Sunday, September 26, 2010

How do you get ordained for the Old Catholic Church anyway?

It's not difficult.
Today there are several denominations claiming to be offshoots of the Old Catholic church.  What kind of seminaries do these people go to?  What kind of education and training do they have?  It's usually the Old Catholic church and it's assorted denominations or offshoots, claiming Apostolic Succession, which seems to be doing most of the ordaining of women and gays and other misfits.  Maybe some of their priests have excellent credentials, and please forgive me for stating it this way, but it seems to me many of them are rejects from the Roman Catholic Church.  
For instance.
Heartland Old Catholic Church    I know two of the priests on this site.  One was a counsellor at a neighborhood community center when I was a teenager.  As a kid he wanted to be a priest, instead he tried his vocation as a Franciscan brother.  That didn't work out, so he came home, got married, and was eventually ordained a permanent deacon for the archdiocese...  Now he's divorced and ministers as an Old Catholic monsignor.  Not too stable.


  1. Terry,

    You and your readers may be interested in the three-part series on Old Catholicism that I have on my blog. In this series I share excerpts from my friend Robert Caruso's book The Old Catholic Church: Understanding the Origin, Essence, and Theology of a Church that is Unknown and Misunderstood by Many in North America.

    Bob is a well-respected authority on the Old Catholic Church.

    You can access this series by clicking here.



  2. Just looking at the picture in The New York Times of the Italian lady being ordained at

    But is she wearing white trainers to be ordained?

    Not that I have anything against trainers. I wear them all the time. Is this usual at an ordination ?

  3. Thanks Michael - If you had not commented I would have removed this post - I should never post late at night when I'm tired and haven't thought things through. Please pardon the unflattering terms I used.

    Yes - I recall you compiled an extensive history on the Old Catholic church - thanks for posting the link.

    Terry - I'll check it out - thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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  5. I'm a little bit familiar with this. The Polish National Catholic Church, formed in 1897 in Scranton, PA, had their first bishop, Francis Hodur, consecrated in the Netherlands by a Dutch Old Catholic bishop.

    As Michael's quoted article says, these Old Catholics broke from Rome after the Council of Trent and are deemed to have "apostolic succession." Unlike the bishops of the Anglican Church, all of whom were consecrated by apostates.

    Thus, the PNCC today is deemed to have valid priests, although not in communion with Rome. They have a status not unlike the Orthodox churches, where a Catholic could attend Mass and receive the sacraments if there were no Catholic (Roman or Eastern) churches available.

    I doubt that any "Liberal Catholics" and others who say they have apostolic succession are anywhere near to having the Vatican enter into ecumenical discussions with them.

    There is an ongoing committee of Vatican and PNCC officials that continues to meet regularly with the ultimate goal being that of reunion.

    I believe that the issues in 1897 were largely local to begin with: the appointment of Polish priests to Polish parishes and the ownership of church properties. Infallibility issues were raised as separation became a relativity.

    There are PNCC parishes in northeast Minneapolis (St. Mary's) and in Duluth (St. Josephat's, served by the pastor at St. Mary's). Some of my relatives joined St. Josephat's but the pastor who fomented the break later returned to the Roman fold.

    The issue of whether an "Old Catholic" bishop may consecrate a woman as a priest, however, is a different matter. They can't!

    I would assume that most Old Catholics differ today from the teachings of the Magisterium of the Roman Church on many other issues than those stated after Trent.

  6. I must admit that the Italian woman is 30 years younger than any American wymen-priest that I have ever seen. And her chasuble almost looks very proper, unlike the clown-ware worn by American women.

    Maria Vittoria Longhitano

  7. Thanks much Ray. I have to think that any reunion under study will have been set back due to the irregular ordinations that have occurred over the last decade or so. This issue was brought to my attention because a friend mentioned some associations with theosophy - I might look into that and post more on it. Whatever the case, it strikes me the sect embraces many liberal teachings in opposition to Rome - sounds like a free for all to me.

  8. I'd agree, Terry. It's been more than ten years since I have checked into the PNCC situation. And from what very little I know of the Liberal Catholic Church, there is no chance that Rome would even meet with them, let along have serious discussion.

    Modernism, relativism and secularism so permeate our culture, that I doubt that very many "Old Catholics" see the need for reunion.

  9. Here is a clear example of distortion of values and faith!

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  11. We presently have an Englishman visiting us; he spoke of "trainers" and we thought he was speaking of "training pants"...y'know,the undies that you put on toddlers learning to go potty in the right place:<)!!
    Sweet Baby Jesus...that picture made me grow a few more white hairs...!!

  12. These dissenters were who Jesus spoke of when he said you shouldn't put old whine in new skins...

  13. Owen:

    I was wrong. It was later than Trent.

    "Old Catholicism originated when various Catholic churches separated from Roman Catholicism over the issue of Papal authority after the Protestant Reformation. The initial separation from Rome occurred in The Netherlands in 1724 which formed the first Old Catholic Church. The churches of Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Switzerland created the Union of Utrecht after Vatican I (1871) over the Dogma of Papal Infallibility. In the early 1900s the movement included England, Canada, Croatia, France, Denmark, Italy, North America, the Philippines, China, and Hungry. The Union of Utrecht has not welcomed any non-continental European community to join the Union with the exception of the Polish National Catholic Church."

    Old Catholic wiki

    I would bet that there have been more in the past twenty years.

  14. "[I]t seems to me many of them are rejects from the Roman Catholic Church."

    Yes, I think that's a fair assessment. But what bothers me to no end is the fact that this "old catholic" entity often fails to make known the fact that they are not in communion with the Bishop of Rome. Some of their congregants thought they were attending a Catholic parish in good standing. It's happened here in Nevada.

  15. Thanks for sharing! My cousin wants to become a minister. He explained to me how to get ordained and said that he's doing to do it online as it is very easy and a lot faster. While I never pictured my cousin to become a minister, he's very dedicated to the church and his faith.

  16. Hi all, to correct some of the errors, there are two streams of Old Catholicism, the Utrecht Union including most Old Catholic churches (they operate on territorial principle, unlike Rome, so there are dozens of them, one in each country) and including US and Canadian Episcopalians, and then there is Scranton Union, which was established by several Old Catholic Churches (like mine, the Slovak Old Catholic Church) in reaction to Utrecht Union starting to ordain women, ordain openly gay men and support homosexual relationships, to which we protested, but to no avail. So we withdrew and established the Scranton Union (in Scranton :-). The Scranton Union is the "good guys" of which the Papal Declaration Dominus Iesus of August 2000 speaks. Full apostolic succession, valid sacraments, valid priests and bishops, Roman and Eastern Catholics may "validly and licitely" (according to the Pope, not my idea) accept sacraments there under canon of necessity (conditions of canon law are these: no local ordinary (= priest or bishop) of their own is available for that sacrament at that time in that place, happens more often than you think) and vice versa, we are allowed to accept sacraments (Holy Eucharist and Holy Confession before all, but all others as well) under the same terms (also happens very often). The Papal Declaration applies expressly to: Orthodox Church, Polish National Church and Old Catholic Church with the caveat "with valid apostolic succession", so Utrecht churches are thereby excluded while Scranton curches are thereby included. And a note at the end: the Papal Declaration was issued by His Holiness John Paul II and then confirmed by s Holiness Benedict XVI, and it is a textbook declaration "in the matters of faith and morals". You Roman Catholics do know what that means, right?


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