The Ordinariate’s Daily Office book (the “Commonwealth Edition”) stands in a long tradition of Anglo-Catholic revision or supplementation of the offices of Morning and Evening Prayer in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, with a more catholic liturgical emphasis or expression.
At first glance, some of the supplementary material looks very new rite Catholic: there are Collects for the modern Roman calendar, for example.
However the Offices themselves are revised in a remarkably conservative way, scarcely touched in fact. Morning and Evening Prayer, from the Confession and Absolution (although one probably isn’t supposed to call it Absolution the language is completely unchanged) to the Coverdale Psalter and the 1922 lectionary, this is 1662 with add-ons.
Compare this to a book at the other end of the spectrum of Anglo-Catholic revision, the Anglican Breviary, an idiosyncratic translation of Pius X’s Roman Breviary - which was itself a significant departure from the traditional Roman offices - a book which retains the features of 1662 only in the Psalter translation, and the Cranmer Collects with the Sarum/BCP ordering of the After Trinity season. Apart from these conservations the Anglican Breviary is pure Breviary, with no structural affinity with 1662.
People will have their quibbles with the layout of the book. The Collects are divorced from the other seasonal material; the propers and temporal variations are all at the front which means all of the coloured ribbons provided conglomerate in the first quarter of the book; and I don’t know how well Magnificat Antiphons would work in Evensong if one wished to use them. And the inclusion of the Office lessons doubles the book’s size... and they are RSV(CE) rather than a lightly revised KJV which would be my preference.
But much of the additional material is solid and traditional and exactly what one would want in a supplemented 1662 office: J.M. Neale hymn translations from the Breviary, Old Testament Canticles for weekdays as per the Breviary, and the Little Hours as optional additions with Psalm 119 as their Psalmody. One could continue use the Book of Common Prayer and fit the additional material in this book into a slim supplemental volume. That is how light-touch it is.
If this tells us anything about the direction and developing ethos of the Ordinariate then I am pleased: optional supplementation rather than tinkering with the central tradition. Admittedly this is my preference, having come to the Ordinariate as a lover of classical Anglicanism rather than as a “modern Roman” Anglican or “English Missal” enthusiast, although I have a qualified love of the latter. I understand that we are some way off having a Eucharistic prayer of Anglican provenance approved - e.g. something like the so-called interim rite - but I begin to wonder if the door will eventually open for this.
Whether this direction of travel will carry over from liturgy into Ordinariate theology (a study of Hooker, Andrewes and the Carolines as catholic theologians) is another question. But I confess I don’t much see the point of us otherwise. Simply doing theology in this way may also open up healthy new perspectives on the current crisis in Roman ecclesiology and authority which seems at a dead end in a tradition vs papacy argument, and on the pre- vs post-Vatican II argument about Catholic theology. We have a tradition of theology which isn’t embedded in either era, and we would do well to cultivate it.
P.S. I have an interest in the pre-Pius X forms of the Breviary, e.g. the Sarum Office and would love to see a community offer this, however a parish is probably better served by the Prayer Book offices. And in leaving these well alone Divine Worship offers the possibility of a point of contact between the two: the Little Hours, Prime and Compline could easily be taken up by a community who prayed the lengthier pre-Pius X Matins, Lauds and Vespers rather than Morning and Evening Prayer.