What We Talk About When We Talk About Anglo-Catholicism: Defining a Movement and Its Continued Place in the Church
Those new to Anglicanism cannot be blamed for finding its present-day landscape overly complicated. Even for those who have been part of the tradition for years, there remains some confusion and debate about Anglicanism’s identity. Since its tumultuous formation, the Church of England has consisted of a dynamic tension between Catholic and Reformed factions which makes it what it is: at various times in her history, the Anglican Church has adapted to whichever group gained
In the early 1830s, the British Parliament infringed on the Church’s ecclesial authority through the Whig party’s Church Temporalities Act (1833). This legislation attacked the Church of Ireland through restructuring, and ultimately decreased the number of bishoprics. These governmental oversteps served as a catalyst for John Keble’s sermon “National Apostasy,” preached at St. Mary’s, Oxford, where he urged his fellow clergymen to submit to the Church rather than the state—particularly where the state was misguided.
From its beginning, Anglicanism has struggled to establish a stable identity. Over the history of the Church of England, there have been many attempts to articulate a consistent expression of Anglicanism around a variety of movements, whether Reformed, Evangelical, or catholic in flavor. In the mid-1800s, a group at Oriel College, Oxford established a movement to restore a more catholic understanding of the faith based on the primitive and undivided Church. Members of this Oxford