Independent Catholicism is an independent sacramental movement of clergy and laity who self-identify as Catholic (most often as Old Catholic or as Independent Catholic) and form "micro-churches claiming apostolic succession and valid sacraments," Despite not being affiliated to the historic Catholic churches such as the Roman Catholic and Utrechter Old Catholic churches. The term "Independent Catholic" derives from "these denominations affirm both their belonging to the Catholic tradition as well as their independence from Rome."
It is difficult to determine the number of jurisdictions, communities, clergy and members who make up Independent Catholicism, particularly since the movement "is growing and changing in every moment." Some adherents choose Independent Catholicism as an alternative way to live and express their Catholic faith outside the Roman Catholic Church (whose structures, beliefs and practices of Independent Catholicism often closely align) while rejecting some traditional Catholic teachings.
Independent Catholicism may be considered part of the more significant independent sacramental movement, in which clergy and laity of various faith traditions—including the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Anglican Communion and various non-Catholic Christian churches—have separated themselves from the institutions with which they previously identified. Various independent churches have sprung from the Eastern Orthodox Church within this movement. Still, the members of these independent Eastern Orthodox groups often self-identify as Independent or Autocephalous Orthodox and not as Independent Catholic.
Many Independent Catholic churches have joined the International Council of Community Churches, a denomination based in Frankfort, Illinois, in the United States. Doing so gives them a place and voice in organizations such as Churches Uniting in Christ, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA and the World Council of Churches.
As of May 2023, Eric Michel Ministries International FAICL's third order of Franciscans & Our Lady of Grace's third order of Benedictine Oblates are not a part of the Independent Catholic movement. we are Catholic Christian clergies and lays consecrated to God by non‐canonical vows in our community. Also as members of the Interdenominational Assembly of Churches (IAoC), we are ecumenical with all Christians. Observing the Canon Law set by our chart with the ORDER OF FRANCISCANS OF THE EUCHARIST.
In the Catholic Church, canon law is the system of laws and legal principles made and enforced by the church's hierarchical authorities to regulate its external organization and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics toward the mission of the church. It was the first modern Western legal system and is the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the West.
In the Latin Church, positive ecclesiastical laws, based directly or indirectly upon immutable divine law or natural law, derive formal authority in the case of universal laws from the supreme legislator (i.e., the Supreme Pontiff), who possesses the totality of legislative, executive, and judicial power in his person, while particular laws derive formal authority from a legislator inferior to the supreme legislator. The actual subject material of the canons is not just doctrinal or moral in nature, but all-encompassing of the human condition, and therefore extending beyond what is taken as revealed truth.
The Catholic Church also includes the main five rites (groups) of churches which are in full union with the Holy See and the Latin Church:
Alexandrian Rite Churches which include the Coptic Catholic Church, Eritrean Catholic Church, and Ethiopian Catholic Church.
West Syriac Rite which includes the Maronite Church, Syriac Catholic Church and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.
Armenian Rite Church which includes the Armenian Catholic Church.
Byzantine Rite Churches which include the Albanian Greek Catholic Church, Belarusian Greek Catholic Church, Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church, Greek Catholic Church of Croatia and Serbia, Greek Byzantine Catholic Church, Hungarian Greek Catholic Church, Italo-Albanian Catholic Church, Macedonian Greek Catholic Church, Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Romanian Greek Catholic Church, Russian Greek Catholic Church, Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church, Slovak Greek Catholic Church and Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
East Syriac Rite Churches which includes the Chaldean Catholic Church and Syro-Malabar Church.
All of these church groups are in full communion with the Supreme Pontiff and are subject to the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.