catholic and anglican titles

Catholic and Anglican Titles

Catholic and Anglican Titles – Church Clergy Titles

ADDucation’s list of clerical Catholic and Anglican titles shows the approximate equivalents across both churches and compares their hierarchy. We have explained the various roles and where the names for members of the church clergy are derived from along with an overview of the “ranks” within both churches.

FAQs About Differences & Similarities Between Catholic and Anglican Churches.

What's the difference between the Anglican and Catholic church?
The short answer is not that much! Both derive from 2000 year-old Christian roots founded by Jesus Christ in Judea. Although “Anglican” means “of England”, the Anglican church has spread worldwide through English colonization and missionaries.
Why Did the English Church Split From the Church of Rome?
The Anglican church has its roots in the 6th century in England, when St. Augustine was sent to Britain to discipline Celtic Christians. There was constant conflict between the church and the state after then. For example, the murder of Thomas a Becket, and the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 by King John, that declared the English church to be independent of its government. Matters came to a head during Henry VIII’s reign when his general frustration at interference from Rome turned to anger after the pope refused Henry VIII permission to divorce Catherine of Aragon, and he finally split the English church entirely from the Roman church.

The longer answer on the differences includes numerous issues regarding the church hierarchy, celibacy, rituals, bell ringing, bread and wine which are way beyond the scope of this introduction.

Are Anglicans Protestants?
Yes and no! Today, the term Protestant denotes any Christians who are not subject to papal authority, so in that sense Anglicans are Protestants. However it would be more accurate to describe Anglicans as “Catholics without the Pope”, i.e. non “Roman” because they have many more differences when compared to the classic Lutheran Protestantism of German origin.
List of Catholic and Anglican titles

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TitleEtymologyRole in Roman Catholic ChurchRole in Anglican Church
Approximate ranking:God, the Pope, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests and deacons.Jesus Christ is the head of the Anglican church. Queen Elizabeth II is the supreme governor. Then follow the archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishops of Wales and York, bishops, archdeacons, deacons, priests, deans, canons (or prebendary), vicars, rectors, chaplains and curates.
ArchbishopHead bishop. Office occupied mainly by a bishop in charge of metropolitan and some titular sees.An Archbishop is a head bishop. There are three archbishops:
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual leader of Anglicans worldwide.
  • The Archbishop of York.
  • The Archbishop of Wales.
ArchdeaconFormerly a senior official who assisted the bishop in non-spiritual matters (like an Executive Assistant). The role is nowadays performed by qualified laypersons or vicars, deans, etc.Archdeacons are senior clergy who assist the bishop with administration matters. For example, responsibility for (church) buildings, welfare issues etc. Archdeacons are often seen as the extended “eyes and ears” of the bishop.
Bishopoverseer, elderA bishop is a sacramental position (baptism, confession, marriage etc.). Bishops are considered successors of the Apostles and teachers of doctrine. The Pope is also a bishop.A bishop usually supervises several “dioceses” (a province) typically over a large region. A diocese includes groups of congregations and priests. A bishop must first have been a priest.
CanonruleMembers of a cathedral chapter.Honorary title for clergy or lay persons for long or distinguished services to the church.
Cardinalhinge, as in “pivotal”Office occupied by bishops. “Princes of the Church” appointed by the Pope.There are no cardinals in the Anglican church hierarchy.
ChaplaincloakA Chaplin is a clergy member outside of a parish who organizes worship within non-religious organizations, for example in hospitals, schools and the military.A Chaplin is a clergy member outside of a parish who organizes worship within non-religious organizations, for example in hospitals, schools and the military.
Curatecure or care of soulsA curate is a senior priest within a parish.Curate is an administrative position. A deacon or priest who assists a parish Incumbent.
DeaconservantA deacon is a sacramental position (baptism, confession, marriage etc.) to assist the pastor with teaching, parish work and counseling. Deacons can be either:
  • Transitional: Students who become priests after a year.
  • Permanent: Those not wishing to become a priest.
A deacon proclaims the Gospel and assists at Holy Communion.
Deanhead of tenDean is a title given to senior pastors without diocesal authority. A Dean often mentors and leads local pastors.A dean is a senior vicar in charge of a cathedral and the most senior priest of a diocese (dener) under the bishop.
FatherFather is a form of address for some clergymen wishing to identify themselves as members of the Catholic church. Used only by invitation.
Incumbentlie downTerm for responsible clergy member in a parish or congregation. More commonly termed “rector”.
MinisterservantA minister is a person (not a rank) who performs acts for the Church. Also used to denote various clergy roles; priests, bishops etc.A minister is authorized to perform religious functions.
Monsignormy lordMonsignor is an honorary title and office held by priests. Conferred by the Pope on priests who are adopted into the papal household.There are no Monsignors in the Anglican church hierarchy.
Parsonperson (in charge of a church)There are no parsons in the Catholic church hierarchy.A parson can be any clergy member. Historically a parson is a salaried priest with a parish.
Pastorshepherd, feederA pastor is a priest who has been entrusted with a parish by a bishop.A pastor is the spiritual leader of a congregation. Unofficially used for “Rector” or “Incumbent”. In UK “minister” is also used.
PopefatherThe pope is a special bishop who has power to make binding decisions for all Catholics. It’s a sacramental position to a degree. Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pontiff. The pope is viewed as the successor of St Peter (chief of the Apostles) and head of the College of Bishops.There is no pope in the Anglican church hierarchy.
Presiding BishopAn Anglican presiding bishop usually presides over a large region or nation. In the USA a presiding bishop is equivalent to a Catholic Primate.
Priestchurch elderA priest is a sacramental position (baptism, confession, marriage etc.). Priests are ordained men who consecrate and offer the body and blood of Christ in the Mass and mediate from the people to God.A priest is someone who stands in place of Christ, e.g. a vicar, but who offers a sacrifice (the Eucharist or body of Christ). A priest can absolve a person from sin. An Anglican priest must previously have been a deacon.
PrimatechiefIn the Catholic church a primate is usually a title for first or oldest bishop in country.In the Anglican church a primate is a bishop presiding over the church in a large region or nation. In the USA a presiding bishop is equivalent to a Catholic Primate.
Rectorput straightA rector is a person presiding over an ecclesiastical institution.Historically the title of rector within the Anglican church is essentially the same as a vicar; i.e. a priest with primary administrative and pastoral duties in a congregation.
ReverendrespectReverend is a general term of address for clergymen in both the Catholic and Anglican church. For example The Reverend Deacon, The Reverend Canon etc.Reverend is a general term of address for clergymen in both the Anglican and Catholic church. For example The Reverend Deacon, The Reverend Canon etc.
Vicarsubstitute, vicariousA vicar is a representative of any ecclesiastic entity.A vicar, like a priest, is someone who stands in place of Christ. The exact role varies by church and location:
  • Vicar in the UK: A salaried parish priest.
  • Vicar in the USA: A priest is responsible for a “mission” or an institutional chapel.

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2 responses to “Catholic and Anglican Titles”

  1. Avatar JC says:

    Thanks for your comment John, we’ll do some research and get back to you.

  2. Avatar JOHN MBAGO says:

    What are the duties of a Lay Reader and a Head of Laity in the church?

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