Anglican vs Catholic

by | Jun 25, 2023 | Anglican, Catholic | 0 comments

Anglicanism traces its roots to the Reformation movement of the 16th century when Anglicans, led by King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic church. Initially, the Anglican Church was called the Church of England but it later rebranded to Anglican when it started growing beyond England. On the other hand, the catholic church traces its roots to the early church and it is believed that Apostle Peter was the first pope. 

Similarities between Anglicans and Catholics

Anglicans borrow heavily from Catholics which is not surprising considering that they are an offshoot of the catholic church so to speak. Here are some of the similarities and shared practices between the two:

Liturgical Worship

Catholics and Anglicans place a strong emphasis on liturgical worship. Unlike Baptists and other protestants who may take a spontaneous approach, Anglicans and Catholics rely on liturgical books to have a structured service. The liturgy includes prayers, hymns, scripture readings, and responses of the congregation and it is structured to inspire reverence and solemnity in the worship. 

Sacraments

Sacraments are recognized by both Catholics and Anglicans as a way of attaining grace as well as getting spiritual nourishment. The two denominations may not share a similar view on how the sacraments are practiced but they agree on their significance in the church. Also, the sacrament of baptism and Holy Communion are observed almost uniformly by both. 

Lectionary

Anglicanism and Catholicism follow a similar lectionary, a designated cycle of readings from the Bible that is used in worship services. This lectionary ensures that a wide range of Scripture passages is read and reflected upon throughout the liturgical year.

Church Calendar

The Catholics and Anglicans have a similar liturgical calendar. This calendar marks the important seasons and feasts in both denominations and they include Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. The calendar is based on a cycle that reflects the life of Christ the incarnate. 

Differences between Anglicans and Catholics

Anglicanism borrows a lot from catholicism but there are some notable differences in doctrine and liturgy. Let’s take a closer look at some of these differences. 

Doctrinal differences between Catholics and Anglicans

DoctrineCatholics Anglicans
AuthorityThe Pope is believed to be Christ’s vicar on earth and he has divine authority to pronounce doctrine and other issues of the catholic faith. Anglicans do not recognize the papacy. On the contrary, they acknowledge the authority of God’s word. Anglicans believe that the word of God coupled with church tradition are sufficient for gaining theological understanding. 
SacramentsCatholics have seven sacraments namely; baptism, confirmation, Eucharist (Holy Communion), reconciliation (confession), anointing of the sick, holy orders (ordination), and matrimony.
Anglicans recognize the seven sacraments observed but they mostly observe two sacraments – the Eucharist and baptism
EucharistCatholics observe the Eucharist by eating unleavened bread and drinking wine. They believe in transubstantiation, which teaches that during the Eucharist, the bread and wine used in the Mass are transformed into the literal body and blood of Christ.Anglicans also observe the Eucharist by eating unleavened bread and drinking wine. Some Anglicans believe in transubstantiation while others believe the bread and wine are just symbols to remember the death of Jesus Christ. As such, there are different Eucharist liturgies in the Anglican church. 
MariologyThe virgin birth is an important aspect of the catholic doctrine. Mary is seen as the mother of God and she is believed to have been immaculately conceived and later on to have ascended to heaven. Anglicans do not share the doctrine of Mariology with the Catholics. They believe in the virgin birth but Mary is not venerated as the mother of God.  
SalvationAccording to Catholic doctrine, salvation is by faith as well as good deeds. Catholics are encouraged to participate in the seven sacraments as these can help them attain salvation. For instance, the sacrament of confession is believed to help in sanctification. Anglicans have diverse views on salvation. For the most part, Anglicans agree with Catholics that salvation is both by faith and good deeds. However, they also have room for diverse understandings of salvation. 

Worship and liturgy

Worship and liturgy in Anglicanism and Catholicism have distinct characteristics and practices. Here is an overview of the worship and liturgical differences between the two:

DoctrineCatholicsAnglicans
Worship stylesThe catholic mass follows a strict liturgical order that typically includes prayers, scripture readings, and the Eucharist. The Mass can be celebrated in two main forms: the Ordinary Form (in the vernacular) or the Extraordinary Form (in Latin according to the 1962 Missal).
The Catholics have a strict liturgical calendar that guides their worship throughout the year. Some of the important seasons in the catholic calendar include Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost.
The styles of worship vary in Anglican churches. Some Anglican churches may have a high church or Anglo-Catholic style of worship, which incorporates elaborate rituals, vestments, and incense, resembling Catholic liturgical practices. Other Anglican churches may have a low church or evangelical style of worship, which tends to be simpler and less formal.
The Book of Common Prayer is the liturgical order that is used in Anglican churches. This book gives a guideline on how services should be conducted and the rituals to be performed. Anglicans allow liturgical variations which means congregations can alter the liturgy to fit in their local contexts. This flexibility gives room for variations in hymns, prayers, and readings without losing the common Anglican identity. 
Rituals and SacramentsRituals and sacraments are an important part of Catholic worship. Each of the seven sacraments has corresponding liturgical order that is used for guidance
Gregorian chants play a significant role in Catholic worship. Hymns are sung by the congregation while choral music is sung or presented by choirs. 
Anglicans also have a structured way of conducting worship based on their liturgical order. However, they offer more flexibility in the different congregations and even encourage churches to adopt the liturgy for their local setting. 

Conclusion

The main difference between Catholics and Anglicans is that Catholics have a more structured liturgy as opposed to Anglicans who are more flexible in their liturgy. The issue of the papacy is another big one with the Anglicans not believing in the pope while the Catholics believe the pope is the overall head of the church. However, the two denominations are not as dissimilar as many other protestants are to Catholics. 

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About: Ronie

Ronnie Amaya has been actively involved in ministry since his high school and university days where he served as a Christian union leader. After graduation, he worked as an itinerary minister preaching in Schools, Universities, Street Evangelizations, and Churches. In 2018, he led a team in planting a new church in Nairobi, Kenya where he is currently serving as the lead pastor.
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Ronie

Ronnie Amaya has been actively involved in ministry since his high school and university days where he served as a Christian union leader. After graduation, he worked as an itinerary minister preaching in Schools, Universities, Street Evangelizations, and Churches. In 2018, he led a team in planting a new church in Nairobi, Kenya where he is currently serving as the lead pastor.

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