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Guidelines of the International Bishops Conference (IBC) with Respect to the Recognition of a Church as Independent Old-Catholic Church of the Union of Utrecht

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  1. 1. The rule of the Old-Catholic ecclesiology is: In one particular country (i.e. a politically independent unity) there is only one episcopally  and synodally ordered Church (be it a diocese or a communion of dioceses)
  2. 2. Necessary pre-requisites for the recognition as an independent Old-Catholic Church of the Union of Utrecht are:
  3. 2.1. The Church is organized in accordance with well grounded Old-Catholic principles, such as regarding the participation of lay persons and ordained ministers in leadership and administration of the Church (usually in the context of a Synod) or the election of a Bishop by the respective Church (usually through a diocesan or supra-diocesan Synod, or through a Chapter of the Church).

2.2. The Bishop (or bishops) of the respective Church signs (sign) the Statute of the Old-Catholic Bishops united in the Union of Utrecht of 2000 and the Declaration of Utrecht of 1889, which ipso facto implies acceptance of the Statute and the Declaration by the respective Church.

2.3. The respective Church is in the spiritual and material position to fulfill basic church tasks independently, such as:

-         to witness the Gospel of Christ to the world;

-         to celebrate regular masses in parishes and otherwise;

-         to maintain pastoral work for the faithful;

-         to organize proper formation and training of its ordained ministers.

 

3. The IBK takes into consideration the position of the respective Church in the society and – if a secular recognition by the state is possible – also takes into consideration its position with regards to religious laws.

 

4. An application to be recognized as an independent Old-Catholic Church of the Union of Utrecht and with this the reception of its bishop (or bishops) in the Old-Catholic Bishops Conference (IBC) of the Union of Utrecht has to include the following documents:

-         One each of a copy of the Statute of the Old-Catholic Bishops united in the Union of Utrecht of 2000 and of 
          the Declaration of Utrecht of 1889, signed both by the Bishop (or the Bishops) and the synodal governing body;

-         One notarized copy of the Election and Consecration Certificate of the Bishop (or the Bishops);

-         One notarized copy of the Election Certificate of the bishop elect, if the Church seeking recognition as 
          independent Old-Catholic Church includes the application to consecrate its bishop elect.

-         Information concerning the number of congregations, ordained ministers and faithful of the respective Church;

-         One copy each of the official rules and regulations and books of the respective Church (in accordance with Art. 
          12 of the IBC-Statute);

-         Information regarding the formation and training of the ordained ministers (in line with Art. 14 of the IBC Statute).

 

  1. The decision regarding the acceptance of a Church as an independent Old-Catholic Church in the Union of Utrecht or the consecration of a bishop respectively will be made in accordance with the respective rules of the Statute of the Old-Catholic Bishops united in the Union of Utrecht of 2000 (comp. Art. 3 lit. e-f; Art 7 lit a; Art. 8; Art. 9).

 

Mödling/Vienna, 27. June 2002

 

For the International Old-Catholic Bishops Conference (IBC)

The President:

Dr. Joris Vercammen, Archbishop of Utrecht

 

The Secretary:

Fritz-René Müller, Bishop of the Old Catholic Church of Switzerland

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