What’s a Prayer Book Catholic?

What does it mean to be a “Prayer Book Catholic”?

It means following a way of being Christian that is grounded in scripture and in the theology of the earliest centuries of the church.

It means loving the sacraments, the liturgical year, and the daily rhythm of prayer.

It means practicing the liturgical life of the Book of Common Prayer as fully as possible.

It means being Christian in a way that is catholic and reformed, progressive and orthodox, ancient and modern, all at the same time.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Anglicans who sought a richer, deeper sacramental life under the influence of the Oxford Movement tended to fall into two rough groups. One group looked to the Roman Catholic church, following many of its ceremonial practices and importing many of its texts into their liturgies. The other looked instead to specifically Anglican ways of doing things, believing that the Prayer Book was fully capable of supporting a rich catholic liturgical life without such imported enhancements. Many of those in this second strand called themselves “Prayer Book Catholics.”

Over a century later, in a very different place and time, I believe Prayer Book spirituality is still the most distinctive gift the Anglican tradition–and my branch of it, the Episcopal Church–has to offer the world. This is where I write about it, and sometimes about other things too.

2 thoughts on “What’s a Prayer Book Catholic?

  1. Daniel Ying

    Hi there! I’m a Lutheran who is looking into the Prayer Book Catholic tradition. I was wondering what would Prayer Book Catholics think of “additions” to praying the offices such as St Augustine’s Prayer Book, Anglican prayer beads, or the Dominican Rosary? Would Prayer Book Catholics reject some/all of these as too “Roman”?

    1. Stephen Post author

      Hi Daniel, sorry I didn’t see your comment until so long afterward. I think those sorts of additions can be welcome enrichments. I’ve used St. Augustine’s Prayer Book (both in its classic and updated versions) and both Anglican and classical prayer beads in my own prayers (not as familiar with the Dominican rosary).


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