Declaration of Utrecht

A creedal summary issued in Utrecht in 1889, important in the history of the Old Catholic* movement. The original Old Catholic Church grew out of the Jansenist* controversies: Cornelius Steenhoven in 1724 was consecrated by a Catholic bishop (without papal approval) as archbishop of Utrecht, and the “Jansenist” Old Catholic Church continued as a small group thereafter, with some claim to valid orders. In the 1870s, when a larger secession from the Roman Church took place in protest against Vatican I's adoption of the doctrine of papal infallibility, they turned to Utrecht for ordination. J.H. Reinkens* was ordained bishop of the Old Catholic Church in Germany, and Edward Herzog similarly for Switzerland. The 1889 meeting in Utrecht thus brought together the bishops of the Old Catholic churches. The Declaration affirmed adherence to Catholicism, but rejection of Roman perversions of it, notably including the doctrine of papal infallibility. It was accepted as a doctrinal statement by the Old Catholic churches (including, since 1897, the Polish Old Catholic movement in the USA).