FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the Celtic Catholic Church USA? (CCC USA)
The CCC USA is an affiliation of different communities, parishes, congregations, and ministries. Our particular roots in the American expression of Celtic Christianity go back to the early movements of the 1970’s through the 1990’s, when leaders gathered to revive Christianity in general and Independent Catholic Sacramental tradition in particular by forming various Celtic Christian Fellowships and organizations. From those early endeavors sprung a number of Celtic Christian, Sacramental churches, many of which still exist today.
Our primary purpose of the CCC USA is to share in this endeavor to both integrate and raise up the Church in the original values it held within the Early Church and the unique nature of Celtic churches. We seek to be one voice among many who – even in ‘mainstream’ churches today—are beginning to study and embrace the Celtic model of both faith and ministry for a modern world.
The Cornerstones of the Celtic Catholic Church USA are the two primary theological views of the radical Incarnation of God within Creation, and the belief in Universal Salvation (Universalism); Our other two Cornerstones of our Church are based in the ‘Great Commission’ of Jesus who told us to ‘Love God’ and ‘Love Our Neighbor’. Without Love we believe there can be no Church.
Do I have to be Celtic to join the CCC USA?
No. Celtic Christian spirituality is not ethnically exclusive. While many members are of Celtic lineage, many are not. We are Celtic Christian in spirituality, not ethnicity. We are open to all people, regardless of race, national origin, ethnicity, or sexual preference.
Is the CCC USA a Christian organization?
Yes. We believe Jesus Christ is the instrument of love and compassion in our world. We affirm the Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed, and the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church. We differ from some catholic, orthodox, and evangelical bodies in that we allow for individual freedom of belief and interpretation. We see the role of the CCC USA as one of teacher and guide, not a pontificator of doctrine and dogma. We actively promote multi-faith and inter-faith activity. Theologically, as a Celtic Christian church we embrace both Trinitarian Universalism and the deep Incarnation of God within Christ, the Holy Spirit, and within ALL creation.
Is the CCCUSA a tax-exempt non-profit organization?
Yes. The CCC USA is a 501-c3 non-profit Church and exists as an IRS tax exempt entity. This status ensures that we – like most mainline denominations – are able to create unique ministries and also receive donations from friends and members who may claim tax deductions.
What do you mean by "Trinitarian"?
We believe that God is three persons (or 'energies') in One Essence. Christians understand this as the Father/Creator, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. No one can 'know' God's Essence. We believe God makes Himself known through His energies, especially through the second person of the Trinity (the Logos, Word, Divine Reason). This second Person was Incarnate as Jesus Christ. Through contemporary research we are beginning to see that God, Christ and the Holy Spirit, along with all of creation, have a much deeper ‘Cosmic’ significance than ever before.
What do you mean by "Universalism"?
We believe that ALL sentient beings are saved by the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the sins of all. We believe "universalism is attested to in the Bible and in the 7 Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church. However, we allow for freedom of interpretation and belief in universal salvation is not a litmus test for membership in the CCC USA. The belief in Universal Salvation has existed from the earliest days of the Christian Church, beginning with Origen of Alexandria and other Church Scholars and Fathers. Universalism contests the concept of ‘Original Sin’ put forth by St. Augustine, claiming that God’s creation was all ‘Good’ in God’s eyes and thus, through God’s love, all will be redeemed. While we as humans will sin, it comes from our individual behaviors and refusal of God’s Grace which is offered to all.
What are your views on the Sacraments?
Sacraments (or Mysteries) are effectual signs of grace, ritual acts which both express and bring about a spiritual reality. Just as the Incarnation of the Eternal Word of God was united with the human nature of Jesus of Nazareth, so in the Sacraments spiritual gifts are communicated through tangible realities. The CCC USA administers the 7 Sacraments of catholic and orthodox Christianity, namely:
Baptism is the sacrament by which a person is solemnly admitted to membership in the church universal and grafted into the mystical body of Christ. Generally, we pour or sprinkle holy water over a person's head. However, a person may be fully immersed if he/she so desires and the facility to do so is available. In either case, Holy Baptism is done in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. We baptize infants when requested by the child's parents. The parents may also designate 'godparents' to assist in nurturing the child's faith until the child reaches an age of so-called accountability (usually 12-14 years of age) when he/she can personally confirm his/her faith.
Confirmation, administered in the Celtic tradition in conjunction with adult baptism, is the sacramental rite by which the confirmed receives spiritual strength for the life of faith to which the person is committing through the invocation of the Holy Spirit and laying on of hands of the celebrant. In the case of those baptized as infants, it is administered at the so-called age of accountability when the confirmand affirms his or her Christian faith.
Eucharist, meaning "Thanksgiving," is the sacrament wherein bread and wine are consecrated and thereby linked with the life of Christ. They become to us outposts of Christ's life and consciousness, thus enabling the person receiving them to become a channel of Christ's life and blessing. We believe in the "real presence" of Christ, taking Christ at His word, "This IS my body... This IS my blood." However, we do not try to explain how this is so with terms like 'transubstantiation' or 'co-substantiation'. We accept it as a Mystery (the Greek meaning of the Latin word for Sacrament). We practice open communion. Any one, regardless of religious background, may receive the Eucharist at our altars.
Confession and Absolution
The sacrament by which there is a restoration and reconciliation of the inner harmony of nature which has been disturbed by wrongdoing, a bringing of a person once more into tune with the divine power which flows through us all and with God. Confession may be performed privately with a CCC USA clergyperson or in a general confession in the context of a public liturgy. Through confession one's absolution by the atoning death of Jesus Christ is re-affirmed.
In the Roman Church the act of Penance was a public display, meant to isolate 'sinners' by removing them to the Narthex (entrance) of a Church, and cut-off from the general assembly. The act of Penance in its private and relational form was ‘invented’ by Celtic Monks, who acted not as ‘punishers’ for one’s sins, but rather as listeners and ones to offer correction. This intimate form of confession was based on the ancient Celtic practice of having an ‘Anamchara’ or ‘soul friend’, a foundation of Celtic Christianity.
Extreme Unction/Last Rites/Anointing
The sacrament by which the body is anointed with holy oils for the spiritual strengthening of the person, as well as for healing of the physical body. The Sacrament of Unction-Last Rites is routinely administered to those who are close to death but Anointing may also be used in healing the sick.
The sacrament in which two people bind themselves to each other through vows of mutual commitment and in which the celebrant gives the blessing of the Church. It is viewed as a sign of the relationship which exists between Christ and the Church. In the Celtic tradition, marriage is also referred to as hand-fasting. In the Celtic Catholic Church USA we offer the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony to all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation or if they have been divorced. To us, God’s love prevails.
The sacrament rite by which, in their various degrees, ministers of the gospel receive power and authority to perform their sacred duties. The CCC USA maintains the Apostolic Succession of Bishops. We ordain Priests and Deacons regardless of their sexual orientation or gender. We also confer Holy Vows of Profession for those engaged in our religious orders.
Does the CCC USA have a Canon of Scripture?
Yes. Click on our webpage in our Scriptorium to view the CCC USA Canon of Scripture based on the Canonical and Deuterocanonical Books accepted by Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox Churches; the Muratorian Canon of the Bobbio Monastery; the Book of Kells; and the Lindisfarne Gospels.
What is the CCC USA’s view on “inclusive language”?
This term is often associated with “political correctness” and has the noble objective of eliminating or minimizing language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as creating social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts. Unfortunately, “political correctness” can lead to “theological confusion.” We make a concerted effort to avoid offending or expressing bias regarding various groups of people while maintaining conformity to Holy Scriptures, the Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church, and our ancient Celtic Christian tradition with its “Trinitarian Universalism.” The writings of Perennial Wisdom, great speeches, and Scripture have their chosen words etched in history, which we take seriously and carefully to respect. However, We allow CCC USA congregations and/or CCC USA Clergy who have a difficulty with “traditional” liturgical language to develop alternative liturgies endorsed by the CCC USA Pastoral Council. It is our goal to reflect a Church that welcomes all people without exclusion.
Can someone who is LGBTQT join the CCC USA?
Yes. An individual's sexual preference or gender orientation is a private matter. One’s identity, love, compassion, and monogamous loyalty are not the monopoly of heterosexuals. They are incumbent on all Christians.
Do you perform marriages for homosexual couples?
It is the belief of the CCC USA to uphold the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony for all people. Yes, consenting CCC USA clergy may officiate at same-gender marriages. However, no CCC USA clergyperson is compelled to officiate and may decline as his or her conscience dictates. In such a case we will assist the couple in securing another Independent Catholic clergy person to perform the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
What is the CCC USA’s position on abortion?
Abortion is a matter of individual conscience and serious consideration. The CCC USA allows its clergy to hold to each member’s conscience in this matter. There might be some CCC USA clergy who believe human life begins at conception and would counsel against having an abortion, while there are others who believe in a ‘situational ethic’ which supports the final decision of the person choosing to have an abortion.
What is the CCC USA’s position on capital punishment?
We believe that all human life is sacred and that no human court is infallible. Therefore, we are opposed to capital punishment, deferring to life imprisonment without parole in so-called capital crimes.
Do you pray the Rosary?
Many pray the ‘traditional’ Rosary of Mary, derived from Roman Catholic Sacramentals. Others choose to pray the Anglican/Episcopalian Rosary; St. Michael’s Chaplet, Franciscan 7-Crown Rosaries, Orthodox Prayer Knots (the “Jesus Prayer”), or any other Rosaries which speak to one’s heart.
Do you worship Mary?
No. We venerate St. Mary and hold her in great esteem as the mother of Jesus Christ. Some members (not all) ask St. Mary to intercede for them in their prayers or petitions to God. We do not promote the Roman Catholic teaching that she is "Co-redemprix" or the "immaculate conception" of the Blessed Virgin. But we respect an individual's right to hold those beliefs.
Do you worship the saints?
No. Communion of the saints is not worship of them. We believe that the saints are in heaven and can hear our prayers, at the same time we believe that they can pray for us so asking them to pray for us is not much different than me asking you to pray for me. We venerate them as examples of lives lived in communion with the Divine Spirit within all of us, seeking to follow their example.
Do you ordain women?
Yes. We ordain females to all levels of Holy Orders. We do not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or national origin.
Do you ordain homosexuals?
Yes. However, single Clergy, whether homosexual or heterosexual, are required to maintain chastity (recommended 'right relation') or celibacy (by choice).
Do you allow Priests to be married?
Yes. All clergy may enter Holy Matrimony.
Do you believe in heaven and hell?
These are originally cosmological terms that signified regions of the universe but which also came to function as vehicles of religious thought. The ideas expressed by these terms are integral to practically all religions, both ancient and modern. In most religions heaven and hell are expressions of final states of existence, whether blessedness (heaven) or curse (hell). The beliefs of members about the nature of heaven or of hell varies. Succinctly, the CCC USA teaches that heaven is the Presence of God ("The kingdom of heaven is within you") while hell is the absence of God ("My God, why have you forsaken me?"). We view heaven and hell not as physical spaces but as transcendent spiritual states within which one may currently exist. We do not teach that hell is a state of eternal damnation.
Do you believe in demonic possession?
While we do believe in the existence of evil spirits or demons and the possibility of demonic possession, the well-documented incidence of such occurrences is rare. More frequently what appears to be 'possession' is more so a manifestation of psychological or physiological problems. Many of our Clergy are trained to discern the many differences between evil, poor life choices, or difficult life challenges which may include psychological/physiological issues.
Are your clergy available for priestly services outside of the church?
Yes. our clergy are available upon request for: Weddings, Baptismal Services, Home and Sick Visitations, Penance, and Funeral Services.