23 October 2011

Anglicans and Old Catholics

On Anglicans and Old Catholics:
  • Part 1: The Origins of Old Catholicism
    This year is the 80th anniversary of the agreement between Anglicans and Old Catholics, best known as the ‘Bonn Agreement’. Originally, the relations between the Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht were called an intercommunion, but since 1961 the term ‘full communion’ is being used. The anniversary that falls this year is a good opportunity to pay some attention again to Old Catholicism and its special bond with Anglicanism on our blog. The establishment of the Old Catholic churches – we wrote about it last year here - is usually being related to the aftermath of the First Vatican Council. The Old Catholic were those Catholics that refused to accept the doctrine of Papal Infallibility and the Universal Jurisdiction. One has to remember, however, that the origins of Old Catholicism lay much earlier. We shouldn’t forget, above all, that every church which really deserves to be called by that name has its roots in the church of the first centuries. For both Old Catholics and Anglicans this is especially important. The former bishop of Old Catholics in Germany, Joachim Vobbe, said once that “it applies to every church that it begun on the day of Pentecost”.

  • Part 2: There is no way towards unity, unity is a way
    Swiss Old Catholic theologian, Urs Küry (1901-1976), wrote: “if we want to determine more precisely the attitude of the Old Catholic Church to the Anglican Communion, we have to start with the agreement concluded in Bonn in 1931″. Since we are writing this post on its 80th anniversary, such attitude would seem logical, but, like in the case of the history of Old Catholicism, we would like to reach deeper into the problem. As we mentioned, the Dutch Roman Catholic Church of the Old Episcopal Order (which was the official name of the “Jansenistic” church in the Netherlands) perceived Anglicans as Protestants, and, likewise, Anglicans saw their sister church rather in the Dutch Reformed Church, even though the doctrine of that church resembled in so many points Puritan teachings. Significant is what happened in Utrecht during World War II, which was a decade (!) after the conclusion of the Bonn Agreement. When the Nazis interned priest-in-charge, the local Anglican Congregation asked the Reformed Church for pastoral care, even though there were then three Old Catholic parishes in Utrecht, including the cathedral parish.