If you're wondering what "Old Catholic" means, you're not alone. Here are some answers to a few commonly asked questions about the Old Catholic Church. (See related story).
Answers, edited to fit space requirements, were taken from the official Catechism of the Old Catholic Church-Utrecht (Holland) Succession.Q: Is it true that Old Catholic Churches reject the pope as the head of the Christian church?
A: Yes and no. Old Catholics teach that Jesus Christ is the one and only head of the church. No man, pope or patriarch, can set himself above the church and because the church is the Body of Christ.
Q: Does the church approve of divorce?
A: No. But it recognizes that people can make a mistake. Therefore, under certain circumstances, Old Catholic Churches do tolerate divorce for the sake of adultery and other grave reasons.
Q: Do Old Catholic Churches permit remarriage after divorce?
A: When the reasons for divorce are those recognized by Old Catholic Churches (Orthodox Churches, too) and with special dispensation by the local bishop - yes.
Q: Does the Old Catholic Church approve of birth control?
A: Old Catholic Churches neither approve nor disapprove of birth control. The issue is a matter best left to the marriage partners. It is best if the decision is reached in consultation with a priest.
Q: What is the church's position on abortion?
A: Old Catholic Churches join the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy in strongly opposing abortion. Unusual exceptions should be made in consultation with a priest.
Q: Is it true that Old Catholics, like Eastern Orthodoxy, have married priests?
A: Yes. The married priesthood was an honored status in the ancient undivided church and remains so in Old Catholic Churches throughout the world today.
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