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First and Foremost

The answer lies within the fact that the Old Catholic Church did not LEAVE the unified Catholic Church. They were initially separated by the issue of persecution. Therefore there has never been a real issue over the validity of the Old Catholics or their relationship with the Catholic Church.


There have been repeated affirmations by the Roman Catholic Church though the Papacy and other governing bodies. Some of which are listed here.

Historical Affirmations Regarding our Validity by The Vatican

1145 A.D.

Utrecht receives Rights of Autonomy from Blessed Pope Eugene III

1215 A.D.

This Right is confirmed by Pope Leo and becomes known universally as the Leonine Privilege

1520 and 1717 A.D.

Privilege subsequently reconfirmed in two Church Councils.

Most Recent Affirmations

Historical Affirmations Regarding Our Validity by The Vatican

From the pages of

In an effort to strengthen unity among Christians, Pope Francis welcomed a delegation of the Bishops Conference of the Union of Utrecht, also known as ‘Old Catholics.’

It has been possible to build new bridges of a more profound mutual understanding and practical co-operation. Convergences and consensus have been found, and differences have been better identified and set in new contexts.

Pope Francis
He then added that the separation between the two, triggered grave sins and human faults on both sides, but mutual forgiveness and humble repentance are key for reconciliation.