Anglican communion and the monarch

As we all know, Henry VIII declared himself the head of the Anglican church, and his successor on the throne is by default the head of it too.

If Episcopalianism is simply Anglicanism by another name, why is the monarch not head of the Episcopalians?

Furthermore, the monarch is also by default a Presbyterian in his or her role as the monarch of Scotland.

As I understand it, the Presbyterians and Anglicans form a sort of union in some places. Yet, there still must be some doctrinal disagreements, right? So if the monarch is the head of one and a member of the other, doesn’t that mean he or she has to believe different and possibly conflicting things?

And what are the implications on the Catholic Church with regard to this? The Catholic Church makes certain allowances for Anglicans (for example, they can celebrate their liturgy in a Catholic Church if the local bishop consents). Yet, if the Presbyterians and Anglicans are in a sort of communion with each other, why is there no allowance of the same given to the Presbyterians?

What if the monarch is in actuality an atheist? As the UK increasingly goes secular, it doesn’t seem outside of the real of possibility. Doesn’t it create a bizarre conflict of interest for the head of the church of England to have no faith, or to have faith contrary the church he or she heads? Even Catholic Clerics lose their post if they become apostate. Seems even more necessary for a Monarch.

Lastly, why did the Anglicans change their stance on marriage? Henry VIII demanded the right to divorce and remarry, yet when Edward VIII wanted to marry Wallis Simpson the C of E wouldn’t stand for it. Same with Princess Margaret wanting to marry a divorcée. Yet it didn’t matter in the case of Princess Anne, just a few decades later. And Prince Charles’ marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles puts him in essentially the same scenario that Edward VIII was in, the only differences is that he isn’t yet king and the government didn’t have a problem with it; yet insofar as the C of E is concerned, shouldn’t their standards have remain unchanged? Why were Edward VIII and Prince Charles held to different rules? From my Catholic eyes, to have these things changed – and only within seventy years – seems bizarre.

Very interesting. Seems those who broke away from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church drift farther and farther down the path of confusion and division. We pray they will start drifting back to the Way, the Truth and the Life. God Bless, Memaw

All of the provinces that make up the Anglican Communion are independent provinces. There are instruments of unity that help to lead the Communion and keep us together. One of these instruments is the Archbishop of Canterbury, who acts as the spiritual leader of the whole Anglican Communion. In England, the monarch is the supreme governor of the Church of England only and not the head of the other independent provinces.

Also, the Calvinist/Reformed Church of Scotland is not a member of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church of Scotland is the official Anglican province of Scotland.

As I understand it, the Presbyterians and Anglicans form a sort of union in some places. Yet, there still must be some doctrinal disagreements, right? So if the monarch is the head of one and a member of the other, doesn’t that mean he or she has to believe different and possibly conflicting things?

The saying among Anglicans is that no two Anglicans think alike. The idea of having a leader, monarch, or bishop that thinks a little different than we do isn’t that big of a controversy for most Anglicans. Furthermore, there are no official unions between Anglicans and the Presbyterians. The only thing that comes close to that is the Church in India, which is a uniting church that absorbed reformed churches into the united church.

And what are the implications on the Catholic Church with regard to this? The Catholic Church makes certain allowances for Anglicans (for example, they can celebrate their liturgy in a Catholic Church if the local bishop consents). Yet, if the Presbyterians and Anglicans are in a sort of communion with each other, why is there no allowance of the same given to the Presbyterians?

There are no unions between Anglicans and Presbyterians, so this is not an issue.

What if the monarch is in actuality an atheist? As the UK increasingly goes secular, it doesn’t seem outside of the real of possibility. Doesn’t it create a bizarre conflict of interest for the head of the church of England to have no faith, or to have faith contrary the church he or she heads? Even Catholic Clerics lose their post if they become apostate. Seems even more necessary for a Monarch.

That would be an English problem lol. :smiley:

Lastly, why did the Anglicans change their stance on marriage? Henry VIII demanded the right to divorce and remarry, yet when Edward VIII wanted to marry Wallis Simpson the C of E wouldn’t stand for it. Same with Princess Margaret wanting to marry a divorcée. Yet it didn’t matter in the case of Princess Anne, just a few decades later. And Prince Charles’ marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles puts him in essentially the same scenario that Edward VIII was in, the only differences is that he isn’t yet king and the government didn’t have a problem with it; yet insofar as the C of E is concerned, shouldn’t their standards have remain unchanged? Why were Edward VIII and Prince Charles held to different rules? From my Catholic eyes, to have these things changed – and only within seventy years – seems bizarre.

It is a complicated issue, what Henry wanted was an annulment and not a divorce, after all, Henry was very much a theological Catholic, even after the split. If you look at the marriages of Henry that didn’t end in the death of the Queen, you will see that he used Catholic reasons for annulment.

As for the rest of it, an Englishmen would be best to discuss the current issues.

Some good questions. I’ll try to pick up a few points.

1 The correct title for the Queen is Supreme Governor of the CofE, not head (Anglicans of course believe Christ is the head of their church) .

2 The different churches of the Anglican Communion are independent of each other, so there is no reason for the Queen to be involved in any but the CofE.

3 When the Queen is in Scotland she attends Presbyterian Church of Scotland services — It is the national church. Presbyterians and CofE are not in some kind of communion with each other as organisations.

4 You are right that there is a potential — indeed an actual — problem if the monarch were to be an atheist, or indeed a Catholic, since he/she has to be in communion with the CofE. No doubt the British constitution will evolve to deal with such a situation, just as it is in the midst of adjusting to allow monarchs to be married to Catholics.

5 You are mistaken about Henry VIII. He wanted an annulment, not a divorce. It is true that attitudes to divorce have mellowed in most of British society during the past 100 years, just as they have in the US.

According to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyterianism

Some Presbyterian churches have entered into unions with other churches, such as Congregationalists, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Methodists.

The only union I know of is the United Church in India, which was a union of various groups, including Presbyterians. I know of no full communion agreements with Presbyterian churches. There may be some kind of fluffy ecumenical agreements on certain issues, but that is all I know of.

If Henry got an annulment all the Anglicans would be Catholics. He didn’t believe in the reformation and at one time was awarded the defender of the Catholic faith from the Pope. What I don’t understand is why anyone would want to be Anglican knowing that he was Catholic and because he didn’t get his own way and committed adultery they would want to be in a Church that this was the only basis of the church that he started. Adultery, nothing else. He believed in most of the Catholic teachings even after he left.

How can you be a true follower of Christ if your in a church that he did not establish? You have made up your own rules and opinions… Sad to say, now look what we have over 33 thousand different church’s who are all the offshoots of Catholicism , changed our bible and removed books, which in revelation had warnings about that and that aren’t even in communion with each other, never mind the Catholic church, which is the only thing they seem to be in agreement over. Every one of the Anglican church’s have their own thinking. Is this right, is this what Jesus wanted?

I know that my daughter in law is from the Anglican church of Ireland and supposedly that isn’t the same as the Anglican church of England that has now in the west in America, has gone down the toilet calling themselves Episcopal with homosexuality accepted, women priests, besides contraception that the Anglicans who were the first to change and accept this. All the church’s agreed with the Catholic church on this point and was accepted for many years and then, the Anglicans, decided to change it and all the other Protestant churches followed suit. We have now Anglicans in some cases who left the church for this reason and are now in communion with the Catholic church. The Pro-test -ants have one thing in common, more than anything else, Division, and Christ said he wanted us to be in communion with each other and he formed only one church, he didn’t leave the Church after he established it with Peter , he promised he would never leave the church and be with us for all times and the gates of hell would never prevail. I pray one day people will open their eyes and see this truth and we will all be in communion with each other. After all this is Catholic Answers Forum, for Catholics to learn and deepen their faith and if people aren’t Catholic on here, you will learn the truth. and I hope your not here to try and sway Cafeteria Catholics away. That is not the purpose of this site.
GB

The Queen is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, which is the state religion in England.

The Presbyterian church is not the state religion of Scotland, merely its traditional national church in a cultural sense.

The Queen takes an oath to preserve the Church of Scotland at the meeting of the Privy Council immediately following his or her accession, however she is not “head” of it nor even its Supreme Governor in the sense of the CofE.

Anglicanism and Presbyterianism are very different. The former is traditionally both “Catholic and Reformed” in theology, including a High Church ‘Catholic’ wing and a ‘Low’ Church ‘Reformed’ wing that each veer more towards Catholicism and Protestantism respectively. Anglicans have a clerical hierarchy including bishops, priests and deacons. They adhere not only to the Bible but also see themselves as part of the Sacred Tradition of the Early Church Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils.

Presbyterians on the other hand are Calvinists. They reject all clerical offices, believe in sola scriptura and are entirely ‘Reformed’ in theology. Their beliefs are summed up by five precepts:

Total Depravity (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin)
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement (also known as Particular Atonement)
Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints (also known as Once Saved Always Saved)

I disagree, as a Catholic, with every one of these Presbyterian beliefs.

Needless to say there is a reason that out of all the Reformed denominations it is Anglicans, Methodists and Lutherans that the Catholic Church has grown closest too, singing a joint declaration on Justification with each of these three communions.

It has done no such thing with Presbyterians, nor will it in my understanding.

You will understand, I am sure, that members of the Church of England do not believe that they are in a church founded by Henry VIII, but that they are in England’s church which has existed for seventeen hundred years and more.

What I don’t understand is why some Roman Catholics don’t understand that the reasons for Henry not getting the annulment were purerly political and had very little to due with theology or the validity of the marriage. The Pope gave out annulments like candy to the nobility, Henry was married to a Spaniard and the Pope was very concerned with making the Spanish Monarch very angry.

Furthermore, if you want this discussion to center around the morality of the leaders of the time, then you better make sure none of the medieval Popes had mistresses or any “nephews” running around. It is mind boggling that some Catholics will accuse Henry of gross immorality, when the medieval Popes were the kings of corruption and immorality.

How can you be a true follower of Christ if your in a church that he did not establish? You have made up your own rules and opinions… Sad to say, now look what we have over 33 thousand different church’s who are all the offshoots of Catholicism , changed our bible and removed books, which in revelation had warnings about that and that aren’t even in communion with each other, never mind the Catholic church, which is the only thing they seem to be in agreement over. Every one of the Anglican church’s have their own thinking. Is this right, is this what Jesus wanted?

I have discussed this issue in more depth in other threads, but there was a Church in England before the nature and the Papacy evolved into what it was during medieval times. When Augustine of Canterbury arrived, there was a Church in England. This Church in England came to be in communion with Rome, however, the Church in England still had a relative degree of autonomy. Also, Anglicans removed no books from the bible, they are all there.

Also, the split and the protestant reformation cannot be purerly laid at the feet of Luther and the other protestants. The Catholic Church was a hotbed of corruption and sin prior to and leading up to the reformation. Catholics and protestants are both responsible for the split.

I know that my daughter in law is from the Anglican church of Ireland and supposedly that isn’t the same as the Anglican church of England that has now in the west in America, has gone down the toilet calling themselves Episcopal with homosexuality accepted, women priests, besides contraception that the Anglicans who were the first to change and accept this. All the church’s agreed with the Catholic church on this point and was accepted for many years and then, the Anglicans, decided to change it and all the other Protestant churches followed suit. We have now Anglicans in some cases who left the church for this reason and are now in communion with the Catholic church. The Pro-test -ants have one thing in common, more than anything else, Division, and Christ said he wanted us to be in communion with each other and he formed only one church, he didn’t leave the Church after he established it with Peter , he promised he would never leave the church and be with us for all times and the gates of hell would never prevail. I pray one day people will open their eyes and see this truth and we will all be in communion with each other. After all this is Catholic Answers Forum, for Catholics to learn and deepen their faith and if people aren’t Catholic on here, you will learn the truth. and I hope your not here to try and sway Cafeteria Catholics away. That is not the purpose of this site.
GB

In my eyes, the Catholic Church is just as much responsible for the split as protestants. Furthermore, the vast majority of Anglican provinces have not altered their teachings related to homosexual issues. Also, there are plenty of active homosexual priests in the RCC. None of our “grass” is as “green” as we would all like to think.

I understand that argument as regards his first wife. He wanted a son to continue his line, and thought she was the problem. (Turns out it was all in vain anyway) What about the rest of his wives, particularly the ones he killed? Kind of hard to defend Henry VIII on any moral basis.

I’m not defending the morality or lack of morality of Henry VIII, most leaders during that time were not the best examples of moral people, including Popes. Furthermore, do you really believe that the medieval Popes were above murder? I think you may want dig into the history of that era. That being said, I find arguments that are based on “who had the most moral leader” as useless.

In regards to his wives, Anne Boleyn was accused of adultery with possibly hundreds of men. However, history tells us that most of the charges were trumped up by her political enemies. The only other Queen executed, Kathryn Howard, was executed for adultery and she was guilty. I am not saying that these executions are just, but that was the penalty for the crime at the time.

Such a nostalgia-inducing thread. And much of it accurate.

The first post I made on line anywhere, around 15 years ago, was to answer almost precisely the OP question, on the CoE, the Sovereign/Supreme Head/Supreme Governor (Act of 1534/Act of 1559), and the Anglican Communion. Things never change.

Decree of nullity is more accurate than an annulment, since the later implies something done to a marriage (annulled), while the former, correctly, indicates that a judgement is rendered as to whether a valid sacramental marriage ever existed.

And there’s the *Defensor Fidei *topic. And other historical points that I’ve posted on for a dozen years plus.

Gives one a warm glow.

GKC

It was the Holy Roman Emperor that had Clement walking soft.

GKC

I kept waiting for you to show up GKC, what took you so long? :wink:

I was sort of busy on another board today. And I was out shopping for a while. Had just taken a look at this board, right before I posted.

I’d hate to have to do all that over again. But, luckily, I saved a lot of it, over the years. Just in case.

GKC

But he was king of Spain too, was he not? And Queen Catherine’s nephew.

Yep. He was first to have the same bum on the united Spanish Monarchies throne, from 1516, before he got the big enchilada, his HRE hat, in 1519. HRE was the bigger deal.

And yes. His mom, Joanna the Weird, was elder sister to Catherine.

GKC

A map of his territory:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2a/Empire-Roman-Emperor-Charles-V.jpg

He was unparalleled in strength at the time.

edit: Colours denote the “crowns” he held.

Purple is Castile, red is Aragon, orange is Burgandy, yellow is Austria.

As I understand it, in England at least, Presbyterians have united with the Congregationalists to form the United Reform Church.

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