Bonn Agreement

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Bonn Agreement (dt. Bonn Agreement ) referred to in the July 2, 1931 Bonn established church fellowship ( Full Communion ) between the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht and the churches of the Anglican Communion .


The German-speaking Old Catholic Churches were already ecumenically oriented at the time of their formation , which was expressed in several union conferences in the 1870s. At the beginning of the Old Catholic resistance to the dogmas of the First Vatican Council , the Anglican churches already expressed their sympathy for those Catholics who did not accept the new dogmas, which led to a declaration of the Lambeth Conference in this regard in 1878 :

“The fact that solemn protest is being raised in many churches and Christian communities around the world against the arrogance of the Roman See and against the new doctrines proclaimed under its authority obliges us to thank God Almighty. The Anglican Church owes all its sympathy to the churches and persons who protest against these errors and who are certainly working with particular difficulties, difficulties which are caused to them by the attacks of unbelievers as well as by the pretensions of Rome. "

- Lambeth Conference : Declaration of 1878

This was followed by further explanations from the Anglican as well as the Old Catholic side, which expressed the closeness between Anglicans and Old Catholics.

In 1881 the Swiss Christian Catholic Bishop Eduard Herzog declared that he had entered into full communion with the Episcopal Church of America . In a pastoral letter he stated:

“The ecclesiastical communion between us and the Anglo-American Church is objectively justified according to the standard given by the Acts of the Apostles, if it can be said of both parties: They persist in the teaching of the Apostles; they have the same priesthood and celebrate the same Eucharistic meal. "

- Bishop Eduard Herzog : Pastoral letter on ecclesiastical communion with the Anglo-American Church, 1881

In 1883 the Synod of the Old Catholic Church in Germany decided to allow Anglicans to receive communion in both forms.

Problems on the way to full fellowship

Problems caused the fact that the German Old Catholic Church and the Swiss Christian Catholic Church considered the Anglican apostolic succession line and thus the ordinations in the Anglican churches to be valid, but the Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands did not recognize the Anglican ordinations until they were in June In 1925, after examining the theological and ecclesiological aspects, declared:

“We believe that the Church of England always wanted to retain the episcopal leadership of the old Church and that the Edward VI ordination form is to be considered valid. We therefore declare without reservation that the apostolic succession was not interrupted in the Church of England. "

This meant that nothing stood in the way of full communion between the Old Catholic and Anglican churches, as the International Old Catholic Bishops' Conference (IBK) stated at its meeting in the same year.

Wording of the Bonn Agreement

1. Each church community recognizes the catholicity and independence of the others and upholds its own.

1. Each Communion recognizes the catholicity and independence of the other and maintains its own.

2. Each church community agrees to allow members of the other to participate in the sacraments.

2. Each Communion agrees to admit members of the other Communion to participate in the Sacraments.

3. Intercommunion does not require any church fellowship to adopt all the doctrinal opinions, sacramental piety or liturgical practice peculiar to the other, but implies that each believes that the other holds firmly to all the essentials of the Christian faith.

3. Intercommunion does not require from either Communion the acceptance of all doctrinal opinion, sacramental devotion or liturgical practice characteristic of the other, but implies that each believes the other to hold all the essentials of the Christian faith.

In 1958, the Lambeth Conference replaced “intercommunion” with “full communion” to specify that the Bonn Agreement established full church fellowship.

Meaning, historical context and current problems

Full communion initially only existed between the Church of England and the Utrecht Union of Old Catholic Churches , but was shortly thereafter extended to all Anglican churches.

The Bonn Agreement was the first declaration of full communion between two independent Catholic church communities without one being integrated into the other. As a result of the full communion between the two church communities, the members of the respective church can participate in the life of the other church without converting and become members; Clergymen of one church can take over offices in the other if they have been accepted into the clergy of the church in question , without converting.

The first problems arose when the Old Catholic Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC) of the American Episcopal Church terminated full communion because it allowed women to be ordained (1976). In 2003 the PNCC left the Union of Utrecht because of this question.

The problem of overlapping jurisdictions has long been a source of dialogue . H. the problem that there is an Old Catholic and an Anglican jurisdiction in one and the same country, which actually contradicts the idea of ​​a full community.

When some Anglican churches in the Porvoo fellowship entered into full communion with Lutheran churches with which the Old Catholic churches are not in communion, the problem of participating in episcopal ordinations also arose in which non-Anglican / Old Catholic bishops also take part. The International Old Catholic Bishops' Conference therefore adopted a declaration that the participation of Old Catholic bishops in the ordination of Anglican bishops, at which they lay hands on together with Lutheran bishops, does not mean that the Old Catholic churches are in communion with those Lutheran churches .

The Old Catholic Churches are represented in the Anglican Consultative Council because of their full fellowship , while the Anglican Fellowship sends representatives to the meetings of the IBC.

Willibrord Society

The members of the Willibrord Society come from Old Catholic and Anglican churches and aim to deepen full fellowship.

The first Willibrord Society was founded in England in 1908 and aimed to create closer relationships between Anglicans and Old Catholics. Saint Willibrord , who came from England, was the missionary of the Frisians and the first bishop of Utrecht , whose successor is the Archbishop of Utrecht .

Today there are 10 Willibrord companies in Europe and the USA.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b The way to full communion. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  2. ^ Klaus Heinrich Neuhoff: For the 75th anniversary of the Bonn Agreement. "Everything essential".  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Accessed March 12, 2011.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  3. Christian Catholic Church in Switzerland: Ecumenical commitment: from the beginning. Accessed March 12, 2011.
  4. ^ IBK: Communiqué of the meeting of the International Old Catholic Bishops' Conference in Prague / CZ 2003. Accessed on March 12, 2011.
  5. ^ Willibrord Societies. Accessed March 12, 2011.