The term "independent" does not refer to our spiritual state but a jurisdictional one. This term is used to differentiate ourselves and prevent confusion. There has long been a history of autocephalous communities within the Universal Catholic Church that have maintained valid sacraments and are, in fact, true Churches.
Speaking on this issue, then-Cardinal Josef Ratzinger wrote,
"Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him. 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, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches..." (from Dominus Ieusus)
Additionally, we adhere to the first seven ecumenical councils, and celebrate all seven sacraments, the Nicene Creed, and the Apostles Creed.
Our History & Validity:
The Old Catholic Church is Catholic in faith and worship and yet does not answer to the Pope. Old Catholicism comes from two different and distinct movements away from the Church of Rome dated from 696 A.D. Wherever they are found all over the world, the Independent/Progressive/Old Catholic Church is usually the minority of the people, but the smallness of numbers does not mean that they are an unimportant Church; on the contrary, they hold a very definite place in Catholic Christendom. The primary difference between Rome and Old Catholic is based upon arbitrary (not scriptural rules of the Church) such as an open communion that does not restrict or punish, the ordination of married people as well as women, and the ability to offer sacraments (such as marriage) outside of the Church walls recognizing that the presence and blessings of God can and should happen anywhere. We are indeed valid Catholics and have apostolic succession for our ordained Clergy. We join the other Apostolic, Independent Catholic Jurisdictions across the world in prayer, that one day the Holy Spirit will bring us all together in unity. There is indeed only One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church; its manifestations however are many, and true, and full of rich histories all of their own. The word Catholic means “universal”; we pray that just as we are now united in Word and Sacrament, one day the walls of religious politics will fall, and the unity of the Cross will prevail across the entire Church. We are “Progressive” in that we are an inclusive Church, barring no one on the basis of Gender and Gender affiliation, Sexual Orientation, and Marital Status 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, Priesthood, and Sacraments with the Roman Catholic Church and hence the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church throughout
the world. Please note that communion with and obedience to the Pope is not the defining source of Validity, Apostolic Succession is STATEMENT ON INNER-COMMUNIONS: OPEN TABLE, OPEN HEARTS. “The Progressive Catholic Church, existing as a Member of the Jesus Movement, in Apostolic Succession, recognizes all Christian Churches who profess the Ancient Creedal Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and acknowledge the True Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist as being in full Communion with us. You are welcome at our table which is the Table of the Lord Jesus Christ.”