I am wondering if anyone here can tell me what the Catholic position is on the validity of Anglican ordination. Specifically: I know that in the Donatist controversy the Catholic church upheld the principle that a certain sacramental efficacy is attached to even heretical bodies. If this is so, then do Catholics today believe that, say, the Anglican eucharist is truly the body and blood of Christ? If not, why not? Further, what about other offshoot groups such as the Nestorians (Assyrian Church of the East), the Orthodox, or the Armenians? What about even more radical offshoot groups, such as “The Autocephalous Movement,” which consists of a hodge-podge of tiny churches, all claiming apostolic succession? Even though the doctrine of these churches is not Roman, are their sacraments still valid?
My question stems from very practical motives. I have become convinced that Protestantism is not a valid expression of the Christian church founded by Christ chiefly because it does not have apostolic succession. And I have also become convinced, through study, of the church’s power to forgive sins through the episcopal and priestly power of absolution. Personally, I am wondering if absolution granted by a non-Roman church, such as the ones mentioned above, is valid even if the church is deemed by Rome to be heretical. My reason for not seeking absolution from the Catholic church is that at this time I cannot in full conscience convert since I do not believe in many Roman doctrines.
If anyone can help me with this question, please post the answer and also copy it via email to me at email@example.com, if that is not too much trouble. (Since I am new to this forum, I may get lost and not be able to find the answer posted here.)