comprehension may also explain why, for so long, some authorities in the English Catholic Church were so uneasy about the Old Mass. I recall the baroque guidelines set out after Summorum pontificum by Cardinal Cormac, and the jokes that went around his diocese in which he was humorously referred to as "the Envisager" (because his guidelines made some play with the amusingly convenient impersonal-passive syntactical construction "It is envisaged that ... ").
(Perhaps, during this time of Prayer for Unity, there is a great deal to be said for praying for Unity, with mutual respect, among our fellow Catholics and within the One Church, eschewing imperialist attitudes between our richly diverse communities!)
Twenty or so wasted years before we Anglican Catholics received our Corporate Solution? But who can guess what might have happened. What we do know is what Ratzinger, God bless him, did do when he got the chance.