Introduction

             When first hearing about The Liberal Catholic Church, a person’s immediate reaction often is—“What’s the difference between The Liberal Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church?” To provide information about the major differences between these two Catholic bodies, this list is provided. Information about The Liberal Catholic Church is taken from The Statement of Principles and Summary of Doctrine of The Liberal Catholic Church  (St. Alban Press, 1980). Information about the Roman Catholic Church is taken from The New Catholic Encyclopedia.

     

                 Liberal Catholic                                   Roman Catholic

1. Complete freedom of belief

1.Belief controlled by the “Magisterium”

2. Teaches “universalism” as established  by Origen and other ancient Church theologians

2. Teaches one life, followed by either eternal bliss for the “saved” and eternal damnation for others

3. Encourages mystical experience

3. Discourages mystical experience

4. Ancient form of the sacraments, in “the language of the people” and with traditional vestments

4. Sacraments and vestments “modernized” in 1962

5. Open Communion—all those who “desire to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord” are welcome

5. Closed Communion—only Roman Catholics are welcome

6. Reproductive rights controlled by individuals involved

6. Reproductive rights controlled by the “Magisterium”

7. Divorced members welcome to Sacraments

7. Divorced members forbidden to receive Sacraments

8. Ritual actions seen as “Yoga of the West,” bringing participants to “divine consciousness”

8. Ritual actions seen as “historical” and changable according to modern trends

9. Liturgy sounds note of joy at majesty of God; terms of self-abegnation and denigration removed

9. Liturgy emphasizes majesty of God, but equally emphasizes man’s unworthiness

10. Teaches that, as a spark of God,

man‘s essential nature is  divine

10. Rejects the concept of man’s inner divinity

11. General Confession and Absolution, given during Liturgy, deemed proper and sufficient; private Confession and Absolution optional

11. Regular private Confession and Absolution required

12. Investigation into man’s latent inner powers welcome

12. Investigation into man’s latent inner powers not permitted

13. Clergy, including Deacons, Priests, and Bishops are “worker clergy” holding secular jobs; they receive no remuneration of any kind from the Church

13. All Clergy, including Deacons, Priests, and Bishops, are supported by the Church and its congregations

14. Holds vast store of esoteric knowledge which is freely given to “those who have ears to hear”

14. Esoteric knowledge rejected

15. Clergy may marry

15. Clergy can not marry

16. Parish property controlled by elected Vestry of Church Parishioners

16. Parish property controlled by Clergy

17. Governing body of Church is Episcopal Synod which elects it own Presiding Bishop

17. Governance by Pope and delegate bodies

 

The above are not the only differences, of course, but limited space prevents listing them all.

 

Some Similarities

             Despite differences, there are some similarities between The Liberal Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

 

                  Liberal Catholic                                 Roman Catholic

1. Holds Apostolic Succession

1. Holds Apostolic Succession

2. Has valid Sacraments

2. Has valid Sacraments

3. Has maintained ancient Holy  Orders of Bishop, Priest, and Deacon, including all Minor Orders

3. Has maintained ancient Holy  Orders  of Bishop, Priest, and Deacon (but in 1962 rejected the Minor Orders)

4. Believes in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist

4. Believes in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist

5. Shows great reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament

5. Shows great reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament

6. Has special devotion to Mary, including special “Yoga” form of Rosary

6. Has special devotion to Mary, including various monastic forms of  Rosary

7. Since 1916, has promoted ecumenism

7. Since 1962, has promoted ecumenism

 

 

Text Box: Liberal vs roman
Rounded Rectangle: The Liberal Catholic Church 
of Saint Albert