OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM THE PRESIDING ARCHBISHOP
THE AMERICAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES
AFFILIATED JURISDICTIONS WORLDWIDE
THE MOST REVEREND LAWRENCE J. HARMS, D. D.
USE OF THE TERM, OR TITLE, “AMERICAN CATHOLIC CHURCH”
The term or title “American Catholic Church” is becoming more frequently used in the Print and Electronic Media. When one reads or listens to information being placed in the media to the public, one needs to know that the term or title “American Catholic Church” can and does have many meanings. I would like to in some way clear up a lot of confusion regarding the term, or title.
- There are times when the media refers in news or information pertaining the Roman Catholic Church, they use the term “American Catholic Church”, “American Catholics”, or American Catholic Bishops”. When these terms are used in reference to the Roman Catholic Church it denotes those Roman Catholics who in fact are Roman Catholics.
- When the term or title “American Catholic Church” is used and it does not denote Roman Catholic, it takes on another total different meaning. The word “Catholic” with a capitol “C” denotes a Church or Religious Denomination. When the word catholic, with a lowercase “c” is used, it means universal. Please note in the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed the word in those two Creeds catholic, is with a small “c” meaning universal. (The Universal Christian Church)
- When the term or title, “American Catholic Church” is used, it also denotes various other Catholic Churches, that are Catholic, however not under the Jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church, of whose Hierarchical structure is headed by the “Pope”, also known as The Bishop of Rome, Patriarch of the West, or First among Equals.
- The term or title “American Catholic Church”, is used by various Church Denominations in the “Americas” that are in fact truly Catholic, which have valid recognized lines of Apostolic Succession, and valid Sacraments. The valid lines of Apostolic Succession and valid Sacraments are no different than those held in the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Churches. However there may be some human definitions on who may, or may not, be allowed to administer the Sacraments, or receive them.
- One must be very careful on how to use the term or title, “American Catholic Church”. As stated in the above text, we have established the term or title “C”, “c” atholic. Now we examine closely the use of the term or title. There are various Church Denominations that are Catholic, and use the words, American, and Church. We, The American Catholic Church in the United States, use these words. We, ACCUS, have branches in South America ACCSA, Canada (ACCC), Africa (note the change in the term or title) The Apostolic Catholic Church in Africa (ACCA), India – The Apostolic Catholic Church in India (ACCI), Pakistan - The Apostolic Catholic Church in Pakistan (ACCP), and so on. All these terms and titles pertain to one united Jurisdiction and have a Hierarchal structure with an Archbishop as its center of Juridical Authority. The lines of Apostolic Succession in this Jurisdiction flow from the Apostolic Lines that are shared with the Roman Catholic Church (Western Church), Orthodox Churches Eastern Churches), Canterbury (English Church). As through history, Bishops who disengaged themselves from the Western Church, Eastern Church, and English (UK – Anglican, US - Episcopal) Church, over temporal matters still maintained their lines of Apostolic Succession and are able to hand down those Valid Lines of Apostolic Succession to their successors. These Groups or Churches are often called Independent Catholic Churches, or The Old Catholic Church, Old Catholic Movement. Unlike the churches that are known as Protestant Churches (who were not founded by “Bishops”), The Independent Catholic Churches, or The Old Catholic Churches are in fact truly Catholic, with the capital “C”, and have Valid Lines of Apostolic Succession. (Please note in this website the section titled "VALIDITY", which has printed references from various Roman Catholic Church Documents.)
- Under the term or title “American Catholic Church” there are listed various Church Denominations. Some of these Denominations are small, and or large with membership. Some have various numbers of Bishops and Archbishops. Each one is a totally separate Catholic Jurisdiction, with its own Canons, Governing System, Customs, Traditions, and Incorporation and 501c3 not-for-profit - IRS Status. Some, may, or may not be Incorporated or have an IRS Status, however, they are truly Churches. Some of the Jurisdictions may or may not have what are called Intercommunion agreements, (partnerships or sharing of pulpits and altars). Some of the Jurisdictions may be what is referred to as, conservative, moderate, or liberal. Some may have Open Communion. Some may or may not Ordain Women. Some may use the Traditional Liturgy (Tridentine Mass), Novus Ordo (The Mass common now in the Western Rite Church), or various Divine Liturgies of the Eastern (Orthodox) Church. So as you can see, “American Catholic Church” is a term or title that can sometimes be very confusing outside of the Hierarchical Structure. One must be very careful not to assume that Church Denominations that use the term or title “American Catholic Church” speak, approve, or endorse one another’s policies and “temporal rules”. Above all one must not assume that when they hear the word “American Catholic Church” or the word “Catholic” it solely means the “Roman Catholic Church”.
- The term and title “American Catholic Church” is used by just some of the following totally “INDEPENDENT” Catholic Jurisdictions:
- The American Catholic Church in the United States
- The American Catholic Church of New England
- The American Catholic Church of Nevada
- The American Catholic Church
- The American Catholic Church in the United States of America
- American Catholic Church
In closing, I hope that the information supplied here will help you to understand more fully the term or title “American Catholic Church”.
I, as the Presiding Archbishop of The American Catholic Church in the United States, and our Jurisdictions around the world, wish to make it perfectly clear, that we do not:
- Speak for other Jurisdictions within Catholicism
- We do not interfere in the operations of other Jurisdictions
- We do not infringe upon other Jurisdictions
- We do not endorse any political party, or candidate for election to public office
- We do not use the Sacred Sacraments as conditions to control
- We do not in any way support any type of abuse, such as sexual, physical, mental, or verbal
- When we make official statements, that pertain to The American Catholic Church in the United States and its affiliated Jurisdictions
- When official announcements are made, they will be made by the Presiding Archbishop of The American Catholic Church in the United States, and its affiliated Jurisdictions
- Official statements will always be noted as “OFFICIAL STATEMENT” and will always carry the title “The American Catholic Church in the United States” or “ACCUS”
- In locations outside of the Unites States the “OFFICIAL STATEMENT” term will be used in conjunction with the name of the “JURISDICTION” of that Country
Thank you for taking the time to read the above statement. We hope that what is contained in the above statement will help you to become more familiar with the term and title of “American Catholic Church”. This statement is not to, in any way, make judgment, approval, or disapproval of any Religious Denomination, or its customs and traditions. This statements’ only purpose is to inform.
The American Catholic Church in the United States, and affiliated Jurisdictions, respect and uphold the rite to express ones faith with their God.
Peace be with you.
+Lawrence J. Harms, D. D.
The American Catholic Church in the United States