What is Anglo-Catholicism?

The Church of England is a broad church encompassing many ways of being Christian in one diverse family. Anglo-Catholics are loyal members of the Church of England who define ‘Catholic’ as being part of the Universal Church across the world and throughout the ages. We rejoice in the Catholic sacraments, follow Catholic traditions and proclaim that the English Church has always been essentially Catholic in its nature.

S. Pancras Old Church is one of many Anglo-Catholic churches across England. Some people think that because of Henry VIII and the Reformation, the Church of England stopped being Catholic and became Protestant. This isn’t true. Unlike many of the Reformed churches of continental Europe, the English church retained her essentially Catholic character shaped by the Creeds, the Seven Sacraments and the three-fold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons.

The Creeds

The creeds are statements of belief agreed by all Christians since the earliest times.

The Seven Sacraments

This is the first sacrament, where we become united with Christ and the Church, through the pouring of water.

The Bishop lays hands on and anoints the Baptised to stir up the gift of the Holy Spirit within them.

The Mass
At the heart of our life is the celebration of the Mass in which the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross is re-presented on the altar at the hands of his priests. The Body and Blood of Christ is made truly present in the bread and wine, and the faithful are invited to eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ as He commanded us to do at the Last Supper.

Those who are called to the sacred three-fold ministry of the Church are ordained by Bishops, through the laying on of hands and anointing.

Holy Matrimony
The joining together of a man and a woman in lifelong union blessed by God.

Holy Unction
Anointing the sick and dying with holy oils.

Confession and Absolution
Receiving God’s forgiveness through His priests when we acknowledge
our sins.

The Three-fold Ministry

Jesus Christ founded the church by commissioning the Twelve Apostles, led by S. Peter. The bishops of the church are the successors of those first apostles and guarantee the sacraments and teaching of the true faith. They ordain deacons and priests to serve Christ’s people.

Anglo-Catholics believe that the Church of England is simply a small part of the wider Catholic church, and we pray constantly that the church will be one again. Therefore, the sacraments and ministry which we receive do not belong to the Church of England alone, but are shared with the Universal Church across the world and throughout time. Most Anglo-Catholics wish to remain loyal to the wider Church across the ages, so they find it hard to accept that the Church of England has the authority to make changes to the essentials, when they are not agreed to by the Universal Church, such as the ordination of women.

Our bishop is Jonathan, the Bishop of Fulham. He and the priests who serve this place are part of The Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda. This is a college of bishops and priests who work to ensure that what we do in our local churches is in harmony with the teaching and practice of the one holy Catholic and apostolic church. They guarantee their parishes a ministry in the historic apostolic succession in which all can have confidence.