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Why is the church called the "Old Holy Roman Church of the
Why are you English Rite?
Why are you Roman?
Why are you Catholic?
What is your relationship to the ancient Catholic Church?
What is the definition of Roman Catholicism?
What does it mean to be "Roman of the English Rite?"
Are you Protestant?
Did the Old Roman Church of the English Rite ever leave the Catholic Church?
How can you be autonomous and Catholic?
Who granted autonomy?
Did the See of Utrecht ever produce a Pope?
Are you "Episcopi vagantes?"
Is "episcopi vagantes" a derrogatory term or hate phrase?
Are you a part of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops?
Do you recognize the USCCB?
Are you part of the Episcopal Church of the USA?
Do you recognize the Episcopal Church?
What is your position on Apostolicae Curae?
Are you part of the Utrecht Union of Old Catholic Churches?
What is the difference between Old Roman Catholicism and Old Catholicism?
Why did Archbishop Mathew separate the Old Roman Catholic Church in
Great Britain from the Utrecht Union?
Can Old Roman Catholics compromise on matters of faith and doctrine?
What is the Old Roman Catholic position on modernism and innovation
in the Church?
Are you under direct Papal leadership?
Are you similar to Archbishop Lefebvre?
What about Papal Infallibility?
Doesn't "Roman" mean that you are under direct Papal
What is the Roman Communion?
Are you schismatic Roman Catholics?
What is autonomy under Leonine Privilege?
Does you recognize the Primacy of the Holy Father?
What about the accusations of the Janenist heresy against Utrecht in
the 17th century?
Are you part of the Continuing Anglican movement?
Why are you not part of the Anglican Ordinariate in the Roman Communion?
Who was the Anglican Ordinariate intended for?
Are Old Roman Catholic Sacraments considered valid by the Canon Law
of the Catholic Church?
What is your position on the Declaration of Utrecht and the 14 Theses?
What was the origin of the Declaration of Utrecht?
Why is the head of the Old Holy Roman Church of the English Rite a Patriarch?
How is your Patriarch chosen?
Why do your Patriarch and Metropolitan use the pallium?
What is the design of the pallium used by the Old Holy Roman Church
of the English Rite?
Why is your Patriarch a Cardinal?
I have never heard of Cardinals outside the Roman Communion. Isn't
What are the Cardinals of the Cathedral of St. Paul (Church of England)?
I'm a Catholic in the Roman Communion. Some OHRCER and ORC customs
in general seem different from what I am used to. Can you explain?
Are there Roman Catholics outside the administrative structure of
the Roman Communion?
Why are Bishops important?
Does the Old Holy Roman Church of the English Rite teach and profess
Do you have all seven Sacraments?
Is the doctrine you profess any different than that of the ancient
is the church called
Holy Roman Church of the English Rite?"
A: We are
Old Roman Catholics in descent from the See of Utrecht who also have
inherited the heritage of the English Church. ("[Utrecht]
is a small independent Roman Catholic Church." Encyclopedia Britannica.)
We are of the English Rite because we have heritage and additional
Apostolic Succession from the ancient English (Anglican) Church, the
original Anglican Rite (Use); and because some aspects of our liturgy
is Anglican in style. We are Roman because we profess the same
teachings as the Holy See in authentic exercise of her Magisterium;
because our lines of Apostolic Succession were held in common with
those of the Roman Communion until 1739, when Bishop Dominique-Marie
Varlet, the Roman Catholic Titular Bishop of Ascalon, consecrated
Peter John Meindaerts as Archbishop of Utrecht without Papal Bull, in
accordance with the ancient Leonine Privilege; and because we use the
pre-1955 Roman Rite Missale, the pre-Vatican II Rituale,
and the Pontificale of Pope Leo XIII, with modifications only
to include distinctly English tradition that does not conflict with
the authentic teachings of the Church. While we often use the name
"Old Holy Roman Church of the English Rite" as a more
direct translation of our Latin name, the older official English
translation is "Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church." The
two names are considered to be synonymous, and the use of either is
Saint Gregory the Great
Saint Augustine of Canterbury
England in 595 to Christianize
English pagan, thus establishing
Catholic Church of England.
is the definition of Roman Catholicism?
largest of the Christian denominations is the Roman Catholic church.
As an institution it has existed since the 1st century AD...The name
of the church is derived from its base in Rome and from a Greek term
meaning 'universal.' The word Catholic refers to the wholeness of the
church, and for many centuries the Roman church claimed to be the
only true Christian denomination." (Compton's
Interactive Encyclopedia © 1996)
church characterized by its uniform, highly developed doctoral and
organizational structure that traces its history to the apostles of
Jesus Christ in the 1st century C.E." (Marriam-Webster's
Encyclopedia of World Religions © 1999, page 938)
Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church recognizes the Bishop of Rome,
the Pope, as the Vicar of Christ on this earth, and as the Head of
the Church. It traces its origin from the naming of the Apostles
Peter by Jesus as the chief of the Apostles . The authority of Peter
as head of the Church is exercised by his successors as the Bishops
of Rome. The doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church come from the
faith given by Christ to his Apostles." (World
Religions, By Benson Y. Landis, © 1957 Page 110)
Augustine of Canterbury
does it mean to be "Roman
of the English Rite?"
A: We are
an Anglo-Roman Particular Church. We are not a Protestant community,
separate church, or denomination. We reject modernism and every
innovation, adhering instead to the historic doctrine and discipline
of the Catholic Church in the Apostolic period. We are Catholic by
Leonine Privilege, by special favor of the Church, and because we
derive our authority from Jesus Christ in unbroken succession from
the Apostles through the Bishops; because our communion is confined
neither to time nor space; and because we teach, profess, and
preserve the Faith once delivered by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
to the Apostles.
Holy Roman Church of the English Rite (or
other Old Roman Catholic
leave the Catholic Church?
Absolutely not. As Old Roman Catholics, we descend from the See of
Utrecht, which was granted autonomy in 1145 by Pope Eugene III and
confirmed in 1520 by Pope Leo X in the Bull Debitum Pastoralis,
this right becoming known as the Leonine Privilege. The Church
Councils in 1215 and 1717 further confirmed this right. It has also
been confirmed by several more recent affirmations. Indeed, the See
of Utrecht, from which we descend, provided a Pope, Hadrian VI, in
1522. For more on the Old Roman Catholic Church, please read this article.
of Utrecht was
granted autonomy in 1145
Blessed Pope Eugene III
you "Episcopi vagantes?"
That term, meaning "wandering bishops," is often applied in
a derogatory fashion against Old Roman Catholics and Old Catholics
who do not know any better and sometimes even by those who ought to
know better. Based on the autonomy granted to the See of Utrecht and
further recognition of the status of that See and Old Roman
Catholics, Old Roman Catholics continue rightly to claim licitness
under Canon Law. Therefore, it is inappropriate to apply the term
"episcopi vagantes" to Old Roman Catholic Bishops.
you a part of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops?
A: No. We,
as Roman Catholics stemming from the See of Utrecht with an historic
independence of government, are not part of the USCCB.
you recognize the USCCB?
course. We recognize the Bishops, clergy, and faithful under the
USCCB as brother Catholics. We always seek a cooperative relationship
you part of the Episcopal Church of the USA?
While the Episcopal Church includes the largest body of Anglican
Churches in the USA, several Anglican jurisdictions continue
legitimately to exercise their unique independent authority. Also,
the Old Holy Roman Church of the English Rite, while in the Anglican
tradition due to parts of its specific heritage, is an Old Roman
you recognize the Episcopal Church?
course. Although Leo XIII declared purely Anglican orders to be null
and void in Apostolicae Curae, we nevertheless recognize the
members of the Episcopal Church as brothers in the Anglican
tradition. We always seek a cooperative relationship wherever possible.
you part of the Utrecht Union of Old Catholic Churches?
A: No. We
are in succession from Archbishop Mathew of England, consecrated in
1909 by Geraldus Gul, Archbishop of Utrecht, who separated from the
Utrecht Union in order to preserve the orthodoxy of the Catholic
Faith within Old Roman Catholicism. This was due to attacks within
Utrecht against the Catholic Faith and in opposition to the decrees
of the First Vatican Council. While "Old Catholic" is often
used as a short version of "Old Roman Catholic," the term
"Old Catholic" also refers to the movement begun in 1870
against, among other things, Papal Infallibility. This resulted in an
eventual split between the Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain
and continental Old Catholics, which had caused the See of Utrecht to
descend into modernism. Thus Utrecht was overwhelmed and forced to
adopt many modernist practices and doctrines inconsistent with
traditional Catholicism. True Old Roman Catholicism, the fruit of the
venerable Church that was home to Saint Willibrord and Saint
Boniface, lives on to this day. She does not adopt modernist doctrine
and practices, compromise with Protestant theology, or compromise
with or adopt non-Christian practices. Indeed, there is much
similarity between the "Old Catholicism" from which
Archbishop Mathew separated and the modernist form of Catholicism
widely practiced today. (Read Archbishop
Mathew's letter separating the Old Roman Catholic Church in Great
Britain from the Utrecht Union.)
you under direct administrative Papal leadership?
A: No, we
have independence of ecclesiastical government, as we descend from
the See of Utrecht, which was granted autonomy in 1145 by Pope Eugene
III and confirmed in 1520 by Pope Leo, this right becoming known as
the Leonine Privilege. The Church Councils in 1215 and 1717 further
confirmed this right. It has also been confirmed by several more
recent affirmations. We do, however, profess a spiritual unity with
Rome and accept the Bishop of Rome as First Among Equals, Vicar of
Christ, Patriarch of the West, and head of the Universal Church on
Doesn't "Roman Catholic" mean that you are under direct
administrative Papal leadership?
Today, the term "Roman Communion" has indeed come to mean
churches administered directly by the Pope. However, Churches of the
Old Roman Catholic tradition still exist that are not under
administrative Papal direction. These Old Roman Catholic Churches
descend from the See of Utrecht, which was granted independence of
government by the Holy See in 1145. The Old Roman Church of the
English Rite likewise descends from the See of Utrecht. Although the
Old Roman Church of the English Rite is thus not part of the
administrative structure of the Roman Communion, it recognizes the
primacy of the Holy Father. This is quite different from the Greek
and Russian Orthodox Churches, which formally split
from Rome in the East-West Schism, and the Old Catholic schism at the
time of the First Vatican Council.
Leo X, who confirmed the
of the See of Utrecht,
then became known
Willibrord, First Bishop
Utrecht, was consecrated
you schismatic Roman Catholics?
Most who make this argument do not understand the history. Neither
are we ex-Catholics, former Catholics, or non-Catholics. Old Roman
Catholicism is not, nor has it ever been, a sect or schism of the
Catholic Church. Autonomy was granted to the See of Utrecht, from
which we descend, in 1145 and confirmed many times since. Some,
however, claim that Old Roman Catholics are heretics or schismatics,
usually due to an accusation of the Jansenist heresy in the 17th
century against Archbishop Codde, the Archbishop of Utrecht, by the
Jesuits. Despite the fact this claim was never proven and Archbishop
Codde was declared innocent, the baseless accusations continued.
Through pressure of the Jesuits, Archbishop Codde was dismissed,
which not only threatened the independence granted under Leonine
Privilege by previous Popes and Councils, it caused division and
misinformation at that time and which abounds to this day (The
New Schaff-Herzog of Religious Knowledge). The
Old Roman Church of the English Rite recognizes the primacy of the
Pope as the head of the Church. Our priests pray for the Holy Father
in the Canon of the Mass. We do, however, maintain our rights under
Leonine Privilege as given and confirmed by Popes, Ecumenical
Councils, and special favor of the Church. (For
more information on the politics and situation of the accusations of
the Jansenist heresy and Utrecht, please see H. Daniel-Rops. The
Church in the Seventeenth Century. New
York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1963)
you part of the Continuing Anglican movement?
While our parent Anglican diocese was originally part of that
movement in 1978, it has since embraced the fullness of the Catholic
Faith through Old Roman Catholicism and is not a part of or
associated with the Continuing Anglican movement or the Traditional
Anglican movement, both of which typically reject the tenets of Roman Catholicism.
are you not part of the Anglican Ordinariate in the Roman Communion?
Ordinariate was created as a mechanism for corporate conversion by
Anglicans, whose Holy Orders and Sacraments are not recognized as
valid by the Holy See (see Apostolicae
Curae, Leo XIII).
Our Church is part of the Old Roman Catholic tradition, stemming from
the See of Utrecht, with Holy Orders recognized as valid by the Holy
See. (See Dominus
Iesus, 2000, the Concordat of 1976, and
Canon 844 Sec. 2).
is your position on the Declaration of Utrecht and the 14 Theses?
adhere to traditional Roman Catholic doctrine and principles. Our
guiding principles are Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the
authentic Teaching Authority of the Universal Church. However, the
Declaration is useful to study to gain understanding of conflicts
arising in Catholicism after the First Vatican Council. Our Apostolic
lineage in the Old Catholic line extends to before the Declaration in
1889, and our Particular Church has worked to reconcile the
ultramontanist and the ultrajectine positions.
is the head of the Old Roman Church of the English Rite a Patriarch?
Patriarch is the senior-most bishop, providing pastoral leadership to
all in his jurisdiction.
is your Patriarch chosen?
Patriarch is elected by the Patriarchal Electors in accordance with
the Code of Particular Canon Law. The Electors are prelates appointed
by the Patriarch.
do your Patriarch and Metropolitans use the pallium?
pallium is a symbol of a Metropolitan or the Patriarch being in
spiritual unity with the Apostolic See and sharing in the spiritual
and jurisdictional authority of the Pope by having jurisdiction over
a Particular Church.
is the design of your pallium?
pallium in use by the Holy Roman Church of the English Rite is a
white circular band that lays flat on the shoulder with lapits in the
front and back, the ends of which are black. There are twelve black
crosses embroidered on the pallium. Additionally, pallia granted by
the Patriarchal See are third class relics of Saint Peter the
Apostle, thus giving a direct sacred link to the Prince of the
Apostles and the Apostolic See; of Blessed John Paul II, thereby
furthering the Petrine linkage; and of Saint Stephen the Deacon and
Protomartyr, thus providing a direct link to the Patron of our See.
Patriarch a Cardinal?
branch of the Church follows its own customs in accordance with
tradition. By the Code of Particular Canon Law, our Patriarch always
holds the rank of Cardinal Deacon of Santa Maria Antiqua in camera persona.
The phrase in camera persona means that it is a special rank
particular to this Church. Just as a Metropolitan historically shares
in the authority of the Pope through the administration of a
province, a Cardinal Patriarch similarly shares at the highest level.
The physical Diaconal Church of Santa Maria Antiqua in Rome is an
historic Roman Catholic church in the Roman Forum and no longer under
direct Papal administrative jurisdiction. Click here for more about historic
Cardinals of the Anglican Church.
Cardinal Barberini, source of the principal line of Apostolic
Succession of the Old Roman Church of the English Rite, was created
at age 20.
have never heard of
Cardinals outside the administrative framework of the Roman
Communion. Isn't this unique?
Cardinals are indeed found in Old Roman Catholicism. It is also not
uncommon for Old Roman Catholic Patriarchs to use the styles and
identical scarlet dress of a Cardinal, whether or not they hold that
specific title. This is seen among certaain Prince Archbishops and
Primates within the Roman Communion as well. Noteworthy among these
is the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg. Also worth noting is that,
until the late middle ages, principal priests in churches outside
Rome also used the style of Cardinal. Cardinals in fact become
Cardinals immediately upon publication of their elevation in any form (Pius
V. 1571; Gregory XV Decet, Bullarium Romanum, XII) Read
more about that and more in the history of Cardinals.
future Pope Julius II seen here (left) at age 34
Cardinal with his uncle, Pope Sixtus IV (right).
Julius II who granted Henry VIII's dispensation to
his brother's widow, Catharine of Aragon, and who
refused Henry VIII's petition to annul his marriage.
are the Cardinals
of the Cathedral of St. Paul (Church of England)?
A: The two
senior-most minor canons of the Cathedral
of St. Paul in London, which is now part of the post-Reformation
Church of England, are titled as Cardinal. There is a Senior Cardinal
and a Junior Cardinal. See
a Catholic in the Roman Communion. Some customs of the Old Holy
Roman Church of the English Rite and of Old Roman Catholicism in
general seem different from what I am used to. Can you explain?
Roman Catholicism is currently a relative minority within worldwide
Catholicism. Thus, some Roman Catholics within the Roman Communion
may not be aware that there are Roman Catholics outside the Roman
Communion. Unfortunately human nature is such that people often focus
on superficial differences and use them to create disunity and
conflict. Church traditions naturally grow and evolve, sometimes into
different branches with similar basic tenets and sufficiently
different customs that make them unique. Liturgical practices of the
Old Roman Church of the English Rite are virtually identical to those
of the Tridentine Rite, with the inclusion of certain distinct
aspects of Anglican tradition.
are Bishops important?
they are the successors of the Apostles, and they possess the
fullness of Christ's Priesthood. Our Church is organized like the
historic Church has always been, and that is top down. You can have a
Church with one Bishop and no other clergy, but even a church of 100
priests would be a highly deficient church if there was no Bishop.
All authority to minister in the local Church stems from the Bishop
under whom the priests function.
the Old Roman Church of the English Rite teach and profess Catholic doctrine?
A: Yes. In
particular, our principal Catechism, the Southwest Anglo-Catholic
Catechism (also known as the Catechism of the Anglican Rite Roman
Catholic Church), is based on the Baltimore Catechism, a standard
catechism of the Roman Catholic Church before the Second Vatican
Council. As Old Roman Catholics who received and inherited the true
doctrine of Catholicism, the Old Roman Church of the English Rite
preserves that doctrine, as well as the seven Sacraments of the Holy
Mass, Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Penance, Matrimony, and
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