Comparison


Major Points of Comparison between The Old Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church

Old Catholic Church

Leadership

Governed by the Bishop in Council with the clergy & laity. The Bishop of Rome (the Pope) is honored as first among equals of the world’s bishops, but not accorded universal jurisdiction. Papal Infallibility (meaning he is ascribed personal infallibility when speaking ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals) is rejected in favor of the scriptural idea of the indefectibility-meaning when the Church speaks in Ecumenical Council, it does so without defect from the truth.

Roman Catholic Church

Leadership

Governed by the Bishop of Rome (the Pope). He has universal jurisdiction and is ascribed personal infallibility when speaking ex cathedra (from the Chair of Peter-meaning he explicitly states a particular position to be assented to and binding on all Roman Catholics) on matters of faith and morals.


The Creeds

The Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed (less the filioque clause) are accepted as statements of core beliefs.

The Creeds

The Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed are accepted as statements of core beliefs.


Scripture

The Holy Bible, consisting of 72 canonically recognized books, is seen as the inspired “Word of God”, which needs to be interpreted in order to be properly understood. Supports on-going scripture scholarship.

Scripture

The Holy Bible, consisting of 72 canonically recognized books, is seen as the inspired “Word of God”, which needs to be interpreted in order to be properly understood. Supports on-going scripture scholarship.


The Sacraments

Seven in number, instituted by Christ, to give grace.

The Sacraments

Seven in number, instituted by Christ, to give grace.


Church Councils

Recognizes doctrinal authority of First Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church. Accepts teachings of all councils which are not contrary to Scripture or Tradition.

Church Councils

Recognizes doctrinal authority of 21 Church councils. Many of Vatican II decrees (as well as other councils) have been modified by subsequent documents.


Clergy

Bishops, priests and deacons (male & female) are ordained within valid apostolic successional lines. Celibacy recognized as a gift and not mandatory for Holy Orders.

Clergy

Bishops, priests and deacons (male only) are ordained within valid apostolic successional lines. Celibacy required for Latin Rite priests and bishops.


Eucharist

Believe that during the Mass, through the action of the priest & gathered community and by the power of the Holy Spirit, bread and wine are changed, in their substance, into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. This sacrament is the symbol and source of Christian Unity. Reception is offered to all baptized Christians and is not denied to anyone who approaches the altar.

Eucharist

Believe that during the Mass, through the action of the priest and by the power of the Holy Spirit, bread and wine are changed, in their substance, into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. This sacrament is the symbol of Christian Unity. Reception limited to Roman Catholics, with some
exceptions. Can be denied to divorced and remarried, and others as determined by the Roman Curia or an individual Bishop or Priest.


Mary

The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, is held in special reverence because of her unique role in salvation history and her heroic degree of obedience to the Divine Will. While the Marian feasts of the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception are observed by the Church, belief in these doctrines is not considered binding upon the faithful.

Mary

The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, is held in special reverence because of her unique role in salvation history and her heroic degree of obedience to the Divine Will. The Marian feasts of the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception are observed by the Church and belief in them as dogmatic teaching is considered binding upon the faithful.


Saints

All those enjoying eternal life in the presence of God are saints. In addition to those saints informally acclaimed as such throughout history, there are also those saints formally declared (canonized) by competent Church authority, and who are commemorated in the Church’s Liturgical Calendar.

Saints

All those enjoying eternal life in the presence of God are saints. In addition to those saints informally acclaimed as such throughout history, there are also those saints formally declared (canonized) by competent Church authority, and who are commemorated in the Church’s Liturgical Calendar.


Penance

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) is administered by a bishop or priest having faculties to do so. Auricular confession of specific sins is encouraged but not required. Individual and Communal celebrations of Reconciliation are accepted as normative.

Penance

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) is administered by a bishop or priest having faculties to do so. Auricular confession of specific sins is normally required. The use of General Absolution is highly restricted.


Parishes

While parishes are established by, and operate under the authority of, The Bishop, parish property is locally owned (either by parishioners or clergy, or both). Parishes are required to be financially self-supporting and to support the work of the Church according to their means. Parish assessment is determined annually by the Bishop in Council with the Clergy and Laity at the Annual Gathering.

Parishes

Parish property is owned either by the diocese or by the diocesan bishop (Ordinary) on behalf of the diocese. Parish property may be sold, or otherwise disposed of, at the bishop’s discretion. Poorer parishes often receive aid from the diocese. Most parishes pay an annual assessment to the diocese.


Moral Decisions

The faithful are encouraged to follow their conscience in matters of morals; always governed by the guiding principles of Catholic Social Teaching and the Scriptural guideposts of Love of God and Love of Neighbor. The duty of the Clergy is to assist in the formation of conscience, not to be the lawful interpreter of conscience.

Moral Decisions

The faithful are expected to follow the moral mandates as interpreted by the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church. Most moral conduct is dictated by Canon Law or Dogmatic or Doctrinal proclamation. Personal conscience is recognized but only to the extent that it agrees with the Magisterial position or teaching.


Current Issues

Issues like Birth Control, War, Same Sex Unions, Poverty, Injustice, Discrimination, Immigration, etc. are all issues which are to be examined in the light of Catholic Social Teaching and the Gospel mandates. The Clergy are to offer insight, guidance and information to assist the faithful in the formation of their conscience regarding current issues. Ultimately a person’s stance on such issues is the responsibility of the person and God. Each community may adopt a particular stance on an issue, or if agreed to by the Bishop in Council with Clergy and Laity, a particular stance may be adopted as binding for the entire jurisdiction of the diocese.

Current Issues

Issues like Birth Control, War, Same Sex Unions, Poverty, Injustice, Discrimination, Immigration, etc. are often times decided by the Ordinary Magisterium, or teaching office of the Church and all the faithful are expected to adhere and assent to the positions outlined or delineated by the Roman Pontiff, Particular Offices of the Roman Curia, National Councils of Roman Catholic Bishops, or even particular law, dictated by a Bishop for his Diocese. While the faithful are encouraged to engage in such issues, there is often no room for dialogue, disagreement or variation from the official Church’s position regarding any particular issue.