The Episcopal Church is the American branch of the Church of England, the state church in England that broke from Rome during the Protestant Reformation. During the English Reformation, the kingdom alternated between very Protestant factions and very Catholic factions. By the time Elizabeth I gained the throne, it became clear that the only workable solution would be to meet somewhere in the middle between Catholicism and Protestantism.
So, the liturgical tradition was maintained, but the exact nature of the Eucharist was left undefined. In short, Anglicanism maintained many of the outward forms of the Catholic tradition (such as liturgical worship, episcopal governance), but theologically it was heavily influenced by the Reformation. Many Episcopalians/Anglicans see their tradition as being a “Via Media” or “middle road” between Protestants and Catholics. Others will say that the Episcopal Church is “Catholic and Reformed.”
Two significant differences are that Episcopalians ordain women and they sanction gay marriage. These are huge issues that are contrary to Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Additionally, it is my understanding that they no longer view the Mass as a sacrifice, another huge deal breaker for conservatives.
I haven’t attended a service in 20 or so years, but it was structured and patterned almost identical to a mass… that said… they do not maintain apostalic sucession and therefore do not have a valid “Eucharist”. They believe(d?) that their communion is more than a symbol, that Christ is present, however not in a physical way
If you want an overly simplistic view on the differences between Catholicism and any other faith look at it this way. Christ created Catholicism. Men created the rest. Christ calls all His children to communion with Him in His Church. Everyone else is ignoring Christ and worshiping their personal understanding of Christ in their own way (hence how they justify it in their minds). Yet at the end of the day you’re either obeying Christ or not. And anyone who belongs to a Church that isn’t Catholic is not doing Christ’s will but their own.
It depends on the diocese. In the Episcopal Church, bishops are elected by Diocesan Conventions made up of clergy and lay delegates. Then those elected are confirmed by the rest of the dioceses of the Episcopal Church.
A place like the Diocese of South Carolina would never elect an practicing homosexual bishop.
I am an Anglican Catholic in the Anglican Communion.
The primary difference is that I do not believe the Roman Pontiff holds the authority/infallibility he claims. I wish I could believe this. It would certainly make my life easier. However, historically, it just doesn’t seem to add up. Eastern Orthodox also do not accept Papal authority.
According to LUMEN GENTIUM, Catholics in Communion with Rome must submit religious mind and will to the Roman Pontiff even when he is not speaking Ex Cathedra. I submit mind and will to Christ.
I do not believe the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is necessary for salvation. The Immaculate Conception is one of the few Ex Cathedra teachings of the Catholic Church.
These are the primary differences. Disagreement with Rome does not mean I do not respect the Catholic faith. There are many beautiful things about the Catholic faith, and I have received a great deal of help from Catholics in my journey.
The Anglican Liturgy is very similar to the Catholic Liturgy. We use the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, which contains the Rites for the Holy Eucharist.
I believe in the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. Christ is both spiritually and physically present. I yield to the Divine Mystery of the Holy Eucharist and feel no need to define it using Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Though, I have no objection to attempts to define this Holy Mystery, and really no objection to Transubstantiation.
Our Priests are allowed to marry.
It is interesting to note that married Episcopal Priests who have entered into Communion with Rome via **** The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter**** are allowed to become Catholic Priests, even though they are married. So, Catholics actually have married Priests in these special circumstances.
Anglicans do have a valid claim to Apostolic Succession and valid Orders. Catholics are bound by Apostolicae Curae, Promulgated September 18, 1896 by Pope Leo XIII, so Catholics must deny the validity of Anglican Orders.
Most Anglicans consider the first 4 Ecumenical Councils as binding (some believe they are infallible), some accept all 7.
These are a few of the beliefs I share with the Catholic Church:
*]The Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist
*]The Seven Sacraments
*]The Communion of the Saints
*]The Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
*]The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
*]The Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary
*]Salvation as a life long process
Since your Anglican, I guess you’d know more than I would. But I don’t think its controversial to say that the way things are going, there will be a gay marriage ceremony in the Episcopal Church eventually, BCP or not. The conservatives just have not been effective in halting the decline of a once great church.