San Damiano Church is a member parish of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC). The Ecumenical Catholic Communion is a federation of faith communities from across America who have entered into a covenant relationship with one another, seeking to celebrate the love of Christ in all people. We are a communion of local churches celebrating a characteristically Catholic faith tradition that is not sectarian.
The people of the ECC are deeply committed to their Catholic identity and practice a tradition that is rooted in the ancient Church. We believe that we have the responsibility of honoring our tradition while responding in love and wisdom to the needs and realities of the contemporary world.
The Ecumenical Catholic Communion is related to the larger Church through the Old Catholics, both by identifying with and embracing the Old Catholic values, expressed in the Declaration of Utrecht, and by tracing its apostolic succession through Old Catholics.
The following is a brief and necessarily over-simplified account of the origin of the Old Catholic Churchs of the Union of Utrecht. It was prepared a number of years ago by Thaddeus A. Schnitker, at that time Chaplain to the Bishop, Old Catholic Co-Secretary of the Anglican/Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council.
The ECC warmly embraces the Declaration of Utrecht (below) as one of our founding documents.
In doing so we express our solidarity with the two streams of non-Roman Catholicism which came together in 1889 to form the Union of Utrecht. The first is the independent Dutch Catholic Church, which was formed in the early eighteenth century. The Dutch Catholic Church asserted its ancient and historic rights against encroachment from the Roman papacy, rights which included the election of bishops by the local church. For over two centuries the Dutch Catholic Church provided an indigenous expression of Catholicism for the Dutch people.