Liberal Anglo-Catholicism

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The terms liberal Anglo-Catholicism and liberal Anglo-Catholic (also Liberal Catholic) refer to people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism that affirm liberal Christian perspectives while maintaining the traditions culturally associated with Anglo-Catholicism. The word "liberal" in this context refers to both theological and social liberalism.

Social and theological liberalism

The social liberalism of liberal Anglo-Catholics can be seen in an association with Christian socialism.[1] With regard to Christian socialism, Frederick Denison Maurice in 1849 said, "I seriously believe that Christianity is the only foundation of Socialism, and that a true Socialism is the necessary result of a sound Christianity."[2]

Generally, liberal Anglo-Catholics will be social justice-minded.[citation needed] Jonathan Daniels, a seminarian of the Episcopal Church in the United States who died during the civil rights movement, is a modern martyr for liberal Anglo-Catholics.

Liberal Anglo-Catholics allow modern knowledge and research to inform their use of reason.[citation needed] Science and religion, for instance, are held to be legitimate and different methodologies of revealing God's truth.[3] This also directly affects the liberal Anglo-Catholic's reading of scripture, church history and general methodology of theology. A metaphor is that theology for liberal Anglo-Catholics is a "dance" that allows people to slowly grow in an understanding of God.[4]

In the UK the Affirming Catholicism movement is a home to many liberal Anglican Catholics. Westcott House, Cambridge is a Church of England theological college in the tradition of Liberal Anglo-Catholicism.[5][6]


  1. ^ Dalmer 1906.
  2. ^ Maurice 1849.
  3. ^ Muray 2007.
  4. ^ Johnson 2005.
  5. ^ Coles 2014: "I had to find somewhere to train and it wasn't easy to decide which college to pick. Most, from the bishop down, said Westcott House, the liberal catholic theological college in Cambridge."
  6. ^ Heck, p. 2: "Westcott House reflects the liberal catholic position, rather than Ridley Hall’s evangelical perspective."


  • Coles, Richard (2014). Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went From Pop to Pulpit. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-87030-2. 
  • Dalmer, Percy (1906). Socialism and Christianity. London: Fabian Society. 
  • Heck, Joel D. ""Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism" in Context" (pdf). VII: An Anglo-American Literary Review. Wheaton, Illinois: Wheaton College. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  • Johnson, Jay Emerson (2005). Dancing with God: Anglican Christianity and the Practice of Hope. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Morehouse Publishing. ISBN 978-0-297-87030-2. 
  • Maurice, F. D. (1849). The Tracts on Christian Socialism. London. 
  • Muray, Leslie A. (2007). Liberal Protestantism and Science. Greenwood Guides to Science and Religion. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-33701-7. 
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