In the sixteenth century, Henry VIII, King of England, broke from the Catholic Church when his petition to the pope for an annulment of his marriage to Queen Catherine was denied. He proceeded to marry five times after his legitimate Catholic marriage. He pretended that he was still in the Catholic Church and didn’t change the Mass, feasts, or Catholic customs. It was during the reign of his illegitimate daughter, Elizabeth I, that a formal break from Catholicism took place. During her time in power, Thomas Cromwell designed the liturgy in such a way that it would be devoid of any reference to sacrifice which he considered to be a purely Roman invention and a symbol of “popery”—popery being anything which can be associated with or connected to the pope in Rome. Therefore the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass became, in the Book of Common Prayer, a service of Holy Communion.
In addition, the formula for the Rite of Ordination was also tampered with, thereby compromising the validity of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. The Book of Common Prayer and Hymn Book are two tools that unite Anglicanism. In the Church of England, there are many different levels of services known as low, broad, or high. Low services reflect a more evangelical Protestant flavor that is celebrated usually without the service of Holy Communion. Broad services are middle of the road between Protestant and Catholic styles, while high services replicate a more Catholic essence. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, high service was forbidden because it was too close to Roman Catholicism. It was not until the Oxford Movement in the nineteenth century that liturgical color, vestments, statuary, and things that one usually associates with the Catholic Church came into fashion.
Finally, when England went through civil war, spearheaded by Cromwell in the seventeenth century, any vestige of the Church of England from Henry VIII was completely removed. Cromwell was a Parliamentarian and wanted to rid England of “Crown and Popery.” Popery is a derogatory term that denotes anything that looks too Roman Catholic. The episcopacy was completely annihilated. After the Civil War and the restoration of the Crown, the episcopacy was also reestablished. Naturally, candidates were not submitted to the pope for approval. Also, since the Rite of Ordination was changed there existed a complete break from Apostolic Tradition. Accordingly, the Catholic Church deemed Anglican Holy Orders not valid. When an Anglican priest converts to Catholicism, after a period of training and study, he must be ordained in the Catholic Church according to the present Catholic Rite for validity of the Sacrament.