- Polish Catholic Church
The Polish Catholic Church ( _pl. Kościół Polskokatolicki w Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej) is a
Catholicdenomination in Polandwhich belongs to the Union of Utrecht. It also has membership in the World Council of Churchesand the Polish Ecumenical Council. It is not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. The Polish Catholic Church currently supports roughly 23,000 members. Bishop Wiktor Wysoczański has been the church's superior since 1995.
The Polish Catholic Church was established in Poland in the early 20th century by returning Catholic immigrants from the
USAwho belonged to the American Polish National Catholic Church(PNCC). In 1924, the first national parish emerged in Cracow.
After 1945, Polish communist authorities were not keen on legalizing the Polish National Catholic Church, because its leader, bishop
Franciszek Hodur, was a citizen of USA.
In 1951, under pressure from the communist authorities, the Polish diocese of PNCC declared the church independent from the PNCC. This was partially as a result of the arrests of bishop
Joseph Padewskiand priest Edward Narbutt-Narbuttowicz. In the autumn of 1951, the church changed its name to the Polish Catholic Church. The new leader of the church was priest Józef Dobrochowskiwho, in close cooperation with priest Eugeniusz Krieglewicz, followed the orders of the communist authorities. In this way, the Polish communist government took complete control over the Polish Catholic Church: they appointed bishops, relieved them of duty, managed the personnel and financed the church.
The duties of the new church included organizing masses for the celebration of
22 July(the anniversary of Polish constitution of 1952, a communist holiday otherwise not supported by the Roman Catholic Church) and sending letters of congratulation to the authorities because of other anniversaries.
On May 26, 2000, the Polish Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church of Poland agreed upon mutual respect and cooperation.
The theology of the Polish Catholic Church is in line with orthodox lines of the Roman Catholic Church. The Church honors the Virgin Mary, but rejects the Roman Catholic doctrine of the
Immaculate Conceptionof Mary.
The liturgy of church is similar to that of Roman Catholic Church.
Currently the Polish Catholic Church consists of 80 parishs with 111 priests. A priest must be male, needs to graduate from the Christian Academy of Theology in
Warsaw, specializing in Old-Catholic Theology and the Higher Clerical Seminary of the Polish Catholic Church in Warsawand needs approval from the church authorities or deacon ordination or above.
The head Bishop of the Polish National Church is chosen by the National Synode and is consecrated by at least three bishops that are members of the International Conference of Old-Catholic Bishops (the
Utrecht Union). Priests are required to take vows of celibacy.
List of superiors of Polish Catholic Church
*1951 - priest
*1951 - 1958 - bishop
*1958 - 1965 - bishop
*1965 - 1976 - bishop
*1976 - 1994 - bishop
*1995 - bishop
* [http://www.polskokatolicki.pl/ Official site]
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