The Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church is a Church in the Lutheran Evangelical Catholic tradition.
An Evangelical Catholic Lutheran is first of all a Christian. An Evangelical Catholic Lutheran also believes that Lutheranism is not at all Protestant. Lutherans believe that Lutherans are Western Catholics who were involuntarily expelled from the Roman Catholic Church and are conscience-bound to return to the Catholic Church as soon as circumstances permit. Lutherans consider Lutheranism to be “Protestant” only to the degree that it has accepted Calvinist (Presbyterian) influence through the centuries. Evangelical Catholics reject the doctrines and principles of Calvinism. This is nothing new. Whether they have been known as Gneiso-Lutherans, Old Lutherans, Romanizing Lutherans, Lutherans, or Evangelical Catholic Lutherans, they have been an integral part of Lutheranism since the time of Martin Luther. The ALCC is at the most Roman Catholic edge of this very special and continuing Lutheran tradition.
Unlike other Lutheran churches, the ALCC has roots in Anglicanism as well as Evangelical Catholic Lutheranism. This is reflected in our Church’s name, its coat of arms (the Church of England’s St. George’s Cross and the Luther Rose.)
Most Lutheran Churches only have two sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion. Is this true for the ALCC?
No. In union with the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, the ALCC recognizes seven sacraments and celebrates them using the rites of the Roman Catholic Church exclusively.
But don’t the Lutheran confessional documents in the Book of Concord say that there are only two sacraments?
Yes. But the ALCC disagrees. It does not consider the Lutheran confessional documents in the Book of Concord binding whenever any portion of them conflict with Roman Catholic faith, tradition, order, and spirituality as defined by the documents of the Roman Catholic Magisterium, and presented in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church. Accordingly, the ALCC does not accept the “Formula of Concord” at the end of the Book of Concord on any level, while respecting it as a historic document.
What does the ALCC teach about Baptism?
The ALCC’s teachings about Baptism is the same as that of the Roman Catholic Church as presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Baptism is regenerative, removes original sin, actual sin, and causes a profound ontological change in the baptized person–changing him into a “child of God.” It is not a rite through which a person joins a congregation or a denomination. It is how a person becomes a Christian: It is how a person is “born again.”
What does the ALCC teach about Holy Communion?
The ALCC agrees with the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings about Holy Communion (the Holy Eucharist or the Mass.) When consecrated by a priest, the bread and wine actually become the Body and Blood of Christ while retaining the outward appearance of bread and wine. This is called “the Miracle of the Mass.” The technical term for this miracle is Transubstantiation. The ALCC rejects all Protestant Eucharistic theologies.
How is the ALCC different from other Lutheran Churches?
- The ALCC accepts the Anglican 39 “Articles of Religion” from The Book of Common Prayer as reconciled with Catholic theology by John Henry Cardinal Newman in Tracts for the Times (only,) and even then only insofar as they agree with Catholic faith, tradition, and spirituality as defined by the Roman Catholic Magisterium.
- The ALCC accepts The Catechism of the Catholic Church and all other documents of the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church as its ultimate standard of Faith, Order, Tradition, and Spirituality. It believes and teaches nothing contrary to the Catholic Magisterium. All clergy and postulants for ordination are required to sign the Roman Catholic Mandatum, and may not preach, teach, write, or publish anything contrary to the Roman Catholic Magisterium.
- The ALCC has accepted Papal Primacy and Papal Infallibility. Though it is not legally under Papal control at this time, it “beliefes, confesses, teaches, and operates as if it is, and is actively working toward visible, corporate reunion with the Roman Catholic Church. The ALCC’s 2009 petition to enter to enter the Roman Catholic Church has recently been answered by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) with a letter of instruction to enter the Catholic Church “through the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.” The ALCC has officially accepted the terms and conditions of that letter of instruction. The ALCC also operates under the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law (1989) to the greatest extent practical in matters not covered by its own Canon Law Code.
- The ALCC teaches that Bishops ordained in the historic Apostolic Succession are of the essence (esse) of the Church. The ALCC’s clergymen are ordained into a sacerdotal (sacrificing) Priesthood consisting of the three Sacred Orders of Deacons, Priests, and Bishops, in the historic Apostolic Succession in lineages recognized as valid by various Popes. It ordaines its clergymen using the most current Ordination Rites of the Catholic Church within the setting of the Mass of Pope Paul VI (Novis Ordo) or the Mass from the Roman Catholic Anglican Use Book of Divine Worship exclusively.
- The ALCC’s primary apostolic lineage is the Duarte-Costa branch of the Rebiban (Vatican) Succession, though it also holds the apostolic lineage of the Dutch Old Catholic Church among many others which, as noted, have been ruled to be valid by various Popes.
- The ALCC accepts the Catholic Church’s teachings about “the Last Things,” the Saints, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. It encourages prayers and other devotions to Mary and the Saints, along with all of the other aids to devotion used in Roman Catholicism.
- The ALCC has the same ecclesiology as does the Roman Catholic Church. It worships using the rites and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church exclusively. It observes the Seasons, Holy Days, and Saint’s Days of the Roman Catholic Church’s Calendar. The ALCC accepts the same books of the Bible recognized by the Catholic Church. The Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation – Dei Verbum and The Pontifical Biblical Commission’s magisterial document, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church have been officially adopted as the ALCC’s official statements of the nature and authority of Scripture, the principles and methods to be used to interpret the Bible, and the rules, boundaries, and limitations of those methods.
How is the ALCC different from the Old Catholics and Independent Catholics?
Unlike Old Catholics and Independent Catholics, the ALCC accepts and enthusiastically proclaims the doctrines of Papal Primacy, Papal Infallibility, and the teachings about the Blessed Virgin Mary proclaimed by the First Vatican Council. The ALCC’s Apostolate is working (from within Lutheranism) for the return of large numbers of Lutherans (and those from other Communions as well) to visible, corporate reunion with the Roman Catholic Church. This is the “bottom line.”
Then why doesn’t the ALCC simply join the Roman Catholic Church?
The ALCC is actively working on just that, and is making excellent progress toward that goal. But this takes time. Visible, corporate union with the Roman Catholic Church in whatever form is deemed appropriate by the Pope, bringing along as many other Lutherans and Lutheran Churches as possible along with it is the ALCC’s apostolate and goal.