Old Catholic church

Old Catholic church
Any of a group of Western Catholic churches that separated from Rome after the First Vatican Council promulgated the doctrine of papal infallibility (1869–70).

Old Catholic churches in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, and elsewhere joined together in 1889 to form the Union of Utrecht. The Old Catholics accept the Bible, the Apostles' and Nicene creeds, and the seven sacraments. Their chief authority in church government is the conference of bishops. They have long used the vernacular in public worship; confession to a priest is not obligatory, and in some Old Catholic churches the celibacy of the clergy is optional.

* * *


      any of the groups of Western Christians who believe themselves to maintain in complete loyalty the doctrine and traditions of the undivided church but who separated from the see of Rome after the First Vatican council of 1869–70.

      The steady process of centralization in the see of Rome and in the person of the pope, which has marked the later history of the Christian church in the West, has naturally led to recurrent opposition. This has taken a variety of forms—for instance, conciliarism in the 15th century and Jansenism in the 17th. A new wave of opposition was released by the plans for the First Vatican Council and the promulgation of the doctrine of the infallibility of the pope in 1870 (see Vatican Council, First). There was widespread hostility to these plans, the most notable figure being the church historian J.J.I. von Döllinger (Döllinger, Johann Joseph Ignaz von) (q.v.), who was one of the most outstanding Roman Catholic scholars of the period.

      After the council, all the bishops of the opposition one by one gave in their adhesion to the new dogma. Döllinger remained inflexible and in time was excommunicated by name. He himself took no part in forming separatist churches, but it was largely as a result of his advice and guidance that Old Catholic churches came into being in a number of countries—Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and elsewhere. As no bishop had joined any of these groups, recourse was had to the Jansenist church in Holland (Old Catholic Church of The Netherlands), which had maintained a somewhat precarious existence in separation from Rome since the 18th century but had preserved an episcopal succession recognized by Rome as valid though irregular.

      The first consecration of the new order was that of Joseph H. Reinkens, who was made bishop in Germany by a sympathetic bishop of the Jansenist Church of Holland, Bishop Heykamp of Deventer, on Aug. 11, 1873. Rather later and for similar reasons, though with a certain national emphasis, the Polish National Catholic Church (Polish National Catholic Church of America) came into being in the United States and Canada. The episcopal succession was transmitted to this church in 1897 by Bishop E. Herzog of Switzerland.

      In 1889 the Union of Utrecht was formed, and the declaration of Utrecht, issued in that year by the Old Catholic bishops, is the charter of Old Catholic doctrine and polity. Adherents to this union are the Old Catholic Church of The Netherlands, the Old Catholic Church of Germany, the Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland, the Old Catholic Church of Austria, and the Polish National Catholic Church (largely Polish-American in membership). The Old Catholic churches in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia suffered severely during and after World War II. The name “Old Catholic” is sometimes used of other small sects directed by episcopi vagantes (see episcopus vagans), or unrecognized bishops (bishop); but this is an inaccuracy.

      The chief authority in the Old Catholic churches is the conference of bishops. The archbishop of Utrecht exercises a kind of honorary primacy. Each diocese has its synod, with full participation of both clergy and laity in every aspect of the life of the church, including the election of bishops.

Theological position
      Döllinger at the start laid down the vocation of the Old Catholic churches in three propositions: (1) “to bear witness for the truth and against new-fangled errors, especially the disastrous and arbitrary development of new articles of the faith; (2) gradually to bring into being a Church which will be more closely conformed to the ancient undivided Church; (3) to serve as an instrument for a future great reunion of separated Christians and Churches.”

      Taking these principles as their basis, the Old Catholics deny that they teach anything which is contrary to the doctrine and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. They accept the Scriptures, the Apostles' and Nicene creeds, and the dogmatic decisions of the first seven ecumenical councils. They uphold the conciliar basis of the church and accord a high place to tradition. They accept seven sacraments as of permanent obligation in the life of the church. The episcopate is accepted as a gift given by God to the church, in which all Catholic bishops share equally, having been admitted thereto by bishops who themselves stand in unbroken historical succession from the time of the Apostles.

      Nevertheless, many differences in practice separate Old Catholics from Roman Catholics. By adopting in all countries the use of the vernacular in public worship, the Old Catholics accepted what at the time was regarded as one of the fundamental principles of the Protestant Reformation. Confession to God in the presence of a priest is not obligatory, and celibacy of the clergy was made optional in some Old Catholic churches.

Ecumenical relationships
      The third of Döllinger's principles pledged the Old Catholics from the start to work persistently for Christian union. This was stressed at the first Bonn conference on Christian union, held in 1874, and was repeated at all the international Old Catholic congresses, held at intervals of roughly five years. The Internationale Kirchliche Zeitschrift (founded in 1893 as the Internationale Theologische Zeitschrift) renders unique service as a reliable and unprejudiced sourcebook on interchurch relationships throughout the world. In 1931, by the agreement of Bonn, full intercommunion was established between the Church of England and the Old Catholic churches; this was followed in 1946 by a similar agreement between the Polish National Catholic Church and the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. Most of the Anglican churches have accepted these agreements; through mutual participation in episcopal consecrations, rather more than half the Anglican episcopate in the world has the Old Catholic as well as the Anglican episcopal succession. Under the papacy of John Paul II, high-level ecumenical discussions took place, especially with the Polish National Catholic Church.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Old Catholic Church — Old Catholic parish church in Gablonz an der Neiße, Austria Hungary (now Jablonec nad Nisou, Czech Republic). A considerable number of ethnic German Catholics supported Döllinger in his rejection of the dogma of papal infallibility …   Wikipedia

  • Old Catholic Church of America — Founder Bishop Paul Francis Cope Date Founded 1925 Recognition Holy Orders and Sacraments recognized as valid by Pope Benedict XVI Primate Presiding Bishop Henry Pleau, DD Headquarters …   Wikipedia

  • Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands — See the article on Ultrajectinism for a more detailed description of historical and theological events. The Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands; Dutch: Oud Katholieke Kerk van Nederland, is the mother church related to the Old Catholic… …   Wikipedia

  • Old Catholic Church in Europe — The Old Catholic Church in Europe or OCCE is a traditionalist Church in the Old Roman Catholic tradition, based in the United Kingdom. The denomination is also known as the Old Roman Catholic Church in Europe . The OCCE is a Eucharistic community …   Wikipedia

  • Old Catholic Church in Italy — The Old Catholic Church in Italy is the Italian member church of the Union of Utrecht, which is in full communion with the Anglican Communion (so that members of both communions are permitted to receive the sacraments in one another s churches).… …   Wikipedia

  • Old Catholic Church of Austria — The Old Catholic Church of Austria is the Austrian member church of the Old Catholic Churches Union of Utrecht. It was nationally recognized in 1877, despite objections of the imperial dynasty and the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the formally pro… …   Wikipedia

  • Old Catholic Church of the Czech Republic — The Old Catholic Church of the Czech Republic[1] consists of the Czech parishes in full communion with the Union of Utrecht of the Old Catholic Churches. The Church is also a member of the National Ecumenical Council, World Council of Churches… …   Wikipedia

  • Old Catholic Church of The Netherlands — ▪ Dutch Catholic church also called  Jansenist Church Of Holland,  Dutch  Oud katholieke Kerk Van Nederland,         small, independent Roman Catholic church in The Netherlands (Netherlands, The) that dates from the early 18th century. A schism… …   Universalium

  • Old Catholic Church in Sweden and Denmark — The Old Catholic Church in Sweden is the Swedish member church of the Union of Utrecht. Old Catholic Church The Old Catholic Church in Sweden has been the Swedish member church of the Union of Utrecht since 1976,citation required which is in full …   Wikipedia

  • Old Catholic Church of America — Die Old Catholic Church of America (Altkatholische Kirche von Amerika) ist eine autokephale altkatholische Kirche, die in den Vereinigten Staaten 1925 von Bischof Paul Francis Cope gegründet wurde. Erzbischöfe der Old Catholic Church of America… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”