Independent Catholic Churches Council

The Independent Catholic Churches Council is an organisation for the promotion of co-operation between Independent Catholic, Free Catholic Churches, all Catholic churches.
The basis of our agreement is the Anglican/Old Catholic Bonn Agreement of 1931. The Bonn Agreement of 1931 is a document that established full communion between the Church of England (later all Anglicans) and the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, including the Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands. There are several liberal Catholic Churches in succession to these who are also included: United Free Catholic Church, Old Catholic Apostolic Church, Frs Stevennistes (Little Catholics, Old - Belgium & low countries) and others.

It is not a necessity that all Independent Catholic Churches enter into intercommunion arrangements. For those that choose not to, the Bonn Agreement at the centre of our work still provides a good common framework of understanding.

It incorporates three statements:

1. Each Communion recognizes the catholicity and independence of the others and maintains its own.
2. Each Communion agrees to admit members of the other Communions to participate in the Sacraments.

3. (For those churches that choose it) Full Communion does not require from the other Communions the acceptance of all doctrinal opinion, sacramental devotion or liturgical practice characteristic of the others, but implies that each believes the other to hold all the essentials of the Christian faith.

The third statement makes it clear that intercommunion does not affect the independent lives of the churches, but rather that it affirms their unity in the riches and fullness of Christ.

What does this mean in practice?

Lay people of participating churches may fully participate in each other's pastoral, congregational and sacramental life.
Since the orders of each church are recognised by the other, priests, deacons and clergy in minor orders can fully participate in the other churches ministries by invitation.

Bishops participate in the consecrations of bishops of other churches and have regular consultations at many levels. They also administer the sacrament of confirmation in each other's churches, or provide other Episcopal Oversight on behalf of the other church by invitation.

The Bonn Agreement does not therefore include an extensive description of theological issues on which participating churches agree. It describes a concise consensus by which each Church accepts the catholicity and autonomy of the other and will maintain both. It is the foundation for full communion, which will not imply that each has to share all the other’s doctrines, spiritual and sacramental practices, but rest on the assumption that each Church maintains the essentials of the faith. Whilst the Bonn Agreement was not created for us, it serves our situation very well.

The Independent Catholic Churches Council has eight functions:
1. To share information about developments in other churches and to serve as needed as an instrument of common action.
2. To advise on inter-church relationships, including the division of resources and sharing of such, in a spirit of co-operation. For example, Episcopal Oversight by one church where another has no bishop near.
3. To develop as far as possible agreed Independent Catholic policies in the world mission of the Church and to encourage national and regional Churches to engage together in developing and implementing such policies by sharing their resources for example manpower and experience to the best advantage of all.
4. To keep before national and regional Churches the importance of the fullest possible Independent Catholic collaboration with other Christian Churches.
5. To encourage and guide Independent Catholic participation in the ecumenical movement and ecumenical organisations; to co-operate with the World Council of Churches and the world confessional bodies on behalf of Free and Independent Catholicism; and to make arrangements for the conduct of dialog with the Anglican Churches, Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Churches, and indeed any other Churches.

6. To advise on matters arising out of national or regional Church union negotiations or conversations and on subsequent relations with united Churches.
7. To advise on problems on inter-church communication and to help in the dissemination of Independent Catholic and ecumenical information.
8. To keep in review the needs that may arise for further study and, where necessary, to promote inquiry and research.

The role of the Independent Catholic Churches Council (ICCC) is to facilitate the co-operative work of the churches of the Free Catholic, Independent Catholic, Liberal Catholic and Established or national churches, exchange information between the churches, and help to co-ordinate common action. It advises on the organisation and structures of the partnership, and seeks to develop common policies with respect to the world mission of the Church, including ecumenical matters. It is to represent and lobby the churches cause to the United Nations, National Governments and pan-national organisatiuons, charities, aid groups and non-governmental organisations on behalf of, and for the greater good of, the churches.

The ICCC has a permanent General Secretary and membership includes a representative from each participating Church. There are no fees or dues to belong and the council members all volunteer their time freely. Day to day administration functions are provided by the Old Catholic Apostic Church on behalf of the ICCC. 

Churches that are Members of ICCC
Persons on the Council
How does a Church join or express an interest?

The General Secretary of the Independent Catholic Churches Council