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Western Christianity

Old Catholic Churches

Doctrines The Old Catholic churches are identified by their rejection of the "new" Roman Catholic doctrines such as the Immaculate Conception (1854), papal infallibility (1870), and the bodily assumption of Mary (1950).

History It was the doctrine of papal infallibility that led to the formation of the Old Catholic movement. This breakaway group turned to the Jansenist Church of Holland to secure the consecration of their bishops. Their doctrines were formalised in the Declaration of Utrecht of 1899.
A distinctive feature of Old Catholic theology has been the churches' early involvement with the ecumenical movement. They have established close relations with the Orthodox churches, and since 1932 have been in full communion with the Anglican church.

Symbols The Old Catholic Churches share the same symbol system as Roman Catholicism.

Adherents Today the Old Catholic churches have some 400,000 members throughout the world (Harris et al. 1994, 172). The churches have members in the following countries: Austria, 22,000; the Czech Republic, 3000; Germany, 28,000; the Netherlands, 10,000; Poland, 52,400; Switzerland, 16,000; U.S.A., 62,611.

Main Centre
 There is not a single headquarters for all the Old Catholic churches. Each church has its own national headquarters. The headquarters of the largest group is: the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, 4200 North Kedvale Avenue, Chicago Il 60641.