The Church of England is Catholic because she is sending missionaries throughout the whole world as far as possible.

The Catholic Answers

Other Protestant Churches are doing as much as the Church of England in this matter, yet you will not admit that they are Catholic because of that. But apart from that, what does the word Catholic really mean in its technical Christian sense? It does not refer to area alone. To be really Catholic a Church must have originated with Christ; must have existed in all ages since Christ; must be suitable for all nations and be ever expanding amongst them; must possess all the doctrine of Christ; and must ever retain all its members within the same unity of authoritative discipline. The Church of England fails in all these requirements. In origin, it was by British law established, and remains subject to the crown of England. In time, it dates from the 16th century, and therefore has certainly not existed in all ages since Christ. Nor is the Church of England adapted to all peoples. If a man seriously accepts the Church of England Prayer Book, he has to accept the King of England as the supreme head and governor of the Anglican Church. How could you ask a Frenchman to accept the President of France as his civil ruler, yet the decisions of the British parliament as his rule of faith? If we turn to facts, we find no trace of a truly Catholic expansive principle in Anglicanism. In spite of its belated and isolated missionary efforts since the 18th century, some hundreds of years after its establishment, it is not even attempting to convert all peoples. I have never met any body of Italian Anglicans, or Spanish, or German, or French, or Austrian Anglicans. No European nation accepts your Church except the British. Why does the Church of England make no effort for these peoples? Have they not the right to the truth taught by Christ? Or is it because the Catholic Church is quite all right for them? Yet if this be the case, why does the Church of England plant missions in newer lands where the Catholic Church already exists? The fact that it neglects other European countries shows that it has not a truly Catholic spirit, whilst the fact that it does set up isolated missions in opposition to already existing Catholic missions shows that it is not really conscious of being part of the Catholic Church at all. But let us turn from origin, time, and extent, to doctrine. Catholic doctrine demands that all members of the Church accept the same truths. Otherwise it cannot be a question of the same religion everywhere. Now the Church of England does not accept all the doctrines of Christ It terms many of them fables and blasphemies. Nor only that. In such part of Christian doctrine as it does accept, Anglicanism is a house of confusion. Bishop Barnes and Lord Halifax claim to belong to the same Church, yet would cheerfully excommunicate each other as heretics. A low-church missionary will establish a Church in Papua which can scarcely be recognized as being of the same religion as that established by a high-church man in Fiji. Finally, I need scarcely speak of unity in discipline. There is hardly any such unity within the Anglican Church in practice, and whilst some Anglicans claim unity with the Catholic Church, that Church denies any such bond. So great is the difference between the Church of England and the Catholic Church that we can safely say that, if the Anglican Church be the true Church, then the Catholic Church is certainly wrong, and vice-versa.

Radio Replies Volume 1 by Rev. Dr. Leslie Rumble MSC and Rev. Charles Mortimer Carty

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