Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church

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Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church
Portuguese: Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira
Emblem of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church
ClassificationWestern Christian
OrientationIndependent Catholic
GovernanceEpiscopal Council
PresidentJosivaldo Pereira
FounderCarlos Duarte Costa
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Separated fromRoman Catholic
Members560,781 as of 2010[1]

The Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (Portuguese: Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira, pronounced [iˈɡɾeʒɐ kaˈtɔlikaposˈtɔlikɐ bɾaziˈlejɾɐ]; ICAB) is an Independent Catholic Christian church established in 1945 by excommunicated Brazilian Catholic bishop Carlos Duarte Costa.[2][3] The Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church is the largest Independent Catholic church in Brazil, with 560,781 members as of 2010, and 26 dioceses as of 2021;[4] internationally, it has an additional 6 dioceses and 6 provinces.[5] It is governed by a president bishop and the Episcopal Council.[6] Its current president of the Episcopal Council is Josivaldo Pereira de Oliveira. The church's administration is in Brasilia, Brazil.[7]

The Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church is the mother church of an international communion called the Worldwide Communion of Catholic Apostolic Churches, though there is no evidence of any recent activity.[8]


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.[9] He also publicly criticized the dogma of papal infallibility and Catholic doctrines on divorce and clerical celibacy. As a result of his outspoken views, Duarte 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.[10] Costa continued to criticize the government and the Catholic Church, advocating policies that were regarded by the authorities as Communist. In 1944, the federal Brazilian government imprisoned him, but later freed him under political pressure from the United States and Great Britain.[9]

In June 1945, Costa established the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (ICAB).[11] Costa's act of schism resulted in his automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church.[a] Later Costa was declared a vitandusa person to be avoided by Catholics—and those Catholics who became adherents of the 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 the ICAB, because its liturgy and its clerical attire would result in confusion by being indistinguishable from those of the Catholic Church in Brazil and were tantamount to deception of the public.[12]

Dom Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez, Patriarch of the ICAB from 1988 to 2009

Ferraz left the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church in 1958. Ferraz reconciled with the Catholic Church in 1959 and his episcopal consecration was recognized as valid.[2] However, Ferraz was excluded from church affairs such as the Roman Synod of 1960, even though he was present in Rome at the time, while the Vatican belatedly questioned the legitimacy of having recognized his status.[13] Shortly thereafter, in 1961, Costa died and the ICAB underwent several years of tumult as dissensions, schisms, and multiple claimants to the patriarchal throne threw the church into disarray. After this period, the church found stability and growth under Mendez, Costa's successor.[b]

Some sources seem to indicate that Mendez assumed leadership of the ICAB upon Costa's death in 1961.[b] Bishop Antidio Jose Vargas initially stepped in as general supervisor, followed by Pedro dos Santos Silva as first president of the Episcopal Council, followed by the Italian-born Luigi Mascolo during the 1970s.[14] By 1982 Castillo Mendez was elected president of the Episcopal Council, and was designated as patriarch of the ICAB in 1988 and as patriarch of Iglesias Católicas Apostólicas Nacionales (ICAN), the international communion of similar churches in 1990.[15]


The Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church accepts the Nicene and Apostles' creeds. It observes seven sacraments (baptism, Eucharist, confirmation, penance, unction, matrimony and ordination) in common with the Catholic Church in Brazil. The church acknowledges divorce as a reality of life and will marry divorced persons after an ecclesiastical process of investigation and baptize the children of divorced persons.[16] In the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church, papal infallibility and priestly celibacy are rejected.[17] Clergy are also allowed to have secular employment and priestly confession is rejected.[16]

Apostolic succession[edit]

The church holds that apostolic succession is maintained through the consecration of its bishops in an unbroken succession back to the apostles of Christ. All ICAB bishops trace their apostolic succession back to Duarte Costa, a former bishop of the Catholic Church. It is widely believed that the ICAB's consecrations follow the Roman Catholic Tridentine rite in a vernacular version of the Pontifical, but this is not certain: the ICAB's rites were altered on several occasions, and uniformity in practice has never been enforced anyway; furthermore, the Tridentine rite in an unauthorized vernacular form would no longer be considered the Tridentine rite according to Catholic theology.[18]

The church cites the unique 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, Duarte Costa consecrated Ferraz as bishop.[19] Around fifteen years later during the pontificate of Pope John XXIII, Ferraz was reconciled with the Roman Catholic Church and was eventually recognized as a bishop, even though he was married at the time.[20] Ferraz was not ordained or consecrated again, even conditionally; however he was initially held at arm's length by the Vatican while they examined his case, somewhat belatedly, and mooted the possibility of an affidavit to affirm that Ferraz, aged 80, and his Italian wife were chaste.[21] He did pastoral work in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of São Paulo until May 12, 1963, when he was appointed titular bishop of Eleutherna by Pope John XXIII.[19] Ferraz participated in all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council,[19] 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 Catholic Church. Being a rare example of a married bishop in modern Roman Catholic history, he was survived by seven children.[22] Since then, however, the Vatican has repeatedly expressed reservations about the ICAB's sacraments and does not recognize them; in 2012 Rome declared the ICAB schismatic and reaffirmed its negation of the ICAB's valid but "illicit" orders.[23]

International communion[edit]

There is no independently verifiable evidence of significant activity of the Worldwide Communion of Catholic Apostolic Churches in recent years, and it could be presumed to have terminated. According to Edward Jarvis, the "ICAB has had difficulty in maintaining the unity and continuity of its worldwide communion (...). [The] priorities of each branch do not always seem to be in harmony ... and it becomes difficult at times to see what the point of having an international communion is supposed to be. In ICAB’s defense, perhaps, it cannot be easy to hold breakaway groups in a communion, however loose a communion it may be – it is almost a direct contradiction in terms."[8]

Under Castillo Mendez, the ICAB created the Canadian Catholic Apostolic Church in 1988, ordaining Claude R. Baron as the first Canadian bishop. In 1997, Mendez agreed to intercommunion between the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church and the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church (ICCEC).[24][c]

The year 1997 also saw the ordination of the first 'ICAB succession' bishop in the United Kingdom, namely John Christopher Simmons of Ashford, Kent. Simmons (1945-2003) was part of a small house church which fronted a prolific and well-documented ring of pedophilia and child exploitation, brought to light in multiple highly-publicised cases involving Roger Gleaves and Frederick Gilbert Linale.[25][26] Both Gleaves and Linale received lengthy sentences;[27] Simmons stood in as head of the church in their absence.[25] The British branch of ICAB still exists, though currently in no formal relationship with the ICAB, and it has changed name several times since Simmons' tenure.[28][29][30] The current leader of this branch, now called the Catholic Church of England & Wales, is James Atkinson-Wake, also known as David Bell.[30][31][32][33][34]

In 2016, the former Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, Peter Slipper, previously a priest in the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia, flew to Brazil to be ordained to the priesthood in the ICAB.[35] The following year he was consecrated to the episcopate in Rio de Janeiro. He is the Bishop in Australia of the Catholic Apostolic Church in Australia (ICAB) and visited a Greek Orthodox church under this title.[36][37]


  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. ^ a b José Aires da Cruz succeeded Costa, according to Anson.[2]
  3. ^ 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.[24]


  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 9 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d 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 2 October 2015.
  4. ^ "INÍCIO". Igreja Brasileira (in Portuguese). Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  5. ^ "ICAB no Mundo". Igreja Brasileira (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 13 May 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  6. ^ "CE/ICAB". Igreja Brasileira (in Portuguese). Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  7. ^ "CONTATO". Igreja Brasileira (in Portuguese). Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  8. ^ a b Jarvis, Edward. God, Land & Freedom, the true story of ICAB, Apocryphile Press, Berkeley CA, 2018, pp 164-165.
  9. ^ a b "Religion: rebel in Rio". Time. 23 July 1945. ISSN 0040-781X.
  10. ^ "Bishop Eliseu Maria Coroli". David M. Cheney. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015.
  11. ^ "Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira IICAB", Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements, (Peter Clarke, ed.), Routledge, 2004 ISBN 9781134499700
  12. ^ Brazil. Supremo Tribunal Federal. "Liberdade de culto religioso — MS 1.114". Revista Archivo Judiciário (in Portuguese). 101 (January–March 1952): 6–15. OCLC 9105470. Archived from the original on 12 March 2005 – via abstract on Supreme Federal Court of Brasil (1949-11-17).
  13. ^ Jarvis, Edward, God Land & Freedom, The True Story of ICAB, Apocryphile Press, Berkeley CA, 2018, pp. 130-132
  14. ^ Jarvis, Edward, God, Land & Freedom: The True Story of ICAB, Apocryphile Press, Berkeley CA, 2018, pp 140-141
  15. ^ "Patriarch Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez". London: Catholic Apostolic National Church. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  16. ^ a b "Quem Somos Nós". Igreja Brasileira (in Portuguese). Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  17. ^ "Pope, Bolivian bishops discuss rise of 'parallel' churches". National Catholic Reporter. 19 September 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  18. ^ Jarvis, Edward, God, Land & Freedom: The True Story of ICAB, Apocryphile Press, Berkeley CA, 2018, pp 204-208
  19. ^ a b c "Bishop Salomão Barbosa Ferraz". David M. Cheney. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015.
  20. ^ Jarvis, Edward, God, Land & Freedom: The True Story of ICAB, Apocryphile Press, Berkeley CA, 2018, pp. 130-132
  21. ^ Jarvis, Edward, God, Land & Freedom: The True Story of ICAB, Apocryphile Press, Berkeley CA, 2018, pp. 130-132
  22. ^ FERRAZ, Hermes. Dom Salomão Ferraz e o Ecumenismo. São Paulo, João Scortecci Editora, 1995. pp 78ff
  23. ^ "Catholic Church refuses to recognise David Bell as bishop". Turin, IT: La Stampa. 16 December 2012. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  24. ^ a b Tighe, William J. (14 October 2006), Anglican bodies and organizations, Allentown, PA{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)  This tertiary source reuses information from other sources but does not name them. Reprinted in Hutchens, S. M. (22 October 2006). "Anglican taxonomy". Chicago, IL: The Fellowship of St. James. Archived from the original on 12 October 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  25. ^ a b Danny O’Sullivan, ‘Bishops on the Loose’, Magonia — Interpreting Contemporary Vision and Belief (magazine), (London), no. 65, November 1998, [pp 10-13] p 11
  26. ^ ‘Most Evil Church on Earth’, The News of The World (London), 23 February 1997 [accessed 10 December 2018]
  27. ^ ‘Priest Jailed for Sex Assaults’, The Herald (Scotland), 2 October 1996; [accessed 10 December 2018]
  28. ^ La Stampa, Rome, 1 August 2012, [accessed 18 November 2018]
  29. ^ The Catholic Herald, London, 17 August 2012,[accessed 18 November 2018]
  30. ^ a b La Stampa, Rome, 5 December 2012, [accessed 18 November 2018]
  31. ^ Benedictine Celestine Renewal, church website,[permanent dead link] [accessed 18 November 2018]
  32. ^ Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila, 3 February 2018, p B4 (Classifieds) [accessed 19 November 2018]
  33. ^ Catholic Church of [sic] England & Wales, church website, [accessed 19 November 2018]
  34. ^ Anglicanorum Coetibus Society, 21 August 2018, [accessed 18 November 2018]
  35. ^ Cowie, Samantha Hutchinson, Tom (8 June 2020). "Peter Slipper's Brazilian church and its politico crowd". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  36. ^ Blair, Tim (27 August 2018). "Lose One Bishop, Gain Another". The Daily Telegraph.
  37. ^ Rule, Andrew; Buttler, Mark (4 August 2021). "Deadline: Peter Slipper's surprise midnight visit to Melbourne church". Herald Sun.

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