We traditional Catholics need to learn a serious lesson from the ‘Old Catholic Church’ who are no longer in union with Rome, as well as having become heretics. These Catholics started out well, during the terrible protestant persecution in the 1500’s when the protestants ran the Governments in norther Europe.
At this time, these governments confiscated Church property, expelled monks and nuns from convents, made receiving Catholic sacraments illegal and arrested Catholics. So these faithful Catholics had to go underground to avoid being tortured, imprisoned and killed.
But the problem began even earlier that this, as you will see. In the beginning the Old Catholic Church were just schismatics, (separation from the pope’s authority, but not over false teachings, called heresies. This division, along with other serious schisms, is not as simple to understand as it may first appear to be, (This also is true of the great schism of the Orthodoxes with Rome in 1054).
Throughout the history of the Catholic Church, there has always been a struggle over power and rights between the popes, bishops and governments. This is very clear to see in the time of Constantine and other Emperors and Empresses, kings and queens, meddling with Church politics and attempting to impose schisms and heresies on Church leaders. (We especially see this in the historical period of the Arian and Iconoclast heresies.)
The Byzantine Empire tended to let the Government rule over the Church. In the Roman Empire, the Church tended to ruled over the government. But there has always been a struggle for the Church to maintain Her rights against Emperors, kings and queens. There has also been a lot of give and take, for good and for bad.
But in general, when the governments ruled, BAD, and when HOLY popes and bishops ruled over governments, GOOD. God’s plan is Christendom where holy popes and bishops rule over emperors, kings and queens and they rule over the people by enforcing God’s laws, not man’s laws. Parents rule over children.
The problem began in 1123 where at Lateran Council I it was decided that Cathedral Chapters could elect the bishop for that diocese. It was also confirmed at Lateran Council IV. In 1520, Pope Leo X gave Bishop Phillip of Burgundy internal autonomy over the diocese of Utrecht Holland.
When the protestants took over power and churches of Holland, the church of Holland went underground as I stated above. At this time when the bishop of the Cathedral of Utrecht died, the see was vacant and the Spanish crown refused to approve the heretical appointment. So Holland, became like much of the world, mission territory.
In 1688, Pope Innocent XII appointed Petrus Codde as Apostolic Vicar of the Dutch mission. Because he was accused of teaching the Jansenian heresy, in 1701, Pope Clement XI suspended him and appointed a new Vicar. But Utrecht refused this new appointment and elected Van Steenoven as bishop. Pope Clement XI excommunicated him and thus started the ‘Independent Catholic Church of Utrecht’.
I will continue in part 2 how this schism then became heretical when they, along with other catholics and protestants rejected Vatican Council I’s teaching on the infallibility of the pope when it came to teaching on faith and morals. They then went on from there to remove clerical celibacy and Latin from the Sacraments. Then from influence from the Church of England, some of these churches have ‘women priests’ and accept ‘homosexual unions’. The started out as persecuted Catholics for being in union with the pope and believing in Catholic truth to having become schismatics and heretics.
We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics who are willing to be persecuted by Catholics for standing up for the 2000 year old Catholic truth, yet still staying in union with the pope. This is not easy.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.