Canons of the Church

Effective date: 1-26-2020

Updated 8-5-2022

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Preface:

This organization practices the faith within the context of the ancient Catholic (catholic) faith. We strive to reach the public as did the Apostles and their followers previous to 325AD. We fully recognize independent Catholic (catholic) organizations that provide valid Apostolic Succession documentation. While we publicly announce ourselves as Independent Old Catholic, we recognize much older aspects of the faith. We with great respect follow some of the precepts of the Utrechter Organization, as those practices predate the schismatic church.

We fully support our brethren in the Anglican and Anglo-Catholic Faiths. As such, it is with pride we operate an Anglican Ordinate that operates under the umbrella of this organization, operates within the global context of the canons of this organization, none the less has autonomy to operate under the general precepts, rubrics and liturgies of the Anglican or Anglo-Catholic faith.

The canons herein are derived from the period 1500AD or earlier. Whereas the upheaval of the Church post 1500AD caused many rubrics and canons to be theologically dominated by greed, arrogance and politics we view the ancient canons as bearing a licit factor greater than those that came after. There are exceptions, hand picked by no later than 1947AD.

For general credibility and compatibility within the church universal, we subscribe to the 'general' canons of the 1917 CIC for the Independent Catholic organization. For the same reason we support the 'general' canons of the Church of England. We reserve the right to hold our canons above all others and credible and licit within our operations.

Section A Introduction: Autonomy

a1. Throughout this document the concept of autonomy is used describing the operation of an individual clergy or church. This is true within the context of:

a1a. Day to day operations

a1b. The minutia of execution of the liturgies and sacraments

a1c. The financial operation of the clergy or churches

a1d. The ownership of property

a2. Within the context of theology or divinity this organization reserves the right to:

a2a. Enforce the canons of this organization outside of the autonomous precepts listed previously.

a2b. Observe the operations of any affiliate for moral and legal integrity to protect the reputation of this organization.

a2c. To enforce theological precepts within the context of the canons, rubrics and beliefs of this organization.

a2d. To enforce the acceptance of all peoples to receive the solace of the church not limited by race, creed, color, national origin or orientation.

a2e. To enforce the shepherding role of this organization, under the Intercommunion and Communion with Limited Autonomy, to observe all clergy actions within an affiliate to ensure no harm may come to the integrity or reputation of this organization. We do not under these agreements have the right to reprimand or remove clergy. Rather, our position is to report to the head of the affiliation in question. We reserve the right to break these affiliations without recourse if so required.

a2f. We reserve the right within Full Communion to enforce the hierarchy of command upon the adsorbed clergy or church without question. In this affiliation, individual clergy become part of this organization through the canons, rubrics and beliefs. This organization reserves the right of reprimand or removal of clergy, or an entire affiliation, without recourse. This organization will require a signed copy of the ‘Priestly Promise’. The priestly promise simply states that the affiliated clergy will “bring the word of God to the people, and to obey the hierarchy of this organization”.

a2g. This organization reserves the right to solicit a membership tithe to clergy and affiliates of all types. This process is described in Section XVIII later in the document. (This process is not currently supported.

a3. This organization does not operate as a business.

a3a. No clergy at any level is an employee of this organization, real or imagined.

a3b. This organization shall not to be encumbered with any financial payment to any clergy, church or religious entity that affiliates with this organization. 

a3c. This organization holds no right to, or power over, and physical property of any affiliate.

a3d. This organization holds no responsibility to provide personal liability insurance to any affiliate.

a3e. The affiliates may operate as their own 1st Amendment, 508c1a or 501c3 religious organization.

a3e1. The affiliate is fully responsible for the secular legality of their operation.

a3e2. This organization provides only the framework that provides integrity and credibility for the operations of the overall organization and affiliates. This includes core theology, canons, beliefs, training, shepherding, moral and legal oversight and both tangible and intangible factors related to the Christian Faith.

Section I: Leadership and Governance

Note: It is the purview of the Ecumenical Patriarch, sole incorporator of this church, to make the decision to associate our entire church organization with any other church organization or communion of churches. At such time that may occur, the following canons may be null and void depending on the agreement with the church or communion we associate with.

A. The leader of the church, hereto known as the Ecumenical Patriarch, is the chief spiritual leader and is church patriarch for life, as sole incorporator of the church in the United States of America. The Ecumenical Patriarch will, under personal discretion, relinquish stated leadership to a successor. The term Ecumenical Patriarch is synonymous with Ecumenical Patriarch.

B. The Ecumenical Patriarch sets the mission and goals for the national church. The Ecumenical Patriarch may select diocesan bishops (see section D) and has the power to remove them by his or her authority.

C. Any Bishops or clergy that associate in whole or in part with this church, will be advisers to the Ecumenical Patriarch.

D. The Ecumenical Patriarch may, under personal discretion, grow this organization to include dioceses (bishoprics) in the event that becomes necessary. The Ecumenical Patriarch may also create a Bishops Council if so required. The Bishops Council would in this case take over all counseling actions to the Ecumenical Patriarch, and oversee the operations of the diocese.

E. It is our expectation that clergy will work together in a collegiate and civil manner. We encourage debate and we do not penalize others for their differences of belief and opinion; however, if for some reason we have a clergy member who is causing division or disruption within the church, this person may be removed from the church by the Ecumenical Patriarch without recourse.

F. Our organization will strive to provide a safe haven for all presbytery to practice their faith without fear of the rhetoric and insanity that has permeated sects within our faith. We use the Bible, the Seven Sacraments and general rubrics that were tried and true within the first 2000 years of this faith. We do understand that tolerance of differences must be a cornerstone of the faith, and clergy will be encouraged to have open discussions, without fear of retribution. 

G. Whereas this organization acts as a communion of churches, there are two distinct structures: The first organizational structure of the church follows the Old Catholic ethos and recognizes the operations of the Union of Utrecht and Independent Catholic organizations. The second organizational structure follows the Anglican and Anglo-Catholic ethos and recognizes the 39 Articles.

Notes on parts A and D: The Ecumenical Patriarch will act as sole head of the church for a period of three (3) years from the initial date of Jan 1, 2020. The Ecumenical Patriarch will use full discretionary authority to add, modify or remove articles from the canons, beliefs and rubrics. This process is intended to remove all bias, power struggle, politics and other distractions from the church/communion until such time the maturity of the organization justifies the existence of a bishop's council.

H. The duties of all bishops fall into a simple framework: teachers, mentors, counselors and confidants to all clergy under them. The bishops do not have the authority to add or remove clergy without the express knowledge and acceptance of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Any reprimands that may be set against wayward clergy must also be approved by the Ecumenical Patriarch.

I. Hierarchy

Ecumenical Patriarch/Matriarch UECC - Ecumenical Patriarch/Matriarch of the Communion 

Ecumenical Patriarch/Matriarch AAC - Patriarch/Matriarch of the Anglican Ordinate

Archbishop - Oversees a set of diocese or metropolitan areas

Archbishop Coadjutor - Assistant to an Archbishop and pre-qualifies as the successor

Bishop - Oversees a diocese

Bishop Coadjutor - Assistant to the Bishop, and pre-qualified as the successor

Bishop Suffragan - Assistant to the Bishop, not assigned as a successor

Bishop Titular - Based on circumstances, may not oversee a diocese. Activities determined by the Patriarch of the Communion or the Ordinate

Vicar General - As Vicar of the Bishop, the Vicar General exercises the bishop's ordinary executive power over the entire diocese and, thus, is the highest official in a diocese or other particular church after the Diocesan Bishop or his equivalent in canon law. Suffragan and Coadjutor Bishops are automatically Vicars General. A Priest, may under certain conditions, be given the title of Vicar General. These individuals are always assistants to the Diocesan Bishop.

Priest Apostolic

Deacon Apostolic

Lay (Licensed) Priest/Minister

J. Proper Address

Archbishop - Your Excellency (formal), Your Grace (formal), Most Reverend (semi-formal), Archbishop (informal)

Bishop - Your Excellency (formal), Your Grace (formal), Most Reverend (semi-formal), Right Reverend (semi-formal), Bishop (informal)

Vicar General - Very Reverend (formal or informal), Reverend (informal)

Priest - Reverend, Padre, Father

Section II: Ordination

​A. Ordination to the deaconate and priesthood can be performed at the discretion the Ecumenical Patriarch . Our main concern is that their calling is true and that they receive the proper training to perform their duties. All exceptions to these requirements must be approved by the Presiding Archbishop. All candidates will serve a 6 month probationary period.

1. Candidates must be age 21 or older for deacon,

​ 2. Candidates must be age 25 or older for the priesthood.

B. The Ecumenical Patriarch  reserves the right to incardinate a Bishop into this organization if growth dictates the need. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bishop may also work with other Bishops of apostolic succession to consecrate a Bishop if the need arises.

Section III: Consecrations

​A. Bishops must be at least 35 years of age with ministerial experience. Any exceptions to the requirements must be approved by the Ecumenical Patriarch ​.

B. In the event of church growth, and if the Ecumenical Patriarch  asks that a bishop consecrate a new bishop on behalf of the church at large, that bishop must comply if they are near the candidate and it would not pose a hardship to them.

Section IV: Incardination

A. Incardination will be allowed for deacons, priests and bishops. The base requirements are valid apostolic succession, no criminal history  and of proper age as stated above.

B. Any scholastic requirements will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

C. It is strictly FORBIDDEN for any affiliated member to directly recruit through word of mouth, letter, email, other electronic means or by social media. This is illicit and unacceptable to this organization. Prospective clergy must locate our resources and truly feel the calling to be part of the organization. The may locate and research us through the "general" information of the the website, job posting or general social media content. Any member who has actively recruited from any outside organization will be immediately released with no recourse.

D. Clergy who have been properly, within the canons of a previous organization, released from said organization by excardinations may seek incardination into the UECC. In the event the excardination is not final or valid, all communications and agreements with this organization are null and void.

E. All presbytery who may have minor or major injunctions against them with a previous organization may not seek incardination with this organization without a mandatory one year formation process. Any presbytery defrocked, by way of laicization is exempt from entering the orders of this organization.

F. All clergy seeking incardination to this organization must serve a probationary period of no less than 6 months.

G. We do not accept incardination from members of 'ministry certificate mills' that claim to ordain with no direct training in theology, ethics or church operations. While the process is legal under the Laws of the states and federal government (first amendment church), the process does not theologically or ethically lend itself to the operation of an Apostolic Church. This decision we bear with regret. That not withstanding we must protect the integrity, validity and legitimacy of our Apostolic Lines as we deem right and just.

G1. It is within the right and privilege of the Patriarch of the UECC to determine if an exception is to be made; The candidate must agree to completing both the Bachelors and Master course of studies within the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and agree to a 6 month extension of probation beyond the initial 6 months period. 

​ 

Section V: Vacancies

A. No criteria at this time

Section VI: Ministerial Freedom:

A. While there is an episcopal structure, it is not the church leaderships’ desire to dictate how clergy practice their personal ministries. The only requirement is to be in agreement with our beliefs and canons. We do not dictate how the services are conducted, but we do have an expectation that each service will include communion and follow one of the approved books of prayer. Outside of that, churches who associate with our organization can conduct low, broad, or high church services.

A1. For the Anglican Affiliation: Approved liturgies:

A1a. High Mass: High Mass, more rigid and formal, will utilize only the 1662, 1928 or UECC specific liturgies. The 1662 BCP must have the prayers to the English Monarchy and Parliament removed for US usage.

A1b. Low mass: Less formal and more open to all faiths, the Low Mass may use the  AAC specific liturgies. 

A1c. Broad mass: Described as more flexible and via media; that is it is liturgical between Anglo-Catholic and Anglican. Broad may use AAC specific liturgies, or the UECC specific liturgy of A1a.

A1d. The 1979 BCP is NOT Anglican in it's structure. The 1979 BCP is unique to the Episcopal Church USA. It's usage is not recommended. None the less it may be utilized ONLY for Low Mass and Rite I will be the only valid option. Right II is not to be utilized. Permission must be granted by the Ecumenical Patriarch . 

A2. Approved liturgies for Catholic Affiliation:  Because we share many of the same ancient beliefs as the Old Catholic Churches (independent or part of the Union of Utrecht) we gladly support the Latin Mass (Tridentine), and Novus Ordo. Orthodox or any of the ancient liturgies may be considered at the discretion of the Ecumenical Patriarch .

B. Each ministry under the umbrella of our organization will determine whether or not it wishes to officially incorporate under 501c3 status or service as an unincorporated religious association under 508c1A, or operate as a 1st Amendment Church. Any churches that affiliates with us maintain their own property and freedom to leave. We do not require they provide funding to the national church and we will not, in whole or in part, provide any financial support to them. Churches in other countries must follow their own laws.

​C. We give free reign to practice ministry as one pleases so long as they do no harm to the reputation of the church by their affiliation, do not engage in illegal activities (all illegal activity will be immediately reported to the police), and do not put the church at legal risk by engaging in dangerous activities such as snake handling, poison drinking etc. We will not, in whole or in part, sign off of exorcisms or other such acts. Each party takes on that responsibility under their liability, and will hold this church harmless in all instances. Any infraction may lead to dismissal.

C1. Within the context of the autonomous operations of the individual churches, it is clearly stated that all organizations and presbytery associated with us must follow the canons and beliefs of this communion, and any general rubrics, such as clergy dress and public behavior. All organizations must also practice within the frameworks of the supported liturgies.

C2. This organization, in whole or in part, takes no legal responsibility for any actions of the affiliated entities. Each affiliated church/presbytery is hereby given notice that it is the afflictions responsibility to secure liability insurance as a blanket to secure protection for their organization. The affiliations are hereby informed that they are members of this organization based only on religious precepts, and not secular business precepts.

D. The role of the bishops, if our growth dictates forming a full diocese structure, will be to provide moral and spiritual support to the clergy. Their goal is to be servant leaders who develop others in their ministry rather than being traditional "overseers". The structure of the church is meant to maximize individual ministerial freedom; however, do expect the chain of command to be respected.

E. This organization is an Open Communion of Churches. We are open to all no matter the social status, creed, race or sexual orientation. There are no exceptions. All presbytery wishing to associate with our organizations must act accordingly. No affiliation will operate under this organization as a closed entity. This canon is directed at gay marriage, woman clergy and open communion. 

F. All clergy of this organization within the universal church of Christ, voluntarily associate with this organization. This organization does not grant compensation or financial assistance. This organization provides a path for those wishing to serve the universal church as a calling, and not a business. 

G. This organization will none the less agree that any independent clergy that may derive income from their own congregation may do so. It is the responsibility of the clergy in this instance, to follow all tax laws associated with that income.

H. For any clergy or congregation that may subsequently own property or other church possessions, we declare we hold no right, real or imagined, to stated property or possessions.

I. This organization practices open communion. All are welcome at Gods table. The act of Holy Comminion is one of recieving spiritual food. 

Section VII: Clergy Behavior

A. In general all clergy are to be respectful of all others, with disregard for personal feelings or general opinions. All clergy are to hold themselves aloof of any personal bias. They are to be respectful of the secular and theological differences of all persons they are in contact with.

B. This church takes no responsibility for the moral or legal transgressions of any member of the clergy or their congregations. Any such transgression will be cause for immediate removal from the church, with no recourse. 

C. The clergy is encouraged to use social media to reach each other and the masses. With that being said any misuse of social media will be monitored carefully. Any act considered derogatory, disrespectful, illegal or otherwise unacceptable in the religious or secular realm will be dealt with by immediate removal from the organization.

D. The clergy will under no circumstance promote a political stance on the pulpit, social media or other media.

E. It is within the purview of the Ecumenical Patriarch to make all determinations related to reprimand. This will include but not limited to:

E1. Ad clerum, as a letter of reprimand, for any transgressions by the presbytery that may warrant the action

E2. Reassignment to a lesser office within this organization

E3.  Laicized, having rights of clergy status fully removed an no longer exercised within this organization. Loss of clerical state may be recognized outside this organization.

Section VII: Hierarchy 

A. The episcopal structure will be made up of archbishops, bishops, vicars general, priests and deacons.  

B. The chain of command will be followed at all times.

Section VIII: All Clergy and Probationary Status

All clergy will have a minimum six (6) month probationary period, or more, as directed by the Ecumenical Patriarch. During this time acts of formation may be perscribed by the Presiding Archbishop or the direct report Bishop.

Section IX: Personal Enrichment and continued formation

A. We soundly believe that all presbytery must be Christ Centered. Through two millennia, private prayer, prayer in groups and quiet reflection outside of liturgies in a physical building was proven crucial to the stability and strength of the faith.

A1. The expectation of this organization is for the presbytery to, as much as possible, balance their religious and secular life. 

A2. Practice the Daily Offices, in private or with others

A3. Practice private prayer and reflection 

A4. Pray the rosary (Catholic or Anglican). This is a solid practice that embraces reflection and prayer

A5. Continued Formation:  We as presbytery must embark on a journey of seeking the knowledge of our Christian Faith.

A51. This organization has the expectation that all presbytery will, of their own accord, partake in the continued reading and study of the bible, Christian liturgical works and to embrace the historical documents of the churches past.

A52. It is within the purview, at the discretion of the Ecumenical Patriarch, to designate readings or studies in an effort to ensure continued formation of any of our presbytery.

Section X: Rubrics of Dress

A. All clergy, when performing tasks such as office time, meetings, visitations or transacting church business directly with on or more individuals is required to purport themselves as clergy. The minimum requirement for dress will be clergy dress shirt with clergy collar. This will be standard for both the Catholic and Anglican organizations.

B. For clergy that rent space or own church property, and are holding the equivalent of office hours or otherwise transacting church business at said site, may have the option of clergy shirt and collar or may at their discretion wear a cassock of appropriate color per their office. 

C. For our Independent Catholic Clergy that rent space or own a physical property, and hold regular services to a congregation, these dress requirements are enforced:

C1. MINIMUM Dress for the Mass (no communion) or Offices - Clergy shirt of appropriate color with collar, alb, cincture (rope or band). Stole of the appropriate color for the day and season (see note C1a).

NOTE: For any Mass where Holy Communion is held the chasuble is required. It may be fiddle-back or poncho style as fits the personal taste of the clergy.

C1a. Colors

White is the color proper to Trinity Sunday, the feasts of Our Lord, except those of His Passion, the feasts of the Blessed Virgin, angels, confessors, virgins and women, who are not martyrs, the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, the chief feast of St. John the Evangelist, the feast of the Chains and of the Chair of St. Peter, the Conversion of St. Paul, All Saints, to consecration of churches and altars, the anniversaries of the election and coronation of the pope and of the election and consecration of bishops; also for the octaves of these feasts and the Offices de tempore from Holy Saturday to the vigil of Pentecost; it is used for votive Masses when the feasts have white, and for the nuptial Mass; also in services in connection with the Blessed Sacrament, at the burial of children, in the administration of baptism, Holy Viaticum, and matrimony.

Red is used the week of Pentecost, on the feasts of Christ's Passion and His Precious Blood, the Finding and Elevation of the Cross, the feasts of Apostles and martyrs; and in votive Masses of these feasts. It is used on Holy Innocents if the feast occur on Sunday and always on its octave.

Green is employed in Offices de tempore from the octave of the Epiphany to Septuagesima, and from the octave of Pentecost to Advent, except on ember-days and vigils during that time, and on Sundays occurring within an octave.

Violet is used during Advent and from Septuagesima to Easter, on vigils that are fast days, and on ember-days, except the vigil of Pentecost and the ember-days during the octave of Pentecost. Violet is also used for Mass on rogation-days, for votive Masses of the Passion and of penitential character, at the blessing of candles and of holy water. The stole used in the administration of penance and of extreme unction and in the first part of the baptismal ceremonies must be violet.

Black is used in offices for the dead, and on Good Friday.

Exception: For consecration and ordination this organization allows for either white or red to be used. Red is preferred.

II. AFFECTED VESTMENTS
The drapery and vestments affected by the law of liturgical colors are (a) the antependium of the altar, and as a matter of appropriateness, the tabernacle veil; (b) the burse and chalice veil; (c) maniple, stole, chasuble, cope, and humeral veil; (d) maniple, stole, tunic, and dalmatic of the sacred ministers, and also the broad stole and folded chasuble when employed. All these must correspond with the rules prescribing the use of each color.

C2. At the discretion of the clergy, when holding the Offices and a certain formality is desired,  may wear choir dress.

C3. Dress requirements for the Anglo-Catholic Ordinate will be set by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bishop of the ordinate.

Section XI. Positions

All clergy associate with this organization voluntarily. They agree to abide by our canons and beliefs based on the associated doctrines of the Christian bible. No clergy position is construed as employment, real or imagined. We offer no financial assistance or indebtedness to any property. This organization will not provided any references or assistance to any seeking visa or permanent residence outside of the requester home county. 

Section XII. Leaving this organization

A. All clergy desiring to leave this organization in good faith will be required to inform their respective diocesan bishop with no less than 90 days notice. This process is in place to allow the organization to determine the effects of said vacancy. This also protects all parties involved in the process to guarantee a clergy member is not serving two masters. This organization will not process an excardination letter until the full 90 days is complete.

B. In the event that notice of intent to leave the organization is not provided, and excardination is not approved, it is within the purview of this organization to perform the following:

B1.  Laicized, having rights of clergy status fully removed an no longer exercised within this organization. Loss of clerical state may be recognized outside this organization. This organization reserves the right to inform all organizations of this loss of clerical status at our discretion. Keep in mind that by the canons of most apostolic groups and within the biblical text os Psalm 110:4 a 'priest is a priest for life'. Effectively, laicization is simply removing a clergy member from this organization.

C. This organization reserves the right to grant excardination in less than 90 days as is seen fit for a member leaving in good faith.

XIII. Consistory

A. The Council of Bishops, hereto called the Consistory, will be the advising body for the Ecumenical Patriarch with regards to church operation, theology, liturgy, rubrics, ethics and all matters of the church excluding secular activities.

B. Each member of the Consistory is seated by invitation from the Ecumenical Patriarch.

B1. Sitting members of the Consistory will advise the Ecumenical Patriarch with regards to accepting a new member to fill a seat on the Consistory. This will be a non binding, non voting advisory to the Archbishop.

C. The members of the Consistory must be an active Diocesan Bishop.

C1. Under certain circumstances, at the discretion of the Ecumenical Patriarch, a Vicar General in good standing may sit on the Consistory to fill a required position.

D. The number of sitting bishops on the Consistory will always be an even number of members.

D1. The responsibility of the Consistory is to advise the Ecumenical Patriarch on all matter of church operation within the context of the canons, rubrics and beliefs.

D2. The members of the Consistory will be voting members. The majority will be responsible for all oral and written information regarding the suggested changes to church operations.

D3. If at anytime there exists an odd number of members sitting in the Consistory, one seat will be a non-voting member. This individual will have responsibilities as an advisor only.

E. Veto Vote, vote tie. The Ecumenical Patriarch will hold the right, without question, to perform any of the following actions:

E1. As head of the church, negate any vote the Ecumenical Patriarch deems not in the best interests of the organization.

E2. The Ecumenical Patriarch will, without question, act in the capacity to resolve a tie vote.

E3. Table or remove any discussion previous to a vote that the Archbishop deems to be outside the operations, canons or beliefs of the church.

F. Consistory Guidelines for discussions.

F1. Under no circumstances, real or imagined, shall the Consistory discuss, or bring to vote, the topic of inclusiveness or affirmation. This organization is an open church, and all are welcome.

F2. The Consistory is welcome to discuss theological differences, but each member must at all times be tolerant of such differences. This includes, but not limited to, the essence of the Holy Eucharist.

F2a. None the less, as spiritual father, the Ecumenical Patriarch has the right to accept or deny such discussions.

F3. The Consistory will be allowed to discuss delivery methods of our faith; audio, video, internet, newsletters, in home services, physical church, other.

F3a. That not withstanding, this organization believes our priestly promise binds us to reach the people with the word of our Lord. Unless the delivery method conflicts in some way with the canons of the church or secular law, it is within the purview of the clergy to do whatever it takes to reach those in need.

F4. While we as Bishops will have our own personal views on salvation i.e; heaven hell, the official position should always be down to the individual, and we should ensure that all clergy and Bishops teach that there are many views on this without attacking other positions. 

G. Removal of a member from a Consistory seat.

It is within the purview of the Ecumenical Patriarch to remove any member of the Consistory. This rule is not open for discussion within the Consistory.

G1. As the church father, the Ecumenical Patriarch must understand the qualification of each member of the Consistory, and determine the suitability of any sitting bishop to fill a Consistory seat.

G2. The Ecumenical Patriarch may perform the removal of a bishop from the Consistory with with or without explanation, justification or reasons; real or imagined.

Section XIV. Independence 

A. While we allow a high level of autonomy for our affiliates, we expect our clergy to do no harm to the reputation of the church by their affiliation, do not engage in illegal activities (all illegal activity will be immediately reported to the police), and do not put the church at legal risk by engaging  in dangerous activities such as snake handling, etc. 

B. All clergy must be responsible for their personal liability insurance, if they so desire to pursue that option. This organization does not have employees, we provide only a path to achieve viable clergy and congregations, with theological support of said clergy and congregations. 

B1. This organization does not support in any form, real or imagined, excommunication. If clergy seeks an excommunication, the clergy is required to scribe a letter to this organization waiving this organization of any responsibility for the act. There are no exceptions to this canon.

B2. This organization does not support in any form, real or imagined, exorcism. If clergy seeks an exorcism, the clergy is required to scribe a letter to this organization waiving this organization of any responsibility for the act. There are no exceptions to this canon.

Section XV. Seminary

A. It is the purview of this organization to maintain an integral seminary for the training of the postulants and clergy of the United Episcopal Catholic Communion and its component parts.

The seminary shall be maintained, until such time this esteemed body discerns otherwise, as a non-accredited seminary for the training of postulants and clergy. This is supported by the First Amendment of the United States of America, the laws of the United States, the laws of all 50 states and principalities. This is also supported by the rules bound within the Hague Convention and the associated 83 signatories.  

All religious organizations are allowed to train internally their own membership and clergy. Non-accreditation, and associate Theological Degrees are protected under the laws of the United States.

The St. Charles Borromeo Seminary provides degrees of theological nature only. 

The degrees from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary are binding for clergy, and all clergy are allowed to use the titles of said degrees.

The Titles based on the three sections of curriculum are: Bachelor, Master and Doctor of Sacred Christian Theology.

We state clearly that accredited seminaries are in violation of church dogma, the First Amendment of the United States, the international laws based on the existence of Faith Based Organizations and the laws of the 50 states and principalities of the United States. The addition of secular practices into theological training (by the accredidation processes) is an abomination to the church, and we denounce this process of forcing secularism onto this organization.

We state clearly, that for 1800+ years of the existence of the church, that postulants seeking clergy status were trained within the church under the tutelage of a priest or in monastery environments. The only clergy that sought university training were those who desired to "debate" theology and did not wish to practice ministry. Martin Luther was trained in monastery and became a priest fully one calendar year before being sent to university to train in debate.

The St. Borromeo Seminary trains a pure form of theology and divinity. 

The seminary is designed such that the postulant have a path to become clergy in the United Episcopal Catholic Communion. None the less we do allow other organizations to utilize the seminary for the training of their postulants. With that being said, the training of postulants outside of the UECC is not the target of our mission.

B. The seminary shall maintain a review board, appointed by the Chancellor from the pool of bishops, to act as evaluators of the success or failure of each postulant. Their reviews are binding and not open to contestation. 

Section XVI: Consecrations - practice and exceptions (w/ References to other related practices)

*Much of the historical and biblical information to support this canon section exists in whole or in part in a separate document entitled Effectual Episcopacy.

The practice of consecration of clergy is far more ancient than the practices embodied as part of Christianity. The practice amongst the early Jews is well documented in Old Testament texts.

Herein is documented the accepted practices of this organization.

A. The candidate to fill the duties of a bishopric must be 35 years of age. 

B. The candidate must show great knowledge of biblical history, theology and have a finite understanding they are a 'shepherd'  of the people on behalf of the church. Power trips, ego or a judgmental attitude will result in possible reprimand from the Ecumenical Patriarch. 

C. It is desirable that a minimum of two (2, 3) Bishops of valid Apostolic Succession attend to the requirements of the Consecration liturgy.

C1. While this is the accepted norm for Apostolic Organization, let it here be known that there are exceptions to any rule based on extraordinary circumstance. With respect to natural disasters, pandemics, long term disruptions or times of need, the church must recognize the need for continued operations. The following will be considered sub-conditione:

C1a. In the operations of this organization the consecration of a candidate may, under the approval and supervision of the Ecumenical Patriarch, be performed by a single Bishop of valid Apostolic Succession. While many Apostolic Churches lay the moniker of "illicit" on this practice, and demand removal. We recognize the act as being necessary in any time of need. This is supported by Roman Canons 953 and 2370. The practice is also supported by the fourth rule of Gregory IX expressly states: Propter necessitatem, illicitum efficitur licitum — “Necessity makes licit what is illicit.”

C1b. As can be seen, the detractors are ignoring the axiom Qui cum regula ambulat, tuto ambulat — “He who walks with the rule, walks safely.” All organizations should remember, if they had forgotten, that Pope Gregory IX left eleven rules and Boniface VIII eighty-eight for the true interpretation of the law. These rules, according to Canon 20, can supply the defect of the rule in a particular case, as in the case we presently find ourselves.

C1c. The Holy See of Rome has set precedence for consecrations with a single bishop; (Letters Apostolic of Leo XIII, “Trans Oceanum”, April 18, 1897; “Acta Sanctae Sedis“, 1896-97, XXIX, 659). This was declared official as a document in 1909, and was melded within the new document Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

C1d. The Catholic Church teaches that one bishop is sufficient to consecrate a new bishop validly (that is, for an episcopal ordination actually to take place). There  may be dispensation from this requirement in extraordinary circumstances (for example, in missionary settings or times of persecution).

Pius XII. "Episcopali consecrationis". Archived from the original on 2 March 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013. Episcopalis Consecrationis Ministrum esse Episcopum et ad huius Consecrationis validitatem unum solum sufficere Episcopum, qui cum debita mentis intentione essentiales ritus perficiat, extra omne dubium est diuturnaque praxi comprobatum.

[That the minister of episcopal consecration is a bishop, and that only one bishop–who performs the act with the necessary intention of the mind performs the essential rites—is necessary for the validity of that consecration, is proved beyond all doubt and by long practice.]

 C2. Within the precepts of consecration, an issue was manifest that has not been fully addressed; the issue of the 2020/2021 Covid pandemic. With church organizations closed based of local, state and federal rules set down during the pandemic, the church literally stopped functioning. Religious organizations worldwide were forced into a "virtual church", and hence a huge debate ensued regarding the legitimacy of virtual religious practices. Herein we will set down practices of this organization that are valid and righteous based on sections C1a, C1b, C1c and C1d..

C2a. In time of trial and tribulation where normal practices of the church are halted or impractical, we hold the right of interpretation of any canons or rubric as required. This includes but not limited to changes in

C2a1. Ordinations

This canon is open for future edits

C2a2. Consecrations

The mission critical aspect of consecration is the basis of this canon. Several factors come into play; The normal practice of a minimum of two (2, 3) bishops Ecumenical Patriarch, and the laying on of hands. The minimum requirement of two (2, 3) bishops was discussed in Section III part C.

The laying on of hands presents a interesting dichotomy.

First, laying on of hands was an ancient Jewish practice that was merely symbolic, and represented no transferal of power or authority. The action was a human factor of kindness and recognition to the recipient, one of honor and respect.

Second, there was absolutely no symbolic or other purpose for the laying on of hands of the original Apostles. Biblically, due to circumstances, they were in a locked and shuttered room. Without interaction from another individual, the spirit came to them unbidden. The probable first reference to the laying on of hands was the Apostle Paul. The bible distinctly states that Matthias was chosen by drawing lots with no mention of laying on of hands or consecration with holy oil.

Paul is also an interesting dichotomy. The original Apostles set down three (3) rules for acceptance of another into their ranks. 

The requirements that can be gathered are as follows:

The candidate was required to be someone who followed Jesus during his entire earthly ministry, beginning from Jesus’ baptism by John to Jesus’ ascension into heaven (1:21–22a).

The candidate was required to have seen Jesus after His resurrection (1:22b).

The candidate needed to have been appointed by the Lord Jesus himself (1:24–25).

Paul, depending on various interpretations, failed at least two if not three of these early canons. He was not appointed by Jesus. In the book of  Acts 9:1–19; 22:6–16; and 26:12–23 describes the encounter of Paul with Jesus.

First, there were no witnesses, as people around the area only saw a light, but heard nothing.

Second, Jesus told Paul he would receive instructions, and the instructions were to "evangelize to the Gentiles". He was not ordered to present himself to the other Apostles, nor was he ordered to be one of their number. Hence no "appointment" took place.

Paul also failed the first rule, he had never followed Jesus in the early ministry.

It may be construed that Paul had absolutely no proof of any interaction with Jesus. There was no individual to verify the encounter. So from the perspective of the Apostles, Paul may have also failed the second rule.

Yet, Paul was inducted. This may have been the first example of sub conditione.

Those who staunchly support Apostolic Tradition (of which most documented facts were lost, or never recorded) direct us to believe that the laying on of hands is required to pass on power and authority. There are many references in biblical text that do show times hands were laid on individuals during healings, general miracles or other activities. Yet, there are many more references where that did not occur. In all cases, the Holy Spirit still made itself manifest. 

Within the context of the information provided, it is understood that the laying on of hands has a fixed place in Christianity. That not withstanding, with respect to operations of the church in times of great trial and tribulation, it may be assumed that the act of laying on of hands may not be necessary if the intent of doing otherwise is true and righteous. 

C2a3. In ending, during times when the church is faced with extraordinary circumstance, as with the Covid pandemic, there is solid justification to perform certain critical activities with advanced technology "virtually". While this describes a worse case scenario, under the rules and discussions stated previously these activities are fully licit by necessity.

C2a4. It may be stated here that an ordination or consecration may under these circumstances be declared sub conditione, with the possibility to make corrections at some future time.

C3. General issues with assumed legitimacy. If we assume that consecrations with exceptions, such as consecration under a single Bishop are illicit, then almost all consecration today are illicit. Even those of the Roman Catholic Church may be considered illicit.

C3a. The Novus order no longer follows the ancient format for the anointing of oil and the prescribed words that sanctify and codify the actual action of imposing the authority of the Bishopric upon the candidate. These words and actions are REQUIRED by ancient practice and Papal Order which is in effect;

C3a1. Pope Pius XII, Sacramentum Ordinis, Nov. 30, 1947: “But regarding the matter and form in the conferring of every order, by Our same supreme apostolic authority We decree and establish the following: …in the Episcopal ordination or consecration… the form consists of the words of the ‘Preface,’ of which the following are essential and so required for validity:

 “Complete in Thy priest the fullness of Thy ministry, and adorned in the raiment of all glory, sanctify him with the dew of heavenly anointing.” 

C3a2. Hence, it is these words and anointing that make a Bishop, not the liturgy or pomp and circumstance. And not even the laying on of hands, which is NOT a Christian practice. The laying of of hands is a Jewish practice from antiquity, and has no meaning other than a 'human recognition'. It bestowed no power or authority. 

C3a3. Case in point; The original Apostles did not have the laying on of hands by anyone. No human intervention consecrated them. The spirit came to them is a 'locked room', and required no human to bestow the power and authority upon them.

C3a4. Also, within the context of required elements of the Rite, set down since the beginning of the church, this simple prayer to our Lord to accept the authority has been removed from almost all consecrations in existence today;

”Give him, O Lord, the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven… Whatsoever he shall bind upon earth, let it be bound likewise in Heaven, and whatsoever he shall loose upon earth, let it likewise be loosed in Heaven.  Whose sins he shall retain, let them be retained, and do Thou remit the sins of whomsoever he shall remit… Grant him, O Lord, an Episcopal chair

C4. The most ancient traditions of the laying on of hands is based purely on the statement;

"By the laying on of hands, the apostles and elders were showing that they made an offering to God of the people whom they admitted to the ministry."

This does not, real or imagined, state that the laying on of hands 'sanctifies' the ordination or consecration. It directly implies it is a HUMAN act of acceptance.

Rather, the sanctification by ancient practice and canon law is based on the Holy Chrism. 

C4a. This is fully supported by retorts of a huge cross representation of theologians;

Calvin said that only pastors laid hands on ministers: “it was not the whole people, but only pastors, who laid hands on ministers” (Calvin 1965: 2:236). Strong denies such an idea. He said that ordination is an act of the whole church, not the act of a privileged class in the church. He wrote,

The council of ordination is not to be composed simply of ministers who have been themselves ordained. As the whole church is to preserve the ordinances and to maintain sound doctrine, and as the unordained church member is often a more sagacious judge of a candidate’s Christian experience than his own pastor would be, there seems no warrant, either in Scripture or in reason, for the exclusion of lay delegates from ordaining councils. It was not merely the apostles and elders, but the whole church at Jerusalem, that passed upon the matter submitted to them at the council, and others than ministers appear to have been delegates. The theory that only ministers can ordain has in it the beginning of a hierarchy. To make the ministry a close corporation is to recognize the principle of apostolic succession, to deny the validity of all our past ordination, and to sell to an ecclesiastical caste the liberties of the church of God (Strong 1963: 920-21).

In his study of laying on of hands in Patristic literature, Vogel (1972: 7-21) concluded that throughout tradition the laying on of hands was never lacking, but he said that it is legitimate to wonder if it is absolutely necessary. The act of Chirotony [the laying on of hands in order to bestow a blessing in an ecclesiastical rite] passes on the mandate given by the church, but this might well be transmitted by other means. The laying on of hands is not sufficient for the ordination of a minister, if the mandate is lacking.

Case in point;

As per Pope Pius XII laying on of hands was not the sanctification of ordination or consecration, it was clearly stated that anointing was. This is supported by the text;

"In order that there may be no occasion for doubt, in conferring each Order the imposition of hands be done by physically touching the head of the person to be ordained, although a moral contact also is sufficient for the valid conferring of the Sacrament."

C5. With all respect to the universal church, if exceptions to ancient practice (and subsequent canons and rubrics exist) then the rulings of current canon law and that of ancient church fathers must be observed with respect to these exceptions;  Canons 953 and 2370, the fourth rule of Gregory IX, Letters Apostolic of Leo XIII, “Trans Oceanum”, April 18, 1897; “Acta Sanctae Sedis“, 1896-97, XXIX, 659, Pius XII. "Episcopali consecrationis" and Pope Pius XII, Sacramentum Ordinis. 

C5a. We as an organization do not recognize the authority of any organization to rebuke this organization, clergy or affiliation for accepting these interpretation of 'exceptions'.

C6. Within the context of both the laying on of hands and anointing with oil, we see a distinct dichotomy. While it is true that biblical text describes the spirit coming forth during these acts, there are just as many references to the spirit coming unbidden. None of the original had hands laid upon them, they received the spirit unbidden by a human. The donkey that received the spirit and spoke did not have a human lay hands or anoint it with oil. Many of the healings attributed to the spirit did not have the laying on of hands - such as spitting in the eye or a person simply to 'go forth' and be healed.

C6a. While these dichotomies exist in the references of the Holy Bible, it is NOT up to those to debate that they understand the mind of God. The statements "we think this is what Christ wanted" or "it is tradition" is based on human arrogance of self worth. We must all beware that Christ made it very clear that we, and even the Apostles, could never understand him. And this is proven throughout our biblical text. The Apostles made many mistakes, and they did not always agree on theology or the practice of their faith.

C7. AAS 40-5; Pius XII, Apostolic Constitution, 30 Nov., 1947 Cf. Periodica, 37-9 (Hurth): Commentarium pro Religiosis, 1948, p. 4 (Pujoiras). Source: AAS 40-5. Volume 3, Canon Law Digest, 1954 Section 6:

 C7a.  In order that there may be no occasion for doubt, in conferring each Order the imposition of hands ‘may’ be done by physically touching the head of the person to be ordained (consecrated), although a moral contact also is sufficient for the valid conferring of the Sacrament.

This mandate is compelling and above reproach. This mandate clearly states that the imposition of hands is ‘desired’, but is secondary or not fully required.

The question that must be asked is ‘why did so many mandates based on the canons separate the form from the matter (act) and why was the wording stressed on the preface (form) and not the laying on of hands (matter, act)?’

What is the “moral contact”? The insinuation here is the ‘physical touch’ of a human in not required. We see this in other processes within the church. The perfect example is the act of Confirmation. By mandate, the laying on of hands is tradition for the recipient of the confirmation. Yet, that process is ‘waived’ when large groups are confirmed. The consecrator is not required to lay on hands. The hands may be raised in benediction, or not raised as the case may be.

C7b. According to Catholic Bishop Olmsted:

The ancient rite of the laying on of hands, whose roots reach far back into the Old Testament, was chosen by Jesus to be the way He takes possession of a priest’s entire life. By the laying on of hands, Jesus says in a symbolic but very real way, “You belong to me;” “Under my hands, you are protected from the evil one.” “Look, I have carved you in the palm of my hand.” “Remain in me as I remain in you.” “Place your hands in mine.”

With the Sacred Chrism, their hands will be anointed as ours have been, as a sign of the Holy Spirit who confers the sacred power to sanctify, to shepherd, and to teach.

Note: The words symbolic and the words confer and sanctify.

C7c. In order to maintain equality, credibility and liceity with existing Apostolic Churches, we agree that the laying on of hands as and act of tradition will be implemented by this organization.

 

Section XVI: Dismissal of Clergy

1. By Psalm 110:4 and the canons of the major apostolic churches, once ordained, the priesthood is for life.

2. No organization may 'cancel' the rite of ordination.

3. If the dismissal is for non criminal reasons, the clergy may enter into association with other organizations.

3a. If the infraction is a criminal activity, the priest is still a priest, none the less no church should entertain an association with that individual.

4. A laicized priest may continue to perform his priestly duties, as long as it is not in the name of the organization that implemented the laicization.

4a. While this practice is considered illicit, it is valid.

5. Details discussing this canon may be seen in the section General Comments on Dogma, Canons and Beliefs. 

6. This organization will consider an affiliation with a priest laicized for non criminal reasons; Marriage, Change Organization, or release for ambiguous canon law reasons.

Section XVII: Online Ministry Certificates

1. While most States in the United States, and countries around the world, may accept Online 'pay for ministry' certificates, we do not accept affiliation or incardination with clergy of these organization without reservation.

2. The priesthood in Apostolic Succession must be held in highest esteem and credibility. Training in the area of theology, divinity, formation and ethics are critical to insure a priest is in full recognition of the awesome responsibilities in ensuring the sanctity of the church is not tarnished.

3. Whereas the legal standing of Pay for Ministry Certificates may be legal in civil court, they do no lend themselves to the Apostolic Traditions set down by our Lord and the Apostles.

4. Whereas there is a perception of illegitimacy, real or imagined, of Pay for Ministry certificates,  this may create a credibility conflict within the operations of this organization.

XVIII: Regarding Church Affiliations with the United Episcopal Catholic Communion and the Anglican Apostolic Church Ordinate

Herein we, the board of directors of the UECC and the Bishop’s Council set down the rules and expectation of individuals or churches desiring affiliation this the UECC. As such, this canon will be an addendum of the Charter of Operations of the UECC

Why is this canon necessary? Within Section IV subsection iii this is hereby declared:

iii. Whereas there are individuals and organizations that have in the past, and continue to use affiliations for certain ‘political gains’, and then break the communion as soon as they achieve a certain goal, this organization puts in place a policy of ‘promissory’.

In the mainstream church organizations, the fealty to the church and organizational structure is based on the fact those organizations operate as a business. The clergy are employees, with paid benefits. Those clergy hence follow the canons, rubrics and beliefs of the church based on the desire for employment. Independent churches do not operate as businesses, hence do not have the power of the paycheck to maintain a level of fealty to the organization.

Hence, the only option open to many of the independent churches, is to put into place a form of tithe similar to a registration, subscription or promissory.

I. There will exist three levels of affiliation within this organization:

i. Intercommunion

ii. Full Communion – Limited Autonomy

iii. Full Communion – Full absorption into this organization, with full control of the canons and rubric of this organization to be exhibited over the organization requesting affiliation

II. Types of affiliations

i. Intercommunion is a simple agreement to share resources between organizations for mutual benefit. This includes, but may not be limited to; bishops for ordinations and consecrations, concelebration of the liturgies/sacraments and others actions as defined by the affiliated parties. This agreement is one of fellowship and friendship. The parties in whole or in part agree they share many of the same beliefs and have valid Apostolic Succession.

The United Episcopal Catholic Communion does not in any form, real or imagined, support Intercommunion. This process has been abused with prejudice by many in the Independent Church. Rather, the United Episcopal Catholic Communion will support a simple Letter of Friendship, where the parties agree in principle to assist each other as they see fit.

ii. Full Communion with Limited Autonomy is a process that an organization wishes to affiliate with the UECC in a manner that they agree to operate under the canons and rubrics of this organization, swear to follow the chain of command within this organization and agree in full to obey the bishops in the chain of command. See section III-iii for details.

With that being said, the requesting organization still acts with autonomy of internal operations and the execution of their liturgies and sacraments. None the less, neither organization will hold operational financial indebtedness for operations or hold claim to property rights over the other.

iii. These organizations will have full autonomy to ordain or consecrate within their canons and organization without direct interference from this organization. In times of need this organization shall assist in ordinations and consecration as requested.

Within the context of the autonomy of the affiliation, this organization reserves the right as overseer of the actions of the affiliate within the context of this organizations moral, legal and canon precepts. The actions of this organization is to protect the integrity and credibility of the organizations as a whole. This organization holds no authority to deny the affiliates right of ordination or consecration, and has no authority to remove clergy. If an issue arises that this organization perceives an illicit ordination or consecration has occurred, or the ordained or consecrated clergy exhibits unethical practices, we reserve the right to require mitigation from the affiliate. In extreme cases if mitigation does not occur, we reserve the right to break communion with no recourse.

This organization does reserve the right and authority to monitor the actions of the affiliate within the realms of secular legality, morality, theology, canons, rubrics and beliefs to maintain integrity and credibility. This organization will discuss it’s concerns with the proper authority of the affiliate for remediation as required. If remediation action does not occur or found unacceptable, we reserve the right to break communion with no recourse.

At this time, the United Episcopal Catholic Communion does not in any form, real or imagined, support Full Communion with Limited Autonomy.

iv. Full Communion with absolute absorption is a process of affiliation where the affiliate will agree in whole to become a member of this organization with respect to canons, rubrics, theological beliefs, liturgies and have the right to use the church name. None the less, neither organization will hold operational financial indebtedness for operations or hold claim to property rights over the other.

v. The affiliate agrees in whole to swear the priestly promise to bring the word of our Lord to the peoples of the world and to obey the bishops in the chain of command of this organization.

III. Intercommunion (not currently supported)

i. The process of fulfilling the agreement of Intercommunion requires a simple Concordat Of Intercommunion between the required parties. The document simply states we desire to work together for mutual benefit. Either party may break the Intercommunion at any time with no recourse. This is an agreement of friendship and fellowship.

IV. Full Communion with Limited Autonomy (not currently supported)

i. The process of fulfilling the Full Communion with Limited Autonomy is more complex. The process will be a written agreement that the affiliate understands and accepts the canons, rubrics and beliefs of this organization are acceptable and valid and shall be used by this organization to ‘oversee’ the general operation of the affiliate for integrity and credibility. This is not to say the affiliate is fully bound by this organizations canons, rubrics and beliefs. None the less it is a yardstick used to measure our relationship to maintain integrity and credibility in our operations. None the less, neither organization will hold operational financial indebtedness for operations or hold claim to property rights over the other. The affiliate is give provisional right to use the name(s) of this organization and it’s associated logos and banners.

ii. The affiliate agrees to recognize the chain of command within this organization. Yet, this organizations bishops have no direct authority to hold power over or against clergy of the affiliate. The bishops of this organization are ‘shepherds and advisors’ to insure the integrity and credibility of the affiliate. The chain of command of this organization is a ‘reporting and observation’ structure, and not an authoritative structure.

As stated in section II-iii:

These organizations will have full autonomy to ordain or consecrate within their canons and organization without direct interference from this organization. In times of need this organization shall assist in ordinations and consecration as requested.

Within the context of the autonomy of the affiliation, this organization reserves the right as overseer of the actions of the affiliate within the context of this organizations moral, legal and canon precepts. The actions of this organization is to protect the integrity and credibility of the organizations as a whole. This organization holds no authority to deny the affiliates right of ordination or consecration, and has no authority to remove clergy. If an issue arises that this organization perceives an illicit ordination or consecration has occurred, or the ordained or consecrated clergy exhibits unethical practices, we reserve the right to require mitigation from the affiliate. In extreme cases if mitigation does not occur, we reserve the right to break communion with no recourse.

This organization does reserve the right and authority to monitor the actions of the affiliate within the realms of secular legality, morality, theology, canons, rubrics and beliefs to maintain integrity and credibility. This organization will discuss it’s concerns with the proper authority of the affiliate for remediation as required. If remediation action does not occur or found unacceptable, we reserve the right to break communion with no recourse.

iii. Whereas there are individuals and organizations that have in the past, and continue to use affiliations for certain ‘political gains’, and then break the communion as soon as they achieve a certain goal, this organization puts in place a policy of ‘promissory’.

In the mainstream church organizations, the fealty to the church and organizational structure is based on the fact those organizations operate as a business. The clergy are employees, with paid benefits. Those clergy hence follow the canons, rubrics and beliefs of the church based on the desire for employment. Independent churches do not operate as businesses, hence do not have the power of the paycheck to maintain a level of fealty to the organization.

Hence, the only option open to many of the independent churches, is to put into place a form of tithe similar to a registration, subscription or promissory.

This organization does not support a promisory at this time.

This organization does require the signing of the Priestly Promise as it is an oath sworn before God on behalf of man as to the priestly intent.

V. The process of Full Communion and full absorption of an affiliate into this organization is based totally on the operations of this organization.

(This option is fully supported by this organization).

i. The affiliates who request this Full Communion will agree in whole to relinquish it’s operations totally to this organization and agree in whole to become part of this organization; follow this organizations canons, rubrics and beliefs.

Clergy shall be merged into this organization and fully accept the chain of command of this organization.

This organization reserves the right to make all decisions regarding the merger of clergy and the reporting structure.

The affiliate agrees in whole to swear the priestly promise to bring the word of the Lord to the peoples of the world and to obey the bishops of this organization and those bishops of the affiliate that are positioned within this organizations structure. None the less, neither organization will hold operational financial indebtedness for operations or hold claim to property rights over the other. The affiliate is give provisional right to use the name(s) of this organization and it’s associated logos and banners.

ii. Whereas there are individuals and organizations that have in the past, and continue to use affiliations for certain ‘political gains’, and then break the communion as soon as they achieve a certain goal, this organization puts in place a policy of ‘promissory’.

In the mainstream church organizations, the fealty to the church and organizational structure is based on the fact those organizations operate as a business. The clergy are employees, with paid benefits. Those clergy hence follow the canons, rubrics and beliefs of the church based on the desire for employment. Independent churches do not operate as businesses, hence do not have the power of the paycheck to maintain a level of fealty to the organization.

Hence, the only option open to many of the independent churches, is to put into place a form of tithe similar to a registration, subscription or promissory.

This organization does not support a promisory at this time.

This organization does require the signing of the Priestly Promise as it is an oath sworn before God on behalf of man as to the priestly intent.

VI. Individual Ministers, Deacons, Priests ordained or incarnated into this organization

i. This organization does require the signing of the Priestly Promise as it is an oath sworn before God on behalf of man as to the priestly intent.

VII. Individuals consecrated or incardinated as Bishops

i. This organization does require the signing of the Priestly Promise as it is an oath sworn before God on behalf of man as to the priestly intent.

VIII. This organization holds the right to terminate any and all affiliations or communions. Within the context of Intercommunion or Full Communion with Limited Autonomy we as ‘overseers’ must protect the credibility and integrity of this organization without question.

Within the context of Full Communion the canons, rubrics and beliefs dictate the theological and moral operation of the affiliate. The affiliate agrees to operate under the authority of the structure of this organization. The affiliate agrees to sign the Priestly Promise. The priestly promise clearly states that clergy will without exception bring the word of the Lord to the people, and to obey their ‘bishop’ (chain of command). We will operate this organization with the highest level of integrity and credibility.

IX. Tithe Policy

i. Not implemented.

XIX. Legal Concerns

A. This organization will not accept affiliations with organizations that have outstanding lawsuits against said affiliate candidate.


General Comments on Dogma, Canons and Beliefs

Canon: Holy Communion, Intent and Practice.

The rite of Holy Communion as the cornerstone of faith, is dogma set down by the words of the Savior; ‘Do This…”.

This canon does not assume to debate the validity of the “forms of communion” set down by ecclesiastical debate (and inherent human error of interpretations). This includes transubstantiation, consubstantiation, remembrance or any other human conceptualized variant.

Whereas biblical text appears to set the framework for two forms of communion; Holy Communion as directed by clergy and communion as “and act of a group of believers coming together for a prepared meal of thanksgiving (fellowship) in the name of the lord”.

We must also put into perspective, bringing out the bread and wine for ceremony before God is one of antiquity; Melchizedek, 14th book of Genesis, blessed the “meal” before bringing blessing upon Abram.

The act of communion is one of intent, to call upon the divine to bless the bread and wine (meal) with the understanding that the power of the spirit and at the will of the divine will bring a true blessing to the table and species of said meal.

If we of the faithful truly believe that our Lord is all powerful, with no restrictions on the miracles he may perform, we must assume that he, being of the divine in pure form, does not require human intervention as a medium to perform his works. In the ancient traditions, we claim that the calling of Christ to join us at the meal, within the species, comes at the verbalization of the words of consecration. Words that may be spoken by any of the faithful. If we truly, with pure intent, call to Christ to come to us in communion, the sacred act is fulfilled in full.

The debate regarding Holy Communion is one that may be moot. In the traditions of the church forefathers, we are presented with the words “we believe this is what Christ meant”. This is a flawed concept. There is no human that has the ability to understand the mind of the divine. Our Lord made this very clear in many biblical references; no human may understand his words or intent, not even the Disciples/Apostles. This was proven by biblical text throughout the New Testament, right up to the occurrences at the Last Supper. There were many occurrences of Apostolic misunderstanding and mistakes right up to the death of the last Apostle.

Each of us is unique, and our beliefs in the divine and the divine actions will come to us according to our measure; our personal limits of understanding.

This organization will under no circumstance decry the beliefs of any other organization on the subject of Holy Communion. None the less we will exercise our prerogative to present the sacrament of Holy Communion in such a manner that, with pure and true intent, practice the act in a manner that encompasses the limited beliefs of all who participate in the divine thanksgiving.

Canon: Technology and the church: Intent and usage

This organization embraces the ancient dogma and beliefs of the early church fathers. None the less, we do see clearly the changes in dogma based on changes in society, and that includes technological changes.

Change is neither good or bad, we do though see that human imperfection may use change in nefarious ways.

This organization with an open mind embraces change and technology that can be utilized to the benefit of the church; in particular to reach the disenfranchised, remote bound, home bound or others who cannot readily receive the solace of the church in “physical” form, or those forgotten or denied access by the mainstream organizations.

Technology used with pure intent benefits the church universal. During the time of the Apostles, the main form of presenting the church were meetings in the catacombs, homes or traveling to remote regions to bring the word to those in need.

The Apostle Paul strongly believed in spreading the word by a more efficient means using the technology of the day; using quill, ink and paper to send his epistles and letters to the far reaches of the realms of that time.

Today, many of the mainstream organizations decry the usage of mass electronic media as being inherently wrong, that there is no place for that media in the church. Television, audio, video and the internet are not evil and to be pushed away as such. This is shortsighted. Yes, there are things in the electronic realm that go against our sense of morality. But let us place this in context; Paul wrote wonderful epistles and letters. There are others who created writings of great moral conflict and evil. So does that mean pen and paper cannot be part of the church?

At one time television was the target of mainstream church groups. The outrage was loud and targeted, and those that televised many of the original christian programs were slandered in private and in public. But there was a a beacon of light that many remember that changed much of the negative perception of religion on the media of TV, the rock solid teaching and commentary of the Rev. Fulton J. Sheen. He used the television medium as his pen and paper, and millions were blessed.

Recorded audio and video has seen the same bias against usage within some organizations. If we can put images of words on paper, why cannot the same words be vocalized on a recording?

The greatest bias today is the usage of the internet for religious content. A medium that can reach multi-millions with the simple click of a mouse to “send” must be embraced. The usage of this medium is mission critical to reach those who have lost the church of their choice, are disenfranchised, live in remote regions or may be home bound by age or illness.

There was a day where the churches and clergy would travel to seek out these individuals, with the desire to bring the solace of the church directly to them. Today, the common theme is; it’s not our job, it is too expensive, if they really desire the church they must come to us.

That theme is sanctimonious at the very least.

All electronic media today gives the church the ability to reach those unreachable. If we truly believe our mission is to reach those in greatest need, why is the one medium to accomplish this shunned?

There are many who decry technology stating that the physical presence on holy ground or physical presence of a priest is required for the presentation of the solace of the church, presentation of the word of Christ and the presentation of the Holy Spirit. This may be considered an oxymoron; the spirit can and will present itself whenever it so desires, without human intervention or clergy participation. The spirit is not hindered by anything made by human hands.

Christ’s word and spirit will come to all who in true faith call upon them – on holy ground, at home, in remoteness, on paper, on electronic storage media, television internet or any technology that mankind can use.

If we use the technology in true faith, with proper intent there is no wrong in the act. The words of Christ will still be true, and the spirit will come – the spirit has no barriers.

This organization will utilize technologies with care, in the same vein that the early church fathers used changing technologies to better server the faithful.

  

General Comments on Dogma, Canons and Beliefs - Continued

The Spirit

Within the dogma of Christianity, the existence of the eternal trinity is paramount. Faith tells us that the trinity is pure and ultimately all powerful. The Spirit moves of free will, and in mysterious ways we as flawed humans will never comprehend.

There is dogma today that directs us to this premise: The Spirit must manifest itself by physical contact, and we practice human contact in that same vein within our clerical actions.

None the less, biblical text is very explicit, and if we truly have faith that text is inerrant, we must look at the other actions of the Spirit.

The Spirit did not require physical contact when it appeared to the original Apostles. It came, without human bidding or human intervention to the Apostles in a home with locked doors.

The Spirit, and that power held within, was transferred via the inanimate object of our Lord’s robes healing the bleeding woman.

The Spirit, with a simple prayer and a shout and no physical contact, entered and raised Lazarus from the dead.

The spirit entered Mary with no physical contact.

In many biblical texts the Spirit is manifest in many objects, even animals. It came with the very waters of creation. The donkey that could view and recognize an angel, and then spoke.

Objects of day to day usage have been entered by the Spirit. Objects of the Saints past are said to have special power…. We call then relics. By piously venerating the holy relicsof the Saints, the Church reveres them as temples of the Holy Spirit. The spirit entered them of free will, with no required physical contact.

The Spirit does not need humanity to do it’s work. It existed before the existence of man, and will be in existence when we are gone.

The Spirit will come, bidden or unbidden, based on our measure and need. We as humans hold no sway over the Spirit.

General Comments on Dogma, Canons and Beliefs - Continued

The Spirit (continued)

Within the church, there are many elements that make up our holy life; true dogma, canons, rubrics and liturgies being in the forefront.

Dogma is constrained by one simple fact, the words of our Lord. The words of “do this…” or “go forth” are dogma, as we were specifically asked to perform those actions. Canons, rubrics and liturgies are human interpretations of actions that we feel may be pleasing to the divine, or may simply make us feel better about ourselves.

Within the context of those comments, it is imperative to look at our human interactions with the Holy Spirit.

It is deeply embedded in the canons of the Apostolic Church, that the Holy Spirit requires human intervention, by presbytery, to move and do its divine work.

Herein lies a dichotomy.

We believe that the Trinity is eternal, always existing and forever existing. If we stand on this premise, we must look at creation closely. The spirit came upon the waters of the earth. There was no human intervention because humans, and hence clergy, were not yet created.

The story of the donkey, The spirit came to the donkey unbidden, the donkey hence recognized an Angel, and spoke words. There was no intervention by a human.

The bleeding woman, touching the mere hem of our Lords garment, drew power out of Jesus. The spirit did not require assistance to do this. And we must look closely at the fact the spirit moved through an inanimate object.

In several of the major denominations, it is believed that the spirit resides in relics; human or inanimate.

The Holy Spirit came to the original Apostles, behind locked doors in a home, totally unbidden by clerical action.

Many healing acts in our biblical text follow the same concept. Some require interaction, others nothing more than a simple prayer.

Many of the acts of our presbytery that are considered part of dogma are not of Christian origin. They follow many of the acts of the priests from the line of Melchizedek passed down through generations. Many of the acts held no power of any type, they were acts of human compassion, caring and simple acknowledgment. Those same acts today are considered dogma, and that a priest must perform the act otherwise the spirit is powerless to interact with humans.

  

General Comments on Dogma, Canons and Beliefs - Continued

Tradition

Tradition and dogma are two separate and disparate entities. Tradition is a human concept and practice, based on human feeling, intent and personal need. Tradition is the passing on of customs and beliefs that make humans feel 'involved' with the world, none the less are not entirely based on worldly or divine facts, and if so may be indirectly related based on conflicting occurrences.

Be aware there are two types of dogma; dogma based on absolutes and dogma based on perceptions or assumptions.

We use the word dogma to be true, factual and consistent.

Canons, rubrics and liturgies inherently have a certain amount of tradition seeping into the text. This may be the lack of our ability to understand the divine, and to do the best we can to sing praises to the divine. Yes, our Lord told us very succinctly that we can never understand the mind or intent of God, and not even the Disciples (Apostles) could fully understand. He proved this over and over, up to the actions at the last Supper, and even immediately after his resurrection and first encounter with his followers. Even after receiving the Holy Spirit in the house that Christ bid them await that arrival, the Apostles made mistakes based on understanding. Peter, Paul and instances of disagreements with other Apostles show this clearly.

Dogma, those things that we MUST do, without hesitation, come from our Lord, not from tradition. The specific words spoken to "do this" as in "Do this in remembrance of me" or Go forth and baptize all nations" are factual dogma, and all of our human practices must revolve around those hard facts.

Much tradition in the church precedes the Christian faith by millennia. Some traditions are formed around a single ambiguous sentence in scripture. Some traditions are based on actions that occurred in one book, none the less were supplanted by an action somewhere else in the text.

Human conjecture is not dogma.

Tradition is not bad. Tradition allow us to express our need to come close to the divine. Most tradition has "good intent". None the less there is tradition that clouds the true dogma. Traditions give us our music and our liturgies of praise. Traditions do not always present us us proven facts, and those traditions that are perceptions or assumptions cannot be canons or rubrics.

Traditions may seep into the very sacraments we hold most holy. If we truly believe our sacraments exist based on our Lord telling us distinctly to “Do this…” must we not keep that sacrament pure and untarnished by external traditions? If our Lord stated we should “Do this…” should we not do so without question or debate? And if we do not fully comprehend should we not rely in FAITH to meet the end our Lord intended?

Take a close look at the canons, rubrics and liturgies of the church, then open your mind to compare that to the true dogma set down by our Lords words. The canons, rubrics and liturgies are full of traditions that may make us as humans feel participatory, none the less may be taken totally out of context with the words of our Lord. At the same time, look carefully at the actions of our Lord, actions that only the power of the Trinity may perform. Compare that to some of the actions we have usurped thinking we humans are more than just flesh.

Bear in mind tradition is based on human differences. The traditions practiced by Peter, Paul, the Apostles in Jerusalem and Mark in Alexandria were all different. Take a close look at the traditions James the brother of Jesus (half brother?) practiced. There were massive differences in practices.

Traditions form a pattern of praise for our Lord, within the limits of our meager human comprehension of the divine. Praise is good, very good.

But this is not dogma.

Many of the independent organizations have embraced the dogma of the ancient church, and look critically at the applicability of traditions, especially those that conflict the actual requests made by the Lord to us. These organizations are fighting hard for truth, integrity and a complete dogma based on the words of the Lord, and FAITH. This may be, and may always be, an uphill battle against the power, control and capitalistic resources of those who wish to maintain a hold on on the faith.

Take a careful look at the canons of any church of choice. Remove all canons based on traditions that do not fall into the words of the Lord; “Do this…” “Go forth…”

Next, remove all the canons based on “actions” in biblical text, where that same action either does not occur elsewhere, or conflicts with actions in subsequent text.

Many canons may be reduced to a three or four page document.

We have a choice. We choose to exercise that choice. Dogma is the truth of the words of the Lord, not traditions, not debate, not “we think this is what Christ wants/meant”. If we do not understand, which the Lords emphatically states we cannot. Then only FAITH exists, and should be embraced.

General Comments on Dogma, Canons and Beliefs - Continued

Laicizing Clergy

The church teaches that clergy “are clergy forever”, even though they may have left willingly or fallen from grace. This is fact, plain and simple. Yet there are many organizations that twist biblical text and their own canons to the limits.

The church has, since it’s ancient roots, stated clearly that the sacraments are absolute, and cannot be taken away. The two that come to mind immediately are baptism and ordination/consecration. That sets the stage to continue into the subject. We may list various Canon Laws as we move through the narrative.

The Catechism states in no uncertain terms that Holy Orders leave an “indelible mark of the spirit’ on the recipient. (c.1582). This matches Ps. 110.4, “You are a priest forever”. The Canon is not simple dogma, it is fact as it is based on a biblical ‘absolute’.

Hence, like Baptism, Holy Orders cannot by the power of man be erased.

Likewise, c.209 bluntly states that once an individual receives ordination, that ordination cannot be made invalid. Human clergy CANNOT override the blessing of the Trinity and the descending of the spirit.

None the less, clergy may be released from duties by whatever church follows such canons. This does NOT mean they are no longer a priest. It is a BUSINESS agreement that this individual may no longer practice as a priest in that particular organization. This practice, called laicization, is a practice that is only valid for the church enacting that practice on a priest within their organization. It has little or no meaning within the operations of independent autonomous organizations outside the church in question.

When a priest is laicized, either by request or has fallen from grace, he is still a priest, but from the ‘business’ perspective of that particular church, is no longer allowed to exercise the power of the orders. c.292

Yet, this individual is still clergy, and if they were to hold Mass outside of their organization, it is still considered a valid Mass. The act may be considered illicit, but keep in mind there is a massive canon law difference between illicit and invalid. That information is not discussed here.

Can a laicized priest, who wishes to leave voluntarily, re-enter the clergy of the original organization? Yes. It is difficult, as any church would not wish priests ‘not making up their minds’, but it is possible. If an individual priest wishes to return to active status in that given church, that individual should not be ordained again, as they are already a priest.

There is curious wording in the canons of many churches. c.976 is no exception. It clearly states that ANY priest, even one who may no longer operate under that particular organization, may not only hear confession but grant absolution in times of great need. So if a laicized priest came upon a dying victim in a car accident, that priest is REQUIRED to hear confession and provide absolution.

Hence, a priest is always a priest.

How about other autonomous organizations. Those organizations do not, real or imagined, have to accept the laicization of any other church. As far as they are concerned that priest is still a priest and may be incardinated into their church.

* Now of course if the laicization was for sex abuse or any serious felony or misdemeanor, an organization should not entertain an affiliation with that priest That is only logical.

None the less, if a priest of one organization was laicized for an ambiguous canon infraction or a request to ‘change organizations’, they may be incardinated into any other organization with little or no fanfare.

Summary;

1. Is a priest a priest forever. Yes.

2. Can a priest be removed from duties of a specific organization. Yes.

3. If a priest is laicized, is he still a priest? Yes. (see number 1)

4. Can a laicized priest be incardinated and accepted in another organization. Yes.

5. Can any organization claim that they have removed a priests ordination. No. Human clergy CANNOT override the blessing of the Trinity and the descending of the spirit.

6. Do the Canons of laiciztion of one organization effect the Canons of another independent organization? No

7. Can a laicized priest practice outside the original church that laicized that priest, without joining another church? Yes. It may be considered illicit, but is fully valid.

As per eleven (11) Canon rules of Pope Gregory IX and the eighty-eight (88) Canon rules of Pope Boniface VIII, the concept of any illicit act within the church is explained in detail;

These rules, according to Canon 20, can supply the defect of the rule in a particular case, as in the case we presently find ourselves. Consequently, the fourth rule of Gregory IX expressly states: Propter necessitatem, illicitum efficitur licitum — “Necessity makes licit what is illicit.”

Rule 88 of Boniface VIII also expressly states Certum est quod is committit in legem qui legem verbum complectens contra legis nititur“It is certain that one sins against the rule who adheres to the letter and leaves aside the spirit.” Therefore, it is unjust to impute to the legislator a desire to greatly harm the Church during a need to SERVE God and the faithful, forbidding the ordination of bishops and priests and the administering of the sacraments to the faithful who ask for them.

At the very least, especially in time of ‘great trial and tribulation’, traditional acts may be required to be put aside for the benefit of the faithful and the church. This includes but not limited to; a single bishop for consecration, foregoing the laying on of hands, using virtual technology to maintain church operations for the faithful and stability of the church itself and applying special actions for all sacraments in general. The church simply cannot ‘stop’.

At the very least, the practice of sub conditone comes into play for these non traditional actions. This is fully supported by Roman Catholic Canons 953 and 2370. This ‘exception’ manifests itself with the Anglican Ordinates with the Roman Catholic Church.

Out of necessity to create the Anglican Ordinates, the Roman Church followed the precept Propter necessitatem, illicitum efficitur licitum - “Necessity makes licit what is illicit.”

Hence, a laicized priest, one who has been laicized for non criminal acts, may fully operate as a priest whereas they are a priest forever. The actions of man can never erase the mark of the Holy Spirit at ordination or consecration.

And by the 99 rules set down that have NEVER been overturned or modified, any church may make licit what is considered illicit in time of need.

Final analysis:

It is important here to keep in mind a critical distinction: once a man is ordained a priest, he will always have the ability to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and nobody on earth can take that ability away from him. As we’ve noticed before, canon law follows theology, so it is no surprise that the code (c. 290) echoes the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1581-1582) in asserting that priestly ordination which is validly conferred never becomes invalid. “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchisedech.”