30th September 2022


United Liberal Catholic Churches International

Welcome from the Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Dr Jonathan T Bennett-Hughes

Written: September 2018
Dear Visitors,

It is my pleasure as the Presiding Bishop of the United Liberal Catholic Church International (ULCCI) and on behalf the College of Bishop to welcome you all to our online presence.  We wish to confirm and affirm that we are not linked to nor will we be into communion with the Pope or the Vatican.  We are an independent vibrant, inclusive and progressive community of Liberal Old Catholics.

As the United Old Catholic Church International we are a relatively young jurisdiction but we are like one big family.  As Presiding Bishop, I am in weekly (even daily) contact with other Bishops and Clergy within our Church family.

Any of our friendly clergy would be happy to answer any of your question or to direct you to an appropriate person. 

The term “Old Catholic Church” was used from the 1850’s by groups which had separated from the Roman Catholic Church over certain doctrines, primarily concerned with papal authority; some of these groups, especially in the Netherlands, had already existed long before the term.  These churches are not in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.  Member churches of the Union of Utrecht of the Old Catholic Churches (UU) are in full communion with the Anglican Communion, and some are members of the World Council of Churches.

The formation of the Old Catholic communion of Germans, Austrians and Swiss began in 1870 at a public meeting held in Nuremberg under the leadership of Ignaz von Döllinger, following the First Vatican Council.  Four years later, episcopal succession was established with the consecration of an Old Catholic German bishop by a prelate of the Church of Utrecht.  In line with the “Declaration of Utrecht” of 1889, adherents accept the first seven ecumenical councils and doctrine formulated before the East–West Schism of 1054, but reject communion with the pope and a number of other Catholic doctrines and practices.  The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church notes that since 1925, they have recognised Anglican ordinations, that they have had full communion with the Church of England since 1932 and have taken part in the ordination of Anglican bishops.  Some orders are still recognised by the Roman Catholic Church, although not any female priests.

The term “Old Catholic” was first used in 1853 to describe the members of the See of Utrecht who did not recognise any infallible papal authority.  Later Catholics who disagreed with the Roman Catholic dogma of papal infallibility as defined by the First Vatican Council (1870) were hereafter without a bishop and joined with Utrecht to form the Union of Utrecht of the Old Catholic Churches (UU).  Today these Old Catholic churches are found chiefly in United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria and Czechia.

Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict recognised Old Catholic Bishop’s as equals with Rome in 1978 and later under Pope Benedict’s reign. We recognise Pope Francis as a brother bishop but not as the head of the Church. Christ is that, and there is no dispute over that.

We welcome all people, everyone with open arms and love, and, do not discriminate over sexuality, colour, race and we welcome women to be part of our priestly calling not just to assist our clergy as nuns do but to be active recognised priests in their own right.

Thank you for visiting our web site, may God bless you in your journey towards our loving Lord and Master,

​Most Rev’d. Dr. Jonathan T Bennett-Hughes 
Presiding Bishop of ULCCI