I often run informal polls. For example, years ago, during the 'real men don't eat quiche' crisis, I asked everyone I could find, given the choice of a plate of pasta or a steak, which they would prefer? Most of the women went for the pasta. All of the men went for the steak. On another occasion, I tried to find out if there were any people who hated Jell-o. I didn't find anyone who actually couldn't bear to eat Jell-o, but I did find several people who hated it's globby consistency.
Recently I asked everyone I could find who was not Catholic what were the tenets of their faith? What are the beliefs that separate the separated brethren? What makes a Baptist not a Congregationalist? etc.
Not one person had an answer for me. They all had answer for why they attended the church they attended, meaning that building with those people in it. But other than "Jesus Saved Me", they could not tell me what they believed.
I mention this today as a prelude to this question from yet another anonymous reader:
A couple of blogs ago someone mentioned that there is a big difference between the RCC & the Episcopal Church. Can you explain this in more detail? From what I've been studying, except for allegiance to the Pope, I really see no difference. Thanks!
Let's start with the biggest difference: in a nutshell, the Episcopal Church is the American version of the Angelican Church.
The Roman Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ while he was alive on earth.
The Angelican Church was founded by Henry the VIII because he was mad at the Pope when the Pope wouldn't grant him a divorce. (There's a difference for you. Divorce=okay.) Henry figured he could get away with it, because at the same time in Germany, Martin Luther was founding his own church, too. Wheeeeeeeeee!
So right there you've got to ask yourself, would you rather be a member of the church founded by Jesus Christ while he was alive on earth or the church founded by Henry the VIII? Decisions, decisions.....
After the divorce thing, and the no Pope thing, Henry seemed to have trouble coming up any more ideas for his new faith. That's why it seems so similar to you. That may continue to be the case until you go to 'mass' there and the bishop is a woman. A married woman at that.
"Episcopal," by the way, just refers to the fact that the church is run by a group of bishops. Most of us know what happens when things are run by committee. Think Medicare. Public School.
The Episcopal church believes in the 'Real Presence" in the Eucharist, meaning the Host is not just the symbolic Presence of Christ. But they don't believe in transubstantiation. I'm not sure how that works out to be not just symbolic...or what they think they are receiving, exactly.
No Purgatory, either. It's a pass/fail afterlife. You'll have to hope life is an "easy A".
And like all the separated brethren they just cannot seem to get it through their heads that Catholics do not pray TO the saints. So they think that they are different from the Catholic church since they don't pray to the saints. But Catholics don't pray to the saints. We ask the saints to pray for us. They are different from Catholics in that they pretty much ignore the saints, except to name churches after them.
They do go around asking other people to pray for them, but they don't ask Mary or the saints in heaven to pray for them. I need all the help I can get. Can you get into heaven with a B-minus?
There's more: sacraments, sins, women priests, divorce, married priests, saints, statues, rosaries or lack thereof.
You'll have better luck asking people what they like in their Jell-0. And as many answers as there are dominations. The Lutherans like shredded carrots.