What we mistakenly thought then (I know, I was there): there was still hope.
In September of 1976 the Minneapolis General Convention approved the ordination of women to the priesthood. Clergy and laity who held to the historic position of Catholic Christendom were in a state of political disarray and had insufficient influence on convention proceedings to impede advocates of women's ordination to the priesthood and episcopate. On December 4 and 5, 1976, 14 bishops and 253 priests and members of the laity, all of whom did not accept what they viewed as the "unilateral action" of the General Convention, met together at the Ascension. Eleven bishops and 161 others signed a Covenant which averred "that the evangelical faith and catholic order which the Anglican Communion has received are God given."
We solemnly covenant ourselves to uphold this faith and order within the Episcopal Church. We affirm the tradition of male priesthood ordained by the Father in His choice of the sexuality of His Son, the One High Priest, maintained in the appointment of Christ's Apostles, and manifest in the mind of the Holy Spirit in the unbroken practice of the Church in history. We believe that the ordination of women to the episcopate and priesthood provides no assurance of Apostolic authority for eucharistic consecration, ordination, absolution, and blessing. Therefore, until there is a consensus of the whole catholic church we will not accept the sacramental acts of this new ministry.
This meeting provided the genesis of a new organization, the Evangelical and Catholic Mission (ECM). In addition to opposing the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate, ECM has adopted positions on the authority of General Convention, the limits of obedience, sexual morality, abortion, and the Book of Common Prayer. Since 1977 ECM has held many of its steering committee and council meetings in the parish church. By 1982 the organization numbered 3,500 members, including 50 bishops.
What we know now: game over.
Ascension, Chicago, is a fine example -- now in the hands of an entirely Affirming rector and run by a gay vestry. If it were not for a large endowment, left by a rector of the past, the parish would be bankrupt. I doubt they ever see more than 120 at all 3 Sunday masses except at Easter and Christmas. There may be six children in the Sunday School, pre-K through 12.
The Anglo-Catholic movement in England has decided to go along with the modernist agenda, hoping that the alligator will eat them last. I expect them to be quietly suffocated by the AffCats over the next decade, and many now mostly orthodox clergy will find that their minds have changed miraculously by osmosis.
If there are to be Anglican Catholics, they will be in the Ordinariates. Catholic Anglicans may persist in tiny numbers in the Continuum. But, essentially, the game is up.