Validity of orders and the real presence within Anglicanism

Hello again, I just wanted to thank everyone who commented on my last thread. I’ve got another question I was hoping someone could help me with.

According to a Papal Encyclidical from Leo XIII(?), all Anglican clergy are not considered ordained as the Orthodox are, Bishops lack apostolic succession and all of their sacramanets are considered null and void; hence they don’t have the real presence.

Does anyone know how this jump in logic was made? From my understanding of Clerics who leave the RC or are branded heretics they aren’t usually deemed to be any less ordained, they might be forbidden from consecrating a Eucharist but that doesn’t mean if they did it would lack the real presence. In this sense the validity of orders, and in the case of the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox has nothing to do with ones personal theology since in the case of the latter, especially the Ethiopian and Coptic Orthodox they probably diverge far more than any Anglican from Catholic beliefs.

Please correct me if I am mistaken but as far as I am aware the Anglicans generally claim to have gained their apostolic sucession from either Former Catholic Bishops, or in more recent times from Orthodox or Old Catholics who are deemed by the RC to have it.

If the Oriental Orthodox can dissent from traditional Christianity on matters like the canon of scripture, the nature of sacraments and even the divinity of Christ why is it only the Anglicans of these groups who have been declared invalid? It seems to go against the RC notion that the sins of the priest does not affect the validity of the sacraments they can preform.

Any comments are appreciated

I think it might have something to do with the form used at Anglican “Ordinations.”

It has to do with intent. I have posted a link to a radio program. These are former Anglican priests who are now Catholic priests. I believe it is near the beginning of program #225 that this very question gets asked and answered.

Apostolicae Curae.

Here is the definitive decree:

  1. Wherefore, strictly adhering, in this matter, to the decrees of the pontiffs, our predecessors, and confirming them most fully, and, as it were, renewing them by our authority, of our own initiative and certain knowledge, we pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void.

The whole matter is political and complicated.

I believe Anglican orders were valid after the Church of England had left the Church of Rome. The question of the Priestly orders within the Anglican Church can be officially called invalid now with the Anglican Church ordaining women to be priests. The Anglican Church in fact has caused their own valid orders to become invalid without any announcement from the Church of Rome. The ordination of women has caused the Anglican Church to be officially Protestant. It is to my understanding that the Pope who had decided to say that Anglican orders were invalid was just trying to protect the Church of Rome from leaving the Catholic Church to enter into the Church of England. If the Pope had declared Anglican orders to be valid there would have been an increase movement of Catholics into the Church of England. And if this approval was given what would stop the German, Austrian and any other Bishops to set up a Church as similar to the Church of England. The committee that had studied Anglican orders at that time were 8 men who had 2 from England so you kind of know how they were going to vote. Now the interesting development from these 8 men was the vote. It was 4 for and 4 against. Interesting! The Pope decided to give the final vote and he decided to be against Anglican orders. I sense the Pope had to do this not because he was right but because of what would had happened if he did give consent to Anglican orders. In a way it was sad that this happened because the Church of England had this verdict go against them. They felt no one would recognize them and we must remember that the Church of England did not leave Rome as the rest of the Protestants did. The Church of England was forced to leave.

I know that Catholics may not like what I have said. I grew up in the Church of England. I was an Eastern Orthodox Christian growing up in a High Church of England. I grew up with the Mass every week and in fact every day as it was a Cathedral. I never questioned the validity of Anglican orders even when I read what the Church of Rome had declared. To my understanding I cannot believe God would ever invalidate a Church’s orders as in the case of the Church of England. How can the Church of England be held responsible to what happened to her? Of course the Catholic Church has her feelings in this matter yet I find that too much judgment by her sometimes can cloud what is true. I am not here to place any judgment on what the Church of Rome had placed on the Church of England from the past as it does not matter anymore since the Church of England has decided to ordained women and thus making their priesthood just as invalid as Protestant orders.

Please search the many prior thread on this; or you can just search the posts by GKC, who has posted explanations countless times on this topic, all his explanations are lucid and factual. Since he may not see this, over in the Apologetics forum, I put a few words:
The Catholic Church does accept Anglican/Episcopal baptisms as valid; marriages too, though they don’t accept them as Catholic weddings.
The sins of the priest don’t invalidate the sacraments he received, or offers. The break in continuity for Orders and Succession is deemed by Catholics to have occurred in Anglicanism some time after Henry VIII, due to improper ordinations.
The issue of ordination of women was probably not envisioned at the time of Apostolicae Curae, in the 1890s.
Some Christians believe the Anglicans never actually lost valid orders/succession, but in any event, they are seeking to incorporate another path to validity, via shared consecration through the Old Catholics and its offshoot PNCC.

You have a good point in questioning what seems like a narrow focus on one aspect - ordination technicality - rather than the larger aspect of theological similarity and moral goodness of the priest. But Apostolicae curae was only designed to focus on one aspect, not on Christianity as a whole. But in some ways current events do have an impact, in that the Church of England, and some branches like TEC, are moving farther from Rome each year. This will make ordination “compatibility” a moot point - at least for those branches of the Anglican Communion. There are other branches.
In fact, there are reports of now rare instances where the Anglican or Episcopal rite of Baptism has been altered to a point where it may not be acceptable to the Catholic Church, or many other churches that always accepted it.

In summary:

Beginning in the 1600s they lost valid Apostolic Succession because they denied the sacerdotal (which means both sacrificial and priestly) role of the priest. Their intention was specifically not-to-ordain priests, but to ordain preachers and representatives of the English government.

Their attempts at ordination have been invalid ever since.

With regard to the early-mid 20th century even though the bishops from outside of Anglicanism participated in some of their attempts at episcopal ordinations, such ceremonies continued to pass-on the already existing invalid offices. There was no attempt to heal or correct anything, and so those offices remain invalid attempts at priesthood or episcopate.

More recent events, specifically their attempted ordinations of women, their outward intent is quite clearly and unambiguously to deny the Christian priesthood as Christ established it, and to replace it with a completely human invention. There is no longer even a question that their attempts at orders might be valid.

The original bishops and priests of the Anglican Church had valid orders and never lost that. It was when the new rite of ordination was put into effect under King Edward VI that valid apostolic succession started to disappear in England. The still-living valid bishops, theoretically, could have continued to ordain validly, but I believe they would not have so done, if they used the new rite, which had a defect of intention with regard to the sacrifice of the Mass and the role of the priest to offer that true propitiatory sacrifice.


Leo XIII’s encyclical dealt with a defect in form. It really was the only way to definitively end the question, as many of the Anglican priests viewed themselves as still part of the Church and said that they “intended” to do what the Church does. Intent alone would not end the issue.

This would later cause a problem for some within the Roman Catholic Church in reconciling how the New Roman Rite form was any different from what Leo XIII had deemed a defect in form with the Anglican rite. They are indeed very similiar.

Does anyone know how this jump in logic was made?

Here is the text itself; there is no “jump in logic”:

Please correct me if I am mistaken but as far as I am aware the Anglicans generally claim to have gained their apostolic sucession from either Former Catholic Bishops, or in more recent times from Orthodox or Old Catholics who are deemed by the RC to have it.

In those cases you’re discussing Orthodox or Old Catholic orders possessed by Anglicans, not Anglican Orders. Anglican Orders became extinct when changes were made in the Anglican rites of ordination.

As you can read in Apostolicae Curae the cause of that extinction was not a lack of personal belief on the part of Anglican bishops but an objective change in the rite itself that precluded the transmission of orders.

In Pope Leo’s encyclical Apostolicae Curae

It was not just a simple question of “proper form?” or “proper intent?”

The defects in form and intent actually go hand-in-hand. Chronologically, first came the defect of intent which was then expressed in the defect of form when the new ritual was composed to express that defective intent.

  1. With this inherent defect of “form” is joined the defect of “intention” which is equally essential to the Sacrament. The Church does not judge about the mind and intention, in so far as it is something by its nature internal; but in so far as it is manifested externally she is bound to judge concerning it. A person who has correctly and seriously used the requisite matter and form to effect and confer a sacrament is presumed for that very reason to have intended to do (intendisse) what the Church does. On this principle rests the doctrine that a Sacrament is truly conferred by the ministry of one who is a heretic or unbaptized, provided the Catholic rite be employed. On the other hand, if the rite be changed, with the manifest intention of introducing another rite not approved by the Church and of rejecting what the Church does, and what, by the institution of Christ, belongs to the nature of the Sacrament, then it is clear that not only is the necessary intention wanting to the Sacrament, but that the intention is adverse to and destructive of the Sacrament.

Oriental Orthodox do not dissent from any of these as you’ve claimed. There are Eastern Catholic Churches in full Communion with the Pope who have all these in common with the Oriental Orthodox. This presumption is wrong.

However, the people who have had a problem with the Ordinary Form were and are confused as to their sacramental theology; and they essentially have constituted themselves as a separate Magisterium.

The actual Magisterium - the Pope and the bishops in concert with him - have clearly and absolutely denied that there is any defect in form within the Ordinary Form.

So. Just as the Magisterium of the Church has declared Anglican/Episcopalian ordinations to not be valid, so has the same Magisterium declared the Ordinary Form to be valid.

And thus the similarity is brought to an absolute halt. As in, it doesn’t exist.

But you have to admit that it is a pretty slick argument for those who don’t understand the difference.

Are you referring to DeDefectibus?

There was no “jump” in logic. Pope Leo explained his reasoning very clearly. There was a lack of intent, and when certain portions of the rite were dropped, possibly also a lack of form. This is an authoritative papal document.

Yes, but, following the logic behind Apostolicae Curae, the clerics of the Church of England regained this in the 1930s, when Old Catholic bishops ordained Church of England bishops. As GKC points out, when +van Vlijmen, OC Bishop of Haarlem was con-consecrator with +Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury, the intent was to confer “…the order of the episcopate according to the mind of our holy mother, the Catholic and Apostolic Church…and to impart the same episcopal character which…we bishops of the Old Catholic Church possess, that is, the fullness of the priesthood with each and every function pertaining thereto and with the faculties inherent in the same, in the precise sense in which the fullness of the priesthood has been understood everywhere, always, and by all.” This is quoted from Appendix II, footnote 3, in Fr. John J. Hughes’ Stewards of the Lord (emphasis in original).

What was intended, then, was to impart on the ordinand in question ‘the fullness of the priesthood with each and every function pertaining thereto and with the faculties inherent in the same’ as that is understood in Catholic churches (‘everywhere, always, and by all,’ quite obviously citing the definition of catholicity presented by St. Vincent of Lerins). This clearly included the ‘sacrificial part’ of the episcopal office. This consecration, then, reintroduced apostolic succession to the Church of England (or at least reintroduced it in such a way that Roman Catholics couldn’t disagree with it without conflating validity and liceity).

This should logically imply validity, but not necessarily liceity (in the eyes of Rome). We ought to remember that validity and liceity is not the same thing.

That might be, but it is a historical assesment. It doesn’t, or shouldn’t and cannot, have extention into the future, if the situation chages. Which it did, in the 1930s, if we are to take seriously the logic behind Apostolicae Curae.

I’m not going to claim any detailed knowledge on this topic, but one thing a person has to keep in mind about the history of the Church of England is that the sometimes simplified view of it that King Henry VIII simply severed the connection with Rome is incorrect. You’ve noted one such aspect of that here, but it’s interesting to note that after Henry VIII there was a period that lasted for years in which the church whipped back and forth between trying to remain Catholic, actually returning to allegiance to Rome, and becoming fully Protestant. Supposedly Queen Elizabeth solved that by the settlement, but that didn’t even really fully solve the issue and the English civil war saw the Church of England suppressed, and so on.

I’m not sure how this all impacts this topic, but England went through religious turmoil for a long time following Henry VIII.

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