What Old Roman Catholicism is expressly NOT is any form of “Independent Catholicism”. (The educated reader will no doubt be aware that the phrase “Independent Catholicism” is an “oxymoron”!) Yet this is a phrase used by many as a cover all for those who claim to be Catholics supposedly independent of any historic See.
Arguably, and if there had been a movement within the Dutch Church to continue this orthodox faith and praxis in Holland, there might have been another claim to be a “continuation” of the See of Utrecht. As it was, the adherents of Old Roman Catholicism recognised that more important than a claim to be the continuation of any historic See, was the necessity of maintaining the true Catholic faith as it had been practised prior to the declaration of Papal Infallibility. As Archbishop Mathew had been mandated to uphold, defend and preserve this faith at his consecration, and having been duly appointed and given jurisdictional authority by the See of Utrecht, to found, serve and administer a church in Great Britain to this end, no further authority was required for him to pursue his charge. As providence would have it and despite the efforts of many detractors during his lifetime, Msgr Mathew was able to preserve the historic (Old) Roman Catholic faith as it had been received in the Western Catholicate, and through the efforts of successive Old Roman Catholic bishops carefully consecrated in and preserving his Apostolic Succession and teaching, the Old Roman Catholic faith has continued to this present day.
Old Roman Catholicism is no more “independent” than any Eastern Orthodox Church or Patriarchate maintaining that deposit of “the faith once delivered to the saints” [Jude 1:3]. As for the charge of being unrelated to an historic See, Old Roman Catholics are in exactly the same position as are English Roman Catholics seperated from the originally Catholic metropolitan See of Canterbury. We are seperated only by virtue of history and our adherence to the original practice of the Catholic Faith from either the See of Utrecht or indeed, the Holy See. In both cases, it was not “us” who changed, but the historic Sees from whom we are descended who altered their practice of the Catholic Faith from what they in turn had received; the Holy See by promulgating Papal Infallibility and the See of Utrecht by adopting Protestant beliefs and practices.