Apostolic Succession

The Young Rite derives its Apostolic Succession from Our Lord through The Liberal Catholic Church, which in its turn derives it through the Old Catholic Church of Utrecht in The Netherlands.

The Utrecht Church
The episcopal See of Utrecht was founded by St. Willibrord, an English missionary, in 696 A.D. At the time of the Reformation the northern Netherlands became largely Protestant and the Catholic minority came under the care of episcopal Vicars-Apostolic. In the latter part of the 17th century the Dutch Catholics gave shelter to may Jansenist refugees who had been expelled from France. The Vicar-Apostolic Peter Codde was deposed by Pope Clement XI in 1702 for alleged sympathy with the Jansenist heresy and the Utrecht Church was for some time without a bishop.

A French missionary bishop, Dominique Marie Varlet, who had himself incurred the displeasure of the Pope by administering Confirmation to several hundred candidates of the Dutch Church, finally came to their aid. He consecrated four Archbishops of Utrecht in succession, the last being P.J. Meindaarts, who continued the succession.

Varlet himself had been consecrated at Paris in 1719 by Bishop de Matignon, who in his turn had been consecrated in 1693 by Jacques Bossuet, the famous Bishop of Meaux. Bossuet traced his episcopal lineage through Archbishop le Tellier to Cardinal Antonio Barberini, nephew of Pope Urban VIII.

The Old Catholic Church
Since 1724 the Utrecht Church has remained independent of Rome. When the Vatican Council of 1870 decreed the Infallibility of the Pope, some Roman Catholic groups on the Continent of Europe under the leadership of the famous scholar Dr. von Dollinger declared themselves independent of Rome. They came to be called “Old Catholics” because they rejected the new doctrines of Vatican I. This movement was able to secure the episcopal succession from the Church of Utrecht and a fusion of the two bodies took place under the name The Old Catholic Church.

The Old Catholic Church in Great Britain
In 1908 the Archbishop of Utrecht consecrated an English former Roman Catholic priest, Arnold Harris Mathew, as Old Catholic Bishop for Great Britain and Ireland. In December 1910 Bishop Mathew broke off relations with Utrecht due to doctrinal differences. In 1914 he consecrated Frederick Willoughby to serve as Bishop Auxilliary. The following year he offered his submission to Rome. Bishop Willoughby, assisted by Bishop Rupert Gauntlett and Bishop Robert King (who he had also consecrated) in his turn consecrated James Ingall Wedgwood to the Episcopate. The Church had, by this time, gained many more supporters.

The Liberal Catholic Church
On 6 September 1918 the joint Episcopal and Clerical Synods of the Old Catholic Church in Great Britain changed the title of the Church to “The Liberal Catholic Church (Old Catholic)” and the Church has since been known as The Liberal Catholic Church.

The Young Rite
Bishop Johannes van Alphen of The Liberal Catholic Church was consecrated to the Episcopate by Bishop Tom Patrick Watson on 6 January 1980 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was later to become Regionary Bishop for the Province of South Africa and was appointed Presiding Bishop of The Liberal Catholic Church on 16 April 1992, completing his term in April 2000. He resigned from The Liberal Catholic Church in September 2002.

Bishop Marcus van Alphen was consecrated to the Episcopate by the independent Liberal Catholic bishops Johannes van Alphen, Mario Herrera and Benito Rodriguez on 4 June 2006. This consecration marked the beginning of The Young Rite and assures it of the Apostolic Succession.

Bishop Aristid Havliček was consecrated to the Episcopate by the bishops Marcus van Alphen, Johannes van Alphen and Alistair Bate (an independent Liberal Catholic bishop) on 2 March 2008 in Celje, Slovenia.

Bishop Domen Kočevar was consecrated to the Episcopate by the bishops Aristid Havliček, Marcus van Alphen and Alistair Bate (an independent Liberal Catholic bishop) on 27 May 2012 in Celje, Slovenia.

Towards a free and universal priesthood