How We Are Different
Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community (MMACC) is committed to reform in the Church and renewal of the Church. The title of the theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether's recent book, Being Catholic Does Not Equal the Vatican, reflects the stance of this community. We do not believe that the Vatican exclusively speaks for all Roman Catholics. Believing that "We (the people of God) are the Church,”
we move forward with democratic and transparent governance, women's ordination, optional celibacy in priesthood for homosexual and heterosexual priests, and a discipleship of equals fostering the dignity and ministry of all in God's church. In turn, the Vatican and the Diocese of San Diego do not claim or recognize MMACC as a canonical parish.
Implications for the Sacraments and for our Services
Baptism: As of Vatican II, the Vatican recognizes one Baptism. You or your child's baptism at Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community (MMACC) is a valid Baptism. You will receive a certificate of baptism. Any baptism will be recorded in our parish Baptismal Registry. In the future, if you or your child wish to participate in other sacraments in a canonical Roman Catholic parish (that is, a parish recognized by the local bishop and the Vatican), that canonical parish may require you or your child to make a "Profession of Faith" into what the Vatican recognizes as "the Roman Catholic Church." You or your child should not be asked to be baptized again.
First Eucharist/Eucharist: In canonical parishes (parishes recognized by the local diocese and the Vatican), people preparing for First Eucharist (First Communion) are required to go through Religious Education (RE) or the Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). MMACC offers First Eucharist Catechism for Children and the RCIA for older youth and adults, after which First Eucharist is celebrated, usually at Pentecost. These programs at MMACC are not sponsored by the diocese. Those who participate receive Eucharist (Communion) at the end of their study. Whether you receive Eucharist at a canonical parish is a matter of conscience for you. First Eucharist celebrations are recorded in our parish registry. As is the case for other denominations, the local diocese and the Vatican do not recognize the validity of our Eucharist. We believe that the Communion Table belongs to God, not to any denomination, and all who feel called to receive bread and wine at Eucharist are welcome at God’s Table.
Confirmation: Whereas one Baptism is recognized by the Vatican, Confirmation in other Religious traditions, and Confirmation at MMACC, is not recognized as valid by the Vatican. In our rite, a person would be Confirmed into the Roman Catholic Church as understood and embodied by MMACC, and recorded in our parish registry.
Marriage: All three of our pastors are registered clergy in the state of California, and are able to be the religious and legal officiants at marriage ceremonies, including signing the marriage license. The marriage will also be entered in our church's Marriage Registry, if the couple wishes. The marriage will not be registered with the diocese. At MMACC, annulments from previous marriages are not required. We also conduct same-sex weddings. When California recognizes same-sex unions as "marriage" again, we will be considered legally binding officiants. In the future, if the married couple wishes to participate in other sacraments in a canonical parish (that is, a parish recognized by the local bishop and the Vatican), that canonical parish may require the couple to have their marriage "blessed" by their priest. They may also require the couple to make a "Profession of Faith" into what the Vatican recognizes as "the Roman Catholic Church."
Ordination: In 2010, in keeping with the rediscovered history and tradition of women’s ordination and of early church practice of a priest being called by a community to a community, MMACC ordained Nancy Corran to the priesthood through the laying on of hands. Not only because the community served as the ordaining body, but also because it was an ordination of a woman, Nancy’s ordination was not recognized as valid by the Vatican. Roman Catholic Womenpriests, and an increasing number of other organizations and individuals, have recognized the ordination as valid. The standards of MMACC for ordination are as rigorous, if not more so, than those for canonical priesthood.
Anointing of the Sick: (previously known as the "Last Rites") The priest invokes and reminds the person who is not well of the presence of the Creator of all; the presence of the faith community's prayers; the healing presence of the risen Christ, and the presence of the Spirit who gives us peace. The only validating authority is the presence of God.
Reconciliation: Confession is a private matter between a person and their God. The priest is there to help a parishioner give voice to matters of the heart and lend an ear; to offer spiritual guidance; to embody the grace of Jesus the Christ; and to encourage reconciliation with God, with oneself, with another, and with Creation. How you choose to "confess," or how often, before taking communion is a matter of conscience.
Funeral: A funeral or memorial liturgy (Mass) at MMACC is open to all. Like all liturgies at MMACC, the local diocese and the Vatican do not recognize their canonical validity. The burial of the deceased can be at any cemetery. If it is to be at a Catholic Cemetery, the MMACC Pastoral Team will be able to advise as to who will be permitted to officiate at the graveside ceremony.