The See of Caer-Glow is named after the Welsh for the City Of Gloucester England and was established over a century ago as a titular see for the Archbishop-Primate of our flock.
In 1145 Pope Eugene III granted sui juris status to the See established by Sts WIllibord and Boniface in what is now known as the region of the Netherlands. Sui juris is a fancy way of saying self-governing. A sui juris jurisdiction must conform in all matters de fide. That is to say all defined dogmas of the Catholic Church as understood through Doctrinal Ecumenical Council.
Post protestant revolt, St Pius V and others wished to centralize administration and control to protect the Catholics from corruption. The Dutch Church refused stating they had not become protestant nor taught contrary to the Faith and they were basically left alone for centuries. Several canonical processes were commenced and dismissed or allowed to become defunct without resolution. Until Rome appointed a new bishop of Utrecht in parallel with the Old Bishop. So the term Old Roman Catholic is easily confused with “Old Catholic” or with a variety of modernists movements that share the same name. When this new parallel bishop was appointed the old was left in place by Rome but ignored, so you had “new” Roman Catholics and “Old” Roman Catholics the old and new referring to the bishop, not theology or Faith. As time went on the Oxford movement in England arose and encouraged many high Anglicans to seek out help from Rome. Leo XII had determined and proclaimed their Holy Orders to be invalid and that became known as the See of Caer-Glow was created to facilitate their entry into the Catholic Faith with valid succession. This instrument was used because at the time the Vatican was reestablishing the Catholic hierarchy after centuries of separation because of the actions of Henry VIII.
Unfortunately, the Dutch hierarchy that supported this effort themselves turned on Rome after Vatican I, not accepting papal infallibility nor the Councils that the Orthodox had not accepted. So The See of Caer-Glow as the English project had come to be known separated from the Dutch declaring themselves to be faithful to the Catholic understanding of the Faith, seeking full union with Rome, though now considered by Rome to be juridically irregular.
Fast forward to the 1950s over 80 Parishes and tens of thousands of faithful were under the See when it was decided by the episcopal conclave of the day to wrap it all up. There was no theological difference remaining, and the local custom of an optional vernacular liturgy or married clergy were not considered sufficient reasons to remain independent. It was thought by those bishops that the time had come if we were not to attain union via canonical process victory that we would wrap up by attrition. So our large seminary in Illinois closed and no new priests were ordained or bishops consecrated for some time.
Then Vatican II hit and a number of the clergy felt that our mission as to protect the Old Mass and Old Faith. And here we are today.
It has been said that Old Roman Catholic is not so much a Church but an apostolic lineage, by which it is meant there is no doctrinal difference between our jurisdiction and anyone who holds the 20 Doctrinal Councils de fide. And we would even add Vatican II in the sense we give it the assent that it is due, which is mercifully not much as a pastoral Council
Our relationship in practice varies on the local level. We have had some mainstream bishops treat us as brothers offering the use of their altars and vice versa. We have also experienced grave hostility.
We don’t bite the hand that is kind to us, so those mainstream diocese and organizations where we find welcome we do not publicize or embarrass since these events could have political repercussion for the bishops and others involved.
What we will say, is if you love the Catholic Faith and the Old Mass you are our friend. And it is our belief that God will intervene and sort out our differences in the details under a Good, Holy and Catholic pope. Just as many call themselves Catholic, many call themselves Old Roman Catholic and we are NOT affiliated with any group that allows communion in the hand, ordains women or permits immoral praxis among its clergy as understood by Traditional Catholic teaching.
In terms of formal communication with the Vatican, our last major reunion effort was under Benedict XVI with the help of an Oriental Rite bishop. The last official and affirmative statement on our Orders is dated in 1983 (with protocol number) and we suspect that the Church will sort out its path on earth post Synodal report.
There will not likely be reunion as long as communion in the hand exists or as long as the “Spirit of Vatican II” remains ascendant.
May we join together in the sincere prayer of :” Thy Will be Done” Oh Lord.
For God indeed does judge the heart, and there is no weaseling with Him.