who are we

What is the Catholic Church of America?

We are an accepting and affirming community of faith. We are a family of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ welcoming all who are in search of the love of God supporting one another in our journey of faith.

We are an independent Catholic Church, that is, we are not under papal rule. Aside from this, we differ very little from the Roman Catholic Church in our faith, doctrine, practice, and devotional life.

We have the same seven sacraments and hold the same beliefs concerning them. We use the same rites and rituals. We honor the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints. We have validly ordained bishops, priests, and deacons.

There are two major points in which we differ from the papal church. We believe that the individual's conscience, not authority, to be the final arbiter of moral and ethical questions. Concerning the papal office, we believe that the papal office is one of honor and not jurisdiction. For us, the Pope is the first bishop among equal bishops. We also see him as symbolic center of Christian unity, but without acknowledgement of papal infallibility.

We also follow some minor changes in church discipline. Our clergy are not required to be celibate; parishes choose their pastors and own their own property; we are allowed to use either the old Mass and rituals (in Latin or English) or the new Mass and rituals (again, in Latin or English) according to the needs of those we minister to. As we are not a large church, our clergy, for the most part, are self-supporting.

In terms of ministry, our clergy are allowed to minister in the manner or place that they feel God has called them. We do not seek to proselytize members of other churches, but believe ourselves called to serve those, who for some reason or another, feel alienated by the mainstream churches or are unchurched.

The Catholic Church of America is the historical Roman Catholic Church in principle, doctrine, sacraments, and rules according to all ecclesiastical laws and is in the line of succession of the Old Catholic Churches.

The Catholic Church of America has always used the same ritual and liturgy as the early Church practiced, abiding by the same doctrines and dogma; following the exact teaching given by the Apostles of Christ, and continuing through valid historical Apostolic Succession down to the present. Certain text in the Papal Bull of Pope Pius X of February 1911 reveals and recognizes, beyond all possibility of question, the absolute validity of the Orders of the Old Catholic Church and by virtue of the line of direct succession, The Catholic Church of America. We recognize the Papal Roman Catholic Church as the first true Church of Jesus Christ and the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, as the center of Catholic Unity.  

Please see: The Declaration of Utrecht


The Holy Eucharist, the principal act of Christian worship of the Lord's Day (Sunday) and other major Feasts, and Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, are the regular services appointed for public worship in this church. In addition to these services other forms or rites are set forth by the authority within this church may be used. These rites as used when celebrating the seven sacraments. In all services, the entire Christian assembly participates in such a way that the members of each order within the Church, lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons, fulfill the functions proper to their respective orders, as set forth in the rubical directions for each service.

The leader of worship in the church assembly is normally a bishop or priest. Deacons, by virtue of their order, do not exercise a presiding function, except at the discretion of the bishop who may authorize the deacon to preside at other rites, also subject to the limitations described in the directions for each service.



The sacraments are moments of God touching our lives in a special way and opportunities for growth in our relationship with God.


Baptism. The Rite of Baptism incorporates us into Christ and forms us into God's people. This first sacrament pardons all our sins, rescues us from the power of darkness, and brings us to the dignity of adopted children, a new creation through water and the Holy Spirit. Hence we are called and are indeed the children of God. It is a very ancient custom of the Church that adults are not admitted to baptism without godparents. These are members of the Christian community who will assist the candidates at least in the final preparation for baptism and, after baptism, will help them preserve in the faith and in their lives as Christians. The ordinary ministers of baptism are bishops, priests and deacons. The words for conferring baptism in the Church are: "I BAPTIZE YOU IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT."

 Confirmation: those who have been baptized continue on the path of Christian initiation through the sacrament of confirmation. In this sacrament they receive the Holy Spirit whom the Lord sent upon the apostles on Pentecost. This giving of the Holy Spirit confirms believers more fully to Christ and strengthens them so that they may bear witness to Christ for the building up of his Body in faith and love. They are so marked with the character or seal of the Lord that the sacrament of confirmation cannot be repeated. Great pains are taken to give the liturgical service the festive and solemn character that its significance for the local Church requires. The ordinary minister of confirmation is the bishop. The sacrament is conferred through the anointing with chrism (Holy Oil) on the forehead, which is done by the laying on of the hand, and through the words: "BE SEALED WITH THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT."

Eucharistic Feast: the Mass. When Christ the Lord was about to celebrate the Passover meal with his disciples and instituted the sacrifice of his body and blood, he directed them to prepare a large, furnished room. The sacrificial nature of the mass was solemnly proclaimed through the ages in the church councils by saying: "at the Last Supper our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his body and blood to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross through the centuries until he comes again. He entrusted it to his bride, the Church, as a memorial of his resurrection. This teaches us that the sacrifice of the cross and its sacramental renewal in the Mass are one and the same, differing only in the manner of offering. It is at once a sacrifice of praise and of thanksgiving, a sacrifice that reconciles us to the Father and makes amends to him for the sins of the world. The Church believes that the Lord Jesus is really present among us in a wonderful way under the Eucharistic species. The distinctive nature of the ministerial priesthood is clear from the prominent place the presbyter occupies and functions he takes in the rite itself: he offers sacrifice in the person of Christ and presides over the assemble of God's hold people. The ministerial priesthood throws light on another and important priesthood, namely, the royal priesthood of believers. Their spiritual sacrifice of today is accomplished through the ministry of the presbyter, in union with the sacrifice of Christ, our one and only Mediator. The celebration of the Eucharist is the action of the whole Church, in which each individual should take his own full part and only his part, as determined by his particular position in the people of God. 

This is the order of the Mass: Introductory Rites - Entrance Song, Greeting - Penitential Rite - the Gloria - Opening Prayer - Liturgy of the Word - a reading from the Old Testament - Responsorial Psalm - a reading from New Testament - a reading from one of the Gospels - Homily - Profession of Faith - General Intercessions - Liturgy of the Eucharist - presentation of the gifts - prayer of the gifts - Eucharistic Prayer - reciting of the Sanctus - Memorial Acclamation - Final Doxology - Communion Rite - Lord's Prayer - Sign of Peace - Breaking of the Bread - Communion - Prayer after Communion - Concluding Rite - Greeting - Blessing - Dismissal.

Penance (Reconciliation). The Sacrament of Reconciliation stresses the healing presence of Christ. This is not merely the telling of specific sins but a compassionate forgiveness of one's sinfulness in an attitude of sorrow. Penitents can opt to receive the sacrament either anonymously in the confessional or face-to-face. Reconciliation is a personal encounter with Jesus Christ represented by the priest. The penitent admits to God that he or she has sinned, makes an act of sorrow, accepts a penance, and resolves to do better in the future. The priest prays over the person in these words: "God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and set the Holy Spirit among us for forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

Anointing of the Sick. The anointing of the sick gives spiritual strength and healing to those who are aged or ill. This sacrament may be received any time during illness. In this sacrament God invites believers to commune with him in the light of their final meeting with him. Through this sacrament, the entire Church asks God to lighten suffering, forgive sins, and bring the faithful to eternal salvation. Anointing of the sick helps them to share more fully in the cross of Christ. By so sharing, they contribute to the spiritual good of the whole Church. By the fact they share more fully in the cross of Christ through anointing, they are being prepared for a fuller share in Christ's Resurrection. The priest presides over this sacrament. The anointing of the side is with blessed oil.

Matrimony. Jesus took marriage and made it the sacrament of matrimony. As a result, matrimony gives a new dimension to the Christian vocation that begins in baptism. In matrimony a husband and wife are called to love each other in a very practical way; by serving each other's most personal needs; by working seriously at communicating their personal thoughts and feelings to each other so their oneness is always alive and growing. It is a sacramental vocation in and for the Church. It is a medium through which Christ reveals and deepens the mystery of his oneness with us, his Body. In the Church, a couple's sacramental union is exclusive (one man one woman) and indissoluble (till death do us part). This is the one sacrament that is conferred not by the priest but by the ones marrying; the husband and wife. The priest witnesses the sacrament and gives the Church's blessing of the marriage.

Holy Orders: Ministerial Priesthood. Christ is the Body of the Church. As such, the whole Church shares in the nature and tasks of Christ, our head. There is though a ministerial priesthood of Christ that certain members of the Church receive through the sacrament of holy orders. In the Eucharistic sacrifice the ordained priest acts 'in the person of Christ" and offers the sacrifice to God in the name of all, and the people join with the priest in that offering. Priests share in Christ's ministry by preaching his gospel, doing all in their power to bring their people to Christian maturity. They baptize, heal, forgive sin in the sacrament of penance, and act as the Church witness in the sacraments of matrimony and anointing of the sick. Most importantly, priests celebrate the Eucharist, which is "the center of the assembly of the faithful over which the priest presides" When priests are ordained, they "are signed with a special character," an interior capability that empowers them to "act in the person of Christ the head." This special inner "character" unites priests in a sacramental bond with one another - a fact that, in a sense, sets them apart from other people. This "being set apart" is meant to help priests do God's work with total dedication.

These are the sacraments of the Church. We celebrate these sacraments as a whole and are the main activities of the church. Other activities include funerals of the departed, para-liturgical services: devotions and prayer services, etc.

If you are interested more information, please go to History of the Church.

Toward the end of the 16th Century, a conflict between sovereign states in Europe and the Roman See; the Vatican erupted, thus creating two opposing views with reference to the relationship between bishops and the Papacy. The first position stated that national churches have certain rights within the framework of the Papacy, such as electing of Bishops with approval of the Vatican. The second view maintained that the Pope is supreme in all local churches since he claims to be the Vicar of Christ on earth; local bishops are but the vicars of the Pope in each diocese. Chief advisors to the Pope began to question the loyalty of the Church of Utrecht, Holland, which had always elected its own Archbishop. The real issue was the right of national churches to administer their own affairs without hindrance from the Vatican. Pope Benedict XIII eventually deposed Archbishop Codde of Utrecht and replaced him. As a result, the Dutch Church broke communion with Rome and has maintained a separate existence since 1725-1727. It is from the Church of Utrecht that the Catholic Church of America derives her apostolic succession.

 The second major epoch commenced from the time of the First Vatican Council during the 1860's. Pope Pius IX had previously proclaimed as "dogma", the opinion that the Blessed Virgin Mary had never been stained by Original Sin; hence her Immaculate Conception. Furthermore, Pope Pius IX advocated the promulgation of the "dogma" of Papal Infallibility, which was officially proclaimed in 1869, at that Council.


The historical Apostolic Succession of the Old Roman Catholic Church began with His Eminence, Antonio Cardinal Barberni (1607-1671), Archbishop of Rheims, Cardinal-Priest of the Roman Catholic Church. And, the line of succession has provided valid orders to the present.  Press Here for a detail of our Apostolic Succession.

In 1908 Gerard Gul, Archbishop of Utrecht consecrated Arnold Harris Matthew, Bishop for Great Britain. He consecrated De Landes Berghes in 1912 for work in the United States. He consecrated Carmel Henry Cafora in 1920. He consecrated Robert Alfred Burns in 1956. He consecrated Archbishop Robert Lane in 1970.   He consecrated Archbishop Floyd Anthony Kortenhof, of the Old Roman Catholic Church, English Rite in 1991, who consecrated Bishop Thomas E. Abel who leads, governs and provides spiritual guidance to the church.


The Catholic Church of America is led by the Most Reverend Mark R. Earl , who provides the sacraments to the faithful. Parish communities of the church are located in the following cities: San Diego and Palm Springs, California Las Vegas, Nevada,.

The church reaches out to believers in Christ and those who are searching for the truth through knowing Christ. We actively seek out and are open to people called by God to be part of his church. There are no limits place on the members of our church except to accept Christ and follow the beliefs of our church found in the Creed and as explained in the church councils through the ages. Revealed truths are found in Cannon law as well and the great writers of theology. We stress the personal responsibility of each person in knowing God and acting according to God's will as has been revealed to the church through the ages. Our members are to understand it is their personal responsibility to know God and for their own action throughout life. We know we are all sinners but we also know that Jesus came to earth and became man to save us from our sins and give us the promise of heaven.

Masses and other devotional services are held in member's homes and in the church facilities of other denominations.

At Sacred Heart Community, Catholic Church of America, in San Diego County

Masses are held every Sunday 


Individuals who are interested in attending services or would like more information may call the Parish telephone number 858-522-0072



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Archbishop Arnold Mathews

Archbishop De Landes Berghes 

Archbishop Carmel Henry Cafora

Archbishop Robert Alfred Burns

Archbishop Robert Lane

Archbishop Robert Lane

Archbishop Kortenhof

/bishop Thomas E. Abel

Bishop Mark R. Earl