Archdiocese of the Old Catholic Church of America
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (June 2008)|
|Archdiocese of the Old Catholic Church of America|
|Founder||Francis Xavier Resch|
|Separated from||North American Old Roman Catholic Church|
|Members||2,300 (as of 1984)|
The Archdiocese of the Old Catholic Church in America is an Old Catholic Christian denomination founded in 1941 by Francis Xavier Resch. It is not a member of, or in full communion with, the Union of Utrecht of the Old Catholic Churches.
Resch separated from the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, after being made a bishop of that church by its leader Carmel Henry Carfora. He started his own church, the Diocese of Kankakee, which was centered around the site of his parish in Kankakee, Illinois. The new church quickly grew to establish other parishes in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. These parishes, largely consisting of first generation immigrants from Eastern Europe, became inactive as the children of the congregants adjusted to life in America.
In 1963, Resch made Walter X. Brown a bishop. Brown would later succeed Resch as the archbishop of the church. He was responsible for moving the church's headquarters to Milwaukee, where it now has a seminary and maintains a number of charitable organizations. It also maintains a monastery in the Franciscan tradition in Chicago, and two monastic communities in Milwaukee, one following the Eastern tradition and one following the Western tradition.
The Archdiocese accepts the traditions of Christianity as transmitted by the seven ecumenical councils through the Second Council of Nicaea and the Church Fathers. It practices the seven sacraments, and their official statement of faith, the Statement of Faith of the Old Catholic Church in America, closely resembles the Nicene Creed. The church has also taken a stand on nuclear disarmament, stating that all Christians must be committed to nuclear disarmament, whether multilateral or unilateral. The church opposes abortion and euthanasia, and has stated that the civil laws regarding these matters may not be as effective as they appear to be.
In 1984, the church reported total membership of 2300 in 14 congregations with 26 clergy. It has churches in Dallas and Brownsville, Texas; Erie, Pennsylvania; Chicago; Racine, Madison, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Brooklyn, New York; and Ottawa. It has affiliated branches operating in Germany, Belgium, and England.
- Melton, J. Gordon. The Encyclopedia of American Religions (2nd ed.). Detroit: Gale Research Company. ISBN 0-8103-2133-5.