Definitions

Anglican Catholicism

Affirming Catholicism

Affirming Catholicism is a movement operating in several provinces of the Anglican Communion, most notably in the UK, Ireland, the United States (where it is known as Affirming Anglican Catholicism or AAC) and Canada. The movement represents a liberal strand of Anglo-Catholicism and is particularly noted for holding that Anglo-Catholic belief and practice is compatible with the ordination of women. It also generally supports ordination into the threefold ministry (bishops, priests, deacons) regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

The movement was formalised on 9 June 1990 at St Alban's Church Holborn in London by a number of Anglo-Catholic clergy in the Diocese of London who had been marginalised within, or expelled from, existing Anglo-Catholic groups because of their support for women's ordination to the priesthood. It developed a theological stance which was staunchly liberal in matters of inclusivity but traditionally Catholic in matters of liturgy and the centrality and theology of the sacraments whilst believing that traditional restrictions on who may receive them should be re-examined.

Prominent supporters include the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Rowan Williams, as well as the openly gay Dean of St Albans, the Very Reverend Jeffrey John, both of whom have served on the executive committee of British / Irish Affirming Catholicism in recent years. In North America, bishops involved in AAC include Frank Griswold, former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, and Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, former Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. AAC has ties with the Society of Catholic Priests.

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