Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church

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Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church
Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira
Classification Independent Catholic
Polity Episcopal
Patriarch Josivaldo Perriera
Region Brazil
Founder Carlos Duarte Costa
Origin 1945
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Separated from Roman Catholic Church
Members 560,781 as of 2010[1]

The Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (Portuguese: Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira, pronounced: [iˈgɾeʒa kaˈtɔɫika aposˈtɔɫika bɾaziˈlejɾa]; ICAB) is an independent Catholic church established in 1945 by Brazilian excommunicated Roman Catholic bishop Carlos Duarte Costa.[2][3]

As of 2007 ICAB has 39 dioceses and has sister churches in many countries.[4] It is the mother church of the Worldwide Communion of Catholic Apostolic Churches and the current President of the Episcopal Council in Brazil is Patriarch Dom Josivaldo Perreira de Oliveira.[not verified in body]


Costa was an outspoken critic of the regime of Brazilian president Getúlio Vargas (1930–1945) and of the Vatican's alleged relationship with fascist regimes.[5] He also publicly criticized the dogma of papal infallibility and Roman Catholic doctrines on divorce and clerical celibacy. As a result of his outspoken views, Costa resigned from his office of bishop of Botucatu in 1937 and was appointed to a titular see.

In 1940 Cardinal Sebastião da Silveira Cintra, archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, permitted Costa, as titular bishop of Maura, to co-consecrate Bishop Eliseu Maria Coroli.[6] Costa continued to criticize the government and the Roman Catholic Church, advocating policies that were regarded by the authorities as Communist. In 1944 the Brazilian government imprisoned him, but later freed him under political pressure from the United States and Great Britain.[5]

In May 1945 Costa gave newspaper interviews accusing Brazil's Papal nuncio of Nazi-Fascist spying, and accused the Vatican of having aided and abetted Hitler. In addition, he announced plans to set up his own Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church, in which priests would be permitted to marry (and hold regular jobs in the lay world), and bishops would be elected by popular vote.

On June 1945, Costa established the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (ICAB).[7] Costa's act of schism resulted in his automatic excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church,[a] later Costa was declared a vitandus – a person to be avoided by Roman Catholics – and those Roman Catholics who became adherents of ICAB were excommunicated also. According to Peter Anson, Costa was excommunicated "for attacks against the papacy,".[2]

In 1949, the Brazilian government temporarily suppressed all public worship by ICAB, because its liturgy and its clerical attire would result in confusion by being indistinguishable from those of the Roman Catholic Church and were tantamount to deception of the public.[8] However, a few months later ICAB churches were permitted to reopen, provided that their liturgy would not duplicate the Roman Catholic liturgy, and their clergy would wear gray clerical attire in contrast to the black attire worn by Roman Catholic clergy.

Costa implemented reforms in ICAB of what he saw as problems in the Roman Catholic Church. Clerical celibacy was abolished, though he himself never married and remained celibate. Rules for the reconciliation of divorced and remarried persons were implemented. The liturgy was translated into the vernacular, clergy were expected to live and work among the people, and support themselves and their ministries, by holding secular employment.[self-published source?][9]

Dom Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez, Patriarch of ICAB 1964-2009

Shortly after founding ICAB Costa consecrated two bishops, Salomão Barbosa Ferraz in 1945 and Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez in 1948.[b] Costa, Ferraz, and Mendez established similar autonomous National Catholic Apostolic Churches in several other Latin American countries.[examples needed] Costa was consecrator or co-consecrator of 11 additional bishops, each of whom took a leadership role in either ICAB or one of the other National Churches.[self-published source][10]

Ferraz left ICAB in 1958. Ferraz reconciled with the Roman Catholic Church in 1960 and his episcopal consecration was recognized as valid.[2] Shortly thereafter, in 1961, Costa died and ICAB underwent several years of tumult as dissensions, schisms, and multiple claimants to the patriarchal throne threw the church into disarray. After this short period, the church found stability and growth under Mendez, Costa's successor.[c]

Some sources[who?] indicate that Mendez assumed leadership of ICAB upon Costa's death in 1961,[c] In 1982 Mendez was elected president of the Episcopal Council, and was designated as Patriarch of ICAB in 1988 and as Patriarch of Iglesias Católicas Apostólicas Nacionales (ICAN) the international communion in 1990.[11] Mendez was in private talks with Pope John Paul II about permitting ICAB to rejoin the Roman Catholic Church. However the Council of Bishops had voted against rejoining the Roman Catholic Church. The bishops claimed that much suffering and torture had been inflicted[when?] largely at the urging of the Roman Catholic Church. Mendez served as Patriarch until his death. As of 2013 the head of the church was Pereira, the head of the Episcopal Council.[citation needed]

In 1997 Mendez agreed to intercommunion between ICAB and the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church (ICCEC).[12][d]

Beliefs and organization[edit]

The ICAB accepts the Nicene, Athanasian, and Apostles' creeds and observes seven sacraments (baptism, Eucharist, confirmation, penance, unction, matrimony and ordination). The ICAB practices open communion for all Christians who acknowledge the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The church acknowledges divorce as a reality of life and permitted in Holy Scripture and will marry divorced persons after an ecclesiastical process of investigation and baptize the children of divorced or single parents. The church also does not recognize the use of rosaries or personal confession.[contradictory][13]

ICAB teaches that birth control is acceptable in certain circumstances (such as for disease prevention). It opposes abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, and any other taking of human life.[13] The church has three administrative branches, in line with the conception of a nation state: executive (episcopal council), legislative (national council), and judicial (superior ecclesiastical court).[14] There are currently 52 bishops and 39 dioceses within Brazil.[13] The official motto is Deus, Terra e Liberdade ("God, Land and Freedom").

According to Roger Bastide, "...since 1945 its priests have been attending Umbanda spiritism séances, blessing statues of the Virgin identified with Yemanjá, saying mass in macumba sanctuaries..."[15]

Apostolic succession[edit]

The ICAB holds that apostolic succession is maintained through the consecration of its bishops in an unbroken succession back to the Apostles. All ICAB bishops trace their apostolic succession back to Costa, a former bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. Every consecration strictly follows the Tridentine rite in the vernacular Pontifical.

The ICAB cites the case of Ferraz as evidence that its apostolic succession is valid, even by Roman Catholic standards. Just over a month after the church's foundation, in 1945, Costa consecrated Ferraz as bishop.[16] Thirteen years later (in 1958 under Pope John XXIII[contradictory]) Ferraz reconciled with the Roman Catholic Church and was fully recognized as a bishop, even though he was married at the time.[self-published source][10] Ferraz was not ordained or consecrated again, even conditionally; however he was not appointed to a diocese immediately. He did pastoral work in the Archdiocese of São Paulo until May 12, 1963, when he was appointed titular bishop of Eleutherna by Pope John XXIII.[16] Ferraz participated in all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council,[16] and Pope Paul VI appointed him to serve on one of Vatican II's working commissions. Upon his death in 1969, Ferraz was buried with full honors accorded a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. In 2012, the Vatican declared the ICAB schismatic and does not recognize their ordinations as being valid.[17]

International communion[edit]

Costa, Ferraz, and Mendez consecrated, or assisted in the consecrations, of dozens of bishops in various countries from the 1940s to the 1990s. Some bishops in the Costa line maintained formal ties with ICAB, but the majority appear to have gone their separate ways to found or participate in independent Catholic bodies without ties to ICAB. Such bishops have been declared as doubtful at best by the new regime, citing the claim that a defect in proper intention exists in all bishops who have strayed from ICAB. Churches in full communion with ICAB are members of WCCAC. There has been a fluctuating number of partner churches in WCCAC and a current list of official WCCAC members is not available. The last world conference was held in 2009 in Guatemala. Since that meeting there has been a reorganization in the works of WCCAC of those who have remained true to the teachings of Costa. Those churches who have obtained consecrations at the hands of Mendez or Pereira, with false intentions, as in lies and simony, are considered to be in grave sin and are not considered validly consecrated or ordained.[citation needed] Mendez created the Canadian Catholic Apostolic Church in 1988 and ordained to the episcopate Claude R. Baron as the first Canadian bishop.

List of bishops and dioceses[edit]

As of 2007, the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church has 39 registered dioceses, along with missions in other countries.[18]

Province of Acre: Bishop José Geraldo da Silva

Province of Alagoas

  • Diocese of Maceió
    • Bishop Walvert Rommel C. Galvao Barros
    • Bishop Fernando A. Sampaio Pugliesi

Province of Amazonas

  • Currently has no diocese
    • Bishop José Geraldo da Silva

Province of Amapa

  • Currently has no diocese
    • Bishop José Geraldo da Silva

Province of Bahia

  • Diocese of Cachoeira
    • Bishop Roque Cardoso Nonato
  • Diocese of Salvador
    • Bishop - vacant
  • Diocese of Itaguaçu da Bahia
    • Bishop - vacant

Province of Ceará

  • Diocese of Cascavel
    • Bishop Mauricio de Brito
  • Diocese of Fortaleza
    • Bishop Luis Fernando Cabral de Barros

Province of Districto Federal

  • Diocese of Brasilia
    • Bishop Bartolomeu Sebastiao Vilela
      • Auxiliary Bishop Jose Carlos Ferreira Lucas

Province of Espirito Santo

  • Diocese of Vitoria
    • Bishop Domevir Frausino

Province of Goias

  • Diocese of Goiânia
    • Bishop Enrique Javier Souza Rodrigues
  • Diocese of Itumbiara
    • Bishop - vacant
  • Diocese of Porangatu
    • Bishop Waldemir de Araujo Ribeiro

Province of Maranhão

  • Diocese of Sao Luis
    • Bishop Jose Eustaquio Neto
      • Auxiliary Bishop Paulo Cesar Polidoro

Province of Mato Grosso

  • Currently has no diocese
  • Bishop - vacant

Province of Mato Grosso do Sul

  • Diocese of Divina Providência
    • Diocesan Bishop Roosevelt de sa Medeiros

Province of Minas Gerais

  • Diocese of Belo Horizonte
    • Bishop Ivan Dutra de Moraes
  • Diocese of Uberlândia
    • Bishop Wilson Jose de Souza

Province of Pará

  • Diocese of Belem
    • Bishop Lourival Almeida

Province of Paraiba

  • Diocese of Campina Grande
    • Diocesan Bishop Antonio Julio Feliciano Paiva

Province of Parana

  • Diocese of Curitiba
    • Diocesan Bishop Aurio Fontanella Camargo
  • Diocese of Foz da Iguaco
    • Diocesan Bishop Manoel Jose da Rocha Neto
  • Diocese of Sarandi
    • Diocesan Bishop Valdir Irineu Backmann

Province of Pernambuco

  • Diocese of Recife
    • Bishop Benedito Paulo Leoncio
  • Diocese of Jaboatao dos Guararapes
    • Bishop Geraldo Magela do Nascimento

Province of Piaui

  • Currently has no diocese
    • Bishop Luis Fernando Cabral de Barros

Province of Rio de Janeiro

  • Diocese of Rio de Janeiro
    • Diocesan Bishop Olinto Ferreira Pinto
      • Coadjutor Bishop Josivaldo Perriera (current Patriarch of ICAB)
        • Auxiliary Bishop Isaac Minervino Barbosa
        • Auxiliary Bishop Luciano Rodrigues do Nascimento
        • Auxiliary Bishop Antonio Duarte Santos Rodrigues
  • Diocese of Cabo Frio
    • Bishop Joanir da Silva Neves
  • Diocese of Niteroi
    • Bishop - vacant
  • Diocese of Duque du Caxias
    • Diocesan Bishop Jose Ramos Soares da Silva
  • Diocese of Volte Redonda
    • Diocesan Bishop Rodnei Silva
  • Diocese of Mesquita
    • Bishop Arlindo Carlos de Almeida

Province of Rio Grande do Norte

  • Diocese of Natal
    • Administrative Diocesan Bishop Francisco Alves da Costa Neto

Province of Rio Grande do Sul

  • Diocese of Porto Alegre
    • Bishop - vacant

Province of Rondonia

  • Diocese of Porto Velho
    • Diocesan Bishop Admilson Ferreira de Brito

Province of Roraima

  • Currently has no diocese
    • Bishop Jose Geraldo da Silva

Province of Santa Catarina

  • Diocese of Lages
    • Bishop - vacant

Province of Sergipe

  • Diocese of Aracaju
    • Diocesan Bishop Antônio Furtado Leite

Province of São Paulo

  • Diocese of São Paulo
    • Diocesan Bishop Wagner Peres Rodrigues
      • Coadjutor Bishop Gilberto Pergher Jr.
        • Auxiliary Bishop Alexandre Garre
  • Diocese of Jundiai
    • Diocesan Bishop Paulo Geraldo Perboni
      • Auxiliary Bishop Jose Faria Ramos

Province of Tocantins

  • Diocese of Palmas
    • Diocesan Bishop Jose Geraldo da Silva

Congregation of Saint Charles of Brazil (Philippines)

  • Diocese of Manila and the province of the Philippines
    • Primate and superior general Dom Joseph Verzosa Galaroza

ICAB-UK founded by HH Patriarch Dom. Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez. Cardinal James Atkinson-Wake.


  1. ^ Under the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which was in effect prior to 1983, only canonically culpable people are formally guilty of schism.
  2. ^ Ferraz had organized his Igreja Católica Livre No Brasil in 1936.[2]
  3. ^ a b José Aires da Cruz succeeded Costa, according to Anson.[2]
  4. ^ Mendez and two other ICAB bishops reconsecrated five ICCEC bishops in 1997; those five reconsecrated bishops reordained all ICCEC's clergy and reconsecrated all its bishops.[12]


  1. ^ "Tabela 2103 - População residente, por situação do domicílio, sexo, grupos de idade e religião: Religião = Católica Apostólica Brasileira". Censo Demográfico 2010 (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro, BR: Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. 2010. Retrieved 2015-10-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Anson, Peter F (2006) [1964]. Bishops at large. Independent Catholic Heritage series (1st Apocryphile ed.). Berkeley: Apocryphile Press. pp. 534–535, Addenda. ISBN 0-9771461-8-9. 
  3. ^ "Bishop Carlos Duarte Costa". David M. Cheney. Archived from the original on 2015-10-02. 
  4. ^ Notes from 19th National Council of ICAB, July 2007
  5. ^ a b "Religion: rebel in Rio". Time. 1945-07-23. ISSN 0040-781X. 
  6. ^ "Bishop Eliseu Maria Coroli". David M. Cheney. Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. 
  7. ^ "Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira IICAB)", Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements, (Peter Clarke, ed.), Routledge, 2004 ISBN 9781134499700
  8. ^ Brazil. Supremo Tribunal Federal (1949-11-17). "Liberdade de culto religioso — MS 1.114". Archivo judiciário (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro, BR: Jornal do Commércio (published 1952). 101 (jan. a mar/1952): 6–15. OCLC 9105470. Archived from the original on 2005-03-12 – via abstract on Supreme Federal Court of Brasil. 
  9. ^ Brown, Randolph A. (ed.). "A Concise History of the Western Orthodox Church in America (WOCA)". Archived from the original on 2007-08-22.   This tertiary source reuses information from other sources but does not name them.
  10. ^ a b Boyle, Terrence J. (ed.). "Costa consecrations". Washington, DC: Terrence J. Boyle. Archived from the original on 2015-07-17. [self-published source]  This tertiary source reuses information from other sources but does not name them.
  11. ^ "Patriarch Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez". London: Catholic Apostolic National Church. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. 
  12. ^ a b Tighe, William J. (2006-10-14). "Anglican bodies and organizations". Allentown, PA.   This tertiary source reuses information from other sources but does not name them. Reprinted in Hutchens, S. M. (2006-10-22). "Anglican taxonomy". Chicago, IL: The Fellowship of St. James. Archived from the original on 2015-10-12. Retrieved 2015-10-12. 
  13. ^ a b c "Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church" at Enciclopédia TioSam (copied July 6, 2007)[dead link]
  14. ^ "The Pope who is not the Pope, but is Pope", Diário de Natal newspaper, April 9, 2006, p. 14[dead link]
  15. ^ Bastide, Roger. The African Religions of Brazil, JHU Press, 2007 ISBN 9780801886249
  16. ^ a b c "Bishop Salomão Barbosa Ferraz". David M. Cheney. Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. 
  17. ^ "Catholic Church refuses to recognise David Bell as bishop". Turin, IT: La Stampa. 2012-12-16. Archived from the original on 2016-03-11. Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  18. ^

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