Canons - ancient Apostolic Church UK

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From the genuine Apostolic tradition, the Ancient Catholic Church is wholly dedicated to the timeless focus on the realm of the Holy Spirit as the Kingdom of God, and the development of divine Communion to strengthen, inspire and uplift the soul.  Jesus declared: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:34-37), and the Apostles taught: “Be not conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2).
However, modern popular culture of Western society hardly permits to describe or even mention any Church (or almost any religion), without a seemingly compulsory debate about a predetermined list of divisive secular issues. When learning about a Church, or considering joining in the Communion of its Faithful or in the Clergy, many people will first ask about its “stance” on isolated topics of politics.  The message of spirituality, and leading a Holy lifestyle aligned with the blessings of God, can barely be noticed or received, unless and until the Church addresses these questions.
Therefore, the Ancient Catholic Church resolves the popularized issues in a refreshingly innovative way, through uniquely balanced policies, which combine the best of tolerance and inclusiveness with the authenticity of traditionalist doctrines.  Only this approach enables the Church to serve as a resource for unification within Christianity, to meaningfully support and effectively revitalize the principles of Faith and spiritual religion worldwide.

‘Christ Preaches the Apostles’ (1311 AD) by Duccio, in Museo dell Opera del Duomo
Secular modernism has actively promoted certain isolated political issues, which are highly divisive, and aggressively enforced by the socially imposed self-censorship of “political correctness”.  Such social engineering seeks to undermine Christianity, and the very fabric of society, and only serves as a complete distraction from all genuine spirituality.  Those who want to insist upon or debate about divisive issues should become secular politicians, and not seek a role in the spiritual life of the Church (Romans 2:8-9, 14:1; I Timothy 6:3) [1] (Canon 287, §2) [2].
No Church (nor any other religion) can possibly give the “correct” answer on either side of such topics, without needlessly divisive effect.  Therefore, in the tradition of the legendary wisdom of King Solomon proposing to split the baby (I Kings 3:16-27), the Ancient Catholic Church does not condemn people on either side of sensitive political issues, but rather chooses to condemn “political correctness” itself, as the insidious modernism which promotes such divisiveness against all spirituality.
The Pontificate has established uniquely balanced policies on divisive issues, upholding fairness and respect for rights (Canon 223, §1; Canon 287, §1), with strong support for freedom of choice on secular political issues (Canon 214) [3].
The Ancient Catholic Church agrees with the declaration by the Vatican’s Pope Francis I:  “The people of God want pastors, not Clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials. …  We cannot insist only on [political] issues…  This is not possible. …  It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. …  The Church… cannot be obsessed with… a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. …  The message of the Gospel, therefore, is not to be reduced to some aspects that, although relevant, on their own do not show the heart of the message of Jesus Christ.” [4]
Defending Choice on Both Sides – The Ancient Catholic Church supports the free exercise of religion, in accordance with genuine religious convictions, for its Faithful, Clergy and Churches in Communion, on either side – and both sides – of a socially divisive issue.  As a canonical Pontificate and sovereign subject of international law, the Church can also delegate a relevant governmental function or even diplomatic immunity, as may be necessary to defend the protected right to practice authentic religious beliefs, on a case-by-case basis.
Reasonable Degree of Traditionalism – For all of the various political issues, Clergy of all orientations or cultural affiliations are equally not permitted to use one’s ecclesiastical title or status in connection with secular political activism supporting any non-traditional lifestyles (Canon 285, §§1-2; Canon 287, §2), and are not permitted membership in an association promoting non-traditional practices (Canon 278, §3), nor inappropriate public display of any non-traditional behaviour (Canon 282, §1; Canon 285, §§1-2) [5].
Conservative Rights for Member Churches – All Churches in Communion are supported in choosing to maintain more strict policies of traditional conservatism, in accordance with their previously established customs (Canon 19, Canon 2, Canon 27, Canon 214) [6].  Therefore, Churches in Communion are not necessarily associated with any of the more inclusive doctrines of the Pontificate of the Ancient Catholic Church. Each individual Church or Monastery thus remains free to declare its policies or differences on its own website and informational materials.
Tolerance of Sexual Orientation – Non-traditional sexual orientation is theologically discouraged (Romans 1:26-32; I Corinthians 6:9-10; I Timothy 1:8-10) [7], but socially tolerated, by the doctrine that otherwise leading a Holy life sanctifies by God’s Grace (Romans 14:1-3; I Corinthians 6:11; II Corinthians 12:9) [8] (Canon 1008) [9].  Clergy of non-traditional orientation are given equal opportunity, accepted solely for merit, without prejudicial discrimination (John 15:16; Hebrews 5:1-4; I Peter4:11; I Corinthians 7:17) [10] (Canon 149, §1) [11].  However, Christians must not abuse the liberty of Grace to tempt nor encourage others to sin (Romans 14:21; I Corinthians 8:9) [12], and all Clergy must objectively teach and faithfully represent traditional doctrines regardless of their personal lifestyle preferences (John 7:16-17, 20:21; Acts 2:38-42; I Peter 4:10-11; I Timothy 1:3-4, 4:16; II Timothy 2:2; I Corinthians 11:2; Romans 10:15) [13].
Freedom of Choice for Same-sex Unions – As an objectively practical legal strategy to protect the freedom of choice of individual Clergy: The Pontificate of the Ancient Catholic Church holds the topic of same-sex civil unions to be a modern secular political issue, and thus neither a canonical nor ecclesiastical matter. The Church will support and defend the refusal of Clergy to violate their personal religious convictions in jurisdictions which may infringe or undermine that right; Equally, the Church will respect and defend the choice of Clergy to voluntarily conduct same-sex union ceremonies, in the form of giving Blessings to a civil union, in more restrictive jurisdictions.
Ancient Rule on Abortion in Canon Law – The strict prohibition of abortion, incurring automatic excommunication, is a distinctly modernist rule, based on the Heresy of Naturalism which regards “life” as merely biological.  The ancient rule, preserved in the New Testament, is that life begins only at the moment of the “quickening” at the first voluntary kicks (Canon 2, Canon 27), when God gives life (John 5:21) and the Holy Spirit infuses a soul into the unanimated flesh (John 6:63; Romans8:11; I Corinthians 15:45) [14].  The quickening is confirmed by modern medical science as the first “purposeful voluntary movements” with “brain maturation” of the first consciousness as the beginning of life, which usually occurs after 4 months [15] [16].
The ancient rule, that abortion is prohibited only after the quickening, is evidenced as early as 1,550 BC in an Egyptian medical papyrus scroll [17] [18], was confirmed by the Greek classical philosopher Aristotle in 350 BC [19], and upheld by Saint Thomas Aquinas ca. 1260 AD [20].  This ancient, classical and medieval rule was traditionally observed by the Roman Catholic Church until ca. 1870 AD, when Pope Pius IX adopted the modernist rule [21].  Therefore, the ancient rule was the customary canonical tradition from original Apostolic Catholic Christianity for over 1,800 years, and is authentic to the 1st century denomination of Ancient Catholicism, and to the 12th century Independent Church Movement and 19th century Old Catholic Movement.
As situations in which women consider abortion tend to be emotionally traumatic, the ancient rule replaces punishment with crisis ministry providing spiritual comfort and support.  In the Ancient Catholic Church, a woman who procures an abortion before the quickening should receive the Sacrament of Confession and related pastoral ministry and crisis counseling for the salvation of her soul, but one who intentionally procures an abortion after the quickening is subject to excommunication.
Derivative Ancient Rule on Contraception – The modernist idea of “potential future life” by reason of biological matter alone, denying the role of the Holy Spirit incarnating a soul during the quickening, was expanded from the 19th century abortion rule into a derivative rule against preventive contraception.  However, Jesus and the Apostles specifically rejected such concept in the New Testament, insisting that the mere seed and egg “sowest not that body that shall be”, as only “God giveth… a spiritual body” which incarnates in the flesh at the quickening (I Corinthians 15:36-44), and “the flesh profiteth nothing” without the intervention of God (John 6:63) [22].  The Roman Catholic Church did not adopt the new rule against contraception until as late as 1968 AD [23].
Therefore, the Ancient Catholic Church applies the ancient rule of the quickening, such that the Faithful are permitted to use contraception without guilt or sin, but not to facilitate fornication “without natural affection” supporting marital relations (Romans1:26-32; II Timothy 3:1-5), and not to abandon God’s will to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28) [24].
Pedophilia Fully Punished & Reported – Pedophilia by Clergy, unlike other political issues about whether something is acceptable or not, is divisive only in how strongly the Church should enforce its prohibition.  The Ancient Catholic Church strictly bans and completely rejects all pedophilia:  Instead of “monitoring” offenders to continue within the Church, any “therapy” would be as former Clergy outside the Church;  Instead of merely “defrocking” offenders, the Church would enforce four separate Canon law doctrines for immediate automatic and mandatory excommunication; Instead of asserting “sovereignty” at the expense of its integrity and role in society, the Church would directly report offenders and provide evidence to secular authorities for criminal investigation and prosecution.
Historically, “Corrupters of Youth” are subject to excommunication “by the fact” of the offense [25], and this remains in force as customary Canon law (Canon 19, Canon 2, Canon 27) [26].  Pedophilia by Clergy indisputably constitutes Abuse of Ecclesiastical Authority, which is subject to excommunication as a necessary “just penalty” (Canon 1399; Canon 1388, §2) [27].
Pedophilia is an egregious violation of social justice against rights, which also subverts the integrity of the Church (Canon 223, §1; Canon 225, §2), rising to the level of Schism (Canon 751) [28].  Any abuse of children is a flagrant denial of core Christian doctrines on benevolence to children (Matthew 18:6, 18:10-15, 19:13-14; Mark 9:37, 9:42, 10:13-14; Luke 17:2, 18:15-16; Romans 16:17-18) [29], and sexual abuse as fornication (Mark 7:21-23; Romans 1:26-32; II Timothy 3:1-5; Galatians 5:16-21) [30], and thus is also Heresy (Canon 751) [31].  As a form of both Schism and Heresy, pedophilia incurs automatic and mandatory defrocking (Canon 1044, §1) and excommunication (Canon 1364, §1) [32].
For pedophilia by Clergy, as abuse of authority for criminal sexual abuse of children, the Church can impose a stronger and additional penalty beyond excommunication (Canon 1326, §§1-2) [33].  Therefore, the Church can directly report the offense to law enforcement authorities.  For the Church to refer the secular crime of child abuse to secular authorities, is directly supported by the doctrine of Jesus to “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s” (Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17; Luke 20:25).

Ancient Apostolic Church 2021
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