I'm going out on a limb here... (the contrarian argument)

A few weeks back I laid out a position here that essentially stated that Christ meant to found only one church and the only church that can lay claim to that history is the RC one.

I also noted that had Christ wanted to found the Anglican or Lutheran or Calvinist traditions, he would have done so in the beginning. Instead he founded the RC church - or did he. Did Christ mean to found a new church? And if so, how do we know that it is the RC church - in it’s current manifestation - that he meant to found?

In my church - the Anglican church - we recite the same creeds as the RC’s, we have eucharist, sacraments, devotions, theologians and great writers, we gather in a church and say prayers and our worship looks pretty much the same. We even invoke the Holy Spirit for guidance. So why would the Holy Spirit be any less of an authority in my church then the RC church.

I’m not suggesting that Christ meant to found my denomination as it is today, but can we be certain that he meant the RC church to be the exclusive domain of revelation. The RC church teaches that it does - but to say otherwise would be to deny itself.

I’m left uncertain then, that Christ meant to found a church that looks like the RC church.


I think both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church say that all Protestant Churches do not have valid holy orders, so do not have (most) valid sacraments. So there’s one place to start the discussion.

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So what makes them invalid?

I’m guessing it’s because they never received Holy Orders from someone with the power to do so. I heard that King Henry took things into his own hands when it came to ordaining bishops, but I don’t know for certain.

Lack of an unbroken chain of apostolic succession. And this.

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I’d rather not guess, I’d like to know for certain. You may be on to something, though orders in my church are conferred by a bishop.

The Sacraments are valid because those who administer them have the authority given by the Holy Spirit to Peter and the Apostles.
That authority has been passed down from bishop to bishop (the Apostles were the first bishops) through the process of ordination. We call this the Apostolic Succession, and this is what makes a sacrament valid.

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The Anglican church claims apostolic succession. St. Augustine was the first Bishop of Canterbury sent by the Pope to provide ecclesiastical oversight of post-Roman Britain in the 5th century. There is an unbroken chain of ABC’s since then.

Is this is explanation, then I cannot see why Anglican sacraments and orders are invalid.

I’m just trying to relay what the Catholic Church teaches. Apostolicae curae seems to give a different reason from what I understood the reason to be, but of course it will be authoritative, not my blatherings.

BTW, do you think Anglican orders would be valid if conferred by only woman bishops?

Most Anglican churches in the Global West have women bishops. Their gender does not undermine the validity of orders conferred.


In Catholic understanding their gender would undermine the validity of Holy Orders because women are not valid matter for the sacrament.


The answer is in the link above. It’s Apostolicae Curae, a long and complicated story…

Anglicans, of course, have a different view of the matter.

In the understanding of some Anglicans, that is also the case. But it is not because of invalid matter. The matter in the sacrament of orders is the imposition of hands. What a female is not is a valid recipient.

Over the years, I’ve found that is often the case. Apostolicae Curae is not understood.

It’s form and intent, as declared by AC.

Anglicans differ on the matter (and the form and the intent).

I don’t actually know whether the Anglican Church has maintained the Apostolic Succession. If they have then yes, their sacraments would be valid.

Women cannot be validly ordained.

The Roman Catholics should teach what they believe to be true, of course, but as a lifelong Episcopalian, I don’t have to accept it. The teaching on Anglican orders, in particular, seems more political than theological.


Obviously women can NOT be validly ordained.

I think only one Church has protection and is safeguarded from teaching error. We just have to ask ourselves which is the most likely out there to be the one.

In the Anglican church, for example, they ordain women, practice same sex ‘marriage’ and rubber-stamp contraception. They are clearly teaching error and in some cases profaning their own sacraments. But there are some faithful Anglican parishes left out there and they shouldn’t be lumped in with all that. I just think that as long as they remain outside the bark of Peter, it becomes more and more difficult for them to sustain.


It seems to me that one key difference between Catholics and Episcopalians is that the Catholic Church teaches that it cannot teach error, while the Episcopalians accept that their church hierarchy can and will make mistakes. While I respect the former position, I like the humility inherent in the latter.

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