Polish National Catholics


Does the Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC) have sacraments that are valid, in the eyes of the Catholic Church?
I know they combine two sacraments (Baptism and Confirmation) and have one sacrament that we don’t have (“Hearing the Word of God”). I am sure their Baptisms and weddings are recognized by Rome. But do they have valid Holy Orders, or Eucharist? Do their current bishops have Apostolic Succession? Thank you.


They are recognized as having valid sacraments. They teach the Real Presence and teach other Catholic tenets.

In response to an inquiry from the Archbishop of Baltimore, His Excellency William Keeler, then President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, His Eminence Edward Cardinal Cassidy, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, stated in 1993 that members of the Polish National Catholic Church in the United States and Canada may receive the sacraments of Penance, Holy Communion and Anointing of the Sick from Roman Catholic priests if they ask for them on their own, are properly disposed and not otherwise excluded from the sacraments in line with the provisions of canon 844 §3 of The Code of Canon Law. This was followed in 1996 by a letter by Archbishop Oscar H. Lipscomb, the Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, to the bishops of the United States spelling out in more detail the conditions under which Polish National Catholics may receive the aforementioned sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church. In 1998 the Polish National Catholic Church issued Guidelines for the Reception by Polish National Catholics of Sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church. Canon 844 §2 of The Code of Canon Law also specifies conditions under which Roman Catholics may receive the sacraments in the Polish National Catholic Church.

For the complete text and more on the PNCC:pnccsatx.org/whats_new_4.html

When it comes to apostolic succession, the Vatican recognizes their validity.

Differences in teaching are reflected by: rejection of original sin, the Immaculate Conception and Assumption as dogma, and the rejection of the filioque clause in the Nicean Creed.

Also see: pncc.org

If you have any more questions about the PNCC, you can post them on this thread and I will try to answer them…:thumbsup:

Prayers and petitions,


Do you know what these conditions are?


Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non- Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.

Wondering if would be okay to stop by St. Mary’s?


Maybe. I might actually go for their fish fry too. I’ve heard it’s good.



You seem to know a lot about this, so perhaps you can answer my question. I have read that although Rome recognizes the validity of PNCC orders and consecration, it does not recognize their sacrament of penance since they now practice general absolution only with no confession. First of all, do you know if this is in fact how they practice the sacrament? If it is, I find this situation strange since I was under the impression that the Vatican recognized Armenian Apostolic absolution, even though they also normally practice absolution without specific confession.




I appreciate the feedback on this thread. I personally pray for actual reunion between the two churches. When the PNCC broke with the RC, I think the main rift was pastoral insensitivity at the parish and diocesan level, especially by RC local officials of non-Polish ethnicity. At present ethnicity is much less of a factor both for Poles and others. (I personally am Polish American RC). The PNCC is quietly dropping the “P” in some of their literature.
The danger here is theological drift. The Protestant churches originally retained what they considered the core beliefs of Catholic doctrine and morals, but gradually drifted away. The liberal Protestant churches are rapidly moving away in the past 40 years from doctrinal and moral positions the grandfathers would have considered crucial.
This is less true in the PNCC but even the PNCC has recently adopted a few positions (such as acceptance of contraception) that I suspect the founders would have considered unthinkable in the early years. The pressure to conform to the secular society can be overwhelming, and history shows denominations keep re-defining - or shrinking - the core beliefs, in order to accomodate more people. That is how denominations that once thought abortion murder now support it as a right.
The danger is that grudges tend to take on a momentum of their own, even after the original abuse that caused it has passed. The longer the PNCC (or NCC) stays apart from the RC, the less it will be guided by the original Polish Catholic tradition, and the more it will be shaped by American secularism. It is tempting to argue that just because this drift happened to the Episcopals, Methodists, and Presbyterians, it won’t happen to us. Try to project ahead to where the NCC might be in the future. You might argue that the NCC is different, it is a “Catholic” church, but remember many Anglicans, Lutherans, and others all considered themselves Catholic for at least their denomination’s first 100 years or so - some still consider themselves Catholic today. They never intended to become Protestant, that is simply what they - and perhaps eventually the NCC - became, by a very gradual process, apart from the Magisterium. Read what Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and the other reformers taught about Mary, the Eucharist, or other topics, and you will be shocked at the difference between what the founders preached, and what their successors now believe.
(Try the fish fry at Buffalo’s PNCC cathedral - no compromise there, all the original ingredients.)


Well, Buffalo is a little far for me, but St. Mary’s is only about a mile from where I live, so I’ll try their fish fry.:slight_smile:


I am interested in any more developments having to do with the PNCC as it relates to discussions with the Holy See and/or the USCCB. Please keep them coming on this forum. They may be the only hierarchial church in the world where real progress is coming as far as relations with Rome are concerned.

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