Authenticity

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Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew

Please be aware that orthodox and authentic Old Roman Catholic jurisdictions, bishops and clergy are usually listed with the Old Roman Catholic Clerical Directory, which the faithful and enquirers are strongly invited to contact if unsure as to the credentials of a cleric presenting himself as “Old Roman Catholic”.

Contrary to a popular misconception, authentic Old Roman Catholic jurisdictions are very few in number, in fact there are only six main jurisdictions globally that are historically descended from the original Old Roman Catholic Church perpetuated from the ancient See of Utrecht by Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew in 1910 and continued after his death by Archbishops Bernard Mary Williams in the UK and Carmel Henry Carfora in the USA.

Similarly, the number of authentic Old Roman Catholic bishops in the world is very few, approximately less than fifty known to be active or retired globally; most are listed with the Old Roman Catholic Clerical Directory.  Many people are also ignorant that the Old Roman Catholic Church under Archbishop Mathew was received into communion with the Orthodox Patriarchates of Antioch (1911) and Alexandria (1912) and granted autocephalous (i.e. canonically self-ruling) status.

This is in stark contrast to the many thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of bishops and clergy generally self-described as “independent Catholic” or “Old Catholic” (though with no connection to the Utrecht Union of Old Catholic Churches) usually referred to by mainstream churches as “episcopi vagantes”, literally wandering bishops meaning bishops with no connection to any historical See. Of these, some claim Apostolic ancestry from Archbishop Mathew, but in the main are descended from an early schism by an heretical sect that became known as the “Liberal Catholic Church” which held theosophical and other esoteric beliefs contrary to the Catholic faith; or in other, even rarer circumstances, from a few dissident bishops disciplined by the authentic Old Roman Catholic jurisdictions. In contrast again with authentic Old Roman Catholic jurisdictions, most “independent” bishops have multiple lines of succession of which Mathew’s is but one of many listed in support of their “validity”.

Authentic Old Roman Catholicism has no history whatsoever with the Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira (ICAB) and no Old Roman Catholic bishops derive their Apostolic Succession through Dom Carlos Duarte Costa (former Roman Catholic Bishop of Botucatu). Similarly, no genuine Old Roman Catholic bishop claims Apostolic lineage from Mgr Pierre Martin Ngô Đình Thục, former  Roman Catholic Archbishop of Huế, Vietnam. ALL genuinely orthodox, canonical and authentic Old Roman Catholic bishops’ Apostolic Succession and historical jurisdictions are directly descended from Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew, exclusively.

The Old Roman Catholic Clerical Directory is a response to approaches made by mainstream denominations to form relationships with representatives of those churches and communities who properly belong to the Old Roman Catholic tradition and to be a point of reference for the contemporary enquirer. It was also conceived to assist Old Roman Catholic clergy in the furtherance of fraternal charity, mutual support and collaboration in missionary endeavour. Anyone desirous to know anything about genuine Old Roman Catholicism, its communities, religious orders and congregations is encouraged to visit the Old Roman Catholic Clerical Directory and to seek further information via contact there.

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