T h e     C h u r c h

What We Believe

The Evangelical Catholic Church is a part of that Church which has existed ever since our ascended Lord commanded His Disciples to be His witnesses to the end of the ages. Her faith, doctrine, and confessions are evidence of this continuing link with the past, in contradistinction to both those who separated from the medieval Church and submitted to the heretical claims of the Papacy and its hierarchy (becoming the sectarian Roman Catholic Church at the Council of Trent) and those radical reformers who jettisoned large elements of the historic Christian Faith (consequently removing themselves from the Catholic Church). The Confessions of The Evangelical Catholic Church repeatedly insist that in Her doctrine there is nothing that varies from the Scriptures or from The Catholic Church, and that She takes most diligent care that no new doctrine should creep into our churches, for a new doctrine would be neither Scriptural nor a universal Catholic doctrine. She believes and teaches The Faith of the ancient undivided Church, firmly holding to the mystery of The All-Holy Trinity (by all creation to be ever blessed, glorified and adored) and acknowledging Jesus Christ as the one true God, the One Who is coming again to judge the living and the dead.

As a testimony of Her faithfully preserving the wholeness of the full and true Faith of Jesus our God, The Evangelical Catholic Church espouses The Rule of Saint Vincent of Lerins (A.D. 434):

This Vincentian Canon also stands as a bulwark against all unfaithfulness in preserving and handing on the full and true Catholic Faith (e.g., against those who have submitted to the unscriptural or purely political Papal claims, against all others who have rejected such Faith).

Thus, although legally incorporated in The State of Arizona in 1976, The Evangelical Catholic Church is not an interpretation of Christianity, not a party or a denomination; She is an integral part of that Body which Our Lord addressed when He said: I am the vine, ye are the branches; and Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the ages.  She believes and teaches the pure apostolic testimony of The Gospel, while at the same time She is able to trace Her existence historically, through the consecration of Her Bishops, directly back to The Apostles (and through them to Our Lord).

This careful maintenance of an historical link with the Apostolic Church expressed through the regular episcopal consecration of Bishops in Apostolic Succession, as well as the ecclesiastical government of Bishops themselves, has been held and acknowledged by the true Catholic Church from the earliest days. Our Confessions maintain this historic view:
 

The Synods of The Evangelical Catholic Church have consistently affirmed their acceptance of  The Book of Concord of 1580, and have adopted the clerical grades and ecclesiastical and canonical government which it and Dr. Martin Luther espouse and prefer (the emergency long ago having ended).
 

The Evangelical Catholic Church sees Episcopal administration and Apostolic Succession as analogous to the formulation of the doctrines of the Trinity, Christology, Grace and the sacraments, i.e., a divinely willed, Spirit-directed development within The Church, the character of which is really and truly ecumenical because it took place uniformly both in the East and in the West. In the tripartition of the priestly office (deacon, priest, bishop) vibrates the triadic rhythm of the eternal divine life; in the monarchial bishop the ascended Christ, the invisible Head of The Church, becomes visible; and in the chain of bishops, consecrated by episcopal imposition of hands, the unbroken continuity is visualized, which unites The Church of the 21st Century with The Church of The Apostles. Thus the bonds of The Evangelical Catholic Church with those first days in Nazareth and Galilee remain unbroken, assured both by its faithful proclamation of The Gospel in all its apostolic purity and by its regular episcopal ordination of Bishops in Apostolic Succession. The Evangelical Catholic Church claims both a valid Apostolic Succession and a faithful transmission of The Gospel in all its truth and purity.

The Evangelical Catholic Church recognizes that the sacred ministry is a divine institution based upon a divine commission. The Church is recognized externally, writes Father Martin Luther in On the Councils and The Church, by the fact that She consecrates or calls ministers. From the writings of The New Testament and from the teachings, traditions and customs of Holy Mother Church, we know that the Priesthood is a necessary element of The Church, and is included among Her constitutive marks (nota ecclesiae), having received its beginning and its mission directly from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and from The Holy Apostles (vide: Titus 1:5).

The Episcopacy is de jure divino and not a mere human invention nor even a nice or convenient form of ecclesial polity. The Ministry of a Bishop is essentially three-fold: (1) Sacramental; (2) Magisterial; and (3) Administrative. It is within the Bishop's power de jure divino to administer the Word and the Sacraments, to guard Orthodox and Catholic Truth and denounce heresies, and to excommunicate the ungodly.
 

Any jurisdiction which claims The Augsburg Confession as a Confessional Document will abide by these words (make the Catholic doctrine of episcopacy known, valued, and exercised).

 

The Church Order of The Church of Sweden clearly reflects this understanding:

The Bishop, who is to feed the flock, scripturally has rule over the flock (for if he does not have rule over the flock, then he is an hireling and not a Christian priest). St. Paul admonishes all Christians:

Thus Holy Scriptures, as well as the canons of the undivided Church, teach a form of Church polity. The Bishop, who has been called as Christ's representative by God into the Sacred Ministry, is to rule over The Church as a father governs his household; he, the called, ordained and consecrated Bishop, shall be held accountable to God for his administration. The Faithful are commanded here and in the Fourth Commandment to obey their spiritual fathers, the ministers who have spoken unto you the Word of God -- for The Faithful shall be held accountable to God for the obedience they render their pastors.
 

In the Augsburg Confession, only the Bishop is mentioned, except for the two places where the Priest is mentioned. Deacons are mentioned in Art. XXIV, On the Mass. "That shows that the Bishop is considered to be the man with the full Ministry; he is the dispenser of it in different degrees through different ordinations. Here is the doctrine of the Catholic Church" (Fr. Gunnar Rosendal, Rector of St. Petri, Osby, Sweden, in The Catholic Movement in The Swedish Church).

 

We therefore conclude, in the words of Professor Leonard Hutter of Wittenberg University (1596 - 1616):

A so-called democratic form of Church polity, or congregational rule/autonomy, where the children rule the father, is unscriptural, non-Catholic, non-Lutheran, and a subversion of God's natural, revealed Order. The form of Church government practiced by the LC-MS and ELCA (and almost all other expressions of American Lutheranism) was condemned by Fr. Luther when Philip of Hesse (perhaps the most prominent Prince within the Reformation Movement next to the Elector of Saxony), prevailed upon the synod at Hamburg in 1526 to adopt a form of congregational government ordered by a constitution accepted by all. In January 1527 Dr. Luther convinced Philip to repudiate this plan for congregational government. Such polity (i.e. , congregationalism) undermines The Gospel and usually leads to the distorted view that, because The Faithful are a royal priesthood (I Pet. 2:9), all Christians (the priesthood of all believers) possess the public office of the ministry. Such a teaching (i.e., the mandate or justification of a congregational form of Church polity) is not found in Holy Scriptures; such a practice does not conform to the teachings of Dr. Luther. That is why, without a doubt, the Lutheran Confessions nowhere mention such a "doctrine". The congregational (or priesthood of all believers) form of Church polity has no foundation in the Scriptures, the canons of the undivided Church, the Lutheran Confessions, or the writings of Dr. Martin Luther. For this reason the canons of The Evangelical Catholic Church state that the parish Pastor is the spiritual father of his parish (XIII,1).

The Missouri Synod's Brief Statement of 1932 is in direct conflict with Scripture, Tradition and The Lutheran Confessions in this area when it heretically proclaims that "Christ Himself commits to all believers the keys of the kingdom of heaven." The Augsburg Confession (Latin, Art. XXVIII, Sec. 21) states that the ministry of Word and Sacraments has been commited to the Bishops. This is confirmed in John 20:24. Yet the Brief Statement later, in the section "Of the Public Ministry" (Paragraph 32), contradicts itself when it asserts with Scripture and Dr. Luther that "it is the duty of Christians to yeiled unconditional obedience to the office of the ministry whenever, and as long as, the minister proclaims to them the Word of God". Contrary to current American Lutheran practice, this statement by The Missouri Synod clearly supports Scripture and The Reformers by eliminating any right of the layman to administer the Word and Sacraments!

 

An equality before God because of Jesus Christ does not mean that a special office of the ministry, ordained by Christ, becomes superfluous. All who are called to faith in Jesus are members of the royal priesthood, but not all are called to the public priesthood. All who are called to faith in Christ are members of a priestly nation, but each retains his station in life as he lives among the Gentiles.

The Evangelical Catholic Church teaches that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake. Our response to this free gift of salvation must be a vibrant faith manifested in the way we live our lives (i.e., good works). Just as soon as The Holy Spirit has incorporated us into The Body of Christ (i.e., The Church), He requires us, with the power and gifts He supplies, to fully participate (with all our intelligence, skills and being) in and at every stage of the process by which we are transformed by Him from sinners into holy people (Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration II, 65; XI, 21).

 The Evangelical Catholic Church believes that The Holy Spirit is active in every aspect of the life of The Church, for The Church is constituted by The Spirit working through the Means of Grace and She is sanctified through The Word (the pure teaching) and Sacraments. Our Lord promises (in John 15:26) that "when the Comforter comes, whom I will send to you from my Father, the Spirit of truth which proceeds from my Father, He will testify concerning me." The Church, which cannot err, is taught and illuminated by The Holy Spirit working through the holy Fathers and Doctors of the Catholic Church. The Church is the pillar and bulwark of the truth, writes Dr. Luther, built on the rock, and called holy and irreproachable (Eph. 2:21). Thus one rightly and truly says, The Church cannot err, for God's word, which She teaches, cannot err. The Spirit is not found apart from The Church, for He is found only wherever The Word is preached in Its truth and purity and The Holy Mysteries are rightly observed (Apology IX,2).

 

The Evangelical Catholic Church, as part of The Catholic and Orthodox Church, affirms and acknowledges the Three Ecumenical Creeds: Apostles' Creed, Nicene (Niceno-Constantinopolitan) Creed (the only Creed specifically authorized by Ecumenical Councils--Nicea, 325 A.D.; Constantinople, 381 A.D. ), Athanasian Creed. We reject the secularly political addition to the Nicene Creed (filioque) first made by the Emperor Karl the Great (Karl der Große, Charlemagne) and subsequently authorized by the local Synod of Toledo in 589 A.D. (thus breaking from the unity and fellowship of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church by rejecting the decisions of the two Ecumenical Councils of the whole undivided Church). It is of the essence of The Good News in Christ Jesus that the New Life bestowed upon the individual at the time of Holy Baptism/Chrismation, from beginning to end, is soley the work of The Holy Spirit (Who proceeds from The Father through The Son).

The Evangelical Catholic Church confesses one Baptism (for adults and infants), and insists that Baptism is necessary to salvation. This Sacrament of Holy Baptism is the most decisive event in the individual's life for it incorporates one into The Body of Christ. To be baptized is to become a full member of The Church, to put on Jesus and become a living part of Him. "As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Alleluia!" By this precious Mystery we receive salvation from sin and reconciliation with God by becoming participants in the Death and Resurrection of Christ Jesus. In Holy Baptism God engrafts the individual into Jesus and raises him to New Life; God gives this Candidate for Baptism the priceless gift of saving faith and the power of The Holy Spirit to fulfill his vocation in this world and to reign with Christ in His eternal kingdom.

As in the earliest centuries of The Church, Chrismation (Confirmation) is seen as an integral part of Holy Baptism wherein the Candidate is sealed with The Sign of The Holy Cross and confirmed in The Faith with the gifts of The Holy Spirit. This is the individual's Pentecost. As The Holy Spirit descended visibly upon the Apostles in tongues of fire, so here He now descends invisibly with the same power and certainty.
 

The newly Baptized becomes an "anointed one" after the likeness of  The Anointed One (Jesus The Christ). As Dr. Luther affirms in his Large Catechism (V,87), because children have been baptized and fully incorporated into The Church, they should also participate in the fellowship of Holy Communion.

As the witness of Scripture (e.g., Acts 8:14-17) and Tradition teach, there is no valid Biblical, historical, or theological reason for separating Chrismation from Baptism! (Just the opposite, in fact!) There is no justification for imposing our own personal or cultural standards defining when a full member of The Body of Christ is allowed to commune. The Faith of The Catholic Church is that the newly Baptized/Confirmed will, as part of the very same Mass, join The Household of God at The Family Meal (The Holy Eucharist) by fully participating in and receiving Holy Communion. The Lord's Supper is given to all members of The Church from the moment of their reception by Baptism/Confirmation onwards. This means that the Christian's earliest childhood memories of The Church will probably be associated with coming to receive Christ's Sacred Body and Most Precious Blood. The Believer's last conscious action in life will also, hopefully, be the reception of the medicine of immortality, the Holy Gifts of Our Lord's Body and Blood. The Faithful's experience of The Lord's Supper thus should extend over the whole range of his conscious life.

The Evangelical Catholic Church recognizes The Sacrament of The Holy Eucharist as the only form of public worship commanded by Our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself warns that except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, ye have not life in yourselves. The Church has historically insisted that Masses are performed every Lord's Day and on the other festivals in which The Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it. "Take! Eat! ... Drink of it, all of you! ..." These words urge all Christians to receive The Holy Eucharist in every celebration of The Divine Liturgy which they attend. Only the unbaptized and penitents (who have been excluded from receiving Holy Communion by their Pastor because of grievous sin) should not partake. We affirm the Biblical teaching of the Real Presence of Christ's Body and Blood in the Mystery of Holy Communion, i.e., that after the consecration of the Bread and Wine in the Mass, the Bread is changed into the true Body of The Lord Jesus, Which was born in Bethlehem of the Ever-Virgin Mary, baptized in the Jordan, suffered, died, was buried, rose again, was resurrected, sitteth at the right hand of God The Father, and is to come again to judge the living and the dead; and the Wine is changed into the true Blood of The Lord Jesus, Which, as He hung upon the Cross at Calvary, was poured out for the life of the world. The Real Presence is certainly a magna, miraculosa et vere divina mutatio, such that after the consecration, The Body of Christ is "truly" and "substantially" present, exhibited and received. Thus Evanglical Catholics, according to Martin Chemnitz, are able to say, "We concede that there is some change; and indeed of such a kind that it can truly be said of the bread that it is the body of Christ" (Examination of The Council of Trent, Vol. 2, pg. 258; Concedimus igitur fieri mutationem aliquem: et quidem talem, ut de pane vere praedicari possit corpus Christi).

 

We consequently reject transubstantiation (as taught by The Church of Rome), consubstantiation (as taught by uneducated Lutherans), impanation, receptionism (as taught by many American Lutherans), and all other human efforts to explain the real change of the Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, for it is a Mystery and is meant to be received with faith.

This Mystery of The Holy Eucharist becomes a reality by the Word of God, hallowed by the invocation of The Holy Spirit, and perfected by the presence of the thing signified (i.e., the Body and Blood of Jesus). This necessarily precedes its use, as Dr. Luther testifies. Before Its use after the consecration within the Mass, in Its use, and after Its use, and what is reserved in the Tabernacles for the communing of those who are sick or about to die, It is in all respects the true Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. "In, with, and under" the form of Bread and Wine, the Faithful truly receive The Sacred Body and Most Precious Blood of Jesus our God and Redeemer! (Vide: WA, Tischreden, 5, 55.)

Each time we participate in The Holy Eucharist we are:

  1. Reminding ourselves of all that God has done for us through His Son, Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour;
     
  2. Publicly confessing our faith in Jesus as God and Saviour;
     
  3. Celebrating our unity with angels and archangels and all the hosts of Heaven, our oneness with all who have, do now, or will in the future believe in Jesus as God and Saviour;
     
  4. Receiving, in the true, corporeal, physical Body and Blood of Jesus, the Medicine of Immortality;
     
  5. Receiving "the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation;" the assurance that God does forgive all the sins of those who confess and repent;
  6. Receiving the spiritual strength to endure and overcome all the temptations of Satan, the world, and even our old sinful nature (the Old Adam);
     
  7. Offering and sacrificing to God -- in thanksgiving for all that He has given us in love through Christ Jesus -- all that we have and are (i.e. , we rededicate ourselves to God, reäffirm our Baptismal vows).
     

That is why Jesus said: This do often, as you do it, in remembrance of Me. The visible center of The Church's spiritual life, as well as that of each individual member of The Church, is The Holy Altar and the sacrament of redemption which is celebrated thereon.

The Evangelical Catholic Church, together with the entire Church Catholic, affirms that there is a proper use of the Reservation of The Holy Sacrament when given to the sick, the dying, or as an indication of intercommunion. Its use at these times is, in fact, a most salutary testimony to the unity of The Body of Christ. She affirms the appropriateness of Eucharistic devotions within the celebration of The Divine Liturgy and She does not deny private devotions concerning the Reserved Sacrament. She proscribes and condemns, however, together with Her Confessions, all abuses and misuses of the Sacramental Elements (e.g., Exposition of the Sacrament, processions with the Sacrament, Benediction of The Blessed Sacrament, etc.).

The Evangelical Catholic Church believes and teaches that The Mystery of The Holy Eucharist can be celebrated by none other than a Priest who has received the Sacrament of Ordination (Apology XIII, 9-13) from an Orthodox, Catholic and Canonical Bishop, as is the doctrine, true confession, and most ancient tradition and practice of the true Catholic Church.

The Evangelical Catholic Church, guided by God's certain Word (e.g., I Cor. 14:34-37, I Tim. 2:11-12, Gen. 3:16-17) and the clear understanding and teaching of the Early Church (e.g., The Constitutions of the Holy Apostles [c. 380 A.D.], Didascalia Apostolorum [c. 245 A.D.], The Council of Nicea, Canon XIX [325 A.D.], The Council of Laodicea, Canons XI & XLIV [343-381 A.D.], The Council of Quinisext, Canon LXX [692 A.D.]), rejects the innovation of female clergy. "For this is one of the ignorant practices of Gentile atheism, to ordain women priests to the female deities, not one of the constitutions of Christ" (The Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Ante-Nicene Fathers," Vol. VII, pg. 429).

With the Church Catholic, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther, we affirm that children, women, and other persons are not qualified for this office, even though they are able to hear God's Word, to receive Baptism, the Sacrament, absolution, and are also true, holy Christians . . . Even nature and God's creation makes this distinction, implying that women (much less children or fools) cannot and shall not occupy positions of sovereignty, as experience also suggests and as Moses says in Genesis 3[:16], You shall be subject to man. The Gospel, however, does not abrogate this natural law, but confirms it as the ordinance and creation of God.

Feminism, so strongly a part of secular pagan society at the time of the Early Church, continually intruded into the Scripturally ordered Christian society. The ever-present pagan feminism always stood in opposition to the teachings and traditions of The Apostles. Yet we have the clear Word of God and faithful witness of The Church against such human wisdom and theological shallowness evident in present day Christendom. If we give up the passages of Scripture that have been clear historically and used by orthodoxy to defend the rule of faith in favor of passages where exceptions have been made, we give up the rules in favor of exceptions. Those who believe conflicting interpretatons of God's Word exclude there being one correct interpretaion have given up the Bible as truth simply because others deny that truth (Fr. Paul R. Harris, "Raw Nerve or FEBA?" in The Bride of Christ, Vol. XXIII, No. 1, 1998).

 

For many decades now, the god of Mohammed (i.e., Satan) has enduced and convinced previously Christian jurisdictions to adopt and espouse a theology and practice of The Holy Priesthood outside that commanded by God in Holy Scripture and historically taught and maintained within The Body of Christ since Her founding. With the ordination and acceptance of the first female clergy, such jurisdictions abandon The Church; they are thus theologically and doctrinally dead. Their ministry thus ceases to be a Christian ministry; they cease to be within or part of The Church . Those clergy who oppose this imposition of such an anti-Christian practice yet remain within these jurisdictions now allowing (or even encouraging) it (e.g., PECUSA) are silently (and perhaps unknowingly) accepting their status within a New, Pagan "ministry" outside and apart from that instituted by Our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus the Christ. By remaining within a jurisdiction which is clearly not Catholic and certainly not Orthodox, they "accept" the new "Order" within their church and thus became pagan clergy themselves.

Once a previously Christian jurisdiction gives up the clear Word of God and the faithful witness of The Church against such human wisdom and theological shallowness and adopts this pagan, secular ideology by which to govern, proclaim and interpret its doctrine and practices (i.e., ordaining females to the office and work of the priesthood), it is only a matter of time (as recent history clearly demonstrates) before it is ready to adventure into other areas of secular philosophy and pagan theology.

When females are admitted to the offices of deacon, priest, and/or Bishop, such a jurisdiction allowing this pagan custom no longer has a valid, Biblical, historic, Catholic or Orthodox priesthood. And without a valid priesthood, what DOES such a jurisdiction possess? What can it offer? What does it teach/profess? Can any of the Sacraments (with the possible exception of Holy Baptism) be considered valid by The Church when celebrated by a member of such a pagan and non-Biblical priesthood?

The "theological" arguments supposedly supporting the ordination of women to the priesthood are ultimately opposed to the Christian Faith and its teachings about salvation. This "theology" shares a secular feminist philosophy, strengthened by the pagan Women's Movement.  And thus it is a secular ideology and not The Holy Spirit which has undergirded and promoted the cause of women's ordination. Any jurisdiction which therefore ordains women as priests has clearly and unequivocally placed itself outside The Body of Christ (The Church) and aligned itself with paganism.

The Evangelical Catholic Church retains The Sacrament of Repentance (Augsburg ConfessionXI & XXV), which is an effective means of imparting the grace of God. I will not allow anyone to deprive me of private confession, Dr. Luther writes, nor would I exchange it for all the treasures of the whole world, for I know what strength and consolation it has given me.  When the Christian's new life in Christ is lost through sin, it needs to be restored. When it is endangered through complacency, lethargy, or weakness, it needs to be strengthened. For these purposes God instituted the ministry of Private Absolution. We are forgiven, not because of our contrition, but because of the promise of Christ to His priests: Whatever you will bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven (Apology IV, 397). Hence the voice of the priest pronouncing absolution is to believed in no other way than as the living voice of The Gospel (Apology XII, 40).

The Evangelical Catholic Church accepts the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of The Old and The New Testaments as the sole rule and standard according to which all doctrine and practice, together with all priests and teachers, should be estimated and judged (ECC Canons, II,2). We believe, with the entire Church Catholic, that The Book of The Church, The Holy Bible, is the verbally inspired, inerrant, Spirit-breathed Word of God which contains all things necessary to salvation and that the other elements of Holy Tradition are in full accord with Its contents. Our Lord and The Apostles first taught orally; when their teachings were written down, they were recognized and "canonized" by The Church (during the last half of the 2nd century) as "The New Testament." We do not read the Scriptures as isolated individuals, interpreting it only by the light of our private understanding or in terms of current speculations about source, form, or higher criticism. We read The Holy Bible as members of The Church, in communion with all the other members throughout the centuries. It is only with the consensus of The Church, guided by The Holy Spirit, that a proper interpretation of Holy Scripture is possible.
 

We believe it is most appropriate -- as did the ancient Fathers -- that the Holy Scriptures be considered part of the Holy Tradition of The Church. Important elements of Holy Tradition also include the Ecumenical Creeds, Scriptural interpretation, and The Divine Liturgy. These other elements of Holy Tradition remain in full accord with the contents of Holy Scripture. Any element of Tradition which deviates from the standard of The Holy Bible indicates thereby that it is not Holy Tradition.

The Evangelical Catholic Church, with The Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431), confesses Saint Mary as Theotokos -- God-Bearer, a title affirmed in The Formula of Concord (VIII, Ep. 12; Solid Declaration, 24). In this title, Theotokos (Mother of God), She confesses that a single, undivided person Who is God and man at one and the same time, was born of a sinful human being.  The Evangelical Catholic Church also considers Saint Mary Ever Virgin, a title affirmed in The Smalcald Articles (Part One, IV [Latin]), and She recognizes her as that Most Praiseworthy Virgin (Augsburg Confession III, 1 [German]; Formula of Concord VIII; Solid Declaration 100 [Latin]).  Ever mindful that, although Blessed Mary prays for The Church, she does not receive souls in death, overcome death, nor give life (Apology XXI, 27), The Evangelical Catholic Church gives God-pleasing honor to The Blessed Virgin and to all the saints.

We thus include in The Kalendar the following feasts of Our Lady:

February 2: The Purification
March 25: The Annunciation
July 2: The Visitation
August 15: The Dormition
September 8: The Nativity


The Evangelical Catholic Church, acknowledging that the ancients spoke of prayer for the dead, does not forbid such a practice. Our Confessions (Apology XXIV, 94,96) state the following: Epiphanius testifies that Aerius believed that prayers for the dead were useless [Epiphanius, Panarion, 75:2,3,7]. This he rejects. We do not support Aerius either. As The Society of The Incarnate Word reminds us, we should remember when considering prayers for the dead that we do not pray in order to change God's mind or to make Him remember something He has forgotten. Rather, we pray in order that WE might remember that all things come from God, that He has in His keeping our departed loved ones.

We certainly do not pray the departed out of Purgatory, nor do we believe that our prayers change the state of the dead. Rather, our intercessions are a declaration of our faith that God is giving the faithful departed peace and rest, they are a form of thanking God for the examples He has given us in the lives and deeds of our fellow-members in the communion of saints, and they are a reminder that we are called to imitate their faith.

The Catholic Church has never condemned prayers for the faithful departed. Perhaps the best way to explain how and why Christians pray for their dead is to quote the parody of Dr. Luther's Small Catechism, as written by The Society of The Incarnate Word:

Thus The Evangelical Catholic Church emphasizes Her Catholicity. It is important to do so. Without such an emphasis our vision of The Church is narrowed to one particular denomination, to one very limited period of time, to one locality, to one national or ethnic group. She claims as Her own the magnificent heritage and the world-wide scope that Christ has bestowed upon His Holy Bride; She is a contemporary manifestation of The Church of all times, of all people, of all places.

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