The Old Catholic Church in Switzerland
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Also called "Christian Catholic", this church unites the men and women who refused to accept the position defined by the Vatican Council I in 1869.

The beginnings
Catholic loyalty to the Swiss state was called into question during the second half of the nineteenth century, since the Catholics were opposed to the creation of a federal state in 1848. Catholic ecclesiastic policy and statements made by certain Supreme Pontiffs, who rejected outright the modern notion of the state, only served to aggravate the misunderstanding: in 1864, pope Pius IX published a document listing the 80 propositions or heresies condemned as regards religion, science, politics and economy. A whole host of Catholics refused to venture into this new bellicose tendency of the Roman Church. The proclamation of papal infallibility in 1870 gave them the opportunity they were waiting for to leave the Roman Catholic Church and found a community to their preferences, the Old Catholic Church. The first "association of liberal Catholics" in Switzerland was formed in Olten in 1872. The first parishes were officially recognized as of 1876 in several cantons.

Slow depreciation
Since 1930, the first year a distinct statistical count of adherents to this community was made, there has been a depreciation in both the number of adherents as well as their proportion to the resident population: of the 37,000 Old Catholics surveyed in 1930 (almost 1% of the population), there now remain less than 12,000 (0.2%).

Democratic organization
The Swiss Old Catholic Church unites the parish communities that are spread throughout 11 cantons. An Episcopal church, it is organized democratically. The parish communities are independent, they choose their own priest as well as their delegates to the Synod, the supreme decision-making body. The Synod chooses a bishop (appointed for life) as well as the Synod Council (five priests and six laity), the executive and administrative authority. Religious and spiritual responsibilities fall to the bishop. Since 1874, training for Old Catholic clergy has been provided by the Faculty of Old Catholic Theology at the University of Bern.

Solothurn and Aargau, two strongholds
The Old Catholic Church is particularly established in the cantons with a Protestant majority (Zurich, Basle-City, Schaffhouse, Aargau, Geneva and Basle-Country). Solothurn is the only canton with a Catholic majority where a large community of Old Catholics has been registered. In fact, it is in this canton and in the canton of Aargau – which currently holds one third of Swiss Old Catholics – that a resistance to the slow demographic erosion is taking place. In a few cantons, the parish communities have obtained the status of national Church. The Old Catholic Church of Switzerland is one of the 11 bishoprics in the Utrecht Convention that rallies together the Old Catholic Churches of different countries. It is also a member of the World Council of Churches.



Old Catholic Church

Centre paroissial St-Germain
rue des Granges 9
1204 Geneva
Tel. (022) 311 41 30
Old Catholic Church

Deluz Denise diacre
rte de St-Julien 20
1227 Carouge
Tel. (022) 342 96 22
Old Catholic Church

pass. du Premier-Août 3
1212 Grand-Lancy
Tel. (022) 794 44 15
Cell phone (076) 394 06 5
Old Catholic Church
rue de la Chapelle 5
2300 Chaux-de-Fonds, La
Tel. (032) 968 44 13

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