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November 22nd, 2017

To All Catholics, Other Christians & Believers, and All People of Goodwill:

As we celebrate America’s Thanksgiving Day and as the hopeful season of Advent draws near, we feel
divinely inspired to reach out to you. We are the bishops, clergy and lay leaders of the Reformed
Catholic Church, a jurisdiction in what is commonly referred to as the Independent Catholic Movement.
Our jurisdiction is not in union with the Roman Catholic Church, but we share most of the same beliefs
and sacramental practices as the Roman church as well as apostolic succession. We have communities
throughout the United States.

We are increasingly concerned, as are many of you, about the state of the world and the welfare of all
who reside upon it. We feel disappointed by world leaders past and present who have failed to properly
respect what we believe to have been created by God and entrusted to humankind’s care. In a prevailing
spirit of friendship and solidarity, we are taking this opportunity to make our position known on several
critically important matters.

World Peace
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” (Romans 14:19)

Human beings were made in the image of God, and are considered perfect in God’s eyes. However, the
things we as a society do and the decisions we make are not always perfect. Because each of us has been
granted free will, we are free to decide the things we do from day to day. However, we believe that
members of the body of Christ that is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church should follow
Christ’s prescription to “turn the other cheek” when someone does us harm. We should make every effort
to reconcile with our neighbor, including other nations, peacefully.

We believe peaceful nations, beginning with the United States and its allies, must strive to come together
as one. This will have a monumental effect on the outcome of peace when dealing with countries that
wish us and/or their own people harm. War should only be used as a last resort, when all other options
have been used in an attempt to peacefully resolve a situation. Similarly, laws should limit individual
rights to guns and other weapons, and these laws should be stringently enforced. We are all brothers and
sisters in God’s family, even those who are political enemies currently, and we believe that because we
are all members of one family we should treat each other as such.

The Environment
When God gave human beings dominion over the earth and all creation, God did not intend for us to
abuse it like a cruel master. Rather, we are to cherish and nurture it and work for the betterment of all
God’s creation. Humans have for too long pillaged, plundered and exploited this planet and all other
creatures living upon it through greed, materialism and wastefulness.

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The current and holy pope, Francis, has wisely recognized that “environmental destruction comes from
the same evil that leads to social destruction,” and we certainly have seen how sections of our society
have deteriorated. When we mistreat the Earth, we are in effect mistreating ourselves. Pope Francis has
also said pointedly: “God always forgives, we humans forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives.”

It is the poorest nations that feel this ecological destruction first and it has led to a rise in migrants
attempting to flee those countries where environmental damage has led to famine, disease and ultimately
death. Recent and devastating hurricanes and even earthquakes have been scientifically traced to the
warming of our planet.

The leadership of the Reformed Catholic Church calls upon all nations, corporations and individuals to
immediately limit and ideally cease these ten top, human-created causes of environmental damage: high
quantities of exhaust gases, especially C02, S02 and NH3; deforestation; excessive mining; chemical
effluents; vehicular pollution; excessive construction which leads to urban heat islands; secondary
pollutants, especially non-burnt hydrocarbons and nitrous oxides; ruinous agricultural policies that
degrade land; unchecked human population growth; and unplanned land-use policies.

The time is now, not tomorrow or next year, for each and every human being to take the responsibility
God gave us for this planet seriously. We must begin to make the changes necessary to ensure our
children, grandchildren and all future generations will have a sustainable world to live on.

Immigration & Social Justice
"When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with
you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in
the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:33–34).

While the Bible speaks of God's people being aliens in the land of Egypt, we can apply this today to
Americans, who were once aliens in what would become the United States. In fact, we can see how the
native peoples of North America were more apt to initially treat European settlers in alignment with this
passage of scripture than the settlers ever were toward them.

More importantly, the immigrants who came to what would become known as the United States did not
come with legal documentation, nor did they even ask permission of the natives to settle here. However,
when we encounter immigrants today without documentation and who have sacrificed greatly in search of
a better life, many citizens are outraged by the gall of someone who thinks they can just come without
legal approval. Many Americans remain willfully ignorant of their own history. That being said, the
United States is hardly the only country currently oppressing and even abusing immigrants.

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The Reformed Catholic Church strives to actively promote God's agenda of peace, justice, compassion,
acceptance and love. We teach and practice peace, because that is what Jesus left us with as stated in
John 14:27.

We resolutely oppose fascism and the so-called "alt-right" as well as all individuals and institutions that
espouse racist, sexist, homophobic and other forms of discrimination and inequality. We call upon all
citizens to work for justice in accordance with Zechariah 7:9-10, in which God says: "…Administer true
justice, show mercy and compassion to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien
(immigrant), or the poor."

As a result of this teaching, we believe in just wages and equal pay as right and moral in a “land of
opportunity.” We affirm basic human rights in terms of global access to food, clean water, quality health
care, and housing. We work to exemplify love toward all people, as Jesus did when he brought the
Samaritans and Gentiles–-people who were considered second-class and even less-than-human in Jesus'
day--into the family of God.

Acceptance of LGBTQI2S People
It is sad and disturbing to us that so much hostility, time, energy and money continue to be expended
toward political and community measures against people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender, queer, intersex, or two-spirit (LGBTQI2S). That many religious organizations do so in the
name of Jesus Christ, who says absolutely nothing in the gospels in condemnation of such people, is
reprehensible. Furthermore, the oft-cited Old Testament story of Sodom and Gomorrah, when properly
read, does not condemn homosexuality per se but rather inhospitality.

The Reformed Catholic Church welcomes and respects all regardless of race, class, gender or gender
identity, sexual orientation or marital/relationship status. We encourage all Catholic and Christian
churches to be open to everyone for worship, prayer, service and fellowship. This includes all
LGBTQI2S individuals and their families. We affirm the full participation in ministry of both men and
women, seeing them as equal. Like the Roman Catholic and other churches, we celebrate seven holy
sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Eucharist, Penance/Reconciliation, Holy Orders, and the
Anointing of the Sick. No one should be excluded from these sacraments outright. We believe all
churches and all sacraments should be open to all.

All Christians are called to employ gospel values as a lens by which to examine the sinful attitudes and
behaviors at the root of all social ills and injustices. We affirm the Second Vatican Council’s teaching in
this regard: "Any kind of social or cultural discrimination in basic personal rights on the grounds of sex,
race, color, social conditions, language or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with
God's design." (Gaudium et Spes, #29).

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Racist, white-supremacist and neo-Nazi ideologies are deeply-rooted and pernicious evils that have
resulted in countless forms of injustice, violence and even death. The Reformed Catholic Church and any
other church that claims to be One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic has no choice but to use its prophetic
voice and vision to call out any acts of discrimination, intimidation, hatred or injustice perpetrated against
individuals or groups of marginalized people. We must also take immediate, appropriate and significant
action to intervene on behalf of those victimized against the individuals or institutions responsible. It is
apparent that, in these times more than ever, it is necessary to back up our ongoing prayers for justice and
peace with courageous and unequivocal action.

As an example, the Church itself must engage in an ongoing "examination of conscience" in order to
conscientiously and thoroughly root out any vestige of institutional racism or abuse of its societal
privilege. Likewise, all persons of goodwill can seek grace and enlightenment as well as open their hearts
in order to sincerely listen to the voices of the marginalized, to fearlessly seek truth, to identify and call
out manifestations of privilege, and to stand up when necessary to protect and defend the dignity and
equal rights of all.

What we leaders of the Reformed Catholic Church believe and preach really isn’t anything new. These
Judeo-Christian teachings have been upheld for thousands of years. However, current world
circumstances have motivated us to re-affirm and interpret them for our modern age. They may be
challenging to some but they flow from God’s never-ending love for all humankind. Our prayer is that
this letter will in some small way promote greater understanding, peace and justice throughout the United
States and around the world.


Most Reverend Christopher M. Carpenter Most Reverend William Heller
Presiding Bishop Diocese of St. John XXIII
Diocese of St. George

Very Reverend Scott T. Clark, OPr Reverend Anthony G. Graf
Vicar General

Monsignor Andrew Barreras, OPr Monsignor Shane Slivnik

Reverend Robert Johnnene, OFM Reverend Fred Lucci, OPr

Mr. Adolfo Barros Mrs. Elizabeth Matthews

PO Box 40217 Long Beach, CA 90814 · · (562) 285-7544