I do meet clergy, sound and thoroughly orthodox men, who are disturbed by the Bull Apostolicae curae Leo XIII declaring Anglican priestly Orders to be null and void. And one meets nice young laymen, fairly recently received into full communion with the Holy See, who make a point of addressing one as Mr So-and-so. And some rather fierce RC traditionalists fume and foam at the thought that we can give the impression of being so sound when, in their view, we are not even priests. Let me share my own thoughts.
I am not in favour of criticising and trying to unpick Apostolicae curae. That would simply put us in the same position as all those other people who are so totally loyal to the Holy See ... except in one particular matter. The only point I would make is that that the actual bull sealed for Leo XIII described the question as hoc caput disciplinae, and this is what was first officially published. It appeared to situate the question in the area of discipline and not of dogma. Pressure from the English RC hierarchy resulted in the removal from subsequent editions of the word disciplinae.
Moreover, in Apostolicae curae we got what we deserved. For more than three hundred years we, as a faith-community, had behaved as if we were a Protestant sect intent on harrying, persecuting, sneering at, and murdering Roman Catholics. After all that it is rather bad form for us to make a fuss about Cardinal Vaughan's success in politicking his way, against the views of the leading RC scholars of the time, to getting this condemnation.
What has to be pointed out is that Apostolicae curae no longer applies. Some sixteen years ago I coined the phrase 'the Dutch Touch' to describe the participation after 1933 of Dutch schismatics with indubitably valid orders in Anglican episcopal consecrations (the technical details are in my paper in the volume Reuniting Anglicans with Rome). The secret archives in Pusey House, Oxford, make absolutely clear that the intention of the very highest levels in the Church of England and the Dutch Old Catholic Church was to introduce the 'Dutch Succession' into the Church of England and so, after two or three generations, render Apostolicae curae obsolete. Remember that in 1662 the Cof E had made the formulae in presbyteral and episcopal ordination (which Leo had asserted were insufficiently clear), more explicit. Although the plotting of 1933 was done in private (so that nobody could say'Ah, the Anglicans do realise they are not real priests'), it clearly represents a formal and ecclesial act.
The Dutch Touch started in 1933. It must by now have reached those parts which other Touches cannot reach. Rome has not reinvestigated the question. But when Bishop Graham Leonard became a R C, the CDF did look at photocopies of the Pusey archive and recommended that there was enough doubt about the invalifidity of Bidshop Graham's presbyteral ordination for him to be ordained only sub conditione and not absolutely. John Paul II disagreed only to the extent that he ordered Bishop Graham not to be subjected to the indignity of diaconal reordination, either conditional or absolute. Rome specifically did not investigate the question of the validity of his episcopal orders, because of the problems which would have followed the discovery that the RC Church now had a married bishop!
Now, of course, we are nearly in agreement with Rome about the dubiety of Anglican Orders anyway. We believe that a large and growing percentage of Anglican Ordinations are invalid: the purported ordinations of women, and of both men and women by 'women bishops'. That is why, if we are to hang on in the C of E, we need a separate episcopate and clear mechanisms for the reordination of men who come to join us having been invalidlty ordained within the 'mainstream' Church.