What is Old Catholic?

As with every major feast of the church, I have received a number of phone calls asking about Mass times. They always ask what the difference is between Old Catholic and Roman Catholic. So I thought I would dedicate this week’s posting to discussing those differences.

What are the major differences between Old Catholic and Roman Catholic?

The major differences between our churches are in how we live our faith. For example, we allow our clergy to get married and have families. Our church ordains women to the all ranks of the clergy. We welcome LGBT individuals to participate fully in the life of the church, including seeking Holy Orders if they feel called to the priesthood or diaconate. Our churches practice an open communion which means that anyone can receive communion at our Mass. If you have been divorced, you too can receive communion.

Are you under the Pope?

No. While we respect the Bishop of Rome (often called the Pope), we are not under his authority. Old Catholics were granted autonomy from Rome in 1122. As such, we are a separate Catholic church with our own unique history.

Since you are not under the Pope, how can you still be Catholic?

That is a very good question! The term Catholic means universal. All Catholic churches hold to several universal truths that make them Catholic. One of those truths is the Holy Eucharist. All Catholic Churches participate in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in one way or another. They have a defined leadership of clergy in Apostolic Succession. This means they can trace their linage of Bishops all the way back to the early church. And all Catholic Churches uphold the one of the three major creeds of faith: the Nicene, Apostles, or Athanasian Creeds. As Old Catholics we hold all three of these major points!

What is your liturgy like?

If you have ever gone to a Roman Catholic or Episcopalian church for Mass, you will find that our liturgy is very familiar. Our liturgy has many of the same elements that those liturgies have.

At Saint Francis Old Catholic Church we strive to practice radical love. We welcome everyone and turn no one away from our church. It is our hope that you will find a home where you can be you. And along the way, we hope that you will find a deeper connection to the Divine.

So won’t you join us and experience a different way to be Catholic?