"Fake" Catholic Church?


#1

I never thought to post this question here, but I have come across an interesting situation and I don’t know if there is anything that can be done about it. A few years ago, when my daughter was baptized, I had to go to a local parish to pick up my brother’s baptism/confirmation record so that he could serve as her Godfather. When I got there, I noticed a sign in both English and Spanish indicating that another local church called “Cathedral of St. Matthew” was warned against and that it is not a diocesan church and not recognized by the Catholic Church and sacraments received there are not recognized by the Catholic Church.

Now, by all appearances, this is a “Catholic Church.” I have been there, my sister in law received her confirmation there and my newphew was baptized there. The mass is conducted just like a Catholic mass and the priests wear a collar and robes just like Catholic priests. It used to have a sign out front saying "Catholic" in Spanish, but it has been changed to "Apostolic Catholic" now.

The problem that I have, is that it is located in a very Hispanic area, and the majority of the attendees probably have NO IDEA that they are not attending a Catholic church. I tried to explain it to my mother in law, but she didn’t seem to understand how it could be a Catholic church (in practice) that wasn’t truly Catholic (i.e.-recognized).

My concern is that there are probably well over 1,000 people who attend this ‘church’ every week who will later find that their children’s baptisms and other sacraments are not valid. Is there anything that can be done? If so…who do I call? Apparently the diocese already knows about it hence the sign hanging in the ‘real’ parish.

Here is the website so you can see for yourself what it looks like inside and how many people attend: saintmatthewscathedral.org/index.htm

Thoughts??


#2

This is actually an Episcopalian Church, which masquarades as Catholic.

Did some digginging and this blog came up.


#3

[quote="Abundant, post:1, topic:330460"]
I tried to explain it to my mother in law, but she didn’t seem to understand how it could be a Catholic church (in practice) that wasn’t truly Catholic (i.e.-recognized). ...

Here is the website so you can see for yourself what it looks like inside and how many people attend: saintmatthewscathedral.org/index.htm

Thoughts??

[/quote]

Only one: show her the first picture in their "our services" gallery. The priestess (or whatever she's supposed to be) is kind of a dead giveaway.


#4

What thoughts are we supposed to have? There are many, many liars in the world. Some of them are very good at lying. Often, their lies hurt people. The archdiocese is aware of it but either isn't interested or can't do anything about it.


#5

Who do you call? The bishop!! Write him a real letter, sent through the mail with a stamp, reporting what is going on, in a respectful and concise fashion but including all the information needed so that he or whoever he delegates can verify that this is true. Then call or visit the Cathedral (where the bishop has his office) and also provide the information to someone.

It does not matter whether the diocese apparently knows about this or not…the Church has her ways to avoid that her flock be deceived, and if all they were able to do was to force these people to add the word “apostolic” (which is even more deceitful), then not enough has been done. But if nobody raises his hand, how will the bishop know??


#6

Surprised. There is a church like this in San Fran., that there are others is eye opening. Guess we need to do some research before attending! Thanks for the thread.


#7

Call your local news station and tell them your story. They might want to broadcast it. Sounds like an interesting story. Deceiving people may even be commiting a crime. People may sue them. If you ask me, stories like this should be international news.Playing with my beliefs and soul is no joke to me.


#8

[quote="R_C, post:5, topic:330460"]
Who do you call? The bishop!! Write him a real letter, sent through the mail with a stamp, reporting what is going on, in a respectful and concise fashion but including all the information needed so that he or whoever he delegates can verify that this is true. Then call or visit the Cathedral (where the bishop has his office) and also provide the information to someone.

It does not matter whether the diocese apparently knows about this or not...the Church has her ways to avoid that her flock be deceived, and if all they were able to do was to force these people to add the word "apostolic" (which is even more deceitful), then not enough has been done. But if nobody raises his hand, how will the bishop know??

[/quote]

That's a great idea! :thumbsup: It hadn't even occurred to me that it is an option honestly, because I 'figured' that someone else had already done that. Like I said, I have been in this church, seen pictures of the pope, been to mass and had NO indication that it was anything other than a Roman Catholic church until I read the sign at a neighboring parish.

Also-to the posted who posted a link to the blog---thank you! It gave me another idea. I am going to send a link to the Spanish news stations. The majority of people who go to this church are immigrants, not well catechized (except through this fake church) and I am so fearful that the kids who are raised and receive sacraments here will turn completely away from Catholicism all together once they realize that they will have to receive their sacraments all over again as teens or young adults.

Keep the ideas coming...


#9

Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic Church in the USA does not have a legal monopoly on the name Catholic. Courts have ruled this long ago. Each diocese usually has several legal names, including something like “The Roman Catholic Diocese of X,” and sometimes even “The Catholic Archdiocese of Y.” All another entity has to do is insert another word in front of *Catholic *and they are legally OK, from the perspective of civil law.

Considering that this particular church claims to be a cathedral, one notices that the website says nothing about the name of the diocese or its bishop. The entire website is written in English and Spanish, so it becomes difficult after even a casual review that anyone should walk away thinking that it is the website of the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. The building is quite obviously a Protestant church building that was sold to this independent group; that is apparent on both the inside and outside.


#10

Since it's an Episcopal church, they wouldn't have much issue becoming Catholic if they wanted to. I liken it to learning European Spanish when you currently speak Latin American.


#11

Not sure exactly what this means, but: a) It is not an Episcopal Church, b) They have a female cleric on staff, c) The Anglican world is full of breakaway jurisdictions who left the Episcopal Church and the larger Anglican Communion. They are pretty much on their own after that. Use of the term Anglo-Catholic is, in and of itself, pretty meaningless, as even some groups with so-called female priests claim the term.


#12

If they are trying to be Episocpal, they do a bad job at that too. They recite the same creed that we do with "one holy Catholic and Apostolic" said (heard it with my own ears, so I know it's true). They use the same words during consecration. Same stand-sit-kneel...and then there is the whole picture of the pope thing... It is just flat out fraudulent. Also--if you look at the blog link that was posted, it traces back to a news article stating that it was originally founded by some kind of group that was seeking non-profit status that didn't pay taxes correctly.


#13

[quote="Abundant, post:12, topic:330460"]
If they are trying to be Episocpal, they do a bad job at that too. They recite the same creed that we do with "one holy Catholic and Apostolic" said (heard it with my own ears, so I know it's true). They use the same words during consecration. Same stand-sit-kneel...and then there is the whole picture of the pope thing... It is just flat out fraudulent. Also--if you look at the blog link that was posted, it traces back to a news article stating that it was originally founded by some kind of group that was seeking non-profit status that didn't pay taxes correctly.

[/quote]

Anglican churches have long had services that resemble Catholic liturgy--pretty much since our liturgy was rendered in the vernacular. As for the creed, all of the liturgical churches (Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Congregational and some Presbyterian groups) have used the same version as we have since at least the late sixties, and some much longer than that. The Anglicans have always used the same version as we have (just in English). Since we re-translated our English edition missal two years ago, that has resulted in a little less uniformity among these other groups, as most are still using the "we believe" version that we did for forty years. The three-year lectionary that the Catholic Church created was done with an eye toward other churches using it, as well, and the above groups use a slightly modified version (the Revised Common Lectionary) of ours. Nothing new with any of this; it has been going on for decades.


#14

How very shrewd of them. :mad:

Keep in in mind, assuming that this is an Anglican/ Episcopalain Church, the Baptism might still be valid.


#15

There is a fake catholic church! I do have personal experience with this, and this one is not an episcopal church is an actual fake catholic church. When I was to baptize my daughter there was a “St Lazarus Catholic Church” which looked exactly like a catholic church it said catholic church outside, the priest dressed just like a catholic priest and inside looked just like a traditional church. I had another church close by which was the one I frequently used but I needed a specific date because the godfather was traveling from out of state and that one couldn’t do it. So I went to st Lazarus. I went to a couple of masses identical to catholic masses and there were several catholic who attended this mass. There was no way to tell it was fake so I had the baptism there. But when I received the certificate it said " st Lazarus catholic orthodox church" which made me go like whaaat. Then I moved to massachusetts and because I was worried about that orthodox word in there I started asking in my local church. Long story short when I enrolled my daughter in CCD and I took the certificate to my priest (real catholic priest) he told me to my shock that that was a fake catholic church! He said my case was not the first one he had, that apparently this is some kind of sect of people who all of a sudden decided to name their own self as priest and opened their own churches and put the name catholic and started to do the same rites and many Catholics without knowing went into this places. He mentioned that there are several across the country and have multiplied over the last couple of years. Is hard to differentiate from outside because they would intentionally to confuse Catholics, they would advertise themselves as catholic church but when they would print church documents or certificate they would add to catholic another denomination like in my case "catholic orthodox church"which is what keeps them “safe” I was really in shock with this, my priest had knowledge of several and he knew about the specific one in my case. I will ask him to see if he knows about st Matthew. And again you should warn anybody you know because this may be a sect.


#16

Interesting information to think about. Have never run into a “fake” Catholic Church so something to be aware of.


#17

I hope so. I cannot remember if my nephew was baptized in the proper form, “Father, Son, Holy Spirit,” or not. If they are Anglican or Episcopalian, then it should say that on the front of their building or in the bulletin or whatever. If you look at the picture on the site, it uses the word 'Catolica." To the recent immigrant, coming from Mexico, they are going to assume that Catholic means “Roman” Catholic, even if it has the word ‘Apostolic’ or “Anglo” in front of it, and being that most of them are not as catechized as the majority of people on this website, they may not understand the difference. I like the words of another poster, who said that they are ‘poaching’ believers. It is so sad, because these are people who get out of bed on Sunday, go to church, enroll their kids in first communion and confirmation classes without even knowing that it is in fact not a Catholic church. Looking up the address for the Bishop now…


#18

[quote="marymary1975, post:15, topic:330460"]
There is a fake catholic church! I do have personal experience with this, and this one is not an episcopal church is an actual fake catholic church. When I was to baptize my daughter there was a "St Lazarus Catholic Church" which looked exactly like a catholic church it said catholic church outside, the priest dressed just like a catholic priest and inside looked just like a traditional church. I had another church close by which was the one I frequently used but I needed a specific date because the godfather was traveling from out of state and that one couldn't do it. So I went to st Lazarus. I went to a couple of masses identical to catholic masses and there were several catholic who attended this mass. There was no way to tell it was fake so I had the baptism there. But when I received the certificate it said " st Lazarus catholic orthodox church" which made me go like whaaat. Then I moved to massachusetts and because I was worried about that orthodox word in there I started asking in my local church. Long story short when I enrolled my daughter in CCD and I took the certificate to my priest (real catholic priest) he told me to my shock that that was a fake catholic church! He said my case was not the first one he had, that apparently this is some kind of sect of people who all of a sudden decided to name their own self as priest and opened their own churches and put the name catholic and started to do the same rites and many Catholics without knowing went into this places. He mentioned that there are several across the country and have multiplied over the last couple of years. Is hard to differentiate from outside because they would intentionally to confuse Catholics, they would advertise themselves as catholic church but when they would print church documents or certificate they would add to catholic another denomination like in my case "catholic orthodox church"which is what keeps them "safe" I was really in shock with this, my priest had knowledge of several and he knew about the specific one in my case. I will ask him to see if he knows about st Matthew. And again you should warn anybody you know because this may be a sect.

[/quote]

One should immediately look at the church bulletin and website. If one does not see a clear and unequivocal statement that the church is a parish of the (arch) diocese of _____, one should immediately be suspicious and inquire before proceeding any further.


#19

Oh Abundant, and just for you to know specificlly with regard to baptisms done there in my case, I didn't have to re-baptize my daughter. My priest said that because the church allows lay people to baptize and the only requirement is that it has to be done in the name of the father, the son etc, as long as the person had said those words during the baptism and because my intention was for her to become catholic, there was mi need to do another baptism. However, my daughter was not catholic so what he said was that we would have to enter her to the catholic church through her first communion, and that was what we did during her first communion we had a mini rite to enter her into the catholic church and her certificate says that through her first community.ion she became a member of the church.

However, if you don't remember if your nephew (or you nephew's parents) was baptized in the name of the father, the son and the holy spirit I would recommend you or his parent to speak with a priest. In my case I did remember perfectly because I knew the rite and was following every word the priest was saying but if I wouldn't had remembered my priest would have gone with another baptism. So much he asked me no less than four times if I was completely and absolutely sure that those words were said, and to explain to him why I was so sure. So maybe talk with your priest, the real one.


#20

[quote="Chatter163, post:18, topic:330460"]
One should immediately look at the church bulletin and website. If one does not see a clear and unequivocal statement that the church is a parish of the (arch) diocese of _____, one should immediately be suspicious and inquire before proceeding any further.

[/quote]

Definitely!!! After my experience, now I want to look even at the priest credentials lol


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