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Augustana Catholic Church

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Augustana Catholic Church
Alcc logo.gif
Official logo
OrientationEvangelical Catholic
AssociationsAugustana Catholic Communion
FounderIrl A. Gladfelter
Kansas City, Missouri
Branched fromLutheran Church–Missouri Synod
Merger ofAthanasian Catholic Church of the Augsburg Confession

The Augustana Catholic Church (ACC), formerly the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church (ALCC) and the Evangelical Community Church-Lutheran (ECCL), was an American church in the Lutheran Evangelical Catholic tradition. The ACC said it was unique among Lutheran churches in that it was of both Lutheran and Anglo-Catholic heritage and had also been significantly influenced by the Roman Catholic Church. The church was founded in 1997 by former members of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Its headquarters were in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[1] The ACC long had a policy of seeking union with the Roman Catholic Church and announced in 2011 that it would accept the conditions of Anglicanorum coetibus and join the personal ordinariates as they are established. Later developments on limitations of joining the ordinariate caused the ACC to hold their offer while they established intercommunion with groups such as the Old Roman Catholic Church of North America. The church claimed a membership in excess of 60,000 in 12 countries.[2] In 2020, former bishop Kenneth Bakken reported that the denomination had been dissolved as a U.S. organization.


The Augustana Catholic Church considered Lutherans to be Catholics in a temporary involuntary schism imposed on it by the Roman Catholic Church when Martin Luther's attempt to start a renewal movement within Roman Catholicism slipped out of his control.[3][4][5][6] The ACC taught that Lutheranism in general is a form of non-Roman Catholicism, and considered the other Lutheran churches to be "Protestant" only to the extent that they have accepted insights from the Calvinist and Zwinglian phases of the Reformation.[7]

The Augustana Catholic Church accepted the Unaltered Augsburg Confession,[8][9] the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, and Martin Luther's Small Catechism, but only insofar as they are in full agreement with Roman Catholic faith and order, doctrines, and traditions. The ACC recognizes the other documents contained in The Book of Concord—except for the Formula of Concord—but only insofar as they are in full agreement with Roman Catholic faith, order, doctrines and traditions. It did not accept the Formula of Concord on any level, nor did it consider itsel;f bound by any of its terms and provisions, though it respected it as a historical Lutheran document.[10]

The ACC accepted major modifications in sacramental theology and principles of church government from the Church of Sweden (Lutheran), the Oxford Movement of the Anglican Communion, and the documents and teachings of the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church which includes the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994).

The ACC was unique among Lutheran churches in that it accepted, as additional confessional documents, the Articles of Religion from the Book of Common Prayer as interpreted by John Henry Newman in Tracts for the Times[11] (insofar as they do not conflict with authentic Catholic faith and tradition); the Roman Catholic–Lutheran Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (Augsburg, Germany, 1999);[12] the Catechism of the Catholic Church; and the documents and decrees of all Ecumenical Councils recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. The ACC's strongest connections were with the Roman Catholic Church and some form of visible, corporate unity with that church was the ecumenical goal of the ACC.

Since June 2008, all clergy of the ACC are required to sign a version of the Roman Catholic mandatum,[13] a legally binding contract requiring the signatories not to teach, preach, write, or publish anything contrary to the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Augustana Catholic Church accepted papal primacy and papal infallibility even though it was not under papal control.[14]

The ACC was theologically and socially conservative, with the same view of the nature and authority of scripture as the Roman Catholic Church as stated in the Vatican II document, The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation - Dei verbum[15] and the Pontifical Biblical Commission's document, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church.[16]


The worship of the Augustana Catholic Church was sacramental. It differed from other Lutheran churches by recognizing and celebrating the seven sacraments.[17] The primary liturgy of the ACC was from the Book of Divine Worship, a book of rites formerly authorized by the Vatican and used by Anglican Use parishes of the Roman Catholic Church[18] prior to the creation of the Personal Ordinariates. Other rites approved and authorized for use by the Roman Catholic Church were also approved for use by ACC clergy. Anglican, Lutheran, and other Protestant rites were not authorized for use by ACC clergy.[19]

Polity and organization

The polity of the Augustana Catholic Church was episcopal rather than congregationalist and followed the model of the Roman Catholic Church. The ACC was governed by a metropolitan archbishop assisted by a vicar general and the Holy Synod (which consists of the bishops of the church and is concerned with matters of doctrine and polity) and the National Standing Committee (which includes lay members and is concerned with temporal administration and finance) and together they comprise the corporate Board of Directors. The ACC operated in accordance with the 1983 Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church[20] in areas not covered by its own canon law code.

The leadership of the Augustana Catholic Church changed on December 1, 2011, with the resignations of its founding metropolitan archbishop and the bishop of the Diocese of Michigan. On December 12, 2011, the synod (composed of the bishops) of the ACC elected and installed Archbishop Robert W. Edmondson as the church's second metropolitan archbishop.

On 8 April 2012, the ACC underwent a major reorganization by the metropolitan archbishop. The Diocese of the Northeast was renamed the Diocese of the East and given the territory east of the western border of Ontario, Michigan; Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee to the Atlantic Ocean; and also given jurisdiction over the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and South America. The dioceses formerly having jurisdiction over those areas were suppressed, and its former diocesan bishops given titular dioceses and positions as bishop directors of the various major church-wide offices in the metropolitan archbishop's curia which are identical in scope and authority to the similar dicasteries in the Roman Catholic Church's curia. The Diocese of the West was given jurisdiction over the rest of the United States including Alaska and Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

On April 24, 2012, Archbishop Edmondson of the Augustana Catholic Church and Archbishop Chris M. Hernandez, Archbishop Co-Adjutor of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church - Utrecht Succession, signed a Concordat of Full Communion and Pledge to Full Unity.

The ACC was a member of the Augustana Catholic Communion, the Sudanese Council of Churches USA and the Sudanese Council of Churches, and was in full communion with the Traditional Church of England, the Anglican Church-Traditional Rite (England, Scotland, and Wales,) the Anglican Church of the Americas, and the North American Old Roman Catholic Church - Utrecht Succession.


Where ordination, the priesthood, the episcopacy, and the papacy are concerned, the ACC rejected the teachings of Lutheranism and accepted all the Roman Catholic teachings. Other than not requiring celibacy of its clergy, there were no differences between the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and those of the ACC regarding the sacrament of Holy Orders.[21] All ordinations and re-ordinations - without exception - were performed using the rites of ordination found in the most current edition of the Ordinal from the Pontifical of the Roman Catholic Church set within a celebration of the Roman Missal (Third Edition) or the Mass from the Roman Catholic Anglican Use Book of Divine Worship exclusively, with no additions or deletions apart from the deletion of the celibacy vow in the diaconal ordination rite, with the specific intention that ordination is into a sacrificing (sacerdotal) priesthood—a sacerdotium—instead of into a ministerium; admitting, both in theory and in practice, all that is involved in the Catholic doctrine of the sacerdotium.

All clergy entering from other churches who had not been ordained in the historic apostolic succession were required to be re-ordained. The clergy of the Augustana Catholic Church had all been ordained (or re-ordained) as deacons, priests and bishops in the historic apostolic succession, which it obtained in 2004 from Archbishop Peter Paul Brennan, O.C.R. of the Ecumenical Catholic Diocese of the Americas[22] and Archbishops Francis C. Spataro, O.C.R. and Paget E. J. Mack, O.S.B.M. of the Apostolic Episcopal Church.[23] The ACC's primary apostolic lineage was the Rebiban or Vatican succession, derived from the Roman Catholic Church through Archbishop Carlos Duarte Costa[24] and the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (ICAB). It also held the Gerardus Gul lineage of the Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands among several others.

The Augustana Catholic Church never had female clergy for the same reasons the Roman Catholic Church rejects the ordination of women,[25][26] and placed a moratorium on the ordination of women until such time as it is ordered by a Pope (for the diaconate) or an Ecumenical Council (for the priesthood and episcopacy). The ACC has the same policies as the Roman Catholic Church on the ordination of non celibate homosexual persons and the blessing of same-sex unions, permitting neither.[27][28][29]

Petition for unity with the Holy See

On May 15, 2009, and again in 2014, the Augustana Catholic Church officially filed a formal petition to enter the Roman Catholic Church "as a unified body" in whichever form the Pope and the Curia decides is the most appropriate. The ACC's petition was filed with the Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and is before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.[when?] It was a separate petition from that of the Traditional Anglican Communion.[30][31][32]


  • The Most Reverend Robert W. Edmondson (d. 2020), Metropolitan Archbishop of the Augustana Catholic Church; Director, Office of the Director of Temporal Administration and Finance; Director, Office of the Director of Military Services and Veteran’s Affairs[33]
  • The Most Reverend Kenneth L. Bakken, Vicar General of the Augustana Catholic Church[33]
  • The Most Reverend Tan Binh Phan Nguyen, Dean of the Holy Synod; Director, Office of the Vicar General for Vietnamese Churches[33]
  • The Most Reverend Thomas Stover, Bishop, Diocese of the West; Director of Evangelism and Church Growth, Office of the Metropolitan Archbishop[33]


After founder Irl Gladfelter retired as a bishop, he resigned the office and became a Roman Catholic layman. He later announced on Facebook that he was taking a job with the ALCC as spokesman for the denomination. He died in 2016. The ALCC congregation in Stevensville, Maryland, Christ Lutheran Church, announced on Facebook that it dissolved in 2014 after its pastor and most members became Catholic.

Abp. Edmondson died in 2020, and his published obituary described him not as a Lutheran clergyman, but as a member of the Latter-day Saints Church. Later in 2020, Bishop Bakken's web site reported that the church had dissolved as a U.S. organization.[34][35]

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ International Headquarters, The Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church.
  2. ^ Augustana Catholic Church website
  3. ^ Bouyer, Louis (2001) [1956], The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism, Princeton, NJ: Scepter Publishers, p. 268, In its first phase, up to the Confession of Augsburg, which was the first synthesis of Lutheranism, Protestantism had no idea of developing into a church other than that of all time, the Catholic Church centered on the See of Rome.
  4. ^ Bouyer, Louis (2001) [1956], The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism, Princeton, NJ: Scepter Publishers, p. 62, Luther's basic intuition [the gratuitousness of salvation], on which Protestantism continually draws for its abiding vitality, so far from being difficult to reconcile with Catholic tradition or inconsistent with the teaching of the apostles, was a return to the clearest elements of their teaching and is in the most direct line of that tradition… Protestantism, reduced to what Protestants themselves regard as its essence, was under no necessity to embody itself in schism and heresy… Considered in itself and in the natural course of its development, [the basic principle of the Reformation] does not lead to division and error. These are only the accidental results of the Reformation… [T]he schisms and heresies of the sixteenth century resulted not from the initial impulse but from external and adventitious factors that disturbed its development.
  5. ^ Knox, Ells L "Skip", Martin Luther: Conclusions, Boise State University, archived from the original on 2008-12-16, retrieved 2009-02-01.
  6. ^ Marius, Richard (1999). Martin Luther: the Christian between God and Death. Cambridge MA: Belknap Press. pp. 434, 434–35, 472, 474, 480, 483. ISBN 0-674-00387-X.
  7. ^ Zip, "Evangelical Catholics", US Lutheran Web Links.
  8. ^ For a discussion of prospects for some kind of Roman Catholic recognition of the Augsburg Confession, see Richard John Neuhaus, "Augsburg and Catholicism: Healing the Reformation Breach," Theology Today 37, no. 3 (Oct. 1980): 294–305. "In 1974 the idea was first advanced that the Roman Catholic Church should 'recognize' the Augsburg Confession. It received wider attention when Joseph Ratzinger, now Cardinal Archbishop of Munich, took up the possibility of a 'Catholic recognition of the Augsburg Confession or, more correctly, of recognizing the Augsburg Confession as Catholic.'" Neuhaus concluded: "There will be no one act of reunion between the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church; there will at some point be a favorable response from a Lutheran church or churches. With that initiating reunion, the situation of all of Lutheranism will have changed. Lutherans who then care to maintain fellowship with other Lutherans will be inclined, if not compelled, to act out the logic that is inherent in the already prevailing consensus that the interim church called Lutheran must pursue its destiny as a movement for all the church in the healing of the breach of the sixteenth century.”
  9. ^ Paul A. Schreck, "Under one Christ: implications of a Roman Catholic recognition of the Confessio Augustana in CE 2017," Journal of Ecumenical Studies 43, no. 1 (Winter 2008): 90–110.
  10. ^ Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church.
  11. ^ See John Henry Cardinal Newman, "Remarks on Certain Passages in the Thirty-Nine Articles", Tracts for the Times, no. XC (1841).
  12. ^ Pope Benedict XVI (19 November 2008), The Doctrine of Justification: from Works to Faith.
  13. ^ Guidelines Concerning the Academic Mandatum in Catholic Universities (Canon 812), United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  14. ^ "How Is The ACC I is Different From Other Lutheran Churches", Frequently Asked Questions, Archdiocese of the West
  15. ^ The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, The Vatican, archived from the original on May 31, 2014.
  16. ^ Pontifical Biblical Commission (March 18, 1994), The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, EWTN.
  17. ^ The Seven Sacraments, EWTN.
  18. ^ Book of Divine Worship, archived from the original on 2009-02-20
  19. ^ Catholic Rites and Churches, EWTN.
  20. ^ Code of Canon Law, The Vatican, 1983, archived from the original on February 20, 2008.
  21. ^ "The Sacrament of Holy Orders", Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Vatican, archived from the original on 2010-01-11.
  22. ^ ECDA, Ind Movement, archived from the original on 2008-11-21, retrieved 2009-02-02.
  23. ^ Apostolic Episcopal Church, archived from the original on 2008-12-10, retrieved 2009-02-02.
  24. ^ Episcopal Lineage of Bishop Carlos Duarte Costa, Catholic Hierarchy, archived from the original on October 2, 2015.
  25. ^ New - St. Michael's Lutheran Church ALCC, Kansas City, Missouri - News - ALCC Official Statement on the Ordination of Women, archived from the original on 2013-05-11, retrieved 2011-09-20.
  26. ^ Pope John Paul II (1994), Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, The Vatican, archived from the original on January 18, 2012.
  27. ^ New - St. Michael's Lutheran Church ALCC, Kansas City, Missouri - News - ALCC Official Statement on the Ordination of non-Celibate Homosexuals, archived from the original on 2013-05-11, retrieved 2011-09-20.
  28. ^ Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders, The Vatican, 2005, archived from the original on February 25, 2008.
  29. ^ Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, The Vatican, 2003, archived from the original on 2016-06-13.
  30. ^ Are Lutherans Next? Lutherans Seek Full Communion with Catholic Church, Catholic Online, 2010.
  31. ^ "Anglo-Lutheran Catholic: Lutheran Catholics?", Seventh-day Adventist to Roman Catholic: A Blog of Two Churches, 2009.
  32. ^ The Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church Has Filed A Petition To Enter the Roman Catholic Church, St. Michael's Lutheran Church ALCC, Kansas City Missouri, archived from the original on 2013-05-11, retrieved 2011-09-20.
  33. ^ a b c d "International Headquarters". Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  34. ^ "Robert Walter Edmondson". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 24, 2020.
  35. ^ "Augustana Evangelical Catholic Church (Lutheran)". HealthVision International. 2013-11-29. Retrieved 2020-10-10.

External links

Official website


Liturgy and worship


This page was last edited on 3 November 2020, at 03:17
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