Old Roman Catholic Church in Europe

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ORCCE coat of arms.jpg
Classification Breakaway Catholic
Polity Episcopal
Leader Jerome Lloyd OSJV
Region Europe
Founder Arnold Harris Mathew
Origin 29 December 1910
Separated from Old Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church

The Old Roman Catholic Church Latin Rite in Europe (ORCCLRE), also known as the Old Roman Catholic Church Latin Rite in Europe, is a church operating as a communion of local churches in the Old Roman Catholic/Ultrajectine tradition in Europe, headquartered in the United Kingdom.

The ORCCE regards itself as a Catholic church of the Western tradition following the Roman Rite.[1] It has fellowship with other ecclesiastical bodies internationally through inter-communion agreements and international ecumenical bodies;[2] the World Council of Churches through the International Council of Community Churches) and is related through Apostolic Succession to the Old Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

The apostolic succession of the church is Old Catholic via Arnold Harris Mathew and historically traces its lineage back to Roman Catholic bishops. Roman Catholic commentators and the 1983 Code of Canon Law have written that sacraments administered by Old Catholics are sacramentally valid[3] and Roman Catholics may fulfill their Holy Day of Obligation by attending Mass celebrated by an Old Roman Catholic priest if unable to attend a Roman Catholic Mass.[4] The Roman Catholic Church teaches, "The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches" in the 2000 declaration, Dominus Iesus, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This speaks primarily to the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, but also to "separated churches in the West", which is understood to be a reference to Old Catholics.[5]


Old Catholic theology views the Eucharist as the core of the Church. From that perspective the Church is a community of believers. All are in communion with one another around the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the highest expression of the love of God. Therefore, the celebration of the Eucharist is considered the experience of Christ's triumph over sin and that the defeat of sin consists in bringing together that which is divided.[6]

It is believed that, through communion, differences between people are reconciled and that which was scattered is brought together. In Old Catholic theology “Church” means reconciliation. “Church” means the restoration of broken relations between God and humanity and humanity with each other. The ORCCE holds exactly the same understanding of ecclesiology as the Eastern Orthodox; from the Orthodox perspective, the Church is one even though it is manifested in many places. Orthodox ecclesiology operates with a plurality in unity and a unity in plurality. For Orthodoxy there is no "either" / "or" between the one and the many. No attempt is made to subordinate the many to the one (the Roman Catholic model), nor the one to the many (the Protestant model). It is considered as both canonically and theologically correct to speak of the Church and the churches, and vice versa.[7] Thus, within the ORCCE individual local churches retain their autonomy in self-governance, but subscribe to the same basic understanding of the Church and of the faith as a communion expressing "one Church".

The ORCCLR believes in unity in diversity. As a result, some diversity of belief and practice is to be found among its churches than is characteristic of the Roman Catholic Church or the Eastern Orthodox churches. For example, some of the churches hold to the Roman dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception, others regard it as a doctrine worthy of pious belief but not necessary to believe for salvation and may hold to an Orthodox understanding of the nature of Mary; but all member churches commemorate the Feast of the Conception whether as a holyday of obligation or not. Old Roman Catholics often refer to the Church Father St. Vincent of Lerins and his saying: "We must hold fast to that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all the Faithful"[8] as a basis for discerning and as an arbitrary tool in defining, faith and praxis. For this reason the ORCCE does not ordain women to the Sacred Ministry nor does it condone same-gender marriage and in various other ways is differentiated from the contemporary praxis and teaching of the Utrecht Union.


The mission of the church:[9]

  1. Theological Reform: to preserve and continue the orthodox Catholic Faith according to the principles found in Scripture, Tradition and Reason. "Real theological reform should consist in communicating to all men the teachings of Jesus Christ, as they are collected in the Scriptures and recorded in the universal tradition of the Church - a tradition, which also belongs to all the members of the Church. It is the duty of pastors and scholars to explain them, and it is the duty of each member to study the explanation, which appear to them wisest and most useful."
  2. Ecclesiastical Reform: Old Roman Catholics are engaged in restoring the true conceptions of pastor, bishop, synod, council, ecclesiastical authority, and even infallibility according to ancient traditions. "The Church has been called from its very beginning a simple 'church' and it has been regarded in its universality, since the time when the question of universality arose, as a Christian 'republic'. The episcopal see of Rome was not long in attaining a certain priority. Rome being the capital of the empire; but it was merely a priority of honour, and not of jurisdiction."
  3. Union of the Christian Churches: A better understanding generally has already been reached as to the respects in which the Christian Churches ought to be one, and those in which they ought to remain distinct and all. "When all are one in loving one another, in working together for the social well-being, in banishing from their theology every trace of anthropomorphism and politics, in becoming more spiritually-minded after the pattern of Christ, and in establishing the reign of God in every individual conscience, then the union in question will be very near being declared."



The Old Roman Catholic Church was founded by Arnold Harris Mathew, Old Catholic Church bishop for England, on 29 December 1910. A former Roman Catholic, he was ordained priest in 1877 in Glasgow Roman Catholic Pro-Cathedral by the Most Revd Charles Eyre, Archbishop of Anazarba in partibus infidelium, Vicar-General of the Western District of Scotland, who became the first Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow after the restoration of the hierarchy to Scotland. Fr Mathew was granted a degree of Doctor of Divinity by Pope Pius IX. He remained a Roman Catholic priest until, in 1889, various personal doubts and issues caused him to retire from the Roman obedience. Later in 1891 he was persuaded to "trial" the Anglican ministry and went to assist the rector of Holy Trinity, Sloane St, London. He was never officially received into the Church of England, neither did he formally leave the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1897, Fr Mathew had met the Revd Richard O'Halloran[10] and became curious about the suggestion of an Old Catholic Church in Great Britain. O'Halloran had been corresponding with the Old Catholic bishops in the Netherlands and Germany and believed that such a movement would interest a large number of disaffected Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholics. In June 1906 the Royal Commission appointed in 1904 to inquire into "ecclesiastical disorders", afterwards known as the Ritual Commission,[11] presented its report and this was followed by the issue of Letters of Business. It was expected that the Catholic-minded Anglican clergy,[12] with their congregations, might, by Act of Parliament, be forced out of the Anglican Communion. Persuaded by O'Halloran, Mathew decided to join the movement and was elected the first Regionary Old Catholic Bishop for Great Britain and in 1908 the Old Roman Catholic Archbishop of Utrecht was petitioned to consecrate him to this charge.

On 28 April 1908, in St Gertrude's Cathedral, Utrecht, Arnold Harris Mathew was consecrated Regionary Old Catholic Bishop for Great Britain and Ireland at the hands of Mgr Gerardus Gul, Archbishop of Utrecht, assisted by Mgr James John van Thiel, Bishop of Haarlem, Mgr Nicholas Bartholomew Peter Spit, Bishop of Deventer and Mgr Joseph Demmel, Bishop of Bonn.

Bishop Mathew's election was to some extent, a precautionary endeavour by those anticipating a precipitous action of the Government regarding the Ritual Commission's findings, there were only a small number of Old Catholics in England. However, the Kings Letters of Business dealing with the Report of the Ritual Commission received no further attention as other important issues, including questions of tariff reform, claimed the immediate attention of the Government and no action was taken. The result being that those who had taken part in Bishop Mathews' election were able to remain within the Anglican Communion. Unprepared for the position in which he then found himself, Mathews disclosed the matter fully before the Dutch bishops who, with the Old Catholic bishops held an inquiry into the circumstances. Bishop Mathew was subsequently publicly exonerated from all suggestion of misrepresentation in a letter to The Guardian of 3 June 1908, the bishops also refused his request to retire and insisted he continue with the original mission.[13]

In 1909, Mathew issued The Old Catholic Missal & Ritual,[14] for the use of English-speaking Old Catholics with the imprimatur of Mgr Gerardus Gul, Archbishop of Utrecht. In September 1909, Bishop Mathew attended the Old Catholic Congress in Vienna, where he expressed his sympathy with the conservative position of the Dutch Old Catholics opposing the innovations being introduced among the German and Swiss Old Catholics to accept the decrees of the Holy Synod of Jerusalem (1672) and to renounce the Sacrament of Penance (auricular confession), the Invocation of the Saints and alterations in the liturgy, including the omission of the Pope's name from the Canon of the Mass. Mathew expressed fears that the trend of Continental Old Catholicism was towards Modernism, perhaps because of the growing association with Anglicans and Lutherans, and hoped for a return to the orthodox principles of the Church of Utrecht. At Utrecht, in October 1910, he assisted at the consecration of Michael John Maria Kowalski as Archbishop of the Old Catholic Church of the Mariavites of Poland.

Eventually, with the support of his clergy, on 29 December 1910, Bishop Mathew issued a pastoral letter entitled "A Declaration Of Autonomy And Independence"[15] from the Union of Utrecht Churches. This necessitated then the continuation of the Apostolic Succession for the survival of the "old" Roman Catholic faith and so on 7 January 1911, Mathew consecrated Archdeacon Francis Herbert Bacon, Canon Cuthbert Francis Hinton, Fr William Edmond Scott-Hall and Fr Frederick Clement Christie Egerton to the episcopate. An episcopal synod then followed and Bishop Mathew was unanimously elected Old Roman Catholic Archbishop of Great Britain and Ireland. In February 1911 in response and arguably in recognition of the validity of the consecrations, Pope Pius X formally excommunicated Archbishop Mathew for having consecrated bishops without permission of the Holy See (which permission the Dutch Church was granted freedom from by previous Papal Bulls).[16]

Archbishop Mathew had been in contact with people interested in extending the presence of the Eastern Orthodox Church to Western Europe. On 5 August 1911, at a conference in Bredon's Norton, Worcestershire attended by Archbishop Gerassimos Messarra, Archbishop of Beirut, Legate of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Archbishop Mathew and others. After a long and full discussion the faith of the Old Roman Catholic Church under Archbishop Mathew was considered in full accord with that of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Archbishop Mathew was then solemnly received by Mgr Messarra on behalf of Gregory IV (Haddad) and the Old Roman Catholic Church into union with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch as an autocephalous jurisdiction of the Holy Synod and on 26 February 1912, Photius, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria, also accepted this union.[1] As this status has never been formally withdrawn or repudiated, it may be reasonably argued that Old Roman Catholic bishops are not in fact episcopi vagantes (an oft used term of disparagement by critics) but bishops of a canonically autocephalous church in communion with two historical patriarchal sees of the ancient undivided Church [see Ecumenical Relations below].

In 1914, the previous bishops having left the church for various reasons, Bishop Mathew elected Bishop Rudolph Francis Edward Hamilton de Lorraine-Brabant, Prince de Landas Berges, to continue the succession and initially to establish the ministry of the Old Roman Catholic Church in Scotland and then later in the United States. Shortly thereafter, Father Carmel Henry Carfora, an Italian Franciscan friar who had left the Roman Catholic Church, was elected to succeed Bishop de Landes Berghes as Archbishop of the Old Roman Catholic Diocese of America. Because of the move to America of Bishop de Landas Berghes, to safeguard the succession once more, Canon Bernard Mary Williams was consecrated by Archbishop Mathew on 14 April 1916. On 25 March 1917 Mathew appointed Bishop Williams as his successor and on 20 December 1919 he died at South Mymms, Hertfordshire where he had retired.

Being now the only active Old Catholic bishop in Great Britain, Mgr Williams considered the question of safeguarding the succession. Being unwilling to see any repetition of the scandals of the past (the consecrations of undisclosed Theosophists resulting in the Liberal Catholic Church), he arrived at a mutual understanding with Mgr Carfora, who had succeeded Archbishop de Landas as Archbishop of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, that, should either die without leaving a successor, the survivor would consecrate a duly elected person to fill the vacancy.[13] Following Archbishop Carfora's death in 1958, the North American Old Roman Catholic Church evolved into five autonomous but cooperating ecclesiastic bodies, one of which is the Old Roman Catholic Church Latin Rite.

In 1925 Mgr Williams issued a new constitution which repudiated the whole historical and doctrinal position of Old Roman Catholicism, the very position upon which Archbishop Mathew had stood firm. By this constitution, he repudiated the objections[17] of the Church of Utrecht to the Roman Church and renewed his acceptance of the canons and decrees of the council of Trent, all with the aim of creating a pro-Roman rite and eventual reconciliation with the Church of Rome. Archbishop Bernard Mary Williams died on 9 June 1952 leaving no successor.

Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain[edit]

Three priests had remained loyal to Mgr Williams and continued to maintain the Old Roman Catholic Church. They chose a former priest of Archbishop Mathew, Gerard George Shelley, who had gone to America, where he was consecrated by Bishop Marchenna - who himself had been consecrated by Archbishop Carfora - to succeed Mgr Williams. Bishop Shelley became resident in Rome and so was able to succeed Mgr Williams as third Archbishop of the Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain. On Whit Sunday, 1960, Mgr Shelley consecrated Mgr Geoffrey Peter Paget King, as coadjutor bishop for England of the Old Roman Catholic Church, and he succeeded as fourth archbishop upon the death of Mgr Shelley. Archbishop Paget King retired in 1982 and was succeeded by Archbishop James Charles Hedley Thatcher as fifth Archbishop. Upon his retirement he was succeeded by Archbishop Denis St Pierre as sixth archbishop and, following his death in 1993, the Most Reverend Douglas Titus Lewins succeeded as seventh Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain.[13] However, in 1998, Archbishop Lewins was reconciled with the Roman Catholic Church, under the authority of the then Cardinal Josef Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) and served for a time as an assistant in a parish of the Diocese of Brentwood.[18]

Old Roman Catholic Church Latin Rite in Europe[edit]

In the late 1990s a new group of mainly disaffected Anglo-Catholic clergy and laity, disappointed with the then small growth of the Continuing Anglican movement in Great Britain and ignorant of pre-existing orthodox Old Roman Catholic presence in the United Kingdom, approached the Old Catholic Church of the United States (OCCUSA) under the primacy of Archbishop Robert Gubala, petitioning for the creation of a missionary province to re-establish an orthodox Old Catholic presence in the United Kingdom (the OCCUSA being derived from one of the five autonomous dioceses created after the death of Carfora). After the consecration of its first bishop in 2000, the English Catholic Church (ECC) became an autonomous church from the OCCUSA while still retaining communion with it. After a few difficult years of internal struggles, mainly caused by some confusion in ideaologies and personality clashes between the founding members, the ECC eventually gained some internal stability in 2006 and after discussion with other orthodox Old/Independent Catholic bishops on the Continent, changed its name to the Old Catholic Church in Europe (OCCE) with a view to unify disaffected Old Catholics of the Utrecht Union.

Gradually attracting a number of disaffected former Roman Catholics as well as Anglo-Catholics, and desiring to reflect its adherence to the faith and tradition of Archbishop Mathew, in 2009 the OCCE became the Old Roman Catholic Church in Europe and on 5 December 2011 was received into full communion with the Old Roman Catholic Church Latin Rite, one of the original five jurisdictions founded after Carfora's death.[19] Thus, it may be said, that the missionary endeavour of Archbishop de Landes Berghes came full circle through Archbishop Carfora's descendents in Archbishop Shelley and later Archbishop Grosvold.


On 14 August 2012, the Vigil of the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God (Assumption), the two leading prelates of canonical Old Roman Catholicism in the United Kingdom, Archbishops Douglas Lewins of the ORCC/GB and Jerome Lloyd OSJV of the ORCCE/LR, met informally for prayer and discussion. Representing two branches of Old Roman Catholicism of Matthew and Carfora descent respectively in the United Kingdom, the archbishops discussed ways in which a more structured and united presentation of the Old Roman Catholic faith and tradition could be effected. The archbishops agreed at this meeting the mutual recognition of their common inheritance and declared their intention to create closer ties between their respective jurisdictions, hopefully setting a model of partnership and co-operation for Old Roman Catholic unity globally.

On 29 November 2012, the Vigil of the Feast of St Andrew, Archbishops Lewins and Lloyd signed the "Walsingham Declaration" intercommunion agreement and the foundation document of the Old Roman Catholic Council of Europe.

Sacramental validity[edit]

There are various incidences where Old Roman Catholic orders derived from Arnold Harris Mathew have been affirmed by theologians, canonists and even representatives of the Holy See.

According to supporters, the consecration of Hiram Hulse indicates that the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA regarded the Mathew line as being not only valid but even desirable. On 12 January 1915, in New York City, Hiram Hulse was consecrated as a bishop in Cuba for the Protestant Episcopal Church assisted by Bishop de Landes Berghes in the Mathew line. This indicates that there were no apparent perceived problems in relation to valid holy orders in the early 20th century. The orders of De Landes Berghes, consecrated after Mathew left the Union of Utrecht, were apparently viewed by his contemporaries as valid despite any adverse comments from Utrecht.

Archbishop Frederick Linale of the Old Roman Catholic Church Great Britain,[20] third in succession from Archbishop Carfora (via Richard Arthur Marchenna and George Gerard Shelley) sought and obtained a declaration from Rome confirming the validity of his orders, firstly in 1962.[21] Then on 1/9/1982, Archbishop Romolo Carboni,[22] the Apostolic Nuncio to Italy, wrote to the Cardinal Prefect of the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church, [document 1490/82], asking him to look into the Apostolic Succession of Mgr Linale. This task was given to Mgr Annibale Ilari, who had access to the Vatican Archives. In his written report to the Cardinal Prefect, dated 8/2/83, Mgr Ilari ended with the conclusion:

I have attached a brief scheme of succession which ties Mgr Linale to the Supreme Pontiffs Benedict XIII, Benedict XIV and Pius IX, with the aim of assuring him that his lineage truly links him to the See of Peter.

The Old Catholic Church of British Columbia, whose orders also derive from Mathew through Ernest W. Jackson like the ORCC Latin Rite, was for a brief time a probationary member of the International Bishops' Conference (IBC) of the Union of Utrecht;[23] the union accepted the validity of their orders. An investigation by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec, in a public apology made for having maligned Fr. Claude Lacroix, asserted the validity of the Old Catholic Church BC's holy orders, "Father Lacroix is actually a validly ordained priest" and "Similarly, certificates of baptism given out by the Old Catholic Church of B.C. may be accepted for the inscription of children to First Communion and Confirmation program."[24]

In 2002, Cardinal Gagnon[25] was invited to investigate documentation relating to the episcopal orders received by Bishop Andre Letellier, with a view to commenting on the validity of his consecration. Letellier was consecrated on 23 May 1968 by the late Archbishop Andre Leon Zotique Barbeau of the Catholic Charismatic Church of Canada. Archbishop Barbeau had in turn been consecrated by Archbishop Charles (Ignatius Carolus) Brearley,[26] an English Old Catholic bishop based in Sheffield, United Kingdom.

Cardinal Gagnon's statement in part reads: "nothing allows me to doubt the validity of episcopal ordination of Mgr André Letellier by Archbishop André Barbeau and that of Archbishop Barbeau by Archbishop Ignatius Charles Brearley, Primate of the Church of the "Old Catholics" having its seat in England. The ordinations of the "Old Catholics" are generally considered to be the same as those of Orthodox bishops."[27]

Despite critics, there is incontrovertible evidence that the Apostolic Succession of Mathew originating from the See of Utrecht, has been consistently considered valid by Vatican officials and Roman Catholic canon lawyers and theologians,[3] irrespective of the excommunication of Mathew by Pius X [see above]. But in all such cases it has been assumed that orthodox praxis and intention has been concurrent with each ordination/consecration and the cases of particular affirmation have only been of individuals known to be conservative in Catholic doctrine. In all above cases too, only the Pontificale Romanum has been used for the Rite of Consecration, other liturgies are not therefore affirmed. It certainly cannot be assumed that the arguments and affirmations detailed here are in any way applicable "across the board" to other groups "outside" the Old Roman Catholic tradition, most especially those whose teachings are not consistent with orthodox and conservative Catholic doctrine. Similarly, though the canonical principles above may be applied to other scenarios, the conclusions rely inherently on orthodox Catholic praxis and would not apply to those demonstrably apostate or heretical by comparison to traditional Catholic doctrine.

It is generally suggested that Roman Catholics may fulfill their Holy Day of Obligation by attending Mass celebrated by an Old Roman Catholic priest if unable to attend a Roman Catholic Mass.[28] The Roman Catholic Church teaches, "The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches" in the 2000 declaration, Dominus Iesus, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This speaks primarily to the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, but also to "separated churches in the West", which is understood to be a reference to Old Roman Catholics.[5]

Ecumenical relations[edit]

The ORCCE does not regard itself as the sole expression of traditional Old Roman Catholicism in Western Europe and has relations and dialogue with similar traditionalist Old Catholic and Independent Catholic jurisdictions internationally. The ORCCE is in full communion with the Old Roman Catholic Church - Latin Rite which has a presence in North and South America, Africa and Asia and is regarded as the representative presence of that church in Europe.

The Old Roman Catholic Church in Europe has been approached by some traditional Anglican individuals and bodies, both within and without the Anglican Communion, seeking cordial relations. The ORCCE sees no immediate objections to the formulation of relations with traditionalist Anglo-Catholics in this way and welcomes such enquiries.

Remaining true to the stance of the Declaration of Utrecht, the ORCCE feels that the possibility of reunion with the Holy See would require discussion and agreement on the understanding and practice of the Petrine Ministry necessarily different from that promulgated as dogma by the Roman Church during the First Vatican Council. Since August 2008, through the umbrella body of the International College of CANC Bishops, the ORCCE has been in dialogoue with the Holy See through the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. At present there is no known Old Roman Catholic petition to the Holy See for a canonical solution similar to that of Anglicanorum coetibus offered for Anglicans despite an historical ORC concept of becoming a Pro-Uniate Rite.

The ORCCLR has also been following with interest the development of the Union of Scranton currently consisting of the Nordic Catholic Church and the Polish National Catholic Church for Old Catholic churches disaffected with the Utrecht Union. The theological framework upon which the Union of Scranton is based is being reviewed by the ORCCE hierarchy. However, the historical theological differences that developed between Old Catholicism (Utrecht Union) and Old Roman Catholicism (Mathew) and which became visible in 1910 may provide some issues.

The hierarchy of the ORCCE hopes, after achieving a wider and more cohesive consensus of feeling and desire amongst other Old Roman Catholic jurisdictions, to approach the Orthodox Patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria for clarification and praxis regarding the existing intercommunion agreement extant since 1911 that has never been formally retracted by either party.[2]

The ORCCLR prays for the day when such discussions and agreements can be made that Christ's Church may be united once more on earth and to this end actively encourages its member congregations to participate in ecumenical activities and partnerships both at the local and where possible, national level in their respective countries. At the international level the ORCCE enjoys membership of the World Council of Churches through the International Council of Community Churches.

Current state[edit]

Members of the ORCCE clergy believe that there is a role for a "niche chaplaincy" which meets the needs of smaller groups of people who are neglected in their churches of origin. Those who wish for the Latin Mass i.e. the Tridentine Mass in Latin or in the vernacular may be accommodated without problem.

Beauty in worship
The lack of funding available to Old Roman Catholic churches means that the ORCCE has few church buildings and this is true of many denominations. A lack of resources is considered a problem by Old Roman Catholic clergy when larger groups wish to gather although it does lead to positive partnership working arrangements with other Christian groups and community organizations. The positive feature of such innovative partnerships is that resources are not wasted and clergy assert that sharing resources creates a linkage of people with ministry.
Religious services
Services are often held in a private house reflecting the house churches of ancient Rome. However, wherever possible, public spaces e.g. places of worship belonging to other denominations, may often be used. The ORCCE Mission based in Brighton, Sussex broadcasts Masses daily over the internet for those unable to attend a service physically i.e. in person whether through disability, immobility or circumstance e.g. distance from nearest Mass centre or working hours. The ORCCE predominantly uses the Gregorian Rite, often referred to as the Tridentine Rite, for the occasional offices as well as the 1570 Breviary and Mass with pre-1955 rubrics e.g. the traditional Rites of Holy Week without the alterations instituted by Pius XII.
The bishops and priests sometimes travel considerable distances to bring worship to small groups. Whilst time consuming and personally exhausting for individual clergy, this ministry demonstrates a real need for a responsive chaplaincy and reflects needs that are not being met by mainstream denominations.
Despite a lack of state funding and prejudice from the more established denominations, the missions of the ORCCE continue to grow slowly over time. The missions of the ORCCE have brought the Gospel to people from very different backgrounds.
Priests and bishops within the ORCCE express their commitment to a real ministry and a ministry working with real people. Clergy have collectively asserted that they will not have relations with those who believe that a solely internet-based ministry is adequate or appropriate as a means of knowing the Risen Christ.
The ORCCE is in full communion with the Old Roman Catholic Church - Latin Rite which has a presence in North and South America, Africa and Asia. There is an intercommunion agreement in place between the Catholic Apostolic National Churches in the United States, Columbia, Philippines, Argentina and Zambia. Since August 2008, through the umbrella body of the International College of CANC Bishops, the ORCCE has been in dialogoue with the Holy See through the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.


College of Bishops[edit]


  • The Mt Revd Msgr Jerome Lloyd OSJV, Metropolitan of Europe (UK) Archidioecesis Britannia
  • The Mt Revd Msgr Martin Charlesworth, Auxiliary (UK) Provincia Europa
  • The Mt Revd Msgr Jonas Maria Röggla, Auxiliary (Italy) Provincia Europa
  • The Rt Revd Msgr Pio Dilsen Guven VG, Bishop-Elect (Turkey) Dioecesis Anatolia


  • The Mt Revd Boniface Grosvold, ORCC-LR Primate
  • The Mt Revd Omar Rojas Gonzalez, South America
  • The Mt Revd John Marochi, South Eastern USA
  • The Mt Revd Denis Waterbury, American Midwest
  • The Mt Revd Jean Marie Denis Ngodobo, Cameroon
  • The Mt Revd Pius Corley OSB, South Central USA
  • The Mt Revd Patrick F. Dunleavy, Canada
  • The Mt Revd Hector M. Rojas, Auxiliary Colombia
  • The Mt Revd Martin W. Obam Amvella, Auxiliary Cameroon
  • The Mt Revd Mario Champagne, Canada
  • The Mt Revd Terrence Herrera-LaFavre, California, USA
  • The Mt Revd Michael Parrish VG, Auxiliary Diocese of California, USA
  • The Mt Revd David Fucci OFM Conv. Ordinary Military Vicariate USA
  • The Mt.Rev.Dr.John SDR Nakka, Arch Bishop :


  • The Rt Revd Msgr Stephen Porter
  • The Rt Revd Msgr Joseph (Ericjon) Thomas VG

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b p.23 "A summary of the history, faith, discipline and aims of the Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain" by Archbishop Bernard Mary Williams, published 1924
  2. ^ a b http://orcce.webs.com/antioch-alexandria-2
  3. ^ a b The Roman Catholic Church has repeatedly affirmed its recognition of the validity of the orders and sacraments of the Old Roman Catholic Church throughout the world. See Addis and Arnold's Roman Catholic Dictionary, which says of this church: “They have retained valid Orders... We have been unable to discover any trace of heresy in these books” (i.e. Those officially ordered for use in the Old Roman Catholic Church). A Catholic Dictionary, by Donald Attwater, bearing the imprimatur of Cardinal Hayes of New York, states of the Old Roman Catholic Church: “Their orders and sacraments are valid.” Another statement concerning the Old Roman Catholic Church, appears in the work by Father Konrad Algermissen, Christian Denominations, published in 1948 and bearing the imprimatur of John Cardinal Glennon of St. Louis: “The North American Old Roman Catholic Church (has) received valid episcopal consecration...”(p. 363). In 1928, The Far East magazine, published by the St Columban Fathers of St Columban's, Nebraska, answered an inquiry concerning the validity of orders conferred in the North American Old Roman Catholic Church. The magazine article mentions Archbishop Carfora favorably and states that: “these orders are valid...”(p. 16. Jan. 1928 issue). “We have no reason to doubt that the Old Catholic Orders are valid. The Apostolic Succession does not depend on obedience to the See of Peter, but rather on the objective line of succession from apostolic sources, the proper matter and form, and proper intention…likewise Old Catholic Bishops are bishops in Apostolic Succession…The Old Catholics,, like Orthodox, possess a valid priesthood.“ [William J. Whalan, pp204,248] “Catholics may receive the Eucharist, penance, or anointing from sacred ministers of Catholic denominations whose Holy Orders are considered valid by the Roman Catholic Church. This includes all Eastern Orthodox priests, as well as priests of the Old Catholic or Polish National Church.” [Thomas P. Doyle, O.P., p.44]
  4. ^ “The principal condition is that these sacraments can be received only from validly ordained ministers. These are ministers who belong to “churches that have preserved the substance of the Eucharistic teaching, the sacraments of orders, and apostolic succession” This would include all Eastern non - Catholic churches, the Polish National Church, Old Catholic, and Old Roman Catholic." [The Pastoral Companion – A Canon Law Handbook for Catholic Ministry – Third Edition [1997] by John M. Huels, p. 335.]
  5. ^ a b Dominus Iesus, 17 and footnote 59
  6. ^ http://www.utrechter-union.org/pagina/104/das_wesen_der_kirche_und_ihrer_s
  7. ^ White, James F. (1979). "The Cambridge Movement: the ecclesiologists and the Gothic revival" (revised ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 48–9.
  8. ^ "The Vincentian Canon of St. Vincent of Lerins". Ancient-future.net. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  9. ^ "Old Roman Catholic Church Latin Rite: In the History Of The One True Catholic and Apostolic Church" Fr Charles T Brusca ORC History
  10. ^ http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/33652/pages/6280/page.pdf
  11. ^ http://anglicanhistory.org/pwra/rced9.html
  12. ^ http://anglicanhistory.org/ssc/embry/chapter15.htm
  13. ^ a b c http://web.me.com/dlewins/Old_Roman_Catholic_Church_in_GB/
  14. ^ http://www.archive.org/details/oldcatholicmiss00unknuoft
  15. ^ Second section, reprinted from An Episcopal Odyssey by Arnold Harris Mathew, Archbishop of the Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain and Ireland, 1 November 1915, http://www.occesussex.co.uk/declarations.htm
  16. ^ In 1145 Pope Eugene III granted the Cathedral Chapter of Utrecht the right to elect bishops, after such had been requested by the Holy Roman Emperor Conrad III and Bishop Heribert of Utrecht. The Fourth Lateran Council confirmed this in 1215. Pope Leo X issued the papal bull Debitum Pastoralis in 1520 giving extraordinary powers to Philip of Burgundy, 57th Bishop of Utrecht, essentially removing the ability of any external authority to "in the first instance, have his cause evoked to any external tribunal, not even under pretense of any apostolic letters whatever; and that all such proceedings should be, ipso facto, null and void".
  17. ^ "Catholic Encyclopedia: Old Catholics". Newadvent.org. 1911-02-01. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  18. ^ Prior to his reconciliation with Rome, Abp Lewins appointed Mgr James Philips as Administrator of the Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain. Following Abp Lewins' return to the Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain in 2006, Mgr Philips relinquished his administration and restored Abp Lewins as the archbishop. To further the unity of the Old Roman Catholic Church, Abp Lewins brought the Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain into communion with the successor to Abp Gerard Shelley as Archbishop of Caer-Glow, Abp John J Humphreys, Chairman of the Council of Old Roman Catholic Bishops. There is a developing relationship between the ORCC in Great Britain and the ORCCE/ORCC Latin Rite.
  19. ^ Incorporating the original Old Roman Catholic dioceses of Niagara Falls, New York, Erie, Pennsylvania, New England and the Province of Ontario, Canada
  20. ^ ORCC GB website http://www.oldromancatholic.org.uk/Great_Britain/Episcopal_Succession.html
  21. ^ "Schism, Apostasy, Anglican Orders and Ecumenism" By K. Platt http://www.churchinhistory.org/pages/leaflets/schism.htm
  22. ^ Biography details http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/bcarboni.html
  23. ^ http://www.oldcatholicbc.com/?page_id=382
  24. ^ "Rectification de la chancellerie au sujet de l’Église Vieille Catholique de C.-B. et du Père Claude Lacroix, prêtre de cette Église", http://www.oldcatholicbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/RC_archdiocese_of_Quebec.pdf
  25. ^ Édouard Gagnon (15 January 1918 – 25 August 2007) was a Canadian Roman Catholic cardinal and President of the Pontifical Council for the Family for 16 years, from 1974 to 1990. He became a cardinal on 25 May 1985.
  26. ^ Brearley had been consecrated by Matthew Cooper, who had been consecrated by James Bartholomew Banks, who had been consecrated by Frederick Samuel Willoughby, who had been consecrated by Mathew
  27. ^ "To whom it may concern: After having studied the documentation about Mgr André Letellier and his predecessors in episcopal succession, I am convinced that he has been validly consecrated a bishop. It is not my intention to rule on the reports of the organization, incorporated under the name of Catholic Charismatic Church of Canada with the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Canada and of Québec. But nothing allows me to doubt the validity of episcopal ordination of Mgr André Letellier by Archbishop André Barbeau and that of Archbishop Barbeau by Archbishop Ignatius Charles Brearley, Primate of the Church of the "Old Catholics" having its seat in England. The ordinations of the "Old Catholics" are generally considered to be the same as those of Orthodox bishops. I have known Archbishop Barbeau for more than 60 years since our time at the Grand Seminary of Montreal. I have had little contact with him thereafter, having exercised my ministry far from here. But he has always been known to me as a man of prayer, a mystic. And I think that his disciples are also, above all, men of prayer. + Edouard Cardinal Gagnon, p.s.s. Montreal, 6 May 2002" For further details, and a copy of the statement, see http://www.thedegree.org/cardgagnon.html
  28. ^ “The principal condition is that these sacraments can be received only from validly ordained ministers. These are ministers who belong to “churches that have preserved the substance of the Eucharistic teaching, the sacraments of orders, and apostolic succession” This would include all Eastern non-Catholic churches, the Polish National Church, Old Catholic, and Old Roman Catholic." [The Pastoral Companion – A Canon Law Handbook for Catholic Ministry – Third Edition [1997] by John M. Huels p. 335.]

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