First Five Hundred Years and Liberal Catholics

The following item is for sale now on eBay:

UNIVERSAL SALVATION: The Prevailing Doctrine of the Christian Church for the First 500 Years, a hardcover book first published in 1899, reprinted by the Liberal Catholic Church for seminary students of St. Alban Theological Institute.

First, I wouldn’t bother getting this since it is a reprint, and there’s no word about the binding. This could be photocopies with a wrist-scratching comb binder; if you want that, make your own. Tentmaker has the text. (This must be a special download site to save bandwidth. is otherwise pretty good looking.)

What drew my interest is the sponsoring organization: “Liberal Catholic Church for seminary students of St. Alban Theological Institute.”

Hmm. Mixed messages here. Churches calling themselves a Liberal Catholic Church tend to be, to put it mildly, ecclectic running to the theosophical. Anything “St. Alban”-ish is code for Anglican. The term “seminary students” scans low church.

Well, what I got was a small but established denomination that’s liberalizing (women were allowed to the priesthood and episcopate at their 2004 synod) but working with few resources. They fall under the collective (descriptive, not administrative) umbrella of Independent Catholicism.

One of their churches in New Hampshire has a genuinely clever and simple website design:
St. Jude’s, Nashua, N.H.

Another one in Dallas gives me the creeps for canonizing (or whatever) Franciscan priest and 9/11 victim Mychal Judge.

But I still don’t get why they teach out of book on Universalism?

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

1 comment

  1. Scott – I’ve encountered this group before. They originated in a late 1890’s British Independent Catholic group. One of their reasons for breaking with Rome was a movement to teach Universal Restoration. Their liturgy is also pre-Vatican 2, and not very low-Anglican. This British body of Liberal Catholics later split into even smaller theosophical, and non-theosophical bodies. You’ve encountered the non-theosophical half, which also is inter-racial. Their churches in Ohio and New York are mostly made up of liturgical, esoteric thinking Blacks.

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