The Liberal Catholic Church

Historical View

Apostolic Succession

The Apostolic Succession, derived from the Old Catholic Church by Bishop Wedgwood at his consecration to the Episcopate, has been preserved with the utmost care. The Church has since developed as a completely new Christian denomination, having its own distinctive Liturgy and doctrine. Today, though numerically small, it exists in over thirty countries.

Sometime after his consecration Bishop Wedgwood travelled to Sydney, Australia, to take counsel with C. W. Leadbeater, a well-known clairvoyant, author and leading member of the Theosophical Society, who had resigned his position as an Anglican priest to go with Madame Blavatsky to India in 1884. Bishop Wedgwood reported that Mr Leadbeater ‘saw great possibility for usefulness in the movement and placed his services unreservedly at our disposal.’

Bishop Wedgwood consecrated C. W. Leadbeater to the Episcopate in Sydney, Australia, on 22 July 1916, and soon after that both Bishops started working on a revised Liturgy. Bishop Wedgwood explained that he was responsible for the wording of most of the forms of service in the revised Liturgy and that Bishop Leadbeater and he collaborated in the writing of the Collects, although the former was mainly responsible for them. Bishop Leadbeater selected the verses for the psalms and canticles as well as the passages serving for epistles and gospels.

Bishop Wedgwood added: ‘We agreed that in the work of revision of the Liturgy there should be no question of departing from the general outline of Christian thought and worship. Ours was a Christian church and we intended to keep it such. And we followed the general plan of the Roman Liturgy which had been in use in our Church and which we found to be the most suitable as a basis for our work.’

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