James Britten gives an attractive picture of growing up in an Anglo-Catholic parish in the late nineteenth century; he is less eirenic describing the violent differences he found in other Anglican churches. For Britten, the sheer contradiction between Anglicanism’s professedly unsacramental evangelical Protestants, and the pastiche Catholicism of its ritualist clergy destroyed its claim to be the proper branch of the Catholic Church in England.
Where Britten had been a sympathetic lay participant in Anglican ritualism, Ronald Knox was one of its clerical spearhead. His whole effort in the decade before the Great War had been to make the Church of England live up to what he saw as its rightful Catholic heritage. The pain he felt when, in the midst of the loss and uncertainty of the War, he realised he was no longer convinced by his own arguments, can be clearly seen in his memoir A Spiritual Aeneid.