Thursday, February 13, 2014

Old Roman Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church

Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew
Old Roman Catholic Church, Great Britain
August 7, 1852- December 19, 1919

     The historical practice of the Old Roman Catholic Church originates in the autonomous nature granted to Utrecht several centuries ago. “Lex orandi, lex credendi.  This ancient maxim of the Church, commonly translated, “the law of prayer is the law of belief,” serves as our motto as we continue to preserve the authentic Orthodox Christian Faith, expressed in a fully Catholic heritage and culture.

     Although the Old Roman Catholic Church does not depend on the recognition of the Roman Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church has repeatedly affirmed its recognition of the Old Roman Catholic Church.  See Addis and Arnold’s Roman Catholic Dictionary, which says of this Communion, “They have retained valid orders…We have been unable to discover any trace of heresy in these books,” [i.e. those books officially ordered for use in the Old Roman Catholic Church.]  A Catholic Dictionary, by Donald Attwater, bearing the imprimatur of the late Patrick Cardinal Hayes of New York, states of the Old Roman Catholic Church: “Their orders and sacraments are valid.”  Referring to the Old Roman Catholic Church in America, specifically Father Conrad Algermissen’s Christian Denominations, published in 1948, and bearing the imprimatur of the late John Cardinal Glennon of St. Louis (p. 363) says: “The North American Old Roman Catholic Church [has] received valid episcopal consecration.” 

     In fact, as far back as 1928, The Far East (January 1928, p.16), a publication of the Roman Catholic Columban Fathers of St. Columban’s, Nebraska, answered an inquiry concerning the validity of the orders conferred in the Old Roman Catholic Church.  The article mentions our late Archbishop Carfora (from whom many present Old Roman Catholic bishops derive their orders) favorably and states, “these orders are valid.” 

     The Old Roman Catholic Church is integral to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, having provable and unbroken succession of Orders from, and teaching the full Faith of the undivided Universal Church.  She adheres to the forms and formulae established by the early Church Fathers, in order to preserve for succeeding generations the deposit of Faith received from Our Lord and His Apostles. The Old Roman Catholic Church continues to provide for her Faithful, who wish to maintain the ancient doctrine and worship of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Holy Mass and Sacraments/Mysteries.

     Indeed the doctrinal position of the Old Roman Catholic Church has often been unknown or misunderstood by many who are not of this Communion.  There have been those who have deliberately distorted our theological and canonical position – for reasons known only to themselves.  To correct any misinterpretation of what we Old Roman Catholics believe, the Old Roman Catholic Church reaffirms that it holds and teaches the Orthodox Faith, especially as regards the first seven Ecumenical Councils. We maintain and teach the Orthodox Faith without any reservations.

     The Old Roman Catholic Church maintains the historical conciliar nature of the Church of Christ.  Although we are not in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, we acknowledge him as the historical Patriarch of the West, the Successor of the Apostolic See of the Church of Rome.

++Rudolph de Landas Berghes                                                     ++Carmel Henry Carfora
Old Roman Catholic Church, Great Britain                               Old Roman Catholic Church,
First ORCC Bishop in North America                                                     North America
Nov. 1, 1873 - Nov. 17, 1920                                                     August 27, 1878 - January 11, 1958 

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