The Young Rite

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The Young Rite is a center for spiritual development based on the Western esoteric mystery tradition.[1] One of the primary objectives is that the Holy Eucharist is celebrated frequently by as many priests as possible. One of the distinctive features of the Rite is its advocacy of a free and universal priesthood. The Young Rite is a jurisdictional member of the Liberal Catholic Alliance,[2] a denominational member of the Independent Liberal Catholic Fellowship[3] and all its bishops are members of The Sophia Circle.[4]


The Young Rite has its roots in the Liberal Catholic Church from which they derive their apostolic succession.[5] Much of the Liberal Catholic tradition has been maintained. The Young Rite was born with the consecration of bishop Marcus van Alphen[6] on 4 June 2006 by the independent bishops Johannes van Alphen, Mario Herrera Jorges and Benito Rodriguez Cruz using the rite of the Liberal Catholic Church. Bishop Johannes of South Africa was an active bishop in the new movement until his death in 2009. Bishop Aristid Havlicek (Slovenia) was consecrated to the Episcopacy in 2007[7][8] and Bishop Gregoire Amougou (Cameroun, who died in 2010) joined the Young Rite in 2009. In 2012 Bishop Domen Kočevar was consecrated to the Episcopacy in Celje, Slovenia. The Rite operates internationally with priests operating (amongst others) in Slovenia, the Netherlands, the USA Croatia, Greece, Canada, and South Africa.

Basic precepts[edit]

A basic precept is the voluntary nature of those who implement the work of the group. No one is paid for their services. The major differences may be summarized by what they call their three points:

  • Authority - The traditional hierarchical structure of clergy versus laity is dismantled. Although the sacrament of Holy Orders remains intact, the path is open to all who wish to tread it. The decision to follow this path lies with the seeker. Own experience is paramount, therefore authority lies with the individual.
  • Inclusivity - Inclusivity in its widest sense means participation by all who wish to do so.
  • Diversity - Unity means having an umbrella with defining characteristics. Any organisation has its rules and dogmas. Yet, these should be restricted to those which are strictly essential. Unity is therefore found in the diversity of expression rather than in uniformity. The practical implication is that there is no governing body. Groups operate autonomously and may call themselves circles operating in the Young Rite tradition if they subscribe to the basic tenets.

In the Rt Revd Alistair Bate's book, A Strange Vocation,[9] a chapter expounds on the views that led to the creation of the Young Rite.


The Young Rite believes that the individual is the final authority on any matter of experience or belief. Doctrine can therefore only be seen as a rough framework. Being esoterically-minded the scriptures and tradition are not interpreted literally.

  • Esoteric-Christian tradition - The Young Rite provides a platform for the modern day seeker to give expression to his or her spirituality within an Esoteric Christianity context.
  • Sacramental - Although the structure of the seven Christian Sacraments -implemented via a liturgy- remains intact, as does the apostolic succession, the form is participative. In contrast to the traditional (catholic) way, no distinction is made between sanctuary and congregation. In effect, this means that all present at a service are regarded as clergy who actively participate in its celebration.
  • A Free and Universal Priesthood - As all are seen as clergy, all are also free to receive ordinations up to and including the priesthood, if they so desire. The principal working form is the circle, where a celebrant together with and in the name of those present takes the lead in the performance of the ritual.
  • The Young Rite envisages that all of its members may become priests. However, everyone decides for themselves when and how far they wish to progress along the path towards priesthood.
  • Inclusive - Services are public. No secrets. The Young Rite is inclusive in the widest sense of the word: Everyone is welcome.


The Young Rite uses its own Liturgy instead of the Liberal Rite. This liturgy is constantly under revision as they experiment with more inclusive and affirmative language, different forms, etc. Currently in use is the 'Traditional Form of the Holy Eucharist', the 'Circle Form of the Holy Eucharist', and the 'Universal Eucharist'. A printed Liturgy is available from St Alban Press. In the book The Pillars of the Temple[10] the working of the liturgy from the viewpoint of the Young Rite is explained.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ The Young Rite
  2. ^ Liberal Catholic Alliance
  3. ^ ILCF
  4. ^ The Sophia Circle
  5. ^ Kersey, J. (2007) The apostolic succession in The Liberal Rite, European-American University Press
  6. ^ Report on the consecration of Marcus van Alphen
  7. ^ Svobodna Katoliška Cerkev
  8. ^ Consecration Aristid
  9. ^ Bate, A.H., ed. (2009) A Strange Vocation: Independent Bishops Tell Their Stories, Apocryphile Press
  10. ^ Van Alphen, M.F. (2010) The Pillars of the Temple, Inspiration Press