Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Old Catholics

Old Catholics, a religious body which arose in consequence of the dogma of Papal Infallibility promulgated by the Vatican Council of 1870. In Germany, the chief seat of disaffection, the movement was led by Dr. Dollinger. Professor of Theology at Munich, and Professor Friedrich, who were excommunicated by the Archbishop of Munich in April, 1871, owing to their refusal to submit. Those who shared the views of Dollinger and Friedrich called themselves Old Catholics to signify that they held the primitive Catholic faith free from the later doctrines imposed by Papal authority. The first congress was held at Munich in September, 1871, when arrangements were made for organising congregations. An episcopate was obtained from the Jansenist Church of Holland, Dr. Joseph Hubert Reinkens, the first Old Catholic bishop, receiving his orders from the Bishop of Deventer in August, 1873. The alterations in the service-books, which included the translation of the Mass into the vernacular and the omission of the Invocation of Saints, caused many relapses to the Church of Rome. The Reunion Conferences held at Bonn in 1874 and 1875 were attended by divines from Germany, Switzerland, France, America, England. and other countries, but the formulae of agreement drawn up were rejected by the Eastern Church and the Church of England. The chief source of disunion among the Old Catholics has been the question of the celibacy of the clergy. The number of Old Catholics was in 1887 estimated at 70,000 in Germany, and 80,000 in Switzerland. In the latter country the Bishop Herzog was consecrated by Reinkens in 1876. Old Catholicism has also established itself in every Roman Catholic country except Belgium, though only to a small extent.