Are Priests in the Liberal or Independent Catholic Church Validly Ordained?


A friend of mine knows someone who is a priest in the" Independent Catholic Church". This priest claims he was ordained in a valid line of apostolic succession. (I had never heard of this church…its supposedly went into schism 100-200 years ago.)

Question 1: Can a priest be validly ordained in the line of apostolic sucession in the Independent Catholic Church or the Liberal Catholic Church (or any other non Roman Catholic Church)?

Question 2: Are the sacraments performed by such a priest valid? Valid but not licit? something else?



Yes some are validly ordained sadly. The ones that were ordained in the Catholic Church and then went over to that church.

I don’t believe it would be valid if they just came up in that church as it seems their bishops have no valid orders as bishops that I’m aware of.

As such their sacraments are sometimes valid but highly illicit


As to your question 1. (or any other non Roman Catholic Church)?

There are many Catholic Churches, not just the Roman Catholic Church - these are Eastern Catholic Churches, all in communion with the Pope. Then of course there are the many Orthodox Churches. So the answer to that part of your question, is yes.


Yes. But from what I know, the “Independent Catholic Church” and “Liberal Catholic Church” are not in unison with THE Catholic Church – much unlike Eastern Catholic Churches. Given that, their sacraments are certainly illicit, perhaps even invalid at times.


It sounds no different than Protestantism. A split from the Catholic Church is a split from the Catholic Church, even if they retain the name. Adding independent shows their intention is do do things their way rather than follow Church teaching. Adding liberal shows their intent is more on pleasing and appeasing popular culture.


It’s possilbe they were validly ordained before they left the Catholic Church, or were validly ordained by a schismatic but validly ordained bishop, in which case they would have valid orders and would be able to validly confect the Eucharist although yes it would be ilicit.

Note: They cannot validly administer all the sacraments, particularly confession and marriage, because they would lack faculties.

However, it could also be that while they believe they are validly ordained, they really are not. There is no way for you to know.

Stay away and do not attempt to receive sacraments from them.


There does not seem to be a coherent group calling itself the Independent Catholic Church, but there are one or more organized groups using the name Liberal Catholic Church. Probably the best way to get a sense of this particular local church would be to look at its website. Usually there will be a page describing the history or beliefs of the denomination.

In addition, there will often be links to the larger organization they belong to, or to individual sister churches. Then you can research these groups to figure out exactly where your local group stands in the bigger picture of breakaway churches.

Wikipedia has a surprisingly detailed look at this topic.


I was answering the part of the question where he was asking if it is possible for any non Roman Catholic Church to have valid orders. The answer is obviously, yes, many.

closed #9

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