Episcopalians/Anglicans, Why Do You Think Your Religion is Correct?

I am absolutely NOT interested in starting a war on this forum between Anglicans/Episcopalians and Catholics…I just want to know why Anglicans and Episcopalians like their respective churches, why they think they have the authority to break away from the Catholic Church, and anything else they like about their religion. I have been curious for a long time and I would love to hear from all of you!

I was an Episcopalian until 2003, then called myself an Anglican until about a year ago. I’ll be entering the Church this Easter.

I was taught in the Episcopalian church that our priests were validly ordained by bishops in the Apostolic Succession. I now know that this is incorrect, but that’s what I was told. I always believed in the Real Presence (which is explicitly denied by the 39 Articles of Anglicanism), so I consider that understanding to be a result of the grace of God in my life. I still like the reverence and beauty that accompanies the Anglican liturgy. And, to be honest, Anglican hymns are the best (in my opinion). It was hard for me to give up the aesthetics of Anglicanism for the Catholic Mass. But once I knew Catholicism was true, I sought to enter the Church. I am overjoyed that I will be safe inside the ark after the Great Vigil Mass on April 7th!

Thanks so much for sharing your experience…really interesting to hear your story!

Anniejoe:
Welcome! And may God continue to bless you!

Thanks for the warm welcome! I am so thrilled to be entering the Church; I know it will be the happiest day of my life. CAF has helped me a great deal through the last few years of study and prayer.

I am Catholic but my Father was Anglican, so I hope you don’t mind me posting my comments here, as I have a lot of experience of Anglican Liturgy (Church of England) and many Anglican friends. The lack of real presence and apostolic succession has already been mentioned so I won’t dwell on those, but instead tell you things that I have observed and liked:

i) The Liturgy is always executed very well and reverently with proper ceremonial, and the major feasts are observed with great solemnity. There seems to be an order and discipline that accompanies the execution of the liturgy that is sadly lacking in many of our Churches, which is why so many European vistors assume they are in Catholic church when attending an Anglican service (but conversely you don’t - in my opinion - find that sense of serenity and holiness that you find in a Catholic church)

ii) The music - comparing Cathedrals with cathedrals, and churches with churches - is generally much better in that they use Plainchant, Polyphonic mass settings, and great motets routinely. They also have robed choirs and seem to have the capacity to present the best music for the appropriate point in the liturgical year. Everyone (and I mean everyone) sings the hymns and mass settings with gusto.

iii) Some of the Anglo-Catholic Churches -especially those from the 19th Century - are really beautiful, still with high altars, communion rails and eastward facing. But perhaps this is to be expected as there are 5 Anglican Churches for every 1 catholic church in London. Some lovely chuches in London include All Saints Margaret Street, St Mary Bourne Street, and St Silas Kentish Town.

iv) The Office of Evensong which is a conflation of Vespers and Compline is very beautiful and meditative especially when it is sung chorally, and is still sung at many Churches - unlike Vespers which is extremely rare and Compline now seems practically non-existent.

v) The Book of Common Prayer is beauifully written based on, but not exclusively derived from, a translation of the Sarum Rite. I think it is genius to manage to get the daily office, collects, readings and communion service in such a little book.

Thanks for sharing…I too have noticed that many Anglican churches, especially here in Chicago, are quite beautiful. I also love the idea of a choir that wears robes!

I’m not sure how to approach this question actually.

However, I do believe that the Anglican/Episcopalian church structure represents a genuine expression of Faith and Order of the Church Catholic, meeting the needs of non trans-Alpine European Christianity…

I am comfortable with the Anglican Patrimony of prayer and devotion, its ability to hold in tension both the Catholic and Reformed understandings of Theology, that finds it unity not necessarily in expression but in common worship, recognizing that Lex orandi, lex credendi.

On the other hand, i also recognize the downside of the Anglican experience, in not making doctrine (or a common canon law) primary in its understanding of unity, not least in the travesty that has befallen TEC regarding the upcoming General Convention and the entirely all-too-certain possibility of voting to authorize Trial Liturgies for the ‘blessing’ of ‘same-sex marriage’

Thank you for that excellent analysis, liturgyluver. You’ve expressed my own impressions perfectly. All of the positive things you mention are reasons that I rejoiced when The Holy Father announced the Anglican Ordinariate. The old Sarum Rite and the Anglican musical tradition can both be great gifts to the Church. I look forward to visiting Anglican Use Catholic churches in the future.

I am pretty ignorant on this so could one of you perhaps explain that a little further? I know the Catholic Church has made some rather large strides to bring Angligans into the Church, but will the Catholic Church be accepting whole parishes into the Church? If so, what Anglican elements/teachings will they keep, if any?

I’m not an expert, jinc1019, because I decided to become a Latin Rite Catholic rather than wait for an Anglican Use parish to become available. But it is my understanding that entire parishes will be coming in (they vote to do so). Their priests will have to apply to Rome and be approved for Holy Orders. The laity will all have to be catechized (using the American Catechism developed by Cardinal Wuerl), be confirmed by a Catholic Bishop, and so forth. The main difference will be that they will be allowed to use the Sarum Rite (or something similar that provides continuity with their Anglican liturgical tradition. If you go to youtube, you can watch an Anglican Use Mass…it’s very beautiful and reverent. The Anglican Use Rite will join the many others in full communion with the Catholic Church (for example, the Byzantine, Maronite, Ambrosian, etc). If I’ve misstated anything, perhaps someone more knowledgable can correct me.

I am glad that what I said chimed, Anna. I know many fellow Catholics who are eagerly anticipating an Amglican Use parish, but the opportunities to find one here are very slim as the numbers have been neligible.

I agree with your comment about the hymns, though fortunately many of them are used ocassionally our churches. And the anthems are amazing - you really get the best of the English choral tradition AND great catholic motets.

Thanks for explaining! That seems to make sense. I will try to do some more research about it.

Technically though the “Sarem Rite” is a Use, not a separate Rite as is the Roman Rite or the Byzantine Rite. It has been commonly referred to as the Sarum Rite or the Old Sarum Rite, but it’s really a Use of the Roman Rite -and really what we have is a hodge-podge of texts from various sources…there were a number of such Uses in play in the British Isles, developed mostly by Richard le Poore, Bishop of Salisbury (Sarisburium in Latin, abbreviated as Sarum) in the 13th century, though some scholars point to origins in St. Osmund (second (Norman) bishop of the Diocese).

One of the neat things within the Sarum Use was the custom of the Boy Bishop, a youth who was chosen and installed as ‘bishop’ from St. Nicholas to Holy Innocents (unless occasions came up that required clerical action, blessings, funerals, and the like)

More (and more detailed information) can be found here anglicansociety.org/corner/sarum_use.html

Oh, and for a real treat, and if you have opportunity, visit the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. It is quite the visual and prayerful experience. It is also quite ornate and ‘busy’ architecturally speaking (similiar to All Saints, Margaret Street by Butterfield) Aside from the Holy House itself, built out of stones from all the monasteries destroyed at the time of the Reformation to the same dimensions as the original wooden House, there are 15 side chapels (each one dedicated to a Mystery of the Rosary) including a Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament- along with the High Altar within the Shrine Church. (Actually, there is also a Russian Orthodox Chapel within the Shrine Church, and an authenticated Relic of the True Cross). You cannot turn a corner without coming to an Image of Our Lady and a votive rack.

We also have the little-known Shrine of Our Ladye of Walsingham on the grounds of William and Mary College here in Williamsburg, Virginia. If you ever visit Colonial Williamsburg, check it out!

I lived in Williamsburg for three years (just moved away actually) and I remember it…There are a number of wonderful churches there!

Just a few thoughts off the top of my head:

First off, I don’t think any Episcopalian would say that our Curch is 100% correct, or that we’re essentially any better than the Catholics or the Methodists (for instance). We all see through a glass darkly, although I believe we’re correct about the important things and I hope and pray that we’ll be forgiven about the mistakes we’ve made. Plenty of us don’t particularly like our current leadership, and we’re not bound to agree with them.

Why do I like the Episcopal Church? Well, for one thing, see the preceeding paragraph. Also, the style of worship is beautiful. Also, I was born into it. It makes sense to me. I understand Episcopalian culture and jargon better than the Catholic version.

WAAahhhh…really?? Wow…I didn’t think there were any High Church parishes in Virginia, or enough of a prescence to support a shrine…checking a blog on the site…awwww…its a Roman Shrine…but that’s ok. I’ll add it to my links of Walsingham places anyway.

Our homilies are really interesting!

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