Beginnings of The Liberal Catholic Church
In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, the Dutch Roman Catholic Church, disagreeing with the doctrine of Papal infallibility and viewing the Vatican as having broken with ancient tradition, severed all relations with Rome and established itself as “The Old Catholic Church of Holland.” The See of the Dutch Old Catholics was, and still is, at Utrecht. Having success in growth, the Old Catholics consecrated as Bishop an Englishman, Arnold Harris Matthews, for the purpose of going to London to establish the Old Catholic Church in Britain. Arriving in England in 1900, Bishop Matthews set to work, and, with the substantial aid of Fr. James Ingall Wedgwood, the Old Catholics were established. In 1915, Bishop Matthews retired, and Fr. Wedgwood was consecrated as Bishop to head the Old Catholic Church of Britain. Soon, the British Old Catholics, under the leadership of Bishop Wedgwood, had restored many of the original teachings of the ancient Christian Church as found in the writings of the Alexandrian Fathers such as Origen and St. Augustine, including the concept of freedom of thought and belief. However, while recognizing the validity of its Orders and Sacraments, the Utrecht Old Catholics did not hold to these original, ancient teachings and requested that the British Old Catholic Church change its name. This request was honored and, in 1916, by vote of its Episcopal Synod, the “Old Catholic Church of Britain” officially became “The Liberal Catholic Church,” which name the Church holds to this day.
The Liberal Catholic Church in America
In the early 1920s, Irving S. Cooper was consecrated as Regionary Bishop for the United States, and Parishes of the Church were established by Bishop Cooper throughout the nation. Today, The Liberal Catholic Church is represented by Parishes from coast to coast. The current Regionary Bishop is the Rt. Rev. William Downey. Headquarters of the American Church is in Ojai, California where the Provincial Cathedral and several buildings are located. The official name of the American branch of the authentic and original Church is “The Liberal Catholic Church, Province of the U.S.A.”
The Liberal Catholic Church in Greeley, Colorado
Like St. Paul of the New Testament, Priests of The Liberal Catholic Church are “worker Priests,” meaning that each has a “secular” job while also serving, without pay, as a clergyman. The Bishops are also “worker Bishops”—although many are retired. St. Paul earned his living as a tent maker, and Priests of The LCC (as the Church is often called) earn their livings in various occupations, both “blue collar” and “white collar.” (St. Paul would today be considered a “blue collar” worker.)
Fr. Lloyd Worley is a university professor in his secular occupation. In 1987, when he accepted a position in the Department of English at the University of Northern Colorado, one of his priorities was to establish a Parish of The LCC in Greeley, just as he had established Parishes in Illinois and Pennsylvania. Thus, the first Service (Prime) of The LCC was held in Greeley in September, 1987, and the first member of the Greeley Church was baptized in May of 1988. Services were originally held in a small chapel attached to Fr. Worley’s home, but the growth of the Church required a move in August of 1989 to a location on 7th Avenue. In November of 2005 the Church purchased a church building at 430 10th Street and remodeled to suit the needs of the Catholic ritual. It was Consecrated in the fall of 2007.
The Name of the Greeley Church
Albertus Magnus (Latin for Albert the Great) was a medieval scholar and Saint whose interests were in alchemy and other aspects of esoteric knowledge. He was chosen as the Patron Saint of the Greeley Church because of his erudition in and promotion of mystical and esoteric subjects. St. Albert is also the Patron Saint of education.