Our Bishop: The Right Reverend James R Judd
A brief Introduction to the Old Catholic Church Movement

Spirit of Hope is part of the autocephalous (self-ruling) Old
Catholic Church movement, which has its origins in the
Catholic Church of The Netherlands, founded by St. Willibrord
in the Seventh Century. Through the centuries the Church in
the Netherlands enjoyed relative autonomy from Rome.  The
Cathedral Chapter in Utrecht had formally been granted
authority to elect its own bishops in 1145 A.D., with freedom
to conduct its own affairs confirmed in 1215 and again in
1520.  In 1723, however, a definitive break with Rome took
place over the imposition of a bishop from Rome as well as
challenges to freedom of inquiry and conscience, highly valued
by the Dutch Church.

The spread of the Old Catholic churches internationally came
out of the reform movement stemming from the debated
issues of the Vatican Council I of 1869-70.  A number of
European delegations had left the council in disagreement
over the impending votes on centralizing authority in Rome,
and in particular promulgating the doctrine of papal
infallibility, which was being promoted by Pope Pius IX.  A
series of meeting were held during the next three years under
the leadership of Dr. Ignatz von Dollinger, Germany's
foremost Roman Catholic theologian, resulting in the
formation of a group of autonomous Catholic Churches who
related to one another in collegial cooperation.

The bishops elected by the newly forming Churches received
episcopal consecration from the Church of the Netherlands,
based in Utrecht, which had now been a fully autonomous
Catholic church for some 150 years.  The new jurisdictions
came to be known as "Old Catholic" in reference to their
insistence upon returning to the basic tenets of Apostolic
Christianity including collegial style of relationships, as
defined by the seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided
eastern and western Christian churches.  The beliefs of the
Old Catholic Churches were spelled out in a series of
Statements beginning in 1874.

The Old Catholic independent Church movement came to the
United States as early as the 1880's through the work of
missionaries from both England and Europe, as well as from
autonomous eastern churches.  Bishop DeLandes Berghes,
and Austrian nobleman ordained in the Old Catholic Church of
Austria and then consecrated a bishop by the head of the Old
Catholic Church of England, Bishop Arnold Harris Mathew, was
sent to North America in 1914.  He actively built the Church
on this continent and engaged in ecumenical ministry, serving
for instance as the co-consecrator of the first Episcopal bishop
of Cuba.  In 1916 he consecrated two other bishops to expand
the ministries; William Francis Brothers and Carmel Henry
Carfora.  Archbishop Carfora energetically expanded the
movement in North America until his death in 1958.

The sister churches of today in North America have diverse
liturgical and ministerial styles.  The leadership and
representatives of the churches of the European (Utrecht)
Union meet on a regular basis in collegial dialogues to work
on  pastoral and theological issues of common concern. Holy
Cross Old Catholic diocese  maintains  friendly
communications with the Union and works closely with other
churches with whom the Union is in intercommunion,
especially the Episcopal (ECUSA) and Evangelical Lutheran
churches.  The autonomous North American churches of Old
Catholic heritage relate to one another by such means as
conferences of Churches, concordats of intercommunion and
cooperative outreach in ministry.
"Come to me all who labor and are heavy burdened and I will give you rest.   
Matthew 11:28
Spirit of Hope Catholic Community
"I have come that they might have life and have it to the full!"      
John 10:10
For a more detailed history and further explanations please click
on the link, or visit our page entitled "History".

A brief History
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