Episcopalianism in Ruins - Ripe for Schism



I don’t think this is what King Henry VIII had in mind when he started his own church. By him breaking England’s vibrant Catholic church from Rome and declaring the English royal family as the supreme authority on earth for these newly called “Anglicans”, he opened up a can of worms (it’s from this branch we get the individualist Christianity that is prevalent in the U.S.) Already in Africa and Asia, the Anglican Church had seen incredibly huge numbers flocking to the Catholic Church after controversial moves supported by Canterbury.

C’mon separated brothers and sisters of the Anglican division… it’s time to come back home to Rome. Your church is waiting with open arms for you.


I don’t really think it’s so easy to say “look at what’s happening, just convert.” I hope nobody is converting just to escape the problems within their Church.


No, BUT…it’s entirely possible that there will be Anglicans who ask themselves "Why won’t anyone draw a line in the sand and say,“No further!” or “No more!” Then it will occur to them that that’s pretty much one of the main functions of the magisterium and the Petrine office. I’m one former Episcopalian that swam the Tiber (though I was raised Southern Baptist).


I realized I was a bit harsh with the title I chose for this thread when calling it “in ruins”.

As JKirk noted, I merely wanted to point out the fruits that grow on branches which lie on the ground after they have fallen from the tree’s main body.


As one who was brought up in the ECUSA and a great fan of C. S. Lewis, I have often wondered what he (and other Anglicans like Dorothy L. Sayers) would think of their modern church that has strayed so far from its roots. I think they would be horrified, maybe enough to finally see the benefit of having an infallible Magisterium, as Christ promised to his Church. Maybe, just maybe!


Effectively, there already IS schism in the North American expression of Anglicanism.

Quite apart from “continuing” Anglicans – groups that have split from Canterbury altogether – there is a group in the US called the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA). These Anglicans started out with Americans who were made Anglican Bishops in Singapore, by the Anglican Primate there, and are currently under “oversight” by a group of offshore Primates. Unlike the “continuing” Anglicans, they claim to be in communion with Canterbury, through their offshore Primates, and do not recognize ECUSA’a authority in Anglicansim. This is schism.

In Canada, there is the Anglican Coalition in Canada, under the supervision of one of the AMiA Anglican Bishops, who likewise claim communion with Canterbury, and reject the Anglican authority of the Anglican Church of Canada. The same offshore Primates as AMiA provide them “oversight.” This is schism.

Add to this that a number of very large Anglican Churches (Nigeria among them) has declared itself out of communion with much of ECUSA and some of the Anglican Church of Canada.

If “ruin” was too strong a term in the subject, then “ripe” is too weak a term, in the light of this situation.

As an aside, a couple of years ago, our RCIA group in our parish, which has always had some Anglicans seeking reception into the Church, was 100% former Anglican.




I agree with you, I do think a lot of people might start questioning at that point. That’s the entire reason I left the Episcopal Church 5 years ago. Maybe I’m too new of a Catholic that I still have too many “loyalties” to my Anglican background. My apologies to anyone who finds offense in my posts. I’ve done a terrible job at sensoring myself and being charitable this week…


I think that, pretty much what has happened is, through JPII’s ecumenical efforts most mainstream and reasonable Anglicans have already left and what is left behind is the fringe. Concur? Disagree? Why?


Here, here, this is why I left the Anglican communion. :thumbsup:


I think that the AMiA claims through the Rwandan Primate as well. There are plenty of splintering groups, but no really significant official split within the Episcopal Church itself yet. Sure, there’s the Network but it’s still working within the boundaries. The seven or eight dioceses that have asked for alternative Primatial oversight from the Archbishop of Canterbury because of the election of Schori as Presiding Bishop might eventually result in some type of schism.


Strongly disagree. There are over 77 million Anglicans worldwide, most of them traditional and orthodox (and based in Africa). They are not the fringe by any means. Even in the Episcopal Church, at least a third of those remaining are conservatives who are either staying to fight or for whatever other reasons can’t bring themselves to leave the Church they love.


POI - the name “Anglican” is no older than the 1820s. Henry VIII did not regard his action as schismatic, but as correction of a long-lasting usurpation of ecclesiastical authority by a line of foreign bishops. In his own mind, which can be gathered from the publications defending his ecclesiastical policy, he was as Catholic as his ancestors; he just happened not to be Papist. As the Pope of Rome had usurped the authority which the Papacy exercised, to reject this authority was a long-due correction of an abuse, and one well-grounded in Scripture & the Fathers & their successors.

(This is not my own view BTW - but it needs to be said that the Anglican case against Papal authority is not as pathetically groundless as it can seem if one does not know the Anglican case)

The basis of the Pope’s authority was not as clearly divine as we may think it must have appeared; but we live after 1870: St. Thomas More, & Cardinal Nicolas of Cusa a century before, did not. So it was not obvious that the Pope’s authority was founded on the Will of Christ, rather than being basec on Church law instead. ##

he opened up a can of worms (it’s from this branch we get the individualist Christianity that is prevalent in the U.S.) Already in Africa and Asia, the Anglican Church had seen incredibly huge numbers flocking to the Catholic Church after controversial moves supported by Canterbury.

C’mon separated brothers and sisters of the Anglican division… it’s time to come back home to Rome. Your church is waiting with open arms for you.

US Catholics seem not to understand that the existence of problems in the Anglican Churches does not in itself add up to a reason for “swimming the Tiber” Romewards.

After all, there is no end of problems, scandals, & divisions in the CC - yet how many Catholics treat them as a sufficient reason to heed the Orthodox and return to the unity of the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church of which they alone are the members ? :slight_smile:

We regard Anglicanism as “defective” - the Orthodox regard us as heretics & schismatics. So by looking at the state of the CC, & our reasons for staying in it, even despite its problems, we can see something of why Anglicans, despite their problems, don’t flock Romewards.

Besides, life in God’s Church is not about comfort - it is discipleship of the Crucified. It means carrying the Cross, not being spared it. These divisions are among the crosses Christians bear - to “jump ship” because they are painful may well be a form of refusing to carry the Cross, a form of disobedience to Christ’s Will as revealed in His daily care of the Church. It is not for us to choose the way by which He leads us.

Besides, it betrays a lack of faith in God to choose the easy way out of difficulties. If God has protected Christians before, in times of outward prosperity for the Church, He must be trusted to do so when she is afflicted - after all, no trial can come to the Christian or the Church which is not under His control. Or don’t Christians believe in His promises ?

It is thoughts such as this, & many others too, that stop people choosing what to us may seem the obvious course of action. If Catholics were more familiar with the Bible, they would be far better equipped to understand how Protestants think. ##


This raises an interesting point. The reference to the absence of an “official split” in the ECUSA leads one to ask whether there is any such thing as “Anglicanism.” If there is, and it is exemplified by the Anglican Communion as a whole, then can it not be said that this entity is indeed split apart, with vast numbers of some in in it having declared themselves “out of communion” with other Provinces? And if it be the case that we must look to the individual Anglican Provinces (of which ECUSA is one) and find evidence there of “official splits” to say there is schism, then what does the term “Anglicanism” mean?

What, today, differentiates the Anglican Communion from, say, the World Council of Churches, a grouping where not only is there not a common profession of faith (though the extant professions have some things in common), and indeed, the search for such a spiritual commonality has long since been abandoned?

Please read the above not as an attempt to gloat or disparage the situation among Anglicans, but as questions arising from how sad and serious their situation is showing itself to be.




Good points and I really don’t have answers for them. When I was talking about schism, I was talking specifically about the Episcopal Church. You broadened the discussion to include the Anglican Communion. I suppose that the Provinces of the Anglican Communion have much in common historically, culturally and, until recently, theologically. In that sense, the Communion is different from the World Council of Churches. If it were up to me, I’d like to see a separate Anglican Province in communion with Canterbury established in the US with the Episcopal Church disassociated from the Communion. This would allow traditional Episcopalians to remain in the Communion without remaining in a Church that has become apostate in many ways. I doubt we will see that though.


I, for one, would be uneasy in communion with Canterbury, in that Canterbury is at ease with females in collars, and such like. Hence, the Continuum, poor choice that that might be.


Posterus traditus Anglicanus


Good point. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see an alternative communion with the centerpiece Primate located in Nigeria…:wink:

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