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1. Historically, how does Anglicanism differ from the Roman Catholicism on the one side and Puritanism on the other?
All three of them are Christian sects, Anglicans and Puritans belong to Protestant religions. In 1500s, they separated from Catholicism and though in some ways they still resemble it, there are main differences among them. From the theological point of view, Anglicanism could be considered to be somewhat in the middle between Protestantism and Catholicism. Puritans refused to see anyone but Jesus Christ as the leader of the church. They believed that the English Reformation should have gone deeper and they resented the Church of England for tolerating practices associated with the Catholic Church. However, Anglicanism has more soft hierarchy in comparison to Catholic Church. There is a difference in opinion on a subject of transubstantiation with Anglicans believing that the Eucharist is symbolic, whereas Catholics see the Eucharist as the body of Christ. However, for the major differences between Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism, are in their authority. The Pope has absolute authority in Roman Catholic Church. On the other hand, in the Church of England the authority is dispersed and Archbishop does not have as much power as the Bishop of Rome, while clergy and laity enjoy more rights. That is the reason why Anglicans do not allow the Pope to have any kind of power over them, even though many would not object to regard him as their spiritual leader. Aside from that, the different views on intercommunion should be noted too. While Roman Catholics do not allow it, Anglicans are open to it.
2. The Church of England is a state (National) Church. What does this mean in England, and how has it affected non-state churches of the Anglican communion around the world?
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England, which means that it is officially endorsed by the state. Because of the status of the church anyone can be married, hold their funeral or baptize his or her children in the local parish church. As an officially established one, the Church of England also carries out coronations and Church officials have twenty six seats in the House of Lords. However, nowadays the relationships between the Church of England and the state are, for the most part, a formality. Moreover, the Church of England does not receive any direct financial support from the government and relies on the income from endowments and its investments. The Church of England holds no jurisdiction in Scotland and Ireland.
The Church of England is also the so-called ‘Mother Church’ of the Anglican Communion, which is currently the third largest Christian communion in the world. Being in the full communion implies mutual agreement on doctrines. The Anglican Communion does not exist legally and there’s no governing body apart from the supporting Office in London. The Anglican Communion is governed by Episcopal polity. Since its birth, Anglicanism relied heavily on two things: its Episcopal structure and its status of the church of the state. Both, the former and the latter were crucial in ensuring the expansion and unity of the Anglican Communion throughout its history.
3. What were the chief influences for the seventeenth century upon Anglicanism, and what were their effects?
The seventeenth century was marked by attempts to purify the Anglican Church. While English Puritans were busily trying to increase their representation in the House of Commons and gaining new followers in the New World, twelve of them, including four lawyers, four clergymen, and four merchants – all from London – also tried to purify the Church of England. In their efforts, they probably represented a larger portion of Puritans. Before the Reformation revenue was mostly detached from particular churches. Then the dissolution of monasteries took place and the revenue needed a new master. Puritans’ plan was to acquire the revenue and use it to gain greater influence in the Church of England. This could have been done by means of obtaining lands and impropriations while bribing current ministers and school-masters. Unfortunately for them, William Loud, the bishop of London, uncovered the idea in time to prevent it. The Feoffees (for they were known as the Feoffees for the Purchase of Impropriations) were questioned in the Court of Exchequer in 1632-33, deprived of their assets and, finally, dissolved. Charles I refused to put the money into the treasury and ordered it to be used for different pious uses which were not controlled by the Puritans. As for the failed attempt, it was a part of a bigger failure, the failure of Purists to gain power and influence in both Church of England and the Parliament, which made them look for opportunities to intensify their presence in New England.