The Reformation: Anglicans – Protestant or Catholic

Thoughts on the impact of  the Reformation within Anglicanism — The Rev’d Glenn Empey

I’ve been reading items in the media — including our national print media The Anglican — that would raise the eyebrows of my Church History professor. The articles relate to the Reformation prompted by the commemoration of its 5ooth anniversary on 31 October 2017.

I am certain my professor would have questioned a number of claims that these articles contain. I think he would have said that they miss the subtleties that lurk in the actual facts of history. The Right Reverend Tony Clavier has written an excellent commentary that uncovers these subtleties and their complexity.

He writes:

debate that began about halfway through the 16th century continues to this day. It centers on a seemingly simple question: When Henry VIII severed ties between the English Church and the See of Rome, did the Church of England join what was becoming known as Lutheranism and the various Reformed churches and become a Protestant church?

The question isn’t as simple as it might seem; hence the longevity of the debate. Orthodoxy broke with Rome in the 13th century and isn’t a Protestant Communion. The See of Utrecht severed its ties with the papacy in the 17th century and the Old Catholic churches aren’t Protestant. The complexity of the question deepens.

When Henry VIII forbade the Church of England to permit the pope to hear lawsuits or appoint English bishops and senior dignitaries, he changed no doctrines. The Church of England in the year of the old tyrant’s death was a National Catholic Church. Six years later, if the prayer book of 1552 indicates anything at all, what would become known as Calvinism, or perhaps even Zwinglianism, triumphed. Question answered? Perhaps not.

His article, that appears as a commentary, published on Covenant, a web-blog of the Episcopal Church of the USA, gives a brief overview of the complexities of the history of Anglicanism and the impact of the Reformation on it. The effects of the Reformation on Anglicanism emerged many years after Martin Luther’s purported nailing of his 95 Theses on the doors of the church in Wittenberg in 1517 that is identified as the date that marked the beginning of The Reformation.

Bishop Tony Clavier’s commentary is great and quick article to read and it will help the reader have a better picture of the history and evolution of Anglicanism. I recommend it to you and you can read the full article here.

Blessings to you on the 500th Commemoration of the beginning of the Reformation,




  1. J.D. Woods on 28 October 2017 at 8:15 PM

    Trying to come a conclusion on the Catholic/Protestant debate gives me a headache. It reminds me of a mass of string left in a kitchen drawer for years; it’s nearly impossible to untangle. Maybe it’s easier to just say that there are tendencies and preferences, one way or the other, but when push comes to shove, we all just live under one umbrella. And who knows? Maybe one day ALL CHRISTIANS will live comfortably under one umbrella. I hope so.

  2. Anthony Clavier on 28 October 2017 at 4:48 PM

    How kind of you.

    • Father Glenn on 28 October 2017 at 5:30 PM

      Wow, how great to hear from you!!! Your article is excellent! I hope the attribution is adequate.

      Blessings and thanks to you,


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