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Old Catholic Distinctives

The teachings of conservative Old Catholic Churches are historically defined by Holy Scripture, Holy Tradition, Ecumenical Councils and documents of the Old Catholic Church. Additionally, we hold to the same founding Rule of Faith found in the Declaration of Utrecht, laid down by St. Vincent of Lerins in these terms: “Id teneamus, quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est; hoc est etenim vere proprieque catholicum.” [Let us hold to what has been believed everywhere, always, by all; for this is truly and properly catholic.] 


  • We believe in the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

  • We believe that God created the heavens, earth, and everything therein.

  • We believe that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity came in the flesh, was fully human and fully divine

  • We believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross in atonement for our sins in accordance with scripture.

  • We believe that Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

  • We believe that the Holy Spirit has guided the Catholic Church in all of our doctrines.

  • We believe that the Term “Catholic Church has always applied to churches that teach an affirm what all Christians, everywhere have believed from the beginning.

  • We reject the new doctrine that “Catholic” means being in union with the Bishop of Rome.

  • We are part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

  • We believe that Baptism washes away original sin.

  • We believe in the resurrection of the dead.

  • We recognize three historic creeds: Nicene (prior to the filioque), Apostles, and Athanasian

  • We recognize the Seven Seven Ecumenical Councils of the early church as authoritative.

  • We believe that all other councils after 1054 a.d. were not Ecumenical Councils, and therefore not binding on the whole church.

  • We believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God.

  • We view the apocryphal/deutero-canonical books of the Old Testament are not of the same canonical as the other books of the Hebrew canon of scripture.

  • We believe that the Bible in the original languages is superior to individual translations.

  • We believe that the Bible is best read and taught in the common language that is understood in a particular country or community.

  • We look to the Bible as our primary source for our knowledge of God and faith. However, we accept Holy Tradition, passed on through the Apostles, Fathers, and Ecumenical Councils for guidance and orthodox interpretation.

  • We believe that the liturgies of the Church should be in the common language of a particular country or community.

  • We believe that faith alone is sufficient for salvation and that works provide evidence of our inward salvation. (Faith without works is dead)

  • We deny any form of “works-based” salvation. Good deeds or works cannot earn salvation.

  • We believe that Salvation comes through God’s grace, through Jesus Christ.

  • We believe in the Communion of Saints, but, we do not believe that the “Saints” have earned some sort of extra salvation that may be transferred to others.

  • We believe and practice the seven historic Sacraments of the Church.

  • We believe that Baptism and the Eucharist are the primary Sacraments of the Church.

  • We believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist — that the elements of bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

  • Our Eucharistic Celebrations are open to all baptized Christians, regardless of their views regarding the character of the Eucharist.

  • We believe that celibacy for those in Holy Orders is a personal decision and voluntary.

  • We believe that confession of sins before a priest is a sacrament that has been passed down to us by the Catholic Church, but is not a requirement for the forgiveness of sins.

  • We believe that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a new innovation that has crept into the church. Therefore it is not binding on all Catholics, nor is the belief in such a requirement for salvation.

  • We believe that the pope, as bishop of Rome is an heir to the authority and ministry of the apostles; therefore the Bishop of Rome is to be respected.

  • We believe that all Bishops hold an equal apostolic calling and authority, and no particular See is of higher authority than another.

  • We believe that the dogma of the universal episcopate of the Roman Pontiff is a new innovation, not in keeping with the ancient traditions and teachings of the Church, and believing in such is not a requirement for salvation.

  • We reject the idea that the term Catholic only applies to Churches that are in full communion with the Bishop of Rome. We view this as a new innovation that is not binding on other Churches, nor is it a requirement for salvation.

  • We believe that marriage is a Sacrament. We also recognize that divorce is an all too common reality. We do not believe that either divorce, or divorce and remarriage are the unforgivable sins, Neither do we believe that divorce, in and of itself, bar anyone from the sacrament of Holy Orders.

  • We believe that contraception (non-abortive) is a personal decision.

  • We believe in teaching what the whole church has always taught, everywhere, and for all time, We do not accept theological speculation, new and controversial doctrines such as popular in liberal churches: Marriage is between one man and one woman, Abortion and euthanasia are murder, God created only two sexes - male and female, and sex outside of a traditional marriage is a sin.

  • We believe that it is the role of the clergy to guide the morality and faith formation of the Church.

  • We believe that the laity serves an important role in the Church and need to be active and working within the life and ministry of the Church.