Independent Catholic Churches is the name for a few Christian churches which say that they have the traditions of the Catholic Church, but who are not recognised by the Holy See. Almost all of them say that their bishops have apostolic succession, that is that their legitimacy comes from an apostle. The first of these churches was the Old Catholic Church, who did not agree that the pope was infallible, in religious matters. This was agreed at the First Vatican Council in 1870. Most of the independent Catholic churches split from the Old Catholic church. A notable exception is the Society of St. Pius X, a grouping of traditionalist priests, founded in the 1970s.
Communities such as the Eastern Orthodox, the Oriental Orthodox Church, or the Coptic Orthodox Church do not have the problem of recognition, as they are at least partially recognised by the Roman Catholic Church. Most Independent Catholic Churches were created after 1870.
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Bishop Arnold Mathew being ordained a bishop by Old Catholic Archbishop of Utrecht Gerardus Gul at St. Gertrude's Cathedral, in Utrecht, on 28 April 1908