New church may cause some confusion

CHARLESTON — Catholics living on Daniel Island may be a little confused about a new church in their neighborhood.

St. Jude Catholic Mission is part of the Independent Catholic Church affiliated with St. Francis of Assisi Church in Summerville, part of the Independent Catholic Diocese of Summerville. According to the church’s Web site they are “autonomous and independent of Roman Catholic jurisdiction.”

In a Feb. 20 statement to priests and parish life facilitators, Msgr. Martin T. Laughlin, Diocese of Charleston administrator, warned that the group is in schism from the Catholic Church.

“Our Lord and Savior established his church on earth and over that church established blessed Peter and his successors,” he stated. “The Diocese of Summerville, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Summerville, St. Jude Catholic Mission, and their adjunct groups of Order of Franciscan Clerics Minor and the Society for the Preservation of the Catholic Faith, are not in union with Peter and his successors. They have separated themselves from the Catholic Church.”

Msgr. Laughlin encouraged pastors and parish life facilitators to make the faithful aware of the churches.

“For the good of your people, I urge you to inform them of this unhappy circumstance,” he wrote. “If you are aware of former Catholics attending, please reach out to them and invite them home to the Catholic Church.”

When a group is in schism with the church, they have formally broken from ecclesiastical unity.

The Independent Catholic Church disagrees with the celibate priesthood and states that it should be optional, except for religious communities. It also states that it does not agree with a bishop’s “level of autonomy” over his own diocese and believes “sacramental annulments” should be handled by the pastor of each individual parish, and that sacraments should be given to all baptized Christians.

Within the Independent Catholic Church, there is a religious order of friars or brothers of the Order of Clerics Franciscan Minor. Their sacraments are administered using the pre-Vatican II form in Latin or the vernacular of the people, according to their Web site.