History of the Old Catholic Church
The Church in the Netherlands and the Reformation
The Reformation made public worship for Catholics very difficult and often they had to "go underground" in order to survive. But survive and remain it did. Eventually, the Archbishop of Utrecht and other Church leaders reached an informal agreement with the civil authorities whereby the Catholic Church could again function openly without interference from the Reformers.
The Move from Isolation
Following the First Vatican Council, 1840, to which the hierarchy of the Church of Holland was refused admittance, there was considerable dissent among Catholics in Holland, Poland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland over the dogma that the Pope was infallible in matters of faith and morals. Many thus formed Independent communities that came to be known as Old Catholics.
They are called Old Catholic because they sought to adhere to the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church of the Apostolic Era.
Eventually these Independent Old Catholic communities joined together under the leadership of the Church of Holland.
In 1908 Arnold Harris Matthew was consecrated Old Catholic Bishop of England. Thorough his efforts the Old Catholic Church spread to United States and Canada. In 1991 Maurice McCormick organized the Independent Old Catholic Church in USA, and today has Clergy in USA, Canada, Europe and Africa. The Church continues to grow and serve the Lord.
What Old Catholics Believe
Old Catholics accept the teaching of Scripture, the Early Church Creeds and 7 Church Councils. In 1823 Archbishop Willibrord of Utrecht wrote the following: "We accept without any exception whatever, all the Articles of the Holy Catholic Faith. We will never hold or teach, now or afterwards, any other opinion than those which have been decreed, determined and published by or Mother, Holy Church." Thus, Old Catholics trace their Apostolic Succession to the Apostles, participate in the full sacramental ministry of the Church.
The Rule of Faith of Old Catholics is faithful adherence to Sacred Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition.
How Do We Differ?
There are several aspects in which we differ from the Roman Church. Clerical Celibacy is optional among Old Catholic Clergy and married men and women may be ordained. Liturgical expression is a matter of discipline of local Bishops, subject to guidelines of Canon Law. Our Belief Statement discusses some of these differences. We of course reject any authority of the Bishop of Rome (The Pope) in any Old Catholic affairs. Divorced and remarried persons are not rejected from the sacramental life of the Church. Contraception is considered a personal decision and not a moral issue. Because the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is non-scriptural the Old Catholic Church does not accept it.
Old Catholic Ministry
We develop new methods of ministry, when needs become apparent. In recent times older citizens are moving into homes, and they welcome Services and Sacraments. An excellent and needed work for our clergy, many of whom are active professionals and often just have limited time to serve. We appeal to those who desire the joy and peace of Our Lord's Word and His Holy Sacraments.
In July of 1931 a Concordat was declared between Utrecht and Canterbury which recognized the validity of Orders and Doctrine of the two Churches. We feel the Holy Spirit is guiding the ministry of the Independent Old Catholic Church, which was organized in 1991 under the guidance of Bishop Maurice McCormick. At that time where were two clergy (McCormick and LeMesurier) today there are over 125 Clergy in USA, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Africa. We are gratified to develop new methods of ministry when needs become apparent. We must bring the services and sacraments to those who need and welcome them. We appeal to those who desire the joy and peace of Our Lord's Word and His Holy Sacraments. As an example, in recent times our older citizens have been moving into assisted living situations which is an excellent and need work for our clergy. Many of who are active professionals and often have limited time to serve. We invite you to consider joining us in the new exciting work for the Lord.