‘[T]here are three [gifts] in particular which former Anglicans bring into the Catholic Church. The first, as our friend Monsignor Ronald Knox so cleverly demonstrated, is apologetics. Cardinal Hume said to me once: “Peter, I know that everything you believe you had to fight for”. Unbeknownst to me, he heard me preach in Southwark Cathedral at the Catholic Renewal Conference. “I saw the way you defended the Catholic Faith”, he said, “in a way that my own friends and flock don’t need to. They take it for granted”. Ronald Knox, in his writings and in his pamphlets, was the exponent par excellence of that great gift of explaining simply the fundamental truths of the faith. I still have my Francis Hall Dogmatic Theology series, and I highly recommend them. They consist of something like twelve volumes, and they are possibly the only titles the American Church Union still publishes. Within them, there are good arguments for so many of the doctrines of the faith, so they are helpful for teaching and converting.
The second great gift that former Anglicans bring to the Catholic Church relates to the liturgy: Lex orandi, lex credendi… When it comes to worship, some of us Anglicans were doing it better than our Roman Catholic confreres. We read the rubrics and we kept them. The most recent rubrical guide to the new Roman Missal is by Monsignor Peter Elliott (another former Anglican who has made it to the purple). He has written his own guide on how worship should be done, and it is one of the gifts Anglicans have given the Catholic Church.
The third gift is pastoral care, one of the great marks of Anglicanism through history. Perhaps we have excelled as pastors because our parishes have been fractionally smaller (we haven’t had crowds of people). Our parishioners know they are a part of a community and a family, and we nurture them, sustain them, and help them on their pilgrimage. This is a great strength we must hold on to. We must resist the bureaucracy, and the committees, and all that activity that takes us away from pastoring souls. We must reemphasise that each and every one is precious and needs to be protected and developed’.
from his essay Conversion and Enrichment by Fr Peter Geldard
in Anglicans and the Roman Catholic Church: Reflections on Recent Developments, 2011
Fr Lee Kenyon