A Church without walls. Where the church comes to you. As the Apostle Paul ministered without walls, so do we.
"What is the Old Catholic Church?"
The Old Catholic Church is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church as founded by Jesus Christ (see the Nicene Creed). The Old Catholic Church broke-off from the Roman Catholic Church after Vatican I in the 1870's. The major reason for the break-off was the Pope at that time centralized all Church authority to himself (dogma of Papal Infallibility -"Causa Finita Est.") instead of the time honored tradition of the "Infallibity of Bishops in General Council" having authority over the Church. Church Councils have made decisions since the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15:1-29.
The Old Catholic Church holds and keeps Catholic Tradition as established by the Apostles in the First Century. We are truly 'Apostolic' and therefore truly 'Old' Catholic. We reject man-made political agendas and regulations. We do not come under the direct authority of the Pope in Rome, but under the authority of the Presiding Bishop of our jurisdiction, who 'holds and keeps' Apostolic Succession through both the Holy See of Rome (Roman Catholic Church) and the Holy See of Antioch (Eastern Catholic Church). Both of these Holy Sees were founded by the Apostle Saint Peter (“upon this rock I will build My Church” – Matthew 16:18). So, we as Old Catholic Priests trace our lineage and our ecclesiastical authority to Saint Peter.
The term Catholic comes from the ancient Greek word for universal, as in the universal church around the whole world, which is the body of Christ.
The Catholic (Universal) Church is made up of sister congregations:
- Roman Catholic
- Old Catholic
- Eastern 'sui iuris': Eastern Rite / Uniate Catholic Churches loyal to the Roman pontiff
- Eastern Orthodox (Russian, Greek, Slovak, etc.)
- “Oriental” Churches", such as Coptic, Ethiopian, Armenian, Syrian (Monophysite), etc.
- Assyrian Church (Nestorian)
The term Old Catholic" is simply an adherence to the beliefs and practices of the post-Apostolic era Church tracing their Apostolic Succession through the Apostles to the Roman Catholic Church, participate in the full sacramental ministry of the Church.
Old Catholic Clergy often fellowship and work in cooperation with Protestant Churches and clergy. We believe that those who have true faith in Christ, and in the essentials of the Christian faith (such as the Trinity, the virgin birth, the resurrection, etc., as spelled out in the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed), are also Christians and therefore are a part of the Body of Christ. There is a belief that the totality of all true believers, around the world, are what make up the Church, regardless of denominations. Denominations divide, but in Christ there is unity (John 17:20-23).
(Can. 845 §1) The Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church states: “The sacraments of baptism, confirmation and orders cannot be repeated since they imprint a character.”
+ Utrecht receives Rights of Autonomy from Blessed Pope Eugene III in 1145.
+ This Right is confirmed by Pope Leo in 1215 and becomes known universally as the "Leonine Privileged."
+ Privilege subsequently reconfirmed in two Church Councils in 1520 and 1717.
Roman Catholics as well as others will often ask, what is your relationship with the Roman Catholic Church now?
+ "Dominus Iesus" issued by the Roman Catholic Magisterium in 2000, signed by Pope John Paul II on June 16, and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on August 6, states: "The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the [Roman] Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches."
"Therefore, these separated Churches and communities as such ... have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church." IV. Unicity and Unity of the Church, 17
+ Pope Francis
(Vatican - October 30, 2014)
Old Catholic Church members met with Pope Francis in the latest of a continuing ecumenical dialogue between the Old Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church.
Pope Francis explained that since the Second Vatican Council,"It has been possible to build new bridges of a more profound mutual understanding and practical co-operation, between the Old Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church."
“There is a thirst for God,” the Pope stated. “There is a profound desire to recover a sense of purpose in life. There is an urgent need for a convincing witness to the truth and values of the Gospel.” He suggested that the two communions can “support and encourage one another, especially at the level of parishes and local communities.”
* The Catholic Almanac:
"The Roman Church recognizes the validity of Old Catholic Orders and other Sacraments." Felican A. Roy, OFM, 1974; p. 368.
* The Catholic Dictionary by Donald Attwater, bearing the "imprimatur" of Cardinal Hayes of New York:
States of the Old Catholic Church - "Their orders and sacraments are valid."
* Separated Brethren:
"We have no reason to doubt that the Old Catholic Orders are valid. The Apostolic Succession does not depend on the obedience to the See of Peter, but rather on the objective line of succession from Apostolic sources, the proper manner and form, and the proper intention, likewise Old Catholic bishops are bishops in Apostolic Succession. The Old Catholics, like the Orthodox, possess a valid priesthood." William J. Whalens, pp. 204, 248.
The Old Catholic Church administers the Sacraments as one may be very familiar with. We are perhaps 90% the same as one may be used to.
The exceptions that we offer are:
"Open Communion" - Communion is offered to, and encouraged to be received by, all Believing Christians.
"General Absolution" - During the Penitential Rite of Mass, a moment is taken to confess sins silently and personally to God, then the Priest grants General Absolution, or one may choose to confess to a Priest in person.
"Sacraments" - May be administered outside the confines of a Church.
"Holy Orders" - Are open to Married and Single Clergy. Another question often asked is, how can a priest be married? In 305 A.D. the Council of Elvira in Spain, while not forbidding marriage, passed the first decree on celibacy for all bishops, priests and those who served at the altar. The Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325 decreed that a priest could not marry after ordination. Pope Siricius in 385, commanded celibacy for bishops, priests and deacons. In 1123, the First Lateran Council forbade clergy to marry and decreed that those who had must dissolve their unions. None of these edicts were decisions by an ecumenical council of all the Christian Churches in Apostolic Succession.
In the United States, most people associate Catholic with Roman Catholic. But the Catholic Church is a communion of "23 churches," each recognizing the leadership of the Pope while maintaining their own distinctitive identities and disciplines. The Latin Church, which is commonly known as the Roman Catholic Church, has a discipline of mandatory priestly celibacy, most of the Eastern Catholic Churches do not.
"Holy Matrimony" - Is offered to those who have been previously married. No Roman Catholic Church Annulment is required. We believe in the sanctity of marriage and thereby do not perform same-sex or civil unions. We define marriage as a holy covenant between a man and a woman. We believe that marriage is a Sacrament, but divorce and remarriage are realities. We do not believe that divorce is the "unforgivable sin," nor do we believe that divorce should bar anyone from the ministry and the Sacraments of the church.
We oppose abortion without question.
We work with mostly 'displaced Catholics,' those who have left the Church for any number of reasons. We are here to serve them when they need a Priest, without question or condition. Ours is a 'Urban/Suburban Missionary Ministry.'
Serving Those in Need
"We are an Independent Catholic Family of Faith"
We in the Old Catholic Church understand that there are many who do not belong to a specific church or denomination, or who feel alienated from a former church that they have belonged, yet are in need of a Priest to perform a Catholic Service, such as a Baptism, Reconciliation, Holy Communion, Marriage, Anointing, Funeral Service, or Home Blessing.
We also understand that not all may be very "religious" and that their needs and requests may differ from the "traditional" Catholic Service. We know that trying to plan for any Service is hard enough without a Priest adding additional requirements or demands. We are flexible and are willing to work with the faithful and to accommodate their individual needs and desires; within the context of Christian worship.
Should the occasion arise when you or a family member are in need of a Priest to perform a Catholic Service, please call and we will be glad to serve those in need.
Please see all the Services available on this site. We are available to serve you by offering Services at your home, a reception or banquet venue, parks or beaches, funeral homes, cemeteries, or other place of your choosing.
All clergy are self-sustaining, not receiving a salary from the church.
Our Church's website is: independentoldcatholicchurch.org
- Reconciliation (Confession / Penance)
- Holy Communion (Eucharist)
- Anointing of the Sick
- Funeral or Memorial Services
- Nursing Home and Hospice Services
- Home Masses
- Home or Business Blessings
Father John Gorecki
Father John Gorecki
I am an ordained priest in the Independent Old Catholic Church. I am ordained with valid Apostolic Succession and I can perform the sacraments.