Christ the King
North American Catholic Ecumenical Church
Christ the King Old Catholic Church
Accepted August 6, 2011 in Annual Synod,
1. Affiliation with Other (Catholic) Autocephalous Bodies
2. The Death Penalty
3. The Gift of Life
4. Mary, the Mother of Jesus
5. Open and Affirming Church
6. Marriage Equality
AFFILIATION WITH OTHER AUTOCEPHALOUS BODIES
The North American Catholic Ecumenical Church is an autocephalous jurisdiction of Catholic clergy and ministries formed to serve the spiritual needs of the local community.
Our clergy and members strive to share insights, discernment, resources and companionship with other autocephalous Catholic clergy in the interest of bringing the Gospel and sacramental ministry to the people of God. The NACEC encourages a spirit of co-operation and mutual respect among the clergy from the various independent Catholic jurisdictions; This faith community does not involve itself in the internal matters of any other Independent Catholic or Old Catholic jurisdictions; Questions of who is validly ordained or granted faculties are matters appropriate to each jurisdiction. Consequently, as an autocephalous jurisdiction the NACEC accepts as valid the priestly faculties and the ordination of all clergy who are considered to be validly and canonically ordained by their jurisdiction;
Recognizing that each Independent Catholic and Old Catholic jurisdiction has the right to determine who has valid sacerdotal faculties by that jurisdiction and that the questions of women’s ordination and gay ordination are matters all jurisdictions have yet to agree on, this faith community stands for nondiscrimination in either civil or Sacramental life.
For sacramental and spiritual purposes, female and gay clergy will be accepted as such and allowed full and equal participation when attending NACEC events. Since the NACEC does not grant these clergy their sacerdotal faculties but only recognizes those faculties already granted, the NACEC does not assume any liability or debt of these clergy in attendance at local events;
The NACEC supports the advancement of the Independent and Old Catholic Movement in general and does not to promote any one jurisdiction.
THE DEATH PENALTY
The North American Catholic Ecumenical Church is unconditionally opposed to the death penalty under any circumstances. This
Catholic jurisdiction embraces the belief that all life is unconditionally precious, since life comes from God. Any act, which fails to respect the gift of life, is inherently and morally wrong.
The North American Catholic Ecumenical Church fully recognizes and shares in the pain and suffering when one human commits violence against another person. When a person takes the life of another, we acknowledge the pain and the hurt of all victimized parties. But we also recognize that taking the life of the guilty will not return a lost loved one to their family and friends, or will it, in reality, erase the pain and loss. We do not wish to shield the guilty from the consequences of their actions, but we do not believe that the taking of their lives is a legitimate answer for one cannot respond to an inherently wrong action by committing another inherently wrong action. One who has perpetrated such gross violations against another person by virtue of those actions has broken the social contract and may be incarcerated for an appropriate time of punishment, up to and including lifetime incarceration.
We also believe that in this country (The United States of America) the death penalty has been applied unfairly along racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines. Not only is the act of the death penalty inherently wrong, but the manner in which it is applied become morally wrong.
We call upon all nations, along with the United States of America, which continue to impose the death penalty, to abolish it.
CELEBRATING THE GIFT OF LIFE
The North American Catholic Ecumenical Church upholds and celebrates the gift of life, for we believe that all life comes from God.
We hold that the gift of life must be celebrated and treasured. We are a pro-life and a pro-quality of life Catholic faith community. Science has not told us when life becomes human, and we do not immediately dictate that human life exists from the moment of conception. We take as our guidepost the common practice of reviewing the end-stage of human life when medical decisions are made to allow life to cease when brain waves are undetectable. If a human body is alive and organs functioning, even with artificial aid, but the brain has ceased functioning and this is one sign of a decision to allow extraordinary mechanisms to be removed, how can the same review not be allowed at the beginning of life?
We also believe that all individuals have the right to plan the size of their families and the timing of each new member to their families.
We support responsible family planning and encourage those who wish to have children to give serious consideration to and have an honest understanding of the responsibilities they will undertake.
The North American Catholic Ecumenical Church does not endorse the practice of abortion, nor do we condemn, excoriate and excommunicate any
woman or man dealing with an abortion.
Having said this, this Catholic faith community also understands that individuals will ultimately make their own personal moral decisions regarding abortion. Irrespective of their decisions, this Catholic faith community will
not turn our back nor abandon any person who ends their pregnancy, but will welcome and embrace them in healing ministry and service.
MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS
The North American Catholic Ecumenical Church applauds and supports the traditional
Catholic belief that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, and at the end of her life on Earth was assumed into eternal life. 1, 2
We believe that Mary the Mother of Jesus Christ continues to play a pivotal role in our spiritual life. We believe that Mary intercedes on our behalf when prayers are offered to her as first among the blessed in heaven and first among the saints. We encourage all to celebrate the traditional feast days accorded to Mary.
We encourage all who have devotions to Mary to continue doing so. We believe that because the role of Mary is so important and unique in our lives, that we not blur her significance by assigning titles (Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix of All Graces) or functions (Immaculate Conception) inappropriate to her. Historically, the tradition of Mary’s perpetual virginity has been a litmus test for Catholics. However scholars are at a loss to provide a scriptural justification for this tradition. For many scholars the issue of Mary’s perpetual virginity remains a mystery of the Faith.
Therefore, the Catholic Ecumenical Church respects the various opinions on this matter, and calls upon all to respect the opinions of others. This Church accepts the time-honored prayers and references to Mary for the good of tradition.
1 Traditional Catholic teaching is that Mary, the Mother of God, was unique among humans in that she did not suffer the common human fate of bodily corruption after death, but was assumed into heaven without having to
endure that indignity. The Latin Catholic Church refers to this as the “Assumption of Mary” while the Eastern Catholic Church refers to this as the
“Dormition of Mary,” or the falling asleep of Mary.
2. Declaration of Utrecht, 1889 of the Old Catholic Bishop of the Netherlands, Germany & Switzerland: “We also reject the dogma of the
Immaculate Conception promulgated by Pius IX in 1854 in defiance of the Holy Scriptures and in contradiction to the tradition of the centuries.”
Utrecht, 24th September, 1889 +Heykamp, +Rinkel, +Diependaal, +Reinkens, +Herzog
OPEN AND AFFIRMING CHURCH
All are welcome to the Table of the Lord.
It does not matter where you have been, where you are, or where you are going. You are invited to receive our Lord at our Communion Table.
The North American Catholic Ecumenical Church in America is a part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church given by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ to His Apostles.
The mandate of Jesus to His Apostles to go out and preach to all nations is continued in our midst. Therefore, we are a sign and symbol of God’s love for the world. The People of God are a people of hope who reach out with a radical openness to the diversity found in our members and leaders.
In this spirit we seek to approach those who have been condemned or injured by the Church or her ministers, or others who speak in the Church’s name, and join with them in their quest for equality and justice in the Church. The North American Catholic Ecumenical Church lovingly welcomes all those who have suffered discrimination or who have been disenfranchised from religious life. Any person, couple, or family that has been ostracized or shunned by their home parish, congregation, or denomination because of who or what they are, or who or what they are perceived to be, are invited to join their spiritual and religious journey to ours.
The North American Catholic Ecumenical Church invites all persons who wish to practice and fulfill their Catholic faith into full sacramental activity, membership, and ministry of this Catholic Church.
With the love of God and the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Ecumenical Church declares itself an open and affirming Catholic faith community, welcoming gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trans-gendered persons, and all marginalized and religiously disenfranchised people to full participation in Catholic life.
The North American Catholic Ecumenical Church hereby declares that every man and woman has the right to love and demonstrate affection to another mutually free and consenting adult of their choice. This couple, if they wish, has the right to complete and fulfill that relationship by committing themselves to each other in marriage through a legal civil ceremony. As of this writing there are six states of the United States of America that allow Marriage Equality: gender common civil marriages on par with heterosexual couples. This faith community supports the availability of marriage and all its civil rights and responsibilities for the glbt community.
This faith community encourages those gay and lesbian couples who wish to marry to do so and so celebrate their love and commitment to each other as a witness so needed in this culture, this country, and this time.
Neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality are good or bad but neutral in principle, but simply areas of orientation along the human continuum of sexual attraction and behavior. It is what a person does with their homosexuality or heterosexuality that makes that action moral or immoral. Moral theologian Christina Traina says that "the ultimate fruitfulness and durability of any union -heterosexual or homosexual-have everything to do with faith, friendship, generosity, community support, sexual and verbal affection and the hard work that goes into mutual formation of a working partnership."1
This faith community commits its members to support each couple seeking marriage and publicly celebrate ceremonies that formalize the aforesaid “hard work that goes into mutual formation of a working partnership.” Civil unions and domestic partnerships are not the same as “marriage” and differences in definitions and misunderstandings abound in our society when these are addressed. Civil unions and domestic partnership are inherently unequal to marriage and do not carry the same rights, benefits, privileges, and responsibilities of civil marriage.
The North American Catholic Ecumenical Church declares it is unfair and discriminatory to deny same-sex couples legal access to civil marriage and to all its intrinsic benefits, rights, responsibilities, and privileges. This faith community looks forward to the time when this statement is no longer necessary and all persons are free to marry and celebrate loving relationships.
1. See Christina L.H. Traina, "Papal Ideals, Marital Realities: One View from the Ground," in Sexual Diversity and Catholicism: Toward the Development of Moral Theology, ed. Patricia Beattie Jung and Joseph Andrew Coray
(Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 2001), 269-88.
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