What is a the Reformed Celtic Church?

 

The RCC is an affiliation of eclectic communities, parishes, congregations, and ministries.  We affirm Trinitarian universalism.

 

Do I have to be Celtic to join the RCC?

 

No.   Celtic Christian spirituality is not ethnically exclusive.  While many members are of Celtic lineage, many are not.  We are Celtic Christian in spirituality, not ethnicity.  We are open to all people, regardless of race, national origin,  ethnicity, or sexual preference.

 

Is the RCC a Christian organization?

 

Yes.  We  believe Jesus Christ is the instrument of our salvation.  We affirm the Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed, and the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church.  We differ from some catholic, orthodox, and evangelical bodies in that we allow for individual freedom of belief and interpretation.  We see the role of the RCC as one of teacher and guide, not a pontificator of doctrine and dogma.  We actively promote multi-faith and inter-faith activity.

 

Is the RCC a tax-exempt non-profit organization?

 

Yes and no.  The RCC as an affiliation does not solicit funds nor accept donations and does not exist as an IRS tax exempt entity.  However, RCC affiliates are autonomous and self-governing.  They may or may not have tax-exempt non-profit status depending on their specific circumstances. However, all contributions to direct Christian ministries, including those of an RCC parish, are deductible even without IRS or state tax exempt status.

 

What do you mean by "Trinitarian"?

 

We believe that God is three persons (or 'energies') in One Essence.  Christians understand this as the Father/Creator, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.   No one can 'know' God's Essence.  We believe God makes Himself known through His energies, especially through the second person of the Trinity (the Logos, Word, Divine Reason).  This second Person was Incarnate as Jesus Christ.

 

What do you mean by "universalism"?

 

We believe that ALL sentient beings are saved by the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who is the Lord and Savior.  We believe "universalism is attested to in the Bible and in the 7 Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church.  However, we allow for freedom of interpretation and belief in universal salvation is not a litmus test for membership in the RCC.  Without Christ, none of us are "saved''; with Christ, we are all "saved".  When asked, "Are you saved?" A Reformed Celtic Christian might say, "I was saved by Christ's atoning death on Calvary; I am being saved by His grace in my life; and I will be saved at the end of earthly time as God reconciles the cosmos to Himself through Christ."

 

What are your views on the Sacraments?

 

Sacraments (or Mysteries) are effectual signs of grace, ritual acts which both express and bring about a spiritual reality.  Just as the Incarnation of the Eternal Word of God was united with the human nature of Jesus of Nazareth, so in the Sacraments spiritual gifts are communicated through tangible realities.  The RCC administers the 7 Sacraments of catholic and orthodox Christianity, namely:

 

Baptism

 

Baptism is the sacrament by which a person is solemnly admitted to membership in the church universal and grafted into the mystical body of Christ.  Generally, we pour or sprinkle holy water over a person's head.  However, a person may be fully immersed if he/she so desires and the facility to so is available.  In either case, Holy Baptism is done in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  We baptize infants when requested by the child's parents.  The parents may also designate 'godparents' to assist in nurturing the child's faith until the child reaches an age of so-called accountability (usually 12-14 years of age) when he/she can personally confirm his/her faith.

 

Confirmation

 

Confirmation, administered in the Celtic tradition in conjunction with adult baptism, is the sacramental rite by which the confirmed receives spiritual strength for the life of faith to which the person is committing through the invocation of the Holy Spirit and laying on of hands of the celebrant.  In the case of those baptized as infants, it is administered at the so-called age of accountability when the confirmand affirms his or her Christian faith.

 

Holy Eucharist

 

Eucharist, meaning "Thanksgiving," is the sacrament wherein bread and wine are consecrated and thereby linked with the life of Christ.  They become to us outposts of Christ's life and consciousness, thus enabling the person receiving them to become a channel of Christ's life and blessing.  We believe in the "real presence" of Christ, taking Christ at His word, "This IS my body... This IS my blood."  However, we do not try to explain how this is so with terms like 'transubstantiation' or 'co-substantiation'.  We accept it as a Mystery (the Greek meaning of the Latin word for Sacrament).  We practice open communion.  Any one, regardless of religious background, may receive the Body and Blood of Christ at RCC altars.

 

Confession and Absolution

 

The sacrament by which there is a restoration and reconciliation of the inner harmony of nature which has been disturbed by wrongdoing, a bringing of a person once more into tune with the divine power which flows through us all and with God.  Confession may be performed privately with a RCC clergyperson or in a general confession in the context of a public liturgy.  Through confession one's absolution by the atoning death of Jesus Christ is re-affirmed.

 

Extreme Unction/Last Rites/Anointing

 

The sacrament by which the body is anointed with holy oils for the spiritual strengthening of the person, as well as for healing of the physical body.  The Sacrament is routinely administered to those who are close to death but may also be used in healing the sick.

 

Holy Matrimony

 

The sacrament in which two people bind themselves to each other through vows of mutual commitment and in which the celebrant gives the blessing of the Church.  It is viewed as a sign of the relationship which exists between Christ and the Church.  In the Celtic tradition, marriage is also referred to as hand-fasting.

 

Ordination/Holy Orders

 

The sacrament rite by which, in their various degrees, ministers of the gospel receive power and authority to perform their sacred duties.  The RCC maintains the Apostolic Succession of Bishops.  We ordain Priests and Deacons.  We also have un-ordained clergy who are candidates for Holy Orders.  They are Episcopally Commissioned Missionaries approved by the RCC Pastoral Council.  An Episcopally Commissioned Missionary can perform many of the functions of a Priest or Deacon.

 

Does the RCC have a Canon of Scripture?

 

Yes. Click here to view the RCC Canon of Scripture based on the Canonical and Deuterocanonical Books accepted by Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox Churches; the Muratorian Canon of the Bobbio Monastery; the Book of Kells; and the Lindisfarne Gospels. The RCC Pastoral Council affirmed this Canon of Scriptures in February, 2013.

 

What is the RCC’s view on “inclusive language”?

 

The term is associated with “political correctness” and has the noble objective of eliminating or minimizing language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as creating social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts.   Unfortunately, “political correctness” can lead to “theological confusion.”  We make a concerted effort to avoid offending or expressing bias regarding various groups of people while maintaining conformity to Holy Scriptures, the Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church, and our ancient Celtic Christian tradition with its “Trinitarian universalism.”  We allow RCC congregations and/or RCC Clergy who have a difficulty with “traditional” liturgical language to develop alternative liturgies endorsed by the RCC Pastoral Council.  It is our goal to reflect a Church that welcomes all people without exclusion.

 

Can a homosexual join the RCC?

 

Yes.  An individual's sexual preference is a private matter.  Love, compassion, and monogamous loyalty are not the monopoly of heterosexuals.   They are incumbent on all Christians.  For the RCC Statement on Homosexuality, click here.

 

Do you perform marriages for homosexual couples?

 

Yes, consenting RCC clergy may officiate at same-gender marriages.  However, no RCC clergyperson is compelled to officiate and may decline as his or her conscience dictates.  For the RCC statement on same-gender marriages, click here.

 

What is the RCC's position on abortion?

 

Abortion is a matter of individual conscience.  However, most RCC clergy believe human life begins at conception and would counsel against having an abortion.

 

What is the RCC's position on capital punishment?

 

We believe that all human life is sacred and that no human court is infallible.  Therefore, we are opposed to capital punishment, deferring to life imprisonment without parole in so-called capital crimes.

 

Do you pray the Rosary?

 

Most use what is called the Dalriadan Rosary, a Celtic Rosary that differs somewhat from the Roman Catholic Rosary.

 

Do you worship Mary?

 

No.  We venerate St. Mary and hold her in great esteem as the mother of Jesus Christ.  Some members (not all) ask St. Mary to intercede for them in their prayers or petitions to God.  We do not promote the Roman Catholic teaching that she is "Co-redemprix" or the "immaculate conception" of the Blessed Virgin.  But we respect an individual's right to hold those beliefs.

 

Do you worship the saints?

 

No. Communion of the saints is not worship of them. We believe that the saints are in heaven and can hear our prayers, at the same time we believe that they can pray for us so asking them to pray for us is not much different than me asking you to pray for me.  We venerate them as examples of lives lived in communion with the Divine Spirit within all of us, seeking to follow their example.

 

Do you ordain women?

 

Yes.  We ordain females to all levels of Holy Orders.  We do not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity,  or national origin.

 

Do you ordain homosexuals?

 

Yes.  However, single Clergy, whether homosexual or heterosexual, are required to maintain chastity and celibacy.

 

Do you allow Priests to be married?

 

Yes. All clergy may enter Holy Matrimony.

 

Do you believe in heaven and hell?

 

These are originally cosmological terms that signified regions of the universe but which also came to function as vehicles of religious thought.  The ideas expressed by these terms are integral to practically all religions, both ancient and modern.  In most religions heaven and hell are expressions of final states of existence, whether blessedness (heaven) or curse (hell).  The beliefs of members about the nature of heaven or of hell varies.  Succinctly, the RCC teaches that heaven is the Presence of God ("The kingdom of heaven is within you") while hell is the absence of God ("My God, why have you forsaken me?").  We view heaven and hell not as physical spaces but as transcendent spiritual states within which one may currently exist.  We do not teach that hell is a state of eternal damnation.

 

Do you believe in demonic possession?

 

While we do believe in the existence of evil spirits or demons and the possibility of demonic possession, the well-documented incidence of such occurrences is rare.  More frequently what appears to be 'possession' is a manifestation of psychological or physiological problems.  Demonic possession can occur, but  more often we fall under demonic or evil influences.