How can you be Catholic but not Roman Catholic?
Within the Catholic Church, there are several communions, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Polish National Catholic Church, and the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, among others
These churches all have “valid” Holy Orders (Roman terminology) and could be described as Vatican II spoke of the Eastern churches in the “Decree on Ecumenism” (Unitatis Redintegratio 15, 1964) : “These Churches, although separated from us, possess true sacraments, above all by apostolic succession, the priesthood, and the Eucharist, whereby they are linked with us in closest intimacy.”
What is your relationship with the Old Catholics?
We are an “Old Catholic heritage” communion, in that our apostolic succession comes through the Old Catholics, and we embrace Old Catholic ecclesiology. For the past several years, we have had ECC members participate in the summer school program “Old Catholic Theology in its Ecumenical Context” at the Old Catholic seminary in Utrecht. However, we are not in an official relationship with the Union of Utrecht.
It is important to note that there are no churches in the United States who are part of the Union of Utrecht, even though some use “Old Catholic” in their name. The one church with a formal relationship with Utrecht is The Episcopal Church. As part of the Anglican Communion, they have been in full communion with the Old Catholics since the signing of the Bonn Agreement in 1931.
Can I receive communion if I visit?
Yes! As an ecumenical communion, we recognize the fundamental unity of all Christians through Baptism. We recognize that the sacraments are not rewards for any human achievement or accomplishment, but are divine gifts of grace. All the baptized are welcome to receive and to celebrate the sacramental life in our communities.