Anglican/Episcapalian Questions

Hello all.
I have wandered throughout my life looking for the proper church that makes me feel at home and the most welcome. I went to a variety of churches and finally found one. For me atleast, its an Eastern Catholic Church of the Maronite tradition. I don’t know if I stated that right but come Easter I fully hope to be a Maronite Catholic. What does this have to do with the title of this thread you ask? Well, allow me to explain.
Through my journey to find a spiritual home I attended a variety of churches trying to fill a spiritual void in my heart. The 2 churches I didn’t manage to go to were the above listed in the title. I am happy going to the Maronite church and don’t plan on changing. But I was curious. I’ve heard that the Anglican church is referred to Catholic lite though I’m sure that statement ruffles traditionalist feathers on both sides. I was wondering for my own education and the benefit of others here on this board if they could elaborate on a few things?

  1. Is the difference between the 2 churches the leadership? ie the Anglicans acknowledge Canterbury as head and the Episcapalians acknowledge someone else?

  2. What is High church and Low church? Is that like the EF and the ON for Roman Catholics?

  3. What is this Real Presence I keep reading about here?

  4. I’ve read the term Anglo Catholics but what is that exactly?

    Keep in mind I live in Texas and I know that there is an Anglican Use Catholic church there. From what I understand their Catholic but they follow the Anglican traditions just changed it to reflect the Pope and have his blessing. Thus, any Catholic or Anglican can go there and receive the sacraments.

With the the creation of Anglican Use churches would more Episcapalians or Anglicans be interested in having more of them? I believe they’re under the local Bishops control he can choose to have them if there is a need and if there are priests qualified to do both. Thats nothing new, as even my Eastern Catholic church , though my Maronite Patriarch is in Lebanon, we still operate under the guidance of the local Roman Catholic Bishop I believe.

Anyway please consider this post as a request for information about the Anglican and Episcapalian churches.

Anglicans are in England and Episcapalians are Anglicans not in England. Both have the British Royal Crown as the head of their church. The King or Queen names the Archbishop of Canterbury. After breaking away from Rome and the Holy See, Henry VIII and Thomas Cranmer, with the help of a few others, went through and made changes to the mass, introduced new teachings, etc.

The Real Presence is Jesus being present, body, blood, soul, and divinity, in the Eucharist. Catholics and Orthodox churches believe in this (transubstantiation). Most Protestants believe in Luther’s teaching of consubstantiation. The Anglicans, at first, denied the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Now they have some weird middle ground teaching. Catholics cannot receive communion from Anglicans.

You will find some, if not many, Anglicans calling themselves Catholic. This is not the case. You will hear the claim that they have apostolic succession, but the ordination rite of bishops and priests was changed, adding to the invalidity of orders and part of the apostolic succession tradition.

If you check the internet for news about Anglicans, you will see that they are in a state of crisis over, amongst other things, the ordination of women and homosexuals. Many churches and whole Anglican dioceses have tried to sever ties with the Anglican communion.

Hope this helps.

I am under the impression (until further information becomes available) that Episcopalianism is just the name given to the American Anglican Church. They are still in full communion with Canterbury, however.

  1. What is High church and Low church? Is that like the EF and the ON for Roman Catholics?

“High Church” refers to the style of worship that is like the Catholic Mass - lots of incense, chanting, and ritual, and “Low Church” refers to the style of worship that is more like traditional Presbyterianism, or even a more Amish style of worship, with a lot more preaching, Scripture reading, and congregational singing.

  1. What is this Real Presence I keep reading about here?

It is the belief that Jesus becomes truly present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, under the appearances of the bread and wine offered on the Altar, at the moment of the Consecration. The appearance of it remains that of bread and wine, but in actuality, it is the living Christ.

  1. I’ve read the term Anglo Catholics but what is that exactly?

I’m not entirely sure, either. I’m under the impression that they are traditional High Church Anglicans, but I could be wrong.

Keep in mind I live in Texas and I know that there is an Anglican Use Catholic church there.  From what I understand their Catholic but they follow the Anglican traditions just changed it to reflect the Pope and have his blessing.  Thus, any Catholic or Anglican can go there and receive the sacraments.


I thought that the Anglican Use was for Catholics who have converted out of the Anglican tradition. Actual Anglicans would not be allowed to receive any Sacraments there, any more than from any other Catholic Church, though. I don’t think, anyway.

With the the creation of Anglican Use churches would more Episcapalians or Anglicans be interested in having more of them?

Only if they were considering becoming Catholic.

There is a little convolution in how things are administrated, and no one has gotten it right yet.

The Episcopal Church is a National Church, much like the Orthodox Churches of the Old World.

The head of the Episcopal Church is its Presiding Bishop, who is currently, for better or for worse, Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori, although the Diocesesan Bishops, the General Convention voters, and the individual parish vestries have much more power than their counterparts in the Catholic Church, and the Presiding Bishop has significantly less power than the Pope.

The Episcopal Church was born in the US during the Revolutionary War when parishes that were formally branches of the Church of England discovered it to be “unwise” to be part of the Church of England.

On the international level, the Episcopal Church is part of the Worldwide Anglican Communion. The Church of England is also a member of the Anglican Communion. The reigning English Monarch is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, although HRH Elizabeth II is not the head of the Anglican Communion. The head of the Anglican Communion is the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is also the primate and head of the Church of England, and is appointed by the political agreement between the Monarch and Parliament.

I find the High Church concept quite interesting. Due to the High Church tradition in the Anglican church can or is there any bishops in the Communion that have legitament Apostolic succession? Ie…are there any former Catholic Bishops in the Anglican High Church? If there are, wouldn’t they be the head of the church? Also going from that If the Anglican Communion were to show apostolic succession wouldn’t they be acknowledged by the Vatican just as the Orthodox are?

 I really am starting to feel that if I hadn't chosen the Catholic faith, I most likely would have been a High Church Anglican.  

 Has there been an increase in High Church Anglicans joining the Catholic faith and vice versa, as opposed to say another denomination?

What are some arguments from the High Church Anglicans as to why they won’t join the Catholic church? And vice versa.

Please note this is something I believe should be discussed openly, freely, and without judgement. Thats the reason this post is in the Non Catholic Forum. So that people may learn and grow from the discussion and not feel attacked due to differeing religious beliefs.

This is getting a lot closer. Let me expand a little.

The Episcopal Church, under that name, is the official member jurisdiction of the worldwide Anglican Communion in this country. The Anglican Communion is made up of 28 self-governing jurisdictions, all derived from the original Church of England, all now independent. Most will have the word “Anglican” in their titles, as, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Anglican Church of Australia, etc. All are said to be in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury, as the titular head of the Communion, who is also the Primate of the Church of England, as stated above. As the head of the Anglican Communion, he has no real authority, other than moral suasion, and inviting the Anglican bishops to the every 10 years Lambeth conference.

The Episcopal Church was separated formally from the Church of England, not during the revolution, but as a consequence of it, in 1789. It was the first “offspring”, so to speak, of the Church of England, now grown to those 28 self-governing provinces in the official Communion. So American Episcopalians are Anglicans, generically.

Complicating this picture is the fact that there exist in several countries groups of Anglicans who have broken with the official local Anglican Province, such as the Episcopal Church, and in some cases, with the official Anglican Communion, yet are still Anglicans. It takes a program to tell the players.


“High Church” is not a distinct Anglican Church. It is a form of Anglicanism, which is found, in varying degrees, in all Anglican Provinces and jurisdictions. It refers to a form of “churchmanship”, how high the liturgy is. It is contrasted with “low church”. High churches are usually on the Anglo-Catholic side of the Anglican doctrinal spectrum, low ones on the reformed side . This might lead to another question, I bet.

In the official position of the RCC, Anglicans do not possess Apostolic succession. This is declared as the official position in Leo XIII’s Bull Apostolicae Curae, and is a long, sad story. There are no former RC bishops in the Anglican Communion. If there were any, they would not necessarily be the head of any Anglican Church.

Anglicans believe that they do have Apostolic Succession. The RCC says otherwise, so the question of how they would be treated (like the Orthodox) is moot.

I would guess that you would find, recently, an influx of high church Anglo-Catholic flavored Anglicans moving to Rome, as the official Anglican world generally has gone increasingly apostate. Not all who leave the Anglican world do so to go to Rome, however. There are other possibilities.

Most high church/Anglo-Catholics do not affirm the Papal dogmas of the RCC (personal charism of infallibility, universal ordinary authority, for example), which keeps them out of the RCC. There can be other points, as well.



I just read this one. More points.

As I said above, high/low church refers to different flavors of Anglicanism, and relates to churchmanship, primarily. High is more elaborate (vestments, candles, bells, chants, etc). Low is more simple. These two distinctions relate to two forms of Anglican doctrine; high church is normally on the Anglo-Catholic side. This implies an acceptance of more doctrine that would be shared with any Catholic Church: Marian doctrine, Real Presence, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, auricular confession, etc). The opposite of this is more reformed Anglicanism, which sounds more protestant. These folks tend to be low church. Most Anglicans fall somewhere on the line between these two. I am a fairly strong Anglo-Catholic, for example. Some in my parish are distinctly more reformed in their view. As I have said, it takes a program to understand Anglicans.

The Real Presence is what you, as a Catholic (and I) believe about the Sacrament of the Eucharist; that it is, after the consecration, not bread and wine, but truly, really and substantially the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Christ, as stated by the Council of Trent.

Anglican Use is a complicated topic. There are several AU churches in Texas, more than anywhere else. There are only roughly -7-8 of them and they are not generally intended to be permanent arrangements, but to assist groups of Anglicans who have converted (some folks do not agree with this definition). The two large AU churches in Texas are permanent, and very successful, too.

Anglicans who are not members of the RCC (that is, who have not converted) are not allowed to receive the sacraments at an AU RC church, any more than at any other RC church.

Anglican Use churches are formed when there is a perceived need for them. Generally they convert to another form of the Latin Rite, in a few years. They are not established to be a lure to Anglicans to convert, but to support a group of Anglicans who have converted. Such a parish relies on converted Anglican priests, who have been ordained in the RCC, under the Pastoral Provision. There is no provision to regularly provide appropriate priests, in succession to an AU parish.


I see GKC very informative thankyou.

I have a question its not meant to be inflammatory so I apologize if it causes a negative reaction.

Where in the Bible or any canon really does it state women can or can’t be Priests or Bishops? It’s my understanding that the Episcapal church has a few and I want to know more about it. Perhaps there’s an old canon that allows it. I’m new to Catholism so I don’t know yet. I don’t believe the Catholic church has or ever had any.

Also to the Anglican’s believe in purgatory too? I’m still trying to wrap my head around that but then remember I’m new.

GKC is generally one of (perhaps THE) best place at CAF to get info on the Anglican church. He’s generally fair to both side of disputed points.

Asking what Anglicans believe about Purgatory is too general a question to answer. IMO, the best that can be said is that you CAN believe in Purgatory, but it is not a required tenet of the faith. And few things actually are! A famous Episcopalian (William Bennett, IIRC) once said that “nobody from Mother Theresa to Mao Tse Tung can say with confidence that he/she is NOT an Anglican!” It’s a pretty big tent, to put it mildly.

That goes for the priesthood and women too. The Episcopal Church allows it as do most Anglican churches. A few anglo-catholics think it is a bad idea. I have no idea how they deal with the contradiction in real life.

As you know, catholicism says we can’t make women into priests because Jesus demonstrably didn’t do so. We tend to think rather highly of Jesus and shy away from ‘improving’ on his judgement.

Nowhere in scripture does it state that women can or cannot be priests/bishops. But it is strongly implied in precisely who Our Lord did choose as apostles, who were the beginning of the Apostolic Succession, which defines the valid priesthood and epsicopacy.

The mind of the Church was one on this, even through the reformation, until around the middle of the 20th century, when some Churches began to innovate. A number of Anglican jurisdictions do place collars or miters on women; in the sense the Church Universal has always defined the sacerdotal priesthood, these women are not priests. See John Paul II’s Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

And yes, I’m an Anglican. The sort of Anglican that left the Anglican Communion over things like this.

Some Anglicans do believe in purgatory, mainly those on the Anglo-Catholic side, but it is fairly wide spread. Anglicans usually think of it as a process, purgation, rather than a place.

Ask away. It is hard to offend me.


You are very kind.

Bennett, as far as I know, is RC. But the quote is usually attributed to my man William F. Buckley, Jr, of sainted memory, who was definitely a RC.

Real Anglo-Catholics (accept no substitutes) deal with the issue of women’s ordination by leaving the jurisdictions that practice such things. See the Anglican Continuum, or Continuing Anglican Churches.


*posterus traditus Anglicanus, Anglicanus-Catholicus *

See? Told you he’d have the correct answers AND do it charitably to boot.

So I got the name AND the religion wrong… Still a fun quote (though I’m sure I bungled that slightly too!)

Again, you are very kind.

It is usually rendered, and attributed to Bill, as “Is there anyone on earth, from the Pope to Mao Tse Tung, who can be entirely certain that he is not an Episcopalian?”


Do the Anglicans have Exorcists like the Catholics do?

Yes, though precisely how the office works varies with the Provinces. The Church of England has an exorcist in each diocese (IIRC). Other Provinces make other arrangements. But exorcism is recognized (but not common) in Anglicanism.


Do female priests “forgive sins” in the confessional like the Catholics? :confused:

You and I know there are no female priests, but I know what you mean. Yes, that is the theory. Anglicans are less likely to use individual auricular confession, though it is available, but in confession, whether individual or corporate, the priest pronounces the absolution.


Check it out, ok? Anglican & Episcopalian are3 2 terms for the same thing. Anglican is the UK term, Episcopalian is the US term. Anglican is pretty self explanitory. Episcopalian, if you break it down to the root, EPISCOP = BISHOP. ie; Archbishop of Canterbury. He is the head of the 2 & the same. I was Episcopalian, or Whiskey-palian as some affectionately call it, It’s the closest you can get to being catholic without being called a heretic, LOL! I left the church for SEVERAL reasons. I didnt like the priests being married to each other in Cathedrals, The Church of England is in a state of schism right now. Some say the episcopalians do this & the anglicans do that, but it’s really BOTH the CHURCH OF ENGLAND, They are split down the middle, they have no grasp on morality, (one side doesnt), a house divided will not stand. Just recently 10 Anglican nuns converted to catholicism. I didnt want to be a part of anything grossly supporting immorality. It has turned into a circus. THat’s why I left. I’ll implore you from my own personal bias, not to go in that direction. They’d be glad to have you, and then your brain will turn to mush. It did mine. I know more about religion, faith, prayer, SCRIPTURE in 2 years of being catholic than I ever did in 30 years of being Episcopalian. The Church of England has done nothing for me spiritually. I felt no connection. I liked the music, the hymns, I was even an altar boy, an acolyte, (spelling?) I played the carolon after the service, I did all those things, but I was also young, so I just went to church with my parents because they told me to & I just followed their lead. It was church. To me, it was all the same, no matter what. Then I did my own reading in these past 5 years. I discovered this little word called DOCTRINE. Yep. I hope I was helpful, or at least, didnt confuse ya. I find Catholicism is more rooted in scripture than any other denomination. Others claim to be, but the guise of being laid back (to me) is watered down. Anyway, take, good luck & if you choose catholicism, I’d like to say, Welcome Home!!!

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