Q. 1. There are Churches that claim to be called "Old Catholics" and says that it is in harmony with the Vatican. What can you tell me about Old Catholics?
A. 1. The keep this subject short, I will quote the following:
"In the 1870s the effects of the schism of Utrecht resulted in yet another schism. It was at this time that the schismatics of Utrecht and a group of German-speaking heretics popularly came to be called the "Old Catholic" movement. We offer a resume of its actions and teachings relying on the Catholic Encyclopedia.
In September of 1870, 1400 Germans and Swiss signed a document which repudiated the dogma of infallibility "as an innovation contrary to the traditional faith of the Church." This act resulted in the excommunication of their leader, Ignaz Dollinger, in April of 1871.
Undaunted they met again in September of 1871. Some of their new demands included democratization of the Church, repudiation of all dogmas not considered to be in harmony with the contemporary consciousness of the Church, ecumenism adherence to the secular government against the authority of Rome, and the insistence that the laity had the ultimate control over the property of the Church.
As you can readily see, their doctrinal and disciplinary positions are neither "Old" nor "Catholic." If anything they prove that the Old Catholic movement was a liberal and modernist movement. Indeed most contemporary modernists would have little difficulty accepting most of their tenets.
They decided in principle to form their own parishes at the same meeting, a move which was, however, repudiated by Dollinger who, nevertheless, remained firm in his heretical teachings until his death. In 1872, assisted by Jansenist and Anglican bishops, and, by Russian Orthodox and Protestant clergy, they took the practical steps to organize their parishes, and, in June of 1873 they elected a certain Professor Reinkens as their bishop. Reinkens was consecrated by the schismatic Jansenist Bishop of Rotterdam on August 11, 1873. Pius IX excommunicated Reinkens in November of the same year.
By 1875, they had abolished confession, clerical celibacy, and, the use of Latin. In the same year Reinkens consecrated Dr. Herzog bishop for the "Christian Catholic National Church" of Switzerland. Dr. Herzog will appear again in our narrative as the person who allegedly raised Joseph Rene Vilatte to the priesthood, thus beginning Vilatte's career as one of the key figures in the development of Old Catholic sects in the United States."
The "Old Catholics" of Germany and Switzerland find their origin in the "Old Roman Catholics" of Utrecht, a schimatic group which began in 1702 and was complete by 1713.
A very large number of Churches in North America claim to have apostolic succession to the "Old Catholics." They, like their forefathers, are heretics and schismatics. They are heretics because they reject a Catholic doctrine that justifies their schimatic separation of the true Church, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that has its seat in Rome.