True Catholic Church


#1

A church down the road from us is called the “Independent Catholic Church”. I have also heard of other churches with “Catholic” in the name that aren’t in communion (I believe the American Catholic Church is one). For that matter, there are Catholic churches that are in communion but seem to have their own way of doing liturgy.

It makes me wonder, especially when I go on vacation:
[list]
*]Is there anything that would stop a church from calling itself Roman Catholic, yet not truly be in communion?
[/list]
[list]
*]Is there a way to tell if you’re about to receive communion in a truly Catholic church, such as some sort of papal insignia or something?
[/list]


#2

Good question!

Genrally, if a church calls itself “Catholic,” it is. Before you travel, you could always check the diocesan website, or masstimes.org.


#3

Don’t forget about the Old Catholic Church.

The Roman Catholic Church, with the Servant of the Servants of God at its helm on Earth, currently pope JP II, has no official title or name. It would have been Christ who named His Church and he didn’t. He simply said to St. Peter “Upon this rock I shall build My Church”. Christ’s Church is identified (as pronounced by the Coucil of Nicea which establised the Nicene Creed we say every Sunday in Mass) as being “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic” and, of course, established by Christ. If you read much Early Church Fathers, few use the word Catholic to describe the Church (St. Ignatius of Antioch is one), but rather simply said Christ’s Church, for at that time there were no other “Christian” faiths. Enter the Reformation. The term “Roman Catholic” is (sadly) used to differentiate Christ’s “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic” Church from those that merely claim to be. “Roman Catholic Church” literally means “The Universal Church of Rome” for that is where the pope resides and Christ’s Truth is Universal.

So is it possible that an imposter could call themselves “Roman Catholic”. Yes, it is possible, but remember what Christ said to St. Peter “Death shall never prevail against My Church.” If a non-True Catholic Church called itself Roman Catholic, then Satan would have a major victory.

Any input in this is greatly appreciated for I do not know a lot of history on this topic.


#4

The answer is simple, call the rectory and ask the pastor if they are in full communion with Rome. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer, call your diocese and ask them if the church in question is. If the church in question is NOT in communion with Rome, DO NOT receive the Eucharist there, as it is probably not validly consecrated. If you want bread and wine, go to the grocery store, if you want the body and blood of our Lord, make sure the church you are going to is in submission to the Roman Pontiff.


#5

[quote=Apologia100]The answer is simple, call the rectory and ask the pastor if they are in full communion with Rome.
[/quote]

Not that simple. The SSPX will say they’re in communion with Rome, when they’re really excommunicated.

The SSPV will say they’re in communion with the Holy See, though they are excommunicated, and don’t recognize JP2 as Pope.


#6

[quote=Andrew Larkoski] The term “Roman Catholic” is (sadly) used to differentiate Christ’s “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic” Church from those that merely claim to be. “Roman Catholic Church” literally means “The Universal Church of Rome” for that is where the pope resides and Christ’s Truth is Universal.
[/quote]

That is slightly misleading. There are Eastern churches that are not Roman but that are in union with Rome.


#7

[quote=BobCatholic]Not that simple. The SSPX will say they’re in communion with Rome, when they’re really excommunicated.

The SSPV will say they’re in communion with the Holy See, though they are excommunicated, and don’t recognize JP2 as Pope.
[/quote]

This might sound as a dumb question, but may I ask what SSPX and SSPV is? :stuck_out_tongue:


#8

[quote=mrS4ntA]This might sound as a dumb question, but may I ask what SSPX and SSPV is? :stuck_out_tongue:
[/quote]

Brief explanation

SSPX is Society of Saint Pius X an organization started by ArchBishop Marcel Lefebvre. This ordanization thinks that the current Mass (Novus Ordo) is invalid. They also oppose to Vatican II. They acknowledge that JP2 is the true Pope but they decided to work outside the hierarchy since the hierarchy is corrupted. Many of their priest are suspended. Lefebvre himself was ex-communicated even after he dies.

Ecclesia Dei is a document by JP2 after Le Febvre continued to ordain Bishops even though it’s not approved by Vatican. Read it to get a grasp of the conflict.

A canonical history of Le Febvre schoism by Pete Vere (a Canon Lawyer and ex-SSPX)

SSPV is just an offshot from SSPX. They are former member of SSPX who disagree with Le Febvre and took a more sedevacanties approach (meaning, they’re not acknowledging the current Pope). This is an article about SSPX that give a brief glimpse on SSPV

There really is only a minor distinction between the sedevacantists and the Lefebvrites: the sedevacantists believe outright that John Paul II and his three predecessors were, in effect, antipopes because they followed the “heretical” reforms of Vatican II; the Lefebvrites, on the other hand, are schizophrenic about this. Lefebvrites purport to accept that John Paul II is Pope, but they vociferously ridicule him and do not submit to his authority.

The sedevacantists have many of the same bizarre, quasi-Jansenistic practices as the SSPX (I can attest to this—a close relative of mine is a member of a sedevacantist faction).

In 1983, nine sedevacantist priests were expelled from the SSPX after clashing with Archbishop Lefebvre over the Society’s relationship with the “Conciliar” Church.11

Subsequently, those nine priests formed their own religious congregation, calling it the Society of St. Pius V (SSPV). The Rev. Clarence Kelly was chosen to be their leader. Within a short time there were disputes about property ownership, which resulted in yet another schism. Kelly continues to lead the SSPV (headquartered in New York), and the Rev. Daniel Dolan leads the off-shoot faction (headquartered in Ohio). [12] Additional sedevacantist groups are located in Spokane, Washington (Mount St. Michael), Michigan, and Colorado.


#9

[quote=Andrew Larkoski]Don’t forget about the Old Catholic Church.

The Roman Catholic Church, with the Servant of the Servants of God at its helm on Earth, currently pope JP II, has no official title or name.
[/quote]

When some busybody wants to know “what religion you are”, you can raise some eyebrows by responding, “First Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, Roman Synod.”

Peace in Christ…Salmon


#10

[quote=Salmon]When some busybody wants to know “what religion you are”, you can raise some eyebrows by responding, “First Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, Roman Synod.”

Peace in Christ…Salmon
[/quote]

I would have said “First Church of Jesus Christ, unreformed, Roman Synod” :slight_smile:

Great minds think alike! :slight_smile:


#11

[quote=BobCatholic]I would have said “First Church of Jesus Christ, unreformed, Roman Synod” :slight_smile:

Great minds think alike! :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Yours is definitely better. :slight_smile:

I’ve missed you, BobC.
Hope all is well with you and yours.

Peace in Christ…Salmon


#12

[quote=milimac]A church down the road from us is called the “Independent Catholic Church”. I have also heard of other churches with “Catholic” in the name that aren’t in communion (I believe the American Catholic Church is one). …

It makes me wonder, especially when I go on vacation:
Is there anything that would stop a church from calling itself Roman Catholic, yet not truly be in communion?

Is there a way to tell if you’re about to receive communion in a truly Catholic church, such as some sort of papal insignia or something?
[/quote]

Milimac,

There are literally thousands of churches in the US with “Catholic” in their name which are not in communion with Rome. Most, but not all, are distinguishable by some descriptive qualifier preceding the word “Catholic”, as in the case of the “Independent” Catholic church in your neighborhood.

All would claim their clergy have valid orders and that their hierarchy have valid apostolic succession and some, indeed, have one or both, but it would be virtually impossible for most folks to definitively validate or invalidate their claims.

“Old Catholics” - now split into several different communions - are probably the most frequently encountered group; there are also (at least 3, last I checked) Polish and a Lithuanian National Catholic Church. Neither should be confused with the legitimate national parishes for both ethnic groups (and such others as Slovaks and Albanians) that exist within the canonical structures of local RC dioceses and whose parish names sometimes include reference to their ethnic identity.

Liberal, Gnostic, Christian, and Christ Catholic Churches are few in number and very much fringe groups in their theology, but they do exist. In areas with large concentrations of Filipinos, Brazilians, or Mexicans, one will occasionally encounter a parish of their respective National Catholic Churches. Then, there are various “independent” and episcopi vagante churches, such as you describe, who span the continuum from ultra-conservative to ultra-liberal in their theology. Besides American Catholic Churches (more than one similarly-named denomination), you may also encounter the Celtic Catholic Church (several variations).

There are “High Church” groups within the Anglican and Lutheran communions that style themselves “Catholic” in various forms; for example, the “Evangelical Catholic Church” is a High-Church Lutheran denomination that you’d have difficulty distinguishing as not a traditional Catholic venue, as is true of some “Anglo-Catholic” (Anglican/Episcopalian) parishes.

SSPX, SSPV, and Feeneyite churches are unlikely to qualify their names, believing, as they do, that they are Catholics in communion with Rome.

I’m uncertain to whom you refer when you speak of those

Catholic churches that are in communion but seem to have their own way of doing liturgy

  • perhaps we of the Eastern Catholic Churches? 14 of the 22 Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris are represented by one or more parishes in the US. Additionally, some of our Orthodox brethren include the word “Catholic” within the name of their churches (most notably, parishes of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese; ACROD parishes are not infrequently styled as “Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek-Catholic”); however, the Orthodox parishes that do so, inevitably include “Orthodox” in their name, thus serving to make clear the dsitinction.

Alas, there are no markings, such as the papal coat of arms, that will stand out as a guide. As someone suggested, the on-line parish listings @ masstimes or a call to the local RC chancery are your best bets for assuring the status of a given church.

Many years,

Neil


#13

[quote=Apologia100]The answer is simple, call the rectory and ask the pastor if they are in full communion with Rome. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer, call your diocese and ask them if the church in question is. If the church in question is NOT in communion with Rome, DO NOT receive the Eucharist there, as it is probably not validly consecrated. If you want bread and wine, go to the grocery store, if you want the body and blood of our Lord, make sure the church you are going to is in submission to the Roman Pontiff.
[/quote]

Apologia,

Don’t be quick to be certain that the Eucharist is not validly consecrated. There are significant numbers of men among the clergy of the “Independent Catholic” movement who have valid orders, having gone there from the RCC. Thus, the consecration may be illicit, but not invalid.

The numbers are more questionable among the denominations, because their clergy more often are “home-grown” and, thus, the validity of their orders depends on the validity of episcopal orders/apostolic succession, which always represents a challenge in determining its validity.

I’d also suggest that “in communion with the Roman Pontiff” is a more appropriate phrase than “in submission to the Roman Pontiff”. We of the East consider ourselves to be in communion with the Pope, not in submission.

Many years,

Neil


#14

Irish Melkite is correct,

A lot of these ‘True Catholic’ churches are either sedevacantis (deny the Pope) or are vagante (folks pretending to be catholic)

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.


#15

[quote=Brendan]A lot of these ‘True Catholic’ churches are either sedevacantis (deny the Pope) or are vagante (folks pretending to be catholic).
[/quote]

Let me clarify a couple of Brendan’s comments.

Episcopi vagante aren’t strictly ‘pretending to be Catholic’. The term literally means ‘wandering bishops’. It originated in the Middle Ages when bishoprics were sometimes bought, granted as political plums, or obtained through nepotism. Depending on the circumstances, such bishops may or may not have received a benefice (a diocese or other canonical entity that carried an income with it) and some who did receive such later lost it, as the politics of the kingdom shifted. A bishop without a jurisdiction, or who had been deprived of his, would wander, preaching, and supporting himself by donations and came to be termed an episcopus vagante.

In modern times, the term came to be applied to ‘bishops’, sometimes validly ordained, sometimes not, who claim to be of a mainstream religious belief, but aren’t in communion with the established Church(es) of that faith. Catholics don’t have a monopoly on vagante bishops; all of the hierarchical Churches which emphasize the importance of their Apostolic Succession - Latin and Eastern Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican/Episcopalian, and Lutheran (at least in the ‘High Church’ divisions of the latter two) can point to vagantes whose origins lie with them.

Some potential hallmarks of a vagante, in no particular order, are that:

[list]
*]they have grandiose titles (*e.g.*patriarchs, primates, supreme archbishops, and similar styling abounds among the genre);
*]they are vested in liturgical finery that would be the envy of a member of the papal court in its hour of greatest opulence;
*]they are surrounded by a small cadre of clerics with equally important titles, including sometimes multiple bishops, each of whom has been accorded a piece of the universe as their episcopal jurisdiction;
*]they post elaborate hierarchical genealogies on their websites or in their publications, purporting to prove their Apostolic Succession;
*]they offer the opportunity for ordination to the priesthood, and perhaps even to the episcopacy, to those who apply by e-mail or letter outlining appropriate credentials for same or who indicate a willingness to undertake a course of study (for a fee);
*]‘float’ from one ‘Church’ to another, as there are splits in their ranks, frequently as a consequence of in-fighting among the leadership;
*]the name of their ‘Church’ will frequently include terms like “Catholic”, “Orthodox”, “Apostolic”, often combined in imaginative ways;
*]the name of their ‘Church’ often suggests that it is a jurisdiction of, a branch of, or otherwise connected with an established mainstream Church or that it is a free-standing canonical jurisdiction (e.g., a patriarchate, an archdiocese, a primature, a diocese);
*]the name of their ‘Church’ suggests an ethnicity of origin that is belied by the appearance or surnames of the hierarchs and/or by any apparent connection with a mainstream Church of similar ethnicity or national origin;
*]their ‘Churches’ frequently are ‘in communion’ with other ‘Churches’ whose hierarchs display much the same characteristics as themselves;
*]their ‘Church’ consists of a single edifice, a storefront, an altar in their garage or family rec room, or lacks any street address, apparently existing only in the ethereal plane;
*]those whose ‘Churches’ have ‘parishes’ will sometimes be shown (e,g., on websites) to each worship according to different rubrics and to even express different theological tenets;
*]their ‘Churches’ may mix theological doctrine with New Age, Eastern, spiritualistic, psychological, even alternative and holistic health concepts;
*]they use obscure, sometimes historical, sometimes apocryphal, liturgies in their worship.[/list]

(The term ecclesius vagante is sometimes used to refer to the ‘Churches’ these folks establish, but it doesn’t really express a meaningful concept in the same way that episcopus vagante does.)

True vagante have to be distinguished from those who have broken from their parent Churches, but have established an actual ecclesial entity, schismatic and/or heretical in the eyes of the parent, but with a level of respectability not usually accorded to those labeled vagante. To be fair, some of what are now considered mainstream, though schismatic, heretical, or non-canonical, Churches would, at their inception, have been deemed the product of an episcopus vagante.

Many years,

Neil


#16

I personally like:

First Evangelistic Church of the Nazarene


#17

The Church does publish a directory, and every organization validly associated with the Church is listed.
That’s no guarantee you’ll find a Mass that’s free of liturgical abuses while you travel about, mind you, but at least as far as Rome is concerned, such parishes are in communion.

Pax Christi,
Anna <><


#18

[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.
[/quote]

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 :smiley:

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:

[list]
*]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
[/list]

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.

Many years,

Neil


#19

Blessings!

I must admit I quite love Catholic Answers and the new forums, and why not! It really is quite remarkable. I would like to shed some light on the issues pertaining to Old Catholics as I have a unique view on this.

As to the last post pertaining to the Old Catholic Church of the United States, it is certainly true that we tend to remain true to the original Old Catholic position. It is indeed impossible for us to “vote in” new theological positions or such. We enjoy cordial relations with our Roman Catholic brethren, and in certain areas, have utilized Roman Catholic Churches for Mass and joint ecumenical ministry initiatives.

Several Roman Catholic officials have examined our lines of apostolic succession in different diocese and were satisfied that our orders are “valid but illicit”. Our liturgy is called the “Gul-Mathew” and is a 1900 English translation of the Tridentine Mass, although some parishes do pray the liturgy in the Latin. We do and always have, continued to pray for the Holy Father and his intentions during Mass.

It is true, and we are saddened, by the loss of authentic Old Catholic witness by the “independent” movement, that is agenda-driven and not Christ-driven, and the International Synod of Old Catholic Churches here in the U.S. has defended the authentic witness of the Old Catholic Churches.

Due to the Utrecht Union of Old Catholic Churches policy of the attempted ordination of women, formal relations with our European progenitors is not possible at this time. This is also currently the position of the Polish National Catholic Church, whih had been a member of the Utrecht Union, prior to that determination.

Although we are not Roman Catholic, we feel a deep and abiding love for our brethren there, and hope for the unity that Jesus wished for us all. I greatly commend the work of Catholic Answers and the related work that they do, which aptly explains a faith that we both hold in common to an extremely great degree. In addition, I have been a long-time listener of Catholic Answers Live, and love what this lay apostolate has done for love of Christ and the Faith.

Yours in Christ the King,

  • Andre’ J.W. Queen, SCR
    Old Catholic Bishop of Chicago
    Provincial Ordinary, Western United States
    The Old Catholic Church of the United States

#20

[quote=Utrecht]Due to the Utrecht Union of Old Catholic Churches policy of the attempted ordination of women, formal relations with our European progenitors is not possible at this time. This is also currently the position of the Polish National Catholic Church, whih had been a member of the Utrecht Union, prior to that determination.

[/quote]

Bishop Andre,

Do I understand you correctly? The OC Churches of the Utrecht Union have undertaken ordination of female priests?

Asking your blessing and that God grant you many years,

Neil


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