What is the National Catholic Church? What are our beliefs? What are our practices? In the few words that follow, perhaps you will learn more.
The official name of the church is the Polish National Catholic Church of America. More than 100 years ago the National Catholic Church was organized to meet the needs of the immigrant population, most of whom spoke Polish or some other Slavic language.
Today, the National Catholic Church is made up of people from all languages, ethnic backgrounds and cultures.
Today, English is the official language of the church in the United States, because it is the language of the people.
WE ARE A CATHOLIC CHURCH… based on the Holy Scriptures and the Tradition of the Catholic Church; accepting as articles of faith (dogmas) the Creeds and beliefs that were articulated by the writings of the first Seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church during the first 1000 years of the church’s history.
WE ARE AN APOSTOLIC CHURCH… following in Apostolic Succession from the Apostles, along with our sister churches the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. This simply means that all three Catholic Churches are separate but equal, mutually recognizing the validity of each others priesthood, sacraments and the Mass.
WE ARE A SACRAMENTAL CHURCH… which acknowledges the Seven Sacraments:
3. Eucharist (The real presence of Jesus: Body and Blood/Soul and Divinity)
5. Holy Matrimony
6. Anointing of the Sick, (Holy Unction)
7. Holy Orders
WE ARE AN ECUMENICAL CHURCH… reaching out to other Christian, pursuing the Lord’s desire for unity. At this time the National Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church are under the governing authority of their own Bishops and not yet in full communion with each other, although under special circumstances, the Sacraments may be shared.
WE ARE A CONFESSING CHURCH… where the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) is offered in two ways: General Confession for adults over 16 and private confession for children under 16 years of age.
WE ARE A DEMOCRATIC CHURCH… living in the American experience and following the teachings of the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition, we are a faith community that seeks to live out the words of St. Paul: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord” (1 Cor 12:4-5). So that the people of the church share in the organization and management of the Local Parish, the Diocese and the General Church.
SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the name of your Church?
- It is proper to refer to us as the National Catholic Church. While the official name of the church remains the Polish National Catholic Church this is not accurate. Today the National Catholic Church is made up of people of many backgrounds, languages, and cultures.
What is the relationship between the National Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church?
- We are sister Churches, separate but equal. Equal in Apostolic Succession, recognizing the validity of each other’s Mass, Sacraments, Bishops, Priests and Deacons. At this time there is an active dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church based on this mutual respect that will bring these two Catholic Churches closer to each other.
I am divorced and remarried… Can I participate in the life of the National Catholic Church?
- Today, in the United States 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce and currently 15 million divorced and remarried Catholics who are needlessly staying away from the Church because they have the mistaken belief that they are no longer welcome. The National Catholic Church recognizes that for some people the sacramental nature of the marriage could not exist because of a variety of problems. If you are divorced and remarried, you are invited to speak with the Pastor about your personal situation and he will work with you to bring you into the faith life of the Church.
How is it that the priests of the National Catholic Church are allowed to be married?
- The National Catholic Church has allowed its bishops, priests and deacons to marry as part of the discipline of the church in the same way as the clergy of the Eastern Orthodox Church are allowed to marry. It is a matter of the practice of the Church.
What is the position of the National Catholic Church on abortion?
- The National Catholic Church maintains the ancient belief of the sanctity of all human life including the unborn. As such, the National Catholic Church teaches that abortion is a grave wrong. The Pastor is always willing and ready to help anyone who may be struggling with this issue. Be assured that he will approach the subject with compassion and care.
What is General Confession?
- Like our sister churches, we believe that all sacraments have the power to forgive sin. However, in the case of serious sin (mortal sin) or in an effort to meet the forgiving Lord in a special way, National Catholics come together in a special service to reflect on their need for forgiveness, admit their sins, resolve to amend their lives, receive absolution and accept some action to perform as a satisfaction for sin. It is similar to what some people experience as a Reconciliation Service, but without the practice of going to individual confession. It is actually the normal practice in the National Catholic Church, that is the third option for Confession in our sister Roman Catholic Church.
Who can receive Holy Communion?
- The Church, in fidelity to the teaching of the Lord Jesus, has maintained for two thousand years that the bread and wine used at Holy Mass become the sacred Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus. This teaching has been preserved in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church (National, Roman & Eastern Orthodox) are aware that some of our separated sisters and brothers have ceased to believe this doctrine as handed down from the Apostles. We encourage our Protestant brothers and sisters to worship with us, but we recognize with sadness that for the past 500 years we have not held the same faith and practices in this matter. The National Catholic Church does not practice open communion . And while there is continuing dialogue between the National, Roman and Eastern Orthodox churches, we ask you to respect the practice of your particular church in your choosing the receive the Eucharist.
- Under certain circumstances National Catholic are allowed to receive communion from non- National Catholic priests. Please consult your Pastor for more information.