Interesting talk on the thread below in which I criticized the not-so-closed cafeteria on the matter of defining Anglicans as Protestants. It’s always a danger to allude to one’s own experience, but since the rest of St Blog’s doesn’t appear to be bothered by it, I’ll offer it with a caveat.
Except for my older brother who used to consider himself a Lutheran, almost all of my experiences with Anglicans or Episcopalians have been through liturgy or graduate school. None would have considered themselves Protestants. My brother, who has been a lifelong Protestant, considers the sacramental experience as part of the core of his belief system, especially in his involvement first with liturgical Lutheran churches in California, and now with an Episcopal church in Iowa (having been unable to find a Lutheran parish to his sacramental liking).
FrMichael quoted Unitatis Redintegratio 13 defining the Anglican Communion as possessing a special place, but Protestant nonetheless. What it actually says mentions nothing of Protestantism:
Other divisions arose more than four centuries later in the West, stemming from the events which are usually referred to as “The Reformation.” As a result, many Communions, national or confessional, were separated from the Roman See. Among those in which Catholic traditions and institutions in part continue to exist, the Anglican Communion occupies a special place.
I don’t recall the document actually mentioning “Protestantism,” which might be indicative that by association Anglicans are lumped in with it. More telling would be what Anglicans and Episcopalians in church circles today say about themselves.
I would tend to dismiss as ignorance a self-styled internet theologian pronouncing judgment on the Vatican’s ecumenical efforts and designating Anglicans as Protestants when the Church clearly demurs from using that term.
Liam brought up the issue of self-referral in politics, and I’d tend to dismiss that as well. While the Church of England historically was very close to the political sphere, that no longer seems to be the case. Formulations about religion made by non-church people in non-church settings may not have a theological accuracy.
Darwin brought up the point that, “However, from a Catholic point of view (and a historical one) the Anglicans/Episcopalians are unquestionably Protestant. Gerald is thinking with the Church on this one.”
And I’d say, “Not so fast.”
If the Catholic view is to define all non-Catholic, non-Orthodox Christians as “Protestant,” then sure, for the sake of inaccuracy I’d say the term stands. Clearly Gerald is not with Cardinal Kasper or the Magisterium as expressed in Unitatis Redintegratio, so I think it’s safe to say he’s spouting, not thinking. When his commentariat starts calling Kasper a heretic, I think we have the measure of both intellectualism and charity on that blog. And it most certainly is not “with the Church on this one.”
Ultimately, it boils down to how Anglicans view themselves. Neil and I must not have any Anglican readership, given that no voice has yet come to speak from within the Anglican Communion on the matter. Most casual internet references I’ve read over the past day or two suggest the point is in dispute within Anglicanism. And given that the Roman Church itself is careful in its language, I have to stand by my criticism of Gerald as more spout than substance.