Wednesday, August 27, 2014


The history of the Old Roman Catholic Church has been routinely assaulted by numerous entities and individuals claiming linage to the Church. These range from those who would assert as to being Pentecostal, Charismatic, Orthodox or some other ecclesial derivative. Unfortunately all hold themselves out as being of the Old Roman Catholic Church yet have no administrative or canonical oversight by any of the valid major jurisdictions. This in itself causes much confusion to those individuals who are seeking to understand the true history and validity of the Old Roman Catholic Church.

The North American Old Roman Catholic Church - Archdiocese of California is a direct apostolic descendant of Archbishop Carmel Henry Carfora and recognized as one of the valid Old Roman Catholic jurisdictions. This parish exists as a member of that Archdiocese.

The jurisdiction of the Old Roman Catholic Church in America clearly addresses this conundrum and we take the liberty of quoting their statement concerning this perplexing situation below.

The Old Roman Catholic Church has, unfortunately, often been the victim of division. Since Archbishop Mathew’s tenure as Primate of the Church, some well-intentioned individuals have entered Old Roman Catholicism only to leave to join the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican churches. Still others have entered for the intention of securing valid Holy Orders, but have had no interest in maintaining the tradition of this Church or staying loyal to the premises on which it stands.

Unfortunately, some individuals who exit the Church do so to start up their own faith communities. Often times these either uses a derivative of “Old Roman Catholic” or something similar, and can cause great confusion among the clergy and faithful. The Church appears to be a collection of various separate jurisdictions and entities.

Fortunately, among legitimate Old Roman Catholic groups there is often great cooperation and partnership. This culminated in the 1981 founding of the Council of Old Roman Catholic Bishops as well as in agreements like the Walsingham Declaration. While each entity may maintain differences in practices and their understanding of Old Roman Catholicism, they are committed to working together and promoting the common good.

The legitimate or “canonical” Old Roman Catholic Churches are those that are descended from a recognizable source as well as maintain the tradition of Old Roman Catholicism. The Old Roman Catholic Church in America recognizes the following churches as having a clear descent from the authentic Old Roman Catholic tradition:

Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew

 - The Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain (the successor to Archbishop Mathew’s ORCCGB)—Archbishop Lewins
 - The Old Roman Catholic Diocese of Florida (the successor to Archbishop Mathew’s title of Archbishop of Caer Glow)—Archbishop Humphreys

Archbishop Carmel Henry Carfora
- The North American Old Roman Catholic Church, Archdiocese of New York—Archbishop Ford
- The North American Old Roman Catholic Church, Archdiocese of California—Archbishop Vellone
- The North American Old Roman Catholic Church, Archdiocese of Illinois—Archbishop Rematt
- The Old Roman Catholic Church, English Rite—Archbishop Kortenhof
- The Old Roman Catholic Church in North America—Archbishop Facione
- The Old Roman Catholic Church, Latin Rite—Archbishop Grosvold

Monday, August 18, 2014


A few day ago, I was at a city meeting and one of the attendees present told me that she had stopped going to Mass. Wow I thought, the Lord knows, there are often good reasons for people to be frustrated with the Church, but, still, the thought of not going to Mass on Sunday is so incomprehensible to me that whenever I hear of someone leaving, I can’t get my mind completely around it and my emotional response comes charging forth. It actually makes me very sad. Then I think, “as a Priest what is it I can do to reach out and help this person along with others like her to come home to the Old Roman Catholic Church?”

The phrase “lapsed Catholic” is certainly unique in its own use. I can’t think of hearing of someone talking about being a “lapsed Presbyterian”, a “lapsed Methodist”, or of all things a lapsed “Baptist.” The word “lapsed” actually means a falling away, but it does not imply a complete and total severance of a connection. There is always a sense, at the very least, that a person can always come back. If you have a Methodist or a Presbyterian who has not belonged to an active congregation for some years, and you ask that person their religious identity, they will just say they have none. But, if you ask a Catholic who has not crossed the threshold of a church in many years what their religious identity is, they will still say that they are Catholic. This holds true with the old saying, “once a Catholic, always a Catholic at heart.”
Now what is the reason for the “lapse?” Could it have been a marriage outside of the faith? A sinking feeling that you had simply become of little value in your previous parish; only existing as a number lost in the crowd not a name? The move to a new community and it was all too easy to just forgo Mass on Sunday? Perhaps the new Novus Ordo mass holds little for you in your spiritual life. You miss the beauty and sense of quite spiritual fulfilment found only in the Traditional Mass.  Yes, perhaps one of these reasons or another from the thousands of others available.

Yet, I must tell you that God loves each and every one of his children. Just like the father in the prodigal son parable, he yearns to welcome you home; just like that grieving father who stood every day looking down that dusty road for his son, there will be great rejoicing upon your return. Nothing we have ever said or done is too great for that loving forgiveness. All we have to do is simply come home.

So, you ask, what does that all have to do with the Old Roman Catholic Church? Everything! As devout Old Roman Catholics each of us understand the frustration many may have when the previous Church has not been as understanding in its relationship with others. It’ so easy to say I just don’t need this. But you do! You need the church and the church certainly needs you. Besides the Church is really not a cold, non-caring institution but a loving community of Christian believers who love and support each other.

Think about it and come this Sunday arise a little earlier and we’ll see you at the 10:00 am mass. I’ll be looking for you.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Are you then "Episcopi Vagantes"?

Unfortunately we hear many clergy in the our sister Roman  parishes disparaging the Old Roman Catholic Church by stating that it is not a valid Church or they are “Episcopi Vagantes.”

​Nothing could be further from the truth and is an often misused phrase and purposely misapplied term regarding Old Roman Catholics. The term "Episcopi Vagantes" means Bishops invalidly consecrated, (literally in Latin "Wandering Bishops"). This term is quite often used to be derogatorily and more often by many of those who certainly ought to know better. The answer to the question then is an emphatic "no"!

So let us set the record straight here for once and for all.

An "Episopus vagans" is a man who was consecrated validly but irregularly or illicitly (unlawfully) i.e. without ecclesial approbation.  Approbation as defined is, in Catholic canon law, an act by which a bishop or other legitimate superior grants to an ecclesiastic the actual valid exercise of his ministry. Old Roman Catholics claim "valid canonicity" (licitness/lawfullness) because:

  • The canonical dispute between the Holy See and the See of Utrecht was about whether the Ultrajectine (Latin for Utrecht) See could elect its own Bishops. There is no record that this remarkable privilage was never canonically (i.e. legally) concluded. It must be noted that Pope Pius IX in ignoring the due process required by Canon Law erected an uncanonical parallel heirarchy in Holland in 1853. In doing so his actions did not negate or remove the dispensations previously granted to the Archdioceses of Utrecht. Thus, it is only just, according to Canonical principles, to assume that the inalienable right granted by the Papal Bull of Blessed Eugene III allowing the Cathedral Chapter of Utrecht to elect their own bishops without permission or approval from the Pope is still extant and in effect. Later in 1215, the Fourth Lateran Council (Canons 23 and 24) again confirmed this privilege. Thus it is patiently clear by Roman Canon law that any individual consecrated as a bishop in the Old Roman Catholic Church is indisputably a valid Roman Catholic bishop.

  • The rightful Archbishop of Utrecht (Archbishop Geraldus Gul) in 1909 consecrated Arnold Harris Mathew as a Bishop in accordance with all the norms of universal ecclesiastical law.

  • When the See of Utrecht fell into 'apostasy' (i.e. departed from her rigid Catholic beliefs) in 1910, Bishop Mathew justifiably declared autonomy from the Ultrajectine See on December 29th 1910 and in doing so justifiably claimed her canonical rights and all prerogatives for the continuation and perpetuation of the Old Roman Catholic Church from the See of Utrecht. These same canonical rights and privileges were then passed on to all bishops he consecrated.

Thus the term "Episcopi Vagantes" cannot, by any means, justifiably be applied to the Old Roman Catholic Church, nor to any of her duly constituted and canonically governed ecclesial communities around the world, more especially in any way to her Bishops. The Old Roman Catholic Church is a recognized autocephalous and canonical ecclesial entity equal to any other so recognized Church of the East and has a legitimate claim to true and genuine canonical status within the Latin Rite which time and again been verified repeatedly by Rome herself.