When members of the Roman Catholic Church encounter Old Catholic Churches, or Old Catholic Priests, for the first time, they are often surprised to learn that Catholic denominations exist apart from Rome. Understandably, questions are raised about the validity of Orders and Sacraments administered by Old Catholics.
Below are recognitions from the Roman Catholic Church as to the validity and acceptability of Old Catholic Sacraments and Priests.
"The Roman Church recognizes the validity of Old Catholic Orders and other Sacraments."
-Felician A. Roy, OFM, 1974; p. 368
Pope John Paul II & Pope Benedict XVI
(Vatican - 16 June 2000)
Pope John Paul II ratified and ordered the publication of "Dominus Iesus." Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was signed and published by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) in August of the same year.
In this Declaration, the Roman Catholic Church recognizes the validity of Orders and Sacraments of Old Catholic denominations:
"The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Roman Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by Apostolic Succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches.
Therefore, these separated Churches and communities as such have by no means been deprived of significance and
importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church."
-IV. Unicity and Unity of the Church, 17
(Vatican - 30 October 2014)
Old Catholic Church members met with Pope Francis in the latest of a continuing ecumenical dialogue between the Old Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church.
Pope Francis explained that since the Second Vatican Council, it “has been possible to build new bridges of a more profound mutual understanding and practical co-operation,” between the Old Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church.
“There is a thirst for God,” the Pope stated. “There is a profound desire to recover a sense of purpose in life. There is an urgent need for a convincing witness to the truth and values of the Gospel.” He suggested that the two communions can “support and encourage one another, especially at the level of parishes and local communities.”