Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Requirements for Communion with the Polish National Catholic Church

A Catholic jurisdiction seeking Communion with the Polish National Catholic 
Church must be in conformity with and profess faithfulness to: 

 the authentic teaching handed down by the Apostles as found within Holy
Scripture and Sacred Tradition,
 a common celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as a re-presentation
of the sacrifice of Calvary during which our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is
truly and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist,
 the demonstration of an identifiable, valid and licit Apostolic Succession.

A Catholic jurisdiction seeking Communion with the Polish National Catholic
Church must demonstrate a valid and licit episcopacy. A valid episcopacy is one that
can trace its succession through either of the Catholic Churches of the East or West.

A licit episcopacy is one that demonstrates a process of election that has been
accepted by said jurisdiction. If a jurisdiction has no valid and licit episcopacy, it
must declare adherence to all of the requirements listed in this document before
episcopal consecration will be considered.

A Catholic jurisdiction seeking Communion with the Polish National Catholic
Church must accept the Seven Sacraments, the teaching that the celebration of Holy
Mass is a sacrifice, and must adhere to the Catholic principles and beliefs found in:

 The Apostles' Creed
 The Nicene Creed
 The Decisions of the first Seven Ecumenical Councils
 The Declaration of Utrecht
 The Declaration of Scranton

Communion has as its foundation the following three cardinal points:

1. Each Church recognises the catholicity and independence of the other, and
maintains its own.
2. Each Church agrees to admit members of the other Church to participate in
the sacraments.
3. Communion does not require from either Church the acceptance of all
doctrinal opinion, sacramental devotion, or liturgical practice characteristic
of the other, but implies that each believes the other to hold all the
essentials of the Catholic faith. 1

There is an equality among the bishops of Churches that are in full
communion, since by Christ's design each Church is overseen by its bishop. Full
communion is understood to exist only among bishops in whom the Apostolic
Succession of the Church resides. For “bishops in full communion” to share the
sacramental nature of the Church, a certain relationship or collegiality must exist. The
Polish National Catholic Church understands the following to embrace this
collegiality of bishops: “Where the bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” 2

The term “collegiality” is used to express the relationship that bishops share among themselves as successors to the Apostles. In the role of shepherd each bishop teaches, sanctifies and governs through the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Churches entering into an agreement of full communion acknowledge that
there is an equality among themselves; in each place the Church is that body which
provides all that is necessary for salvation. It is there that the saving mysteries of
redemption are proclaimed and celebrated; it is there that the Word (Logos), Jesus
Christ, becomes truly present in the Eucharist; and it is there that the faith, given to
the Apostles, is handed on. So in each place, that Church is truly Christ's Church
made present in the world; it is not simply a part or piece of something that is larger.

Each bishop shares in the mission that was entrusted to the Apostles by our
Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. This is a true sharing of ministry, since the mission of
the Church was entrusted not to one individual Apostle, but rather to all the Apostles.
During the Exhortations of the Liturgy of Holy Saturday the Polish National Catholic
Church professes:

"We are to ask, not separately but as united in one brotherhood, joined
by His love into a Holy Church, taking its mission from God through
Jesus Christ, enjoined to the Apostles: Whoever listens to you listens to
Me." (Luke 10:16a) 3

“Having, therefore, such assurance from the Saviour Himself, that He is
with all the Apostles when they are gathered together, (but not with only
one individual Apostle), let us strengthen our faith that it is His will that
the Holy Spirit should reveal Himself to His Church. Such a revelation
takes place, not in one person, but rather in the gathering of those who
represent the Church.” 4

Therefore, just as the Apostles were in relationship to one another, that same
relationship exists among the bishops of the Church today. Not only is each bishop a
teacher and overseer of the Church entrusted to his care, but he also joins together
with his brother bishops to make decisions and hand on the faith to the entire Church.

 2006 The Constitution and Laws of the Polish National Catholic Church, page 67
 St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, 1st
 Holy Saturday Liturgy, Fourth Exhortation, PNCC Missal, 1990,

PNCC Church Doctrine Commission Approved Sept 8, 2009
Accepted by the PNCC National Clergy Conference Oct. 21, 2009 – PNCC General Synod – Oct. 2010

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