Did I Act Appropriately in an Anglican Church?

Last week, I was on vacation, and I toured two different Anglican churches there (This was just as a tourist.) When I got to the churches, I only made a slight bow toward the altar and that was it. I then just walked around the church, and that was pretty much it. At the second church I took some pictures. Did I act appropritately? The churches were very nice, but I just wish they were Catholic Churches.

Speaking as an Anglican, I’d say what you did was fine. I’ve seen a couple of very traditionalist RCs who would reverence our altar/tabernacle, just as our parishioners would. When I’d say that given what the RCC says about Anglican orders, there was no need for that, the answer was “Don’t want to take a chance”.

RCs likely will have a different view than I do, to be sure.

Well perhaps they used to be Catholic churches at one time so you may have been right to reverence an altar upon which Jesus was brought down before the Anglican schism occurred. However Anglican orders are absolutely null and utterly void so probably this was inappropriate to do since an Anglican clergyman (or clergywoman now) has never celebrated an actual mass.

I was not really sure what to do, or if I should do anything at all, so I just made a slight bow and that was it. I did not make the Sign of the Cross, and I did not pray in the church. Maybe I shouldn’t have done anything.

Christbearer, don’t worry about it, because obviously you only had good intentions in mind. I know that you have the cross of scrupulosity, so please don;t beat yourself up about it. Just next time, realize that there is nothing to bow to in an Anglican church because there is nothing valid about their version of the sacraments.

May God bless you abundantly and forever! :slight_smile:

Even if you assume that all Anglican ordinations are invalid, there is always the case of ex-Catholic priests joining the Anglican Church. As far as I know, the consecration in the Anglican service under such circumstances would be presumed valid. Remember that the Protestant Reformation was led by a validly-ordained Catholic priest.

As for Anglican doctrine, don’t the Thirty-Nine Articles suggest that Anglicans should not worship the Blessed Sacrament?

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.


The Articles are not binding, unless they are in some sense adopted by, any Anglican/Anglican church, generally, save only (in a technical and not enforced sense) on clergy of the Church of England, IAW the Subscription Act of 1571. Anglicans, generally, are free to affirm, partially affirm, or deny them, or remove from their prayer books and use them to kindle the new fire at Easter. They are not a general Anglican confession, but politics as theology; how Elizabeth I chose to control her fractious Church in fractious times.

In the case of a former RC priest becoming Anglican, and the question of whether the sacrament of the Eucharist would be confected validly in such a case, it would depend on an examination of the other sacramental factors bearing on validity. Intent likely being the most problematic, in general, And in any case, the sacrament would be confected illicitly.

Customs vary, in that some Anglicans will do this, and some won’t. Some Anglo-Catholics will do the same as a Roman Catholic in a Roman Catholic church.

It seems properly respectful and diplomatic, and you did the right thing, in my opinion.

Motley, them Anglicans be, as we say around here. Variable, indeed.

But the point I think the OP was asking was whether that minimal reverencing of the Anglican altar was a bridge too far, given the RCC position on Anglican orders, As I said, I’ve seen a RC reverence my parish altar, on more than one occasion. I pointed out that that was not expected, given the position of their church on the subject. And the one I spoke to knew that.

Well, in any case, they are historically the official doctrine of the Church of England, at least for the hierarchy, wouldn’t you say? But I didn’t mean to say that all Anglicans hold a Calvinist view of the eucharist, only that Anglicans do not necessarily believe everything Catholic believe, and that a visitor to an Anglican church should not expect to offend everyone by failing to observe Catholic customs. In my experience, I have never been in an Anglican church where people have made bows and genuflections. Not that this means there are none, only that it is not the general rule.

I’ve been to many different churches in tourist areas and have witnessed all sorts of behavior from visitors. It sounds as if you conducted yourself in a polite, respectful manner - which is more than some people do. You do not believe as the Anglicans do, so displays of reverence from you would not be appropriate or expected. Just like a non-Catholic tourist should not be expected be behave reverently in a Catholic church. In both cases, however, everyone should behave in a respectful manner, no matter what their beliefs.

Agree. Sacred space should always be acknowledged as such. Some communities ask you to revere as they do - heads covered, shoes off, etc. Others ask for very little. But I try to be at least respectful of what is considered holy.

And Anglicans do not necessarily believe everything the Articles assert. As noted.

Motley, them Anglicans. Try a visit to my parish. In general, if you generalize about Anglicans, you will be, generally, incorrect.

I don’t believe it would be out of line if you wanted to silently pray at these places. That is not the same as participating in a service. Your prayers are between you and God and just because they are in the building I don’t believe that serves to endorse any particular faith.

Next time I am in an Anglican church, I will ask if they know GKC.

I await the reply.

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