A joint statement by the Metropolitan Archbishops of the Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain and Europe:

Feast of St Botolph, Abbot, 17 June 2013

walsinghamdljlWE, as the acknowledged leaders of the canonical Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain and Europe give warning that a group currently calling itself the “Old Roman Catholic Society of Pope Leo XIII” led by an individual named “Archbishop David Bell” (formerly known as James Atkinson-Wake) has no connection whatsoever with any historical nor canonical Old Roman Catholic jurisdiction.

Furthermore, having concern for all those committed to our pastoral charge and with regard to recent determinations by the Holy See concerning the actions and status of “Archbishop David Bell”, we direct that the same person is “to be avoided”* by all Old Roman Catholic clergy and faithful.

‡Douglas Lewins, Metropolitan ORCC GB
‡Jerome Lloyd OSJV, Metropolitan ORCCE LR

Nota Bene

This joint Statement has been issued in response to title changes on the website

The “Society of Pope Leo XIII” has also previously claimed to be a Roman Catholic institution and historically to be a part of the Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira, an independent church founded by Dom Carlos Duarte Costa (former Roman Catholic bishop of Botucatu) in Brazil; both assertions have been strenuously refuted by the respective authorities.

Mgr Marcus Stock, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales was quoted in “The Catholic Herald” (7 September 2012) making similar statements later made by Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr Giovanni D’Aniello on behalf of the Vatican’s Secretary of State to the President of the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, that: “…the Pope Leo XIII community is schismatic and as such cannot receive official recognition from the Catholic Church” and that “…bishops ordained in that community cannot carry out a ministry in the Catholic Church as it does not recognise these ordinations… All organisations or associations linked to that society should be treated as one would treat any non-Catholic institution.” (Protocol 1177/12) dated 8 October 2012. Similarly, Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote to Bishop Thomas MacMahon of Brentwood stating that David Bell “…must not be allowed to exercise any ministry in the Catholic Church.”

The conclusions of recent determinations by British Law Courts concerning the “validity” or otherwise of “Archbishop David Bell’s” holy Orders not withstanding, the Old Roman Catholic Church like the Roman Catholic Church is not obliged to accept “as valid” for its own purposes, the validity of any sacramental ministrations performed by “Archbishop David Bell” nor of any person ordained/consecrated by him. For information about recognising genuine Old Roman Catholic clergy and jurisdictions we refer enquirers to this previously published advice.

*”Vitandus” i.e. “To be avoided”. This Statement is expressly not a declaration of “vitandus excommunicate” i.e. a sentence reserved canonically [ref CIC 1917 Canons 2343 §1 n. 1 &  2258 §2] in the Western Latin tradition to the Holy See; but rather a direction to the clergy and faithful subject to the jurisdiction of the Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain and Europe to behave “as if” such had been decreed. 


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Edson says:

    Wow, that’s News for me. I’m confused! I recently saw a photo of a cardinal James Atkinson Wake and oh. boy it sure looks like this David Bell. And then there was a photo of cardinal David Atkinson-Wake. Is that the brother of James Atkinson Wake! And then I saw a civil reunion certificate that took place in Gretna Green between another man callled David Bell and a Bishop called Martin Lee. Surely, it couldn’t be the same person! I’m so confused! I thought the Society of Leo XXIII claimed to be Roman Catholic and now thay claim to be “Old Roman Catholic” – I’m getting more confused by the minute, would someone explain things to me! How can this man claim to be Old Roman Catholic if he was ‘ordained’ by a ‘bishop’ who was more than 70 years after the First Vatican Council. I Always thought Archbishop Mathew founded the Old Roman Catholic Church. I’m getting more confused. I even saw a photo of this man David Bell ordained priest by Bishop John C. Simmons of the Old Catholic Church but not the Old Roman Catholic Church. Is it the same! Was John Simmons not in jail a couple of times and had he some connnection with Bishop Roger Gleaves that infamous Bishop who was also in jail for molisting children. Wow! That’s certainly News for me now, that David Bell or James Atkinson Wake are claiming to be of the Old Roman Catholic Church.. By the way is James or David (why the name change) still cardinals! He (sorry, they) claimed to be cardinals of the CDF! and what about cardinal James Atkinson Wake- what’s he cardinal of! And is he brother of cardinal David Atkinson Wake! Sure, having two cardinals in the same Family is something, wow! Must be on fantastically religious Family!

  2. Edson says:

    Wow, the Old Roman Catholic web site is right. Look at this in a Vtaican Newspaper about Daid Bell:

  3. Edson says:

    Wow, Look at this Official statement from ICAB that ‘ordained’ Mr Bell I found.:

    Em nome da Presidência do CONSELHO EPISCOPAL e atendendo a diversos pedidos que nos tem chegado acerca do Senhor ARCEBISPO DAVID BELL, declaramos o seguinte:
    1 – O Arcebispo David Bell, não pertence a IGREJA CATÓLICA APOSTÓLICA BRASILEIRA e a nenhuma de suas Missões (dioceses em formação presentes em outros países);
    2 – À nossa Igreja parece que o Senhor Arcebispo DAVID BELL, nunca quis manter real comunhão com nossa Igreja, e sim que ele só queria a sucessão apostólica das mãos do saudoso DOM LUIS FERNANDO CASTILLO MÉNDEZ, pois de fato, após sagrado jamais voltou a um Concílio e de nenhum modo, tem mantido contatos formais com nossa Igreja;
    3 – A IGREJA CATÓLICA APOSTÓLICA BRASILEIRA não outorga títulos (monsenhor, cônego, arcebispo, cardeal) a seus membros e sempre pregou que “nada aquém de Diácono e nada além de Bispo”, reconhecendo tão somente o diaconato, o presbiterato e o episcopado como graus do Sacramento da Ordem, assim qualquer título usado pelo Senhor Arcebispo DAVID BELL, ainda que firmado por Dom Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez ou por qualquer outra pessoa, para nós não tem valor algum. Se tais títulos valem, certamente será para quem os usa, não em nossa Instituição Religiosa.
    4 – Qualquer diálogo entre nossa Igreja e a IGREJA ROMANA, somente se dará baseado na verdade e na certeza que nada temos a abdicar de nossas práticas, mas sim no crescimento entre irmãos de fé comum. Não cremos em um diálogo baseado em fotos de audiências públicas e em movimentos que induzam a erro e a má interpretação de 69 anos de Cristianismo vivenciados num espírito verdadeiramente de Colegiado e fraternidade.
    Brasília – DF, 12 de julho de 2013.

    + Manoel José da Rocha Neto
    Secretário Administrativo

    On behalf of the Presidency of EPISCOPAL COUNCIL and attending several requests we have gotten about Mr. ARCHBISHOP DAVID BELL, we declare as follows:
    1 – The Archbishop David Bell, does not belong to the Brazilian Catholic Church and any of its missions (dioceses in formation present in other countries);

    2 – At our church, it seems that the Archbishop DAVID BELL, never wanted to keep it real communion with our Church, but he just wanted the apostolic succession of the hands of the late DOM LUIS FERNANDO CASTILLO MENDEZ, for indeed, after the sacred, he never returned to a council, in no way, he has maintained formal contacts with our Church;

    3 – The Brazilian Catholic Church does not grant titles (Monsignor, Canon, Archbishop, Cardinal) to its members and always preached that “nothing short of Deacon and nothing but Bishop”, recognizing that only the diaconate, the presbyterate and episcopate as degrees the Sacrament of Orders, so any title used by Mr. Archbishop DAVID BELL, though signed by Bishop Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez, or anyone else, there is any value to us. If such titles worth, certainly will be for those who use them, not in our Religious Institution.

    4 – Any dialogue between our Church and the ROMAN CHURCH, will be made only based on truth and certainty that we have nothing to give up our practices, but growth among siblings of common faith. We do not believe in a dialogue based on pictures of public hearings and motions that lead to error and misinterpretation 69 years of Christianity experienced in a truly spirit Collegiate and brotherhood.

    Brasília – DF, July 12, 2013.

    + Manoel José da Rocha Neto
    Administrative Secretary

  4. Edson says:

    This is certainly new to me. I used to be one of bells priests. But now I discover (above) from ICAB that he wasn’t a cardinal let alone an ‘archbishop’ but rather ‘self styledtween the lines they dont’ and that his ‘ordination’ was based upon deceit merely seeking such for his own ‘vanity’. How can such be valid and Reading between the lines they don’t even accept it! Wow, I’ve been hood winked again! I’m off back to Rome or will try to get into the Old Roman Catholic Church for reordination, that is if they will have me!

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