In 1896 Leo XIII, the best pope since Benedict XIV in his Traddiness's opinion, issued Apostolicae Curae, which surmises that owing to a historic defect of form and a congruous defect of intent—the second following the first—Anglican Holy Orders are to be considered "absolutely null and utterly void." Does this still hold?
I have no opinion on the matter and it does not impact many of us necessarily, but it could be an important question in the future. Some things have changed since the days of Papa Pecci. AC notes that the Anglican ordination rite was improved to say something about what is meant by "Receive the Holy Ghost" at ordination and concedes that "this addition could give the form its due signification," albeit too late given that succession had been broken by over a century's use of the invalid Edwardian rites (AC 26). What may have changed things was the introduction of the "Dutch touch" in the 1930s or there about. Anglican clergy would often ask schismatic "Old Catholics" from continental Europe to "confirm" their orders using the Roman ordination and consecration rites.
Fr. Hunwicke has written about the concept of intention and its implication for the "invalidators" of Sacraments quite a bit in the last year or so. What is to be done if the Church of England has indeed undergone the "infection" (Hunwicke's wording) of the Dutch touch? Then again, we may be presuming too much. Papa Pecci in AC 28 states that the context of the episcopal consecration rites defects the intention regardless of the improved form. Michael Davies used to like to quote a 19th century case of a Methodist minister in Oceania who said something to the effect of "Baptism is only a symbol, it does not do anything at all" and then proceeded to pour water over the inhabitants' heads, saying, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The Holy Office determined that regardless of the minister's disbelief, he had enough belief that there was such a thing as Baptism that his intention was sufficient for the Sacrament to be valid. Is there a distinction to be made between the two cases that might shed more limpid light on the matter?
And of course there is the curious case of the Anglican bishop of London, Graham Leonard, who converted to Catholicism after having had his orders "confirmed" by Old Catholics in Utrecht. Cardinal Hume wrote "prudent doubt" about the invalidity of Leonard's orders existed. Consequently Leonard was conditionally ordained a priest. Personally, I think he should have been conditionally ordained a bishop in order to respect the possibility that he really was a successor to the Apostles, but I suspect Rome wanted to avoid the question of a married bishop (the Rad Trad has not heard of a married bishop since Pope Hadrian II).
None of these questions amount to an opinion. They really are just questions and points of discussion. Perhaps some of our Thomistic readers and Anglophiles would be kind enough to join in the comment box and share their wealth of knowledge with the rest of us. Are there any recent studied on this subject?