History of the Progressive Catholic Church

The Progressive Catholic Church (PCC) is a vibrant Catholic Jurisdiction.  Our Synod of Bishops gently guides the Church modeling their ministry on that of Christ who washed the feet of His disciples. Serving the People of God is our heart and soul.  We are a Conciliar Church, that is we are governed by our Council of Bishops, chaired by our Chancellor.  Though our Apostolic Succession flows from the Old Catholic Movement of Utrecht, Holland, The Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Progressive Catholic Church (PCC) is a Vatican II Church, welcoming, accepting, and embracing, seeking to provide a place where all people may come to celebrate the truth of the Gospel as proclaimed through our Catholic Faith for today.

 The PCC is a member of the International Council of Community Churches and an affiliate of the World Council of the Churches in Geneva, Switzerland.  Find one of our Fellowships near you today and join in celebrating a life renewed in Christ!  We are represented in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Spain, and Italy.

We are “Progressive” in that we are an inclusive Church, barring no one from full participation in every aspect of the Church body including Ordination to the Priesthood and our Religious Orders.  In every other way, we share all things in common, including valid Episcopacy through unquestioned lines of Apostolic Succession, Priesthood, and Sacraments with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church throughout the world.  

Possessing undisputed lines of Apostolic Succession, the Progressive Catholic Church is first and foremost a member of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church that Christ had founded and commissioned to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt 28:19) Therefore, the PCC shares in the common history of the Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Anglican Church, and all other particular churches within the Universal Church.

When studying the history of the many churches and jurisdictions within the Universal Church, one can study by examining the unbroken lines of Apostolic Succession. Some of the lines of Apostolic Succession within the Progressive Catholic Church include:

1. The Roman Catholic succession through Monsignor +Carlos Duarte Costa of Brazil

2. The Roman Catholic succession through Archbishop +Emmanuel Milingo

3. The Roman Catholic succession through Archbishop +Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc

4. The Old Catholic succession through Archbishop +Arnold Harris Mathew

5. The Old Catholic succession through Archbishop +Joseph Rene Vilatte

6. The Old Catholic succession through Bishop +Edwin Kreuzer (Old Catholic Church of Germany Succession)

6. The Coptic Orthodox succession through Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria (Azer Youssef Atta)

7. The Russian Orthodox succession through Patriarch Alexei I (Sergey Vladimirovich Simanskiy)

8. The Anglican and Episcopal succession through Bishop +Arthur Lea and Bishop +Henry St. George Tucker

An examination of each dignitary within these lines of succession from past to present would itself constitute a rich study of episcopal and ecclesiastical history.

Additionally, one could approach this through the histories of the individual jurisdictions. The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church can be compared to a country and the jurisdictions within the Universal Church act as independent states within this country. Therefore, the history of the PCC is also a history of a state within this country and as with many jurisdictions, the PCC is a history of various states separating, merging, and reforming.

The Progressive Catholic Church traces her history in modern times back to the Ancient Catholic Church, which was officially incorporated in 1950 by Bishop Hugh George de Willmott-Newman (1905-1979), also known as Mar Georgius. The Ancient Catholic Church shepherded souls independently until 2008, when a union was formed with the Liberal Catholic Church, which then the joint body was called the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church. Shortly after the union, the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church, having her primary presence in the United Kingdom, started to spread in the United States. The growth of the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church in the US was tasked to Monsignor A. Edmund Cass.

Under the leadership of Monsignor Cass, the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church followed a period of considerable growth in which other bishops and communions joined. To further assist Monsignor Cass in his work, in 2012, Bishop +Adrian Trimlett-Glover, Bishop +Gregory Godsey, and Bishop +John Bell consecrated Monsignor Cass to the episcopacy.

Sensing that God was calling him to serve the Church in another capacity and role, Bishop Cass left the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church to establish the Progressive Catholic Church in 2015.

On January the 9th 2021 the council of Bishops duly elected the Progressive Catholic Church`s second Presiding Bishop The Most Reverend Barry Frier. On the 30th of September 2022, Most Reverend Barry Frier stepped down as Presiding Bishop of the Progressive Catholic Church following the death of his beloved parents and with the total agreement of the council of the church that the position of Presiding Bishop was not currently needed.

The Progressive Catholic Church continues to grow with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and our love of following the will of God,