Just whose side are the Anglicans on?


#1

For much of my life I’ve thought of the Anglicans as simply as another break-off from Catholicism from the Reformation. I thought that they thoroughly rejected Catholic Tradition and the ecumenical councils. However, after doing a lot of reading lately, and after takling with a few Anglicans, I am beginning to learn that the Anglicans value Church tradition much more than regular Low Church evangelicals and other evangelical groups. It seems that many books by Anglicans sometimes read as though they are written by “Catholics.” One Anglican I spoke with said that his denomination was somewhere between Roman Catholicism and the denominations of people like Luther and Calvin. This really confuses me, since I always thought they were in the same camp as the other Reformers.

So, my question is: Who exactly are the High Church Anglicans? If their sole source of faith is Scripture (sola scriptura), why do they place emphasis on the traditions and history of the Church?

I know that the Orthodox (Eastern Church) are engaged in ecumenical talks with the Anglicans, and that the Orthodox and Anglicans agree on many issues. So, what is “un-Catholic” about the Anglican Church? In other words, what really distinguishes them from the apostolic faith?


#2

Madaglan,

I don’t blame you for being confused. I’m Anglican, and I’m confused by it all.

Anglicanism has gone through a lot of different phases. I suppose one could say that the first phase was under Henry VIII, in which it was a rather strange hybrid of Catholic practice and belief with innovations such as the rejection of all forms of papal authority, the destruction of monasticism, the pruning or outright rejection of devotion to the saints, etc. Meanwhile, Protestant teaching gained ground, and after Henry’s death England became Protestant outright. At this point, for six years, it definitely was just part of the broader Reformation movement. Important continental theologians came to England to teach, and so on. Then under Mary, England was reconciled with Rome.

Then in 1558, Elizabeth I came to the throne. She reestablished the Protestant Prayer Book and a revised version of the Protestant Articles of Religion, and she was duly excommunicated by the Pope. Under her, England was clearly Protestant–it was doctrinally part of the broader Reformed movement, as distinct from Lutheranism (at this point, Anglicans saw themselves as more Protestant than the Lutherans, something that would shock many Anglicans today). But we kept the hierarchy and our liturgy retained many Catholic elements. The more radical wing of Anglicanism (the “Puritans”) wanted further reforms that would have brought us in line with Calvinism in the strict sense (the doctrine and practice of Geneva). We rejected those reforms.

Instead, in the 17th century, we began moving back toward a more Catholic position, reinstituting some ritual that had been discarded, distancing ourselves to some extent from Calvinist views of predestination (at least many of our theologians did this–others did not and some are Calvinists today), and deepening our appreciation of the Fathers and of Christian tradition generally. There were some other swings back and forth, but by the early 19th century Anglicanism was still decidedly Protestant, but was definitely the most Catholic expression of Protestantism and contained a “high church” wing that saw itself as faithful to the teaching of the undivided Church before the East-West schism.

Then, in the 19th century, the Oxford Movement began. These guys claimed to be restoring the truly Catholic identity of Anglicanism. The idea was that while we had been infected with Protestantism, our basic doctrine and practice had remained Catholic, and we were the “third branch” of the Church along with “Rome” and the Eastern Church. There was a lot of nostalgia and historical fudging in this view, but it had a huge effect on our doctrine, and even more on our worship. It created an “Anglo-Catholic” wing of Anglicanism who genuinely saw themselves as Catholic (though not “Roman Catholic”) rather than Protestant–while all the while other Anglicans remained staunchly Protestant, and the great mushy middle absorbed the idea that we were some kind of “middle way” between the two. Hence the situation you have observed.

Think of us as a very broad tent ranging from “Catholicism without the Pope” (and with better liturgy) all the way over to a moderate Protestantism, which has Calvinist, charismatic, and liberal branches. What we have in common (absent some of our blatantly heretical bishops whom we notoriously fail to discipline) is a commitment to the Nicene Creed, some form of the historic Prayer Book liturgy (now revised in increasingly radical ways so that it may no longer function as a unifying factor any more) and to a vaguely defined consensus of early Christian tradition.

In Christ,

Edwin


#3

I agree with everything Contarini says. To give some short answers, however inadequate they will necessarily be:

Who exactly are the High Church Anglicans?

High Church Anglicans are those who are closest to Roman Catholics in their beliefs and liturgical practices

If their sole source of faith is Scripture (sola scriptura), why do they place emphasis on the traditions and history of the Church?

Sola scriptura is a notion that is utterly foreign to Anglicanism.

So, what is “un-Catholic” about the Anglican Church? In other words, what really distinguishes them from the apostolic faith?

The origin of the Anglican Church is that Henry VIII wanted one of his marriages annulled. The Pope wouldn’t allow it. So Henry VIII declared himself Head of the Church in England. Same priests, same bishops, but with Henry VIII instead of the Pope.


#4

[quote=Madaglan]For much of my life I’ve thought of the Anglicans as simply as another break-off from Catholicism from the Reformation. I thought that they thoroughly rejected Catholic Tradition and the ecumenical councils. However, after doing a lot of reading lately, and after takling with a few Anglicans, I am beginning to learn that the Anglicans value Church tradition much more than regular Low Church evangelicals and other evangelical groups. It seems that many books by Anglicans sometimes read as though they are written by “Catholics.” One Anglican I spoke with said that his denomination was somewhere between Roman Catholicism and the denominations of people like Luther and Calvin. This really confuses me, since I always thought they were in the same camp as the other Reformers.

So, my question is: Who exactly are the High Church Anglicans? If their sole source of faith is Scripture (sola scriptura), why do they place emphasis on the traditions and history of the Church?

I know that the Orthodox (Eastern Church) are engaged in ecumenical talks with the Anglicans, and that the Orthodox and Anglicans agree on many issues. So, what is “un-Catholic” about the Anglican Church? In other words, what really distinguishes them from the apostolic faith?
[/quote]

Madaglan:

It depends upon which variant of Anglicans you’re talking about.

There was one thread, “Anglicans to Rome” which I provided much of the information for which discussed the talks for REUNIFICATION between the TRADTIONAL ANGLICAN COMMUNION (Primate Archbishop John Heppworth of Australia) and the CATHOLIC CHURCH. These negotiations are being personally conducted by the Pope and Cardinal Ratzinger who have both taken a personal interest in this group of some 400,000+ Anglicans who have come to the conclusion that they no longer have a home in the “Anglican Communion” that is in union with the Archbishop of Canterbury (The Episcopal Church is part of this group).

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=28244

Some congregations of “dissident” Anglicans have been formed into the Western Rite of the Antiochan Orthodox Church. I believe that at least one “dissident” group will be joining them in the next few years.

westernorthodox.com/directory

The “Anglican Communion” has ordained women “Priests” and Bishops", blessed “gay unions” and supported a “Woman’s right to Choose” to have an Abortion (the Episcopal Church more enthusiastically than the rest of the Communion). And the Episcopal church Consecrated a man who left his wife and 2 young children to move in with his gay lover.

I understand that talks between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Orthodox Churches have pretty much died since then, except for the dissidents whom the Orthodox believe they are saving from heresy and schism (at least that’s what Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochan Orthodox Church told me when my father’s congregation became the first congregation in the Western Rite of the Antiochan Church).

Blessings to you and Good Night.

In Christ, Michael


#5

[quote=buzzcut]I agree with everything Contarini says. To give some short answers, however inadequate they will necessarily be:

Who exactly are the High Church Anglicans?

High Church Anglicans are those who are closest to Roman Catholics in their beliefs and liturgical practices

If their sole source of faith is Scripture (sola scriptura), why do they place emphasis on the traditions and history of the Church?

Sola scriptura is a notion that is utterly foreign to Anglicanism.

So, what is “un-Catholic” about the Anglican Church? In other words, what really distinguishes them from the apostolic faith?

The origin of the Anglican Church is that Henry VIII wanted one of his marriages annulled. The Pope wouldn’t allow it. So Henry VIII declared himself Head of the Church in England. Same priests, same bishops, but with Henry VIII instead of the Pope.
[/quote]

Buzzcut,

And I agree with almost all of what you say. A couple of tweaks:

The taxonomy of Anglicanism is a great and continuing parlor game. Those who are closest to the RCs are Anglo-Papalists, whose toes are wet from the Tiber. Anglo-Catholics are those nearest to them, but whose feet are reasonably dry. And it moves back from there to the Evangelical wing. High/Low Church is not exactly synonomous with these divisions; being more concerned more with churchmanship (worship style) than doctrine (that is, you can find High Church types who are more moderate on doctrine than Anglo-Catholics), but the connection is close, to be sure.

And Hank’s search for a decree of nullity, and the then current system of annulments/impediments and dispensations, is a book in itself. What the RC points to, to say that the Anglican church is not in apostolic succession, may be found in Apostolicae Curae

GKC

Anglicanus Catholicus, who can get this site to open again.


#6

Wow, it seems like there are lots of different groups in the Anglican church. Can somebody maybe just give me a list of all the major groups so that I can remember them all! So far you’ve mentioned the Anglo-Papalist, the Anglo-Catholics, the Anglican Communion, the Traditional Anglican Communion, the Episcopal church, etc. What other groups are there? Any help would be great. Thanks!

:yup:


#7

Madaglan: check this out: anglicansonline.org/communion/index.html


#8

[quote=Madaglan]Wow, it seems like there are lots of different groups in the Anglican church. Can somebody maybe just give me a list of all the major groups so that I can remember them all! So far you’ve mentioned the Anglo-Papalist, the Anglo-Catholics, the Anglican Communion, the Traditional Anglican Communion, the Episcopal church, etc. What other groups are there? Any help would be great. Thanks!

:yup:
[/quote]

Terminology is a little hard for non- Anglicans, I’ll admit.

All those names and groups are not official subdivisions of Anglicanism. Anglo-Papalists, Anglo-Catholics, Centralists, and Evangelical or Reformed Anglicans are all points on the range of possible Anglican doctrines. You can find some of these in any Anglican jurisdiction. It’s like being a Traditionalist or a conservative or a NO RC. Or worse, a liberal one.

There is only one official group of Anglicans: the Worldwide Anglican Communion, 38 self-ruling Anglican jurisdictions mainly stemming from the Church of England. Membership in this official Anglican Communion is defined by being in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Episcopal Church in America belongs to this group, and as such is the “official” Anglican body in this country.

Other Anglican groups or jurisdictions such as the Traditional Anglican Communion, the Anglican Catholic Church in America, or the Anglican Province of Christ the King (and there are LOTS of these groups) are Anglicans who have split off from the official Anglican Communion over issues of doctrine, verging on apostasy (or a little past it). Like that bishop-shaped thingy the Episcopalians have up in New Hampshire. Or for liturgical reasons. Or for the fact that many Anglican jurisdictions in the Worldwide Anglican Communion put collars on ladies and think they have priests. Can’t have any of that.

And just to confuse things further, there are groups (like the Anglican Mission in America) who have split from the Episcopal Church, but are trying to remain within the official Anglican Communion, by appealing to third world, orthodox Anglican bishops for Episcopal oversight, allowing them to remain in communion with Canterbury. Not sure why that is a good idea, myself.

This is a confusing subject, no doubt. As I once said here, if you are going to try to explain contemporary Anglicanism, you would have to draw a lot of charts. More questions?

GKC

Anglo-Catholic


#9

That is simply untrue. It was after all an Anglican, William Chillingworth, who said, “The Bible, and the Bible alone, is the religion of Protestants” (and he emphatically included Anglicans as “Protestants”!). The 39 Articles maintain a very moderate version of sola scriptura which simply states that only what can be proven from Scripture should be made an article of faith. That is the basic definition of sola scriptura, and certainly does not exclude a concern with tradition and the Fathers. Indeed, the idea that sola scriptura involves a contempt for tradition is one of the sillier bits of Catholic polemic. Possibly Chillingworth’s version does, and certainly that is one wing of Anglicanism–but today a wing with few representatives (the most notable exception being the Diocese of Sydney in Australia). Anglo-Catholics of course reject sola scriptura outright, and try to persuade themselves that they speak for all Anglicans in doing so.

In Christ,

Edwin


#10

To quote Scott Hahn, “It’s fun to be a non-Catholic Catholic”. You can point out all of the rich truths of the faith to your Protestant buddies and watch their eyes pop when you reveal the source of these truths. Plus, you don’t have to actually commit yourself to the truths you are proclaiming.

How nice.:rolleyes:


#11

To quote Scott Hahn, “It’s fun to be a non-Catholic Catholic”. You can point out all of the rich truths of the faith to your Protestant buddies and watch their eyes pop when you reveal the source of these truths. Plus, you don’t have to actually commit yourself to the truths you are proclaiming.

How nice, neat, and convenient.:rolleyes:


#12

[quote=Windmill]To quote Scott Hahn, “It’s fun to be a non-Catholic Catholic”. You can point out all of the rich truths of the faith to your Protestant buddies and watch their eyes pop when you reveal the source of these truths. Plus, you don’t have to actually commit yourself to the truths you are proclaiming.

How nice.:rolleyes:
[/quote]

Or, on the other hand, you can.

GKC

traditional Anglican


#13

[quote=Contarini]That is simply untrue. It was after all an Anglican, William Chillingworth, who said, “The Bible, and the Bible alone, is the religion of Protestants” (and he emphatically included Anglicans as “Protestants”!). The 39 Articles maintain a very moderate version of sola scriptura which simply states that only what can be proven from Scripture should be made an article of faith. That is the basic definition of sola scriptura, and certainly does not exclude a concern with tradition and the Fathers. Indeed, the idea that sola scriptura involves a contempt for tradition is one of the sillier bits of Catholic polemic. Possibly Chillingworth’s version does, and certainly that is one wing of Anglicanism–but today a wing with few representatives (the most notable exception being the Diocese of Sydney in Australia). Anglo-Catholics of course reject sola scriptura outright, and try to persuade themselves that they speak for all Anglicans in doing so.

In Christ,

Edwin
[/quote]

Greetings, Contarini,

Some Anglo-Catholics, certainly. But not all, in the sense you elucidate. If I had a nickle for every time my AC rector has said that that which cannot be proven by Scripture cannot be taught as necessary for salvation, I’d have several nickles . Lots of stuff can be proven by scripture. And backed up by the ECFs, etc.

Me, I’d *never * try to persaude myself, or others, that I speak for all Anglicans on anything. Too many kinds of Anglicans. And even if there weren’t, there’s Spong. Not to mention Chillingworth.

GKC

posterus traditus Anglicanus


#14

I would respectfully ask how those that accept the reality of papal authority can remain in the Anglican Communion?

I was a member of an Anglican Use Catholic Church in San Antonio, Our Lady of the Atonement (www.atonementonline.com). The priest there was a former Episcopal minister who converted to Roman Catholicism with his whole family. He was a high church Anglican, and he told me that his conversion came when, after much study, he realized that the hosts he would elevate at his Sunday Eucharists were not the True Body and Blood of Christ. As much as he wanted to believe they were, he knew that it was a farce.

Like him, many Episcopals are coming home to the Catholic Church.


#15

When the Anglican Church voluntarily removed the parts of the Rite of Ordination where it talks about offering sacrifice and absolving form sin, the Anglican orders became Null and Void. To delete something that was formerly there implies that you no longer believe this. The sacrifice of the mass and the office of confessor are integral parts of the Priesthood. Anglicanism has rejected this, and, therefore, has rejected the faith of our fathers.

Honestly, if all that holds you back from fully embracing Catholicism is your liturgy (which truly IS beautiful), then I highly encourage you to seek out an Anglican Use parish.


#16

[quote=GKC]Greetings, Contarini,

Some Anglo-Catholics, certainly. But not all, in the sense you elucidate. If I had a nickle for every time my AC rector has said that that which cannot be proven by Scripture cannot be taught as necessary for salvation, I’d have several nickles .
[/quote]

Excellent point. I spoke incautiously. Anglo-Catholics generally reject the term “sola scriptura,” but like Catholics and Orthodox they often caricature what this means. And unlike “Roman” Catholics (I won’t claim to speak for the East) they don’t have a dogmatic commitment to an “et . . . et” theory of Tradition.

In Christ,

Edwin


#17

[quote=Madaglan]For much of my life I’ve thought of the Anglicans as simply as another break-off from Catholicism from the Reformation. I thought that they thoroughly rejected Catholic Tradition and the ecumenical councils. However, after doing a lot of reading lately, and after takling with a few Anglicans, I am beginning to learn that the Anglicans value Church tradition much more than regular Low Church evangelicals and other evangelical groups. It seems that many books by Anglicans sometimes read as though they are written by “Catholics.” One Anglican I spoke with said that his denomination was somewhere between Roman Catholicism and the denominations of people like Luther and Calvin. This really confuses me, since I always thought they were in the same camp as the other Reformers.

So, my question is: Who exactly are the High Church Anglicans? If their sole source of faith is Scripture (sola scriptura), why do they place emphasis on the traditions and history of the Church?

I know that the Orthodox (Eastern Church) are engaged in ecumenical talks with the Anglicans, and that the Orthodox and Anglicans agree on many issues. So, what is “un-Catholic” about the Anglican Church? In other words, what really distinguishes them from the apostolic faith?
[/quote]

The High Anglicans are very similar to the Catholic Church. Many of them are looking for union with the Catholic Church. There is one or two on this forum, they call themselves Anglo-Catholics.

The Catholic Church has actually allowed the “Anglican Usage”, which is a somewhat modification of the mass of the Anglicans. They have allowed this for any converts from Anglicanism.

There have been alot of talks lately I think with the Anglican Church and Catholic Church. I think that the Anglicans might not believe the pope to have quite the authority that he has, but they do believe that he has some authority though.


#18

[quote=Traditional Ang]Madaglan:

It depends upon which variant of Anglicans you’re talking about.

There was one thread, “Anglicans to Rome” which I provided much of the information for which discussed the talks for REUNIFICATION between the TRADTIONAL ANGLICAN COMMUNION (Primate Archbishop John Heppworth of Australia) and the CATHOLIC CHURCH. These negotiations are being personally conducted by the Pope and Cardinal Ratzinger who have both taken a personal interest in this group of some 400,000+ Anglicans who have come to the conclusion that they no longer have a home in the “Anglican Communion” that is in union with the Archbishop of Canterbury (The Episcopal Church is part of this group).

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=28244

Some congregations of “dissident” Anglicans have been formed into the Western Rite of the Antiochan Orthodox Church. I believe that at least one “dissident” group will be joining them in the next few years.

westernorthodox.com/directory

The “Anglican Communion” has ordained women “Priests” and Bishops", blessed “gay unions” and supported a “Woman’s right to Choose” to have an Abortion (the Episcopal Church more enthusiastically than the rest of the Communion). And the Episcopal church Consecrated a man who left his wife and 2 young children to move in with his gay lover.

I understand that talks between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Orthodox Churches have pretty much died since then, except for the dissidents whom the Orthodox believe they are saving from heresy and schism (at least that’s what Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochan Orthodox Church told me when my father’s congregation became the first congregation in the Western Rite of the Antiochan Church).

Blessings to you and Good Night.

In Christ, Michael
[/quote]

I hope the inverted commas around the words Anglican Communion aren’t intended to imply that the Communion in question has ceased to include the Church of England - one problem with English Evangeicalism is that those within that tradition sometimes write off churches as “dead” - ISTM that God alone can make that judgement. As for scandals within a Christian body, how does one judge whether or not such a such a scandal or an abundance of them unchurches a Christian body ?

As with the logical teaser, how many grains can one take from a heap of grains before the heap ceases to be a heap?: how many scandals and of what kind are too many for a Church (or church) to remain a Church (or church) ? Christians can hardly treat death in the same way as non-Christians: so why not apply this to churches ? If they die, maybe that is allowed only so that they can be raised from death. The Church of England, like the CC, is always surviving its obituaries - because God is faithful, not because it is. And because churches live by God’s faithfulness & not theirs, scandals in a Church scandals take on a different aspect ISTM. We can only despair of churches if they are dependent ultimately upon us - since we are saved by grace, they cannot be.

BTW - how traditional is traditional Anglicanism ? Ecclesiology is at least as important to saying what one understands by being traditional as any other issue; because it affects what one makes of one what one finds in tradition and how one interprets what one finds. ##


#19

[quote=Windmill]When the Anglican Church voluntarily removed the parts of the Rite of Ordination where it talks about offering sacrifice and absolving form sin, the Anglican orders became Null and Void. To delete something that was formerly there implies that you no longer believe this. The sacrifice of the mass and the office of confessor are integral parts of the Priesthood. Anglicanism has rejected this, and, therefore, has rejected the faith of our fathers.

Honestly, if all that holds you back from fully embracing Catholicism is your liturgy (which truly IS beautiful), then I highly encourage you to seek out an Anglican Use parish.
[/quote]

I hope you realise you’ve just disordained thousands of Roman-Rite Catholic priests :slight_smile:

Pius XII in 1947 altered the matter of the sacrament, implicitly correcting the Tridentine Catechism of 1566 in the process of doing so. He implicitly corrected the Council of Florence too (specifically, Eugenius IV in the Decree for the Armenians); for both the Council and the Catechism had said (taught ?) that the *‘porrection of the instruments’ *= the handing over of chalice & paten to the ordinand] was the essential matter of the Sacrament of Order. According to Pius XII in Sacramentum Ordinis in 1947, the laying on of hands is the essential matter of that sacrament; and the post-Conciliar Roman Ordinal continues this; which incidentally brings Rome into accord with the Church of England - for the error corrected in 1947 goes back to the 9th century or so: the Church of England’s teaching was more “traditional” that Rome’s had become by the time of the Reformation. ##


#20

[quote=Windmill]When the Anglican Church voluntarily removed the parts of the Rite of Ordination where it talks about offering sacrifice and absolving form sin, the Anglican orders became Null and Void. To delete something that was formerly there implies that you no longer believe this. The sacrifice of the mass and the office of confessor are integral parts of the Priesthood. Anglicanism has rejected this, and, therefore, has rejected the faith of our fathers.

Honestly, if all that holds you back from fully embracing Catholicism is your liturgy (which truly IS beautiful), then I highly encourage you to seek out an Anglican Use parish.
[/quote]

Greetings, WIndmill,

This is not quite what *Apostolicae Curae * is saying, esp. not with respect to absolving from sin, but you’re close. AC faulted the Edwardine Ordinal on 2 basic counts, form and intent (as necessary to the validity of a sacrament, in this case, Holy Orders). Most discussion tends to focus on intent these days, since it is not hard at all to find ordination/consecration rites which are essentially the same as those in the Edwardine Ordinal, but which the RCC recognises as conferring valid orders.

I often recommend a couple of books on this sad subject: Francis Clark’s ANGLICAN ORDERS AND DEFECT OF INTENTION, as the most complete and scholarly presentation of the logic of the RC case, and 2 books by Fr. John Jay Hughes, ABSOLUTELY NULL AND UTTERLY VOID, and STEWARDS OF THE LORD, which do the same for the Anglican case. Fr. Hughes, who was originally an Anglican priest, wrote these latter 2 books after crossing the Tiber. He is one of only 2 known former Anglican priests to be ordained sub conditione, the other being Graham Leonard, one time Anglican bishop of London.

Anglicans don’t accept Apostolicae Curae, but it is certainly undeniably true to state that it represents the RCC’s opinion on the subject, as formulated 109 years ago.

GKC


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