Do Anglican bishops have Apostolic Succession?

I have wondered about this.

There has been an unbroken line of bishops which can be traced back to before their split with the Roman Catholic Church. So do Anglican bishops have Apostolic Succession?

I’m interested in this both from the Catholic perspective, and the Anglican perspective. Anyone got any views on this?

No, they do not.

The form (and intent?) of the sacrament was changed and thereby rendered invalid.

At what point was it changed and rendered invalid?

Orthodox bishops have apostolic succession, do they use the same form of the sacrament as we do?

I think the simple answer to this would be if you ask an Anglican they would say they have, and can trace succession right back to St Augustine of Hippo and before - in fact I have seen a chart somewhere that shows the lineage. If you ask a Catholic they would be bound to say that Apostolic Succession was broken between 1552 and 1662 and so no longer exists.

I have no idea what the Catholic church’s position is on the “Dutch-touch” and whether it manages to restore some type of apostolic succession. I hope GKC will see this thread and add his knowlege.

Note that this is a different question. It should be asked in a separate thread. :thumbsup:

But, I will answer your question. The words of ordination for the Orthodox haven’t changed. The intent and form is still the same. The words of ordination are different than the Western words of ordination, but they are still valid.

Plus, the requirement for ordination is the intention of the bishop and the laying on of hands. The prayers after the laying on of hands are required for validity.

Form and intent is what was alleged to be invalid, in Apostolicae Curae, yep.

A topic I would estimate I’ve posted on around 500+ times.


And I think, because the ordinand also makes a profession of belief (for lack of a better word)…in the 39 articles…which is against Catholic teaching…is this correct?


I am batting 1000. A thread on Henry, and stuff, and one on Apostolicae Curae..

The precise point at which it is alleged that Anglicans lost Apostolic Succession is not clear. It is obviously post the introduction of the Edwardine Ordinal, and prior to 1662, as you say. Clark, in his ANGLICAN ORDERS AND DEFECT OF INTENTION, the best exposition of the RC position on this general subject that I know of, suggests it was in 1559, at the consecration of ++ Parker as Archbishop of Canterbury. Good enough for discussion, anyway.

Dutch touch is an interesting subject, but since Rome is basically silent on it, one is left musing on Ott, FUNDAMENTALS OF CATHOLIC DOGMA, p. 458.


Anglicans that are part of the Provoo Communion with European Lutheran churches, have apostolic succession.

The Catholic Church says otherwise. :thumbsup:

Only with respect to the Church of England, IAW the Subscription Act of 1571, though this forms no part of the argument of Apostolicae Curae. And the requirement is a technicality only, no one enforces it. Anglicans in general may affirm, deny or partially do either, with respect to the Articles, or they may remove them from the Prayer Book and use them to kindle the new fire at Easter; they are not a form of Anglican confession. They are how Elizabeth I chose to govern her fractious Church. And even for the clergy of the CoE, it was not required that they affirm them, only that they not oppose them. They were sort of a job requirement to be hired as clergy in the erastian CoE, the written version of the Elizabethan via media. The Subscription Act is an act of Parliament, that is.

There is more on the subject, but perhaps the interest is satisfied.


That they do.

All RCs should so affirm.


True. And all Christians other than Roman Catholics deny papal infallibility. So it is a draw! :slight_smile:

Not so much.

“Ordained” women as priests and bishops clearly suggest that the matter (namely, a female rather than a male) of the sacrament is deficient.

I think that would reflect invalid subjects for the ordination.



I meant matter and not form. I have edited my previous post.

No, matter is the imposition of hands, as Pius XII finally defined (SACRAMENTUM ORDINIS).


Well, yeah, but that’s like all the people except those who didn’t leave the big room aren’t in the big room anymore.

All that aside, from everybody’s favorite source:

Roman Catholics recognize the validity of the apostolic successions of the bishops, and therefore the rest of the clergy, of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, Old Catholic, and some Independent Catholic Churches. Rome does not recognize any Anglican orders as valid. This conflict stems over the Anglican Church’s revision of its rite of ordination for its bishops during the 16th century. Most of today’s Anglican bishops would trace their succession back through a bishop who was ordained with the revised form and thus would be viewed as invalid. However, all Anglican bishops in Europe today[57] can claim a line of succession through bishops who had only been ordained through the old rite. This was achieved through several different means: ordinations by the schismatic Catholic bishops of the Old Catholic and Independent Catholic Churches who converted to Anglicanism. This has not affected the official Roman opinion in any way since their objection was based fundamentally on the intention of the rite and the question has been further complicated by the ordination of women which as seen as implying that, in ordination, the Anglican Communion does not intend to do what the Roman Catholic Church does.[58]

Or in short, if you’re not trying to make an actual bishop, but just something that you happen to call a bishop, then you don’t actually end up making an actual bishop but rather something you just happen to call a bishop.

And the fact that it is thought to be possible reflects that the people attempting to do it either a) don’t actually know what they’re doing and/or b) are not trying to do an actual ordination but rather something else. Goes back to the “if the intent is not to make an actual bishop, then you don’t make one” thing.

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