By Fr. Mark Perkins
Apparently I am now in the habit of recommending Fr. Wesley Walker's work -- but always with an exceedingly minor quibble!
I strongly suggest that all of you read his enlightening overview of the Anglo-Catholic Congress Movement, which includes a helpful taxonomy for categorizing Anglicans. (Naturally, you should also take the quiz: I'm solidly a Yellow Anglo-Catholic, for the record.) Most of our readers are probably well aware of the Tractarians and the Oxford Movement; I suspect fewer of us realize how profoundly the Anglo-Catholic Congresses influenced the shape and thrust of Anglo-Catholicism in the 20th-century.
And now the quibble: I wholeheartedly agree that Anglicanism as such started with the Elizabethan Settlement. However, it is extremely important theologically to distinguish between Anglicanism and the Anglican Church. The latter refers to the Church in England and her successors, and it goes back at least to St. Augustine of Canterbury. Fr. Wesley's piece, however, describes Anglicanism -- that distinctive but difficult-to-define entity whose origins can be traced back to the lifetime of Archbishop Cranmer but which really comes into being under Queen Elizabeth. Unfortunately, in a couple of places Fr. Wesley's piece slightly obscures the distinction.
Perhaps this stems from his employment of Mark Chapman's work. Chapman does not so much obscure as entirely ignore the distinction, to great ill. I intend to unpack this claim in a future post reviewing Chapman's "Very Short Introduction" to Anglicanism. But for now, let me affirm that Anglo-Catholics, like the High Churchmen before them -- and the Anglican Reformers before them -- robustly affirm that, however radical the changes of the Reformation Era might have been, no new church was founded under Henry, Elizabeth, or any other English monarch.
Fr. Mark Perkins is Curate at St. Alban's Anglican Cathedral in Oviedo, Florida and Assistant Editor of Earth & Altar.