Catholic vs Episcopal

Can you tell me the biggest differences between the Catholic and Episcopal? My son was baptized in the Catholic church and attended Catholic elementary school. He has received first communion, reconciliation, and confirmation. He was married in another church but the marriage was blessed by the Catholic church. He and his wife have had much discussion about what religion they will practice. His wife is not Catholic but has agreed to attend the Episcopal church where she can receive communion and participate fully. Therefore, my son also attends the Episcopal church with his wife. How does this effect my son’s participation in the Catholic church in the future?

Firstly your son should under no account receive the Eucharist there as from our point of view as Catholics our Church precludes this and views the Episcopalians a lacking a valid Eucharist or orders. Your son as a Catholic is still obliged to attend Mass, receive the Eucharist yearly and is under the discipline of the Church. As his wife is non-Catholic this does not apply to her of course.

Catholic= Church of Jesus Christ and conservative on morality

Episcopal=broke from Catholic Church in the Reformation and is similar liturgically to Catholic, but liberal on morality and increasingly liberal theologically.

He must stay Catholic and not become Episcopalian.

Your son is bound by the rules of the Catholic Church. He is free to attend the Episcopalian Church, but he may NOT partake in their communion, since it is not considered valid by the Catholic Church and would be a sign of unity that sadly does not exist at this time. Further, even if he goes to their service, he is still obligated to go to Catholic Mass every Sunday plus Holy Days. I should also mention that it would have been a condition of the blessing of his marriage by the Catholic Church that he is obligated to raise any future children in the Catholic Church as well.

In short, they are stuck in the predicament that if she goes to the Catholic Church, she may not receive (and would not be allowed), and if he goes to the Episcopalian Church, he is obligated NOT to receive (although he would be allowed) and must still attend a Catholic Mass.

Because of his baptism your son is Catholic and will always be considered Catholic by the Catholic Church. But since he is Catholic, he has an obligation to attend Sunday Mass (or Saturday vigil Mass) in the Catholic Church. Mass in the Episcopal Church does not meet his Sunday obligation. Therefore, in order to return to the Catholic Church, all he must do is go to Confession to confess any grave sins he may have committed since he left the church ( including missing Mass and initially getting married outside the church). Then he will be in full union with the Catholic Church once again and may once again receive the Eucharist. There is nothing wrong with your son attending Episcopal Mass with his wife (as long as he does not receive Communion), but he still has an obligation to go to Catholic Mass.

and initially getting married outside the church)

As the OP points out her son married with the blessing of the Church there would not appear to be any sin to confess in this regard, although we would need to have more detail to understand the situation. It is possible to be married in other Churches besides those in communion with Rome and not be committing a sin so long as dispensation to do so has been sought and obtained.

The OP sounded to me like her son had gotten married originally outside the church and then later had the marriage blessed by the Catholic Church (although you are correct-- if he had a dispensation to get married in another church then it was fine). I only meant that IF he had never confessed getting married outside the church in the first place (without dispensation) then he should confess it before returning. And also the missed masses and receiving communion in the Episcopal Church. But the fact that the marriage is valid is GOOD and therefore only Confession is needed in order to return.

Agreed, as a Catholic he is most certainly still under the authority of the Church and should abide by the disciplines enjoined on him by the particular Church in communion with Rome he belongs to. He most certainly should not partake of communion in the Episcopalian Church as they do confect a valid sacrament and we should avoid giving scandal by partaking of communion where it is non-valid and are prohibited from doing so. We can on certain occasions partake of the Eucharist in other Churches (provided their ministers agree),but the occasions upon which this is allowed are quite rare in any case for the most part. But that involves Churches which confect a valid Eucharist, the Episcopalian Church does not do so and strictly speaking is not a Church but an ecclestical community.

Just a small correction - the Anglican Church was CREATED by Henry 8th. The Episcopalian Church is the Anglican Church in America. So it never “broke from” the Catholic Church. It is Henry’s own creation which included the possibility of divorce (for him).

As I’ve said before this is a very reductionist and simplistic version of how the Anglican Church came to be. It is true, but only up to a certain point. It neglects context and also the tensions between the English Church and Rome that had been brewing for centuries prior to that period.


And decree of nullity.


Reductionist simpleton here. Unless someone is interested in English history, the prior tensions are less important than the main event, which is Henry making himself the titular head of his own church.

I’m interested in English history. Being deep in it is a hobby of mine.


i will vouch for that!! :wink: there is no one on this forum with more knowledge of English history and the times of King Henry VIII than GKC. he knows what he is talking about!!

You are very kind to say so.

Sometimes I bluff, though.


Yes. Other than marriage and baptism, Catholics have valid sacraments and Episcopals do not

Per the logic in Apostolicae Curae.



here we go again! :smiley:

I sorta decided not to, this time. I let a question on it pass, recently. Decided to take a sabbatical, for a while.

But I am not necessarily consistent.



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