Questions & Answers

with The Primate of The Church

Most Reverend Andrew Hall OSFS

Bishop Andrew.jpg

The Primate and the newly ordained Fr Max.

1. Are you in Communion with the Roman Catholic Church, or the Anglican Communion?

To be in 'Communion' means to be in union, in harmony, in agreeance and in this instance, with said Churches. From a legal perspective, the answer is "No". We (The Reformed Old Catholic Church) have no agreement or 'fraternal relations' with these Churches. And that suits us fine; the so-called historical baggage or various identities i.e. what identifies the Roman Church and the Anglican Communion remain with these Institutions and not us. That is not to say we have no connection with them entirely. We do work with some of their clergy and parishioners and are involved in joint prayer services.

Our succession meets up with their succession which is inevitable as we both claim a lineage back to the same Apostles. We do have differing views regarding 'Form and Matter' particularly with the Conciliar Church.

2. Will I receive a stipend or wage from the Church?

If you are working in a parish in the capacity of an office administrator or sexton, then a contract will be set-up by the parish council and a wage agreed to, based on the nations employment laws.
It is against Church policy to pay Clergy a salary for the services they render in priestly ministry. Simony which is the selling of sacred items or expectation of finances in exchange for liturgical roles, the Church deems a sin. However, it would be a breach of charity to expect a priest to travel from a long distance to fulfill some liturgical role and not contribute towards their accommodation, travel and food.
Established parishes are autonomous in their financial set-ups. They may have the resources to provide financially for a priest to serve their parish but may also seek other employment, particularly with a family. This is at the discretion of the parish council in conjunction with the Bishop. The Church otherwise does not provide either a stipend or a wage.
 
3. Will I get help with the cost of vestments?
As a member of the clergy of this Church, there may be some assistance. It is customary for the members of a priest's family to provide the sacred vestments necessary for the work, or they can be loaned from another clergyperson.
4. Will I receive start up funds to build a parish? 
This is more a question of jurisdiction. When a priest is ordained, they do not automatically take possession of, or establish a parish. The Bishop may assign the newly ordained to assist a Parish Priest or set-up an oratory and invite the Faithful to attend Mass and other such liturgical ceremonies. When it is deemed of such a size as to extend the oratory into a parish, then the Bishop will invite the Priest to establish a parish (in consultation with the Parish Council) and be given jurisdiction to preside over it.
5. Are Priests permitted to be married?
A married person may discern a vocation to the priesthood. If after ordination, their spouse predeceases them and they desire to be marry again, this is permitted. However, discerning a vocation involves the significant other and they too must be included in the discussion and talks with the Bishop and Vocations Director.
6. Does the Church ordain women?
Yes; providing the Bishop has accepted their request and they have undergone the necessary requirements and prerequisites to be a candidate for Holy Orders. There is no discrimination on rank, fortune, ability or disability, position, gender or orientation.
7. How do I begin studies for the priesthood?  
Contact the website. Tell us a little about yourself and why you wish to commence studies for the priesthood. We recommend having a spiritual director to guide you through this process. The Church offers an online open and distance learning programme through its Seminary.
8. I live abroad. Can the Church help me to immigrate or claim asylum?
For legal reasons we are obliged to say, "No". Otherwise we would be bombarded with endless applications and we're simply not in a position. Please check the regulations of the country of choice regarding these matters.
9. I have a criminal conviction, can I still be considered a candidate for Holy Orders?
Let's take a look at the people God has called over the centuries. Noah was a drunk (Gen. 9:21); Abraham was too old (Gen 18:11); Isaac was a daydreamer (Gen. 22:1-14); Jacob was a liar (Gen. 24:19-34; 27:1-41); Leah was ugly (Gen. 29:16-35); Joseph was abused (Gen. 39); Moses had a stutter (Ex. 4:10-13); Gideon was afraid (Judges 6:15); Samson had long hair and was a womaniser (Judges 13-16); Rahab was a prostitute (Josh. 2:1); Jeremiah and Timothy were too young (Jer. 1:6-8; I Tim. 4:12); David was an adulterer and a murderer (II Sam. 11-12); Elijah was suicidal (I Kgs. 19:4); Isaiah preached naked (Is. 20:2-4); Jonah ran from God (Jonah 1:3-17); Naomi was a widow (Ruth 1-4); Job went bankrupt (Job 1:13-22); John the Baptist ate bugs (Mt. 3:4); Peter denied Christ (Lk. 22:54-62); The disciples fell asleep while praying (Mt. 26:40); Martha worried about everything (Lk. 10:41); The Samaritan woman was divorced (Jn. 4:17-18); Zacchaeus was too small (Lk. 19:3); Paul was too religious (Acts 26:24-25); Timothy had an ulcer (I Tim. 5:23) and Lazarus was dead (Jn. 11).
Okay, the above may be a little far-fetched, but the emphasis is on God who calls people from wherever they are at. There is no hard and fast answer for this. It depends on the nature of the conviction. The important thing to keep in mind is, if a person believes they have a vocation, they should know that it demands integrity, honesty and  transparency. They will need the support of their parish priest, references and ultimately the bishop's permission to proceed. Please contact us.
10. Can a member of clergy become engaged with political parties?
There are two parts to this question:
(a) If a member of clergy seeks to be elected in some political organisation, they must resign their position (if they are priests with jurisdiction ie. parish priest or vicar-general etc...) and request a suspension of faculties before they make submissions to be elected for political office. If the individual chooses to be re-instated to clerical orders, this would be at the discretion of the local ordinary.
(b) If a member of clergy makes public their party political preferences, this is permissible. However, they are not permitted to push or impose their political preferences in an arena they would not have been able to access had they not been Clergy. In some circumstances the bishops may voice their concerns over certain laws that are against moral and Divine laws, such as the manner in which a country or state enforces the death penalty; or abortion laws.