Old Catholic Apostolic Church

Interdenominational Relations

I. Relations with other churches and communities

1. The Old Catholic Apostolic Church recognises that other communities may offer valid paths to the worship of God and may share significant aspects of theological interpretation and practice with The Old Catholic Apostolic Church, and that where differences in such interpretation and practice may exist, they may offer an opportunity to grow in ecumenical understanding and so build mutual respect within the different branches of Christ's Church. Interdenominational relations are conducted via the Cross Denominational Mission, to make contact concerning ecumenical matters click here.

2. From time to time as may be considered mutually desirable, The Old Catholic Apostolic Church may engage in informal dialogue with other communities and their clergy leading to an affirmation of friendship and mutual interest. However, the Church considers itself to be in full communion with all Christians. It does not execute instruments of intercommunion, believing that these have the power to divide as much as unite.

3. The Church enjoys a special relationship with the United Free Catholic Bishops Conference and its associated churches, and the churches which associate with The Independent Catholic Churches Council.

4. The Church welcomes concelebration of the sacraments with all clergy in Apostolically valid Holy Orders, and shared fellowship and worship with all Christians irrespective.

5. The Church recognises non-sacramental churches and communities outside the Apostolic Succession as fellow-travellers in the Christian faith and way of life. However, in order for the Church to recognise a sacrament as valid within its own boundaries, that sacrament must have been celebrated with the proper form and intent by a sacramental minister who has been ordained in the Apostolic Succession. Invitations to Word only services, where sacraments are not celebrated are welcomed too. A code of conduct is in place when our clergy visit other churches or societies, to see it click here.

6. The Old Catholic Apostolic Church as a denominational member of the Independent Liberal Catholic Fellowship and administrator of that body may admit clergy and denominations to its membership. Such members shall de facto be considered to be in intercommunion with The Old Catholic Apostolic Church.

7. The Church does not seek to proselytise or convert others to its beliefs in its relations with other communities and no member of clergy should seek to use such opportunities for these purposes.

II. Invitations to minister in other communities

1. The Old Catholic Apostolic Church recognises that from time to time, in the interests of ecumenical relations, its clergy may be invited to preach or otherwise minister within other communities, including those which are outside the Christian faith. In general, such invitations are warmly welcomed.

2. Clergy of the Church are encouraged to accept invitations to preach or minister in churches that hold the Apostolic Succession. They are encouraged to concelebrate the Eucharist with ministers of other churches who are ordained in the Apostolic Succession.

3. Clergy of the Church may choose to accept invitations to preach or minister in churches not holding the Apostolic Succession. They may concelebrate the Eucharist with ministers who are not Apostolically ordained. Where such mixed concelebration takes place, its validity is assured when at least one of the concelebrating ministers is ordained in the Apostolic Succession and ensures the proper sacramental form and intent.

4. Clergy of the Church are encouraged to accept invitations to participate in ecumenical, interchurch and interfaith projects with other Christian churches and communities, as well as with clergy and laity of other faiths. To see the code of conduct our clergy will adhere to, click here.

5. Having first obtained the consent of the College of Bishops, one or more bishops of the Church may participate in the ordination of a deacon or priest, or the consecration of a bishop, in and for another church.

III. Guiding principles for interdenominational relations

In accepting any invitation from another church or community, clergy of the Church shall have regard to the principle of mutual respect in interdenominational relations. This principle requires that there should be a mutual understanding and respect for the theology and polity of each church or community involved, such that although significant differences may exist, there is an agreement that such differences should be put aside during the given occasion, in as far as is possible, in the interests of ecumenical relations and fellowship. However, clergy should avoid placing themselves in situations where they are deemed to have consented or to have given implied consent to teachings which are against their conscience or against the fundamental principles of the Canons of the Church.
Intercommunion friendships exist with a number of like-minded churches. These are based on the Bonn Agreement of 1931 and are regulated by The Independent Catholic Churches Council.

IV. Difficulties in interdenominational relations

The Old Catholic Apostolic Church does not engage in hostile campaigns against other denominations and their clergy, believing such to be inherently un-Christian.  We believe in positive and constructive dialog with all denominations, including those we do not completely agree with on some matters.

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