The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ

Ecclesia Catholica Ecumenica Christi

 

The Manifesto

The Forum of Dialogue

 

Because through His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, God made the ultimate sacrifice in the fullness of time for the whole of creation, we believe that God’s salvation is an offer to all people who long for healing and a life of unity in diversity.

 

“Venerable brothers, such is the aim of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, which, while bringing together the Church's best energies and striving to have men welcome more favorably the good tidings of salvation, prepares, as it were and consolidates the path toward that unity of mankind which is required as a necessary foundation, in order that the earthly city may be brought to the resemblance of that heavenly city where truth reigns, charity is the law, and whose existence is eternity” (Cf. St. Augustine, Epistle 138, 3). From opening Speech of Blessed Pope John XXIII at Vatican Council II, Oct. 11th 1962)

 

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The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ

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I. Introduction:

 

The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ

 

 In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

 

To the Bishops, Priests, Deacons, the Holy People of God of the Catholic Churches of Christ, and all People of Good Will.

 

      The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ is a member of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ is part of a worldwide movement of millions of Roman Catholics, and members from different Catholic Rites that, through prayer and dialog is seeking Unity with all Catholic and Christian Churches, reforms within the Roman Catholic Rite and other Catholic Rites respectively.

 

     “It is of utter importance to restoring community again; this cannot be postponed for later, or pushed to the end of time.” Frère Roger, Prior of Taizé, France. (In: Frère Roger, Taizé. Living Trust. Christian Feldmann, Herder Verlag Freiburg i. Breisgau 2005, p. 70.)

 

     We are aware that, “No, you cannot lure Unity out from Negotiations or through legal agreements, you have to start to live it, in courage’s steps, in small cells, the texts will come afterwards.” (Ibid. 66)

 

     The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ offers a pastoral ministry that incorporates both divine and human realities for the spiritual welfare of all Catholic people and all people of good will who share the fellowship of Jesus Christ. We believe that God’s love and compassion extend to everyone without exception.

 

     This inclusive vision of God is central in defining our Church’s ministry:  providing a place of healing, serving the poor and the sick, reaching out to those who have been rejected by society, and striving for social justice.

We believe that an informed conscience based on the teachings of Holy Scripture, the dynamic elements of tradition, and human experience and insight, is the basis upon which God’s Holy People can search for truth and justice, demonstrate compassion, and express unconditional love for God and fellow human beings. We proclaim the sacred dignity of all persons, since they were created in rich diversity by our loving God.

 

     We call for the formation of a forum of all Catholic rites to discuss modifying the general guidelines of the Codex Iuris Canonici (Canon Law) of the Roman Catholic Church and the Canons of other Catholic Rites to reflect the reality of post-modern Christianity understanding that the Holy Spirit is at work in all Catholic and Apostolic Rites. 

 

     Because we envision the revision of the different Canon Laws in order to be applicable to all Catholic Churches, we encourage all Catholic Rites to collaborate more with each other.

 

     “We must get to know the outlook of our separated brethren. To achieve this purpose, study is of necessity required, and this must be pursued with a sense of realism and good will. Catholics, who already have a proper grounding, need to acquire a more adequate understanding of the respective doctrines of our separated brethren, their history, their spiritual and liturgical life, their religious psychology and general background. Most valuable for this purpose are meetings of the two sides-especially for discussion of theological problems-where each can treat with the other on an equal footing-provided that those who take part in them are truly competent and have the approval of the bishops. From such dialogue will emerge still more clearly what the situation of the Catholic Church really is. In this way too the outlook of our separated brethren will be better understood, and our own belief more aptly explained.” (Vatican Council II, Decree on Ecumenism Chapter II, 9)

 

     We hereby testify, by our hand and seal, that this document has been unanimously endorsed by the membership of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ. 

 

     Given at the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul, in the year of our Lord, Nineteen Hundred Ninety Nine, revised on the Feast of the Archangels, in the year of our Lord, MMVII at Miami, Florida, USA.

 

Servant of Christ

++Dr. Karl Rodig

            Worldwide Primate ~ Presiding Bishop          

—

II. The Manifesto of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ

II.1. Apostolic Succession, Holy Orders and Sacraments

 

     The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ is part of the worldwide community of Catholic churches that together compose the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church with Jesus Christ as her foundation. As Ecumenical Catholics, we have preserved the validity of holy orders for the office of bishops, priests, and deacons through apostolic succession derived from the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Antioch, and the Old Catholic Church.

 

     “The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches.”  (Vatican: Declaration, Dominus Jesus IV. 17, August 6, 2000)

 

     We hold on to the belief that the seven sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Ordination, and Matrimony) are part of our religious reality, given through God’s grace for our salvation by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

     We celebrate the sacraments as part of the Lord’s desire that we sanctify our lives; serve in this world as spiritual catalysts; shine as a light on the lamp-stand; and be the salt for the earth, preparing ourselves to enter His Kingdom.  Recognizing the importance of the seven sacraments, we offer them to all sincere Catholics.

 

II. 2.  Commitment to Tradition

 

     The members of The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ are Catholics from the Roman Catholic Church, other Catholic rites, and Christians of good will who are striving for worldwide unity and seeking mutual reforms, by adhering to the general teaching of the Church’s Councils under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who causes us also to believe that: “Ecclesia semper reformanda est” (The Church always needs reform).

 

     “Christ summons the Church to continual reformation as she sojourns here on earth. The Church is always in need of this, in so far as she is an institution of men here on earth.

 

     Thus if, in various times and circumstances, there have been deficiencies in moral conduct or in church discipline, or even in the way that church teaching has been formulated-to be carefully distinguished from the deposit of faith itself-these can and should be set right at the opportune moment.” (Vatican Council II, Decree on Ecumenism Chapter II.6)

 

 

     We hold on to the dynamic process of reforms that the Holy Spirit expresses in the “Sensus fidelium” (the Sense of the faithful), which gives the community of the faithful its credibility.  We also hold on to the treasures of tradition, derived from Holy Scriptures, the teaching of Christ, and the teachings of the Catholic churches throughout history, as long as they continue to provide dignified guidance for the Church communities. We are united in essentials, having diversity in non-essentials, and above all charity.

 

     “All in the Church must preserve unity in essentials. But let all, according to the gifts they have received enjoy a proper freedom, in their various forms of spiritual life and discipline, in their different liturgical rites, and even in their theological elaborations of revealed truth. In all things let charity prevail. If they are true to this course of action, they will be giving ever better expression to the authentic catholicity and apostolicity of the Church.” (Vat. C. II, Decr. Ecum., Ch. I, 4)

 

 

     With all our Christian brothers and sisters worldwide, we share the fellowship of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. We declare our support for the Holy Father (The Bishop of Rome), as we see in him the “Primus inter pares” (The First among Equals) to unite the Church in faith. May he guide the Church with Church leaders on a collegial base.

 

II.3. In an Ecumenical Spirit

 

     The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ supports the reform efforts of millions of Roman Catholics worldwide who have signed petitions to the Vatican for reforms in the Roman Church and Catholics from other Rites who seek reforms in their churches serving the desire for Unity:

-Interfaith communion with all Catholic rites that have Apostolic Succession, sharing the sacred tradition, and have the same theology of the sacraments.

          -The choice for priests either to marry or to live a celibate life.

          -The involvement and participation of more lay people in the administration of the Church.

          -The inclusion of Holy Communion for divorced and remarried people in context of their compromise with the church.

          -More autonomy for the dioceses.

          -The election of bishops by clergy and lay people, as it was customary in the early centuries of the Church.

          -More collegiality between bishops and lay representatives of the local churches.

          -Emphasis on the Gospel that calls for social justice for the poor and for inclusion of those that has been rejected by society. 

          -The revision of the process of excommunication.

 

II.4. Needed Revision of Canon Law

 

     The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ follows in general the instructions of the Codex Iuris Canonici (Canon Law), but calls for important adjustments to it as noted above (no. II.3).  Presaging the current call for reforms was the “aggiornamento” (the dawning of a new day) that Blessed Pope John XXIII, proclaimed, enjoining us to read the signs of the times that all Catholics and Christians from other Churches can interpret as God’s call for the renewal of all His  people.

 

 

     Let us recall the words of blessed John XXIII:

 

 

          “The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously. That doctrine embraces the whole of man, composed as he is of body and soul. And, since he is a pilgrim on this earth, it commands him to tend always toward heaven. This demonstrates how our mortal life is to be ordered in such a way as to fulfill our duties as citizens of earth and of heaven, and thus to attain the aim of life as established by God…The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character. …The Council now beginning rises in the Church like daybreak, a forerunner of most splendid light. It is now only dawn. And already at this first announcement of the rising day, how much sweetness fills our heart…and you, following the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in order that the work of all may correspond to the modern expectations and needs of the various peoples of the world.” (Opening address of Vatican Council II, October 11th, 1962)

 

II.5. Charity and Love

 

     The two principles, “Caritas enim Christi urget nos” (The Love of Christ impels us) and “Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est” (Where there is charity and love, there is God) shall guide and commit our service toward all people in need. Our missions worldwide are aiding the poor and rejected, especially the abandoned street children, by making concrete for them the extensions of God’s abounding love. As Catholic Christians we are serving with compassion and vigor all who seek God, desire spiritual renewal, long to live in dignity, and look for a place of healing. Because love of God and love of our neighbor are the essential commandments upon which the whole law depends, we express our solemn desire to serve all of God’s people, expressing “love without judgment.”

 

     Because through His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, God made the ultimate sacrifice in the fullness of time for the whole of creation, we believe that God’s salvation is an offer to all people who long for healing and a life of unity in diversity. 

 

II.6. Unity and Solidarity

 

     The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ seeks, through prayer and dialog in the Holy Spirit, unity and solidarity among all Catholics and other Christians. We extend the hand of peace and solidarity to other believers as well, especially to our brothers and sisters in Judaism.  Our longing for unity is based on the Lord’s own desire and prayer:

 

 

     “May they all be one, just as, Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us” (John 17:21).

The words of Vatican Council II are still today of great significance:

 

     “Today, in many parts of the world, under the inspiring grace of the Holy Spirit, many efforts are being made in prayer, word and action to attain that fullness of unity which Jesus Christ desires. The Sacred Council exhorts all the Catholic faithful to recognize the signs of the times and to take an active and intelligent part in the work of ecumenism.”

 

     “The term ‘ecumenical movement’ indicates the initiatives and activities planned and undertaken, according to the various needs of the Church and as opportunities offer, to promote Christian unity. These are: first, every effort to avoid expressions, judgments and actions which do not represent the condition of our separated brethren with truth and fairness and so make mutual relations with them more difficult; then, ‘dialogue’ between competent experts from different Churches and Communities. At these meetings, which are organized in a religious spirit, each explains the teaching of his Communion in greater depth and brings out clearly its distinctive features. In such dialogue, everyone gains a truer knowledge and more just appreciation of the teaching and religious life of both Communions.”

 

     “In addition, the way is prepared for cooperation between them in the duties for the common good of humanity which are demanded by every Christian conscience; and, wherever this is allowed, there is prayer in common. Finally, all are led to examine their own faithfulness to Christ's will for the Church and accordingly to undertake with vigor the task of renewal and reform. The attainment of union is the concern of the whole Church, faithful and shepherds alike. This concern extends to everyone, according to his talent, whether it is exercised in his daily Christian life or in his theological and historical research. This concern itself reveals already to some extent the bond of brotherhood between all Christians and it helps toward that full and perfect unity which God in His kindness wills.”

 

     “There can be no ecumenism worthy of the name without a change of heart. For it is from renewal of the inner life of our minds, from self-denial and an unstinted love that desires of unity take their rise and develop in a mature way. We should therefore pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace to be genuinely self-denying, humble, gentle in the service of others, and to have an attitude of brotherly generosity towards them. St. Paul says: ‘I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace’. This exhortation is directed especially to those raised to sacred Orders precisely that the work of Christ may be continued. He came among us ‘not to be served but to serve’.”

 

     “The words of St. John hold well about sins against unity: ‘If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us’. So we humbly beg pardon of God and of our separated brethren, just as we forgive them that trespass against us.

All the faithful should remember that the more effort they make to live holier lives according to the Gospel, the better will they further Christian unity and put it into practice. For the closer their union with the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, the more deeply and easily will they be able to grow in mutual brotherly love.”

 

     “This change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name, ‘spiritual ecumenism.’ In certain special circumstances, such as the prescribed prayers ‘for unity,’ and during ecumenical gatherings, it is allowable, indeed desirable that Catholics should join in prayer with their separated brethren. Such prayers in common are certainly an effective means of obtaining the grace of unity, and they are a true expression of the ties which still bind Catholics to their separated brethren.

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them".

 

      “Before the whole world let all Christians confess their faith in the triune God, one and three in the incarnate Son of God, our Redeemer and Lord. United in their efforts, and with mutual respect, let those bear witness to our common hope which does not play us false. In these days when cooperation in social matters is so widespread, all men without exception are called to work together, with much greater reason all those who believe in God, but most of all, all Christians in that they bear the name of Christ. Cooperation among Christians vividly expresses the relationship which in fact already unites them, and it sets in clearer relief the features of Christ the Servant. This cooperation, which has already begun in many countries, should be developed more and more, particularly in regions where a social and technical evolution is taking place be it in a just evaluation of the dignity of the human person, the establishment of the blessings of peace, the application of Gospel principles to social life, the advancement of the arts and sciences in a truly Christian spirit, or also in the use of various remedies to relieve the afflictions of our times such as famine and natural disasters, illiteracy and poverty, housing shortage and the unequal distribution of wealth. All believers in Christ can, through this cooperation, be led to acquire a better knowledge and appreciation of one another, and so pave the way to Christian unity.”  (Vatican Council II, From the Decree on Ecumenism, Chapter I, 4, chapter II, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12)

 

III. A Forum of Dialog for the Revision of the Roman Canon Law (CIC) and the Canons of other Catholic Rites

 

     In the name of millions of Catholics worldwide, including the hundreds of priests who continue to leave the Roman Church because portions of the Codex Iuris Canonici (CIC) have become an unnecessary burden rather than a support for their faith lives, in the name of unity with our brothers and sisters of all Catholic rites that are still separated from one another, we are moved by the Holy Spirit to invite all Catholic Rites to equally participate, to present, and to discuss reform issues that call for a revision of the CIC of the Roman Church and Canons of other Catholic Rites in a forum of dialog.

We acknowledge the advantage of Canon Law, supporting as it does the pastoral care of the people of God by providing guidelines for the structure of the whole Church, the Mystical Body of Christ in the world.  In the past the CIC has undergone reforms because the need for reforms in a changing world was recognized: “etiam a praesertim de reformatione normarum novo mentis habitui novisque necessitatibus accommodanda… ” (CIC 1983, Praefatio XXXVIII). 

 

 

     Now, as part of God’s people who are worldwide in search for reforms, we affirm the need for additional changes in Canon Law. We support establishing a forum of dialogue, one that would pave the way to revising Canon Law, so it can adequately accommodate the new conditions in which the entire Catholic Church now lives. As Canon Law itself acknowledges,“…praesertim  autem  urgens  novae  recognitionis  necessitas  in luce ponitur, ut Ecclesiae disciplina mutatis rerum condicionibus apte accommodetur”  (CIC 1983, Praefatio XXXVIII). 

 

 

     In light of the worldwide call for changes by the great number of Catholics who are refocusing their lives through spiritual renewal and who are longing for unity with other Catholic rites, we believe it necessary to abolish those Canons of the CIC that erect obstacles to needed reforms* and to re-articulate certain provisions of Canon Law so that they can better serve the daily faith-life of Christians in this increasingly secular world.

The Vatican’s appointed commission for the revision of the CIC (from Vatic. II to 1983, when the new edition was published) has demonstrated great achievements.

 

 

      This revised Codex states that Canon laws are not alien to charity and the human aspects of life because they are infused with the Christian Spirit. 

Aware of the new conditions of today’s changing world, we recognize that the time has come for the Roman Catholic Church to reassert her willingness to use the richness of her resources to revise the CIC whenever needed, “…insuper, cum sit a caritate, aequitate, humanitate non alienum, atque vero christiano spiritu plene perfusum…simulque eius condicionibus ac necessitatibus in mundo huius temporis consulere exoptat…ac deinceps nova recognitione indigebunt, tanta virium ubertate Ecclesia pollet ut, haud secus ac praeteritis saeculis, valeat viam renovandi leges vitae suae rursus capessere…” (CIC 1983, Praefatio LXIII). 

 

 

     But instead of relying only on her own resources to reform the Codex, she should also tap the resources of her sister Catholic rites, considering them as guided by the Holy Spirit, who works all things to good.  (*See Reform issues outlined under no. II. 3 of the Manifesto of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ).

 

 

     The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ prays for a fruitful dialog among all Catholic Churches’ leaders and their lay representatives since informed  discussions and prayerful contemplation of issues of faith, ones that affect Catholics’ daily lives around the world, can only support the goal of this dialog, Catholic unity and solidarity.  We need to rethink some of our theologies, making them adequate for the more informed mentality of post-modern Christians.

 

     May God bless all the efforts of The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ and all of God’s Holy People who sincerely seek unity, healing, and reforms, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit!

 

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ABOUT US

“We are an Ecumenical Catholic Faith 'Famiy!”


We are a Catholic Christian community that is committed to the person of Jesus Christ and to His teaching. We accept and believe the testimony of His apostles who were His first disciples and eyewitnesses of His life, death, and resurrection from the dead. It was these same disciples who passed on to the church their own testimony about the person of Jesus and the events of His life. Embodied in their testimony are the very teachings of Jesus Himself.

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++M. J. Kimo Keawe. S.T.M., M.Th., CIOM

Nuncio of the USA & Apostolic Administrator for Colorado, Hawai`i, Ohio, Pennsylvania & the South Pacific Rim

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