Does any church outside of the Catholic Church have valid holy orders?

Question in title. How is the validity determined?

(Assyrian/Ancient) Church of the East. Oriental Orthodox Churches. Eastern Orthodox Churches. Polish National Catholic Church. Some strains of the Old Catholic Church (see the “Dutch Touch”). SSPX. et. al.

Validity is determined by valid matter, form, intent, and subject.


From whose point of view?
Lutherans and Anglicans have no doubts about the validity of their orders.


From a Catholic POV.

Yes, the Orthodox, and a few others.

The Church determines it based on a study of Apostolic succession and valid ordination.


(^&^*%^(&)_)*(I^%#%#^&*()_ was corrected

This isn’t correct. The Orthodox are not in communion with Rome but are true Churches and have valid holy orders.


Thank You for the Correction

What do you mean by valid ordination?

A valid priesthood. Holy Orders.

1 Like

The real question is if the dude is the Catholic or the Lutheran (or Anglican…).


Maybe, but that has nothing to do with either Anglicans or Lutherans.

I might also mention that I’ve not ever heard Catholic clergy speak about Lutheran or Anglican clergy in such a disrespectful way. I encourage you to read the exchanges between Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and his German Lutheran counterparts. We can disagree about orders without being disagreeable.


Luther made his choices, and those choices have consequences. Folks who can’t handle the truth are free to plug their ears. Also, I ain’t no priest, and I’m not gonna tiptoe around the issue. Luther was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. . . .

I’m sure, then, you don’t mind acting contrary to your Communion.


Not even sure what you mean by that.

Yes, Eastern Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, Oriental Orthodox, Polish National Catholic Church (a misnomer if there ever was one), and some Anglicans may have it on a case by case basis (it’s legit checked if an Anglican clergyman becomes Catholic). It is determined by valid apostolic succession.

But while this was the case, sporadically, in the past, I think that as of now, all Anglican clergy are ordained absolutely, without consideration of particular cases or possible sub conditione ordination. This is both post the Graham Leonard and the John Jay Hughes cases, and represents the current practice, post Anglicanorum coetibus.

Valid apostolic succession and all factors valid for the specific conferring of the sacrament of Holy Orders, in any given case.

“I count among the most important results of the ecumenical dialogues the insight that the issue of the eucharist cannot be narrowed to the problem of ‘validity.’ Even a theology oriented to the concept of succession, such as that which holds in the Catholic and in the Orthodox church, need not in any way deny the salvation-granting presence of the Lord [ Heilschaffende Gegenwart des Herrn ] in a Lutheran [ evangelische ] Lord’s Supper.” (qtd. Under #107)

These are the words of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, in a letter to a German Lutheran Bishop.
No mention of street corners or leprechauns.
Ratzinger is not here saying that Lutheran clergy hold validity In the same way Catholic clergy do in the Catholic view, but he is saying they are worthy of respect from Catholics.

Hopefully you have a better idea of what I mean.


Apostolic Succession.

You mean there are other points of view?
Slippery slope warning

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit