Old Roman Catholic Church in North America

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The Old Roman Catholic Church Latin Rite was founded by Arnold Harris Mathew, Old Catholic Church bishop for England, on 29 December 1910. The Most Reverend Francis P. Facione is the Titular Archbishop of Devon and the current Presiding Bishop of this Independent Catholic denomination. The Old Catholic Church holds close to ideas of ecclesiastical liberalism and is not associated with the Roman Catholic Church nor general Protestantism.

Bishop Mathew issued a declaration of independence of his followers from what he called "Continental Old Catholics" (Utrecht Union) and listed "nine points of difference" between the two groups.[1]

In 1914, Bishop Mathew appointed Bishop Rudolph de Landas Berghes to establish the ministry of the Old Roman Catholic Church 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. Following Archbishop Carfora's death in 1958, the North American Old Roman Catholic Church evolved into five autonomous but cooperating ecclesial bodies, one of which is the Old Roman Catholic Church in North America.[2]

These groups, and others like them, are among those that are called Independent Catholic denominations, which are neither in full communion with the Holy See of Rome nor with the Utrecht Union of Old Catholics. While the term "Old Roman Catholic Church" is sometimes treated as synonymous with "Old Catholic Church", the Old Roman Catholic Church, unlike the Old Catholic churches, does not fully reject the dogmas of papal infallibility and primacy of the Roman Pontiff. Old Roman Catholic churches do not require clerical celibacy and ordain married men to the priesthood. The Old Roman Catholic jurisdictions normally are not open to the ordination of homosexuals and women, being more conservative on these issues in comparison with the Old Catholic churches.

The Liberal Catholic Church evolved from the Old Roman Catholic Church and split from it over the question of Theosophy, which Mgr Mathew rejected.


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