North American Old Catholic Church

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Bishop Thomas H. Hooker Jr celebrates the Eucharist at St. Mychal Judge Church
An NAOCC bishop celebrates the Eucharist

The North American Old Catholic Church (NAOCC) was a community of 22 independent Catholic churches based in the United States. Although unaffiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, this Old Catholic Church branch of Catholicism described its faith tradition as being "rooted in the early days of Jesus and his teachings on peace, love, justice and equality."


The North American Old Catholic Church was formed in January 2007 in Louisville, Kentucky, as a community of independent Catholic churches, with Archbishop Michael Seneco being elected as the community's first presiding bishop.[1][2] This United States-based organization traced its history to an 1870 movement in the Netherlands that dissented from the Roman Catholic Church largely over the 1869 First Vatican Council doctrine of papal infallibility,[2][3][4] a dogma of the Catholic Church which states that the pope is preserved from the possibility of error in certain circumstances.[5]

In 2009, the group included twenty Old Catholic churches in the United States,[6] with Washington, D.C., Texas, and Maryland each having two parishes, Florida having three, and the rest located in other states.[4] During the 2009 flu pandemic, an influenza virus began to spread on a worldwide scale.[7] To help stop the spread of swine flu, the North American Old Catholic Church issued guidance that shaking hands, hugging, and other bodily contact was prohibited during services.[7]

In August 2010, the presiding bishop officiated at a same-sex marriage service between Robert Crawford, son of Mary and Donald Crawford, and Mark Nielsen, son of Nancy H. Nielsen, at the Long View Art Gallery in Washington, D.C.[8] In October 2011, Glory to God American Catholic Church, located in Ogden, Utah, joined the North American Old Catholic Church, renaming itself Glory to God Old Catholic Church.[2] By joining the community, Glory to God Old Catholic Church became the first church in Utah to be affiliated with the North American Old Catholic Church.[2] In addition, the North American Old Catholic Church received its 21st parish and its then-farthest west affiliate in the United States.[2]

The North American Old Catholic Church was disbanded in 2013. It no longer exists as an ecclesiastical entity.[clarification needed]


  1. ^ Amanda Abrams (October 15, 2012), Progressive Catholics find a home in breakaway group, The Salt Lake Tribune, p. 2, retrieved March 23, 2013 
  2. ^ a b c d e Janae Francis (October 15, 2011), Archbishop visits Ogden church, Standard-Examiner, retrieved March 23, 2013 
  3. ^ Stephen Schwartz (March 18, 1993), Rev. Derek Stewart, San Francisco Chronicle, p. B7 
  4. ^ a b Janae Francis (May 12, 2012), From Around The World, Standard-Examiner, retrieved March 23, 2013 
  5. ^ "infallibility means more than exemption from actual error; it means exemption from the possibility of error", P. J. Toner, Infallibility, Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910
  6. ^ Hattie Bernstein (December 18, 2009), Catholic church eyes Brookline., The Telegraph (Nashua), retrieved March 23, 2013 
  7. ^ a b Madeleine Brindley (August 13, 2009), Churches split on whether swine flu rules out chalice. Parishes strike balance between public safety and normal worship., Western Mail, p. 11, retrieved March 23, 2013 
  8. ^ Robert Crawford, Mark Nielsen, New York Times, August 22, 2010, p. 15, retrieved March 23, 2013 

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