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Author Topic: Polish National Catholic Church  (Read 4264 times) Average Rating: 0
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Karamazov
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« on: December 12, 2003, 04:18:52 PM »

Had an interesting conversation today with a PNC priest.  He told me that:
  • the PNC is not in communion with Rome, but discussions are on-going
  • PNC priesthood (and bishops, for that matter) may be married
  • the PNC dispute the infallibility of the Pope, and
  • the PNC recites the creed without "filioque."
Liturgically, they are western rite and post Vatican II.

They sounded very Orthodox in their beliefs and practices.  

Does anybody out there know more about the Polish National Catholic Church, and their status with regard to the EO Church?  Would love to learn more. Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2003, 04:21:47 PM »

Slava Isusu Christu!

What do you mean by "Post Vatican II"?  I thought their liturgy was a Polish translation of the Tridentine Mass?
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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2003, 04:31:42 PM »

Don't shoot the messenger!  Perhaps I just mis-heard him?
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« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2003, 04:32:44 PM »

"The First General Synod of 1904 gave unquestioned support to the ancient Christian concept of Apostolic Succession, according to which no man could legitimately exercise episcopal authority without receiving that authority from a bishop who himself was in direct line of descent from the Apostles. Father Hodur was consecrated September 29, 1907 in St. Gertrude's Cathedral, Utrecht, Holland. The consecrators were Most Rev. Gerard Gull Archbishop of Utrecht and head of the Old Catholic Churches of Europe; Rt. Rev. John Van Thiel, Bishop of Haarlem; and Rt. Rev. Michael Bartholomew Spit, Bishop of Deventer."

They are an Old Catholic type community it would seem.

"There are 156 parishes and 136 ordained clergy having charges today, with a membership, as stated above of 265,870 in the U. S. and 7,600 in Canada. Sunday schools in the U.S. number 216 and every parish has a parish school which holds classes after the regular public school hours and on Saturdays. These schools have a two-fold purpose to teach the Polish language and to impart religious instruction. The use of the Polish language in the Mass and other services is a basic principle although use of English in preaching and in administration of the sacraments is being introduced where needed.

The Synod of July 1958, Chicago Ill., decreed that, where expedient, parishes may institute the practice of one Mass in English in addition to the Polish Masses.

The rites and ceremonies are Catholic in form. In 1928 Bishop Francis Bonczak, editor of Polska Odrodzona, a weekly then published in Krakow, Poland, wrote:

"The form of worship is like style in architecture. It is a reflection of the soul of the worshippers, an outward expression of their inner devotion to and adoration of their object of worship--God. The form of worship, therefore, should not be antiquated, stiff, imitative, but natural, sublime, elevating. A reform in this particular is very much in order. A service of worship should be beautiful, brief, simple, and inspiring. The liturgy of the Polish National Catholic Church should be light in form and deep in content. It should contain prayers and readings expressive of the deep religious experience of our Polish poets and writers. What they said and wrote flowed from truly Polish hearts. The rich bequest of their thought and experience should be incorporated into our religious life and into our worship".

Seven sacraments are practiced, with baptism and confirmation reckoned as one sacrament since confirmation is the completion of baptism. The Word of God heard and preached is also proclaimed as a sacrament.

Two forms of confessions are now in general use: private confession for children and young people up to the age of 21 and a general public confession for adults.

The doctrine of the Polish National Catholic Church is founded on the Holy Scripture, Holy Traditions, and four Ecumenical Synods of the undivided Church. This doctrine is expanded in the Credo as adopted by the General Synods and in the Eleven Great Principles."

The recognition of only 4 councils and general confession makes me wonder if they have also been influenced by Anglicanism. edit.. In fact yes I see that they are in communion with the Anglican Church.

PT
« Last Edit: December 12, 2003, 04:33:36 PM by peterfarrington » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2003, 04:53:27 PM »

Don't shoot the messenger!  Perhaps I just mis-heard him?


Slava Isusu Christu!

Forgive me, brother!  I did not mean to sound so accusatory!  I was merely asking the question based on what I heard myself.  Of course, I've never been to a PNCC nor even spoken to a parishoner (aside from my ex girlfriend's uncle who became a RC 25 years ago, but he grew up PNCC and doesn't remember much of it).

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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2003, 04:54:12 PM »

The following quote, from another thread, makes me think that the RCs have the same attitude toward both EOs and PNCs
________________________
Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law (canon 844 -º 4). Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of communion by Christians of these Churches (canon 844 -º 3).
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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2003, 04:56:09 PM »

Don't shoot the messenger!  Perhaps I just mis-heard him?


Slava Isusu Christu!

Forgive me, brother!  I did not mean to sound so accusatory!  I was merely asking the question based on what I heard myself.  Of course, I've never been to a PNCC nor even spoken to a parishoner (aside from my ex girlfriend's uncle who became a RC 25 years ago, but he grew up PNCC and doesn't remember much of it).



Forgive ME, brother.  Didn't mean to sound so reactionary! Grin

In truth, Liturgically speaking, I just don't know.
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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2003, 06:02:25 PM »

The PNCC are an American church, an 1890s immigrant schism (in ways parallelling the Alexis Toth incident that jump-started Russian Orthodoxy in the lower 48 American states - perceived mistreatment of Slavic immigrants by Irish bishops) that after the fact came up with reasons to justify themselves (rejecting the Pope, etc.).

The real causes of its founding seem to be understandable reaction to injustice mixed with mistaking nationalism/ethnicity for the faith - something one sees in other immigrant schisms. (And when the descendants of the immigrants assimilate, that pretty much dooms the group - a dead end.)

They are the only real Old Catholic group in America - part of the communion of Utrecht, The Netherlands. The rest are fakes - vagantes.

There were Lithuanian and Slovak groups that similarly broke off and eventually joined the PNCC. And a handful of Italian groups started the same way but eventually joined the Episcopal Church - here's one of them.

Its founder, rebellious Polish immigrant priest turned Old Catholic bishop Francis Hodur, had some strange ideas. He apparently believed in a kind of universalism (denial of an eternal hell), considered Baptism and Confirmation one sacrament, counted 'the hearing of the word of God' as one of the seven sacraments and considered Confession optional.

In 1946 the PNCC, still led by Hodur (he died in the 1950s), and the Episcopal Church declared themselves in full communion - earlier, in 1930, the Church of England and the Old Catholics in Europe did the same thing. To their credit, the PNCC terminated this in 1977 after the Episcopal Church approved the attempted ordination of women.

Old Catholics in Europe - real ones! (a rump sect really) - now ordain women. The PNCC doesn't, and is in 'impaired communion' with these other Old Catholics. Despite their late founder's strange beliefs and their former Episcopal ties, among Old Catholics they seem amazingly orthodox.

Their popular devotions are all RC and they don't canonize their own saints, though you might see Polish and American secular heroes such as Copernicus and Lincoln in their stained-glass windows.

The PNCC allows men to marry after ordination and has married bishops - just like the Episcopal Church.

Another distinguishing feature, coming from the immigrants' battles with RC bishops, is that each parish church owns its property.

The PNCC has a history of some liturgical experimentation like Mass facing the 'wrong' way (the congregation) - they started doing that in the 1930s - but this seems to have been balanced by the Poles' cultural conservatism. For a long time they were doing the Tridentine Mass and other traditional RC services translated into Polish (the language reinforcing the whole nationalist/ethnic raison d'etre) but now they use slightly modified copies of the Novus Ordo and other modern Roman services.

It has a tiny following today - most Polish immigrants didn't join it so it never really was big - and its original, real reason to exist is really gone as its members are English-speaking, born Americans.

But unlike vagantes it can be said to be a real church with real congregations, though small, and generational members.

They seem based in the same Rust Belt heartland in Pennsylvania as what is now the OCA - both groups of Slavic immigrant workers.

Rome recognizes their sacraments and, reinforced by a recent written agreement, PNCs living away from their churches have an open invitation to RC Communion, Confession, Unction, etc. (which unlike the Eastern Orthodox, the PNCC approves).

As for the Eastern Orthodox, the PNCC technically are a big unknown just like any other non-Orthodox church. I imagine, though, in practice there is de facto recognition of 'validity' but of course no intercommunion, just like with RCs.

My guess is this little group might not exist in two generations, and a goodly number of their faithful simply will be reabsorbed into the RC Church... much like the attrition in the OCA, ACROD (whose founding also parallels the PNCC's except theirs was in the 1930s) and the Ruthenian and Ukrainian Catholic churches (who likewise become RC) in the same part of the country (which people are leaving).
« Last Edit: December 12, 2003, 09:49:30 PM by Serge » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2003, 08:43:18 PM »

Somebody will correctme if I'm wrong.  Didn't the Mariavites originate with the PNCC or it's Old Catholic equivalent back in Poland?

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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2003, 09:32:31 PM »

Quote
Somebody will correctme if I'm wrong.  Didn't the Mariavites originate with the PNCC or it's Old Catholic equivalent back in Poland?

No, the Mariavites were something different, completely unrelated to the PNCC. Don't know if they ever were Old Catholic (maybe that's where they first got their claim to having bishops) but they definitely were vagantes from very early on.

Long story short - in the late 1800s a Polish nun, a Franciscan, claimed to have visions of Our Lady asking for good pious practices like exposition of the Sacrament, but the bishop ordinary decided it wasn't authentic. So the Mariavites started their own thing, claiming episcopacy from somewhere, but then they got weird - 'mystical marriages' of the Mariavite Franciscan first- (friars) and second-order members (sisters), which soon begat not-so-mystical children. They started ordaining women too.

The closest parallel I think of today is Medjugorje - Slavic country, longstanding rivalry between Franciscans and the ordinary, emotion-fuelled alleged apparition, innocuous, orthodox-sounding message, the ordinary's thumbs-down (the apostolic ministry at work)... IOW, push Med. a step further and you've got the Mariavites. Oy vey.

The 'Nats', as I've heard Polish National Catholics called in Pennsylvania, did set up a little church of theirs in Poland that, if it still exists, is microscopic.

They also, IIRC, haven't got monastic or active religious orders.

Wishing you a very happy birthday.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2003, 09:43:44 PM by Serge » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2003, 09:53:04 PM »

Some of Bp Hodur's ideas are obviously heretical (such as universalism) but others seem to be a pre-scholastic catholic sacramentology:

1) that baptism and confirmation are one sacrament: yes, the separation between them should have never been introduced!  This is a very ancient idea to count them as two parts of one thing: initiation.

2) that hearing the word of God is a sacrament-hear hear!  Of course the early church did not distinguish seven sacraments but accounted many more, and receiveing the Word of God is certainly one of them.  In my preaching class we had a whole article we had to read devoted to the sacramentology of the Word.

Again the part about universalism is dead wrong and the downplayal of confession is faith-destroying, so I guess we basically wind up with someone who was liberal and got some things "right" but indiscriminately mixed in with heresy.

anastasios
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2003, 10:18:35 PM »

The doctrine of the Polish National Catholic Church is founded on the Holy Scripture, Holy Traditions, and four Ecumenical Synods of the undivided Church. This doctrine is expanded in the Credo as adopted by the General Synods and in the Eleven Great Principles."

The recognition of only 4 councils and general confession makes me wonder if they have also been influenced by Anglicanism. edit.. In fact yes I see that they are in communion with the Anglican Church.

Four?  So close, so close... Tongue
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« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2003, 08:38:15 PM »

I know that the Polish National Church and also the Old Catholics, are quite influenced by Anglicanism, they even accept their orders as valid. The PNCC was in regular communion with the "Archbishop" of Canterbury, but they do not accept women priests (not yet). Regarding the liturgy, I'm informed they already have pianos and guitars.

The Asyrian Church of the East also had close contacts with the Anglicans, and the fact that Rome recognizes these three groups as having valid orders is preparing the field for the probable recognition of Anglican orders, but... who knows.
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« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2003, 08:09:00 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Orthodox Christians, it must be remembered, do not speculate about Grace in other churches or groups claiming Apostolic Succession.  Of course from a Latin POV all Anglican clergy would have to receive ordination and consecration for their bishops; and they would have to submit to Rome being created an Apostolic Administration leading perhaps to the establishment of a Church sui juris, but again who knows?  The Anglican Use is probably just a temporary concession.  Celibate Roman priests probably wouldn't like a bunch of matushkas at presbyteral Council Meetings et al Wink The potlucks would be good, huh Grin

But if whole Episcopal Diocese's start coming into communion with Rome it will get interesting.  I wonder are our Orthodox Jurisdictions getting ready for the exodus?

In Christ,


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« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2003, 10:47:06 PM »

Their website is here:
www.pncc.org

I used to have an old PNCC missal with a little catechetical material in it, I will try and find it.  I think they accept all first seven councils.

But a question, as far as I can tell, they fufill all the requirements the Orthodox say are necessary for reestablishing communion with the Catholic Church and yet the PNCC are left out in the cold, why not closer relations?

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