Could you tell me something about the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church? What’s the common and difference between them? How did they get separated from a common church? I’ve heard about these some times, but I don’t know them very well (I’m not a christian)

By the way, I also heard tell about two other churches (I don’t know how they are called in English). The main difference about them is that one respects and believes in (the divinity and virginity of) Mother Maria, while the other doesn’t. Could you tell me something about them?

Many thanks

You’re getting into some complicated aspects of history, Nessie. I’ll explain a little. My answer will be long but very over-simplified.

Most accounts of Christianity say that it basically started out with what is now the Roman Catholic Church and that other Christian churches broke off from that church or from each other.

The first split happened in the 9th century, when the eastern and western Christians couldn’t agree on who had authority over the church. The westerners (now the Roman Catholic Church) insisted that the bishop of Rome (whom we call the Pope) had authority over all the other bishops, but the easterners thought the pope was just “the first among equals” and that no bishop really had ultimate authority over all the others. This led to two divisions of Christianity. One is now called the Orthodox church (actually churches in the plural), and the other is called the Roman Catholic church. They believe more or less the same things, but disagree on authority. The Roman Catholic church thinks that priests in the Orthodox church are really priests and that their rituals are valid. (One caveat: The Catholics say that the Orthodox churches broke off from Roman Catholic Church, but the Orthodox Christians say that the Roman Catholics broke off from the Orthodox church.)

The Church of England (the Anglican church) split off from the Roman Catholic Church in 1534. The main issue was that King Henry VIII had a wife who never bore him a son, and he wanted a son to replace him on the throne of England when he died. King Henry wanted to divorce this wife and take another one, but in Roman Catholicism, there is no such thing as divorce. The Catholic Church teaches that if you validly marry, you are married until death, and that you can’t marry another person. So the Catholic Church wouldn’t allow Henry to remarry. King Henry just declared that the Church of England was separate from the Catholic Church, and his new Church of England allowed him to marry six different women in succession in order to get a male heir. It’s hard to say what the Anglican Church believes now, because some parts of it in the US are moving away from traditional Christian belief into more “politically correct” ideas, whereas other parts (such as in Africa and South America) remain very conservative and faithful to the Bible.

The third big split happened when the Protestant churches broke off from the Catholic Church. This was bubbling earlier, but it got its real impetus when a priest named Martin Luther broke away from the Catholic Church in the early 1500s over various issues of corruption within the church. (Catholics today freely admit that Luther was right about the corruption, and those particular corrupt practices have been reformed by the Catholic Church, since they never were officially considered moral or correct. However, Catholics think that Luther went too far in starting his own religion.) Luther eventually started devising his own doctrine that was different from Catholic doctrine. Once Luther had broken away, other reformers also started their own churches, and this period is what is called the Protestant Reformation. It ultimately resulted in the Lutheran churches, the Baptist churches, and many others. Protestant churches not only broke away from the Catholic Church, but they also have a habit of breaking away from each other, so that now there are now more than 33,000 different Protestant denominations, most of which say they teach the complete truth and that the others don’t.

As for your last question, I’ll explain it this way:

The Roman Catholics, the Orthodox Christians, and I believe also the Anglicans, give special honor to Mary as the mother of Jesus and as a perfect example of faith, trust and obedience to God. However, those churches do NOT teach that she is a goddess, or that she is equal to God, and they don’t use her as a replacement for or alternative to God. They teach that she is worthy of special honor, but that she was just a human being.

There are certain branches of Protestantism, mostly what we call evangelical Protestants, that don’t give any special honor to Mary. Those churches teach their people a lot of things about the Roman Catholic church and the other old churches that are not true. Their churches teach them that Catholics worship Mary as a goddess, but this is not true. Their churches teach them that Catholics worship statues, but that is also not true. I don’t think that the evangelical clergy are deliberately lying, but the lies about the other churches are just a long, unexamined tradition, so the people don’t know they’re lies.

You could make a lifetime career out of studying these differences, so what I have given you isn’t very far from complete.

Hi Jamie, thank you so much for your short but very clear explanation :slight_smile: (For a non-christian as me, it’s much more than good enough :P)
Now please excuse me for my curiosity, but I have some more questions to ask:

1/ So we call those who worship the Roman Catholic church “catholics”, and those who worship other churches (Orthodox Churches) “Christians”?

2/ What is the domain of the two sytems of churches? Is it true that the Roman Catholic only exists in Italy? (same question for other churches). And if they exist in many parts of the world, how can they link together?

3/ Apart from the Anglican Church, could you name some other churches which belong to the system of Orthodox Churches?


=> What about the part in the UK?


=> Is this man any relation to Martin Luther King?

6/ Exactly, how many main churches remain nowadays?

7/ The Anglican church has nothing to do with the Protestant denominations, right?

8/ Lastly, as for my second question last time, i still don’t understand very clearly, Jamie: if the Roman Catholics, the Orthodox Christians, and the Anglicans don’t teach that Mary is a Goddess, then why people often spray that Mary protect them? If she’s not a Goddess, then how can she have the power to protect them?
I also want to say something about the two systems of churches I know in vietnam: as far as I am concern, they both believe in the same thing, but one give special honour to Mary while the other doesn’t (because they say if she gave birth to Jesus Christ, how can she still be virgin?) (Please excuse me, this is not what I say) Besides, I doubt that either church has any idea about the Pope or the Roman Catholic church. Christianity was brought to Vietnam by the French, but I wonder whether when it first came to the country, there were two separate system as now, or just one system and later they get separated. Have you any idea about this?

9/ Oh, I almost forget: should we call her “Mary”, or “Maria”, or “Mother Mary”, or else? (Here in VN I hear people call her “Mother Maria” (In Vietnamese, of course)

Thank you so much once again, and sorry so much for bothering you :stuck_out_tongue:

All of these people are different types of Christians. Catholics are Christian, Orthodox believers are Christian, Anglicans are Christian, Protestants are Christian.

You may get some confusion from certain evangelical Protestant groups because if you ask them what their religion is, they just say “Christian”. If you question them further, you start to find out that they think that they are the only Christians and that the Catholics, Orthodox, etc., are not Christian. This is, of course, nonsense. People in these evangelical groups are very aggressive at trying to convert people to their type of Christianity, so you may have met and talked to some of them. They can confuse you.

The Roman Catholic Church is everywhere in the world. It is the largest religious denomination in the United States, and there are 8 million Catholics in Vietnam. The reason it’s called the Roman Catholic Church is not because it exists only in Italy, but because that’s where it is centered.

The Anglican Church is not one of the Orthodox churches. Remember that the split between the Catholic and Orthodox churches happened in the 900s or 1000s, while the Anglican Church broke off in the 1500s.

The Orthodox churches include the Greek Orthodox church, the Romanian Orthodox church, the Russian Orthodox church, the Armenian Orthodox church and even the Orthodox Church in America, which used to be part of the Russian Orthodox church. These are the same religion, but they just speak different languages. The basics of their beliefs are the same as those of the Catholics.

I don’t know. I’m not an expert on the Anglican Church. In the United States its usually called the Episcopal Church, and some branches of it are moving away from Christian practice, for example in accepting homosexual marriage, etc. This is causing a big schism in their religion, and many Anglicans in the US are converting to other religions. In a few cases, entire local congregations have become Catholic.

No. Martin Luther was a German, and Martin Luther King Jr. was an African-American who was given the name in honor of Martin Luther.

Many. The Roman Catholic Church is the biggest Christian church worldwide, but the Orthodox churches are also large, and as I mentioned, there are 33,000 Protestant denominations, among which about 18 of them are considered “mainline” Christian churches. There are just thousands and thousands of them.

Well, that depends on what you mean. The Anglican Church broke off from the Roman Catholic Church at the time of the Protestant Reformation in Europe, but their rituals and beliefs are very similar to those of the Catholics. In fact, the Catholic Church considers Anglican priests to be real priests. They don’t consider Protestant clergy to be priests.

You have to distinguish between what the churches teach and the misunderstandings of ordinary people who are not well educated in their religion.

Christians believe that people who have died have simply left their bodies and that their souls remain alive and still exist somewhere or other (in heaven or hell, wherever and whatever those happen to be). The Catholic and Orthodox believers think that you can ask the dead people in heaven (the saints) to pray for you, just as you would ask a friend to pray for you. If you read the official Catholic prayers, you’ll see that they generally ask Mary to pray for people, not to protect them. However, since we don’t know what living souls can actually do in the world, it’s possible that they can intervene in our lives in various ways and protect us in some ways. After all, it’s possible for a living person to protect another living person, so it could theoretically be possible for a dead person’s soul to do the same but in a different way.

In any case, no Christian church – Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican or whatever – teaches that Mary is equal to or a replacement for God. But if you stop individual people on the street, you’re liable to find they think all kinds of things that aren’t correct according to Christianity. For example, many Mexicans have pre-Christian Aztec Indian beliefs mixed into their Christianity, so some of them even think that that Mary is several different people!

Christians believe that Mary was impregnated not by a man, but by the Holy Spirit, which is one of the manifestations of God. This is what it says in the Bible. I have read that medical science has observed a few rare cases of virgins becoming pregnant through some unusual biological process, but I’m not sure how true it is or whether it is well understood. Anyway, Mary’s conceiving Jesus as a virgin is considered a miracle in Christianity, so they don’t attempt a scientific explanation. Various types of Christians disagree on whether Mary stayed a virgin after Jesus was born. Some churches teach that she did, and some teach that she had more children in the ordinary way with her husband.

The French are primarily Roman Catholic (to the extent that they are religious at all anymore), and the type of Christianity they brought to Vietnam was Roman Catholicism. About 7% of the Vietnamese population is Roman Catholic (and are therefore under the pope), and about 1% are Protestant (not under the pope). I think Protestantism was introduced separately by missionaries from America and Europe, and did not split off from the Catholic Church in Vietnam.

It all depends on what language you’re speaking. In English she’s Mary, in French she’s Marie, in many languages she’s Maria.

You’re not bothering me.

Another aspect of the Reformation was the teaching of John Calvin.

Some protestant sects lean toward Luther, others toward Calvin.

The main difference is that Luther espoused the doctrine of free will, while Calvin taught predestination. It could be argued that BOTH are correct (looking at it from different perspectives – ours and God’s), though that is a book unto itself and I won’t get into it here.

John and Charles Wesley are also big names in Protestantism – they led the Methodist Movement in the 1700s.

Another big difference between some churches and others is what they teach that you need to do in order to go to heaven.

On one side, you have churches (Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and many types of Protestant churches) who believe that you have to spend your entire life perfecting yourself and living as moral and holy a life as you can in order to deserve heaven. Most of these churches believe that you don’t have to be Christian to go to heaven.

On the other side, you have churches (other types of Protestant churches) that teach that after you have accepted Jesus, you can be as bad as you want and still go to heaven. They say, “Once saved, always saved.” Most of these churches believe that non-Christians cannot go to heaven, and many of them accuse the other Christians of trying to “buy their way into heaven”, which is not true.

growing up in a Nazarene church, I had these memorized:

Romans 10:9-10
John 3:16-17

Most Christians (and probably a good number of non-) have heard Jesus’s proclamation in John chapter 3… it may be the most famous biblical excerpt.

What Paul does in Romans 10 basically backs up John 3:16: salvation comes with belief in, and acceptance of, a gift bought by blood.

Another biblical passage says that works are important, and Paul counters that we are justified by faith – not works, lest anyone boast.

If someone wanted to be as certain as possible, he would:

First – believe, repent and accept and

Second – Try to be like Jesus (though we are flawed and cannot be that good)

Most Christians, regardless of denomination, would probably agree IMO.

Catholics of course study those passages, but they are also aware of these:

Philippians 2:12-13

And the big bomb is James 2:14-18. That passage usually leads to a lot of obfuscation by Protestants. It’s no wonder that Luther took it out of the Lutheran version of the Bible (although Protestants later put it back in).

St. James even gets sarcastic in this one: James 2:20-22


Matthew 16:27

There are others in the Old Testament as well.

The Catholics basically teach that you can’t achieve salvation by faith only, and that you can’t achieve salvation by works only.

Catholics would agree with the steps you give, but where the Catholics disagree with many of the Protestant churches is on the status of non-Christians. Many Protestant churches teach that all non-Christians are automatically damned. The Catholic Church teaches that by God’s natural law, all people who are not seriously mentally impaired have an intuitive understanding of morality and piety that they can choose to accept or reject. Adherence to this reasoning that is knowable through natural law is sufficient for someone who has never been exposed to the gospel, or who has not been exposed to it convincingly or correctly enough for him to see the truth of it. The example they gave us as children is that a pagan sun worshiper who had been told nothing of Jesus may still go to heaven if he lives by this natural morality and devoutly follows whatever glimmer of a concept of God he may intuitively have.

What Jesus meant when he called Peter the Rock is hotly debated.

As a conservative, I can appreciate a narrow interpretation.

Jesus said that Peter himself would lay the groundwork, as Jesus knew that Peter, through all his questions of faith, had learned what it means to follw Christ.

Some think it means Peter and all who followed him. Some think Jesus was talking only to Peter.

Others have more abstract views of that controversial passage. I believe what Jesus said, and what Paul supported:

Faith saves a person. After that we are to try to emulate Jesus:

  1. Love God
  2. Love others
  3. Obey God’s teachings

Jesus himself said that the two most important things are 1 and 2. I’ll go with that.

But that’s meat-and-potatoes.

Maybe a year ago I found myself in a heated debate with a follower of Judaism. Rather rudely I told him something like “Yeah, well, stop waiting for the Messiah – he’s already come.”

He countered with a passage in Jeremiah in which Jeremiah declares that the offspring of Jeconiah/Jehoiachin can never sit atop David’s throne.

In Matthew 1, we see that Jesus is, in fact, a descendant of Jeconiah.

This made me panic.

I went online and emailed a friar about it, and I still haven’t received a reply.

And then it dawned on me:

DUH, Jesus is the new covenant, the end of the law. He may have been an earthly descendant of Jeconiah, but he is also the Son of God, which means he IS God:

John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Jesus = The Word = God

Maybe there’s a better explanation for why Jetemiah’s decree doesn’t affect Jesus’s status, but that’s the one I came up with anyway.

If anyone knows a friar/priest/monk/preacher, would you mind forwarding this post to him or her?


Tom, I’m sending this to somebody who usually gives good answers. He may not have time to respond right away, but eventually we’ll hear something.

The Catholics think it means that Peter was the first doctrinal and administrative head of the church and that the person who replaces him in that position (along a millennium-long chain of people) is also the head of the church. Peter wound up leading the church from Rome, ergo he was the bishop of Rome, and so his direct successors as bishop of Rome are the head of the church.

Well, there is also the problematic fact that according to James “faith without works is dead”, and the even more problematic fact of the teaching that it’s God’s grace that saves people. And you know that, as with predestination, there are whole books written about this. :wink:

And I can’t accept the interpretation that people are “saved” only through acceptance of Jesus Christ and that all other people are damned. That would mean that God creates tens of thousands of people every day who he knows will have no knowledge of Jesus Christ, and no way to find out, and who will therefore (by the narrow interpretation) be damned. I don’t think God creates people just in order to damn them.

As far as I know, Anglicans have to finish all the Holy wine that’s in the cup, while Catholics don’t. Any comments on this?

Catholics don’t have to take the wine at all. Many never do.

No, I mean that when taking the bread and wine, the Anglican priest must assure that they are both consumed wholly. If the congregation don’t finish both, the priest has to. I’ve heard that’s not the case in the Catholic Church.

No, it’s the same thing in the Catholic Church. The priest drinks the remainder that has not been consumed by the congregation, but the priests have got it down to a science so that there’s nothing or nearly nothing left over. In rare cases where there is a lot of consecrated wine left over and it has to be disposed of, there is a special drain in the sacristy that leads directly to the ground. It can’t be mixed with the ordinary sewage. Extra hosts are not consumed by the priest, but are stored in the tabernacle until needed, whether at another mass or to be administered to the sick in the hospital, to the infirm at home, etc.

However, in the Catholic Church it is not required that the people receive both the bread and the wine. Until about the 1970s, in most Catholic churches a lot of bread was consecrated at mass but only a very small amount of wine (maybe amounting to less than a shot glass) and only the priest consumed the wine. It’s still done that way at some parishes today. Anyway, no priest turns into an alcoholic by drinking gallons of unconsumed altar wine left over from mass, because there is next to nothing left over.

Tom, here’s your answer from a priest I know who is also a scholar of the biblical languages:

Yeah – saved by grace, justified by faith

As for works being part of it – sure, a person should be “decent/good” if he attempts to follow Christ. But we shouldn’t be like, “Look at me, the perfect Christian.” (that’s the “lest a man boast” thing)

i was having issues with the bottle last night and should not have been posting. well – not THE bottle, more like several 12-oz bottles. hehe

BTW, thanks for forwarding the Jeconiah question for me.

Jamie –

The Jehoiachin thing is found in Jeremiah 22:24-30

24 “As surely as I live,” declares the LORD, “even if you, Jehoiachin [c] son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. 25 I will hand you over to those who seek your life, those you fear—to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to the Babylonians. [d] 26 I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. 27 You will never come back to the land you long to return to.”

28 Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot,
an object no one wants?
Why will he and his children be hurled out,
cast into a land they do not know?

29 O land, land, land,
hear the word of the LORD!

30 This is what the LORD says:
“Record this man as if childless,
a man who will not prosper in his lifetime,
for none of his offspring will prosper,
none will sit on the throne of David
or rule anymore in Judah.”

Thanks again!