The Code of Canon Law of The National Catholic Church of North America and Autocephalous Catholic Jurisdiction
Preamble to the Canons of the National Catholic Church of North America
We consider these to be the guiding principles of TNCCNA:
1. We are followers of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.
2. We will serve others using the guidelines Jesus gave us in Matthew 25.
3. We will always strive to serve others with humility, charity and love.
4. We will treat all people created in the image of God with dignity and respect regardless of how we are treated.
5. We realize that humble service to others is mandated to us as followers of Jesus.
6. We serve others because it is God’s will that we do so, not our own will.
7. We will be truthful and accountable in our work together.
8. We will be an example of the compassionate Jesus to others in all our words and actions.
9. We will be loving, kind, and forgiving to each other as we do our work together.
10. We will share the Good News of Jesus the Christ through our words and actions.
11. We realize that we may miss the mark. However, we will always strive to persevere in faith, together trying again and again to discern and follow God’s will, knowing that it is only with God that we may succeed.
1.1 Name. The name of this organization shall be The National Catholic Church of North America, also identified in this document as TNCCNA an Autocephalous (self-governing) Catholic jurisdiction.
1.2 Within these canons it shall be referred to as “this organization,” “this church”,’ or “this jurisdiction.”
1.3 Part of the Universal Church. This organization is a constituent member of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church (“The Church”), which unites all Christians throughout the world and throughout history.
1.4 Incorporated. This organization shall be incorporated in the State of Arizona or other appropriate place in the United States of America, as a non-profit religious corporation.
Those parishes outside the State of Arizona will incorporate locally according to the appropriate local laws. (Until such time as the IRS will grant a blanket corporation status.)
1.5 Use “The National Catholic Church of North America, an Autocephalous Catholic Church” Each affiliated local parish or other constituent body shall use the name “The National Catholic Church of North America, an Autocephalous Catholic Jurisdiction. The wording “Self-Governing” may be substituted for the term “Autocephalous”.
1.6 Subject of the Creeds. This organization shall be subject, first and foremost, to the creedal statements established by the Ecumenical Councils of the Universal Church,
including: Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon. In addition, we The National Catholic Church of North America embrace the Spirit of the Vatican Council II and John the XXIII for his leadership in the “opening of the windows” of the Church.
1.7 Subject to Law and Canons. Furthermore, this organization shall be subject to the corporation laws of the state of incorporation, to this organization’s articles of incorporation, and these Canons, so long as they are consistent with the faith of the Ecumenical Creeds.
1.8 Formal inter-communion arrangements with other ecclesiastical bodies notwithstanding, TNCCNA is a completely independent and autocephalous Catholic Church, subordinate to no other jurisdiction or prelate outside TNCCNA.
1.9 Gendered Language. In cases where language is thereby simplified, these Canons may on rare occasions use masculine singular pronouns; in all cases such pronouns shall be taken to apply equally to males and females. TNCCNA prohibits sexual discrimination with respect to all its offices and positions.
1.10 Consensus Building. These Canons create an organization, which is hierarchical in nature, consistent with the operation of church polity since ancient times. It is understood, however, that this hierarchy is only for the clergy. Since wisdom is not the exclusive possession of the clergy, it is anticipated that the hierarchy will use democratic principles and consultation as means of insight and that consensus building will be routine within the operations and decision-making of the church to the extent possible. We are the servants of the laity and therefore must conduct ourselves accordingly. We will partner with the laity in the administration of the church.
2.1 Worship. The primary purpose of this organization is to worship the One True God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and to be part of God’s Kingdom, open to all people by faith without regard to culture, race, color, gender, sexual orientation or preference, nationality, or socioeconomic status.
2.2 Means. In order to obtain this purpose, the organization may establish dioceses, parishes, religious orders, specialized ministries, and other institutions; hold worship services; offer sacraments; provide instruction; prophesy to the Church; and evangelize to the world.
3.1 Triune God. This church and all persons in communion therewith shall confess One True God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and Jesus Christ as the son of God incarnate.
3.2 Nicene Creed. The Creed associated with the Council of Constantinople of A. D. 381 (the so-called “Nicene Creed) shall be accepted as the definition of Christianity.
3.3 Apostle’s Creed and Athanasian Creeds. The so-called “Apostles’ Creed” shall be accepted as a valid statement of faith, and the Quicunque Vult, or “Athanasian Creed,” shall be accepted as a valid statement of Trinitarian theology and Christology.
3.4 Scripture, Tradition, and Reasoning. The scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the Tradition of the Church, and human reason and experience shall be the three pillars of Truth by which inspiration; revelation, law, and faith may be tested.
3.5 In the ancient tradition of the Church the sacraments are seven channels of divine grace by which individuals receive the real and effective presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives so that they may grow towards the fullness of life in union with God. We also acknowledge that as the Eastern Church has carried down through the centuries that other actions may be sacramental in nature, and that the Spirit is not limited to delivering God’s grace only by these seven channels.
3.6 There are three groups of sacraments: those of initiation, those of daily life and those of vocation.
a. The Sacraments of Initiation:
i. Baptism is the essential gateway of the life of the Spirit. In Baptism the individual, child or adult, is reborn to the life of grace and admitted to sharing in the sacramental life of the Church. As the Creed teaches, there is but one Baptism, whether of an infant or an adult, and that Baptism determines membership in the Church. This jurisdiction shall recognize as valid the baptism of any other Christian jurisdiction provided such baptism was performed with water in the Name of the Triune God. Never shall a baptized person knowingly be re-baptized, for to do so would be an act of unfaith and denial of God’s infinite Grace.
ii. Confirmation: The Sacrament wherein a previously baptized Christian publicly affirms their faith and commits themselves to living the life of Grace by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
iii. Eucharist: The Eucharist is both the completion of initiation in that it makes the Christian one with Jesus, the Christ, priest and victim; and a sacrament of daily life in that it unites the believer with the whole Assembly of God’s people to the one sacrificial act of Jesus, the Christ.
b. The Sacraments of Daily life.
i. Eucharist: The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament through which all are fed with the real and substantial Body and Blood of Christ. The sacrament shall constitute the essence of the worship of this church (TNCCNA) in all liturgical celebrations and shall be open to all believers. Inability to confess or believe because of age, mental capacity, or other physical reason shall not be held as a barrier to Communion.
ii. Penance: (Sacrament of Reconciliation) Although all seven sacraments convey the grace of God and with the forgiveness of sins, it is in direct response to the statement of Jesus, “Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven” (John 20:23) that the Church has always held this sacrament as necessary so that the Christian who has strayed from the way of perfection may confess their need of God and be assured of returning to the fullness of His love. This jurisdiction shall not impose a law or requirement that its members must use private penance (confession) but will make it available for those who desire spiritual counsel. This jurisdiction will encourage those under the age of 17 to use private confession as a means of aiding in their spiritual development. This jurisdiction will administer the sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) during the Liturgy (Mass) without exception.
iii. Anointing of the Sick. Though considered by some as an extension of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) this specific symbol of God’s presence at the greatest of crises, the threat of death, is rooted in the Acts and writings of the Apostles themselves and is the vehicle of the Holy Spirit as: “Counselor” in the face of mortal danger or any human crisis physical, mental or emotional. This is a Sacrament of healing and is not reserved specifically to those in danger of physical death.
c. Sacraments of Vocation
i. Holy Orders: The Sacrament whereby individuals recognize the call of God to His ministerial service and dedicate themselves to that service in the orders of Bishop, Priest and Deacon. In the most ancient tradition of the Church only those ordained may celebrate the Sacraments. The exceptions to this are: in extreme danger Baptism, which by its essential nature may be administered by anyone, even an unbaptized person, so long as they intend to do what the Church does and use the correct matter and form, (See Canon III, 3.6, a. i.).
ii. Matrimony: The sacrament whereby two people commit themselves to one another so that together they may better serve God and humanity. The couple, one to the other, administers this sacrament with the minister being present to witness and bless the commitment.
3.7 One Church: This jurisdiction confesses that Jesus Christ sought His Church to be one Body, which unites all of humanity. To this end, this jurisdiction (a) shall maintain membership open to all persons who agree with its creedal position and desire to be members; and (b) maintain to its best ability an active role in the Ecumenical and Autocephalous (Independent) movement, keeping in touch with the remainder of the Church and striving toward the visible unity thereof.
3.8 Intercommunion: Pursuing intercommunion and other ecumenical dialog is a charge of the Presiding Bishop’s office and the members of the Board of Laity who will all be acting in the best interest of the jurisdiction.
4.1 Baptism: Holy Baptism is the primary sacrament by which a person is dedicated to a life of ministry. This is the priesthood of all believers
4.2 Confirmation: By the sacrament of confirmation, baptized Christians make personal public statements of their own faith, committing themselves to the life of an active Christian.
4.3 Reaffirmation: Upon reactivation of life as a Christian, or upon transfer of membership from another Christian jurisdiction, Christians should reaffirm their confirmation statements in a public rite.
4.5 Deacons: Some of those persons confirmed are called to a life of more intense dedication and service to the Lord, the Church, and humanity. After proper training and prayerful contemplation, these individuals may be received into the Deaconate by the Sacrament of Ordination.
4.6 Priests: Some of the individuals confirmed, including some deacons, are called to a ministry of sacramental service at the Altar of God, celebrating the Eucharist and other sacraments. After proper training and prayerful contemplation, these persons may be received into the presbyterate by the Sacrament of Ordination.
4.7 Bishops: Some priests are called to a ministry of apostolic administration and prophecy in the Church, guarding and guiding the faithful. After proper training and prayerful contemplation, these priests may be received into the Episcopate by the Sacrament of Ordination.
Canon V-Hierarchy and Government
5.1 Presiding Bishop: The Presiding Bishop is recognized as the servant of God, and is therefore a servant of all, and must conduct himself/herself accordingly.
5.2 Chief Leader: The Presiding Bishop shall be the chair at all Church Synods, Convocations and General Public Meeting’s chief representative of this branch of the universal church, and the chief executive of the jurisdiction.
5.3 Resignation/Retirement: The Presiding Bishop may retire at any time. The Presiding Bishop may resign at any time without cause.
5.4 The Presiding Bishop who resigns his/her position shall remain a Bishop within this Jurisdiction and a member of all its Synods, Convocations and General Meetings unless she/he removes him/herself from the membership of this Jurisdiction
5. 5. Release: The Presiding Bishop may be removed from office on grounds of failing to profess or follow the creedal statements of the jurisdiction. For such removal to be affected, the following steps must take place.
a. The Presiding Bishop must be formally and specifically charged in a document signed by two-thirds of the clergy members of this jurisdiction. The document must specify in detail which articles of faith or doctrine are thought to be violated and why.
b. A majority of the clergy or total membership of the jurisdiction may submit such a charge.
c. The decision to proceed with a charge shall remain with the Vicar General in agreement with the Chancellor.
d. The Presiding Bishop may formally recant the accused heresy, and the removal proceedings shall then cease.
e. The Presiding Bishop may admit the heresy, resign his/her position, and be deposed and released.
f. The Presiding Bishop may argue that his/her beliefs are not heretical. This argument shall be presented to the Vicar General and two-thirds or more of the clergy. If two-thirds or more of the clergy whether present at the Council or not, agree that the Presiding Bishop’s professed beliefs are heresy, the Presiding Bishop shall be removed
from office, deposed as a bishop, and released unless she/he recants his/her position.
g. If the same Presiding Bishop is again charged and by the above procedure found
guilty of the same heresy, she/he shall be removed from office. If she/he again recants
she/he shall be spared release but not removed from office or deposition as bishop.
5.6 Legal Incompetence: If the Presiding Bishop is declared by a court of law in the state
of his/her legal residence to be mentally insane or legally incompetent, he/she shall
be deemed to have resigned from office.
5.7 Transition: When the Presiding Bishop chooses to retire or resign, she/he should preside over the election process for a new Presiding Bishop, if one has not already been chosen in order to maintain a stable transition. The former Presiding Bishop’s effective retirement or resignation date should coincide with the installation of the new Presiding Bishop whenever possible.
5.8 New Presiding Bishop: In the event of death, deposition, immediate resignation, or other sudden termination of the Presiding Bishop, the Vicar General shall call a Synod/Convocation to elect a new Presiding Bishop or move TNCCNA to another jurisdiction. Until this election takes place, this jurisdiction shall be under the protection of the Vicar General, Chancellor and the House of Laity. All clergy in good standing and eligible laity will vote for the new Presiding Bishop. The election of the new Presiding Bishop will require a two-thirds vote of all voting members.
The Presiding Bishop may install a Vicar General at his/her discretion. A Vicar General is the principal deputy of the Presiding Bishop of TNCCNA for the exercise of administrative authority. The Vicar General exercises the bishop's ordinary executive power over TNCCNA at times when the Presiding Bishop may be unable to exercise his/her authority due to illness or leave of absence, and is the highest official in TNCCNA after the Presiding Bishop and any other bishops currently in the jurisdiction.
5.9 The new Presiding Bishop will preside over this jurisdiction until he/she dies, retires or is removed.
5.10 The Presiding Bishop may install a Chancellor at his/her discretion. The Chancellor shall be priest and a member of this jurisdiction. The Chancellor shall perform such duties as described in these Canons (see V, 5.11) and whatever duties assigned by the Presiding Bishop and shall serve at the discretion of the Presiding Bishop.
The duties of the Chancellor of TNCCNA shall be to act as the Prime Bishop’s confidential secretary and take care of administrative duties within the jurisdiction, such as rendering an opinion on the meaning and content of its Canons, to mediate and/or arbitrate disputes, to act as judge in Tribunals, and to hear appeals from clergy and laity. The Chancellor will also preside over the House of Laity.
Canon VI-Subordinate Organizations
6.1 Subordinate organizations include all dioceses (when created by need and vote of the church), parishes, religious orders, monasteries, seminaries, schools, specialized ministries, and other entities carrying out the purposes of and/or using the name of The National Catholic Church of North America.
6.2 By-laws or Canons: The by-laws or canons of the subordinate corporations must both (a) be consistent with these canons. And (b) specifically reference the articles of incorporation, canons, and policies of The National Catholic Church of North America as being binding upon the corporation and being dominant over the bylaws and policies. If future changes to these canons cause a conflict with the by-laws or canons of subordinate corporations, the officers and boards of the subordinate corporations must amend their by-laws or canons to eliminate the conflict. The presiding Bishop shall have final approval of by-laws of subordinate corporation.
6.3 Corporations Entering the Jurisdiction: Parishes or other entities beginning affiliation with The National Catholic Church of North America that are already incorporated must amend their articles of incorporation and by-laws to be consistent with the requirements of these canons.
6.4 Transfer of parishes into The National Catholic Church of North America will only be done in manners that uphold legal and ethical integrity.
Canon VII-Dioceses and Associated Ministries
7.1 Creation: When this jurisdiction grows to a size sufficient to warrant dividing into regions or Dioceses it will be determined to move so, by a Synod/Convocation of clergy and laity. At such time, a diocesan bishop will be elected to serve, and he/she will be duly consecrated and be the Ordinary of the new diocese or a bishop incarnated from another Jurisdiction shall be appointed by the Presiding Bishop in consultation with his/her Vicar General, Chancellor and other advisors.
1. Diocesan Hierarchy:
The Diocese is governed by the Diocesan Bishop, who by virtue of his/her Episcopal consecration and canonical appointment by the Presiding Bishop of TNCCNA possesses full hierarchical authority within the Diocese.
a.) Diocesan Bishop as Local Ordinary.
The bishop is the responsible head of his/her diocese, in accordance with the Canons, Regulations and customs of TNCCNA. The priests and deacons cannot act within the diocese without his/her letter of assignment. They are bound by his/her spiritual and managerial advice.
Cf: Apostolic Canon 41; [Nicene and Post Nicene]: “Let not the presbyters or deacons do anything without the sanction of the Bishop: for it is the Bishop who is entrusted with the people of the Lord and, of whom will be required the account of their souls”
b.) The Bishop Ordinary oversees the ordination of the priests and deacons in his/her diocese. Accepting of candidates must follow the Canons and Regulations of TNCCNA. Training must follow the training outlined in the formation Program approved at the 2013 Synod and administered by the Vocations Director.
c.) The diocesan Bishop must always remember the needs of their clergy, of whom the diocesan Bishop must look upon as their counselors and helpers. The diocesan Bishop must defend their rights always and must ensure that they fulfill all obligations of their offices. The diocesan Bishop must also ensure that all clergy have the opportunity to develop their spiritual and intellectual life.
d.) Receiving Clergy from other Jurisdictions (Incardination) is reserved to the Presiding Bishop and the House of Laity of TNCCNA.
2. For the good of the Diocese, Auxiliary Bishops may be assigned to assist the Bishop Ordinary. Such Auxiliary Bishops shall have their duties, responsibilities, and rights defined by the Bishop Ordinary in consultation with the Presiding Bishop and the House of Laity.
3. The Chancellor of the Diocese is appointed by the Bishop Ordinary, if in the opinion of the Bishop Ordinary, such a position is warranted. He/she serves at the pleasure of the Bishop Ordinary. His/her qualifications, duties and responsibilities
shall be defined and determined by the Bishop Ordinary.
7.2 Pastors: Pastors, abbots, and local leaders of religious orders shall be responsible for the operations of their parish or chapter, subject only to the directives of their superiors.
7.3 Assistant Clergy: Bishops may appoint priests and/or deacons to assist the pastors of parishes in their dioceses.
7.4 Parish Council: When the membership of a parish is sufficiently large, the pastor and the members may decide to organize a parish council. The size may be from five to fifteen, depending on the parish’s size. Members should be asked to volunteer. If more than fifteen are interested, the members should elect the members of the council. The parish council acts as an advisory body to the pastor and assistant clergy.
7.5 Parish Membership Meetings: From time to time, pastors may call general meetings of their parish members. This is the forum for electing council members. Membership meetings may also be called to gain input before making important decisions. Non-members may also attend the meetings but cannot vote in elections. If necessary, the chair of the meeting (usually the pastor) may limit the participation of non- members, but not their attendance.
7.6 Participation in National Church Meetings: All clergy are voting members at National Synods, Convocations or General Meetings. Each parish/mission/order, may elect three lay representatives to attend National Synods, Convocations or General Meetings with voting rights. Parishes with over 75 members may elect 5 representatives.
7.8 Parish – Mission: A mission is a parish in formation and is duly charted by the Presiding Bishop. A mission will attend the status of parish on the attainment of 10 regular members.
8.1 By Baptism: Any person baptized in a parish of this jurisdiction or by any of its ministers shall become a member of that parish and this jurisdiction.
8.2 By Reaffirmation: Persons previously baptized with water in the Name of the Triune God in another Christian jurisdiction may be received into a parish’s membership by reception and reaffirmation of faith, or if not confirmed within their previous jurisdiction, by reception of the sacrament of confirmation. These members also become members of this jurisdiction as a whole.
8.3 A lay person may hold dual membership in this jurisdiction and another Christian jurisdiction provided such dual membership does not compromise the basic doctrines/creeds of this jurisdiction.
8.4 A priest or deacons (or equivalent, regardless of title) from another jurisdiction may
serve as priests or deacons of this jurisdiction at the discretion of the Presiding Bishop or if a member of a jurisdiction with which this church has an intercommunion agreement while still maintaining active or inactive status in their original jurisdiction. The relationship must be in church publicity. Thus clergy persons with dual affiliation are responsible to themselves for obtaining any necessary permission from their original jurisdiction.
8.5 Duly affiliated clergy are responsible for full compliance with the theological and social positions of this jurisdiction and must take this into account when establishing this relationship.
8.6 Duly affiliated clergy may be assigned to the same positions as regular clergy and are entitled to the same voting and responsibilities as regular clergy.
8.7 Clergy of The National Catholic Church of North America may work with parishes of another jurisdiction with approval of the Presiding Bishop provided such parishes are affiliated with jurisdictions on an approved list established by the Presiding Bishop. In establishing such relationships, the integrity of The National Catholic Church of North America must be retained. Exceptional care must be taken when considering work with smaller, less stable organizations such as other independent /autocephalous catholic groups, and in general such association should be limited to jurisdictions with which the National Catholic Church has formal arrangements of intercommunion or similar status.
8.8 Transfer. Membership may be transferred between parishes of this jurisdiction by letter of transfer at the request of the member.
8.9 Voting: For the purposes of voting, membership shall consist of those persons either confirmed or received into membership as adults. Persons 18 years of age or over may be received as adult voting members prior to their confirmation.
8.10 Removed Members: Members may remove themselves from the parish for any reason.
8.11 Active Status: In order to be maintained on the membership roll, members must attend a worship service of the parish of which they are members at least twice during a twelve-month period. Members who have not done so may be removed from the parish register by action of the pastor with a six-week prior written notification to the member. Members of one parish who attend services of another parish but not the services of the parish of which the they are members may have their membership transferred by concurrence of the two pastors.
8.12 Removed Members: A person removed from the parish register loses all rights associated with voting membership in their parish and this jurisdiction.
8.13 Restoration: All removed or released persons shall be accepted back using a Pastoral approach. We as a church are charged with providing the sacraments and
creating an atmosphere where spiritual growth may be fostered. A restored person regains all voting rights in the parish and this jurisdiction.
8.14 Membership Not Financially Based: Although members are expected to support their church financially and through their time and talents, church membership is sacramental and spiritual in nature and shall never be affected by wealth, donations, or lack thereof.
8.15 Priests are the servants of God, the Church, her ministers, and the laity.
8.16 A priest is one who has received the Sacrament of Holy Orders in the Order of Presbyter.
i. Ordination to the Order of Presbyter imparts a permanent Chrism. While a priest may resign, retire, be disposed and/or removed from exercising his/her ministry, she/he nevertheless, never ceases to be a priest once ordained.
A priest possesses all ordinary, proper, and immediate power and authority necessary for their duties, except those powers and authority reserved to some other ecclesiastical office and subject to the faculties granted them by the Presiding Bishop.
iii. By virtue of their ordination to the Order of Deacon, Priests retain all duties, rights, and privileges of that Order.
iv. The Presiding Bishop or the Diocesan Bishop appoints priests to their duties. In appointing a priest to a duty, the Bishop shall not impose any financial, spiritual, family, or other burden upon the priest without her/his free consent. The Bishop may reassign priests to other duties at any time in his/her sole discretion, subject to the foregoing restriction.
v. Priests of TNCCNA shall be ordained by rites approved by the Presiding Bishop for use in TNCCNA.
Duties, Rights, and Privileges of Priests
8.15 Priests have the duty to lead, guide, and shepherd the people of God within their care.
i. Priests have the duty to minister the Sacraments for which they are ordinary ministers, i.e. in addition to those of the Diaconal Order.
ii. Priests have the duty to preach the Gospel.
iv. Priests have the duty to obey their lawful superior in all matters pertaining to TNCCNA
v. Priests possess the unrestricted right to be heard by the Diocesan Bishop or Presiding Bishop.
vi.. By virtue of their ordination, priests who are in good standing have the right to celebrate the Sacraments of which they are the ordinary minister subject to the faculties granted by the Presiding Bishop.
vii. By virtue of their ordination, priests have the right to reserve the Most Blessed Sacrament in their private chapel or oratory for any legitimate purpose. Priests shall exercise due care and caution in exercising this right and shall arrange for proper disposition of the Most Blessed sacrament in the event of their death.
vii. Priests may not celebrate the Sacraments in another jurisdiction without the approval of the Bishop having jurisdiction in that place. Such approval may be verbal or written and when granted, constitutes temporary faculty. (see Canon VIII, 8.7)
Qualifications of Priests
8.16 The qualifications of priests shall be contained in the Regulations of the church.
8.17 Deacons are the servants of God, the Church, her ministers, and the laity.
8.18 A deacon is one who has received the Sacrament of Holy Orders in the Order of Deacon.
8.19 Deacons may be permanent or transitional. Deacons are subordinate directly to the Presiding Bishop only, unless assigned duties that are subordinate to another.
8.20 The Presiding Bishop appoints deacons to their duties. In appointing a Deacon to a duty, the Presiding Bishop shall not impose any financial, spiritual, family, or other burden upon the Deacon without his/her free consent. The Presiding Bishop may reassign Deacons to other duties at any time at his/her sole discretion, subject to the foregoing restriction.
8.21 Deacons should be ordained by rites approved by the Presiding Bishop for use in TNCCNA.
8.21 Deacons are ministers of service, Word and Sacrament.
i. Deacons have the duty to be ordinary minister of Holy Communion.
ii. Deacons have the duty to minister the Body and Blood of Christ at the celebration of the Holy Eucharist
iii. Deacons have the duty to prepare the altar and the elements for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
iv. Deacons have the duty to solemnly baptize.
v. Deacons have the duty to officiate at Marriages where permitted by law.
vi. Deacons have the duty to proclaim the Gospel solemnly.
vii. Deacons have the duty to preach when granted faculties by the Diocesan Bishop or the Presiding Bishop and permitted by the pastor.
viii. By their ordination, Deacons who are in good standing have the right to celebrate the Sacraments of which they are the Ordinary Minister, subject to faculties granted by the Diocesan Bishop or the Presiding Bishop.
Qualifications of Deacons
8.22 The qualifications of deacons shall be contained in the Regulations of the Church.
8.23 Selection of Candidates for Ordination.
i. The Presiding Bishop, and the House of Laity possesses the right of selection of qualified candidates for the Order of Deacon and/or Presbyter. The foregoing notwithstanding, no person may be selected for ordination to the Order of Deacon and/or Presbyter who does not, at a minimum, possess the qualifications established by regulation and who has not successfully completed the admissions screening process and training defined herein
Sexual Conduct of the Clergy
8.24 See Sexual Misconduct Policy
The Laity of The National Catholic Church of North America TNCCNA
8.25 The Laity of TNCCNA Defined.
i. All members of TNCCNA, who are not members of the Clergy or Religious Orders as tertiary or regular members, are Lay members of TNCCNA, also known as the Laity.
8.26 Rights of the Laity.
i. The Laity have the right to participate in the Worship of the Church.
ii. The Laity have the right to be heard in matters pertaining to the organization and governance of the Church and Parish to which they belong
iii. The Laity have the right to knowledge of matters pertaining to the financial affairs of the Parish and Church.
iv. The laity have the right to elect their Presiding Bishop/Diocesan Bishop as defined above.
v. The laity have the right to be consulted by the Pastor, Diocesan Bishop and Presiding Bishop in all temporal matters of the Parish and Jurisdiction.
vi. The Laity have the right to membership in lay Institutes, Third Orders, and as Lay Members of Religious Orders subject to the Rule and Regulations approved for those
institutes and Orders.
8.27 Duties of the Laity
i. The Laity have the duty to follow the Teachings of Christ in the Gospel.
ii. The Laity have the duty to financially support the Parish and TNCCNA.
iii. The Laity have the duty to emotionally and spiritually support their fellow Christians, Pastor, Bishop.
iv. The Laity have a duty to participate regularly in the Worship and Life of the Parish or Mission to which they belong.
v. The Laity have the duty to direct and control all matters pertaining to the finances of the Parish and Jurisdiction.
vi. The Laity have the duty to consult with the Pastor and/or Presiding Bishop on all temporal matters of the church.
vii. The Laity have the duty to educate themselves and their children in matters of the Faith, Spirituality, and Morality so as to always conduct themselves according to the teachings of Christ.
viii. The Laity have the duty, by word and example, to bring others to TNCCNA.
8.28 Ministries of the Laity
i. The Laity may participate in the Liturgical Ministries of Altar Server, Reader, and Extraordinary Eucharistic minister. Additional ministries as Catechist, Visitors to the Sick and Homebound, and Evangelist are also available to the Laity.
1. Altar Servers
i. An Altar Server is one who assists the Priest and/or Deacon in the celebration of Liturgy by performing the tasks at the Altar. An Altar server must have received the Sacraments of Christian Initiation, have received First Holy Eucharist, be at last 7 years of age, and possess a mature and dedicated attitude to their duties. They may be male or female.
i. A Reader proclaims the First and/or Second Readings during Celebrations of the Holy Eucharist and other Liturgical Rites. A Reader may not in the presence of a Deacon or Priest, proclaim the Holy Gospel at such Rites. Readers must be persons of clear speaking voice, and have adequate reading and presentation skills so as to be readily understood by the hearer. They may be male or female.
3. Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist.
i. A Pastor, in his/her/ sole judgment, may, with the mandate of the Diocesan Bishop and the Presiding Bishop, select members of her/his parish or mission community to serve in the role of Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Eucharist.
4. Catechists and Evangelists
i. Persons with skills as teachers may be employed in the role of Catechist to teach the message of Christ to their brothers and sisters, to those who are preparing to receive the Sacraments of Christian Initiation, those who are inquiring into the Church, and the Faithful who are already members of the Church.
ii. Evangelists are those who seek to bring the Good News of Christ and the story of TNCCNA to those who have not heard it or responded to it. While all Christians and Members of TNCCNA are called to this role, members of the Laity are particularly valuable in this capacity.
5. Visitors to the Sick, Elderly, and Prisoners.
i. The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25. 31-46 enjoins all Christians to care for their brothers and sisters for, in doing so, they are caring for Christ. Each Parish and Mission should take care to establish a program of visitation to the sick, elderly, homebound, and prisoners who reside in and near their Parish and who accept such visits. Furthermore, each parish and mission should establish a committee to administer and coordinate charitable activities by the Parish.
Dispute Resolution and Disciplinary Matters
8.29 Disputes within the Church shall be referred by the Pastor to internal mediation whenever possible. Such mediation shall follow procedures to be set by the Presiding Bishop.
8.30 If disputes cannot be resolved by mediation, then the Chancellor of TNCCNA shall act as arbitrator and shall issue a resolution.
8:31 The results of mediation and/or arbitration may be appealed to the Presiding Bishop.
8.32 The decision of the Presiding Bishop may be appealed to a Council consisting of the Chancellor, two clergy members and a lay member.
8.32 Disciplinary matters concerning the Clergy of TNCCNA shall be adjudicated by procedures herein defined or defined in the Regulations of the Church.
Enactment and Implementation of this Constitution (Canons)
1. This Constitution of TNCCNA may be enacted by simple majority vote of the 2018 Synod, April 25, 2018.
2. The confirmation or approval of this Constitution by any single person whatsoever is not required for this Constitution to become effective nor may its enactment be vetoed by any single person whatsoever.
Canonical Obedience to this Constitution (Canons)
1. All persons who shall be ordained to Holy Orders of Deacon, Presbyter, or Bishop; or who shall be admitted to profession in any Religious Order; or who shall be incardinated in any capacity into TNCCNA shall, on the occasion of each such ordination,
profession, or incardination, solemnly and publicly promises canonical obedience to this Constitution and to their lawful superior(s).
Amendments may be made to these canons at any regularly scheduled Synod/Convocation/General Meeting. Amendments must be submitted three weeks in advance of the Synod/Convocation/General Meeting, to be considered as an agenda item at the Synod.