I'm very glad I ran across this article this morning, so I can make it very clear that this is NOT a Catholic Church. The name "Old Catholic" may sound like a traditional or orthodox Church, but their beliefs are completely contrary to Catholic teachings, and they are NOT in communion with the Pope.
Bishop Jim Morgan, of Ogden, Utah, is also gay and has been with the man he considers his husband for 30 years.
In this church, the bishops' marital relations haven't caused a ripple among the clergy or the laity. No protests. No outraged believers. No furious voting.
Both priests are leaders of the North American Old Catholic Church, a little-known brand of Catholicism, with elements most Catholics wouldn't recognize. According to its website, it preaches openness, tolerance and interfaith dialogue as "an essential way to build a more holistic and loving world in accordance with the Gospels."
North American Old Catholics, members say, "are redefining what it means to be a universal catholic church in a modern world needing prophetic voices."
In this incarnation of Catholicism, priests and nuns may marry whomever they wish, every baptized person (including divorced members) is welcome to take Communion and women can be priests. Their faith statements read like a litany of progressive concerns — the environment, anti-torture, gay rights, women's rights, nuclear disarmament, reproductive rights.
The Old Catholics oppose abortion but don't believe their view should be codified in civil law. And there is no allegiance to Rome. Indeed, the movement started with the question of papal infallibility. We believe the Pope is infallible only in matters of faith and doctrine.
During the First Vatican Council, convened in Rome between 1869 and 1870, bishops huddled to hammer out the role of the papacy. Some argued against elevating the pope to such a centrally important stature, believing the church should continue its longtime tradition of allowing regional bishops to be somewhat autonomous.
"It was really a question of how the church governed itself," said Seneco, who is planning the church's August synod in Ogden. "Before that, local bishops had much more control. After, it was reconcentrated in a monarchical papacy."
Bishops from Germany and Holland broke away, he says, to form Old Catholic churches. They held five joint meetings between 1871 and 1880 and started to modernize. They allowed priests to celebrate some of the Mass in their native tongues, and they became close to other faiths such as Anglicanism (the Church of England).