A Brief History of
Independent Catholicism
in North America


Compiled & edited by Most Rev. Alan R. Kemp, D.Min.

As we discussed in the previous page, Christians in the eastern Orthodox tradition also like to speak of themselves as being part of the Catholic, or universal, church of Christ. In order to distinguish between the two ancient Catholic traditions Melton (1991) uses the terms 'western liturgical tradition' and 'eastern liturgical tradition' to refer to the sacramental religious traditions that evolved in the West and East, respectively.

In the West, Rome had always been the center of Christian ecclesiastic power, and the authority of the church at Rome went unchallenged until 1517 when a young priest, Martin Luther, posted his famous ninety-five theses on the door of castle church (Collinson, 1990). This is generally hailed as the beginning of Protestantism and the so-called reformation. While the rise of Protestantism was the most significant split to occur in the western church, it was not the only one. Slightly more than two hundred years later an independent branch of Catholicism would be born (Melton, 1991). Later to be called the 'Old Catholic' movement, this was not just another Protestant church. Its teachings, beliefs, practices, and organization remained virtually identical with that of the church of Rome, except for one big difference. It was independent of the Pope's authority.

The drama unfolds in the Port Royal region of France and the Utrecht region of the Netherlands. The action takes place in the late 1600s and beginning 1700s. A group who became known as Jansenists ran into conflict with the Pope, members of the Jesuit order in France, and ultimately with the King of France. The Jansenists were members of a mystical movement that believed that human will was not free and that redemption was limited to only a few elect (Melton, 1991). [For some background on circumstances which preceded the conflict you may click here to access excerpts from Neale's 1857 history about the conflict.] The beliefs of the Jansenists were condemned by the pope. Loyal to the pope, the Jesuits opposed the Jansenists in France and accused them of being Protestants. Fleeing the French authorities, many Jansenists escaped to the Utrecht region of Holland. The newly consecrated Archbishop of Utrecht, Peter Codde, refused to comply with the Pope's demand that he condemn the Jansenists and was himself deposed in 1702 by the Pope because of it (Melton, 1991). While the Pope was successful in ousting Codde out of office he was not successful in installing a replacement. One contender supported by the Pope was exiled by the government.

The See of Utrecht was without a bishop for 17 years after Archbishop Codde was overthrown by the Pope. Bishop Dominique Marie Varlet stopped at Utrecht on his way to Persia in 1719. Since none of the children had been confirmed during the sees vacancy he agreed to confirm the children and was suspended from office because of it (Melton, 1991). He ultimately consecrated Cornelius Wuytiers as Archbishop of Utrecht, who became the first in a long line of independent bishops to follow.

The church in Utrecht might have been an isolated branch of the Catholic tradition had it not been for the First Vatican Council, which asserted the Pope to be infallible on matters of morals and dogma when speaking ex cathedra. As a consequence of the First Vatican Council a number of churches joined with the church at Utrecht to form the Old Catholic Church.


Arnold Harris Mathew
first Old Catholic bishop
of Great Britain


Arnold Harris Mathew (1852-1919)

Arnold Mathew, the first Old Catholic bishop for Great Britain, is usually counted as the first of the modern day independent Catholic bishops. He was born August 6, 1852 in England. It seems that he studied to become an Anglican priest but eventually converted to the Roman Church, the church in which he was first ordained to the priesthood on June 24, 1877 (Sawyer, 1998). After serving several parishes he left the Roman Catholic priesthood and became a Unitarian (Melton, 1991). During the time between when he left the Roman Catholic priesthood and when he was to become an Old Catholic bishop he was to become associated with a number of disgruntled ex-Catholics in England. In 1907 he began to correspond with the famous Swiss Old Catholic prelate, Bishop Eduard Herzog. [It is interesting to note that Bishop Herzog played a role in the life of another independent bishop, i.e. Joseph Renee Vilatte, which is the subject of another biographical sketch that appears later on this web page.]

Part of the discussion seemed to revolve around the development of a branch of the Old Catholic church in Great Britain. It may be that part of the impetus to launch an Old Catholic church in Great Britain was that a number of Anglicans were concerned because of the attack on the Anglican Holy Orders in the bull of Pope Leo XIII in 1896 (Sawyer, 1998). It seems that Mathew and others thought that credibility of Old Catholic lines of apostolic succession would make the development of an Old Catholic church in Great Britain a successful undertaking. With the support of Richard O'Halloran he was elected as bishop and was consecrated by Geraldus Gul, Old Catholic Archbishop of Utrecht, on April 22, 1908 (Melton, 1991).

Despite the high hopes, it seems that Mathew was to be disappointed as support for the development of a new church was sparse. He continued in his efforts, though he was to withdraw from union with the church at Utrecht on January 6, 1911 (Sawyer, 1998). On June 24, 1911 he sought and gained sacramental recognition and canonical inter communion with the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Metropolitan-Archbishop Mesarra, for his completely independent branch of the Catholic church. A photograph of Mathew and Mesarra, as well as a reproduction of the document recognizing Mathew's independent church appears to the left. While Mathew ultimately returned to the Roman Catholic Church on December 31, 1915, he had consecrated other men who were to carry on in the independent tradition. Mathew died on December 21, 1919.

There are two at least two consecrations by Arnold Harris Mathew that developed into significant jurisdictions. The first, on June 29, 1913 was Prince de Landas Berghes et de Rache and Frederick Samuel Willoughby, on October 28, 1914. Mathew and Willoughby parted company on August 6, 1915. Willoughby was to transform the Old Catholic Church in Great Britain into into a new church which became the Liberal Catholic Church.




Established in England in 1916 through a reorganization of the former Old Catholic Church in Great Britain, the new movement quickly spread to other countries, and in 1918 adopted its distinctive name, THE LIBERAL CATHOLIC CHURCH. Its Episcopal succession is derived from the Old Catholic Church of Holland through Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew and his Auxiliary, Bishop Frederick Samuel Willoughby, the latter having been elected and consecrated "to safeguard the Succession." Archbishop Mathew ordained a number of Theosophists to the Priesthood, knowing that they were Theosophists and knowing about their philosophy. They had built up a congregation in London which was at that (1915) the only congregation of the Old Catholic movement in England. In an about-face the Archbishop suddenly demanded that they all withdraw from membership in the Theosophical Society, and when they demurred at this breech of agreement, he bowed out and declared the whole movement "terminated."
This left them free to act as they should deem best, but without a bishop. Bishop Willoughby, who had been elected from among their number by their votes (though not a Theosophist), and from whom Archbishop Mathew had since parted company, passed on the Apostolic Succession to them by consecrating James Ingall Wedgwood to the Episcopate as Presiding Bishop of the now autonomous body, in London on February 13, 1916. He was assisted by Rupert Gauntet and Robert King (both of whom he had consecrated on September 26, 1915). Wedgwood in turn consecrated Charles Webster Leadbeater to the Episcopate in Sydney, Australia on July 22, 1916. Leadbeater was a well-known theosophist who was to have considerable influence on the development of the the Liberal Catholic Church.
The Church rapidly spread over the world, becoming active in over 40 countries with more than 15 languages, continuing to grow in all of them. (All services are in the language of the people). While it might be accurate to say that Leadbeater influenced the Liberal Catholic Church along theosophical lines, and that this fact has been used to discredit the Mathew succession, it is certainly also clear that the doctrines of the Liberal Catholic Church and the Theosophical Society are not identical. In fact there have been a number of conflicts over the years within the Liberal Catholic Church over the issue of how much influence theosophical ideas should have on the church. Although Theosophists played a major role in establishing this Church, the Church itself has no connection with the Theosophical Society or with any other philosophical school of thought. Clergy and members are free in such matters.
Nowhere is the Church large as yet, but it is steadily growing. The United States of America has its complements of bishops, priests, incorporated parishes as well as unincorporated missions, various churches, church centers and private oratories. The Church in the USA is incorporated in the State of Maryland as "The Liberal Catholic Church, Province of the United States of America," but its Provincial Headquarters is now in Ojai, California. The world headquarters of the Church is maintained in London, England, where its archives are kept and where the official international journal, The Liberal Catholic, has been published for over 50 years under the direction of the Presiding Bishop.
In the United States the Liberal Catholic Church International (LCCI), with headquarters in San Diego, California, evolved as a result of a conflict between the elected Regionary Bishop, Charles Hampton, and church authorities in London. A civil suit, which was settled in the 1950's, was to recognize Hampton's LCCI as the legitimate Liberal Catholic body in the United States. Both factions share much in terms of orientation and values, though the LCCI seems less tied to theosophical philosophy.

Joseph René Vilatte
first to bring independent Catholicism
to North America







Bull of Ignatius Peter III
authorizing consecration of
Joseph René Vilatte











Joseph René Vilatte (1854-1929)

Joseph René Vilatte is credited with being the first person to bring Old Catholicism to North America (Melton, 1991), and hence independent Catholicism. What appears below is a very short version of Archbishop Vilatte's story. For a more complete telling of the story click here for a link to the 12-part series on Archbishop Vilatte that was recently posted to the Internet by Bishop Donald Pierce Weeks.

Joseph René Vilatte was born in Paris on January 24, 1854 to parents who are reported to have belonged to an independent catholic body called the Petite Eglise (Sawyer, 1998). An immigrant to Canada from France he seems to have originally settled in Montreal (Sawyer 1998). Father Charles Chiniquy, an ex-Roman Catholic priest, is often credited with playing significant role in Vilatte's religious education (Melton, 1991), though it also seems that his religious background may have been somewhat varied. A bishop in one present-day Old Catholic denomination, Raymond Sawyer, suggests that during his life he left and returned to the Roman Catholic Church no less than four times (1998). He arrived on the scene in Wisconsin in the 1880s preaching Old Catholic doctrines among the French and Belgian immigrants, and is reported to have had some very marked successes.

He ultimately sought ordination in the Old Catholic union of churches, and on June 6 and 7 of 1885, respectively, he was ordained a deacon and a priest by Bishop Herzog of Switzerland (Sawyer, 1998), the one and the same Bishop Herzog who was in just a few years to correspond with Arnold Harris Mathew about the establishment of an Old Catholic Church in England.

Upon his return to Wisconsin as a priest, he established the mission Church of the Precious Blood in Little Sturgeon. He later established a second mission in Green Bay, the Church of the Blessed Sacrament. This latter church eventually became an official Episcopal Church and continues as such to this day (Sawyer, 1998).

While Vilatte had been ordained an Old Catholic priest he ended up serving Episcopal churches. The Episcopal bishop who had been his sponsor died and since it was his goal to establish an Old Catholic church among the Belgians he apparently felt compelled to seek the episcopal order through the Old Catholic hierarchy.

His efforts were not successful, and it seems that his precarious position of being affiliated with both the Episcopal and Old Catholic churches hurt his efforts. He was never consecrated in the Old Catholic churches and relations with the bishop of the Episcopal became strained and ultimately collapsed.

It seems that Vilatte learned that there was an independent Catholic church in Ceylon headed by Archbishop Alvarez of the Independent Catholic Church of Ceylon. Vilatte journeyed to Ceylon after being accepted by Archbishop Alvarez as a candidate for the episcopate. A copy of the Bull of Ignatius Peter III of Antioch authorizing the consecration of Vilatte appears to the left. You may read a translation by clicking here: translation of patriarchal bull.On May 29, 1892, Vilatte was raised to the episcopate (Melton, 1991).

The new archbishop returned to the United States, and while he seems to have briefly returned to Roman Catholicism from 1899-1900 (Melton, 1991), he continued to be involved in independent Catholic ministry for the next twenty years (Melton, 1991).

In 1920 Archbishop Vilatte returned to France. In 1925 he was reconciled with the Roman Catholic Church; acknowledging the authority of the Roman Pontiff, he entered into the Abbey of Pon-Colbert, a Cistercian Abbey near Versailles. Here he remained until his transition in July, 1929. The Requiem Mass for a layman was said for him, and he was buried without clerical honors.

While Abp. Vilatte may have died a reconciled member of the Roman Catholic Church, his spiritual legacy did not end with his death. Melton (1991) comments that we shouldn't be surprised to learn, given his Roman Catholic background and eastern orders, that both western and eastern forms of Catholicism in North America derive from him.

One Surviving Branch of Vilattle's Heritage in Canada

Through recent correspondence with Bishop Serge A. Thériault, I understand that there is a very historic religious community in Canada that traces its roots to Fr. Chinquy and Abp. Vilatte. For historical background about that branch of Vilatte's religious family please follow this link.


Archbishop Herman Adrian Spruit
"father" of many independent Catholic and
Orthodox jurisdictions


The discussion in the following paragraphs sketches the evolution of one branch of independent Catholicism in the United States that traces its roots to Archbishop Vilatte.

In 1915 Vilatte consecrated F.E.J. Lloyd and incorporated his church in the State of Illinois as the American Catholic Church (Sawyer, 1998). In April of 1920, at a Synod of the American Catholic Church, the Archbishop stated his desire to retire and turn over the leadership of the church to Bishop Lloyd.

In addition to Bishop Lloyd, there are a number of other notable consecrations attributed to Vilatte. These include Alexander McGuire, Frank S. Mead, and Gregory Lines. Alexander McGuire, a black clergyman, was to go on to found in 1939 the African Orthodox Church, which numbered some 3,200 members. Vilatte consecrated a former Protestant Episcopal clergyman, Gregory Lines, in 1923. In 1927 Lines in turn consecrated Justin A. Boyle (more popularly known as Robert Raleigh), who in turn was to consecrate Lowell Paul Wadle. Wadle was to become the head of the American Catholic Church. He was also to serve as a co-consecrator of Herman Adrian Spruit (Spruit's primary consecrator was Liberal Catholic Regionary Bishop Charles Hampton), a former Methodist minister and General Secretary of the Church of Religious Science. Bishop Spruit, who became Robert Raleigh's coadjutor in the independent Apostolic Christian Church, succeeded Raleigh upon his retirement (Melton, 1991). Spruit renamed the jurisdiction the Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch, Malabar Rite, so that the very name might recall the source of Vilatte's episcopal orders. Today it is more commonly known simply as the Church of Antioch. Noteworthy among Archbishop Herman Spruit's accomplishments is that many of the independent Catholic and Orthodox denominations in North American trace their own origins to the bishops he consecrated. It is the progenitor of the Ascension Alliance, the sponsor of this web site.



The Polish National Catholic Church in the United States and Antoni Stanislaus Koslowski (1835-1907)
There are no recorded consecrations for Antoni Stanislaus Kozlowski, founder of the Polish Old Catholics in the United States. A former Roman Catholic priest, he was consecrated bishop by Old Catholic Bishop Eduard Herzog, assisted by Archbishop Gerardus Gul of Utrecht, and Bishop Theodor Weber.
Ethnic leadership of the Roman Catholic Church was a key issue in the formation of an Old Catholic body among Polish immigrants to the United States. From earliest times, the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the United States were primarily from Irish, Bavarian, French and Spanish extraction.
There were three issues that were paramount. They demanded that title to the church property be vested in the local parish church; that the parishes be free to choose Parish Committees, managerial and administrative; without interference on the part of either priest or bishop; and that they be given a voice in the assignment of parish priests. If those conditions were met, they would remain Roman Catholics.
The Vatican chose a Pole, Cardinal Mieczyskaw Ledochowski, to state the official Roman Catholic reply. It was no, since that question had been settled at the Baltimore Synod of 1884. The Poles, however, were more determined than other immigrants, to maintain their ethnic and cultural heritage.
Father Francis Hodur (1866-1953), a leader of Polish dissident Roman Catholics, returned from Rome; and within a week, was excommunicated along with his dissident flock. On September 19, 1897 they decided to go it alone, and formed the Polish National Catholic Church, organizing themselves at Saint Adalbert's Church, Scranton, PA as the "Polish National Catholic Church" and elected Father Antoni Klawiter as the first priest of the jurisdiction.
The new denomination grew exponentially in the next few years as Polish-extracted Roman Catholic parishes were incardinating partially or in whole to the new Polish National Catholic Church. Other groups also formed other independent groups. In 1895, several parishes in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago became independent, and in 1897 their Synod elected Father Antoni Stanislaus Kozlowski as their bishop. He traveled to Utrecht and on November 21, 1897 he was consecrated bishop. He named his jurisdiction the Polish Old Catholic Church, and had the initial Utrecht Union jurisdiction in the nation.
In the early days of the formation of the Polish National Catholic Church, Utrecht hoped that Bishop Kozlowski would unite the two groups and that they would not have two rival Old Catholic national churches in the United States. In 1904, the Polish National Catholics elected Father Hodur as bishop and petitioned Utrecht to consecrate him. Utrecht was reluctant to recognize two national bodies for the United States.
On January 14, 1907, Bishop Kozlowski died suddenly; and at the Seventh International Old Catholic Congress at The Hague, Holland, the groups in Chicago and Scranton accepted the election of Francis Hodur for both groups, and he was consecrated by Archbishop Gul, of Utrecht on September 29, 1907.
This recognition allowed them to claim, as they do today, that they, the Polish National Catholic Church, are the only Utrecht Union Old Catholic body in the United States. At their second Synod in 1906, Bishop Hodur was given authority to translate the Mass from Latin to Polish. No thought, however, was given by either Utrecht or Scranton to translate the Mass into English at that time. Even today, although English Masses are offered, the Polish national character of the "American Old Catholic Union" jurisdiction, is evident. That reality would come outside the Utrecht Union with the work of independent Old Catholic founding fathers such Carfora, Vilatte et al.
By the early 1940's, the jurisdiction boasted nearly 5 million communicants. Today, the Polish National Catholic Church remains part of the Utrecht Union. Yet, they are distressed over the ordination of women and other theological issues, and have not participated in the last three International Congresses. The relations are unresolved on both sides. For a more detailed history of the Polish National Catholic Church you may wish to visit the history section of the PNCC home page.

The Mariavite Church in Poland and Johann Michael Kowalski (1871-1942)

Johann Michael Kowalski, a former Roman Catholic priest, was consecrated an Old Catholic bishop by Archbishop Gerardus Gul, of Utrecht, assisted by Bishop Arnold Harris Mathew, J. J. van Thiel, J. Demmel and M. B. P. Spit for the Polish Mariavite Church on October 5, 1909, being given the title of Archbishop of Felicianov and Primate of the Old Catholic Church of the Mariavites. He had been ordained to the priesthood on April 24, 1897 and was excommunicated by Rome on December 5, 1906.
The Mariavites were founded by a Franciscan tertiary religious, Maria Francesca Kozlowski, who claimed a vision of the Blessed Mother instructing her to found a mixed community of men and women dedicated to Mary. Rome denied this apparition, and was unwilling to validate the aims and approach of this group.
It must also be noted that the Polish Mariavites may possess Succession from either the Kowalski or Vilatte successions. Those jurisdictions who possess the Vilatte succession have an Orthodox, albeit western rite, view of the Church.
It is factual that Bishop Kowalski also ordained women to the priesthood and consecrated them to the episcopate. These actions alienated Kowalski from Utrecht, who broke with him over these issues in 1924. Whatever your views on these issues are concerned, Kowalski often stated that the Early Church had ordained and consecrated "episcopa" and that he merely followed that tradition. It has also been argued that he felt the Mariavite mission, given by Our Lady, included the ordination of women to Holy Orders. Others claimed that in wartime, the Nazis persecuted them and the Succession could be protected by the "camera" consecration of women bishops and the ordination of women priests.
Mother Maria Franciska died in 1921 and to then 50,000 Mariavites, she was considered a saint.
Bishop Kowalski was in Poland at the outbreak of the Second World War, and was subsequently interned by the Nazi invaders at the infamous Dachau concentration camp, where he died on May 26, 1942.
[NOTE: The two vignettes that appear above are edited versions of ones that were originally posted on the FICOB (Federation of Independent Catholic & Orthodox Bishops) home page. They were written by Bishop Raymond Sawyer of the Christian Catholic Church (USA).]  

Dom Carlos Duarte Costa (1888 - 1961)
Controversy about Vatican Passports for Suspected Nazi and Fascist War Criminals - Carlos Duarte Costa (1888 - 1961) and his Progeny
The most important event of 1945 in the independent Catholic experience was that His Excellency, Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, a Brazilian diocesan bishop, had left the Roman Catholic Church to found the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church.
The TIME magazine article quoted Bishop Duarte Costa as stating that he opposed the immigration of countless Fascists and Nazis with Vatican passports entering Brazil after World War II. Today, it can be safely claimed that the theology of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church has continued to evolve, with the most recent consecrations by that body being with Old Catholics and Western Orthodox jurisdictions. Click on the highlighted text if you are interested in the apostolic succession of Bishop Duarte Costa and the bishops of his church. The national apostolic church in Brazil continues to thrive. Known as "the church of the poor," it is reported to have several million communicants in Brazil. It also has several smaller national catholic apostolic affiliate churches in countries throughout the world.
[NOTE: The above vignette is and edited version of one that was originally posted on the FICOB (Federation of Independent Catholic & Orthodox Bishops) home page. It was written by Bishop Raymond Sawyer of the Christian Catholic Church (USA).]


The Story of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (1905-1991) and Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer (1904-1991)

In response to the changes instituted at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) Archbishop-Bishop Marcel Lefebvre and Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer in 1988 together consecrated four bishops for the Archbishop-Bishop Lefrebvre's Sacerdotal Society of Saint Pius X, a Traditionalist Roman Catholic organization of priests founded in 1970, which, while recognizing John Paul II as Pope, refuses to cooperate with what they consider the post-Vatican II hierarchy's "auto-destruction" of the Church. Another traditionalist organization is the Society of Saint Pius V. It is not affiliated in a formal way with the group established by Lefrebvre. Yet another traditionalist break-away Roman Catholic Group is the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (Congregatio Mariae Reginae Immaculatae - CMRI).
Following the deaths of both Msgr. Lefebvre and Msgr. Mayer in 1991, the bishops whom they had consecrated in 1988 agreed to consecrate a fifth bishop, to serve the Traditionalists in Msgr. Mayer's former diocese of Campos, Brazil.
Several years later, a retired bishop in The Philippines, Msgr. Salvador Lazo y Lazo, came forward to add his support to the cause of the SSPX. Msgr. Lazo, however, has not (yet) consecrated any bishop for these traditionalists.
Marcel Lefebvre (b. in 1905; d. in 1991), ordained a Roman Catholic priest on 09/21/1929 at Lille, France, by Achille Liénart, Bishop of Lille, France. In 1931 he joined the Congregation of the Holy Ghost. Consecrated a Roman Catholic bishop on 09/18/1947 at Tourcoing, France, by Msgr. Achille Cardinal Liénart, Bishop of Lille, assisted by Msgr. Alfred Ancel, Titular Bishop of Myrina and an Auxiliary Bishop of Lyon, France, and by Msgr. Jean-Baptiste Fauret, C.S.Sp., Titular Bishop of Araxa. Msgr. Lefebvre was Titular Bishop of Antedone, 1947-1948, Titular Archbishop of Arcadiopoli in Europe, 1948-1955, Archbishop of Dakar, Senegal, 1955-1962, Bishop of Tulle, France, January 1962-August 1962, Titular Archbishop of Synnada in Phrygia, 1962-1970. In 1970 he resigned his titular see and took the title "Archibishop emeritus of Tulle." He was Superior General of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost (1962-68) and Superior General of the Sacerdotal Society of St. Pius X (1970-83).
Antonio de Castro Mayer (b. in 1904; d. in 1991), ordained a Roman Catholic priest on 10/30/1927 at Rome, Italy, by Basilio Cardinal Pompilij, consecrated a Roman Catholic bishop on 05/23/1948 at Sao Paolo, Sao Paolo, Brazil, by the Papal Nuncio to Brazil, Msgr. Carlos Chiarlo, Titular Archbishop of Amida, assisted by Msgr. Geraldo de Proenca Sigaud, S.V.D., Bishop of Jacarezinho, Brazil, and by Msgr. Ernesto de Paula, Bishop of Piracicaba, Brazil. Msgr. Mayer was Titular Bishop of Priene, 1948-49, and Bishop of Campos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1949-1981. He retired in 1981.
Bernard Fellay (b. in 1958; still living). Ordained a priest for the Sacerdotal Society of St. Pius X at Ecône, Switzerland, by Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre, retired Archbishop-Bishop of Tulle France. Consecrated a bishop on 06/30/1988 at Ecône, Switzerland, by Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre, retired Archbishop-Bishop of Tulle, France, assisted by Msgr. Antonio de Castro Mayer, retired Bishop of Campos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Alfonso de Galarreta (b. in 1957; still living). Ordained a priest for the Sacerdotal Society of St. Pius X at Ecône, Switzerland, by Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre, retired Archbishop-Bishop of Tulle, France. Consecrated a bishop on 06/30/1988 at Ecône, Switzerland, by Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre, retired Archbishop-Bishop of Tulle, France, assisted by Msgr. Antonio de Castro Mayer, retired Bishop of Campos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Bernard Tissier de Mallerais (b. in 1945; still living). Ordained a priest for the Sacerdotal Society of St. Pius X at Ecône, Switzerland, by Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre, retired Archbishop-Bishop of Tulle, France. Consecrated a bishop on 06/30/1988 at Ecône, Switzerland, by Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre, retired Archbishop-Bishop of Tulle, France, assisted by Msgr. Antonio de Castro Mayer, retired Bishop of Campos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Richard Williamson (b. in 1940; still living),ordained a priest for the Sacerdotal Society of St. Pius X at Ecône, Switzerland, by Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre, retired Archbishop-Bishop of Tulle, France. Consecrated a bishop on 06/30/1988 at Ecône, Switzerland, by Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre, retired Archbishop-Bishop of Tulle, France, assisted by Msgr. Antonio de Castro Mayer, retired Bishop of Campos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Licinio Rangel (still living). Ordained a Roman Catholic priest by the Superior of the Sacerdotal Society of St. John Vianney in the Diocese of Campos, Brazil. Consecrated a bishop on 07/28/1991 at Sao Fidelis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by Msgr. Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, assisted by Msgr. Alfonso de Gallarreta, and by Msgr. Richard Williamson.

Salvador Lazo y Lazo (b. in 1918; still living). Ordained a Roman Catholic priest on 03/22/1947 Mariano Madriaga, Archbishop of Lingayen, Dagupan, The Philippines. Consecrated a Roman Catholic bishop on 02/03/1970 at Tuguegarao, The Philippines, by the Apostolic Nuncio to The Philippines, Msgr. Carmine Rocco, Titular Archbishop of Justinianopolis in Galatia, assisted by Msgr. Juan Sison, Archbishop of Nueva Segovia, The Philippines, and by Msgr. Teodulfo Domingo y Sabugal, Bishop of Tuguegarao, The Philippines. Msgr. Lazo was Titular Bishop of Selja, 1970-1981, and, successively, the Auxiliary Bishop of Tuguegarao, The Philippines, 1970-1977; the Auxiliary Bishop of Nueva Segovia, The Philippines, 1977-1980; and the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of San Fernando de la Union, Luzon, The Philippines 1980-1981. He was of San Fernando de la Union, Luzon, The Philippines, 1981-1993. He retired in 1993 and since then has been living in Manila, The Philippines.


Collinson, P. (1990). The late medieval church and its reformation. In J. McManners (Ed.), The Oxford history of Christianity. New York: Oxford University Press.

Melton, J. G. (1991). The encyclopedia of American religions. New York: Triumph Books.

Norton, R. (1998). Personal correspondence with Bishop Robert Norton of San Francisco.

Sawyer, R. (1998). Historical vignettes. [On-line]. Available: http://interinc.com/Allfaiths/CCCUSA


Additional Sources of Information on the Independet Catholic Movement

Anson, Peter. Bishops at Large. London: Faber and Faber, 1964. 593pp.
Barrett, David B. World Christian Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1982.
Brandreth, Henry R. T. Episcopit Vagantes and the Anglican Church. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1947, 2nd ed., 1961. Facsimile edition, Scottsdale, AZ: St. Willibrord Press, 1987.
Hoeller, Stephan A. Wandering Bishops: Not All Roads Lead to Rome, Gnosis Magazine, Summer 86, p20.
Keizer, Lewis S. The Wandering Bishops: Hearalds of a New Christianity. Seaside, CA: Academy of Arts and Humanities Monograph Series No. 2, 1976.
Piepkorn, Arthur Carl. Profiles in Belief. Vol. I. New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1977.
Pruter, Karl. A History of the Old Catholic Church. Scottsdale, AZ: At. Willibrord's Press, 1973.
Pruter, Karl and J. Gordon Melton. The Old Catholic Sourcebook. New York, NY: Garland, 1983.
Ward, Gary L. Independent Bishops: An International Directory. 1st ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Santa Barbara Centre, 1990.

For Listings of Independent Movement Jurisdictions & Seminaries see
Independent Catholic Information Page
For Links to Resources on Religion, Theology, Liturgy, Mysticism,
Lectionaries, Pastoral Aids, Prayer & Healing, and Many More
Click Below
Ascension Home Page