Independent Catholic Church of North America © 2012
Frequently Asked Questions of the Independent Catholic Church
Are you Catholic?
When people speak of Catholics today, they often mean Roman
Catholics. However the term catholic was first used in the letter of Saint
Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrnaeans (about AD 110) in reference to
the “universal” church.
The following is a definition for the word “catholic”:
Catholic Abbr. C..
a. Of or involving the Roman Catholic Church.
b. Of or relating to the universal Christian church.
c. Of or relating to the ancient undivided Christian church.
d. Of or relating to those churches that have claimed to be representatives
of the ancient undivided church.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition 
There are in fact many Communions (Churches) that are in fact part of
the Catholic Church as they can trace their beliefs, teachings, and
origins to the ancient undivided Apostolic Church. One of the primary
attributes of a Catholic Church is that each maintains a line of
Apostolic Succession in their clergy thus making them part of the “One
Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church” as proclaimed in the Nicene Creed.
Some of these Communions are the Orthodox (Greek, Serbian, Russian,
Coptic, and many more), Anglican, Episcopalian, and Old Catholic.
What is “Old Catholic ”?
The Old Catholic Church traces it roots to the 7th century. It was during
this time when the church was one and undivided. that the Anglo-Saxon
monk St. Willibrord missionized the area of Europe now known as the
Netherlands and France.
The name "Old Catholic" began to come into use in 1741 when the
Church in Utrecht turned from Roma and began to refer to call
themselves as Roman Catholics of the “Old Episcopal Clergy” (Old
Catholics). It wasn't until late 19th century in Europe when over the
refusal to accept Papal Infallibility that the Churches in Europe formally
adopted the name "Old Catholic".
It is this earlier “undivided” Christianity that was taught to the people in
this part of the world and it is that “undivided” Church that Old
Catholics seek to restore.
Are you in communion with the Roman Catholic Church?
No. The Old Catholic Churches separated from the Roman Catholic
Church in the late 19th century over the refusal to accept the dogma of
Papal Infallibility. 
If your tradition stems from the “Old Catholic Tradition” And now you are
Independent Catholics: does that mean your Mass is in Latin?
No. The name Old Catholic was originally chosen to signify the desire of the
Church to return to the traditions and teachings of the undivided
Church prior to the great schism of 1054. Now that we are Independent
Catholics our services are conducted in the language of the people. Each
parish is instructed to use 1970 edition of the Roman Missal ( the English
language- the Vatican II version).
Since you are not under the authority of the Pope then who is the
head of your church?
Jesus Christ is the head of the Church and as proclaimed by the Early
Church Fathers the Holy Spirit is the Vicar of Christ. However, our
parishes and clergy, like all other Catholic Communions, are under the
guidance and authority of a Bishop. Our denomination maintains valid
lines of Apostolic Succession, which can be traced to the ancient and
undivided church. All clergy in the OCCNA are ordained by the “laying
on of hands”.
I noticed that you are married. How can this be?
Celibacy was not required in the Roman Communion until the 13th
century. Celibacy is not required in most of the other Catholic
Communions. Our bishops believe that to refuse the full sacerdotal
ministry to a married individual is to act in a manner as to limit whom
God may call to His service.
Do you allow women to be ordained?
Yes. Once again the our bishops believe that to refuse the full sacerdotal
ministry to an individual is to act in a manner as to limit whom God
may call to His service.
My spouse is not Catholic may they receive Eucharist?
Yes. The OCCNA believes that any person Baptized in the name of the
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a member of the Body of Christ (Church)
and therefore may receive Communion.
I am divorced and remarried may I receive Communion?
Yes. While the OCCNA looks upon matrimony as a sacrament, and
believes that marriage should be a lifelong commitment between a man
and a woman we do realize though that situations will arise that will
lead to divorce. It is our opinion that to refuse Communion to a divorced
individual who is sincerely seeking to repent and turn to Christ is to
inflict additional emotional pain and suffering.
Do I have to go to confession?
If you are asking if you must confess and repent of your sins to be
forgiven – then the answer is yes. If you are asking must you confess
your sins before a priest to be forgiven then the answer is no. The
OCCNA teaches that the sacrament of Reconciliation is provided in both
the General Confession and Absolution, which is included in the Mass,
and through private confession to either a Priest or Bishop. It is our
belief that the INTENT (sincerity) of the individual takes precedent over
What does the OCCNA teach about abortion?
The OCCNA considers abortion at any time during the pregnancy to be
the taking of a life. We encourage any woman faced with an unwanted
pregnancy to consider adoption over abortion. We realize that at times a
woman is faced with making a decision about a pregnancy that could
result in harm, or even loss of life, to herself consult with qualified
professionals and clergy prior to making her decision. The OCCNA will
never turn away a woman who has had an abortion from the loving
embrace of Jesus.
Do you have the same Sacraments as the Roman Catholic
Yes, we profess and provide seven sacraments. They are:
Baptism: The means of spiritual rebirth through which we are made
children of God and heirs of Heaven: ``Amen, amen I say to thee, unless
a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into
the kingdom of God.'' (John 3:5. Also see Acts 2:38, Rom. 6:2-6).
Confirmation: Confers the Holy Spirit to make us strong and perfect
Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ: ``Now when the apostles, who
were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the word of
God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who, when they were come,
prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost.... Then they laid
their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost.'' (Acts 8:14-
17. Also see Acts 19:6).
Eucharist: Also known as Holy Communion, which nourishes the soul
with the true Flesh and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, under the
appearance, or sacramental veil, of bread and wine: ``And whilst they
were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them,
and said: Take ye. This is my body. And having taken the chalice, giving
thanks, he gave it to them. And they all drank of it. And he said to them:
This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many.''
(Mark 14:22-24. Also see Matt. 26:26-28, Luke 22:19-20, John 6:52-54,
1 Cor. 10:16).
Reconciliation: Also known as Confession, through which Christ
forgives sin and restores the soul to grace: ``Receive ye the Holy Ghost.
Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you
shall retain, they are retained. '' (John 20:22-23. Also see Matt. 18:18).
Anointing: Sometimes called Unction, which strengthens the sick and
sanctifies the dying: ``Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the
priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil
in the name of the Lord . . . and if he be in, sins, they shall be forgiven
him.'' (James 5:14-15. Also see Mark 6:12-13).
Holy Orders: Empowers priests to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
administer the sacraments, and officiate over all the other proper affairs
of the Church:
"For every high priest taken from among men and is appointed to
represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for
sins.... No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God,
just as Aaron was.'' (Heb. 5:1-4. Also see Acts 20:28, 1 Tim. 4:14).
"And taking bread, he gave thanks, and broke; and gave to them, saying:
This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of
me.'' (Luke 22:19).
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you
are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28).
Marriage: Unites a man and woman in a holy bond: "For this cause
shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and
they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one
flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.''
(Matt. 19:5-6. Also see Mark 10:7-9, Ephesians 5:22-32).
What is an oratory?
The Oratory of The Blessed Trinity is a private oratory, a place of prayer
and worship for the Bishop, his/her family, and others by invitation. As a
general term, Oratory signifies a place of prayer, but technically it
means a structure other than a parish church, set aside by ecclesiastical
authority for prayer and the celebration of Mass.
Oratories seem to have originated from the chapels erected over the
tombs of the early martyrs where the faithful resorted to pray, and also
from the necessity of having a place of worship for the people in country
districts when churches proper were restricted to cathedral cities. We
also find early mention of private oratories for the celebration of Mass by
bishops, and later of oratories attached to convents and to the
residences of nobles.
Private Oratories are those erected in private houses for the convenience
of some person or family. Oratories in private houses date from Apostolic
times when the Sacred Mysteries could not be publicly celebrated owing
to the persecutions. Even after the emperor Constantine declared that
Christians were free to practice their religion without fear, the custom of
maintaining oratories in private homes continued to prevail.
Excerpted from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language,
Third Edition © 1996 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed
from INSO Corporation; further reproduction and distribution in accordance with
the Copyright Law of the United States. All rights reserved.
Old Catholics, Christian denomination organized in Munich in 1871 by Roman
Catholics who protested the dogma, proclaimed the previous year by Vatican
Council I, of the personal infallibility of the pope in all ex cathedra
pronouncements. Excerpted from Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000