In the sixteenth century, Anglicans had to suffer the imposition, made possible by the invention of printing, of liturgical deformations even worse than those with which S Pius V had to deal in his "Back to the Tradition" reforms. The history of Anglican liturgy since then, at least among Anglican Catholics, was a long struggle to reconnect maimed rites with the pre-rupture Tradition. 'Anglo-Catholics' lived out, for 450 years, the same processes and problems which the rest of the Latin West has now faced for less than seven decades since the post-conciliar 'reforms'.
What did they do?
Brave priests often moved fast and tactlessly. At Cury and Gunwalloe, in Cornwall, Fr Sandys Wason provided for his congregation, which a fortnight previously had worshipped at State Mattins, the full Tridentine Rite almost from his Day One. Most clergy, however, tended to move more slowly and pastorally. It was a matter of Brick By Brick - this was the Anglican Catholic game long before Fr Zed dreamed it up - with gradual changes such as step-by-step insertions of orthodox and traditional texts. This sort of thing is not smooth and it is not always logical. One has to think in terms of generations or at least decades rather than months.
I would like tentatively to suggest that we ought now to move beyond another Fr Zed mantra: Do the Red, Say the Black. Actually, I think that Fr Zed himself emphasises this much less now than he didten years ago; perhaps because, laudably, he has moved beyond a policy of arguing that the Novus Ordo should be done properly, to arguing that the Vetus Ordo is far superior. As in most things, he is dead right. That neatly sound-bited principle has served very well the campaigns Fr Zed waged to restrain the liberalising corruption of the OF itself; but that is the point: it is essentially an ad hominem device aimed at restraining Fr Trendy.
Tentively, I am suggesting that, while still employing this formula when it is necessary to restrain the Trendies, we should deftly employ a double standard and ignore it in as far as it restrains the improvement of the OF.
Should the next step, Anglicanwise, be the gradual, tactful, pastoral introduction of EF elements into the OF Mass?
By far the most important improvement, which in no way contradicts liturgical law, is the invariable use of the Roman Canon, Eucharistic Prayer I. The General Instruction rather encourages this anyway, and the Ordinariate Missal leads the way by forbidding, at least on Sundays and Feasts, the use of any of the other 1960s Eucharistic Prayers. And the Ordinariates have also restored, as one of two options, the use of the old Offertory Prayers. Since the OF Offertory Prayers should (where there is music) be said silently; and, where there is no music, may be said silently, the use secreto of the older prayers will not exactly have the congregations rioting. Unofficially, within the Ordinariates, it has become quite common (don't mention this ...) for the celebrant, when there is 'fancy' music for the Sanctus, for the celebrant to get on with the Eucharistic Prayer while the Sanctus is still being sung.
And some minute, even insignificant, examples which just happen to plop into my mind. At his Inauguration Mass, Benedict XVI joined his hands at Gratias agamus .... And Fr Zed, years ago, revealed that he himself signed the elements with five crosses at hostiam puram .... It is no great hassle to do the EF manual actions during the Canon when offering the OF Mass.
Fairly recent Anglican encouragement has been given to brief, thematic, Last Gospels to leave the right thoughts in the minds of the laity as they walk out of church. At my last Christmass in the Anglican Ministry I had the Last Gospel, the Johannine prologue, sung after the Vigil Mass, at the Crib, by the Deacon. (Proposed in Times and Seasons, encouraged by the Anglican hierarchy.) The reasons for it, and its pastoral value, are obvious. I placed the Bambino in the Crib immediately after the words And the Word was made flesh. Corny?
Come to think of it, the Last Gospel could be done at the end of the main Sunday Mass throughout the year, perhaps before the statue of our Lady.
The transformation of the Novus Ordo, until it is as 'sacral' as the Mass of Ages, is, in my view, a viable project for intelligent and imaginative pastors.