1. What does "Ecumenical Catholic" mean?
We, as the Ecumenical Catholic Diocese of New England, are part of a growing movement of independent Catholic communities arising in a variety of forms. The movement is comprised of numerous small local faith communities and other ministries. Many of these communities, like ourselves, have included the word "ecumenical" to indicate our commitment to Christian unity. These communities often began with groups of Roman Catholics who sought a more inclusive worship community; they frequently include people from many different Christian Traditions. A prevalent characteristic of these communities is that they welcome all people.
2. Are you affiliated with the Catholic Church as represented by the Vatican?
The Ecumenical Catholic Diocese of New England (ECDNE) identifies itself as Catholic and lives out its Catholic Heritage. It is not, however, affiliated with any Roman Catholic Diocese and its authority does not come from the Vatican.
3. What is the source of your authority?
As with all who have formed Church in the name of Christ our authority comes from Jesus. The Gospel of Jesus is our call to mission and our mandate for service. All of us within ECDNE, lay and ordained, are empowered by the Gospel in freedom to follow God's call. Our bishops, priests and deacons are people called forth for service by the community and are ordained within the Apostolic lineage.
4. Are you in communion with the Church of Rome?
We see ourselves to be in communion with all Christian Traditions. While we adhere to the foundational teachings of the Church (Creedal Statements), we disagree with the current hierarchy of the Church of Rome regarding some of its (less than foundational) teachings. Therefore from their point of view (as we understand it) they might not consider themselves to be in full communion with us nor see us to be in full communion with them. Nevertheless, we believe disagreement on non-foundational teachings is an opportunity for learning and growth - not a reason for disunity. We look forward to the day when the Church of Rome and all Christian Traditions work together to discern and follow God's Spirit at work in our world.
5. Do you celebrate the Sacraments?
Yes. We believe that all seven sacraments are gifts from Christ to the Church and meant to be open to all people regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
6. How does leadership evolve in ECDNE?
Our leaders, lay and ordained, are called forth for service by the community. We believe that Jesus intends for the Church to be ordered. But he repeatedly and consistently instructed that such order should be based on service and mission and not on power. (Mk. 9:35-36; Jn13:11-17) Our diocese and organizations affiliated with it are structured such that (in some format) the entire body is involved in major decision making. Our leaders, lay and ordained, serve the community in the mission which Jesus gave it.
7. Can everyone receive communion at your Masses?
The table around which we celebrate the Eucharist (Mass) is Jesus' table, and all are welcome to it. Anyone wishing to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist is welcome to do so. From our point of view the Eucharist is far too precious a gift to be used as a punitive tool. We believe it was Jesus' intention and practice that it be celebrated to nurture unity and understanding, not to highlight differences. Hence we follow Jesus' example and welcome all at His table. (Jn 17:21)
8. Does that include divorced and remarried Catholics?
9. Are gay, lesbian, and trans-gender people welcome and does that include gay married couples and families?
10. How does an individual or community become affiliated with ECDNE?
ECDNE welcomes affiliation with individuals, ministers and communities who share our values and commitment to moving forward within our Catholic heritage. For more information contact Bishop James David.