St Mary's, Putney, a church within the tradition of liberal Anglo-Catholicism, at where the meeting that led to the creation of Inclusive Church was held in 2003.
St Mary's, Putney, a church within the tradition of liberal Anglo-Catholicism, at where the meeting that led to the creation of Inclusive Church was held in 2003.

The terms liberal Anglo-Catholicism, liberal Anglo-Catholic or simply Liberal Catholic, refer to people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism that affirm liberal Christian perspectives while maintaining the traditions culturally associated with Anglo-Catholicism.

Description and history

The social liberalism of liberal Anglo-Catholics can be seen in an association with Christian socialism.[1][failed verification] 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][page needed] This also directly affects the liberal Anglo-Catholic's reading of scripture, ecclesiastical 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 home to many liberal Anglo-Catholics.[5] Examples of liberal Anglo-Catholics include the former Archbishops of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Michael Ramsey.[6] Westcott House is a Church of England theological college in the tradition of liberal Anglo-Catholicism.[7][8]

See also


  1. ^ Dearmer 1907.
  2. ^ Maurice 1849.[page needed] Quoted in Dearmer 1907, p. 3.
  3. ^ Muray 2007.
  4. ^ Johnson 2005.
  5. ^ Zook 2014, p. 120.
  6. ^ Brittain & McKinnon 2011, p. 359.
  7. ^ 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."
  8. ^ Heck 2014, p. 2.


  • Brittain, Christopher Craig; McKinnon, Andrew (2011). "Homosexuality and the Construction of 'Anglican Orthodoxy': The Symbolic Politics of the Anglican Communion". Sociology of Religion. 72 (3): 351–373. doi:10.1093/socrel/srq088. hdl:2164/3055. ISSN 1759-8818. JSTOR 41288584.
  • Coles, Richard (2014). Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went from Pop to Pulpit. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-87030-2.
  • Dearmer, Percy (1907). Socialism and Christianity (PDF). Fabian Tract. Vol. 133 (new ed.). London: Fabian Society. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  • Heck, Joel D. (2014). "'Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism' in Context" (PDF). VII: An Anglo-American Literary Review. Wheaton, Illinois: Wheaton College. 31 (supplement). Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  • 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.
  • Zook, Melinda S. (2014). "Women, Anglican Orthodoxy, and the Church in Ages of Danger". In Haude, Sigrun; Zook, Melinda S. (eds.). Challenging Orthodoxies: The Social and Cultural Worlds of Early Modern Women. Abingdon, England: Routledge (published 2016). pp. 101–122. ISBN 978-1-317-16876-8.