Anglican/Episcoplian Priests and Apostolic Succesion

Tell me, I’ve heard that Anglican/Episcopalian priests do not have apostolic succesion. If this was so, then how can married and or unmarried Episcopalian/Anglican priests be in the priesthood in Holy Mother Church? Thank you :smiley:

In 1896, Pope Leo XIII said that “ordinations performed according to the Anglican rite have been and are wholly invalid and absolutely null.”

Anglican orders are not recognized as valid within the Catholic Church. This stems from a historical defect in the form of the ordination rite (valid form is one of five requirements for any valid sacrament, the others being subject, minister, matter, and intent. If there is a defect in any of these, the sacrament is not valid).

The defective form has been corrected, but it persisted for more than a century, meaning there were no validly consecrated bishops left by the time the defective form was fixed. The Anglican Church thus had no bishops with sacramentally-valid Apostolic Succession.

Anglicans still conduct ordination rites, but the Catholic Church does not regard them as having any true sacramental effect. In this regard, Anglican priests are no different than any other protestant pastor, according to the Catholic Church.

Any possible restoration of validity of Anglican orders is severely hindered by the Anglican practice of ordaining women bishops.

The simple reason is that converts from Anglicanism to Catholicism are ordained in the Catholic Church before they are allowed to take up a ministerial position therein. Married men are sometimes ordained according to the Pastoral Provision.

Calling GKC. Calling GKC. :slight_smile:


Ah, this is correct, and it is a better answer than my earlier one. I misunderstood the question, thinking the OP was asking how Anglican priests could be valid while still Anglican (answer: they can’t).

Yes, Anglicans who become Catholic priests receive Catholic ordination. It’s the same for converts who were formerly Baptists, Methodists, Jews, Muslims, or whatever.

It’s not quite the same, because Anglicans have had special standing for some time now, under the Pastoral Provision which I already mentioned, as well as the more recent Anglicanorum Coetibus, which established the Personal Ordinariates of the Anglican Use liturgy. Now, former Anglicans are not unique in this regard, because I believe there have been married former-Lutheran ministers ordained to the Catholic priesthood as well, but the legal support for Anglicans is concrete and widespread.

Apostolicae curae,/1896, the judgement on Anglican orders issued by Leo XIII, was based on a declared judgement of an intertwined invalidity of both form and intent. The subject is a complicated one, involving personal, historical, political, and theological aspects.

With only two known exceptions, since Apostolicae curae, Anglican priests becoming Roman Catholic priests have been ordained absolutely; two were ordained sub conditione.


True, basically. But the Pastoral Provision was only applicable in the US.


I emphatically agree with your last statement.


The Ordinatariates Pope Benedict created in 2011/12 have Anglican priests, I not sure how their ordinations transferred over though. I know Benedict changed their Liturgy which is part of the Roman rite.

The Anglican priests were ordained absolutely, as if they were laymen, which the RCC, generally, thinks they were.

Two Anglican priests since 1896 are known to have been ordained sub conditione: Fr. John J. Hughes and the late Fr. Graham Leonard.

The liturgy was changed as far back as the Pastoral Provision, for the Anglican Use (Book of Divine Worship).


Thank you for all of the excellent replies!

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