Spirit of Hope Catholic Community
Major Points of Comparison between
The Old Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church
Leadership: Governed by the Bishop in
Council with the clergy & laity. The Bishop
of Rome (the Pope) is honored as first
among equals of the world’s bishops, but
not accorded universal jurisdiction. Papal
Infallibility (meaning he is ascribed personal
infallibility when speaking ex cathedra on
matters of faith and morals) is rejected in
favor of the scriptural idea of the
indefectibility-meaning when the Church
speaks in Ecumenical Council, it does so
without defect from the truth.   
Leadership: Governed by the Bishop
of Rome (the Pope). He has universal
jurisdiction and is ascribed personal
infallibility when speaking ex cathedra
(from the Chair of Peter-meaning he
explicitly states a particular position to
be assented to and binding on all Roman
Catholics) on matters of faith and morals.
The Creeds: The Apostles Creed and the
Nicene Creed (less the filioque clause) are
accepted as statements of core beliefs.
The Creeds: The Apostles Creed and
the Nicene Creed are accepted as
statements of core beliefs.
Scripture: The Holy Bible, consisting of 72
canonically recognized books, is seen as the
inspired “Word of God”, which needs to be
interpreted in order to be properly
understood. Supports on-going scripture
scholarship.
Scripture: The Holy Bible, consisting of 72
canonically recognized books, is seen as the
inspired “Word of God”, which needs to be
interpreted in order to be properly
understood. Supports on-going scripture
scholarship.
The Sacraments: Seven in number,
instituted by Christ, to give grace.
The Sacraments: Seven in number,
instituted by Christ, to give grace.
Church Councils: Recognizes doctrinal
authority of First Seven Ecumenical
Councils of the Undivided Church.
Accepts teachings of all councils which
are not contrary to Scripture or
Tradition.
Church Councils: Recognizes doctrinal
authority of 21 Church councils. Many of
Vatican II decrees (as well as other councils)
have been modified by subsequent
documents.
Clergy: Bishops, priests and deacons
(male & female) are ordained within valid
apostolic successional lines. Celibacy
recognized as a gift and not mandatory
for Holy Orders.
Clergy: Bishops, priests and deacons
(male only) are ordained within valid
apostolic successional lines. Celibacy
required for Latin Rite priests and bishops.
Eucharist: Believe that during the Mass,
through the action of the priest & gathered
community and by the power of the Holy
Spirit, bread and wine are changed, in their
substance, into the Body, Blood, Soul and
Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. This
sacrament is the symbol and source of
Christian Unity. Reception is offered to all
baptized Christians and is not denied to
anyone who approaches the altar.
Eucharist: Believe that during the Mass,
through the action of the priest and by the
power of the Holy Spirit, bread and wine
are changed, in their substance, into the
Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our
Lord Jesus Christ. This sacrament is the
symbol of Christian Unity. Reception
limited to Roman Catholics, with some
exceptions. Can be denied to divorced
and remarried, and others as determined
by the Roman Curia or an individual
Bishop or Priest.
Mary: The Blessed Virgin Mary, the
Mother of God, is held in special reverence
because of her unique role in salvation
history and her heroic degree of obedience
to the Divine Will. While the Marian feasts
of the Assumption and the Immaculate
Conception are observed by the Church,
belief in these doctrines is not considered
binding upon the faithful.
Mary: The Blessed Virgin Mary, the
Mother of God, is held in special reverence
because of her unique role in salvation
history and her heroic degree of obedience
to the Divine Will. The Marian feasts of the
Assumption and the Immaculate Conception
are observed by the Church and belief in
them as dogmatic teaching is considered
binding upon the faithful.
Old Catholic Church
Saints: All those enjoying eternal life in the
presence of God are saints. In addition to
those saints informally acclaimed as such
throughout history, there are also those saints
formally declared (canonized) by competent
Church authority, and who are
commemorated in the Church’s Liturgical
Calendar.
Roman Catholic Church
Saints: All those enjoying eternal life in the
presence of God are saints. In addition to
those saints informally acclaimed as such
throughout history, there are also those saints
formally declared (canonized) by competent
Church authority, and who are
commemorated in the Church’s Liturgical
Calendar.
Penance: The Sacrament of Reconciliation
(Penance) is administered by a bishop or
priest having faculties to do so. Auricular
confession of specific sins is encouraged but
not required. Individual and Communal
celebrations of Reconciliation are accepted as
normative.
Penance: The Sacrament of Reconciliation
(Penance) is administered by a bishop or
priest having faculties to do so. Auricular
confession of specific sins is normally
required. The use of General Absolution is
highly restricted.
Parishes: While parishes are established by,
and operate under the authority of, The
Bishop, parish property is locally owned
(either by parishioners or clergy, or both).
Parishes are required to be financially
self-supporting and to support the work of the
Church according to their means. Parish
assessment is determined annually by the
Bishop in Council with the Clergy and Laity at
the Annual Gathering.
Parishes: Parish property is owned either by
the diocese or by the diocesan bishop
(Ordinary) on behalf of the diocese. Parish
property may be sold, or otherwise disposed
of, at the bishop’s discretion. Poorer parishes
often receive aid from the diocese. Most
parishes pay an annual assessment to the
diocese.
Moral Decisions:  The faithful are
encouraged to follow their conscience in
matters of morals; always governed by the
guiding principles of Catholic Social Teaching
and the Scriptural guideposts of Love of God
and Love of Neighbor.  The duty of the
Clergy is to assist in the formation of
conscience, not to be the lawful interpreter of
conscience.
Moral Decisions: The faithful are expected
to follow the moral mandates as interpreted
by the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church.  
Most moral conduct is dictated by Canon
Law or Dogmatic or Doctrinal
proclamation.  Personal conscience is
recognized but only to the extent that it
agrees with the Magisterial position or
teaching.
Current Issues:  Issues like Birth Control,
War, Same Sex Unions, Poverty, Injustice,
Discrimination, Immigration, etc. are all issues
which are to be examined in the light of
Catholic Social Teaching and the Gospel
mandates.  The Clergy are to offer insight,
guidance and information to assist the faithful
in the formation of their conscience regarding
current issues.  Ultimately a person’s stance
on such issues is the responsibility of the
person and God.  Each community may adopt
a particular stance on an issue, or if agreed to
by the Bishop in Council with Clergy and
Laity, a particular stance may be adopted as
binding for the entire jurisdiction of the
diocese.
Current Issues:  Issues like Birth Control,
War, Same Sex Unions, Poverty, Injustice,
Discrimination, Immigration, etc. are often
times decided by the Ordinary Magisterium,
or teaching office of the Church and all the
faithful are expected to adhere and assent to
the positions outlined or delineated by the
Roman Pontiff, Particular Offices of the
Roman Curia, National Councils of Roman
Catholic Bishops, or even particular law,
dictated by a Bishop for his Diocese.  While
the faithful are encouraged to engage in such
issues, there is often no room for dialogue,
disagreement or variation from the official
Church’s position regarding any particular
issue.
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Major Points of Comparison Document
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