About Our Church

 

Hello and Welcome. 

The American Catholic Church is a growing community of Christians comprising an autocephalous otherwise known as a "self-governing" Catholic Church. We are one of more than 100 Autocephalous Catholic Churches worldwide. We are a community of faith which finds unity in the recognition and celebration of the diversity we have. We are an eclectic group of believers who know we will never have all the answers, but take great delight in asking the questions.

What is the Local Church? This is a very good question, one in which there is a lot of misunderstanding. The Church is the Assembly of the People of God for the celebration of the Mystery of the Eucharist, wherein the local Church actually becomes and is revealed as the Body of Christ, as a Theandric organism, in which the Holy Trinity dwells.  (Cf. Ephesians 4:5-6 and I Corinthians 10:15-16; Concerning the Ecclesiastical and Sacramental Assembly and the Meaning of the Body of Christ.)

Our Mission and ministries include both parochial, that is parish based ministries, as well as individual ministries so typical of members in Religious Orders. These individual ministries include: Hospice Care, Ethnic Ministries, Street Ministries - Homeless persons, as well as those involved in Counseling and Physiological Therapy activities, Wedding Ministry, and naturally Parish Ministry.  Take a moment to get acquainted with our clergy. 

As mentioned above, we are an autocephalous catholic church, that is we are self-governing, the same as the Orthodox Churches, the Episcopal Church, in the United States, the nationally based Old Catholic Churches in Europe and the Roman Catholic Church.  All of these are self-governing churches.  We are part of what is generally referred to, here in the United States, as Independent Catholic or Old Catholic Churches.  The tradition of Independent Catholicism, although not well known, especially in North America, extends back to the earliest Christian Church. You can read more about our history by visiting our web pages: A Short History Overview, Old Catholic Resources, and A Historical Article. As part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, though "self governing" we reach out to other "self-governing" churches through our inter-communion efforts as we build up the Body of Christ.

Our cathedral parish; Saint John the Beloved, serves as the spiritual center, not only for worship, but for many active ministries, enriching our common lives together, and reaching out to the surrounding community. We are an Open and Affirming Community of Faith.  We reach out equally to the GLBT Community and those who are divorced and remarried including those with a Roman Catholic (Western - Latin Rite), Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox and other faith traditions, the unchurched and all in search of God.

 

LITURGY

Liturgical worship, especially the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist (i.e. the Holy Mass) is celebrated in several Rites depending on the needs and desires of the local community and with approval by the Diocesan Bishop. Generally, the Liturgy will be either the current Rite of the Roman Church (Novus Ordo), the Rite of the Anglican/Episcopal Communion (either 1928 or current versions), the Old Catholic Churches, or the liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

We believe that Christ calls each of us as a free gift of Grace to be equal members of His Mystical Body.

No individual, regardless of position in the Church, receives an infallible personal insight into the Mind of God by virtue of their call or position in the Church. Rather, the Holy Spirit inspires each person, lay, religious, and clergy, with gifts for the building of God's Kingdom (cf. 1 Corinthians 12, et al.) according to the Spirit's Plan for God's People.

The clergy are ordained as leaders and teachers of the Gospel; not as princes, or infallible arbiters of theological opinion. It is the duty of each person, under the teaching guidance of the Church, to inform themselves through prayer and study and arrive at an understanding of the Truth revealed to our world by Jesus Christ and to apply their individual gifts to the building of God's Kingdom. Please reference here our Apostolic Succession.

To be accepted as defined matters of the Faith and inerrant Truth, however, theological postulates require a moral consensus of all bishops and must also be received as inerrant Truth by the People of God. Thus they cannot be imposed on the People of God by the actions of any single person, regardless of their Office or stature in the Church.

We welcome to the Lord's Table all baptized Christians who approach it reverently, regardless of their current ecclesiastical affiliation. Divorce and remarriage are not impediments to the reception of the Holy Eucharist (see Matthew 10:8).

 

FREEDOM

We leave to the informed conscience of our people, matters which are properly theirs to decide before God.

 

A WELCOMING CHURCH

We welcome all people, regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation, to participation in the life and Sacraments of the Church; asking only moral conduct which is appropriate for all Christians.  The call to be a Christian entails moral and ethical behavior which flows from a conscience informed by prayer and study. While it is not the function of the Church to be judgmental regarding the conduct of individual members, this lack should not be seen as affirming immoral conduct of any kind, but is a recognition that we are incompetent and unworthy to judge another. It is, rather, the Church's function to offer instruction and guidance in a Christian way of life so that those whom He calls may lead lives in imitation of Christ out of Love for God and not from fear of damnation nor from censure by their sisters and brothers (cf. Matthew 7:1-5; John 8:7, et al.).

 

MARRIAGE  

We minister to those making commitments for life to each other in Matrimony; for both heterosexual and homosexual couples.  We believe love between two persons is a gift from God. We believe that the commitment in love between two persons should also be blessed by God through the ministry of the Church irrespective of their orientation. It is good and proper for the Church to recognize this reality in public and witness the bond of love between two persons.  Divorce is not, generally, an impediment to remarriage in the Church and does not bar one from the reception of the Sacraments. Please fill out the Marriage form.  Divorce and remarriage are not impediments to the reception of the Holy Eucharist (see Matthew 10:8).

 

ADMISSION TO HOLY ORDERS

For details on incardination of Clergy and admission of candidates for Holy Orders please contact the Vicar of Vocations.

 


RELATIONS WITH OTHER CHURCHES

We welcome all who come to us in the Name of the Lord. We believe that all communities of faith honor and worship the one God. We extend to them the warmest of bonds of Love and Fellowship. They are our brothers and sisters in the one common God. (cf. Mark 9:40)  Please see this listing of other churches we communicate with. We also actively seek out other church bodies who seek closer ties as we work together in the vineyard of the Lord. If you are interested in forming closer communion with us, please go to our website describing our active ministry to other Communions.

 

PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION

All people sin. Sin is a sad but inherent part of a human nature which has yet to fully align itself with the Will of God. As sinners we recognize the need for conversion of heart and reordering of our lives; but also trust in the infinite love and forgiveness of our Lord. Reconciliation is the great Sacrament by which those who have wandered on paths which lead astray are reunited and reconciled to the Lord and God's People. Though not required, Private Confession is available from any priest by request. General Sacramental Absolution may be granted to all present during the penitential rite.

 

Statement of Sexual Misconduct

The purpose of this policy is to articulate the American Catholic Church's abhorrence to sexual misconduct on the part of any clergy, or any person acting under the mantel of authority, of the American Catholic Church, and to delineate a process to permit any person who believes they have been a victim of sexual misconduct to report this information to law enforcement or any agency as deemed necessary.  The American Catholic Church expressly prohibits any misconduct on the part of our clergy or any person using the mantel of authority of the Church. [Please see the complete statement here.]

We hope this has helped you in your understanding of our Diocese. Please visit our other web pages to learn more of who we are and of our ministries.