First and foremost, the answer lies within the fact that the Old Catholic Church did not LEAVE the unified Catholic Church. They were initially separated by the issue of persecution. Therefore there has never been a real issue over the validity of the Old Catholics or their relationship with the Catholic Church.
Secondly, there have been repeated affirmations by the Roman Catholic Church though the Papacy and other governing bodies. Some of which are listed here.
Historical Affirmations Regarding our Validity by The
Utrecht receives Rights of Autonomy from Blessed Pope Eugene III in 1145.
This Right is confirmed by Pope Leo in 1215 and becomes known universally as the Leonine Privilege.
Privilege subsequently reconfirmed in two Church Councils in 1520 and 1717.
Most Recent Affirmations
"The Roman Church recognizes the validity of Old Catholic Orders and Sacraments." 1974, Catholic Almanac, Our Sunday Visitor
A Concordat was signed between the Holy Father, Pope Paul VI, and Archbishop Glazmaker of Utrecht in 1976, recognizing the Catholic status of one another and the validity of one another's Sacraments.
Dominus Iesus issued by the Roman Catholic Magisterium in the year 2000, signed by John Paul II on June 16, and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger on August 6, states:
"The churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the (Roman) Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by Apostolic Succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular churches."
"The Old Catholics, like the Orthodox, possess a valid priesthood." Separated Brethren, William J. Whalen
"...Ordinations performed by the bishops of the Old Catholic Church are considered valid." A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, Rev. Stanislaw Woywood, OFM, LLB
In an effort to strengthen unity
among Christians, Pope Francis
welcomed a delegation of the
Bishops Conference of the Union
of Utrecht, also known as 'Old
"It has been possible to build
new bridges of a more profound
mutual understanding and
Convergences and consensus have
been found, and differences
have been better identified and
set in new contexts.”
He then added that the
separation between the two,
triggered grave sins and human
faults on both sides, but
mutual forgiveness and
humble repentance are key for
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