Can Anglicans Please Explain This

I was looking for my old Episcopal church on the web and the site states that The Church of Our Savior was the first “Protestant” church in the San Gabriel Valley.

If Anglicans claim to be catholic and not protestants, why would this parish call themselves Protestants?

Do some Anglican/Episcopal parishes consider themselves Catholic and others Protestant? It does seem conflicting that there seems to be a division within the Anglican Communion whether they are “catholic” or “protestant”.

If some Anglicans could comment of the difference of opinions within the Anglican Communion on what it actually believed by all it will be helpful.

My brother is Episcopalian and considers himself Protestant. On CAF most Anglicans seem to consider themselves catholic. Also my parents considered themselves Protestants too.

Thanks for any input as it is truely confusing. I am not posting to create conflict, just found this situation strange.

Yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary


St. Bernadette of Lourdes was once asked when she was a little shepherd girl, guarding her flock out on the field by someone passing by: “Aren’t you afraid of anything?” She said “No”.

Later on in her life, she was asked again by someone, who examined her visions and encounters with our Lady: “Are you afraid of anything?” She answered: “I am not afraid of anything and anyone,… Moslems, Hindus, protestants, Jews…whatever, but I am afraid of bad Catholics.” Bad Catholics draw an immense number of souls to hell.

We have a great responsibility as we call ourselves members of the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Nobody should call himself a Catholic if he or she doesn’t live by the teachings of the Catholic Church.

I know that this might not help you for an explanation, but I had to share this.

Anyway, Anglo- Catholics are anglo- catholic. Catholics are catholic.

Technically the Anglican church is protestant, because protestant means to “Protest” and the Anglican church does protest against the one true Apostolic church, so yes, its a protestant church, not matter how catholic it is in theology.


Hi Bernadette. Although I am Catholic, my Father was Anglican. I think it’s fair to say (and I am generalising here) that most low-church Anglicans would probably consider themselves protestant whilst high church Anglicans would consider themselves Catholic.

However, most Anglican theologians identify with both the Catholic (as Anglicans retained the three-fold ministry of Bishops, Priests and Deacons, episcopal ordinations, formal liturgies, etc) and Reformed (attitude to authority, and use of the Bible) traditions.

I think there is also a difference between the churches within the Anglican Communion. For example, The Episopal Church used to call itself the “Protestant Episcopal Church” I believe. Whereas the Churches of England, Ireland , Wales and the Scottish Episcopal Church (all separate entities) don’t use the word Protestant to describe themselves, rather Reformed Catholic. The Church od Ireland is the “lowest” in terms of liturgy of this group.

Hope this helps.

The Anglican Church was not involved in the protest that spawned the term “protestant”.
The protest took place in 1529 at the 2nd Diet of Speyer. It was a protest against attempts to limit religious activity of the Evangelical churches, essentially by government.
The protest was not against the CC, per se.


The Anglican Communion is wildly latitudinarian in its members, from low-church Reformed (Calvinist) Protestant to High Church Anglo-Catholic, and also in its traditionalism (Continuing Anglicanism) to extreme modernism (the Spong wing of Episcopalianism).

Yep. Motley crew they are.Some of them think the Gracious Katherine is a real, honest to God bishop, too.



I have never known an Anglican call themselves Catholic before.



It is in fact not that uncommon and often denotes that they are High Anglican.

I usually, and idiosyncratically, make a distinction between High Church and Anglo-Catholic, though in reality they are highly overlapping. High Church refers (IMO) more to churchmanship: what vestments, what liturgy, how many candles/incense, etc. Anglo-Catholic more to doctrine: Real Presence, Marian factors, High Church is more connected to the Ritualist movement, Anglo-Catholic to the Oxford movement.

But, in practice, the distinction is mostly academic; High Church are usually Anglo-Catholic, and the other way around, too.


no we don’t call ourselves Catholic but we are catholic :smiley: and in the ealier news letter the new priest classifies himself as progressive catholic because he changes with the modern world…

Many people on these boards do not know that catholic means universal and Catholic as

in Roman Catholic or the other 26 denominations is it that are within Rome - Catholic. Hence the confusion.

I think it don’t help when people just say they are Catholic because its that what adds to the confusion between Catholic and universally catholic. If Catholics were a little bit more stricter and referred to themelves as Roman Catholic or Byzantine Catholic rather than just Catholic new and long term Catholics alike would understand the difference a bit more because it be at the front of their mind.

Our church indeed liked to play at being Roman Catholic in that for a time we had the Missal and the Pope was included into the intercessions etc. But they were only playing because no one liked to be under the authority of the Church and abide by each individual rule. Very few bother with Confession at any time of year and no one before a Eucharist. People openly disagreed with former priests. And like to know their own mind. Hence I say like to play at being Roman Catholic rather than accept the authority that Rome orders.

Now we are few steps removed from very high Anglo Catholic in that the Missal has been changed to Anglican version. We no longer pray for the Pope. We no longer have the Angelus at every sunday mass. And this priest works very differently with us, listening to us individually and as a church but will not control the way forward but will simply work with us to make our world a better place. Very refreshing after some of the wannabe Roman Catholic ‘priests’ who wanted us to do as they say per se. Though they were very good actually but certainly wanted us to do as they say and as a church we didn’t enjoy that and hence as a church they were only playing at wannabe Catholics. No offence to anyone Roman Catholic etc but we are not Roman Catholic and didn’t enjoy pretending to be. Of which I am one of the few who uses the sacrament of confession but very rarely before a service. People claim they prefer to go straight to God and don’t need the priest to hear their sins. If they were really wannabe Catholics then they would do so without question along with the mortal and venile stuff you guys do. In an early chat I had with the new priest I simply stated that I don’t want to become Roman Catholic. This was back before Advent with the change of Missal. He had suggested that if the Church insisted as such in changing to the new Missal then the church would basically have to become more Roman Catholic and would have to do as they are told as thats how its done.
Luckily for me at least he swiftly changed the Missal to the Anglican version. But we are definately universally catholic because we say the same creed and believe in Jesus Christ.

The title page to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer states “The Book of Common Prayer; and administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church; ACCORDING TO THE USE OF THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES…Together with The Psalter or Psalms of David”. All capitalization as written.

Your question gets to the difficulty of being “via media” or the middle way. Catholics think Anglicans are Protestant and Protestants think they are Catholic.

Remember Henry VIII left the RCC in 1534, died 1547 and the first BCP didn’t arrive until 1549. Henry, called the Defender of the Faith for his defense of the 7 sacraments didn’t really change theology, just the head of the church. The 1549 BCP uses capital C in the Nicene creed when stating Catholic Church.

So your sister saying she is Protestant is correct, but those stating they are Catholic, ie continuing from the universal church, are also correct. It’s always been muddled and probably always will be.

And here’s another approach.

OTOH, some Anglicans refer to themselves as Catholic, not small “c”, in the Anglican tradition, as in my parish. Catholic, not in communion with Rome. Like Orthodox. None of which means that they are claiming to be RC, or in communion with Rome, or subject to the same discipline as those in such communion. Mainly referring to valid orders, in Apostolic Succession (yes, I’m very familiar with Apostolicae Curae).

Many sorts of Anglicans out there. Then there are the Anglo-Papalists…



So does that 1928 BCP, use the capital “C”.

Your post is pretty accurate. Though Henry’s receiving the *Defensor Fidei *title is a little more complicated than just the Assertio Septem Sacramentorum. OTOH, your last sentence is correct.


Englishredrose said:-

in Roman Catholic or the other 26 denominations is it that are within Rome - Catholic. Hence the confusion.

There are 23 particular Churches and none of them should be refered to as denominations, all are equally Catholic and of equal dignity.

Yes, this is true. Even though some U.S. Episcopalians have used the term “Anglo-Catholic” in the past, that’s a misnomer.

One has to be in full Communion with Rome, The Holy Father, The Vatican, etc. to be Roman Catholic. There has been a dialogue for decades about a real reunion, and thus we have the Personal Ordinariate of The Chair of St. Peter, through which many in Great Britain (Anglicans) and now several Episcopal Parishes in the U.S., have now become Roman Catholic. And of course there is always RCIA for individuals. But whole parishes have come over under the Ordinariate, praise God!

Some Episcopal Priests(some married with children, some unmarried) have converted as well. Priest converts married/with children are fully Priests, but they may not rise to be Bishops. We’ve actually allowed priest converts from the Episcopal faith here in the U.S. for a long time now.

It’s wonderful to see people returning Home to the Church Christ founded. You may still find U.S. Episcopal church members who refer to themselves as Catholics or “Anglo Catholics” and you may see listings like that in your research, but unless they or, their entire parish, are coming through the Personal Ordinariate mentioned above, they are not (yet) Catholic. I pray for them to return Home!

Anglicans, you will find, occasionally will disagree with your conclusion. Though it certainly is what Catholics in communion with Rome should affirm.



Except members of the awkward squad like me who would point out that a)you can be in full communion with Rome and not be Roman Catholic and that b) members of the Orthodox Churches are members of Catholic Churches also.

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