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Stances of Faiths on LGBT Issues: Old Catholics/Independent Catholics

There are approximately 230,000 Catholics in the United States who associate with a denomination other than the Roman Catholic Church. These Catholic churches, ranging from liberal to conservative in their theology and doctrine, consider themselves Old Catholics, a denomination that has been in place since the 1800s when it rejected the supremacy of the Roman episcopacy over other bishops; a point of view shared with others in the catholic tradition, such as Anglicans, Episcopalians, and the Orthodox.

The Old Catholic communities in the United States share in the historic apostolic succession as do the other churches within the catholic tradition as well as the same liturgical traditions. Many times Old Catholics will also identify themselves as “Independent Catholic” only to distinguish themselves from their Roman cousins.  Nevertheless, they are Old Catholic communities. Much like the churches in the Anglican Communion, the Old Catholic churches in the United States may vary on their positions regarding LGBT persons and so it is advisable that you conduct some research before joining. Some are not open and affirming nor do they support full LGBT equality.  For example, the Old Catholic Church of North America states, “We believe that the only proper expression of sexuality is between a man and a woman within the bond of Holy Matrimony, thus we do not ordain practicing homosexuals or perform same sex blessings.”

Nevertheless, the larger Old Catholic communities, such as  the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, the American Catholic Church, the American Apostolic Communion, the Independent Catholic Church of the West,  the Catholic Apostolic Church in North America and the National Catholic Church of America support full LGBT equality in their congregations.  The Ecumenical Catholic Communion, for example, states this:

“We are an open and affirming communion recognizing the value and dignity of every person, in our God given diversity. We promote the education and development of the People of God in their understanding of the diversity of sexual orientation among their brothers and sisters. All sexual relationships are to be guided by the Christian moral principles of love and fidelity. We uphold the ideal of committed relationships blessed by the sacred rites of the church. We believe that all questions of sexual morality are best addressed through pastoral care and counsel.”

The American Catholic Church states that it is “committed to providing the Sacrament of Matrimony to all couples who seriously seek it, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identification.”

Open and Affirming Old Catholic Churches:

American Apostolic Church
Catholic Apostolic Church in North America
Ecumenical Catholic Communion
American Catholic Church in the United States 
American Catholic Church Diocese
National Catholic Church of America
Independent Catholic Church of the West