The history of the Unified Old Catholic Church is long and is identical with the Roman Catholic Church – in government, in doctrine, in principle, in authority, and its history, until the year 1702 A.D. Our history is the history of the Roman Catholic Church in every detail.
The Old Catholics in Utrecht divided from Rome in 1702 in opposition of the infallibility of the pope and the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. These original Old Catholics retained their Apostolic Successions and embraced the faith and beliefs of the earlier Catholic Church. Many of these clergy, in turn, embraced the unfolding ‘liberality’ and freedoms of expression of the time to become ‘liberal catholics’, and The Liberal Catholic Movement came into being. The present-day Unified Old Catholic Church stems from the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church which came into being through the union of the Ancient Catholic Church and The Liberal Rite in March 2008. That same year, the then Metropolitan of the LCAC was enthroned, and its bishops consecrated, by the Emeritus Primate of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, the same church whose 1943 mandate had provided the impetus for the establishment of the Catholic Apostolic Church (Catholicate of the West) and thus in turn for the Ancient Catholic Church.
The the Unified Old Catholic Church stems from The Old Catholic Apostolic Church Worldwide, which itself stems from the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church. We are descended from the earliest pre-Constantinian times, through to the major liberal resurgence in nineteenth-century hermeneutics and the twentieth-century independent liberal churches. We embrace men and women who have not been able to reconcile their consciences to the teachings, even dogmas, of the mainstream Catholic and Orthodox churches, and who have sought a deeper expression of their relationship with God through the establishment of loving, accepting, affirming churches and a Christianity free from the artificial boundaries set by men.
In the modern era, there are numerous historical strands that have had a direct influence on the UOCC today and each of these strands are closely interrelated:
* The Apostolic Episcopal Church
* The Old Catholics
* The Catholicate of the West
* The Ancient Catholic Church
* The Order of Corporate Reunion
* The Liberal Rite
* The Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church
* The Apostolic Faith Church
*The International Old Catholic Churches
*The Old Catholic Apostolic Church
The Old Catholic Apostolic Church in the United States was initially founded in 2008, by the late Monsignor Anthony Guadialardo. Upon his death, Bishop Jack Stafford took on the mantle and led the church in the US which quietly grew. When Bishop Stafford left the church to resume a maritime career, Monsignor Edmund Cass was appointed to lead the work in the US. There then followed a period of considerable growth; other bishops and communions joined, and the patriarch of the church, and in 2012 Bishop Adrian Trimlett-Glover travelled to the US and with Bishops Gregory Godsey and John Bell, consecrated Msgr. Edmund Cass and Edward Wooldridge to the episcopacy.
In 2013 Bishop Cass left the Communion in order to form a new jurisdiction. The governance of the Church in the United States was given to a new bishop. In early 2015, the clergy of the United States Province unanimously voted to change their relationship with the “mother church” in the UK, and to become fully autonomous. The new bishop did not choose to leave the Old Catholic Church Worldwide, and the clergy elected The Rt. Rev. Michael Beckett, OPI as archbishop of a new jurisdiction, The Unified Old Catholic Church, and The Rt. Rev. M Pulaski, IOFM was elected Chancellor. This was, in great part, due to the wish of the clergy of the church to return to a more traditional Catholicism, and could not, in good faith, fully embrace the liberality of the Old Catholic Apostolic Church.
Today, under the guidance of our Archbishop, Michael Beckett, OPI, and the College of Bishops, our work continues as we strive to be a relevant Christian outreach church; a body of Christ that enables and empowers people to serve as they are called; relevant for today, yet with the benefit of heritage; alive because Christ lives in us; spiritually aware and keen to serve.