Independent Catholicism

Religious movement / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Independent Catholicism is an independent sacramental movement of clergy and laity who self-identify as Catholic (most often as Old Catholic or as Independent Catholic) and form "micro-churches claiming apostolic succession and valid sacraments",[1] in spite of not being affiliated to the historic Catholic churches such as the Roman Catholic and Utrechter Old Catholic churches.[2] The term "Independent Catholic" derives from the fact that "these denominations affirm both their belonging to the Catholic tradition as well as their independence from Rome".[3]

It is difficult to determine the number of jurisdictions, communities, clergy and members who make up Independent Catholicism,[4] particularly since the movement "is growing and changing in every moment".[5] Some adherents choose Independent Catholicism as an alternative way to live and express their Catholic faith outside the Roman Catholic Church (with whose structures, beliefs and practices Independent Catholicism often closely aligns) while rejecting some traditional Catholic teachings.[6]

Independent Catholicism may be considered part of the larger independent sacramental movement, in which clergy and laity of various faith traditions—including the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Anglican Communion and various non-Catholic Christian churches—have separated themselves from the institutions with which they previously identified. Within this movement, various independent churches have sprung from the Eastern Orthodox Church, but the members of these independent Eastern Orthodox groups most often self-identify as independent or autocephalous Orthodox and not as Independent Catholic.

Some Independent Catholic churches have joined the International Council of Community Churches, a denomination based in Frankfort, Illinois, in the United States. In doing so it gives them a place and voice in national and international Christian organizations such as Churches Uniting in Christ, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA and the World Council of Churches, membership of which is usually reserved to larger, longer-established church bodies.

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