Other Distinctions

There are other distinctions by which Old Catholic communities are differentiated from Roman Catholic parishes. The matter of papal infallibility defined by Vatican Council I is a non-issue for Old Catholics, since we are independent of papal jurisdiction. All Old Catholic communities accord the Holy Father that respect due him as Successor of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles and Patriarch of the West. Old Catholics adhere to the teaching from apostolic times that the Church in General Council is infallible. Another difference is that divorced people who remarry are treated in a pastoral manner and not excluded from the sacramental life of the Church. Further, the matter ofcontraception is treated as a matter of personal conscience between husband and wife. Old Catholic theology recognizes that the Church’s teaching magisterium has no less than two objects: the formation of conscience, in which case authority has an instructive quality; and the nurturing of an informed conscience to full maturity, in which case authority is guiding but not directive.

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