Church of England

I was on their website and saw that it claims to be Catholic, I always thought they were protestants.

“The Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It worships the one true God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

I mean it’s obviously very different to Catholicism because it’s led by Queen Elizabeth II and not the Pope, they are more liberal since the whole reason it was established was for the sake of divorce. Therefore, I take it that it’s only Catholic in name or at least taken its roots from there?

It depends on who you ask. Certainly asking a RC will get you something like this sort of reply.

And not divorce. Decree of nullity.

GKC

All Protestants claim to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. At least all traditional Protestants who actually know what the implications of that language are.

The debate between Protestants and Catholics is most fundamentally over what the definition of “Catholic” is.

That being said, most Anglicans would claim to be Catholic in a way that other Protestants aren’t (because we have preserved more of the historic tradition), and a good many would claim not to be Protestants at all.

I mean it’s obviously very different to Catholicism because it’s led by Queen Elizabeth II and not the Pope

The Queen has a nominal authority over the Church of England, yes. None over other branches of the Anglican Communion (at least none over the U.S. branch).

they are more liberal since the whole reason it was established was for the sake of divorce.

Completely untrue on several grounds:

  1. From an Anglican perspective, the institutional Church of England as we know it was established in the late sixth century when Pope Gregory sent Augustine (not the famous St. Augustine but a different one) to England. Augustine became the first bishop of Canterbury. The present Archbishop, Justin Welby, is in direct succession from him. There were of course Christians in what is now England before that time, and there have of course been many changes since. One of the biggest was the separation of the Church of England from Rome in the sixteenth century. But from the perspective of most Anglicans who are educated in their own traditions (which as with Catholics leaves out a lot of folks), this was not the beginning of the Church of England. Anglicanism is not defined (in our own self-understanding) by separation from Rome.

It is quite understandable that Catholics would see it otherwise. Indeed, I have a bad conscience as an Anglican precisely because I have concluded that separation from Rome has become central to the identify of Anglicanism and that Anglicanism’s claims to be fully Catholic are untenable. But you need to start by understanding how Anglicans think of themselves instead of just characterizing them in Catholic terms.

Therefore, I take it that it’s only Catholic in name or at least taken its roots from there?

The explanation of Catholic follows in the quote you gave: faith in the Trinity. That is, I think we would all agree a central if not the central dogma of Catholic Christianity.

Edwin

I’ll join GKC in pointing out that a decree of nullity is not a divorce.

I’ll also point out that the Pope joined Bucer and Melanchthon in raising the possibility of a bigamous second marriage for Henry, to avoid an unjustifiable end to the first, and more importantly to prevent schism, though this option was in the end discounted. [Will Durant, The Reformation: The Story of Civilization, Simon & Schuster (December 25, 1980), p. 449]

Finally, I’ll quote Diarmaid MacCulloch, a gay Anglican historian - not an apologist for traditional mores! - who writes:

“Alone among Reformed Protestant polities, England did not introduce a divorce law, and that stemmed from sheer sequence of accidents. The comprehensive reform of canon law planned by Edwardian parliamentary legislation and carefully chaired by Archbishop Cranmer made full provision for divorce; the reform was ready in 1553, but as the political crisis of Edward VI’s last year gathered momentum, the plan was derailed by entirely irrelevant political antagonisms within the regime itself. Catholic Queen Mary’s accession followed, and when Queen Elizabeth revived her brother’s Protestant Church structure, the proposed canon law reform was the one major aspect she did not activate. So the Church of England remained without divorce law, and in fact, through this accident rather than any basic theological conviction, right up to the end of the twentieth century, it kept the strictest laws on marriage in all western Christendom, scarcely mitigated by the numerous ingenious reasons for annulment with which Roman Catholic Church lawyers relieve Catholic canon law on marriage.”

[RIGHT]MacCulloch, Reformation: Europe’s house divided, London:Penguin, 2004, pp. 660-661.[/RIGHT]

That’s certainly seems to be what the *Quicunque *sets out to demonstrate!

With all due respect, Contarini, that is one of the most convoluted, nonsensical explanations of the breach. Henry VIII was a Defender of the Faith, Augustine was a Catholic bishop sent by the Pope, etc, etc. Henry applied for an annulment. When it wasn’t granted, he started his own church, seized RC property and began to slowly (theologically) drift away. Ordinations, real presence, confession etc all changed or were abandoned. Having been raised Episcopalian, I thank the Church for much of my formation, but I am glad that I made the switch. Oh, by the way, how could, using your facts, a church founded in the sixth century, be the one true church? What happened before that? My apologgies for being hot-headed but you struck a very raw nerve.

Hmmm. I am a former RC and now Episcopalian. I guess the crossing goes both ways as well as views on the matter. :shrug:

Nobody, anywhere is claiming that the CofE is the one true Church. Merely that she is part of it.

And, with all due respect, and because Edwin will be too polite and modest to say so himself, he’s actually a rather respectable academic in the field of ecclesiastical history.

The worldwide Anglican Communion (of which the CoE is a part and over which the Archbishop of Canterbury presides) identifies itself as being part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church (along with Catholics, the Orthodox, ect.) by virtue of their historical establishment by valid bishops and traditional communion with Rome up to Henry VIII. In the Anglican Church King Charles is actually the last canonized saint because of his refusal to abolish the episcopate, even to save his own life, as the Puritans wanted because in their theology to do so would have destroyed their tie to and membership in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. The Catholic Church does not reciprocate the Anglican Communion’s view of themselves.

Many views.

GKC

Yep.

GKC

Novocastrian, are you a confirmed Anglican and Catholic? I thought that leaving the Catholic Church is heresy or something like that. I’m no expert on the subject, like I say, I’m an Agnostic and studying it.

I’m a member of the Church of England, and the Church of England properly understood is Catholic. I make sure I mention the CofE bit, though, so Roman Catholics don’t get too confused. Only seems polite!

How? I didn’t even explain the breach.

Henry VIII was a Defender of the Faith, Augustine was a Catholic bishop sent by the Pope, etc, etc.

The etcetera seems to cover for an actual explanation of what I said that was wrong.

It’s convoluted because, as GKC says, history is complicated. And to quote another wise man, Albert Einstein, things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.

Henry applied for an annulment.

It’s good that we’re clear on that, at least, and that the whole “founded on divorce” business is nonsense.

When it wasn’t granted, he started his own church

That is not what he or anyone else thought he was doing. Nor did the Pope act as if he thought that was what Henry was doing. What happened was that the Church in England–the only Church that existed in England in any organized way until after 1572–no longer recognized the authority of Rome.

seized RC property

anachronistic language

and began to slowly (theologically) drift away. Ordinations, real presence, confession etc all changed or were abandoned.

Agreed. Once Henry went “independent,” Protestantism began to gain a foothold for complicated reasons–probably mostly political on Henry’s part, since he seems to have disliked Protestantism theologically and in fact went on persecuting Protestants, at least Protestants who were a step or two more radical than official ideology allowed them to be.

Having been raised Episcopalian, I thank the Church for much of my formation, but I am glad that I made the switch. Oh, by the way, how could, using your facts, a church founded in the sixth century, be the one true church?

Who says it is? Have you ever met an Anglican who said it was?

What Anglicans claim, uniformly, is that they are part of the true Church, not the whole. Anglicans differ among themselves as to how that universal Church is to be defined, but they agree that they are part, and only part of it, whatever it is:D

The Church of England before the Reformation was the Catholic Church in England, a local expression of the universal Church. Anglicans claim that it still is. I agree that this claim is dubious at best, but it is important to get the claim right instead of arguing against straw men.

What happened before that? My apologgies for being hot-headed but you struck a very raw nerve.

I can’t see why. I was not arguing against Catholic doctrine or saying that Anglicanism is fully part of the Catholic Church. I am simply trying to get the starting point for Catholic/Anglican discussion right, so that people aren’t flailing around in the dark attacking straw men.

Edwin

There are those of us who think that it is, but that it’s looking decidedly sickly at the moment. These are not necessarily contradictory sentiments or beliefs!

I see then! This could get very confusing then but I’m glad I asked the question because it was something that bothered me. Annulment of marriage then, is not the same as divorce. Thanks for putting that right then.

To me, CofE seems more accessible than Roman Catholicism. So far at least. I guess that’s because I’m English!

Of course, if one has been exposed to Katharine Jefferts Schori, then I completely understand what you’re saying.

But it would be helpful if you visited a local ‘High-Church’ Anglican parish - while their sacraments don’t measure up to Catholic standards, I don’t think anybody should level that charge you did against them so easily.

For me, I do well to keep those Anglicans that are doing their best to uphold their tradition in a hostile secular world at heart and offer encouragement for fighting the good fight when I see it.

Wonder why no one ever brings up John Wycliffe? I think he had more to do with the Church of England than Henry. :shrug:

And I respectfully disagree with Contarini (not a thing to be done lightly, and you misunderstood his point), on the typical Anglican view of the point of origin of the Church in England. It is far more likely to be identified with the 3rd century than with Augustine’s mission, when it is possible to identify at least 3 dioceses organized in the isles. But generally, what he said is so.

And how Henry came to possess that* Defensor Fidei* title is an interesting tale that is not confined to the Assertio Septem Sacramentorum. I can always be induced to tell it, again.

GKC

It might be, but the CofE is a very broad spectrum. I’m told that the CofE cathedral in Liverpool is very impressive, but I’ve never been. Perhaps you could visit? The standard of worship and preaching in Church of England cathedrals tends to be considerably higher than in the parishes and (on the whole) RC churches and cathedrals.

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