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3/24/2014 2:00:00 PM
Is the Old Church valid?

Deacon Owen Cummings

Q — Does the Roman Catholic Church recognize the validity of the Old Catholic Church’s sacraments and priestly ordination?

A — The term “Old Catholics” is used by a group of small national churches, consisting of Christians who have at different times separated from full communion with Rome.

In the main, they consist of three sections. First is the Church of Utrecht, which separated from Rome in 1724.

Second are the German, Austrian, and Swiss Old Catholic Churches.

These came about as a result of those Christians who refused to accept the dogmas of infallibility and the universal ordinary jurisdiction of the Pope, as defined by Vatican I in 1870.

Third are some small groups of Slav origin.

The doctrinal basis of the Old Catholic Churches is that Declaration of Utrecht in 1889.

An assembly of the Old Catholic bishops drew up this document in which they profess adherence to the decrees of the ecumenical councils of the first millennium.

While rejecting the dogmas of Vatican I, they continue to profess the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist and the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

For the most part, as far as I am aware, the Roman Catholic Church recognizes the validity of their sacraments, but, of course, I am open to correction on this.

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