What are Ecumenical Catholic Churches?
We are independent Catholic faith communities in that we are not under the jurisdiction of the Pope nor are we subject to the canon law or the guidelines of the Roman Catholic Church. We share common roots of the same Bishop, The Most Reverend Francis Krebs, also the Pastor of Saints Clare and Francis Ecumenical Catholic Church, located in the city of Webster Grove, MO. Though we also share a common Catholic theology and liturgical tradition, we differ significantly in many of the disciplines and rules that govern the Roman Catholic Church. Take a look at the ECC Distinctives for specific details.
What does the word “ecumenical” mean?
We understand the word ecumenical, as it is expressed within our ecclesial community, in four ways:
- We recognize that the body of Christ, the Universal Church, includes all baptized Christians regardless of denominational affiliation. All those who have followed the Lord Jesus in baptism are regarded as members of the “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.”
- We are actively engaged in promoting Christian unity. Therefore, we seek to join together with all of our Christian brothers and sisters in the proclamation of the Gospel, in the celebration of the liturgy and the realization of the life of Christ.
- We recognize the presence of the Spirit at work throughout the world in the faith experience of people of other religions. We recognize the divine presence in every human heart, believing that all people are the beloved of God. Therefore, we seek mutual understanding and respect with those of other religions through dialogue and we seek mutual cooperation in the endeavor for peace and justice in our world.
- Webster defines it as: universal.
What is the ECC’s understanding of same-gender sexual relationships?
We are an open and affirming communion recognizing the value and dignity of every person, in our God given diversity. We promote the education and development of the People of God in their understanding of the diversity of sexual orientation among their brothers and sisters. All sexual relationships are to be guided by the Christian moral principals of love and fidelity. We uphold the ideal of committed relationships blessed by the sacred rites of the church. We believe that all questions of sexual morality are best addressed through pastoral care and counsel.
How is the ECC authentically Catholic if it is separate from the authority of the Pope?
We are practicing the original understanding of the Church which existed for the first 800 years of Christianity and still exists in the current Eastern Orthodox tradition. In this ancient understanding of Catholicism, each faith community was led by its bishop and pastoral councils. The people of each local faith community participated in the life of the Church by electing their bishops and taking an active role in the ministry of their faith tradition. The Pope was considered to be a spiritual leader, however, each community upheld the autonomy of its own life and governance. Approval from Rome was not required in the decision making process of each local church.
Who is the governing authority within the ECC?
The People of the ECC are the governing authority! Our constitutional document was ratified by both clergy and lay persons present at our 2003 convocation. This constitution establishes a polity structure including a House of Laity, a House of Pastors and an Episcopal Council – all possessing roles of decision-making and leadership in governing the Communion. Feel free to view our ECC constitution here.