Seeking help on which authority to contact regarding independent bishops

Hi everybody,

I am doing a research study on a few independent bishops, and need some advice.

  1. Are independent bishops called Episcopi vagantes (vagrant bishops) or wandering bishops?
  2. What is the view of the Catholic Church on these independent bishops orders and faculties?
  3. Would these independent bishops be considered as “valid/invalid”, “licit/illicit”?
  4. Some of the lineage of these bishops are mixed with Old Catholics, Orthodox and other branches. Would these affect their episcopacy?
  5. If one were to seek more information and a report on independent bishops, which institution should they contact? Is there a website (form) for this, or is there an email address or phone to contact where such requests can be made? If website links, email addresses or phone numbers, cannot be added on the forum post, can this be sent through a private message.

Thank you very much for your help.

In Christ

They aren’t called anything. They aren’t affiliated with the Catholic Church.

If they are a Catholic priest or bishop who has left the Church, then there are canon laws that deal with their status.

That depends on the bishop, who ordained him, etc. We cannot make any general statements.

That depends on who ordained them and other variables. Again, we cannot make generalities.

What impacts the validity of their orders is the form and matter used in the sacrament of Holy Orders.

So, again, it depends on the specifics and we cannot make general statements.

The bishop on whom one is conducting research.

???

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Hi 1ke,

Thanks for those great responses. Some clarifications on the last two points, i.e. question #5 from the initial post:

Say for example, I were conducting a study on Bp. Jean-Gérard Roux and Bp. Thomas Fouhy, both who have passed away to their eternal reward. If I wanted to inquire from the Catholic Church and seek a report from them on the respective Bishops episcopal orders and faculties, whom should I contact?

Initially I was thinking of emailing the Vatican, but it is such a broad institution, and there is no link on their website regarding requesting reports for such cases. Hence I asked the question regarding if there was a website, email or phone where such requests can be made. Maybe the requests are done either through an online form or a paper form? If question #5 was not clear, I apologize.

So in short the two points were about finding which Catholic institution would conduct investigations and can send me their findings on independent bishops (e.g. Bp. Jean-Gérard Roux and Bp. Thomas Fouhy)?

Thank you very much for your help.

In Christ

Yeah, so, there isn’t a Vatican institution that conducts investigations on independent bishops.

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The Vatican has quite detailed records on the vagante (which is indeed the term bishops, both east & west), particularly as to which have orders, which don’t, and which are uncertain.

For @bookshelf, check out the forums on byzcath.org. There are a member or two who have a kind of hobby of tracking them. I think most of the posts are in the "East and West: section.

There have even been a couple of rounds over the years where some of the vagante have posted for a while!

Anyway, it’s the largest collection I know about. Try searching “vagante site:byzcath.org” and you’ll get an amazing number of hits.

I think my favorite is the one who entered a seminary, and after a while began ordaining more :scream::thinking::exploding_head:

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I’m sure the Vatican does have records on some of them.

Random people can’t just call up the Vatican and demand an investigation.

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I don’t think so, no–“verifying” them would be used by the vagante in question to claim endorsement :scream:

However, you can get a pretty good idea about any particular vagante by posting in that forum I mentioned above

Why bother with these guys if they are not Catholic?

dochawk

The Vatican has quite detailed records on the vagante (which is indeed the term bishops, both east & west), particularly as to which have orders, which don’t, and which are uncertain.

1ke

I’m sure the Vatican does have records on some of them.

Random people can’t just call up the Vatican and demand an investigation.

Hi 1ke,

If random people cannot call up the Vatican, who would be the right institution or agency to reach to conduct the study? For example, Bp. Fouhy was born in New Zealand and worked in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and the United States. Is there an institution within each of these countries that can do a report, other than the byzcath.org website suggested by @dochawk?

http://www.worldwisdom.com/public/authors/Thomas-Fouhy.aspx

Thank you very much for your help.

In Christ

dochawk

For @bookshelf, check out the forums on byzcath.org. There are a member or two who have a kind of hobby of tracking them. I think most of the posts are in the "East and West: section.

dochawk

I don’t think so, no–“verifying” them would be used by the vagante in question to claim endorsement :scream:

However, you can get a pretty good idea about any particular vagante by posting in that forum I mentioned above

Hi dochawk,

Thanks for the link. While the information here would give some episcopal history, I am looking for information that can be verified. Would you know an institution or agency to contact that would compile the report if I cannot obtain the report as an individual?

Thank you very much for your help.

In Christ

poche

Why bother with these guys if they are not Catholic?

Hi poche,

Who are Catholics in your worldview? Are independent bishops Catholic or not Catholic?

In Christ

This database has valid Catholic Bishops’ lineages and information:

http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/

Random people can contact the Vatican and bring facts to their attention.

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Really, I don’t think this is a high priority for anyone but you.

Frankly I can’t see any institution doing so. Certainly not because you call them and say you want a study.

I never said otherwise.

That’s not what the OP is asking for. The OP seems to want some sort of investigation or study of non-Catholic people who have been ordained. And some Catholics who have left the Church.

If anyone wants to inquire on the canonical status of a particular Catholic, they should contact the diocese or order to which they belong/belonged.

Beyond that the Vatican isn’t going to do a study or conduct an investigation because “bookshelf” asked for one.

It depends on your definition of (current) Catholic. A bishop, priest or layperson can join some other faith later in life. Was Luther a Catholic, later in life?

You might consider contacting any Roman Catholic diocese where these “bishops” ever ministered. If anyone said anything about them it would be a local bishop warning the faithful against these “bishops”. You could also try the bishops conference for whatever country they spent the most time in.

However, I will warn you that you may not get anywhere with these requests. Diocese don’t tend to throw open their records to anyone who asks. Now, if you are an academic conducting research and you have credentials to show, they might be more likely to give you any records they had.

1 Like

No, you already have everything I do.

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