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Conclave August 2016

                                                                                                                      Our History

The Priestly Society of The Inner Christ the Light has its history tied within the both the Independent Catholic/Sacramental Movement that was formed in founding back when the date the modern Old Catholic movement to the 1870s.  as well as the Celtic Christian revival of the late 20th to the early 21st century.   The best way we can explain how we connected to both traditions is go back to our forefathers and mothers of the ancient Celtic Church and tie them into Liberal Catholic tradition as well.

                                                                                                                         Our Celtic History

Christianity first came to the Celts in the 2nd century (or possibly earlier,) during the Roman occupation of the British Isles and Northern Europe, probably through individual converts in the army.  And even according to tradition or some say myth that even Saint Joseph of Arimathea was the first one to present Christ to the natives of the British Isles.

However, it was not until late in the 4th century that the distinct characteristics of Celtic Christianity began to emerge. After the Romans withdrew from Britain, there was nearly 200 years of significant separation between the Celtic and Roman mission and churches, when Celtic spirituality was free to develop away from Roman domination. 

The most significant development of Celtic Christianity was its understanding of the Christian gospel and pastoral care, which developed independent from what was taught by Church of Rome. Roman Christianity tended to be authoritarian, hierarchical, and male dominated, rational, strongly legalistic, with a powerful need for control and uniformity and an understanding of governance which was inherited from a dying Roman Empire. 

In contrast, the ancient Celtic church celebrated grace and nature as good gifts from God and recognized the sacredness of all creation. It had a love of mysticism and poetry, a deep respect for the feminine, included women in its leadership one of which was prominent was Brigit of Kildare (tradition or myth states  was arguably consecrated  by Bishop Mel) and allowed clerical marriages as well as our Liberal Catholic tradition through Bishops Wedgwood and Leadbeater.  

The Celtic understanding of church leadership was rooted in its rural and agricultural communal culture, and the great Celtic monasteries emerged from this tribal system. Although the abbots were generally not ordained, the leadership and power in the Celtic church lay with the abbots of the monasteries of which the society has maintained as well. 

Not unlike Native Americans of the indigenous Africans or Australians, Celtic people had little concept of land ownership or taxes, or tithes and little liking for cities, all of which were introduced into the Celtic lands by the Romans and further established by the Normans.

The Celtic approach to evangelism was a peaceful process without bloodshed and forced conversions. As Christianity was spread in the Celtic countries by converted Celtic Christians, who were usually monks both married and single, martyrdom for the Christian faith was almost unknown in ancient Celtic Christianity.

During 5th and 6th Centuries

The fifth and sixth centuries were marked by large-scale conversions to Christianity in Ireland and Britain, as the Celtic mission continued its emphasis on the image of God at the heart of the human, and its conviction of the essential goodness of creation. Since the Celtic mission had no central organizing force, consequently there was considerable variation in liturgical practices and monastic rules. By the beginning of the sixth century, Celtic Christianity was wholly monastic in its structure but still allowed married and single monks and nuns.  st

Roman and Celtic missions did not meet again until the Roman mission to Britain in 597, under Augustine of Canterbury, when there was considerable disagreement. At one level the conflicts appeared superficial such as the dating of Easter, or the style of clerical tonsure, but at a deeper level it was due to their radically different ways of seeing the faith, as we see in the theological argument between  Saint Morgan of Wales (Pelagius) (Protestant Theology Schools of Armenians have similar thinking) and  Saint Augustine of (Hippo Protestant School of the Calvinist were highly influenced by Augustine's Teachings).

                                                                                                                                    The Synod of Whitby - 664 A.D.

Conflict between the two missions eventually led to the Synod of Whitby in 664. The representatives of the Celtic mission argued from the authority of St John, who was "especially loved by Jesus", while the Roman mission appealed to the authority of St Peter to whom Jesus said "you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church". The outcome was a judgment against the Celtic mission. 

The tragedy of Whitby was not the affirmation of the way of St Peter, but that the way of St John began to be displaced in the spirituality of the Celtic Church of the British Isles. Celtic monastic communities were replaced by the pro-Church of Rome monasteries, and strict uniformity to Rome was enforced.

On the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in Northumbria, where the Celtic community had worshipped outside around high standing crosses, or in simple wooden structures, the four stone walls of a Roman church were built. It symbolized the ascendancy of a religious tradition that increasingly was to separate the mystery of God from the mystery of creation. Gradually, the "holy" places came to be identified with the indoor Roman church building and sanctuary, rather than the outdoor Celtic sanctuary of earth, sea and sky.

                                                                                                                           After the Synod of Whitby

The decree of Whitby did not immediately change the whole face of British Christianity as well as the overall Celtic Church. For hundreds of years there were pockets of resistance to the Roman mission, notably in Devon, Cornwall and Scotland. During this time , there was Saint Willibrord (c. 658 – 7 November 739) was a Northumbrian missionary saint, known as the "Apostle to the Frisians" in the modern Netherlands. He became the first Bishop of Utrecht and died at Echternach, Luxembourg. In 836, At the Local Church Council of Aixla-Chapelle openly admitted that abortions and infanticide took place in convents and monasteries to cover up activities of uncelibate clerics. St. Ulrich of Augsburg , a holy bishop, argued from scripture and common sense that the only way to purify the church from the worst excesses of celibacy was to permit priests to marry in the Church of Rome in the Celtic land in which she ecclesiastically controlled. The local Council of 1123- First Lateran Council an 1139- Second Lateran Council decreed and confirm that clerical marriages were invalid
 For instance on Iona, the Celtic monastic community was not finally dispersed until the Benedictine Abbey was built in the 13th century.  The period of resistance was marked by some of the greatest achievements of the Celtic tradition with illuminated gospel manuscripts like the Book of Kells, and high standing crosses with Scriptural imagery on one side and creation imagery on the other. During the 13th century, The Templars ( a military order of Benedictines) escaped to the Celtic land of Scotland to escape from the persecution from the Church of Rome, and the French King, based upon a false allegations by the king himself, that was ally with the Bishop of Rome Italy. Also during this period there is evidence that Saint Barbeau of Claveau and Saint Francis of Assisi was highly influenced by the spirituality of the Celtic people and their church,a

The general picture throughout Celtic lands,  however, was of gradual conformity to the Church of Rome polity and its mission although the riches of its spirituality were guarded in the teachings of an oral tradition passed down among the laity for hundreds of years.

The Reformation and Counter-reformation - 19th Century

Increasingly, 1545-63-The local Council of Trent in the Church of Rome states that celibacy and virginity are superior to marriage. and  the Celtic tradition especially after the 16th century Reformation in British Isle, the Celtic tradition again met with resistance by the Church of England, The Presbyterians, and the Methodist of the 18th century, and while many group came out there the reformation that may of been influenced by the Celtic Church, they still are missing the full picture of what the Celtic Church was prior to Whitby, and to the true Celtic folks in the areas they where ministering too. The reciting of celtic prayers was discouraged and even banned, because they were regarded as pantheistic and pagan in origin. In Scotland, a combination of Religious persecution and the destruction of sacred places that where dedicated to the Saints of yesterday.  and the 19th century Highland clearances, (in which thousands of families were torn from their ancestral lands to make room for large scale sheep farming,) resulted in the fragmentation of the Celtic culture. This loss of the collective memory meant that the oral tradition, the Gaelic languages began to be lost as well as its spirituality. 

The 20th Century

However, even this did not represent the death of the Celtic tradition however. Attempts were made to transcribe and collect the prayers, in Scotland in Alexander Carmichael's Carmina Gadelica (1900) and in Ireland in Douglas Hyde's Religious Songs of Connacht (1906). 

And In 1916 AD, the “Liberal Catholic Movement” was established to revive and promote the more ancient heritage within the Independent Church Movement of one being highly influenced by the tradition of the Celtic Church prior to the Romanization of the Church of British Isles and has shown its influence on the Independent/Old Catholic Movement.

This tradition that we come from in the Independent Catholic/Sacrament Movement  was founded by Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew, came to Great Britain in 1908, when Arnold Harris Mathew was consecrated by Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands Archbishop Gerardus Gul.[clarification needed (see talk)] The Union of Utrecht incorrectly believed that Mathew had a significant following in the United Kingdom and that there would be a wave of clergy wanting to leave the Church of England as a result of Pope Leo XIII's declaration that Anglican orders were null and void. Mathew believed that Old Catholicism would provide a home for those disaffected clergy, but the mass conversions failed to occur.

Carmichael and Hyde also were part of a revival spirit of Celtic passion and emotion within art and literature, and others were finding new ways to express the spirituality of the Celtic tradition which as was highly influence on the original leaders and scholars within that date back to the beginning of the modern Old Catholic movement to the 1870s.. Although they had ensured that written copies of some of the prayers were preserved, by the 20th century, their living use had virtually disappeared.

Despite the previous centuries of resistance to the Celtic tradition, the 20th century saw a growing toleration of the Celtic tradition and an increasing depth of appreciation for its spiritual riches, as we saw with the creation of the original Celtic Christian Communion in the late 1990’s by Bishop Thomas Faulkenbury and Bishop Joe Grenier of whom we have in apostolic succession as well, and their applicability for today in many different branches including our predecessor groups such as the Independent Celtic Church (Formed in 2004 by Bishop Michael Holliday and Bishop Kirk Mason, who are two of our convening bishops), as well the newer Celtic Christian Communion (that is administerly lead by our convening Bishop Thomas Mills) as part of the Celtic Renewal of the Independent Catholic “Sacramental” Movement  as well as our present priestly society.

The so-called mainstream likes to call our bishops just like our Celtic forefathers and mothers in apostolic succession "Episcopi vagantes" (singular: episcopus vagans, Latin for wandering bishops or stray bishops) are those persons consecrated, in a "clandestine or irregular way," as Christian bishops outside the structures and canon law of their established churches such as the Church of Rome, The Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion.   For by their definition, we are canonical (defined as belonging to or in conformity with canon law or ecclesiastical/church law) , in every sense of the word, for we have our own by-laws which acts as our own canons, which is defined on how our function and work together within our priestly society.

As so it be that all our bishops takes pride in taking this derogating name "Episcopi vagantes" for within our tradition drawing from the Celtic Christian and the Liberal Catholic tradition, our convening bishops do not have dioceses seats but spheres of influence, and this is also true with our Abbots, and Abbesses as well.  n

Also to note just like our Celtic forefathers and mothers , we also share in our history through our apostolic succession bishops who spoke up for equality and social justice through all realms of the church as well as our society. And they were " Bishop William Montgomery Brown (1855 – 1937), sometimes called "Bad Bishop" Brown, was an Episcopal clergyman and author. Brown, of Galion, Ohio was consecrated a bishop of the Episcopal Church, but is best remembered as the first Episcopal bishop to be tried for heresy since the Reformation, and the first of any creed in America to be deposed for heretical teachings. Bishop Brown in his writings was encouraging workers to unionize, speaking up for rights of Afro-Americans, and the economical social disadvantage, and this gotten the Church hierarch of the PECUSA nervous to where they put him on trial for heresy" while to note here that through extensive research and examination, there is no original surviving Celtic group that as a pure Celtic apostolic succession. Most groups get their apostolic lineage through bishops who have this bishop in their apostolic succession which comes through the Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion through centuries since the Reformation.

And we also through our apostolic succession, share in our history our connection with "Bishop Carlos Duarte Costa (July 21, 1888 – March 26, 1961) was a former Brazilian Roman Catholic bishop who became the founder and first patriarch of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church,  he was excommunicated by Pope Pius XII for doctrinal and canonical issues (such as clerical celibacy and social injustice) he had much vocal criticism of the government and the national church administration, which he saw as an accessory to the mistreatment of the poor in Brazil as well the mistreatment of the Jews by the Nazis in Europe and the Church of Rome. He openly criticized certain papal periodicals and encyclicals, including Rerum novarum (Leo XIII), Quadragesimo anno (Pius XI), and Divini Redemptoris (Pius XI), and the Church of Rome working relationship with Nazi Germany and Facist Italy and Spain.  And in 1945, after his excommunication by the Church of Rome, announced plans to set up his own Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church, in which priests would be permitted to marry (and hold regular jobs in the lay world), personal confessions and the praying of rosaries would be abolished and bishops would be elected by popular vote following the Celtic Christian tradition as well as the pristine traditions of the Universal Catholic Church".  Thus our society holds to his and Bishop Brown's point of view of not only sharing our faith with others, but also speaking out for social injustices rather the issues be legal, political and economically towards individuals and groups of people within our society overall. 

For within this priestly society; we simply present and share our faith to those who are willing to listen and be a part of us.

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