Anglican catholics


I am interested in finding out the differences between the RC church and the Anglican churches. I already know of one difference and it is the role of women in their churches. I recently visited an Sunday service and they had the consecration, communion(by kneeling) and most of the parts of the mass as we know it, just in a different order. I am a bit confused and trying to help my daughter make her decision.


There really is too much to answer. From a Roman Catholic perspective, there is only on Church in which the fullness of the faith lies and that is the Catholic Church (Eastern Orthodox would say not so fast you guys left the church but that is another story). So from an RCC point of view there is not much else to research.

The Anglican Communion was part of the Catholic Church but left (long story). Leo XIII declared their orders invalid in the 19th century. This is probably now quite questionable due to the injection of Old Catholic (Utrecht) orders into the Anglican Communion in the middle of the 20th century (long after Leo XII made his declaration). There are also what are called “Continuing Anglican” groups that have valid orders due to their Bishops deriving them from the PNCC and PIC (who the RCC recognize as having valid orders). These groups will be more traditional and often resemble a Pius XII church in poetic English.


i) From an RCC point of view it does not matter if she went to an Anglican priest with valid orders as that would only be permissable in exceptional circumstances (as with EO, PNCC, etc). Only the Catholic Church has the fullness of the faith and that is where she should be seeking membership and spiritual nourishment.

ii) A number of US based Anglican Communion diocese and clergy are quite liberal. Support female clergy, gay unions, and gay clergy. Bishop JS Spong advocates getting away from theistic notions of God.

iii) There are conservative Anglican diocese and churches so she would have to look carefully.

iv) Theology will range from far out liberal (Matthew Fox is a former Catholic Priest and now Episcopalian who has cosmic masses) to low church Evangelical to out Catholicing Catholics.

v) Catholics derive security from the Pope (successor) and the teaching Magisterium of their church. Anglicans have much intellectual diversity and the Archbishop of Canterbury is merely the First Among Equals like the Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch. In other words no central authority.

There could be so much else to discuss in terms of difference. However, if she was brought up Catholic (RCC) then it would be highly problematic for her to become Anglican since valid sacraments or not there is only ONE church established by Jesus Christ and given His authority and fullness and that is the Roman Catholic Church. So whether the RCC has had some bad scandals, or she finds a more beautiful and reverent liturgy at an Anglican service is not really relevant.

If she is Catholic, the best thing to help her make her decision is to have her talk to a competent and faithful Catholic Priest.


As a Catholic who spent most of his life as an Anglican I can’t add anything to Rev Dr North’s excellent summary and advice. :thumbsup:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit