This past week I had a well meaning person make a comment about our parish that bothered me. They called us “Baby Catholics who had only been around for 90 years.” I do not believe that they meant it to be offensive or hurtful, but it was. So I wanted to use this week’s blog post to explain the history of our denomination.
In what will come as a surprise and anger some people, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church started in 1054 AD. While they both claim to be from 33 AD, the church that was starting by Jesus in 33 AD was broken into two new churches in the Great Schism of 1054. I don’t say this to offend anyone or to anger anyone, but merely as a point of fact.
In 1122 AD, the Old Catholic Church was formed and granted autonomy by the Roman Catholic Church. It was in order to preserve Catholicism in the Netherlands and to end the Investiture Controversy between the Pope and the Roman Emperor.
Admittedly, the Old Catholic Church was small and limped along for several hundred years, it was around and keeping the faith. By the late 1500’s and early 1600’s the Roman Pope decided that Old Catholics needed to be absorbed back into the Roman Church. It did not happen simply because people don’t like to be given freedom only to have it removed.
This fight between Rome and the Old Catholics lasted for about 100 years before Rome gave up. Fast forward a few hundred years to Vatican I and the issues with Papal Infallibility. Bishops and Priests who decided they could not stomach the Papal Infallibility dogma, decided to pull away from Rome and to co-opt the name Old Catholic.
This is where the misconception that we are only 90 years old or so comes from.
Our Jurisdiction, the Old Catholic Churches International comes from a long line of Old Catholic Jurisdictions that date back hundreds of years. This path takes us all the way back to 1122 just like most Old Catholic jurisdictions around the world.
Our church continues to preach a message of love, inclusion, and acceptance of all people. Old Catholics have worked to spread the original message of Jesus the Christ to the world around us. This message is all about loving God and loving our neighbors.
Come visit us this Sunday and experience a different way to be Catholic!