Anglo-Catholicism

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The terms Anglo-Catholic and Anglo-Catholicism describe people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism that affirm the Catholic, rather than Protestant, heritage and identity of the Anglican churches.

Many Anglo-Catholics today, especially in England, prefer the terms Anglican Catholic or Catholic Anglican. The term High Church is also often used to refer to Anglo-Catholicism even though its traditional meaning is not identical. For some, Anglo-Catholicism represents a form of Catholicism without papal control; for others, it represents a form of Protestantism with more elaborate liturgy and ritual. Still for others it represents a fusion of the two, in the Anglican via media tradition.

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Churchmanship differences

Within Anglicanism, especially in the Church of England, various terms are frequently used – sometimes inconsistently – to denote the three principal forms of Anglican churchmanship: High Church, Low Church and Broad Church (or Latitudinarian).

  • High Church is generally used to describe forms of Anglicanism influenced, to a greater or lesser extent, by the Catholic tradition. Anglo-Catholicism is often identified with this variety of churchmanship, although not all "High Church" Anglicans, such as Liberal Anglo-Catholics, would endorse some prominent aspects of Anglo-Catholicism.
  • Low Church usually refers to Anglicans of a more Evangelical tradition who, more consistent with the Protestant tradition, emphasise the primacy of scripture and salvation through faith alone. Low Church Anglicans usually worship according to the official prayer books, but with much less ceremony.
  • Broad Church generally refers to Anglicans somewhere between the "high" and "low" traditions. The term is sometimes used to denote Anglicans of a more liberal theological perspective.

History

Anglo-Catholicism claims the continuity of the Church of England with the early days of Christianity in Great Britain, even before Pope Gregory the Great sent St Augustine of Canterbury from Rome in the late 6th century to evangelise the Anglo-Saxons, a process largely completed in the 7th century.

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