|The Traditional Old Roman Catholic Church
P. O. Box 58324 * Cincinnati, OH 45258
Phone: (513) 301-PRAY (7729)
About the Church
|In 1993, in response to the needs of the
clergy gathered together in Valley Springs,
California the jurisdiction, known at that
time as “The American Traditional Church
was formed through the efforts of the Discalced
Carmelite Servants of Mercy—Disciples of
the Blessed Sacrament. The founding and current
Presiding Bishop appointed to serve as Ordinary
for the Church was the Most Reverend Michael
Stephen of the Transfiguration of Jesus,
OCDSM who was, at the time of election, Prior
General of the Order. As the Church began
to grow and its ministries expanded beyond
the United States, it was felt that the Church,
in the process of reorganization and expansion,
would modify its name to reflect not only
its expanded ministerial activities but also
not confine its identity solely to the United
States. In 2007 the Church became known as
“The American Traditional Catholic Church—Traditional
Old Roman Catholic Church” which maintained
the corporate structure in order to meet
legal filings in the United States that occurred
at the time of founding while at the same
time allowing the jurisdiction to express
a more “international” identity. Thus, the
acronym “TORCC” and “ATCC” are, within this
The Traditional Old Roman Catholic Church (TORCC) is a Church which follows the teachings and traditions first and foremost of Holy Scripture, next that of the undivided church of the first 1000 years and the first 7 Oecumenical Councils. The Statement of Faith and Belief of the TORCC is expressed confessionally through the Creeds of the Christian Church in one of three forms: The Athanasian Creed (c. 296-373 A.D.), the Nicene Creed (c. 325 A.D.), and the Apostles Creed (statement of faith as taught by the first 12 Apostles). We identify ourselves as traditional Catholics in alignment with the Old Roman Catholic Church known as Ultrajectine Catholics. We concur with and abide by the Declaration of Autonomy and Independence issued by the Most Reverend Arnold Harris Matthews insofar as it encompasses those things which allow us to align ourselves with the Old Roman Catholic Church and acknowledge the Patriarchy of Rome as our Patriarch.
Declaration of Autonomy and Independence: A Pastoral Letter
(Reprinted from "An Episcopal Odyssey" by Arnold Harris Mathew, Archbishop
Old Roman Catholic Rite in Great Britain and Ireland, November 1, 1915)
|We the undersigned Bishop, on behalf of our
clergy and laity of the Catholic Church
England, hereby proclaim and declare
autonomy and independence of our portion
of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic
We are in no way whatever subject to or dependent upon any foreign See, nor do we recognize the right of any members of the religious bodies known as 'Old Catholics' on the Continent, to require submission from us to their authority or jurisdiction, or the decrees, decisions, rules or assemblies, in which we have neither taken part nor expressed agreement.
We had supposed and believed that the Faith, once delivered to the Saints, and set forth in the decrees of the Councils accepted as Ecumenical no less in the West than in the East, would have continued unimpaired, whether by augmentation or by diminution, in the venerable Church of the Dutch Nation.
We anticipated that the admirable fidelity with which the Bishops and Clergy of that Church had adhered to the Faith and handed it down, untarnished by heresy, notwithstanding grievous persecution during so many centuries, would never have wavered.
Unfortunately, however, we discover with dismay, pain, and regret that the standards of orthodoxy, laid down of old by the Fathers and Councils of the East and West alike, having been departed from in various particulars by certain sections of Old Catholicism, these departures, instead of being checked and repressed, are, at least tacitly, tolerated and acquiesced in without protest, by the Hierarchy of the Church of the Netherlands.
In order to avoid misapprehension, we here specify nine of the points of difference between Continental Old Catholics and ourselves:
(1) Although the Synod of Jerusalem, held under Dositheus in 1672, was not an Ecumenical Council, its decrees are accepted by the Holy Orthodox Church of the Orient as accurately expressing its belief, and are in harmony with the decrees of the Council of Trent on the dogmas of which they treat. We are in agreement with the Holy Orthodox Church, regarding this Synod, Hence, we hold and declare that there are Seven Holy Mysteries or Sacraments instituted by Our Divine Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, therefore all of them necessary for the salvation of mankind, though all are not necessarily to be received by every individual, e.g. Holy Orders and Matrimony. Certain sections, if not all, of the Old Catholic bodies, reject this belief and refuse to assent to the decrees of the Holy Synod of Jerusalem.
(2) Moreover, some of them (editor: OLD CATHOLICS) have abolished the Sacrament of Penance by condemning and doing away with auricular confession; others actively discourage this salutary practice; others, again, whilst tolerating its use, declare the Sacrament of Penance to be merely optional, therefore unnecessary, and of no obligation, even for those who have fallen into mortal sin after Baptism.
(3) In accordance with the belief and practice of the Universal Church, we adhere to the doctrine of the Communion of Saints by invoking and venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary, and those who have received the crown of glory in heaven, as well as the Holy Angels of God. The Old Catholics in the Netherlands have not yet altogether abandoned this pious and helpful custom, but, in some other countries, invocation of the Saints has been totally abolished by the Old Catholics.
(4) Although it may be permissible and , indeed, very desirable, in some countries, and under certain circumstances, to render the Liturgy into the vernacular languages, we consider it to be neither expedient nor tolerable that individuals should compose new liturgies, according to their own particular views, or make alterations, omissions and changes in venerable rites to suit their peculiar fancies, prejudices or idiosyncrasies. We lament the mutilations of this kind which have occurred among the Old Catholics in several countries and regret that no two of the new liturgies composed and published by them are alike, either in form or in ceremony. In all of them the ancient rubrics have been set aside, and the ceremonies and symbolism with which the Sacred Mysteries of the Altar have been reverently environed for many centuries, have, either wholly or in part, been ruthlessly swept away. The Rite of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament has also been almost universally abolished among the Old Catholics.
(5) In accordance with the primitive teaching of the Church of the Netherlands, which prevailed until a very recent date, we consider it a duty on the part of Western Christians to remember His Holiness the Pope as their Patriarch in their prayers and sacrifices. The name of His Holiness should, therefore, retain its position in the Canon of the Mass, where, as we observed at our consecration in Utrecht, it was customary, and remained so until a recent date in the present year (1910), for the celebrant to recite the name of our Patriarch in the usual manner in the Mass and in the Litany of the Saints. The publication of a new vernacular Dutch Liturgy in the present year causes us to regret that the clergy of Holland are now required to omit the name of His Holiness in the Canon of the Mass. Happily, only a small number of other alterations in the text of the Canon have, so far, been introduced. These include the omission of the title, 'ever Virgin' whenever it occurs in the Latin Missal. Such alterations pave the way for others of an even more serious nature, which may be made in the future, and, as we think, are to be deplored.
(6) Following the example of our Catholic forefathers, we venerate the adorable Sacrifice of the Mass as the supreme act of Christian worship instituted by Christ Himself. We grieve that the Old Catholic clergy, in most countries, have abandoned the daily celebration Of Mass, and now limit the offering the Christian Sacrifice to Sundays and a few of the greater Feasts. The corresponding neglect of the Blessed Sacrament, and infrequency of Holy Communion, on the part of the laity, are marked.
(7) In accordance with Catholic custom and with !he decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, we hold that the honor and glory of God are promoted and increased by the devout and religious use of holy pictures, statues, symbols, relics, and the like, as aids to devotion, and that, in relations to those they represent, they are to be held in veneration. The Old Catholics have, generally speaking, preferred to dispense with such helps to piety.
(8) We consider that the Holy Sacraments should be administered only to those who are members of the Holy Catholic Church, not only by Baptism, but by the profession of the Catholic Faith in its integrity. Unhappily, we find persons who are not Catholics are now admitted to receive Holy Communion in all Old Catholic places of worship on the Continent.
(9) The Old Catholics have ceased to observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence, and no longer observe the custom of receiving Holy Communion fasting.
For these and other reasons, which it is unnecessary to detail, we, the undersigned Bishop, desire, by these presents, to declare our autonomy and our independence of all foreign interference in our doctrine, discipline and policy. In necessaries unites, in dubiis libertes, in omnibus caritas.
+Arnold Harris Mathew
December 29, 1910
The Feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury
|The TORCC acknowledges that Holy Father is the lawful successor of St. Peter and Vicar of Christ. Thus, pronouncements from the Holy Father in matters of faith and morals are legal and binding on all Catholics. We promote the exercise of individual conscience. However, the exercise of individual conscience must be in accord with the teachings and traditions referenced above and must not bring scandal to either the Church or its membership. This Church observes the Pio Benedictine Codex of Canon Law of the Roman Rite of 1919. We concur with the declaration made by the Old Roman Catholic bishops and priests at the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Paul (Roman Catholic) in Newton, New Jersey, on April 27-28, 1973, to wit:|
"Clearly, then, lest there be further misunderstanding, we hold and teach the Catholic Faith without any reservations, condemning all heresies condemned by Rome, and teaching even those doctrines which have been declared by Roman Pontiffs since this Communion has been cut off from the spiritual ministrations of our Holy Father the Pope: The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, and Papal Infallibility, and the Assumption of Our Lady."Because the Lines of Succession of this Church proceed in unbroken succession from the Apostles, the Church administers valid sacraments. Those sacraments being 1) Baptism, 2) Confession, 3) Holy Communion, 4) Confirmation, 5) Holy Matrimony, 6) Holy Orders and 7) Extreme Unction. Of those 7, the administration of Holy Orders and Confirmation is reserved to the Bishop.
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