Doctrines of Lutheranism Doctrines of
Tridentine Catholicism

Anglican Doctrines

The Church of England having been created by secession from Rome, initiated by King Henry VIII. who then had himself / the King of England as the head of the Church of England made the Anglican Church the most peculiar of all protestant churches in regard to her doctrines, which were established after the church organization had been created (with all other protestant confessions things went the other way round).

The establishment of the Church of England in 1533/1534 went along with a breakdown of Catholic church traditions - the monasteries were dissolved (rather a financial matter, as much of church property ended up in the hands of the king) and celibacy was disregarded, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer among the first to marry.
The SIX ARTICLES of 1539, however, reaffirm Catholic belief (transubstantiation, communion in both kinds restricted to the priest, celibacy was reaffirmed, confession declared mandatory). HUGH LATIMER, Bishop of Worcester, resigned, disappointed by the reluctance of the king to permit the reformation to proceed.
The Reformation was implemented during the reign of Edward VI. (1547-1553; Edward died in 1553 age 16). The two central documents are the FIRST ACT OF UNIFORMITY (1549) and the SECOND ACT OF UNIFORMITY (1552); they introduce the BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER (containing English language prayers and describing the rites of the (reformed) church of England), forbid the use of Latin, Greek, Hebrew prayers and hymns and enforce the Book of Common Prayer. Communion in both kinds was introduced, the celebration of saints' days abolished, fasts continued; the 1552 revised version no longer insisted on Transubstantiation; symbolism such as the use of holy oil, signing the cross of confirmation, was abolished.

Mary reintroduced Catholicism, Elizabeth reaffirmed the Anglican reformation. A new Book of Common Prayer was published, A special license is required to preach. In 1560 the Saints days were reintroduced.
The doctrines specified in the 1559 Book of Common Prayer were inspecific in a number of points; James I. introduced a revised Book of Common Prayer which was rejected by England's Calvinist community (the Puritans); among those disputed points were the question of church organization - the Puritans resented the institution of bishop, and with it state interference in church affairs; King James insisted on bishops (NO BISHOP - NO KING).
The English government regarded the Church of England the sole legitimate STATE CHURCH; minority confessions such as the Catholics and Puritans experienced suppression. The complex history of ENGLAND during the 17th century is largely characterized by the conflict between state & state church versus non-state church confessions. The ACT OF TOLERATION of 1689 maintained the position of the Church of England as state church, but provided room for the minorities.

The Anglican Timeline, by Ed. Friedlander
DOCUMENTS Documents Illustrative of English Church History (Gee & Hardy, 1914) posted by Hanover Historical Texts Project
Reformation Europe, from Modern History Sourcebook, scroll down for English Reformation
REFERENCE Carl Stephenson, Frederick George Marcham (ed.), Sources of English Constitutional History, Vol.I., New York : Harper & Row 1972, containing many of the documents mentioned above

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First on January 14th 2003, last revised on November 15th 2004

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