Old Catholic Church of America
|Old Roman Catholic Church of America|
Old Roman Catholic Church of America
|Founder||Bishop Paul Francis Cope|
|Recognition||Recognizes the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church as valid.
Recognizes the sacraments of the Eastern and Oriental churches as valid.
|Primate||Archbishop Charles Walders|
|Territorial Jurisdiction||Parishes in the United States (3)|
|Clergy||3 bishops, 6 priests/deacons|
|Liturgical Language||English, Latin|
|Adherents||Less than 10,000 worldwide|
The Old Roman Catholic Church of America is an autocephalous Old Roman Catholic church founded in the United States in 1925 by Bishop Paul Francis Cope. It was incorporated in 1941 by Francis Xavier Resch. Previously called the Archdiocese of the Old Catholic Church in America the name was subsequently changed to the Old (Roman) Catholic Church in America. The Old Roman Catholic Church of America retains pre-Vatican II liturgical and doctrinal traditions, including the use of the pre-1955 Roman Calendar of St. Pius X and unrevised Roman Missal, in Latin or vernacular. It is not a member of, or in full communion with, the Union of Utrecht of the Old Catholic Churches.
Resch separated from the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, after being made a bishop of that church by its leader Carmel Henry Carfora. He started his own church, the Diocese of Kankakee, which was centered on the site of his parish in Kankakee, Illinois. The new church quickly grew to establish other parishes in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. These parishes, largely consisting of first generation immigrants from Eastern Europe, became inactive as the children of the congregants adjusted to life in America.
In 1963, Resch made Walter X. Brown a bishop. Brown would later succeed Resch as the archbishop of the church. He was responsible for moving the church's headquarters to Milwaukee, where it now has a seminary and maintains a number of charitable organizations. It also maintains a monastery in the Franciscan tradition in Chicago, and two monastic communities in Milwaukee, one following the Eastern tradition and one following the Western tradition.
The Archdiocese accepts the traditions of Christianity as transmitted by the seven ecumenical councils through the Second Council of Nicaea and the Church Fathers. It practices the seven sacraments, and their official statement of faith, the Statement of Faith of the Old Catholic Church in America, closely resembles the Nicene Creed. The Church has in recent years entered into communion with the Old Roman Catholic Church in Europe. The 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law with some amendments is used as the law regulating the Church.
The current church
In 1984, the church reported total membership of 2300 in 14 congregations with 26 clergy. It has churches in Dallas and Brownsville, Texas; Erie, Pennsylvania; Chicago; Racine, Madison, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Brooklyn, New York; Glendale, Arizona; Louisiana and Ottawa. It has affiliated branches operating in Germany, Belgium, and England.
The Church at one point provided care to those with substance abuse issues.
- Paul Francis Cope 1925 – 1953
- Francis Xavier Resch 1953-1963
- Walter Xavier Brown 1963-1997
- James Edward Bostwick 1997-2009
- Sherman Randall Mosley 2009-2010
- Henry Pleau 2010 - 2014
- Charles Walders 2014 - 2015
- David Persyn 2015-present
- Melton, J. Gordon (1987). The Encyclopedia of American Religions (2nd ed.). Detroit: Gale Research Company. ISBN 0-8103-2133-5.