[quote=Brendan]There is an ‘Old Catholic’ Church, otherwise known as “Dutch Catholic”. They seperated from the Church after Vatican I.
In Europe they have valid orders and valid Sacrements, in the US they DO NOT. The ‘Old Catholic’ church in the US is vagante. No real orders and very liberal
The branch of the real ‘Old Catholic’ Church is called the Polish National Catholic Church. The have real orders and valid Sacrements, but , like the Orthodox, are not in communion with Rome.
The Old Catholic Church which originated in Holland is generally referred to using the term “Utrecht Confession”.
Brendan is correct that a formal determination has been made by Rome as to the validity of orders and sacraments of the Old Catholics of the Utrecht Confession.
Old Catholics in the US are spiritual descendents of the Utrecht Confession, their orders, at least initially, having been obtained through them. In the century or so since that, however, there have been instances of intercommunion with other ‘High Churches’ that have included co-consecrations, causing their orders and succession to come into question. However, Rome has made no formal blanket determination as to the validity of orders or apostolic succession as to any of the several Old Catholic Churches in the US and is unlikely to do so, unless and until a body of faithful or an OC jurisdiction were to seek to enter into communion with it. The validity of orders in individual instances of OC clergy who have entered communion with Rome have been decided on a case-by-case basis and there have been both positive and negative decisions made.
To describe Old Catholics in the US as “very liberal” is probably a reasonable construal - although, from a linguistic point of view, I abhor equating “liberal” with non-canonical or any other such term; liberal is not, even when teamed with the modifier “very”, a bad word
There are a multitude of Old Catholic Churches in the US, the original body having suffered many schisms over the years - all or most of which claim to be the legitimate successors to the canonical jurisdictions established by Bishops Matthews, Vilatte, Carfora, and Berghes, the progenitors of the Old Catholic movement in North America.
Until a few years back, traditionalism could be ascribed to many of the OC Churches, with married clergy, refusal to recognize papal infallibility, and a somewhat relaxed attitude toward divorce and artificial contraception being the most frequently cited points of dissension from the doctrinal and dogmatic schema of the Roman Catholic Church. Abortion was condemned, as were same sex marriage and gay lifestyles. Liturgies used a variety of texts, including Novus Ordo, Tridentine, Anglican, and Byzantine forms. Much of that is still true, although there has been increased tolerance of gay lifestyles and a few have become accepting of same sex unions - however, ordination of women is probably the most widespread change among these folks, being almost commonplace at this point.
The Old Catholic Church of the United States (OCCUS) continues to be very traditional, with the exception of allowing a married clergy, and might possibly withstand an examination of its episcopal orders. The Evangelical Catholic Church, which has a curious dual origin, in Lutheranism and Old Catholicism, is likewise very traditional.
Both of those and some few others have resisted a tendency common among some of their brethren to garner multiple episcopal consecrations and, in turn, bestow such at the drop of a hat, to assure that somewhere, sometime, validity will attend.
It had been a while since I checked on who else was subscribing to what practices, and the sheer number of OC Churches in the US defies any complete review of them in a timely fashion, but I surfed a handful of their websites. The following are a sampling of those which presently allow ordination of women:
*]Old Catholic Church in North America
*]The Evangelical Old Catholic Church in America
*]Old Roman Catholic Church in North America
*]Heartland Old Catholic Church
*]Celtic Catholic Church
As Brendan mentioned, the Polish National Catholic Church has been determined by Rome to have valid orders and episcopal succession in this country. No such determination has been made as to its counterpart, exported back to the old country from America. Validity of orders of the Polish National Catholic Church in North America, a schismatic entity from the PNCC, has not been determined.