On Sunday, 22nd January 2012, the Abbot of a monastic community in Germany, Dom Klaus Schlapps, was received into full communion with the Nordic Catholic Church. The community, now indirectly a member of the Union of Scranton, is the Abbey of St. Severin in Kaufbeuren, Allgäu in Bavaria. I gather that Dom Schlapps is also responsible for a number of Old Catholic parishes in Germany that have left the Union of Utrecht. Dom Schlapps committed himself to the Declaration of Scranton and the faith of the Church as described in The Road to Unity. The PNCC’s Ecumenical Officer, Father Robert Nemkovich Jr was present.
As Bishop Flemstad has related in the NCC blog, it was two and a half years ago when he visited the monastery together with Father Ottar Myrseth. They quickly saw that the monastery, having left the Union of Utrecht, was in distress and needed help in the way of being in communion with a legitimate Church. There is the monastery, but also several priests and faithful who left the Union of Utrecht for reasons of the liberal changes being enacted. The plan is that there will be a separate parish in Munich. The Church in Germany will be named Christkatolische Kirche in Deutschland. For the time being, Dom Schlapps is nominated as the Administratur der Nordische-Katholischen Kirche in Deutschland.
These priests are all recognised to have been validly ordained, and thus no re-ordinations are needed, merely the canonical act of incardination.
The Order of Port Royal
The Order of Port Royal is a monastic community which began with the French Cistercian convent of Port Royal of Jansenist fame. The original community was founded in 1204 and dissolved in the year 1705 by orders of Louis XIV. Remnants of the convent moved to the Netherlands receiving assistance from the Bishop of Utrecht.
In 1946, a group of Hungarian Old Catholics under the Polish Mariavites was organised. The present group began in 1992 as (I quote from their website):
a small group of men and women meeting regularly to pray, share the Eucharist, and encourage one another in the spiritual life. Over time this small nucleus developed into a religious community. This group was shepherded by two priests from the order of Port Royal, Dom Klaus Schlapps and Dom Michael Maier. These two priests were responsible for the sacramental life of the community. In the year 1998 several members of this community took religious vows. The following year the community decided to commit to a lifestyle more in keeping with the Benedictine rule and began searching for a building which would be suitable for use as a monastery.
The name “Order of Port Royal” (OPR) was resumed at this point. In 2004, the Order placed itself under the jurisdiction of the Catholic bishop of the Old Catholics in Germany (Union of Utrecht). In October 2010, the Order separated from the Old Catholic Church in Germany and was again independent until its passing under the jurisdiction of the Union of Scranton a few days ago. The Abbot of St. Severin was confirmed in his office as Abbot General of the Order.
They have, since 2010, a building in the Eichwald of Kaufbeuren between Oberbeuren and Friesenried. Today 4 professed monks belong to the monastery of the abbey. One monk lives as a “Solitary” outside the cloister. In addition there are two secular professed nuns who belong to the abbey.
Outside this small formally monastic community, the Order has a number of secular oblates living in various countries.
- Ceremony of reception of Dom Schlapps into the Nordic Catholic Church (in German)
- Abtei St. Severin – website in German
- Order of Port Royal in the United States