The Old Catholic Church
(c) 2009 - 2016: Fr. Richard.com
The Old Catholic movement traces its history to the Utrecht Union in the Netherlands. The
church began splitting apart from Rome in the 19th century over the appointment of bishops by the
Pope, who had been previously elected from within each diocese. The split became final after  
Vatican I when Pope Pius IX claimed Papal Infallibility. The prior tradition, and that which is still held
by Old Catholics, is that of “Infallibility of Bishops in General Council.”

The Old Catholic Church is associated with the Holy See of Antioch, which was founded by      
St. Peter as its first Bishop, and where the term "Christian " was first applied to believers and
followers of Jesus Christ. The Old Catholic Church is part of the “One Holy Catholic and
Apostolic Church. " The Bishops of the Old Catholic Church "hold and keep" Apostolic
Succession.

The Old Catholic Church welcomes individual Roman Catholics, and other Christians, to
participate in Communion and other Sacraments. Old Catholics believe in the "Real Presence" in
the Eucharist; that the Bread and Wine, truly become the "Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity" of
Jesus Christ.

Of particular concern to The Old Catholic Church is the offering of Sacraments to those who have
left Catholicism for whatever reason, or those who are considered "displaced Catholics",  and/or
other Christians, who seek forms of worship and beliefs, founded in Sacred Scripture and the
Traditions of the Catholic Church.
The Old Catholic Church
When members of the Roman Catholic Church encounter Old Catholic Churches for the first time, they are often
surprised to learn that Catholic denominations exist apart from Rome. Understandably, questions are raised about the
validity of Orders and Sacraments administered by Old Catholics.

"The Roman Church recognizes the validity of Old Catholic Orders and other Sacraments."
-Felician A. Roy, OFM,  Catholic Almanac - 1974; p. 368

“Dominus Iesus”
At the Vatican on 16 June 2000, Pope John Paul II ratified and ordered the publication of "Dominus Iesus."                     
This Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was signed and published by                                   
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) in August of the same year.

In this Declaration, the Roman Catholic Church recognizes the validity of Orders and Sacraments of Old Catholic
denominations:

"The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Roman Catholic Church, remain united to her by
means of the closest bonds, that is, by Apostolic Succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches.
Therefore, these separated Churches and communities as such have by no means been deprived of significance and
importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation
which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church."
-IV. Unicity and Unity of the Church, 17

Separated Brethren
"We have no reason to doubt that the Old Catholic Orders are valid. The Apostolic Succession does not depend on
obedience to the See of Peter, but rather on the objective line of succession from Apostolic sources, the proper matter
and form, and the proper intention, likewise Old Catholic bishops are bishops in Apostolic Succession. The Old
Catholics, like the Orthodox, possess a valid priesthood."
-William J. Whalan, pp. 204,248
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Recognition of the Roman Catholic Church
Differences from the Roman Catholic Church
"Open Communion" - Communion is offered to, and encouraged to be received by, all Baptized Christians.

"General Absolution" - During the Penitential Rite of Mass, a moment is taken to confess sins silently and personally to
                                  God, then the Priest grants General Absolution.

Sacraments may be administered outside the confines of a church.

Holy Orders are open to Married or Single Clergy.

Holy Matrimony is offered to those who have been previously married, without pre-condition.

Contraception is a personal decision between a husband and wife; with the exception of abortion.
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