Sr. Louise Zdunich

October 25, 2010


Is it permissible for a Roman Catholic to be married in the Anglican Church? Is it right to receive communion in the Anglican Church if I attend a service there? Someone told me the two churches are the same and I disagree.




The Anglican Church began its journey when King Henry VIII in England was refused an annulment of his marriage by the pope. Of course, there were political issues as well, such as allegiance to a pope from a foreign country. St. Thomas More, who was chancellor to the king, lost his life because of refusing to go along with Henry.

The Church of England was not part of the Protestant Reformation and retained much of its Catholicism under Henry VIII. However, subsequent monarchs gradually rejected many Catholic practices and often, through bloodshed, forced acceptance of the new church.

Some of these practices were later re-introduced. Many Anglican churches call themselves Anglo-Catholic or High Anglican and do not consider themselves Protestant.


The Roman Catholic Church believes the Anglican Church, as well as Protestant churches, did not retain the unbroken line from the early Church either in the form or intention of ordination. Therefore, Rome does not accept the validity of priestly orders in Anglican and Protestant churches.


In 1896, Leo XII issued a papal document (bull) Apostolic Curae to this effect. Although further studies of this matter were carried out after Vatican II, the earlier decision was not reversed. That is why Anglican or Protestant ministers who become Roman Catholic and want to be priests are ordained in the Catholic Church.

Roman Catholics believe only their priests, as well as those of Eastern Catholic and Orthodox churches, can truly change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ because of their ordination which has adhered to the form and intention of the early Church. Since the Church does not consider Anglican orders valid, the bread and wine would remain bread and wine.

For marriage, the priest is the Church's official witness rather than the one who confers the sacrament. Therefore, a Roman Catholic priest must be present for the marriage to be recorded as Catholic. If a Catholic marries an Anglican, priests of both churches can be present.


It is important to note that Anglicans and Roman Catholics, as well as Protestants, are Christian. They believe in Christ, in Baptism and the Bible, in addition to other truths of faith. They have many similarities in practice.

However, mostly due to historical circumstances and political influences of the past, Roman Catholic and Anglican churches are not the same but are two different Christian churches.