Who are you guys?
Catholics without a Church is the Texas deanery of the White Robed Monks of St. Benedict. We are an independent Catholic jurisdiction.
Huh? independent jurisdiction? I thought Catholic meant Roman Catholic?
Not just you, a lot of people think that. But the facts are different. The Roman Catholic Church is by far the largest Catholic jurisdiction; but not the only one. Since the earliest days of the Church, there have been many different expressions of the Catholic faith. Saints Peter and Paul had different visions how the faith should be expressed. Peter thought that adherence to Jewish law was required to be a Christian; Paul did not. But they both realized that there could be different expressions of their new faith. They compromised with different laws for Jews and gentile who converted to Christianity. In short, different jurisdictions.
Ok, then what makes you different that the Roman Catholics?
In matters of faith, little, if any, thing. We believe in the Catholic sacramental system as signs of God's love for us. We believe that the Apostles' and/or Nicene Creeds (Sine/cum filioque) are sufficient statements of faith. We believe in the Catholic world view framework of: creation, sin, incarnation, redemption, resurrection destiny.
So, if not faith, what does make you different?
As an independent jurisdiction, we believe that unity of Faith does not require uniformity in practice. In practice, if not theory, the Roman Catholic jurisdiction is a hierarchy, led by a supreme pontiff, bishops, and the clergy followed by the people. It is a closed structure, which is good for egos but bad for ideas and creativity. We are a "flat" organization. While we are led by our Abbot/bishop, we are each personally responsible to the order. We try to be ego-less, focusing instead on true service to those who seek us out. We like to say we go where we are asked and do what we are asked. We are a welcoming community, open to all who seek Faith. We have no conditions or prerequisites for Faith or service. We believe our Faith to be like water which takes the shape of whatever container it is in; but is always water.
We think of ourselves not as Roman Catholic or old Dutch or Orthodox or Eastern, but simply as "Catholic". we believe what has been believed everywhere, always and by all, for that is truly what is catholic. As has been written: in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, freedom; in all things, charity.
What about the Pope? Is he the leader of the Catholic Church or not?
Yes, he is the leader, but not the ruler. A leader leads with the affirmation of the people; a ruler rules by fiat.
We believe that as Bishop of Rome, the pope stands as the "first among equals". His voice is an important one, but not the only voice. He speaks with great moral authority, but is not the voice of God on earth.
So why are you not Protestants??
Protestants have different belief systems. Methodist follow the "method". Lutherans accept salvation by faith alone. Each separate denomination is fundamentally different than the other. In the Catholic tradition, we all accept the sacramental system of salvation. We differ in externals, not on matters of faith.
What parish are you from?
We do not, on principle, maintain buildings. We go where we are asked to go and do what we are asked to do.