Italian Old–Catholic Church

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The Italian Old–Catholic Church (or Ancient Rite Catholic Church or Pan–Christian Church) is heir to the various historical attempts – sometimes linked to political movements – to create an Italian national church separate from Rome.

The church started with the events in Naples in 1808 under the Pugliese bishop Domenico Forges Davanzati (1742–1810) who, on his return from exile in France, founded the Magistero Catechetico Civile Laicale (Lay–Civil Catechetic Magisterium). In 1862 this group joined the Proto–Catholic Association (at that time with about 7000 members) which then evolved, on 25 January 1882, into the Chiesa Cattolica Nazionale Italiana (Italian National Catholic Church), following the First Vatican Council and the Old Catholic Church (Utrecht Union) separations.

Other precursors of the Italian Old–Catholic Church include Filippo Cicchitti Suriani (1861–1944) who founded, in Milan, the Old Catholic Centre and established contact with the Swiss branch of the Utrecht Union (Old Catholics). Another key element in the foundation of the movement is the Pan–Christian theology of Ugo Janni (1865–1938).

Upon the death of Cicchitti Suriani, the role of director of the Old Catholic Centre in Milan passed to Mario De Conca (1901–1970) with, from 1966, Father Luigi M. Caroppo (a Servite friar) who succeeded De Conca as director in 1970. After renaming the movement the Italian Christian Catholic Community (later Mission) in 1970 the community was recognized as a mission of the Utrecht Union. The relationship with the Old Catholics of Utrecht lasted nearly 30 years until disagreements over the introduction of the ordination of women and other theological questions caused a separation in 1997 when the current name of Italian Old–Catholic Church – Italian Christian Catholic Mission was adopted. The Utrecht Union, for its part, has since established a new mission in the north of Italy under its jurisdiction. The Italian Old–Catholic Church has its prioral see in Rome.

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