White Robed Monks of St. Benedict

On Catholic Jurisdictions and Protestant Denominations

Mansion with Many Rooms

We, being the humans we are enjoying multiplicity in unity, view the one Church of Christ through a multi-faceted prism. We have divided Christianity first of all into two wide broad facets: Catholicism and Protestantism.

Catholic Jurisdictions

Catholicism is further divided into jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction further subdivides into smaller units of organization called dioceses and dioceses, into parishes. Out of one jurisdiction, other jurisdictions emerge.

Some major jurisdictions include, among others, the African Catholic, American Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Catholic Apostolic, Dutch Catholic, Jacobite Catholic, Liberal Catholic, Mariavite Catholic, the various Orthodox jurisdictions (Patriarchates, a Catholicate, Autocephalous and Autonomous Churches), and the Roman Catholic jurisdiction.

Each of these jurisdictions is essentially the same: the same seven sacraments, the same ministerial priesthood (deacon, priest, bishop), the same centrality of the Eucharist, the same field of Grace. Each differs in administration and hence each is different from, yet the same as, the other. For example, each State of the United States of America different from, yet the same as the USA. Catholic, in this sense then, would be to the USA as each State would be to a particular Catholic jurisdiction.

Each jurisdiction respects Scripture and Tradition (some to greater or lesser degrees than others, as the Roman Church changed 1870 years of tradition when it declared its pope over and above its bishops breaking the historical tradition of primus inter pars, first among equals at Vatican I, 1869). In Catholic theology, where ever there is a Bishop, a person ordained to act not as a representative of the absent Jesus Christ, but a person within whom Christ acts through the grace of the Spirit, there is the church (cf. Rev. Herbert Vorgrimler, Sacramental Theology. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1992; p. 266). A bishop (aka Primus) administers a jurisdiction, acknowledging Christ as the Head of the Church. How each jurisdiction respects another is a decision of each jurisdiction itself.

The White Robed Monks of St. Benedict is an autocephalous (independent) jurisdiction in the tradition of the Old or Dutch Catholic Church (Brief History of the Old Catholic Church. The Primus of the WRMOSB is its Abbot-Bishop. In general, The White Robed Monks of St. Benedict acknowledge and respect the sacramental integrity of fellow Catholic jurisdictions. (Hence, clerics associated with the White Robed Monks of St. Benedict have been ordained in any of the varied Catholic jurisdictions.)

Protestant Denominations

Protestants, on the other hand, have divided into denominations such as the Anglicans1, Baptists, Congregationalists, Episcopalians1, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and so on. Each denomination differs in varying degrees from the others both in organization (from episcopal to congregational), theological (dogma, scriptural interpretation, and belief system) emphasis (as in Predestinarian to Voluntarist), and liturgical practice (virtually Roman to Pentecostal). Mergers are developing between mainline Protestants such as the reciprocal agreement in 2000 between Episcopalians and Lutherans. Virtually all Protestant denominations have a place for the traditional teaching of the church. The Protestant understanding of sacrament differs from the Catholic understanding of a sacrament. Most Protestants recognize two sacraments (Baptism and the Last Supper, with varying understandings of the Catholic sense of Real Presence). Lutherans, Episcopalians and Disciples celebrate their respective understanding of the Eucharist weekly, and most other Protestant denominations celebrate the Eucharist, again with their own particular understanding of the Eucharist at least monthly. The service of Word and Sacrament is the basic framework of virtually all Protestant worship. Except in the Anglican tradition, there is no priesthood (Apostolic Succession within deacon-priest-bishop) as developed in the ancient church. There is a clergy of ministers. In general, each denomination reflects the theological emphases of its founding generation with varying interpretations of Scripture and calls to Tradition.

1Anglicans and Episcopalians may be either "high" or "low" church, depending upon the acceptance or rejection of Latin (Roman) Church customs, beliefs, and practices. High Church Anglicans may be called "Anglo-Catholic." The term "Anglo-Catholic" came into vogue as a consequence of The Oxford Movement. The Old or Dutch Catholic tradition and the Anglicans recognize each other's catholicity based upon the Bonn Agreement and are in full communion with each other. The Anglicans and Episcopalians appear under Protestant denominations to avoid confusion as the following reference may invite:


Please refer to Schema: Survey of Old and Roman Catholic and Protestant Belief Structure for further information.
Peace and Joy to you and yours!


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