+ A progressive, inclusive and affirming Catholic community
+ Welcoming the inclusion of women in the ordained ministry
+ Welcoming of married clergy
+ Full inclusion of LGBTQ people as gifts of God in the life of the Church, including ordained ministry and the Sacrament of Marriage
+ A place of healing for those who have been hurt by their church of origin, yet who still yearn for Catholic spirituality and liturgy
+ A Church in the Apostolic Succession, valuing His Holiness the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, as patriarch, and symbol of unity
+ Catholics-in-exile, not under the authority of the Vatican
In 1977 Archbishop Robert Clement, Primate of the Eucharistic Catholic Church, received Fr. Herve Lionel Quessy of Montreal and several other clerics, all ordained in Old Catholic orders, into the Eucharistic Catholic Church. Two mission parishes were established - one in Montreal and one in Quebec City. Fr. Quessy was appointed Vicar General for the Canadian Church. On 2 November 1977 L'Eglise Catholique Eucharistique/The Eucharistic Catholic Church was incorporated by Canadian Royal Letters Patent. However, by April of 1981 all the members of the Canadian Church had left and joined the North American Old Roman Catholic Church (Archdiocese of New York). Fr. Quessy himself became the bishop for Montreal and French Canada and eventually the Primate of this branch of the Old Roman Catholic Church.
On 28 March 2004 Primate Clement gave permission to Bishop Darrel D. Hockley of Regina to restart the work of the Eucharistic Catholic Church in Canada. Bp. Hockley was originally a member of various Old Catholic and independent Anglican groups. He had been ordained deacon, presbyter, and bishop in his home chapel on 8 August 1998 (as an economia due to his being so physically isolated from other independent bishops in apostolic succession) by Bp. Ian H. Phillips. Bp. Hockley moved to Vancouver in July 2004 as a better location to restart the work of the Eucharistic Catholic Church.
Wishing to retire, Bp. Hockley called on Fr. Roger LaRade to accept the leadership of the Eucharistic Catholic Church in Canada. Fr. LaRade was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1986.
Committed to witnessing the inclusive love of God and having an active gay-friendly ministry in Toronto, Fr. LaRade accepted to assume the guardian-leadership of the Church. After consulting Primate Clement, Bp. Hockley resigned his office of Presiding Bishop effective 1 June 2005 and turned over the legal charter of the Eucharistic Catholic Church to Fr. LaRade as Bishop-Elect.
Currently, the ECE-ECC is organized into the Archdiocese of the Americas and the Diocese of Cameroon. The Church has one parish, two hermitages and spiritual direction, retreat and consultation ministries in Canada, seven parishes and a community centre in Cameroon, and a mission in Cuba.
Fr. LaRade was consecrated a bishop in Apostolic Succession on December 10, 2005 in Washington, D.C. at the hands of Bishop Francis-Maria Salvato, SFI – his Ordinary at the time, Bishop Steven Delaney, CTMOSB, and Bishop Charles Braun. In the following year, for reasons of doctrinal orthodoxy, Bp. LaRade petitioned and was granted release from Bp. Salvato’s jurisdiction. This did not affect Bp. LaRade’s jurisdiction in the ECE-ECC.
At the time Bp. Hockley contacted then-Fr. LaRade, the relationship between the Eucharistic Catholic Church in the U.S.A. (under the primacy of Abp. Clement) and the ECE-ECC was for all practical purposes non-existent. Upon learning, in conversation with Primate Clement, that the Eucharistic Catholic Church in the U.S.A. operated as an LGBT outreach of the American Catholic Church, of which Abp. Clement was the Primatial Archbishop, Bp. LaRade discerned that the ECE-ECC was truly an independent jurisdiction with a distinct leadership and ministry. While valuing and celebrating its foundation from the Eucharistic Catholic Church in the U.S.A., the ECE-ECC had developed quite independently in Canada with little spiritual and jurisdictional guidance from the Eucharistic Catholic Church.
The ECE-ECC functions primarily according to Latin (Roman) Tradition. The ECE-ECC, as an independent Catholic jurisdiction, adopted and adapted for its model of leadership that of autonomous Eastern jurisdictions. The head hierarch is termed ‘major Archbishop’, simplified in address to ‘Archbishop’. Ranking above metropolitan archbishops and just below patriarchs in the order of ecclesiastical precedence, major archbishops are heads of certain autonomous Eastern churches in communion with the Holy See who enjoy in practice the rights and dignity granted to patriarchs, but without the formal concession of the title by the Vatican. The major archbishop fulfills essentially the same role as a patriarch, as the head of a self-governing Eastern Church. The dignity was initially devised as a compromise to recognize the head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church as that community endured persecution at home and many of its leaders were scattered in exile abroad. The major archbishop of the ECE-ECC is properly the Primate-Archbishop.
BISHOPS & PRIMATES OF THE ECE-ECC
Most Reverend Robert Mary Clement, Primate: 2 November 1977 - 10 December 2005
Right Reverend Darrel D. Hockley, Presiding Bishop: 28 March 2004 - 31 May 2005
Most Reverend Joseph Roger LaRade, O.F.A., Primate-Archbishop: 10 December 2005 – current
ROOTED IN JUSTICE FOR SAME-GENDER ORIENTATION
The history of the Eucharistic Catholic Church begins with Bp. John Kazantks of the Orthodox Church in Greece.
His "troubles" started c.1944 when he protested the defrocking of several priests in other dioceses on the charge of being "sodomites". In the course of this affair he announced to a regional Synod of Bishops that while he had not violated his vows of celibacy, he, like the several priests, was a person of "a same gender affectional and sexual orientation". That pretty much "did him in". He arrived in the USA in early 1946 and settled in Atlanta, GA. George Hyde was at that time living in Atlanta, having just recently left a Roman Catholic seminary. As fate would have it, Bp. John was employed as a Greek teacher in the Public Schools of Atlanta, and Hyde had just been assigned to the teaching staff at the same school.
About that time, at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Atlanta, a confrontation was going on where the priests denied Communion to a half dozen or so men and women who were denied absolution at Confession because they would not agree with the priest that their "lifestyle" was an abomination to God. For four or five consecutive Sundays they would go forward to receive Communion but were by-passed by the priest. Nevertheless, they continued standing at the altar rail until the end of Mass. The priests considered this an act of disorder. A modest number of non-gay parishioners began standing in support of the gays. The actions and activities of these protesters eventually were reported in the local paper. Bp. John and George Hyde discussed the matter and found that they were thinking alike about the situation, and arranged to meet with some of the protesters, offering them succor. Subsequently they organized a small group which met weekly to discuss the plight of gays in living a same gender lifestyle while trying to be faithful to God's moral standards. Out of this grew the Eucharistic Catholic Church.
1946: THE EUCHARISTIC CATHOLIC CHURCH - THE FIRST "GAY CHURCH"
Eugene V. Gallagher and W. Michael Ashcraft in their Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America (2006) note that by the mid-20th century, with the expansion and solidification of gay and lesbian communities "came not only a solidification of the gay and lesbian bar cultures, not only the liberal advocacy groups known collectively as the homophile movement, but also the first new religion founded by and for homosexuals: the Eucharistic Catholic Church." In Male Homosexualities and World Religions (2013), Pierre Hurteau remarks that “it is really in the Catholic Church that the first gay schismatic church appeared, as early as 1946 in Atlanta, Georgia, under the name of the Eucharistic Catholic Church.” Hurteau also mentions that “the church now seems more involved in Toronto.”
By July 1946 both Bp. John and George Hyde were in agreement that they had no other choice than to lay the foundation for a new ecclesiastical entity. They selected the name The Catholic and Apostolic Church in America as an umbrella name, and Blessed Sacrament as the name of the first congregation. Shortly thereafter they discovered that both the Episcopalians and the Roman Catholics had parishes in Atlanta named "Blessed Sacrament". Not wanting to be confused with them, they changed the name to Holy Eucharistic Parish. In time, in common usage this developed into "Eucharistic Catholic Church".
George Hyde was ordained a priest on 1 July 1946 and accepted Bp. John as his hierarchial superior. In January 1947 he settled in Savannah, GA and from there served the sacramental and pastoral needs of a scattered constituency throughout South Georgia. In 1956 Bp. John expressed a desire to return to Greece. At this time he was in his late seventies and in declining health. He did return to Greece and died there in 1957. Prior to his departure for Greece, he put Fr. Hyde in touch with Abp. Clement Sherwood of the Orthodox Catholic Church of America ... the direct continuation of the ministry of Abp. Joseph Rene Vilatte(1854-1929), one of the earliest independent Catholic bishops in North America. Plans for Fr. Hyde's later consecration by Abp. Sherwood and the merger of the ECC and the OCCA were initially coordinated by Bp. John.
FIRST WORSHIP SERVICE
Although it has been said that the first service - on Christmas Eve 1946 - was held in the "Cotton Blossom Room", a gay bar in Atlanta, with 85 people - both gay and heterosexual - in attendance, Abp. Hyde reports that this is not true. The management of a gay bar did, indeed, frequently underwrite the cost of renting meeting rooms in the hotel in which the Church was located previous to having acquired in early December l946 a residential building which housed both a chapel and living quarters for the clergy. The first service was held in that chapel. It must be remembered that in those days being gay and lesbian in both the USA and Canada was illegal and anyone being found to be gay in a public place ran the risk of ending up in prison or in a mental institution. Those first worshippers were brave souls!
Fr. Hyde was consecrated a bishop in the OCCA by its head, Abp. John Cyril Clement Sherwood (1895 - 1969), assisted by Bishops Maurice Francis Parkin and William Ernest James Robertson, on 7 May 1957. Bp. Hyde continued on his Eucharistic Catholic Church work in parallel with that of the Orthodox Catholic Church of America. In 1959 Bp. Hyde moved from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. and became more involved in his OCCA work. Over the following years the Eucharistic Catholic Church work of Bp. Hyde did indeed wane. In January 1970 he succeeded Abp. Sherwood as archbishop of the Orthodox Catholic Church of America. In 1983 Abp. Hyde retired as head of the OCCA. He came out of retirement in 1996 to serve as bishop of the Autocephalous Orthodox Catholic Church of America, Inc. with headquarters in Belleair, FL. See also http://www.lgbtran.org/Profile.asp?A=H&ID=96
SPECIAL MINISTRY TO NEW YORK'S GAY COMMUNITY
In 1969, Fr. Robert Clement wished to have a special ministry to the gay community and with the approval of Bp. Hyde, in March of that year, revived the work of the Eucharistic Catholic Church in parallel with the American Orthodox Church of the United States (Western Orthodox) and later with the American Catholic Church. The following year the Church of the Beloved Disciple opened in Greenwich Village and soon developed a large congregation.
Robert Mary Clement (born 12 March 1925) was originally ordained to minor orders and to the diaconate on 4 July 1948 by Abp. William Henry Francis Brothers of the Old Catholic Church in America; on 8 August of that same year Abp. Brothers ordained him to the priesthood. In December of 1958 Fr. Robert was received as a priest into the Polish National Catholic Church(PNCC). In early 1968 Fr. Robert left the ministry of the PNCC to found the American Orthodox Church of the United States (Western Orthodox) which was incorporated in New York State on 31 August of that year. As he was not yet a bishop, Fr. Robert carried on as head of this church body with the title of "curial administrator". In 1972 Fr. Robert obtained control of the perpetual charter of the American Catholic Church which was incorporated in the State of Illinois by Abp. Joseph Rene Vilatte on 13 July 1915.
By 1974 it was recognised that more clergy was needed for the Church. Abp. Hyde was still the head of the Eucharistic Catholic Church but because of ill health could not go to New York City to ordain priests. Abp. Thomas Csernohorsky Fehervary (1917 - 1984) of the Traditional Christian Catholic Church offered to ordain clergy for Fr. Robert. On 20 April 1974 in his oratory in Montreal, Dr. Fehervary ordained John Darcy Noble (1923 - 2003) and Leo Marie Joseph Brown to the priesthood on behalf of the Eucharistic Catholic Church.
Soon after the ordinations, plans were made to have Fr. Robert consecrated to the episcopate. On 4 October 1974 in the Metropolitan-Duane United Methodist Church, New York City, Fr. Robert was consecrated by Abp. Richard A. Marchenna of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church assisted by Bp. Martin L. Williams. Abp. Hyde was still unable to come to New York City but gave his approval for the consecration. On 5 October 1980 Fr. John Noble was consecrated bishop for the Eucharistic Catholic Church. This consecration occurred in the Church of the Beloved Disciple with Bp. Clement acting as chief consecrator being assisted by Abp. Hyde.
In 1986 Bishops Clement and Noble moved to California. Soon after the move, the Church of the Blessed Disciple ceased operations and the Eucharistic Catholic Church once more went dormant. Primate Clement continued as Archbishop of the American Catholic Church until the mid-1990s when headship of the American Catholic Church was passed on to Robert J. Allmen. Abp. Clement remained Primate of the Eucharistic Catholic Church. Other sources claim that Primate Clement remains as the “Primatial Archbishop of the American Catholic Church, for North America, and its LGBT outreach, the Eucharistic Catholic Church”.
On 21 September 2003 Bp. John Darcy Joseph Noble died at 80 years of age at Vista, California. He and Abp. Clement had been life partners for 44 years.
Archbishop Clement, at 90 years of age, is currently based in Hollywood, CA where he “serves as local bishop and archbishop of the original American Catholic Church and the original Eucharistic Catholic Church” and “as leader and inspiration of an open and loving community…leads a Celtic Eucharist every Sunday (and) is active with the Gay and Lesbian Center of Los Angeles and provides spiritual direction and support” to clergy of the American Catholic Church.
PRIMATES OF THE EUCHARISTIC CATHOLIC CHURCH (U.S.A.)
Most Reverend John Augustine Kazantks (†1957): 1 July 1946 - 6 May 1957
Most Reverend George Augustine Hyde († 4 May 2010): 7 May 1957 - 3 October 1974
Most Reverend Robert Mary Clement: 4 October 1974 – current
1. Personal Correspondence of Archbishop George A. Hyde to Bishop Darryl D. Hockley, dated June 6, 2004; and to Bishop-elect Roger LaRade dated August 14, 2005.
2. Papers of Robert Clement (Containers 97-99) Summary; The New York Public Library: Humanities and Social Sciences Library Manuscripts and Archives Division; International Gay Information Center, Inc. PERSONAL PAPERS; John D. Stinson 12/27/90.
3. http://www.lgbtran.org/Interview.aspx?ID=6 (last accessed 9 April 2015)
4. http://www.lgbtran.org/Interview.aspx?ID=12 (last accessed 9 April 2015)
5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Hyde_%28bishop%29 (last accessed 9 April 2015)
6. Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America, Volume 1: History and Controversies. Edited by Eugene V. Gallagher and W. Michael Ashcraft (2006: Greenwood Press, Westport, CT), 249-250.
7. Male Homosexualities and World Religions. Pierre Hurteau (2013: Palgrave Macmillan, New York, NY), 122-123.
8. https://americancatholicchurch.wordpress.com/clergy-staff/ (last accessed 10 April 2015)
9. https://americancatholicchurch.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/hello-world/ (last accessed 10 April 2015)
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