Anglican Church meaning

What is the Anglican Church:

The Anglican Church is a Christian denomination officially established in England since the 16th century. Currently it brings together the so-called "Anglican Communion", the group of Anglican churches scattered around the world, which respond to the spiritual leadership of the Archdiocese of Canterbury.

The word anglican literally means 'from England'. For that reason, this institution is also called the Church of England.

Anglican Church symbol.

The expansion of the Anglican charism beyond its borders has also made it possible to speak of Anglicanism. Anglicanism would refer to those religious communities that base their form of worship and experience of faith on the style or charisma of the Church of England. For these communities the primacy of the Anglican Church represents only a moral and spiritual leadership.

Due to its historical process, the Anglican Church has many elements in common with the Catholic Church, since its separation was due to political rather than theological causes.

Origin of the Anglican Church

The Anglican Church had its birth in a political decision of King Henry VIII (1491-1547), second monarch of the Tudor house.

Two aspects will be key. On the one hand, the discontent with authoritarianism and the interference of the primacy of Rome in the political affairs of the English State, whose antecedents date back to the 13th and 14th centuries. On the other, the pressure that Henry VIII had on himself to give a male child to the crown.

At that time, it was believed that the male or female gender was granted by women, so that Catherine of Aragon, the legitimate wife of Henry VIII, was attributed the inability to give a healthy male child to the crown.

Henry VIII had fallen in love with his wife's lady-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn who, to consummate the relationship, imposed on the monarch the condition of being taken as wife and queen. Seeing in this the opportunity to obtain a legitimate heir, the king requested the Vatican to annul the ecclesiastical marriage with Catherine of Aragon.

The papacy's refusal, based on doctrinal arguments, was received as a new attempt at political interference. Consequently, through the enactment of the Act of Supremacy In 1534, Henry VIII decided to declare himself the highest authority of the Church in England, which allowed him to annul his marriage and marry Boleyn.

The separation of the Anglican Church occurred in parallel with the Protestant Reformation. However, Henry VIII never approached this doctrine and, in fact, fought it. This confirms the eminently political character of the monarch's decision.

Henry VIII never managed to obtain a male child from his formal unions. Upon his death, power will pass into the hands of his daughters. Queen Maria Tudor (1517-1558), daughter of Catherine of Aragon, restored Catholicism within the kingdom. When his half-sister Elizabeth I (1533-1603), daughter of Ana Bolena, assumed power, the Anglican Church came into force again, this time permanently.

See also:

  • Schism.
  • Catholic Church.
  • Protestant Reformation.

Characteristics of the Anglican Church

Some of the doctrinal characteristics of the Anglican Church are as follows:

  • Foundation in Sacred Scripture (Old and New Testament) as a way of salvation.
  • Appreciation of the apostolic tradition: acceptance of the Nicene Creed and the Apostles' Creed.
  • Practice of the 7 sacraments: baptism, penance (general, not private), Eucharist, confirmation, marriage, religious order and anointing of the sick.
  • Episcopate adapted to the reality of each country where it is represented.

Part of these elements are shared with the Catholic faith, with which Anglicanism also has in common respect for the Virgin Mary as the mother of God, the calendar of saints, religious orders for men and women and most of the liturgy and its symbols (clothing and objects).

Some sectors of the Anglican Church have allowed themselves an approach to Protestantism. This is visible in the adoption of the charismatic preaching models of Pentecostal Protestantism in some communities. Others, however, maintain the traditional liturgy.

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