Disclaimer





The Evangelical Orthodox Catholic Church in America is not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. However, it is important to note that we hold fast to that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all the Faithful. We adhere to the ancient Catholic faith and the constitutions of the ancient Church. So, what is our relationship with the Roman Catholic Church? To answer this question more specifically, please refer to the italicized portion below.





The Evangelical Orthodox Catholic Church in America DOES NOT assume any LEGAL responsibility for its members. Neither the The Evangelical Orthodox Catholic Church in America (the Church) nor the individual member is an agent for or of the other. However, each member remains in communion with the Church. If an investigation finds serious violations of ethics, morals, and values have indeed been committed, certain sanctions can and may be applied, up to and including removal and or revocation of the member's faculties and membership in the Church. Mindful of our responsibility to the Church and to the community, The Evangelical Orthodox Catholic Church in America will, after examination and prayerful consideration, admit only those candidates who exhibit the character and maturity necessary for entering the Church. The Evangelical Orthodox Catholic Church in America reserves the right to refuse membership to those who it determines should not be members for legitimate reasons.

The Evangelical Orthodox Catholic Church in America is a religious organization with the goal to provide spiritual frameworks for individuals to grow in the service and worship of Almighty God, no other goals or proposals are suggested, offered, or implied. No legal obligation on the part of the Church, or the applicant, or the member is established through application or/or membership.

Agnus Dei Theological Seminary is NOT accredited, and has no plans to pursue any type of accreditation for several particular reasons. Agnus Dei Theological Seminary is an unaccredited private Christian Seminary which for various reasons has chosen not to affiliate with a regional or other professional accrediting agency because the qualifications and standards of such accrediting agencies run counter to the convictions and purposes of Christian schools, and because the external interference with internal policies by organizations or agencies with different goals and purposes than the Christian university, college, or seminary have proven to be non-productive.

Agnus Dei Theological Seminary is not accredited by any accreditation organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or Council on Higher Education Accreditation. The Seminary has declared itself to be "a primarily religious institution" that will not seek either regional or national accreditation by a secular accrediting agency.

The Seminary is approved by The Evangelical Orthodox Catholic Church in America, its archdioceses, dioceses, and religious communities, as a self-governing religious organization (community) and independent autocephalous jurisdiction of the One Holy Orthodox, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. The Evangelical Orthodox Catholic Church in America Primate, Metropolitan Archbishops, and Bishops, in conjunction with the Vocations/Formation Committee (Ordination Review Board) authorizes the Board of Regents of Agnus Dei Theological Seminary to issue Theological Degrees to those students whom the Faculty and Dean of Academic Affairs have approved and recommended.

Agnus Dei Theological Seminary is a "religious exempt" unaccredited theologically conservative Christian Seminary founded in 1974, with the merger of Ave Maria Theological Seminary, Christ the Teacher Seminary, and Saint Anthony's School of Biblical Theology, offering distant learning (education) to train clergy for The Evangelical Orthodox Catholic Church in America and its archdioceses, dioceses, and religious communities. It is set up so candidates, man or woman, married or single, called to the permanent diaconate or priesthood in the Orthodox Old Catholic heritage and tradition, may prepare for ministry without leaving his or her home, employment, or local church.

What is our relationship with the Roman Catholic Church? To answer this question more specifically, we refer you to a document that is little known to many Roman Catholics upon first hearing of the Old Catholic Church. We look to the Roman text the Dominus Iesus, a 2000 declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to justify the validity of our orders and sacraments, particularly a passage that states, "The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular churches."

Does the Roman Catholic Church Consider the Sacraments of Old Catholics as Valid?

Recognition

When members of the Roman Catholic Church encounter Old Catholic Churches for the first time, they are often surprised to learn that Catholic denominations exist apart from Rome. Understandably, questions are raised about the validity of Orders and Sacraments administered by Old Catholics. We hope the following information will be helpful. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

At the Vatican on 16 June 2000, Pope John Paul II ratified and ordered the publication of Dominus Iesus. This Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was signed and published by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict Emeritus) in August of the same year. In this Declaration, the Roman Catholic Church recognizes the validity of Orders and Sacraments of Old Catholic denominations: "The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the [Roman] Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches." "Therefore, these separated Churches and communities as such ... have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church." IV. Unicity and Unity of the Church, 17.

Other Citations:

Catholic Almanac - 1974


"The Roman Church recognizes the validity of Old Catholic Orders and other Sacraments." (Felician A. Roy, OFM, p. 368)

The Pastoral Companion – A Canon Law Handbook for Catholic Ministry – Third Edition by John M. Huels, J.C.D. page 335

“The principal condition is that these sacraments can be received only from validly ordained ministers. These are ministers who belong to “churches that have preserved the substance of the Eucharistic teaching, the sacraments of orders, and apostolic succession”. This would include all Eastern non - Catholic churches, the Polish National Church, Old Catholic, and Old Roman Catholic.

Separated Brethren

"We have no reason to doubt that the Old Catholic Orders are valid. The Apostolic Succession does not depend on obedience to the See of Peter, but rather on the objective line of succession from Apostolic sources, the proper matter and form, and the proper intention ... likewise Old Catholic bishops are bishops in Apostolic Succession ... The Old Catholics, like the Orthodox, possess a valid priesthood." (William J. Whalan, pp. 204,248)

Rights and Responsibilities: A Catholic's Guide to the New Code of Canon Law

"When a Catholic sacred minister is unavailable and there is urgent spiritual necessity, Catholics may receive the Eucharist, penance, or anointing from sacred ministers of non-Catholic denominations whose Holy Orders are considered valid by the Catholic Church. This includes all Eastern Orthodox priests, as well as priests of the Old Catholic or Polish National Church." (Thomas P. Doyle, O.P., p. 44)

Many are familiar with the recent Validations, Dominus Iesus issued by Pope John Paul in 2000, but there are some ancient Validations that some are not so familiar with such as Utrecht received Rights of Autonomy from Blessed Pope Eugene III in 1145 giving the right for Archbishops to elect on their own without Vatican approval. This right was confirmed by Pope Leo in 1215 and becomes known universally as the "Leonine Privilege" and can be found in the Vatican documents. This privileged subsequently reconfirmed in two Church Councils in 1520 and 1717 giving autonomy to these churches to elect their own.


Pope's Meeting with Old Catholic Leaders, Suggests Cooperation


Most recently, Pope Francis met on October 30, 2014 with representatives of the Old Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Union of Utrecht, a group that split from Rome in the late 19th century over the question of papal infallibility. In his remarks to the group the Pope noted that ecumenical talks since Vatican II have helped to “build new bridges of a more profound mutual understanding and practical cooperation” between the Catholic Church and the Old Catholic communities.