Utah’s ‘Old Catholics’ Embrace New Movements
Archbishop Michael Seneco, of Washington, D.C., is a gay man who plans to marry his longtime partner in September.
Bishop Jim Morgan, of Ogden, is also gay and has been with the man he considers his husband for 30 years.
In this faith, the bishops’ marital relations haven’t caused a ripple among the clergy or the laity. No protests. No outraged believers. No furious voting.
You see, both priests practice a little-known brand of Catholicism, with elements most Catholics wouldn’t recognize. It’s called the North American Old Catholic Church and, according to its website, it preaches openness, tolerance and interfaith dialogue as “an essential way to build a more holistic and loving world in accordance with the Gospels.”
North American Old Catholics, members say, “are redefining what it means to be a universal catholic church in a modern world needing prophetic voices.”
In this incarnation of Catholicism, priests and nuns may marry whomever they wish, every baptized person (including divorced members) is welcome to take communion and women can be priests. Their faith statements read like a litany of progressive concerns — the environment, anti-torture, gay rights, women’s rights, nuclear disarmament, reproductive justice.