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Reformed Catholic Church, Inc.

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Reformed Catholic Church, Inc.
Reformed Catholic Church, Inc.
OrientationIndependent Catholic
Presiding BishopThe Most Rev. Chris Carpenter
RegionNorth America
LiturgyRoman Rite
HeadquartersP.O. Box 40217
Long Beach, CA 90814
Tax statusU.S. IRS 501c3
Official websitewww.reformedcatholic.org

The Reformed Catholic Church, Inc. (REFCC) is an autocephalous North American-based Church within the Independent Sacramental Movement[1]. The Church maintains valid[2] apostolic succession from 5 different lines: Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands, Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (ICAB), and the Roman Catholic Church. While maintaining her apostolic succession, the Reformed Catholic Church is not in communion with the Holy See.

The current presiding bishop of the Reformed Catholic Church is The Most Reverend Christopher Carpenter[3]. Bishop Carpenter, after leaving the Roman Catholic Church, affiliated with an earlier iteration of the Reformed Catholic Church and after a number of years of service, was elevated to the office of Bishop Diocesan of the Diocese of St. George (Western United States). In 2016, Bishop Carpenter and his Board of Directors formed The Reformed Catholic Church, Inc. in the State of California[4] and received the 501(c)(3)[5] [6]designation from the Internal Revenue Service. The Church was officially formed as a Church and Non-profit organization after it disaffiliated with clergy who had scandalized the Church.

Membership numbers for the Reformed Catholic Church are not known, however, it has clergy in the following states: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Georgia[3]. The Church was organized around the principle that all are welcome to participate fully in the life and ministry of Jesus. As a result, the Church has established ministries to the LGBTQ community[7], in addition, it ordains women, divorcees and gay clergy, and maintains open communion for all who wish to receive.

The Church has three diocese which split the United States into Western, Central and Eastern sections[3]. In addition to Dioceses, the Reformed Catholic Church has two religious communities: Order of Preachers, Reformed (OPR)[8] and the Order Franciscans of Mercy (OFM)[9]. The Church maintains the same historic clerical offices of Bishop, Priest and Deacon.


There are a number of Churches that use or have used the name Reformed Catholic Church such as, the Reformed Catholic Church, International (Taunton, Massachusetts) and the Reformed Old Catholic Church (Incorporated in England), which has churches in the United States and Canada. The Reformed Catholic Church, Inc. is not officially affiliated with these Churches. In addition, there was a church named Reformed Catholic Church founded in 2000[10], in Toledo, Ohio, which fell into scandal[11] and was dissolved in 2009. Some of the member clergy in the Reformed Catholic Church, Inc. were initially affiliated with this group, but left during the dissolution caused by the scandals. The Reformed Catholic Church, Inc. no longer has any affiliation with the Toledo, Ohio based Reformed Catholic Church (which never received tax exempt status from the IRS), nor does it maintain official relationships with the clergy who scandalized the group. The Reformed Catholic Church, Inc. was developed through the work of Bishop Chris Carpenter in Long Beach, California. He formed the Church starting in 2009, which culminated in the Church's official filing as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation in 2016. Bishop Chris Carpenter continues serving as the Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Catholic Church, Inc.


The Reformed Catholic Church, Inc. currently has three Dioceses: St. John XXIII (Eastern US), St. Joseph (Central US) and St. George (Western US).


The Reformed Catholic Church is governed according to episcopal polity with its own system of canon law[12]. This means that the church is organized into dioceses led by bishops in consultation with representative bodies. In addition to the College of Bishops (charged with the spiritual leadership of the Church), the Church has a Board of Directors called the Leadership Council, which is charged with the temporal work of Church. Lastly, the Church has a College of Clergy and Laity, who are one the frontlines of ministry in local communities. The College of Clergy and Laity represent the practical ministerial work of the Church. All of these bodies come together every other year at Holy Synod to make decisions about the future of the Church.

Types of Clergy[edit]

The Reformed Catholic Church, like many episcopal Churches, has three offices of clergy: Bishop, Priest, and Deacon (or Episcopate, Presbyterate, and Diaconate). All three offices are held by ordained clergy and are equal in rank, but diverse in their purpose. The work of the Bishop is that of someone who oversees the Church. The Bishop also holds the exclusive ability to ordain new clergy. The priest is a minister of the parish church. The priest establishes, grows, and maintains parishes and provides pastoral care to those in the parish. The deacon is the minister of the people. The deacon works for the Bishop by bringing ministry to those outside of the parish (as well as participates in parish ministry). You will find deacons of the Reformed Catholic Church ministering to the homeless, the hungry, immigrants, etc.


The Reformed Catholic Church is a Western Rite Church, however, it permits its clergy to use the following Rites: The Roman Rite (Novus Ordo - The  Sacramentary,  Volume  One), The Book of Common Prayer (Episcopal Church), the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, and the Book of Divine Worship (Anglican Ordinariate).

Religious Life[edit]

In addition to its clergy, the Reformed Catholic Church has two religious communities. The Order of Preachers, Reformed (OPR)[8] is a dispersed religious community in the Dominican tradition. Likewise, the Order Franciscans of Mercy (OFM)[9] is a dispersed religious community in the Franciscan tradition.


The Reformed Catholic Church is an inclusive and affirming Church that offers open communion to anyone who wishes to receive the bread of life and the cup of salvation. In addition, the Church ordains women and gay clergy, does not require celibacy of its clergy or religious.


  1. "Current Jurisdictions – Independent Sacramental Movement Database". www.independentmovement.us. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  2. "Dominus Iesus". www.vatican.va. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "An Alternative Way to Be Catholic — and LGBT". The Advocate. October 3, 2013. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  4. "Business Search - Business Entities - Business Programs | California Secretary of State". businesssearch.sos.ca.gov. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  5. "IRS 501(c)(3) Letter".
  6. Pike, John. "Religions in the United States". Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  7. "Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Center creates directory of gay-friendly wedding businesses". Press Telegram. 2013-08-07. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Order of Preachers, Reformed". The Reformed Catholic Church. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Home - Order Franciscans of Mercy". orderfranciscansofmercy.org. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  10. "Reformed Catholic Church at home in North Toledo". The Blade. 2014-12-06. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  11. Townsend, Tim. "Bozek's authority, the Reformed Catholic Church, dissolves". stltoday.com. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  12. "RCC Code of Canon Law | Confirmation | Penance". Scribd. Retrieved 2018-05-30.

External links[edit]

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