**From the FAQ page of the Unified Old Catholic Church**
I thought that there was only one Catholic Church. Are you affiliated with Roman Catholicism?
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest of the Catholic denominations and the best known. It also describes itself as the only true church, a statement with which we respectfully differ. In fact, there are many smaller Catholic churches that are independent – that is to say, not under Roman jurisdiction or led by the Pope of Rome. The word “catholic” means “universal”, and it applies to any church that maintains deacons, priests and bishops in the historic Apostolic Succession. The Unified Old Catholic Church is Catholic, but not Roman Catholic.
So what do your clergy actually do?
The range of ministry is wide: public and private celebration of the Sacraments; the Mass, weddings, blessings, renewal of marriage vows and funerals. It also includes less common services such as animal and house blessings. Clergy are engaged in chaplaincy work in hospitals, schools and prisons. Some teach, and others are involved in academic work, including scholarship. UOCC is an ‘outreach’ church, and the principal serving is that of the ‘worker priest’, real ‘nitty-gritty’ Christian serving. Our clergy are unpaid, and many of our clergy are “part time” clergy, in that most have secular employment, connecting their serving to the people outside of ‘church’.
How do you answer those who say that your clergy are ‘false’ or failed applicants to larger churches?
Those who regard priests as only male for example, or only celibate, or say that homosexuals cannot be priests will hold that our priests are not real. Some fundamentalist protestants don’t recognize us either. We won’t get involved in such discussions: we are too busy ministering to those we serve.
Are all your clergy trained and qualified?
Yes. We have operated our own distance-learning seminaries for a number of years and all candidates for ordination/incardination must show that they have completed an acceptable level of education and preparation, as well as showing what we determine to be a sufficient foundation in matters of faith and ministry. They must also complete altar training and there are codes of practice and codes of conduct to adhere to. The Church is concerned that the demands of ministry in today’s world are such that we believe specific training is necessary to meet the standard expected by the Church and the public. We also require periods of experience and practical serving. Although some other independent Catholic churches will ordain individuals without such training, this Church does not endorse such a practice.
What about criminal record checks?
All clergy are required to submit a recent criminal record check at the time of their ordination, and submit renewed checks every three years. The Church will not ordain candidates with serious criminal convictions. In the case of candidates with less serious or spent convictions, or who can otherwise show that they have made sustained and successful efforts to rehabilitate their way of life over a period of time, the discretion of the Church may be applied in individual cases, in line with the practice of other mainstream churches. The Church has comprehensive policies regarding clergy discipline and child protection available on this website.