What is the Oxford Movement?
The Oxford Movement, also known as the Tractarian Movement, was a 19th-century religious and theological revival within the Church of England. It originated at the University of Oxford in the 1830s and aimed to bring about a renewal of High Church ideals and practices. Key figures in the movement included John Henry Newman, John Keble, and Edward Bouverie Pusey.
The Oxford Movement sought to restore Catholic elements to Anglican worship and theology, emphasizing the authority of the Church Fathers, liturgical rituals, and sacramental theology. Tracts, written by the movement’s leaders and hence the name “Tractarian,” were used to propagate their ideas.
A central theme was the rejection of Protestant doctrines and the assertion of the Catholic nature of the Church of England. However, the movement faced opposition from both Low Church Anglicans and some Roman Catholics.
John Henry Newman, a prominent figure in the movement, eventually converted to Roman Catholicism in 1845. The Oxford Movement had a lasting impact, influencing Anglican theology, liturgy, and spirituality, and contributing to ongoing debates about the nature and identity of the Church of England.