“Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech: How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?” -Proverbs 1:20-22
Frequently Asked Questions
I. Is Christ Catholic Church Trinitarian in belief and practice?
Yes, Christ Catholic Church confesses the belief in the Triune God as taught by the Catholic Church in all times and places. We believe in the one true God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
II. What traditions or processes do you look to in order to support your faith?
We rely on three pillars that support our faith, Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. Always, grounding each pillar in the Great Commandment given to us by our Lord, that we should love God with all of our heart, mind, and soul, and our neighbor as our self. We look to Holy Scripture as found in what are commonly referred to as the Old and New Testaments, taking into consideration what some would call the Apocryphal Books as well. When Holy Scripture would appear to be silent or confusing we look to the venerable traditions of the Church and it’s saints. When tradition becomes a quagmire lost in time we must look to human reason and experience.
III. Is there any discrimination within Christ Catholic Church?
Believing as Saint Isaac of Syria, “Do not try to discriminate the worthy from the unworthy, but let all people be equal in your eyes for a good deed,” we do not discriminate and hold no regard for a person’s race, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, preference, nationality, socioeconomic class, nor a person’s state of grace. We are fully committed to inclusivity and our support for the LGBTQIAPP (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersexual, asexual, pansexual, polyamorous) and anyone who would seek to find a spiritual home within Christ Catholic Church is unwavering and unapologetic.
IV. What Sacraments do you believe in?
A Sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, instituted by Christ within the Church. Christ Catholic Church holds to the seven Sacraments as traditionally defined by the Church, none of which are necessary for salvation but all of which are efficacious and several of which obligatory for self-professing Christians. The seven Sacraments being: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Confession, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, Holy Anointing. Volumes of books have been written about the Sacraments but in short what follows is the belief of the Church:
We believe that the overall purpose of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist is to lead a person to full ecclesial membership and incorporation into Christ; therefore, they are called the Sacraments of Initiation.
Baptism: We believe that Baptism is the primary act where a person is “born again” to be a child of God. It is through this access that all other Sacraments become available to the new child of God. We acknowledge any baptism that has been performed with water and in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as a valid sacramental baptism and would never knowingly “re-baptize” a person.
Baptism is open to all who would seek to follow Jesus Christ and seek to be “reborn” through the waters of baptism. This Sacrament may be conferred by any baptized Christian but it is encouraged that it be conferred by a Cleric within the Church. Sponsorship in the form of “God Parents” is encouraged for the nurture and discipleship of the newly baptized.
Confirmation: Confirmation reinforces and completes the effects of Baptism by conferring the full gift of the Holy Spirit. Where a person is reborn in Baptism, that person is then empowered to witness to Christ by the Sacrament of Confirmation; it is a Sacrament of mission. By the grace of this Sacrament we are given the inspiration and strength that the Disciples received on Pentecost to bring the Gospel to the whole world. The grace of this Sacrament imbues us with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Is 11:1-3) that are to be used in conjunction with our personal talents for the building up of the world, the Church, and the individual.
Through the Rite of Confirmation a person is indelibly marked by the Holy Spirit and sealed through Holy Chrism as one of Christ’s own forever. One tradition has reserved reception of this Sacrament to a time when a person has achieved some maturity and has received specific preparation, while another tradition keeps the ancient practice of administering Confirmation immediately after Baptism; we respect both traditions. Confirmation is usually conferred by a Bishop of the Church.
Holy Eucharist: The Holy Eucharist for us is the essence of our worship and certainly the central act of worship within the Church. We believe in the very real presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the outward and visible elements of bread and wine at the Eucharistic Feast. How this happens or even when, is a Holy Mystery of faith but for us those offerings of bread and wine become the very Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Having been born anew by Baptism, strengthened by Confirmation, we are sustained by the food of eternal life in the Eucharist. Holy Eucharist is a visible sign of our desire for unity with God and with all believers of all times; therefore, we welcome everyone to the table regardless and withhold the Sacrament of Holy Communion from no one. The celebration of Holy Eucharist is presided over by a Priest or Bishop.
Confession (Reconciliation): In the Sacrament of Confession the penitent Christian, in the presence of the spiritual confessor, opens to God his darkened and sick heart and allows the heavenly light to enter, cleanse and heal it. In Confession, as in Baptism, the great re-birthing power of the crucified Son of God is concealed. This is the reason that after this Sacrament, the truly penitent person feels cleansed and renewed, as a newly baptized infant. He obtains new strength to battle the evil within himself and to restart a righteous life. A Sacramental Confession should be made to a priest as often as possible but is offered as general confession within the confines of the liturgy for Holy Eucharist. This practice however in no way is intended to supplant the need for regular Sacramental Confession with a priest but rather as an aid to supplement and augment the practice. The Seal of Confession is Inviolable.
Holy Matrimony: Marriage is an outward and visible sign to the community of the invisible God living in our midst the living God who bears fruit in the lives of people who love one another. They are an ever-present sign of His Love in the world. There is special grace and ministry within every committed relationship that God has joined together. While the fruit they bear is more than genetically linked offspring, certainly the bearing of children is a blessing and also evidence of the shared love. Moreover, the harvest of their fruit should show a strengthened understanding of the sacrificial nature of love that we are all called to. It is in this relationship, one to another, that we begin to truly grasp God’s love for us, His commitment to us and our own call to “love one another as He has loved us.”
While divorce is always born out of sin, just like the breaking of any relationship and should not be approached lightly, the Church offers the Sacrament of Marriage to consenting adults regardless of previous marital status without restriction, other than that of the general mandatory premarital-marital counseling which is taken by all who would seek to avail themselves of this Sacrament within the Church.
In regards to this Sacrament as with all the Sacraments our support for the LGBTQIAPP (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersexual, asexual, pansexual, polyamorous) and anyone who would seek the church’s blessing upon a relationship between consenting adults is unwavering and unapologetic. We celebrate love when it blooms and support it when it grows, regardless of the form or expression.
Holy Orders: Ordained clergy serve as imperfect channels of God’s perfect grace. We believe that our ordained clergy have been set apart by God for special ministries. Jesus gave special authority to His Apostles. He gave them the authority to forgive sins in His name and He commanded them to carry on the Eucharistic feast in remembrance of Him. For most of the history of the church, the people elected their bishop but they always had to get other bishops to lay hands on him and pass on what we now call the Apostolic Succession. As Catholics, we believe that Apostolic Succession matters. It guarantees us that God grants to bishops consecrated in the unbroken line from the Apostles the same authority Jesus gave to them. It means that priests and deacons ordained by these bishops receive authority from the Holy Spirit. Most importantly, it means that the Sacraments given by our clergy are valid and are used by God to impart grace through the action of the Holy Spirit. We do not claim that God acts only through clergy in the Apostolic Succession; but we do claim that the Apostolic Succession guarantees us that our parishioners receive the Body and Blood of Christ when we celebrate the Eucharist.
What is distinctively Catholic about our belief in Holy Orders is that we believe that the Sacrament not only sets those ordained apart for special ministries, but also conveys God’s grace to help them accomplish God’s purpose for those ministries. We believe that the successors of the Apostles have inherited the special privileges given to them by Christ of conveying God’s grace to His people through the Sacraments. Holy Orders within Christ Catholic Church are open to all qualified and called people.
Holy Anointing (Unction): The Sacrament of Holy Anointing or Unction is the anointing with consecrated oil along with prayer for healing and should be a natural part of the life of every Christian. We believe that, in addition to taking advantage of the knowledge given by God to physicians and healers of all kinds, the Sacrament of Holy Anointing should be requested on any occasion of dis-ease of body, mind or spirit and offered liberally with confidence. We believe in the power to heal given by Christ to His followers and we claim His victory over dis-ease.
We maintain that healing always takes place when sought after and called upon from God, although the manner of the healing might be contrary to our wishes or understanding and its manifestation not always obvious at first glance. Healing is a gift given by God and not something earned through strength of faith and the Sacrament of Holy Anointing is open to everyone for the healing of mind, body, and soul.
V. What is Christ Catholic Church’s stance on war?
“War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!” We believe unequivocally that war is against the very wishes of the Prince of Peace and commit ourselves to ushering in His reign of peace which surpasses all understanding. The Church promotes Christian nonviolence in all walks of the Christian life. Believing in the Gospel call to conversion as found in the Beatitudes, Christ Catholic Church denounces and resists the evils of violence while striving to reflect the Peace of Christ.
V. Where does Christ Catholic Church stand on abortion?
We acknowledge that sometimes medical termination of a pregnancy is necessary to preserve life and in such situations great compassion and sympathy are our pastoral and Christian duty. In instances of choice we, not unlike God in the Garden of Eden, are also committed to uphold each individual’s freedom of choice and it is in that freedom of choice where our Christian calling is engaged and challenged. Even still, we as Christians are called to compassion and sympathy, not condemnation and judgment. Rather than rallying against an issue and trying to bring about political change, the Church seeks to change hearts and not laws. We feel that if we change the heart, laws won’t matter much and it is in the heart that God is interested. We seek to be part of a support system and not simply a “loud gong or a clanging symbol” and commit ourselves to aiding women and men and families during a difficult and emotional time of choice.
VI. Where does the Christ Catholic Church stand in regards to the capital punishment?
We stand against capital punishment in all cases and in every instance. We are not interested in debates on the cost of capital punishment nor in the deterrence factor in regards to crime. We rely on the commandment of our God when He said, “Thou shalt not kill,” and on that alone.
VII. Do you believe in Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory?
We believe in Heaven and in Hell most assuredly, but rather than seeing them solely as places of residence or a final destination exclusively, we see them as beginning with conditions of being. Just as people can and have had little foretastes of heaven, we all know somebody who lives in a state of hell and we believe that this eternal journey is begun from the moment our life begins. It is our goal to try to aid in the rescue of souls from the sorrowful place of hell and bring them into the saving grace of Jesus. We reject as dogma the non-Biblical concept of purgatory and find such teaching to be contrary to the saving message of the Gospel.
VIII. Do you worship the saints or pray to the saints?
Let us first address the notion of “worshiping the saints.” The Church does not believe in the worship of the saints, nor do the majority of catholics, contrary to the popular notion otherwise. Rather it is a relationship of love and devotion for the physically departed that most people who have been accused of saint worship are expressing. You see, we believe in eternal life and just because the body is no longer alive we do not believe that the soul too must be dead, asleep or forgotten. Certainly we reject the notion of “worshiping the saints” for worship is reserved for God alone but we support the familial bond between Christian people alive in the flesh and those alive only in the spirit and encourage the continuance of that relationship upon physical death.
This leads to the next part of the question, do we pray to the saints. If by prayer you mean that we pray to them the way we pray to God then the answer would have to be no. We do not. However, if you mean prayer in the form of simple communication then the answer would be yes. We have already stated that we see the afterlife as a state of being rather than a place and to this end, we believe, much like our Celtic catholic ancestors in the faith, that the veil between the physical world and that of the spiritual world is thin. Just as we would ask someone alive in the flesh to pray for us we also ask those alive only in the spirit to pray for us and we see very little difference in the two practices. We do however reject the notion of treating our spiritually alive loved ones as some sort of “spiritual slot machine” in begging for favors just as we would reject that practice with our physically living loved ones or even with God for that matter.
No, our relationship with one another does not end at physical death and as Christians we believe in eternal life.
IX. What about Mary?
We do not worship Mary, as worship is reserved for God alone. We do however hold Mary the Mother of God, the Christ Bearer, in high esteem with great reverence and adoration, and in much love. Like the Old Catholics, we do not support the notion of the Immaculate Conception as promulgated by Pius IX in 1854 in defiance of the Holy Scriptures and in contradiction to the tradition of the centuries. Nor do we subscribe to the dogma that she was perpetually a virgin and believe that Jesus most certainly, in accordance with Holy Scripture, had physically related brothers and or sisters and that Mary lived out a normal and sexual married life with her husband Joseph.
X. Do you pray the rosary?
Some do, some don’t. It is one of the many prayer forms that are utilized within the Church and as with all prayer forms it is encouraged.
XI. Do you believe in the infallibility of the Pope and are you under his authority?
While we respect the Pope as the Bishop of Rome and as the “First Among Equals” we are not under his jurisdiction or authority but rather Christ Catholic Church is under the authority and jurisdiction of it’s own validly consecrated bishop who holds valid apostolic succession. As to the infallibility of the Pope, like the Old Catholics, we reject the decrees of the Council of the Vatican, which were promulgated July 18th, 1870, concerning the infallibility and the universal Episcopate of the Bishop of Rome, decrees which are in contradiction with the faith of the ancient Church, and which destroy its ancient canonical constitution by attributing to the Pope the plenitude of ecclesiastical powers over all Dioceses and over all the faithful. By denial of this primatial jurisdiction we do not wish to deny the historical primacy which several Ecumenical Councils and Fathers of the ancient Church have attributed to the Bishop of Rome by recognizing him as the Primus Inter Pares.
XII. Does Christ Catholic Church include the “filioque” clause in the Nicene Creed?
We use the pre-1054 form of the Nicene Creed, acknowledging the “filioque” added by the Pope at that time to be an unnecessary obstacle to unity with our Orthodox brethren.
XIII. Does Christ Catholic Church believe in clerical celibacy?
Certainly we do but it is not mandatory. Celibacy is a gift like any other gift given from God. Some are called to it and some are not. We hearken back to the teachings of the primitive church that allowed clergy, like St. Peter, to be married or not. In 305 A.D. the Council of Elvira in Spain, while not forbidding marriage, passed the first decree on celibacy for all bishops, priests and those who served at the altar. Pope Siricius in 385, commanded celibacy for bishops, priests and deacons. Then in 1123, the First Lateran Council forbid clergy to marry and decreed that those who had must dissolve their unions. None of these edicts were decisions by an ecumenical council of all the Christian Churches in Apostolic Succession. In fact the ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325 decided not to ban priests from marriage. All clergy in Christ Catholic Church may marry if they wish to do so, either before or after ordination or consecration.
XIV. What is the stance of Christ Catholic Church on human sexuality?
It’s a God given gift and should be celebrated, respected, and enjoyed accordingly. It is time for the church to renounce its obsession on the physical act of sex between consenting adults and instead reaffirm human sexuality in all of its beauty and diversity by promoting healthy sexual relationships between consenting adults. Chastity and not sex needs to be the focus of the church and its clergy.
Chastity is an affirmation of the Resurrection of the body, and therefore leads us into responsible, nurturing physical relationships founded on Love. Chastity is love which comes from the body, the mind, and the spirit in harmony, without compulsion, possessiveness, or selfishness. It is love, sex, and physicalness made obedient to God.
Chastity must not be confused with celibacy, although some of us will be called to celibacy, either for a short time or for life. This is an individual decision, between the self and God, entered into with the support and advice of the community, either as a life-long commitment, or for a brief period as an aid to chastity.
Chastity is a part of our calling and life-style, but is also a gift of grace. It uniquely frees the hearts of men and women so they can become more fervent in love for God and all humanity. It is the confirmation of our responsibility for the whole world. It is the most perfect manifestation of the love between Christ and his Bride. Through chastity we are freed to find a truly loving relationship with ourselves, our families, friends, and spouses, the world we share, and God himself. Chastity is our taste of the Kingdom of God.
In short, the conversation should be on love and not on sex and to that end we celebrate love when it blooms and support it when it grows, regardless of the form or expression.
XV. What is Christ Catholic Church’s stance on weapons at church?
While we welcome anyone through our doors, we do not welcome weapons in our church services, fellowships, or gatherings of any kind. You are welcomed but your weapons are not. You will not be admitted to our gathering if you have a weapon on you and you will be asked to leave if it is discovered that you are carrying a concealed weapon. Weapons have no place in a house of worship of the Prince of Peace.
Do you need more information? We encourage you to look over our entire website and if you still need more information, please feel free to email us at:
For more information:
Christ Catholic Church
Office of the Archiepiscopal See
The Most Reverend Brian E. Brown, OSH
P.O. Box 9394 Fayetteville, AR 72703