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Difference and similarities between Anglican and Catholic church

Difference and similarities between Anglican and Catholic church


The origin of the Church

The Catholic church and the Anglican church both come from same root of Christianity founded by Jesus in Judea more than 2000yrs ago.

The word Catholic comes from the Greek word “katholikos” which means Universal. It’s the first form of Christianity, which was originated when Christ apostles started preaching after his death on the cross. It has maintained the apostolic succession till date. Catholicism was made the official religion in Rome and the council of Nicene organized the Catholic beliefs.

Anglican means church of England. It was founded by King Henry VIII during the reformation. He broke off from Roman Catholic church and founded his own church because of a dispute between him and the Pope concerning his request to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon. He couldn’t secure a sanctioned divorce from the Catholic Church.

Theologically the issue between him and the Catholic church isn’t just about the divorce, but whether final authority in spiritual matters rest with the king or the Pope. The Anglican was later formalized by Elizabeth the first.

Leadership in the Church

Difference between Anglican and Catholic church

The Catholic church has hierarchy of Priests, with the higher hierarchies having power over the lower ones, starting from the Pope who is the Supreme leader, the Cardinals, Bishops and Parish Priests.

The Pope is chosen by the Cardinals during the conclave. He’s the successor of the apostle Peter. He rules and decides what happens in the Church as a whole.

In the Anglican church, there’s no centralized power or hierarchy that places a priest or church over the other. This means that every priest has the right to choose his own policy.

Each Anglican church is part of the Anglican communion and seeks to abide and uphold the Anglican faith because because they’re in Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Yet each church is independent and the Archbishop of Canterbury doesn’t have power or authority over them. His power is only within the diocese of Canterbury. The Archbishop is considered the first among the equal.

The absence of centralized power has made the Anglican church to look disorganized. In some Anglican church women are ordained Priests and Bishops while in some it’s not permitted.

In the 1998 Lambeth conference (worldwide gathering of Anglican Bishops every 10yrs),women bishops were present at the conference, which was considered abnormal but since the Lambeth has no power over them, their presence wasn’t disrupted.

Some Anglican churches has liturgies modeled on medieval English worship, while some practice simple worship and evangelistic worship. Others are concerned with social justice while others are influenced by pentecostal movement. Each church adapts the Anglican faith to it’s culture.

Beliefs and practices in the Church

Practices in the Anglican church

In the Catholic Priests aren’t allowed to marry, same goes with Rev Sisters , Monks,Nuns etc. They take the vow of celibacy when being ordained.

In the Anglican church the Priests are allowed to marry and have children.

The Catholic church believe in transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ during consecration. In the other hand, Anglican take communion as a symbolic act.

There are 73 books in the Catholic bible (including Apocrypha), while the Anglican bible contains only 66 books.

The Catholic church ordains only Men as Priests, while in the Anglican church, some ordain women as Priests and Bishops while others doesn’t.

In the year 1896, Pope Leo XIII declared Anglican orders invalid,void and null because the Anglican orders doesn’t follow the rules of the Catholic Holy orders, they get married, some females are ordained Priest, and they don’t follow the apostolic succession. This means that any Anglican Priest or member that converts to Catholic church will be reordained or reconfirmed.

In the recent year, there has been a great conflict between the branches of Anglican church that supports the fact that Gays and Lesbians can be member of the clergy and the branches that doesn’t support it. This issue has put Anglican Churches worldwide in danger of irrecoverable split.

Similarities between Anglican and Catholic church

  • They are both Christian church from same ancient root.
  • They both recite the Nicene Creed/Apostle Creed
  • Their clergies are ordained deacon first before they are made Priest unless they’re called to perpetual deacons.
  • They both practice similar sacrament.
  • They both maintain the calendar of the saints, with special prayer and readings for each feast.
  • Their liturgies are almost same.
  • Their Priest vestments are almost identical.
  • Some Anglican churches say the rosary and have altar of Mary.

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