What is the Church of England

Hi Extended family,

I was wondering, I know some one who got married to an american catholic but she is from England and has her Citizenship there. She attends our Catholic Services, raised her children Catholic but is not Catholic. (She does not participate in the sacraments). She says she belongs to the Church of England. She attends service ? their annual when she goes to visit family.

Sooo, What is the Chruch of England? Are they Catholic?


In Christ,


No, they are Anglican.

Whats and Angelican?

Church of England is another protestant denomination.

The Church of England began in the 1500’s. It is part of the Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church in the US, and a number of other related, but independent, churches in English speaking nations. Unlike the Eastern Orthodox, they do not have valid Holy Orders (in the view of the Catholic Church). C.S. Lewis 1898 - 1963 was an extremely important writer in the Church of England, and had a big impact on many Christians, including Catholics. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the Church of England (along with the monarch, I think) and first among equals in the Anglican Communion (the 20 or so sister churches in other countries).
Historically there were 3 movements in Anglicanism: 1.) the High Church, more traditional and sacramental, Anglo-Catholic; 2) Low Church, somewhat similar to evangelical churches; and 3) Broad Church, which deemphasizes doctrine, more towards liberal, social action, politics. In the last 50 years or so, the Broad Church has grown stronger in the Church of England itself, and much stronger in Anglican sister churches in the U. S. and Canada. The Church of England has shrunk a great deal in recent years both in terms of church attendance, and influence on English society, though it still is technically an established church there. People in other countries sometimes refer to themselves as “Anglicans”, especially when they break off from the liberal Episcopal Church, but the Church of England per se would be only in England now. The Vatican has created an “Ordinariate” in England that attracts some Anglicans who want to convert to Catholic, but retain their Anglican culture and spirituality - which is a tremendous heritage.

Anglican is the Church of England. :smiley:

It was the split between England and Rome which occurred during the reign of King Henry, VIII as a result of the Pope’s refusal to grant him an annulment so that he could marry Ann Boleyn in hope of a male heir to the throne. There are many on this forum who know much, much more than do I on this subject and it is much more compicated than I have made it, but I think that is pretty much it in a nutshell.

To oversimplify, Calvinism, and its countless offshoots, would represent the strand of Protestantism traditionally most different from Catholic; Lutheranism was traditionally moderately different; and Anglicanism most similar. Methodism was an offshoot from Anglicanism, but perhaps more “Protestant”. Anglicanism has a wonderful spiritual heritage, i. e. The King James Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, and a great deal more.
In Africa and Asia Anglicanism is conservative, and growing. But in England, and other places especially in the US, Anglicanism is extremely liberal, very much following the trends of the secular culture on morality, and perhaps on theology. That is why many new Anglican churches have split off from the Episcopal Church; and why the Vatican now offers an Ordinariate, in England, the US/Canada, and Australia, so far. About 22 “Anglican” priests in the US have converted to RC this year, I believe, with many more in formation. A few bishops, too.

An argument, but usually a polite one. :smiley:



To Catholics, we look like Protestants; to other Protestants, we look like Catholics.

We tend to be much more traditionalist than other Protestants: we have sacraments, we have bishops and priests (although some of them are women), we follow a liturgy, and we even have monks and nuns. However, we are a confederacy of independent provinces, not under the Catholic Magisterium, and so we disagree on quite a few points of doctrine.

Those of our people who are closest to Catholicism are called Anglo-Catholics, because it can sometimes be very hard to see where exactly they sit. Meanwhile, we also have people who firmly stick to C16th beliefs about Catholicism being evil, and we have everything between.

A motley crew.

I try to work that in at least twice a week.



Cool. They love Jesus too!! Good enough for me. Yes I am blond it does not take much to make me happy!! :smiley:

That seems to sum it up, lol. :stuck_out_tongue:

I should hope all Christians love Jesus, so you must be a very happy lady :smiley:

You might be more familiar with the term Episcopalian. The Episcopalian churches form part of the Anglican Communion - of course being American they would certainly never call themselves Church of England :wink:

That’s about right.

I’d like to ask, how is the Queen of England become Head of the Church Of England? Surely not because she is a theologian of some sort right? :confused:


Because Henry the VIII wanted the power to allow divorce and be able to do what he wanted while having the approval of the church. Hence when the Pope wouldn’t grant him an annulment because he couldn’t conceive a son, he left. Of course later monarchs later influenced the church to become more protestant since originally it was very catholic in practice and still is somewhat similar to catholicism (although doctrinally it has major problems such as the ordination of women and gays). As of now the Queen probably doesn’t really do much as far as the church is concerned, however if she really wanted she could change it to her liking if she wished. I know also that parliament can change what the church of england believes

It’s good she doesn’t do much because my Catholic mind tells me she needs to know quite a bit of Theology to be Head of a Church :smiley:


That’ll do.


The Queen is not the Head of the Church of England. That was the title Henry VIII received, in the Act of Supremacy/1543. The current sovereign is, and all sovereigns have been, since 1559, the Governor of the Church of England. Both titles by Act of Parliament.

Technical detail.


My Bad…been watching The Kings Speech:p

Thanks for the very informative and concise clarification.


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