Some Points of Comparison between
The National Catholic Church of America
and the Roman Catholic Church

The National Catholic Church of America

Roman Catholic Church

Leadership: Governed by an elected Bishop-Primate. The Bishop of Rome (the Pope) is honored as first among equals of the world’s bishops, but not accorded universal jurisdiction. Papal Infallibility is rejected in favor of the more scriptural idea of the indefectibility of the Church, as a whole. Leadership: Governed by the Bishop of Rome (the Pope). He has universal jurisdiction and is ascribed personal infallibility when speaking ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals.
The Creeds: The Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed are accepted as statements of core beliefs. The Creeds: The Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed are accepted as statements of core beliefs.
Scripture: The Holy Bible, consisting of 72 canonically recognized books, is seen as the inspired “Word of God”, which needs to be interpreted in order to be properly understood. Supports on-going scripture scholarship. Scripture: The Holy Bible, consisting of 72 canonically recognized books, is seen as the inspired “Word of God”, which needs to be interpreted in order to be properly understood. Supports on-going scripture scholarship.
The Sacraments: Seven in number, instituted by Christ, to give grace. The Sacraments: Seven in number, instituted by Christ, to give grace.
Church Councils: Recognizes doctrinal authority of First Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church. Accepts teachings of all councils which are not contrary to Scripture or Tradition. Church Councils: Recognizes doctrinal authority of 21 Church councils. Many of Vatican II decrees (as well as other councils) have been modified by subsequent documents.
Clergy: Bishops, priests and deacons (male & female) ordained within valid apostolic lines. Optional celibacy. Clergy: Bishops, priests and deacons (male only) ordained within valid apostolic lines. Celibacy required for Latin Rite priests and bishops.
Marriage: Permanent and indissoluble, although marriage can “fail” spiritually. Follows Orthodox practice of permitting two subsequent marriages for those with civil divorces. Has annulment process. Marriage limited to union of two people, without regard to gender. Marriage: Permanent and indissoluble, although many valid marriages have been dissolved by papal decree. Has annulment tribunal. Marriage limited to union of one man and one woman.
Holy Eucharist: Believe that during the Mass, through the action of the priest and by the power of the Holy Spirit, bread and wine are changed, in their substance, into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. This sacrament is the symbol and source of Christian Unity. Reception offered to baptized Christians and is not denied to the divorced and remarried. Holy Eucharist: Believe that during the Mass, through the action of the priest and by the power of the Holy Spirit, bread and wine are changed, in their substance, into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. This sacrament is the symbol of Christian Unity. Reception limited to Roman Catholics, with some exceptions. Usually denied to divorced and remarried.
Mary: The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, is held in special reverence because of her unique role in salvation history and her heroic degree of obedience to the Divine Will. While the Marian feasts of the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception are observed by the Church, belief in these doctrines is not considered binding upon the faithful. Mary: The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, is held in special reverence because of her unique role in salvation history and her heroic degree of obedience to the Divine Will. The Marian feasts of the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception are observed by the Church and belief in them is considered binding upon the faithful.
Saints: All those enjoying eternal life in the presence of God are saints. In addition to those saints informally acclaimed as such throughout history, there are also those saints formally declared (canonized) by competent Church authority, and who are commemmorated in the Church’s Liturgical Calendar. Saints: All those enjoying eternal life in the presence of God are saints. In addition to those saints informally acclaimed as such throughout history, there are also those saints formally declared (canonized) by competent Church authority, and who are commemmorated in the Church’s Liturgical Calendar.
Penance: The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) is administered by a bishop or priest having faculties to do so. Auricular confession of specific sins is encouraged but not required. General Absolution is usually administered at the beginning of all Sunday celebrations of the Holy Eucharist (Mass) as part of the Penitential Rite. Penance: The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) is administered by a bishop or priest having faculties to do so. Auricular confession of specific sins is normally required. The use of General Absolution is highly restricted.
Anointing: This sacrament of healing is administered by a bishop or priest in case of any serious illness (physical, mental or spiritual), at any time, not only when in danger of death. In the absence of a priest, a deacon may provide a non-sacramental anointing. Anointing: This sacrament of healing is administered by a bishop or priest in case of any serious illness (physical, mental or spiritual), at any time, not only when in danger of death. Deacons may not anoint.
Parishes: While parishes are established by, and operate under the authority of, The Primate, parish property is locally owned (either by parishioners or clergy, or both). Parishes are required to be financially self-supporting and to support the work of the Church according to their means. Parishes: Parish property is owned either by the diocese or by the diocesan bishop (Ordinary) on behalf of the diocese. Parish property may be sold, or otherwise disposed of, at the bishop’s discretion. Poorer parishes often receive aid from the diocese. Most parishes pay an annual assessment to the diocese.

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