Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pope arrives, what divides?

The pope started his visit to the UK today in Scotland. So far the theme is unity, according to both the pope and queen.

Here is what the Roman Catholic Encyclopedia of the early 1900s identifies as the chief doctrines which are essentially and specifically characteristic of the Protestant Reformation as a whole are the following nine:

• rejection of the Papacy,

• denial of the Church Infallibility;

• Justification by Faith only;

• supremacy and sufficiency of Scripture as Rule of Faith;

• the triple Eucharistic tenet [viz. (a) that the Eucharist is a Communion or Sacrament, and not a Mass or Sacrifice, save in the sense of praise or commemoration; (b) the denial of Transubstantiation and worship of the Host; (c) the denial of the sacrificial office of the priesthood and the propitiatory character of the Mass];

• the non-necessity of auricular Confession;

• the rejection of the invocation of the Blessed Virgin and the Saints;

• the rejection of Purgatory and omission of prayers for the dead;

• the rejection of the doctrine of Indulgences.

To these may be added three disciplinary characteristics which are founded on doctrine:

• the giving of Communion in both kinds;

• the substitution of tables for altars; and

• the abolition of monastic vows and the celibacy of the clergy.

These twelve doctrines and practices of the continental Reformation have undoubtedly, though not always in the same measure, entered into the fibre of the English Reformation, and have all found expression, more or less emphatic, in the Anglican formularies. Hence, while the name "Protestant" is not found in the Prayer Book, it is used in the Coronation Service when the King promises to maintain "the Protestant religion as by law established". It was from the beginning popularly applied to the Anglican beliefs and services. In the Act of Union the Churches of England and Ireland are styled "the Protestant Episcopal Church", a name still retained by the Anglican Church in America.