Anglicans are not Catholics.

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Many in the Charity of Christ, Connor here at The Latin Community, long for a day when the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches will be in full communion with each other. There does seem to be theological differences that are so ancient (The Filioque) that would make it appear that this division would never heal. Of course, the natural position for the Charity of Christ is to look at other Christian communities who are not in union with the one true Catholic and Apostolic Church. The first Protestant division was Lutheranism; however, Lutherans have split into so many different ‘Lutheran’ denominations that the Charity of Christ must address their faithful in pieces. If one continues through their historical timeline, it is most likely that the next most viable option is the Church of England—also known as the Anglican Church.

Although Martin Luther’s reformation altered the course of European history, Luther’s reformation was a theological dispute. The Church of England took a more aggressive route by deciding to rape the Catholic monasteries across the English countryside. Furthermore, it is difficult for even members of the Anglican faithful to understand how much their sense of Anglo culture is tied to their faith. Thomas Merton, having lived in England for a good amount of time, wrote about The Church of England saying, “It is a class religion, the cult of special society and group, not even of a whole nation, but of the ruling minority in a nation…There is certainly not much doctrinal unity, much less a mystical bond between people many of whom have even ceased to believe in grace or Sacraments. The things that hold them together is the powerful attraction of their own social traditions, and the stubborn tenacity with which they cling to certain social standards and customs…The Church of England depends, for its existence, almost entirely on the solidarity and conservatism of the English ruling class.”[1]

After observing how Anglicans think, I can certainly begin to understand what Merton means in his own observations. The Church of England may have a world presence but they’re certainly not unified under the Archbishop of Canterbury like the Roman Catholic Church is under the Pope of Rome. Furthermore, Merton explains several key points about the temperament of the Anglican faithful. Although, as it appears unaware, the English are so connected with faith culturally that elements of English culture like enlightenment thinking, empiricism, and liberalism drive many wings of the Church of England.
In regards to Anglicanism’s theology, the Church of England has 3 prominent wings or as Fr. Dwight Longenecker asks, “Or is it 300?”[2] Fr. Dwight on Catholic Answers has a fantastic explanation about the state of confusion that is exists in the foundations of the Church of England, he writes, “I attended an Anglican seminary of the Evangelical persuasion called Wycliffe Hall, and down the road was the Anglo-Catholic seminary called St. Stephen’s House. The two were totally opposed in theology, liturgical practice, culture, and ethos. In Oxford was an Anglican seminary which was “broad church,” or liberal. This third strand of Anglicanism has always been a kind of worldly, established, urbane type of religion that is at home with the powers that be and always adapts to the culture in which it finds itself.

These three forces co-exist in the Anglican church—united by nothing more than a shared baptism, a patriotic allegiance to the national church, and the need to tolerate each other.”[3]

So what occurs when a Church that is only really connected due to a patriotic allegiance? Mass theological confusion. You have members of the Anglican faith calling themselves Catholic when they are separated from Rome, and at the same time paving the way for women to be ordained in their faith, soiling the sanctity of marriage, and disgracing the theology of the Eucharist and the Body of Christ. The Church of England is so connected to its English culture that naturally it must be beholden to England’s adoption of both Liberalism and Socialism. Of course, as Father Dwight reminds us that many Anglicans will claim there is much division in the Roman Catholic Church, but to respond by saying, “”That may be, but we do not claim it as a virtue. We have one authority on earth. We have one clear teaching. We may not all obey it. We may not all unite around it, but it is there. It is one. It is holy. It is Catholic. It is apostolic. It is a rock on which to build, and the rock is Peter and his successor.”[4] Furthermore, our Church was indeed founded by Christ who gave the keys to St. Peter, it was not founded by a King who wanted to soil the honor of the bride of Christ by staining all his country’s churches with the sin of adultery.

[1] Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain ( New York: Harvest Books, 1999), 72.

[2] http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/what-catholics-must-understand-about-anglicanism

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

23 thoughts on “Anglicans are not Catholics.

    1. Hey Michigan Man, thanks for bringing this point up, so that we can clarify it accordingly.

      Cannon Law Made Easy clarifies what Michigan Man is hinting at here ”

      “When these bishops apostatized from the Catholic faith, that in no way “undid” their own episcopal consecration, received back when they were Catholics. Canon 845.1 tells us that sacrament of orders, like the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, imprints a character on a person’s soul. It can never be erased (which is incidentally why these sacraments can be validly administered only once). “

      A Bishop who falls away can still perform valid sacraments, they will be illicit and he should not do it, but none the less still valid according to canon law. Once the ex-Catholic bishops died out, Apostolic succession was broken.

      http://canonlawmadeeasy.com/2011/01/20/the-validity-of-anglican-holy-orders/

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Grandpa Zeke

    This is spot on, it agrees with my own assessment. Thank you for saying what clearly needs to be said. And thank you very much for the invitation to write, I will only do so when and if I have something significant to add to the conversation. Very happy to be here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Indeed, I am glad that you have joined the community, feel free to contribute when inspired, and comment.

      In regards to Anglicanism, My family, the ones who have chosen God and not the world, are Catholics due to our Irish heritage. You can imagine our family’s traditional thoughts on Anglicanism. In fact, for my nephew’s first communion this year I gave him a blessed penal rosary made from Connemara marble from Ireland. I explained to him the history of this particular style of rosary, The faithful would have to hide it in their sleeves just to pray our traditional prayers.

      I explained to him that where our family came from it was illegal for them to be Catholic. Oliver Cromwell and the Penal Law of 1695 made it illegal. During this time, Bishops were exiled and priest had to register under the 1704 Registration act–those who opposed where arrested by Priest hunters. In fact, a great detailed account of this is written by a Jesuit at the time, Fr. John Gerard.

      Regardless, even though this is the history of my family’s Catholicism, I do not hold ill will toward Anglicans for this history. My post here is written because I believe the liberalism that has seeped into the wings of the Anglican Church hurts the entirety of Christendom. I tell these histories to my nephew because I fear that a new enemy approaches the whole of Christianity–a secular enemy–and the time for penal rosaries may come again, very soon.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Grandpa Zeke

        Philip, this is very interesting perspective from your family’s lived experience. This is what I consider to be the “gold” of family history that somehow seems to seep into our DNA (I speak as a family historian and fledgling genealogist). In other words, this is very powerful testimony for your nephew, it is his story even though he is probably too young yet to fully absorb it. I hope and pray that he will cherish the penal rosary you gifted to him, something to treasure along with his family history,

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I may have missed this within your post but we do have the Anglican ordinariate now to help Anglicans in coming into communion with the Roman Catholic church.

    I will say this I’m not sure it’s “Liberalism” that is the problem but laziness and a lack of putting emphasis on “Character” in our new world that is the problem.

    These are the aspects effecting communion with God and neighbor in high degrees and leading to things like “hook-up culture” and other things that fall short of finding the true blessings and fulfillment god has designed for us.

    High end philosophical thought and or drawing out content from ideas I think can only help us better understand and better glorify God in understanding his sheer greatness and glory.

    I would agree with some more of the Cardinals in that we have incredible theology at our utility we now need to help people see the value of character and how if you do things right you end up finding so much more pleasure and fulfillment than you ever could have guessed.

    We as Christians may be at fault here for our own laziness in not adopting and seeing that this may not have been an issue of arguing high end philosophical and theological points but meeting the average person where they are at which is becoming more and more basic in so many ways. A theology of experience not scholasticism or thomism.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Im aware, but I’m speaking about the Church of England as an institution by itself. The Anglicans I’ve talked to have pretty much stated to me that those who have left for communion with Rome have pretty much already done so.

      Liberalism is a complex word and loaded word. There’s Classical Liberalism and other people use the word as a synonym for Socialism, Communism, etc.

      I should probably have better explained and used the word Libertinism and explained the philosophy of hedonism.

      However I do think that Classical Liberalism and the idea of “human rights” that have forged democracy in the modern world as precipitated those other “isms.” Everyone feels entitled to what they believe is right. This has created the belief that truth is relative in what is known as the “postmodern” society.

      Thanks for the comment and allowing me to clarify.

      I don’t think I agree with the idea of promoting more low Christology. I think we have too much of it already. The mass has been changed to the Pauline Mass of the people and more people can participate. Catholicism was once steeped into High Christology, a place where one could feel holiness and feel a distinct faith culture. We no longer talk about sin, Satan, or hell to the detriment of souls. It may be possible bat we can incorporate those elements of high Christology in more user friendly language?

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  3. I think your right on the spot to be honest.

    The one thing I would say though is that post-modern thought or things like post structuralism, etc. are not detriments to us.

    They came as a response to certain things. In many ways I think these kind of struggles with the faith and with philosophy have opened up the content of the gospel and God even more.

    It’s provided us with writers like Karl Barth, Moltmann, and others that provided fresh ways of looking at certain things that I think helped take the faith further and better get at the God we want to get at.

    There is a dialectic going on with liberalism and conservativism and in that struggle I think we get more and more refined int the gospel.

    I would agree though that we need to address what is causing people to be more and more selfishish, uninformed, and simply going off how things are presented to them in a “trend” or “fashionably cool” setting.

    That is where my comments about Character came up.

    I think if you teach proper Character as the scriptures teach than people remain for the most part in good standing.

    The problem comes when certain ideologies become perverted and taken to the extreme. Liberalism in the sense of hedonism and a post-modern confusion that leads to creating structures within society and culture that actually hold people back from things like equality, mutual and selfless giving love, for things shallow like oppression, and selfish gratification seeking are definitely things we have to remedy.

    However conservative thought has it’s own ills in these ways. It can become oppressive just like a thought process with no foundational points.

    It can become dead and stagnant.

    Lastly it can become bigoted and hateful.

    More ofthen than not these two extremes have wounded people in ways unimaginable.

    We have a living God that is a dynamic and living word that’s spirit crys out “Father” and in grumbles and groans like the deepest parts of man only can. And we have a son of selfless and kenotic love.

    I think as Christians we should be wise to use both ideologies for what they provide as goodness and in line with the gospel and not fall into the trappings of either.

    The trapping that conservatism is equal to orthodoxy is one of the greatest problems just look at things like westboro and certain other protestant and even catholic groups..

    Sorry about the rushed writing by the way I am a tad busy at the moment. Really enjoying your responses and write up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much for enjoying and reading. To be honest because of my Catholicism, I would surmise that most people would call me Conservative because of my beliefs that are founded upon its doctrines. I use to be a strong proponent of the United States Constitution; however, in a college course of mine I sat next to a Russian Orthodox gentleman, which after talking to him about the world convinced me to throw away such political labels and embrace my faith of Catholicism and choose the grace of God.

      However, I have found that in my faith I have embraced a more empathetic nature. Although, I do not believe socialism, communism, and other state induced ideas are the solution to the problem, they were responses to greed of the industrial Revolution, the Gilded Age and since.

      But I also understand that fundamentally Libertarianism and other conservative ideologies are based on much of the same foundation as socialism et al. It’s fundamental focus on material goods, their distribution, and overall material culture. Christ asks us to prepare for the Kingdom of God and to prepare our treasures in heaven. Many conservatives believe in some form of objectivism which believes the selfless nature of Christianity is not logical. Of course, it does, it’s proponent Ayn Rand was an Atheist.

      So in this regard, I have attempted stray away from these political ideologies, so much so that I would personally not even use the word dialectic with its connection to Marx.

      Furthermore, I don’t use the words like bigot et al to describe anything In fact, using the word bigot by its definition is a self fulfilling prophesy. Do I believe Gay marriage is valid? No. Do I believe gender theory? No. Do I believe that man and women are clear distinctions that both comparatively lead to the others dignity? Yes. Do I believe that all of the above mention should have their dignity respected? Yes, I do.

      However, when one examines the Gospels, we see time and again that although Christ was accepting; he gave warnings, he told us to prepare our place in the Kingdom of God, and he spoke of sin and told us to go and sin no more. In Matthew Ch. 19 and Mark 10, Christ explains, therefore divinely reveals, what a man’s role is in marriage towards his wife. What a woman’s role is in marriage towards her husband and that the two become one. St. Paul explains this even further after he is given his divine mission from Christ himself.

      If there are those that disagree with me, I don’t wish them ill will. I would hang out with gay people, eat with them, talk with them, feed them if they were starving etc. Same with anyone. Of course, some would label me still a bigot, well quite frankly it’s because I haven’t accepted their metaphysical belief system. The word they should probably use is heretic, which believing in Catholicism, of course I am. So in many regards, in my view, Liberalism can become just as bigoted and hateful and because I understand this I simply refrain from language.

      Again, you stated you think differently, but I do think postmodern thought is dangerous, because I think relativism is dangerous. It’s an ideology that allows folks to convince themselves of anything. It’s sentiment explained very well by Pope Benedict XVI in Jesus of Nazareth and Without Roots, and I believe him. God has given us divine revelation, Christ has declared himself to be the way, the truth, and the light. We can see in post-modern society that when we start debating whether his words, which is God’s words–divine revelation– were spoken in the context of 1st century Judea vs. how we interpret them in the 21st century, the whole Gospel begins to become a house of cards.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well written response. I think you missed what I was saying about schools of thought such as post-modern but that’s okay.

        I think it’s good to see you moving past some of the american ways of thinking about political systems that sometimes get attached to christian thought to great detriment and I’d agree with some of your observations on both communism/socialism as well as capitalism, etc.

        You gotta love our eastern brothers hah they can sometimes be of great help in matters of perspective 🙂

        I don’t think in having different views on LGBT issues or gender theory is intrinsically bigoted but how some choose to represent themselves and their beliefs most certainly is.

        religious freedom and legalized discrimination is a really close line. Just like I was saying with some of those paradigms in understanding the gospel and approaching a living god that transcends all paradigms and or maybe orders them in perfect correctness somethign we are far from at this current point.

        Anyway awesome write up 🙂 and don’t take my bringing up the other points as being on the other side I would say I agree with most of everything your saying just drawing out the content so it can find it’s place in a discussion.

        More often than not as Christians we jump to points that need clarification in a background of thought and others misinterpret the meaning of a lot of the discussion.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I apologize if I misunderstood your thoughts on schools of thought.

        Sometimes when asked questions of life philosophies, like you said with the jumping of points, it’s common for folks to try to catch others in a “gotch ya” moment. So I just try to be thorough in my explanations for you and others who come by and read the comment thread.

        And yes, my Orthodox friend, and you know what moved me the most during our discussions–his unapologetic faith. Even though we would disagree on theological aspects of Christianity his faith grew my faith. I suppose there is a lesson there..

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Don’t worry I am not playing the “gotcha” games with a fellow christian brother 🙂 We are there to encourage each other and like you said no matter where are convictions or philosophies grow each other.

        I think it’s a lot like the gospels and early churches with emphasizing different points and aspects but seeing it only making the body of christ stronger and giving witness to the greatness and breadth of our God.

        Your one of the most articulate bloogers I’ve seen so far so I don’t think to many will catch you even if they try 😉

        Keep up the awesome witness 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I, a former Episcopalian, am of like mind with Thomas Merton. I was happy to read Merton recently who, with the words you use, validated my gut impression of what was always going on in the American Anglican Church (aka, Episcopal Church).

    Now let me be clear: the Anglican Communion gets its grace, not through its own institution and the Eucharist of Christ (they do not believe in the re-presentation of His Holy Sacrifice), but their grace comes through the Monarchy of England which God has blessed. If the Monarchy ceases to rule or becomes Catholic, the Anglican Communion while shatter more completely like most other Protestant groups which depend only upon the temporary grace of individuals, not of a whole, God-blessed institution.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Like mind. It is the Holy Spirit Who brings “like mind” in my opinion. So, if you and the Pope have a moment where you were inspired to think something before you heard the Pope speak about the same realization during an audience the same day, then that is the Holy Spirit acting in us, for example. It is like several people hearing God say the same thing on the same day. The measure is whether one knows how and recognizes His “voice” which is silent, yet active and achieving what it commands.

        Liked by 1 person

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