Christ Catholic Church
Christ Catholic Church is a church of the Old Catholic tradition. The church was founded in 1937 when several independent Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches merged, thereby establishing the Polish Old Catholic Church. Most of these churches were within the state of New Jersey, such as New Brunswick, South River, Dover, and Dunellen, although individual churches as far away as Tampa, Florida were included as well. They elected Joseph Zielonka to be their first bishop. In 1959, the church changed its name to Christ Catholic Church of the Americas and Europe to more clearly indicate that individuals and churches of all nationalities would be welcome in the church. The following year, 1960, the church consisted of 22 parishes with about 7,200 members.
In 1961, Bishop Zielonka died and his suffragan bishop, Peter A. Zurawetzky, was elected as his successor. Bishop Zurawetzky started a new mission program within the church and oversaw rapid growth. Among the developments were the founding of the Church of the Transfiguration in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1965 and, two years later, the creation of the Diocese of Boston under Karl Pruter, who was consecrated at the diocese's first bishop. The following year the Christ Catholic Church, Diocese of Boston was formally recognized as an independent entity and became known as the Christ Catholic Church. It was for many years headquartered at the Cathedral of the Prince of Peace, in Highlandville, Missouri. At a later date, the Liberal Catholic Church of Ontario (Canada), formerly part of the Liberal Catholic Church International, merged with the Christ Catholic Church, but eventually the original church reformed under Bishop Pruter's jurisdiction. Bishop Karl Pruter died on November 18, 2007. Prior to his death Pruter entrusted his ministry at the Cathedral of the Prince of Peace to Bishop Brian E. Brown, a bishop whom he had consecrated sub-conditionally on September 9, 2007 and installed as the bishop of the patriarchal cathedral of the church.
There are several remnants of Christ Catholic Church of the Americas and Europe throughout the world and each of them in their own distinct way are connected with Archbishop Karl Hugo Rehling Pruter’s ministry within the Old Catholic Movement. Perhaps the most closely related is that of Christ Catholic Church; Archdiocese of the Prince of Peace.
Christ Catholic Church Archdiocese of the Prince of Peace is a continuing ministry that was formed by the Cathedral Chapter of the Cathedral of the Prince of Peace in Highlandville, Missouri. It continues to carry on much of Pruter's actual work and ministry under the episcopal protection of Bishop Brian E. Brown. This diocese also serves as the caretaker of much of the physical historicity of the church as well as Bp. Pruter's personal journals, writings, artifacts, vestments, and relics.
Upon his installment to the patriarchal cathedral, Bp. Brown was given the original antimension gifted to Bp. Pruter himself by Bp. Peter A. Zurawetzky upon his own consecration to the episcopacy. Bp. Brown, at Bp. Pruter's request, also assumed day-to-day operation and leadership of St. Willibrord Press which continues to hold the rights to publish Pruter's numerous books and pamphlets related to mysticism, Old Catholicism, Congregationalism, and theology, as well as other selected works on religious topics.
Christ Catholic Church Archdiocese of the Prince of Peace is currently composed of six dioceses and two religious orders, with clergy and ministries throughout North America and Canada. It operates St. Willibrord Press, Whithorn School of Theology and the St. Martin's Institute of Compassionate Presence (a seminary and program Karl Pruter helped to found and form), as well as Radio Free Catholic Broadcasting along with parishes, prison ministries, chaplaincies, and various other outreach programs. Christ Catholic Church also continues to faithfully support Karl Pruter's clarion call to non-violence and peace through its work in the greater peace movement and social justice causes.
The jurisdiction known as Christ Catholic Church Diocese of Boston ultimately became a diocese of the Southern Episcopal Church, being received as the Christ Catholic Diocese of Boston, Southern Episcopal Church.
Traditionally Christ Catholic Church, Archdiocese of the Prince of Peace embraces the Seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Marriage, and Holy Orders. It also finds its belief grounded in the ancient Christian creeds: The Apostles' Creed, The Nicene Creed, and The Athanasian Creed. The Church adheres to the Declaration of Utrecht formulated by the bishops of the Old Catholic Church in 1889, and The Fourteen Theses of the Old Catholic Union Conference at Bonn in 1874. The Church also supports and affirms the Bill of Rights as published by the Association for Rights for Catholics in the Church in 1998 and The Declaration Affirmation in 2009.
Christ Catholic Church follows in the ancient practices of the priesthood of all believers. Ministry is not limited to a formal ordained ministry, to the priesthood or diaconate, but finds its expression and fulfillment in a variety of different forms from study to teaching, prayer to healing, community outreach to care giving, along with traditional worship and prayer services: Holy Eucharist, Daily Office, Eucharistic Adoration, Rosary, Novenas, and the Stations of the Cross to name a few.
With a deep reverence to the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and also for those for whom it has been offered, Christ Catholic Church practices radical inclusivity and hospitality through offering an open table for all who would wish to partake of Holy Communion without impediment.
Along with the priesthood of all believers, there are eight more formal and traditional grades or orders of ministry in Christ Catholic Church, five of which are known as Minor Orders: porter, lector or reader, exorcist or healer, acolyte, and sub-deacon. The Holy Orders of the church are deacon, presbyter, and bishop. Both Minor Orders and Holy Orders within Christ Catholic Church are open to called, qualified, educated, and formed applicants regardless of race, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, preference, relationship status, nationality, or socioeconomic class.
Christ Catholic Church, Archdiocese of the Prince of Peace, participates in and upholds the doctrine of Apostolic Succession and as such, all of its clergy have been validly ordained by the laying on of hands through bishops within the historic Apostolic Succession.
- Melton, J. Gordon. The Encyclopedia of American Religions:Religious Creeds. Detroit, MI: Gale Research COmpany, 1988. ISBN 0-8103-2132-7.