Independent Catholic Churches Council
The Independent Catholic Churches Council
is an organisation for the promotion of co-operation between
Independent Catholic, Free Catholic Churches, all Catholic churches.
The basis of our agreement is the Anglican/Old Catholic Bonn Agreement of 1931.
Agreement of 1931 is a document that established full communion between
the Church of England (later all Anglicans) and the Old Catholic
Churches of the Union of Utrecht, including the Old Catholic Church of
the Netherlands. There are several liberal Catholic Churches in
succession to these who are also included: United Free Catholic Church,
Old Catholic Apostolic Church, Frs Stevennistes (Little Catholics, Old
- Belgium & low countries) and others.
It is not a necessity that all Independent Catholic
Churches enter into intercommunion arrangements. For those that
choose not to, the Bonn Agreement at the centre of our work still
provides a good common framework of understanding.
It incorporates three statements:
1. Each Communion recognizes the catholicity and independence of the others and maintains its own.
2. Each Communion agrees to admit members of the other Communions to participate in the Sacraments.
3. (For those churches that choose it) Full
Communion does not require from the other Communions the acceptance of
all doctrinal opinion, sacramental devotion or liturgical practice
characteristic of the others, but implies that each believes the other
to hold all the essentials of the Christian faith.
The third statement makes it clear that intercommunion does not affect the
independent lives of the churches, but rather that it affirms their
unity in the riches and fullness of Christ.
What does this mean in practice?
Lay people of participating churches may fully participate in each other's pastoral, congregational and sacramental life.
orders of each church are recognised by the other, priests, deacons and
clergy in minor orders can fully participate in the other churches
ministries by invitation.
participate in the consecrations of bishops of other churches and have
regular consultations at many levels. They also administer the
sacrament of confirmation in each other's churches, or provide other
Episcopal Oversight on behalf of the other church by invitation.
Agreement does not therefore include an extensive description of
theological issues on which participating churches agree. It describes a concise
consensus by which each Church accepts the catholicity and autonomy of
the other and will maintain both. It is the foundation for full
communion, which will not imply that each has to share all the other’s
doctrines, spiritual and sacramental practices, but rest on the
assumption that each Church maintains the essentials of the faith. Whilst the Bonn Agreement was not created for us, it serves our situation very well.
The Independent Catholic Churches Council has eight functions:
1. To share information about developments in other churches and to serve as needed as an instrument of common action.
2. To advise on
inter-church relationships, including the division of resources and
sharing of such, in a spirit of co-operation. For example, Episcopal
Oversight by one church where another has no bishop near.
3. To develop as
far as possible agreed Independent Catholic policies in the world mission
of the Church and to encourage national and regional Churches to engage
together in developing and implementing such policies by sharing their
resources for example manpower and experience to the best advantage of
4. To keep
national and regional Churches the importance of the fullest possible
Independent Catholic collaboration with other Christian Churches.
5. To encourage
and guide Independent Catholic participation in the ecumenical movement and
ecumenical organisations; to co-operate with the World Council of
Churches and the world confessional bodies on behalf of Free and Independent
Catholicism; and to make arrangements for the conduct of dialog with
the Anglican Churches, Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Churches, and
indeed any other Churches.
6. To advise on
matters arising out of national or regional Church union negotiations
or conversations and on subsequent relations with united Churches.
7. To advise on
problems on inter-church communication and to help in the dissemination
of Independent Catholic and ecumenical information.
8. To keep in review the needs that may arise for further study and, where necessary, to promote inquiry and research.
The role of the
Independent Catholic Churches Council (ICCC) is to facilitate the
co-operative work of the churches of the Free Catholic, Independent
Catholic, Liberal Catholic and Established or national churches,
exchange information between the
churches, and help to co-ordinate common action. It advises on the
organisation and structures of the partnership, and seeks to develop
common policies with respect to the world mission of the Church,
including ecumenical matters. It is to represent and lobby the churches
cause to the United Nations, National Governments and pan-national
organisatiuons, charities, aid groups and non-governmental
organisations on behalf of, and for the greater good of, the churches.
The ICCC has a
permanent General Secretary and membership includes a
from each participating Church. There are no fees or dues to belong and
the council members all volunteer their time freely. Day to day
administration functions are
provided by the Old Catholic Apostic Church on behalf of the
Churches that are Members of ICCC
Persons on the Council
How does a Church join or express an interest?
© The General Secretary of the Independent Catholic Churches Council