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Anglo-Papalism is a subset of Anglo-Catholicism with adherents manifesting a particularly high degree of influence from, and even identification with, the Roman Catholic Church. The term Anglo-Papalism is an American neologism and it seems not to have appeared in print prior to the 1990s; it is associated, however, with the much older term Anglican-Papalism.
The origins of "Anglican-Papalism", as it was then termed, lie in the writings of Spencer Jones, Vicar of Moreton-in-Marsh, and Lewis T. Wattson, an American who became an Anglican Franciscan friar. Both men were active around the turn of the twentieth century.
Later adherents of the tradition include Henry Fynes-Clinton, Dom Gregory Dix and Hugh Ross Williamson. Some Anglican religious communities were Anglican Papalist, prominent among them the Benedictines of Dix's Nashdom Abbey, who used the Roman Missal and monastic breviary in Latin.
Beliefs and practices
Anglo-Papalists regard the Pope as the earthly leader of the Christian Church. They generally accept in full all the Ecumenical Councils recognised by the Roman Catholic Church, including the Councils of Trent and the First Vatican Council, along with nearly all subsequent definitions of doctrine, including the bodily Assumption of Mary.
Most Anglo-Catholics regard the English Reformation as an act of the Church of England repudiating papal authority. They usually regarded Archbishop Thomas Cranmer as more of a translator than as a theologian, and saw the service in the first Book of Common Prayer as being the Mass in English. Anglo-Papalists, on the other hand, regard the Church of England as two provinces of the Western Catholic Church (the Province of Canterbury and the Province of York) forcibly severed from the rest by an act of the English Crown. In his defence of Anglican orders, Gregory Dix speaks of Cranmer and his associates using the power of the English state to impose their views on the church by Act of Parliament. Anglo-Papalists therefore regard the Book of Common Prayer as having only the authority of custom, and believe it is legitimate to use the Roman Missal and Breviary for their worship.
Like many other Anglo-Catholics, Anglo-Papalists make use of the rosary, benediction and other Catholic devotions. Some have regarded Thomas Cranmer as a heretic and his first Prayer Book as an expression of Zwinglian doctrine (as did Gregory Dix in his pamphlet "Dixit Cranmer et non Timuit"). They have actively worked for the reunion of the Church of England with the Holy See, as the logical objective of the Oxford Movement. In 1908, they began the "Church Unity Octave of Prayer", the precursor of the much more general "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity".
The English Missal has been widely used by Anglican Papalists. This volume, which is still in print, contains a form of the Tridentine Mass in English (though with an alternative Latin translation of the Canon) interspersed with sections of the Book of Common Prayer. The Roman Catholic writer Fr. Adrian Fortescue's Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described served as a useful guide as to how to use the missal. At early celebrations, some Anglo-Papalist priests would use only the Roman Missal, in Latin or in English translation. Many modern Anglo-Papalists use the modern Roman Catholic rite of Mass in English.
Groups and publications
Anglo-Papalists have established up a variety of organisations, including the Catholic League and the Society for Promoting Catholic Unity (SPCU), which published The Pilot. They have also provided the leadership in many more general Anglo-Catholic organisations such as the Annunciation Group. Other Anglo-Papalist groups include the Sodality of the Precious Blood. Priests of the Sodality commit themselves to recitation of the modern Roman Liturgy of the Hours and to the Latin Rite discipline of celibate chastity. The now-defunct Society of SS. Peter and Paul published the Anglican Missal.
In the 1950s the Fellowship of Christ the Eternal Priest, which was established for Anglican ordinands in the armed forces, published a journal called The Rock, which was strongly pro-Roman. Few copies remain as it consisted of cyclostyled sheets.
- This view has become discredited among some historians and has taken considerable damage from the work of Diarmaid MacCulloch, especially in his Life of Thomas Cranmer published in 1996.
- Gregory Dix, The Question of Anglican Orders, Dacre Press, 1944. pp. 31–32.
- Peter F Anson, The Call to the Cloister, London SPCK, 1955, pp. 183–192, 462–466, 547–548.
- Peter F Anson. Fashions in Church Furnishings 1840-1940, Faith Press, 1960, Chapters XXIX, XXX.
- Hugh Ross Williamson, The Walled Garden, Macmillan, 1957, Chapters X, XIV–XVI.
- Michael Yelton. Anglican Papalism. Canterbury Press Norwich, 2005. ISBN 1-85311-655-6.
- Catholic League, an Anglo-Papalist organisation centred in England
- Historical documents regarding the Society of SS Peter and Paul, an Anglo-Papalist publishing company prominent in the early years of the Catholic Revival