Polish National Catholic Church
The Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC)
Is It OK for Me to Go to a
Polish National Catholic Church?
There are many Catholic churches which profess a different tradition with different customs and ways of living out the Catholic faith. You don’t have to be Roman Catholic to be Catholic even though certain Roman Catholic leaders will tell you that the only way to be Catholic is under their jurisdiction (diocese); this is not true. In the creed we recite every Sunday we do not say the word “Roman” but rather “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic” which is what the PNCC is a part of. We are part of the “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic” church – not Roman – but just as Catholic as Roman Catholic. Do your own research and with very little effort you will find out that Polish National Catholicism is accepted as valid and promoted as such on a National and International level; the acceptance of the validity of the Polish National Catholic Church is clearly stated in each Roman Catholic Parish in the United States, published in the missalettes used in Roman Catholic parishes.
The validity of the Polish National Catholic Church is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church and there are documents to this effect on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website, usccb.org, just search there for “Polish National Catholic Church.” Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy in 1993 writing on behalf of Pope John Paul II and at the Polish pope’s urging confirmed the unique status of the Polish National Catholic Church and its validity stating unequivocally that Polish National Catholic priests are valid priests that administer valid sacraments. Roman Catholic Churches publish in their missalettes that are distributed in every Roman Catholic parish a statement on who is allowed to receive communion (guidelines for the reception of communion), the Polish National Catholic Church is specifically mentioned there, where the missalette states point blank that “according to Roman Catholic discipline, the code of Canon law of the Roman Catholic Church does not object to the reception of the sacraments of Polish National Catholics in Roman Catholic Churches.” Only three churches that are not Roman Catholic are singled out for this distinction and we, the Polish National Catholic Church, are one of them. There should be no doubt as to the validity of our sacraments in your mind.
On July 20, 2021, Father Adam Kotas, was incardinated into the Polish National Catholic Church, as a priest of the Buffalo-Pittsburgh Diocese. His bishop assigned him to Las Vegas, where he is now the Pastor of Divine Mercy Polish National Catholic Church (d.b.a. Divine Mercy Catholic Church.) Father Adam's priesthood is fully intact in this new Catholic home, where he is happy to be the organizing Pastor of this parish, and to tell this story of Truth + Work + Struggle = Success, the motto of the Polish National Catholic Church.
There should be no doubt about whether or not you can go to a Polish National Catholic Church, as even the Vatican and the United States Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops says that the Polish National Catholic Church is a valid Catholic church. This is very important to Father Adam because he wanted to make sure that he joined a church that was 100 % Catholic, and this validity is recognized by the Vatican. He did not change religions. The Polish National Catholic Church is a Catholic church just like the Roman Catholic Church is a Catholic Church; it’s just a different tradition, a different way of being Catholic, but it’s the same faith. When you come to the Polish National Catholic Church you are not changing religions. You are Catholic. Period.
Do I have to be Polish to come to the PNCC?
Absolutely NOT! The Polish National Catholic Church is not a church just for Polish people or people of Polish descent. We are a Catholic parish for all people irrespective of their ethnic background. Just like you don’t have to be Roman to go to a Roman Catholic parish you most certainly do not have to be Polish to come and become a member of Divine Mercy Parish. We need you! You are important in growing the kingdom of God and advancing the ideals of our holy, Catholic, and Apostolic faith
What Is the Difference between the Polish National Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church?
The joint declaration on unity between the Roman Catholic Church and the Polish National Catholic Church clearly states that our differences are not doctrinal but rather of governance.
We are all Catholic; the Roman Catholic Church is run by the clergy without input or oversight on the part of the laity; clergy are imposed on parishes by local bishops without regard as to whether they can be understood by the people or whether they can understand the people, by speaking not just English but speaking the language of their culture and customs and traditions. Much of the clergy in the Roman Catholic Church in the USA today come from other countries and from different cultures; most have very little orientation or acclimation to the customs and lives of the people here; for this and other reasons, hundreds of thousands of Roman Catholics have opted to go to different Christian denominations or the non-denominational churches where preachers speak their language and understand the culture.
The Polish National Catholic Church was organized because people wanted a Catholic Church that was sensitive to their needs and provided relevant preaching in their own language by clergy that understood their pains and hurts. The leadership of the late 19th century and early 20th century Roman Catholic Church was oblivious to the needs of the people; they lived in mansions, isolated from the “commoners” and did not make any effort to listen to the needs of the common people immigrating to the United States. This was central to why Father Francis Hodur organized the Polish National Catholic Church. Today, we face much the same situation; the Polish National Catholic Church is focused on responding to the needs of the hurting men and women of the 21st century; there are different hurts and different needs than in the past, but the solution is the same: Community living focused on the truth that flows from the Word of God preached in a manner and style that is accessible to all.
The only real difference between the Roman and Polish National Catholic churches is in how the churches are run; there is no difference in faith or doctrine. It is the same Catholic faith just packaged differently. Our differences are not in doctrine but in governance. Our worship is almost identical to that of the Roman Catholic Church. We do offer general absolution (the sacrament of Penance) at every Mass; we do not permit communion in the hand and do not have lay Eucharistic ministers. Our worship is very traditional and reverent, where Holy Communion is only received on the tongue, and by intinction (the host is dipped by the priest in the consecrated wine;) when you are able you are encouraged to kneel to receive Holy Communion. We emphasize the real presence of Jesus, body and blood and soul and divinity, in Holy Communion. Holy Communion is not a symbol but the real presence of Jesus and should be treated as such. We are Catholics, not Protestants, and we believe that Holy communion is Jesus Himself and every care has to be taken to convey this hidden mystery.
The Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church in Regards to the PNCC
Recognized as valid by the Vatican!
In 1996 the Roman Catholic U.S. bishops' conference reached an agreement, approved by the Holy See (the Vatican and at that time the Polish pope, John Paul II) which placed the Polish National Catholic Church in a very unique and special relationship with the Roman Catholic Church. This special status inviting members of the Polish National Catholic Church to communion in Roman Catholic Churches is promoted and published in every missalette in Roman Catholic parishes invoking Canon 844 of the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law.
In other words:
YES YOU CAN receive valid sacraments from a Polish National Catholic priest and if you have any doubts whether you can, know that the Vatican says so.
YES YOU CAN get validly married in the Polish National Catholic Church being united by the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. It is just as Catholic a wedding as in the Roman Catholic Church.
YES YOU CAN be baptized and receive every other sacrament in the POLISH NATIONAL CATHOLIC CHURCH – the sacraments are valid.
YES YOU CAN be Catholic without being Roman Catholic and you will be just as validly Catholic.
YES YOU CAN join our parish and become an active member and live out the Catholic faith in our community.
YES YOU CAN be nourished at our parish with the WORD from relevant sermons and Bible Studies and classes and retreats and with Holy Communion.
What Is Apostolic Succession
and Why Is This a Big Deal?
Apostolic Succession: The Polish National Catholic Church
One, Holy, Catholic, and APOSTOLIC FAITH
The Catholic and Orthodox churches use the episcopal governance structure. Bishops in these churches derive their authority from apostolic succession, defined as the uninterrupted transmission of authority from the original apostles through the two millennia of Christianity. Consequently, these churches are extremely concerned about proving apostolic succession, or the idea bishops are direct successors to the Apostles. They believe their current bishops were ordained by other bishops who were ordained by the other bishops in an unbroken chain right back to the time of Jesus.
Apostolic succession is a powerful statement of faith as bishops are ordained by the laying on of hands. In short, current bishops had been touched by the laying on of hands by other bishops who had been touched by other bishops in an unending chain beginning with the Apostles. The Apostles laid their hands on their successors, who laid their hands on their successors in this chain right up to this day. The doctrine of apostolic succession is central to the sacramental validity and also bolsters the use of tradition and not just scripture as the source of authority within the church.
Remember, Jesus sent the twelve Apostles out to start His church. Most people, even non-Catholics, know of the Pope, successor to St. Peter and Bishop of Rome, who leads the Roman branch of the faith. The other eleven Apostles went to different geographical areas to make disciples of all men, spreading Jesus’ message and the faith.
The Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC) , headquartered in Scranton, Pennsylvania is also concerned about its apostolic succession; it is one of very few churches which the Vatican has gone out of its way to point out as having Valid Apostolic Succession, meaning all the sacraments offered by the Polish National Catholic Church are valid, legitimate, and licit. The Apostolic succession and the validity of the sacraments of the Polish National Catholic Church is affirmed by the pope as well as the Roman Catholic Bishops of the United States. Documents about this are available on the Roman Catholic Bishops website of the United States Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops. There is no question about the Apostolic succession and the validity, legitimacy. and liceity of the Polish National Catholic Church.
The Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed, composed in 325 at the council of Nicea, makes it clear that our statement of belief is in the “one, holy, apostolic and Catholic” faith. Nowhere does it mention “Roman.”
In Las Vegas, there are other non-Roman Catholic Churches with a governance system separate from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas. These churches, like ours are valid, legitimate, and licit. The Polish National Catholic Church is recognized as valid and legitimate and licit by the Vatican and the United States Conference of Roman Catholic bishops has documents on its website to this effect. . We are 100% Catholic and apostolic and valid and legitimate and licit with valid sacraments. When a Catholic comes to a PNCC parish you are not changing religions or joining another faith. You are Catholic, period, just as you always were!
Will I Be Excommunicated for Going to a
Polish National Catholic Church?
You may hear some Roman Catholic diocesan leaders, priests and others say “you will be excommunicated” but let’s use our brain and think about it: “If Polish National Catholics can receive communion in Roman Catholic parishes, how can I be excommunicated since excommunication means I am excluded from the reception of communion?” Their claims are inaccurate, and certainly do not make sense.
Read the “joint statement on unity” between the Roman Catholic Church and the Polish National Catholic Church, where it clearly states that Polish National Catholics are 100% as Catholic as Roman Catholics, and the code of canon law of the Roman Catholic Church does not object to the reception of communion by members of the Polish National Catholic Church.
Bottom line – Polish National Catholics are just as much Catholic as Roman Catholics and the United States Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops and the Vatican say so.
For more information about the PNCC, go to www.pncc.org