Triune God - The
Ecumenical Catholic Church confesses One True God - Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit - and Jesus Christ as God the Son incarnate.
Creed - The Creed associated with
the Council of Constantinople of A.D. 381 (the so-called "Nicene
Creed") is the definition of Christianity.
and Athanasian Creeds - The so-called
"Apostles' Creed" is accepted as a valid statement
of faith, and the Quicunque Vult, or "Athanasian Creed,"
is accepted as a valid statement of Trinitarian theology and
christology. (While agreeing with the theological details
delineated in the Athanasian Creed, the Ecumenical Catholic
Church is unwilling to say, as does that creed, that those persons
who do not believe exactly as so delineated will be assigned
to eternal life in hell.)
Tradition, and Reason - The Scriptures of the
Old and New Testaments, the Tradition of the Church, and human
reason and experience are the three pillars of Truth by which
inspiration, revelation, law, and faith may be tested.
- This Ecumenical Catholic Church holds no regard
for a person's race, color, gender, sexual orientation or preference,
nationality, or socioeconomic class.
- Holy Baptism is the primary sacrament, the
act by which God accepts a person as His reborn child and sends
to that child the Holy Spirit. As the Creed teaches, there is
but one Baptism, whether of an infant or an adult, and that
Baptism determines membership in the Church. The Ecumenical
Catholic Church recognizes as valid the baptism of any other
Christian denomination provided such baptism was performed with
water in the Name of the Triune God. A baptized person never
shall knowingly be rebaptized, for to do so would be an act
of unfaith and denial of God's infinite Grace.
- The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament through
which the baptized are fed with the real and substantial Body
and Blood of Christ. This sacrament constitutes the essence
of the worship of this church, and all celebrations of the Eucharist
are open to all who are baptized, confess the Creedal Faith,
and believe that they are receiving the true Body and Blood
of Christ. Inability to confess or believe because of age, mental
capacity, or other physical reason are not held as barriers
Sacraments - The five traditional
minor sacraments are also performed by the Ecumenical Catholic
Church. In penance Christians receive grace by confessing their
sins and offering a sincere attempt to amend their ways. In
unction the sick are anointed to receive grace as a means of
comfort and assurance of love in times of trouble. The three
other sacraments are signs of commitment derived from the primary
commitment of Holy Baptism. In confirmation Christians publicly
confess their faith in the Lord and commit themselves to Him.
In marriage people commit themselves to one another so that
together they may better serve God and humanity. In ordination
Christians make commitments to one of the special, consecrated,
permanent ministries of the Church.
Church. The Ecumenical Catholic Church confesses
that Jesus Christ sought His Church to be one Body which unites
all of humanity. To this end, the Ecumenical Catholic Church
(a) maintains its membership open to all persons who are in
agreement with its doctrinal position and desire to be members
and (b) maintains to its best ability an active role in the
ecumenical movement, keeping in touch with the remainder of
the Church and striving toward the visible unity thereof.
is not within the scope of human rights, individually or collectively,
to take the life of another against the other's will.
Baptism, we are all part of the one Body of Christ. Capital
punishment defies our baptismal covenant, which is to bring
people into the Fold of Christ, not to remove them from it.
The death penalty is an act of violence against the Body of
Bible, particularly the Old Testament, accepts and even prescribes
capital punishment. Many Christians use this to justify their
support of the action. In doing so, those supporters fail to
recognize that the Old Testament legal codes are 3,000 years
old and that human society has evolved to a much higher consciousness
in the course of that time. We no longer primarily live by the
Old Testament law, but rather by Jesus' commands of love and
forgiveness. Capital punishment is not a loving act, and it
extinguishes the possibility of forgiveness.
proponents of capital punishment argue that it deters crime.
There is no conclusive evidence for this. Most murders are committed
out of passion, greed, or carelessness; they are not rationally
directed acts. At a rational level, life imprisonment should
be just as good a deterrent as capital punishment.
argue that capital punishment reduces prison costs for society.
Even if this were categorically true, it would be irrelevant.
Society cannot justify immorality because such behavior is cost-effective,
after all, theft is always cost-effective to the thief.
punishment is premeditated murder carried out in the name of
society. It cannot be justified by arguing its benefits, either
as a deterrent or a cost-saver.
people are created by God with the intent that they be given
the same rights.
is part of the wonder of creation; this is why the human population,
like that of other living species, is made up of a variety of
racial, ethnic, sexual, and other outward expressions.
diversity is as much a part of human nature as is racial diversity,
hair color, eye color, and other physical factors; it is not
relevant whether sexual diversity is caused by genetic/hormonal
factors ("nature"), early childhood developmental
factors ("nurture"), or a combination thereof.
Xenophobia, the fear of things that are "different,"
and all its various outward appearances -- racism, homophobia,
sexism, heterosexism, ethnocentricity, nationalism, etc. --
is a sin that denies the wonder of God's diverse creation.
is not a result of sin.
national origin, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation/preference,
marital status, or other irrelevant factors shall not be used
as criteria in evaluating ordination applications, assigning
employees or volunteers to positions, granting promotions, setting
salaries, and other staffing-related functions.
Ecumenical Catholic Church officially supports legislation which
would mandate similar nondiscrimination practices in public
and private employment, housing, schooling, and other areas
of life. The church supports the addition of "sexual orientation/preference"
or similar wording to all existing antidiscrimination legislation.
Members, clergy, and friends of the church are encouraged to
actively support such legislation when it comes to vote and
to encourage their local, state, and federal lawmakers to do
Ecumenical Catholic Church deplores any legislation whose intent
is to limit governments in their efforts to eliminate discrimination
against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or other sexual minorities.
The church finds such measures especially abhorrent when done
in the name of religion or "family values" or in any
other manner which might falsely imply that God was one the
side of the bigots promoting such measures.
is a sacrament through which God gives grace to the married
persons and through them to the Church. Though intended to be
a life-long commitment, when a marriage ceases to be a vehicle
of God's grace, its sacramentality is diminished. The existence
of historic vows is not always sufficient cause to perpetuate
calls us all to forgiveness and growth; spouses and former spouses
must forgive each other, and the people of God must welcome
all in their brokenness into God's Family and at the Altar.
brings growth and healing, allowing for the possibility that
a previously divorced person can enter a new, vital, and sacramental
Ecumenical Catholic Church specifically recognizes the social
pressures which may cause gay or bisexual persons to enter into
heterosexual marriages. Some of these marriages are directly
fraudulent in that the person knew from the beginning that his/her
sexuality was contrary to that implicit in the marriage. Others
are "honest mistakes," made at a time when one's personal
sexual orientation was either vaguely or inaccurately perceived.
Still others were a result of misguided attempts to change one's
intrinsic sexual orientation. Regardless of the circumstances
surrounding such marriages, the Ecumenical Catholic Church considers
them voidable and hence automatic grounds for annulment should
one of the partners so desire. The rationale for this annulment
is that marriage, like all sacraments, must be entered into
with a completely honest intent. Whether deliberately fraudulent,
simply a result of a confusion, or anything in between, the
marriage was not entered into with a full perspective of the
truth, and hence there was not truly a sacrament in the fullest
sense of the term. Rather than a true sacramental marriage,
the relationship, no matter how tranquil, productive, or outwardly
convincing, was a quasimarital relationship in the eyes of this
church. (See Canon XX.10.)
church recognizes that even sacramental marriages may be terminated.
While the life-long commitment is an important initial intent
and should never be abandoned lightly, there are clear cases
in which the overall good of one or more of the married individuals,
the children, and others may be better served by a termination
of the marriage. There are also cases in which such overall
good is not as easily ascertained but in which, nonetheless,
it may be a distinct possibility that divorce is the best option.
In many cases only the marriage partners themselves are in a
position to determine this. We believe that God is more interested
in the overall good than in rigid obedience to commitments,
even solemn, sacramental commitments. For this reason we recognize
the validity of divorce, even though we understand it is the
result of human sin.
we recognize that after such a divorce, life goes on. In many
cases, such a productive continuance of life may include marriage
to another person. As with persons who have never been married,
the primary considerations for a second marriage are the same:
benefits to the individuals, benefits to the ministry of the
Church, benefits to others (including previous and potential
children), and an intent of life-long commitment. We should
not be in the position of limiting God's ability to bless through
the sacrament of marriage simply because one had been involved
in a previous marriage. Such a refusal would be roughly akin
to refusing Baptism to a convert who had previously been dedicated
in a Buddhist ceremony or refusing full church membership to
a person who once belonged to a different denomination.
church should not be afraid to publicly acknowledge the termination
of a marriage. In many cases, such an admission and its associated
focus on the future is a valuable healing process and a means
to propel the divorced people, their families, and their friends
into the regained positive outlook it is intended to provide.
effects miracles to provide for our salvation.
instituted the Sacrament of Communion as a means of our salvation,
the Meal which nourishes the Church as the earthly Body of Christ
and each of its individual members.
the Eucharistic Celebration, the spiritual nature (substance)
of the eucharistic bread becomes that of the Body of Christ,
and the substance of the wine becomes that of the Blood of Christ.
This is properly termed "transubstantiation" when
we realize that the Latin word substantia means "essential
nature" rather than "chemical makeup" as is often
implied by the modern English use of the term.
each celebration of the Eucharist, the Sacrifice of Jesus which
occurred uniquely at the Cross on Good Friday is brought into
present reality by the Holy Spirit. This is possible because
God exists outside of the universe, external to our physical
perceptions of space and time. From the perspective of heaven,
the events of Calvary itself and each and every celebration
of the Eucharist can be seen as one related activity tied together
by a mystery of faith. This allows us to participate in Jesus'
Sacrifice in the same way that Mary and John participated at
the foot of the Cross: We are there in loving support to receive
the Grace which Jesus emanates. It does not mean that our presentation
of a small amount of bread and wine in some way make us justified
before God, but rather that these trivial offerings are reminders
us of God's infinite Love.
is the Holy Spirit (not the minister) Who effects the change
of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.
we receive the Body and Blood in the form of Bread and Wine,
the Holy Spirit also continues to make us the Body and Blood
of Christ. This is both an individual and a corporate action.
It is an individual renewal of our incorporation into the Body
through Baptism and the grace through which we can appear as
Jesus to others. Furthermore, it is the act by which the Church
is continually renewed to be the Body of Christ on earth. Without
the Eucharist, therefore, there would be no Church and no Christians.
Eucharist is a memorial in which we remember the great things
that Jesus did for us. It is also an ordinance which Jesus commanded
us to repeat. These aspects, however, are not the primary focus
and must not detract from the basic truth that the Eucharist
is a sacrament through which God's Sacrifice is made real for
us and our salvation is achieved. Communion is not just a reminder
of Jesus' death, but the means by which we are spiritually present
at the Cross. Likewise it is not just a reminder of our salvation,
but the means by which that salvation is brought to us on a
continuing basis. It is our Spiritual Meal. As physical food
is not just a reminder of our physical life, but the means by
which it is sustained, so Communion is the very means by which
our spiritual Life is sustained while on earth.
Baptism is the only prerequisite to Communion's ability to sustain
spiritual Life. In Baptism we are born (again) into this spiritual
dimension, thus being alive to be nourished. Baptism is an indelible
act that can never be erased, so just as surely as Communion
is appropriate for only the baptized, so likewise it is appropriate
for all of the baptized.
through the Eucharist we participate in a unique way in the
Sacrifice of the Cross, so receiving Communion in a unique way
imparts forgiveness of sins. As in Baptism we are washed clean
of all prior sins, including original sin, so as we receive
the Body and Blood of Christ we are forgiven of sins after our
Baptism. The two sacraments go hand-in-hand, therefore.
Baptism is the time when we are born again and become Christians,
so it is that in Communion we "receive Christ" again
and again in our lives.
Christians, death is a celebration of life. The funeral liturgy
is a celebration of Baptism and Easter.
revolves around the single most important event of human history,
the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Likewise, people's own lives
as individuals revolve around the single most important event
of their lives, their baptism.
is bought for us by the Loving Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This
event changed history forever and is the only source of salvation.
It is a sufficient payment to bring all persons to heaven through
God's grace. Our beliefs and actions are secondary to God's
work in Jesus Christ.
we die as baptized Christians, we enter into the Presence of
God. This is called heaven.
remains a possibility, but not a certainty, that we may be given
the opportunity to accept this gift even after we die, and that
God presents this option even to those who have not been baptized.
exists external to the universe. It is a spiritual realm in
which the physical attributes of space, time, matter, and energy
do not exist.
Human beings are both spiritual and physical. These are not
necessarily opposites, but just different aspects of our human
existence. It is wrong to think of spiritual as "good"
or physical as "evil" (or vice versa).
death our connection as spiritual beings is broken from our
physical body. We therefore depart the universe and enter heaven
or hell. It is not just earth we depart, but the universe, the
entire physical creation that includes all the planets and stars
At death we also depart time. It is hard for us to comprehend
existence without time, and we often don't think of time as
"physical," but modern relativistic physics tells
us that space and time and matter and energy are all related.
is the place of eternal worship and endless love and joy. Hell
is the place of eternal loneliness and separation.
will is part of the requirements of Love. If we are to truly
love God, we must be able to do that on our own, rather than
by force. Therefore, we are able to reject God as well.
will is that everyone celebrate Eternal Life in heaven; however,
even that is not forced upon us by God. Upon death we may be
given the choice. Those who reject God may end up in hell, not
as punishment but because they chose it.
those who have lived loving lives centering around the worship
of God, the choice may be very natural. For those who have never
had God in their lives or are truly petrified by the thought
of love, the choice may be tough, and some may even choose hell.
This will not be because God is angry or punishes, but rather
because love cannot be forced and still be real.
Christ was born of the Virgin Mary. God the Father was His Father,
and Joseph was merely His earthly guardian.
is neither clear nor relevant whether Mary remained a virgin
after the birth of Jesus.
The immaculate conception of Mary -- that she was conceived
without sin within her own mother's womb -- is a matter of individual
faith. It is neither a central or essential teaching of Christianity
nor is it contrary to Christianity. It is not important to the
Incarnation that Mary have been sinless at the time of Jesus'
birth or any time thereafter.
assumption of Mary -- that upon death her body was taken directly
into heaven -- is neither supported nor refuted.
to the saints for intercession are appropriate, as they can
then in turn pray to God. Mary is one of the saints, and prayers
to her are therefore appropriate.
represents all of us in the Incarnation. In this sense she is
the chief of humanity, the one chosen to be the Father's partner
in the birth of Jesus as God made Human. It is appropriate for
us as human beings to look to Mary as a model for our lives
of submission, obedience, and love of God. In this sense she
is also the most special of the saints, and it is in this sense
that the term "Queen of Heaven" is to be understood:
Not that she rules in heaven, but that she represents all of
us before the Throne of God in worship. She is Queen because
she stands at the front of the Great Congregation in the eternal
heavenly Liturgy, not because she is seated at the Throne with
is mother of the Church. As she was the mother of Jesus Christ,
so too she is the mother of the Body of Christ in the Church.
This means that she is our mother, the one to whom we look for
direction and love, just as God is our Father, the Source of
people sin and need God's grace. We will be purified before
entering into heaven, but this process occurs outside of the
physical universe in timelessness. During this process we will
be aware of our whole lives, including the times when we failed
to be fully loving; this will hurt and we will be sorry for
our offenses. It is not that God is punishing us, but that through
our awareness of reality we will naturally feel pain.
earth's perspective we cannot question whether a person is in
this purging process ("purgatory") or in heaven, because
it occurs in timelessness and will all appear instantaneous
to us who remain in the physical universe. We reject the medieval
idea of a time-bound purgatory where a person spent x years
being cleansed (and could have this time shortened by good deeds
of friends or family).
We reject the concept of indulgences, that a person's stay in
purgatory can be amended by the deeds or financial contributions
of persons on earth or, for that matter, that the Church on
earth has any control or authority in any aspect of the spiritual
Jesus earned heaven for each of us, we are given the opportunity
to enter heaven at our death. Reincarnation, the idea that a
person's soul enters into another body when that person dies,
therefore is inconsistent with Christianity.
the concept appears reasonable on the surface, in fact it denies
God's ability to save. Reincarnation is a denial of Easter.
Reincarnation is a type of works righteousness, an attempt to
earn salvation through growth and learning during a series of
is our Creator. Every individual is a new creature of God, born
into the world to share and celebrate God's love.
Bible is the word of God in the sense that it tells us of God's
love relationship with humanity.
of God" does not mean that God sat down and gave dictation
to Moses or the prophets or the apostles. The Bible was written
over thousands of years of history by hundreds of different
people, edited time and time again, and translated from ancient
dialects of different languages. It is absurd to believe that
such a work would be literally inerrant
Bible is a book of faith. It is a book to lead us to the truth
on theological issues. Most importantly, it is a book to tell
us about God's Love, about Jesus Christ.
Bible is not a science book or a book about history as we now
understand it. From a theological standpoint, it is not important
whether Genesis 1 provides a scientifically accurate description
of creation. Nor is it important that Genesis 1 and Genesis
2 provide two different accounts which cannot be reconciled
with each other on a scientific basis.
Bible cannot be used as the end-all in ethics and morality.
It provides a valuable input, but we must remember that it was
written by and for people who lived two to four thousand years
ago. For example, it is not logical to adhere to various sexual
restrictions and not enforce the rules about lizards in pottery,
mildew in houses, or blended fabrics.
Bible is part of our heritage. It is at the same time a foundation
upon which the Church is built and also the work of the Church.
It was the Church's councils that decided what is and what is
not the Bible. Once the Spirit led the Church to that decision,
the Church remains bound by it.
Everything within the word of God (Scripture) must be interpreted
in the light of the Word of God (Jesus).
Deuterocanonical Books (Apocrypha) are accepted by the Ecumenical
Catholic Church as part of the canon of Scripture and are approved
for use in public worship, study, etc. Like the Jewish canon
of the Old Testament, these books are neither infallible nor
fundamentalist approach to Scripture is a type of idolatry in
which a book is given pre-eminence even over Jesus Christ; we
reject that concept of Scripture, which is a modern invention.
every sentence of Scripture has the same importance or level
of accuracy. The integrity of the overall Bible is not affected
by the literal accuracy or inaccuracy of any consistent part
is One Being in Three Persons; this is the most basic of all
truths and the central tenet of Christianity.
the God of Love, could not have been a solitary Person before
creation and yet be Love. God's infinite Love requires both
a Lover (Father) and Beloved (Son), and from this perfect Love-Bond
proceeds Dynamic Love, the Holy Spirit. With the rest of the
Christian Church, the Ecumenical Catholic Church confesses One
God in the Three Persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equal and coeternal. They are
consubstantial, or homoousios ("same Essence"),
with Each Other.
Persons' primary relationship with us is the Father our Creator,
the Son our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit our Sanctifier.
1 and John 1, however, make clear that all Three were involved
in creation: We can sing with the ancient hymnographers, "Behold
the world's Creator wears the form and fashion of a slave"
(Coelius Sedulius, died c. 450) and "Creator Spirit, by
Whose aid the world's foundations first were laid" (Rhabanus
1. The Father is the Ultimate Cause, the One Who willed creation
2. The Son is the Architect and Designer of creation, "without
Him [the Logos] was nothing made that was made." (John
3. The Holy Spirit is the Agent of creation, the One Who "brooded
over the waters [of chaos]" and brought forth the ordered
universe. (Genesis 1:2).
Redeemer, and Sanctifier" is thus neither fully equivalent
to, nor as comprehensive as, "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"
primarily because God is personal, existing as Three Living
Persons, not just a force responsible for these resultant activities.
Father. God the Father is our Creator and the Cause behind all
The Father begot the Son in heaven before creation. God is eternal,
timeless, infinite, and dimensionless. Hence we can speak of
the Father begetting the Son and yet cannot say "there
was when He [the Son] was not."
Father was also the Father of Jesus Christ in the sense that
it was He Who sent the Holy Spirit to Mary the Virgin in order
that she might conceive the Word of God in flesh. It was by
the Father's will and act that Mary bore her Son.
important, the Father is our Father, our Loving Parent. He is
not just a Creator Who put everything together and let it happen,
but a living, loving, caring Father Who wants the very best
for us and Who feels pangs of hurt when we hurt ourselves. He
is to us just as an ideal human father or mother would be -
always caring, always knowing what's best, always hoping for
our success, helping out where possible, but knowing that we
are individuals and must learn to love by ourselves, because
love by nature cannot be forced.
us to call God "Abba," which means "Daddy"
or "Father" in Aramaic (Matthew 14:36, Romans 8:15,
It is a
very special privilege to be able to pray with Jesus, "Our
Father in heaven."
God the Son. Jesus Christ is both divine and human. He is the
Word (Logos, Expression, Son) of God made flesh in human form.
Father so loved His creatures that He sent forth His Beloved
Son to become one with us, to die for us, and to rise in triumph
from the grave.
Word took on human nature and was born as a Baby in Bethlehem
on the first Christmas Day. He lived among us and taught us
the Way of Love.
could not tolerate God's Pure Love, and Jesus, our God made
Man, was nailed to the Cross and killed. On Easter Day He rose
again from the dead, and God showed us that Love indeed is more
powerful than all the sin and all the hatred that Satan, the
universe, and human beings could ever put forth against Him.
Because of Jesus' Sacrifice and Resurrection, we are assured
through Baptism that eternal Life waits for us.
Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is True God, homoousios (of One
Being, consubstantial) with both the Father and the Son.
Creed teaches that the Spirit proceeds from the Father. The
Western Church (Roman Catholic and from there, Protestant) added
the word Filioque to the Latin text, meaning the Holy Spirit
proceeds from the Father and the Son. The Ecumenical Catholic
Church contends that history has made the difference more political
than theological and that, in fact, the theological difference
means that the Holy Spirit is the Love of God overflowing from
the Bond between the Father and the Son. Because God loves in
such an eternal and infinite manner, He not only must exist
as a Lover and Beloved, but that Love must even overflow eternally
and infinitely. Once God created, and even in the act of creation,
this Love interacted with the creation on a continuing basis.
This is the Holy Spirit Who proceeds into the universe as Deity
from Deity, Love from Love.
Spirit, as God the Interactor in the universe, accomplishes
many things: The Holy Spirit
Was present at creation;
Inspired the prophets
and others to this day;
Effected the Incarnation of God the Son within Mary's
Descended upon the apostles on the Day of Pentecost
continues to bring many gifts to the People of God;
Makes the Sacraments have their effect -- filling us at
Baptism, changing the bread and wine into Christ's
and Blood, and continuing to bless us as we
in the minor sacraments;
Guides the Church as it evolves in Truth.
2000-2001 The Ecumenical Catholic Church