Thursday, February 20, 2003

A petition I signed today

An exchange with an 'independent Catholic'

Reproduced with his permission

Original letter:

Dear Serge,

I looked on the Faith page and saw two links to vagantes (which is, by the way, a derogatory term not unlike the derogatory term "uniate"). I would agree with the assessment guidelines for determining if a church is "fly by night" or not but this is not a unique thing to independent Catholic churches. I didn't see anything from you though.

The second article, while one point of view, ignores the fact that there have been many, valid apostolic churches which were not independent of the body of Christ but were not established under one of the 5 Patriarchal Sees -- they predate them. The term "Independent Catholic" usually refers legitimately to churches whose Apostolic Successions lead to St. Peter but not under the jurisdiction of the See of Rome (ex. Antioch -- at least 3 valid claimants to the See and 4 divisions!), St. Matthew (Companion of St. Peter whose converts were also in India), St. Thomas, The Celtic lineages (which preceded the establishment of the See of Rome by at least 25-75 years) which are by tradition attributed to the evangelism of St. Joseph of Arimethea, and the Gallican lineages which also preceded the establishment of the See of Rome which are attributed to the evangelism of St. Mary Magdalene, St. Mary of Bethany and St. Lazarus.

Blessings.

Fr. Jay DiCotignano M.Div., M.S.
Pastor

Holy Innocents American Catholic Church

Reply:


Dear Fr DiCotignano,

Thanks for (re)visiting A Conservative Site for Peace's Faith page and reading my comments and two linked articles (not by me - sorry for the misunderstanding). Obviously we don't agree about vagantes but this is fuel for an interesting discussion.

I would agree with the assessment guidelines for determining if a church is "fly by night" or not but this is not a unique thing to independent Catholic churches.

Sure, there are plenty of Protestant and New Age con men out there too.

The second article, while one point of view

The universally held view of the Eastern Orthodox Church if I recall correctly.

ignores the fact that there have been many, valid apostolic churches which were not independent of the body of Christ but were not established under one of the 5 Patriarchal Sees -- they predate them.

Well, 'valid apostolic churches outside the patriarchates', in other words, outside the Eastern Orthodox communion, aren't a fact. They're a peculiarly Roman Catholic theological opinion held as dogma. EOs don't hold a dogma claiming 'validity' outside the Church.

The term "Independent Catholic" usually refers legitimately to churches whose Apostolic Successions lead to St. Peter but not under the jurisdiction of the See of Rome

Sounds like they want to have it both ways - they are former Catholics who still want to be Catholic really bad but Rome won't let them do something or other (probably related to sex) so they play this game instead.

(ex. Antioch -- at least 3 valid claimants to the See and 4 divisions!)

According to the Roman Catholic Church but not according to the Eastern Orthodox.

St. Matthew (Companion of St. Peter whose converts were also in India), St. Thomas, The Celtic lineages (which preceded the establishment of the See of Rome by at least 25-75 years) which are by tradition attributed to the evangelism of St. Joseph of Arimethea, and the Gallican lineages which also preceded the establishment of the See of Rome which are attributed to the evangelism of St. Mary Magdalene, St. Mary of Bethany and St. Lazarus.

I am familiar with the lines-of-succession game, again a byproduct of Roman Catholic theology on which vagantes base all their claims (even when, as they increasingly do, they pretend to be Eastern Orthodox).

If I recall correctly the Catholic Church recognizes such men's orders - 'valid but illicit' - as long as they weren't conferred for money.

The Eastern Orthodox Church sees things more holistically, in the context of the Church - outside that communion of the Church 'lines' don't mean anything.

If it's not under the Pope, it's not RC. If it's not in the Eastern Orthodox communion, it's not Orthodox. If it's not under Pope Shenouda III, it's not Coptic. If it's not in the Malankara Church of India (a pose favored by some vagantes), it's not 'Syrian Orthodox', 'Syro-Malabar' or 'Mar Thoma Orthodox'. If it's not in the Utrecht union like the Polish National Catholic Church (an American church, BTW) is, it's not Old Catholic.

Thanks again.