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Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church

The Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (Portuguese: Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira, pronounced [iˈgɾeʒa kaˈtɔɫika aposˈtɔɫika bɾaziˈlejɾa]; ICAB) is an independent Catholic church established in 1945 by excommunicated Brazilian Catholic bishop Carlos Duarte Costa.[2][3]

Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church
Portuguese: Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira
Emblema da Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira.png
ClassificationIndependent Catholic
GovernanceEpiscopal Council
PresidentJosivaldo Pereira
FounderCarlos Duarte Costa
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Separated fromCatholic Church
Members560,781 as of 2010[1]

As of 2007 ICAB had 39 dioceses in Brazil and sister churches in several countries.[4] In theory it is the mother church of an international network called the Worldwide Communion of Catholic Apostolic Churches, though there appears to be no evidence of recent activity. The current President of the Episcopal Council of ICAB in Brazil is Dom Josivaldo Pereira de Oliveira.[not verified in body]


Costa was an outspoken critic of the regime of Brazilian president Getúlio Vargas (1930–1945) and of the Vatican's alleged relationship with fascist regimes.[5] He also publicly criticized the dogma of papal infallibility and Catholic doctrines on divorce and clerical celibacy. As a result of his outspoken views, Duarte Costa resigned from his office of bishop of Botucatu in 1937 and was appointed to a titular see.

In 1940 Cardinal Sebastião da Silveira Cintra, archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, permitted Costa, as titular bishop of Maura, to co-consecrate Bishop Eliseu Maria Coroli.[6] Costa continued to criticize the government and the Catholic Church, advocating policies that were regarded by the authorities as Communist. In 1944 the Brazilian government imprisoned him, but later freed him under political pressure from the United States and Great Britain.[5]

In May 1945 Costa gave newspaper interviews accusing Brazil's Papal nuncio of Nazi-Fascist spying, and accused the Vatican of having aided and abetted Hitler. In addition, he announced plans to set up his own Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church, in which priests would be permitted to marry (and hold regular jobs in the lay world), and bishops would be elected by popular vote.

On June 1945, Costa established the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (ICAB).[7] Costa's act of schism resulted in his automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church.[a] Later Costa was declared a vitandus – a person to be avoided by Catholics – and those Catholics who became adherents of ICAB were excommunicated also. According to Peter Anson, Costa was excommunicated "for attacks against the papacy,"[2]

In 1949, the Brazilian government temporarily suppressed all public worship by ICAB, because its liturgy and its clerical attire would result in confusion by being indistinguishable from those of the Catholic Church and were tantamount to deception of the public.[8] However, a few months later ICAB churches were permitted to reopen, provided that their liturgy would not duplicate the Catholic liturgy, and their clergy would wear gray clerical attire in contrast to the black attire worn by Catholic clergy.

Costa implemented reforms in ICAB of what he saw as problems in the Catholic Church. Clerical celibacy was abolished, though he himself never married and remained celibate. Rules for the reconciliation of divorced and remarried persons were implemented. The liturgy was translated into the vernacular, clergy were expected to live and work among the people and support themselves and their ministries by holding secular employment.

Dom Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez, Patriarch of ICAB 1964-2009

Shortly after founding ICAB Costa consecrated four bishops, Salomão Barbosa Ferraz in 1945, Antidio Jose Vargas and Jorge Alves de Souza in 1946, and Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez in 1948.[b] Costa, Ferraz, and Mendez attempted to establish similar autonomous National Catholic Apostolic Churches in several other Latin American countries.[example needed] Costa was consecrator or co-consecrator of 11 additional bishops, each of whom took a leadership role in either ICAB or one of the other National Churches.[self-published source][9]

Ferraz left ICAB in 1958. Ferraz reconciled with the Catholic Church in 1959 and his episcopal consecration was recognized as valid.[2] However, Ferraz was excluded from church affairs such as the Roman Synod of 1960, even though he was present in Rome at the time, while the Vatican belatedly questioned the legitimacy of having recognized his status.[10] Shortly thereafter, in 1961, Costa died and ICAB underwent several years of tumult as dissensions, schisms, and multiple claimants to the patriarchal throne threw the church into disarray. After this period, the church found stability and growth under Mendez, Costa's successor.[c]

Some sources seem to indicate that Mendez assumed leadership of ICAB upon Costa's death in 1961.[c] Bishop Antidio Jose Vargas initially stepped in as General Supervisor, followed by Pedro dos Santos Silva as first president of the Episcopal Council, followed by the Italian-born Luigi Mascolo during the 1970's.[11] By 1982 Castillo Mendez was elected president of the Episcopal Council, and was designated as Patriarch of ICAB in 1988 and as Patriarch of Iglesias Católicas Apostólicas Nacionales (ICAN) the international communion of similar churches in 1990.[12]

Beliefs and organizationEdit

ICAB accepts the Nicene, Athanasian, and Apostles' creeds and observes seven sacraments (baptism, Eucharist, confirmation, penance, unction, matrimony and ordination). The ICAB practices open communion for all Christians who acknowledge the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The church acknowledges divorce as a reality of life and permitted in Holy Scripture and will marry divorced persons after an ecclesiastical process of investigation and baptize the children of divorced or single parents. The church also does not recognize the use of rosaries or personal confession.[contradictory][13]

ICAB teaches that birth control is acceptable in certain circumstances (such as for disease prevention). It opposes abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, and any other taking of human life.[13] The church has three administrative branches, in line with the conception of a nation state: executive (episcopal council), legislative (national council), and judicial (superior ecclesiastical court).[14] There are currently 52 bishops and 39 dioceses within Brazil.[13] The official motto is Deus, Terra e Liberdade ("God, Land and Freedom").

ICAB is historically open to people of all faiths and philosophies, or none: Theosophists and Freemasons featured in early senior roles[15] as well as atheists and communists.[16] According to Roger Bastide, "since 1945 its priests have been attending Umbanda spiritism séances, blessing statues of the Virgin identified with Yemanjá, saying mass in macumba sanctuaries".[17]

Apostolic successionEdit

ICAB holds that apostolic succession is maintained through the consecration of its bishops in an unbroken succession back to the Apostles. All ICAB bishops trace their apostolic succession back to Duarte Costa, a former bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. It is widely believed that ICAB's consecrations follow the Roman Catholic Tridentine rite in a vernacular version of the Pontifical, but this is not certain: ICAB's rites were altered on several occasions, and uniformity in practice has never been enforced anyway; furthermore, the Tridentine rite in an unauthorized vernacular form would no longer be considered the Tridentine rite according to Catholic theology.[18]

ICAB cites the unique case of Ferraz as evidence that its apostolic succession is valid, even by Roman Catholic standards. Just over a month after the church's foundation, in 1945, Duarte Costa consecrated Ferraz as bishop.[19] Thirteen years later (in 1958 under Pope John XXIII[contradictory]) Ferraz reconciled with the Roman Catholic Church and was eventually recognized as a bishop, even though he was married at the time.[self-published source][9] Ferraz was not ordained or consecrated again, even conditionally; however he was initially held at arm's length by the Vatican while they examined his case, somewhat belatedly, and mooted the possibility of an affidavit to affirm that Ferraz, aged 80, and his Italian wife were chaste.[20] He did pastoral work in the Archdiocese of São Paulo until May 12, 1963, when he was appointed titular bishop of Eleutherna by Pope John XXIII.[19] Ferraz participated in all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council,[19] and Pope Paul VI appointed him to serve on one of Vatican II's working commissions. Upon his death in 1969, Ferraz was buried with full honors accorded a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. Since then, however, the Vatican has repeatedly expressed reservations about ICAB's sacraments and does not recognize them; in 2012 Rome declared ICAB schismatic and reaffirmed its negation of ICAB's "illicit" orders.[21]

International communionEdit

Costa, Ferraz, and Mendez consecrated, or assisted in the consecrations, of dozens of bishops in various countries from the 1940s to the 1990s. Some bishops in the Costa line maintained formal ties with ICAB, but the majority appear to have gone their separate ways to found or participate in independent Catholic bodies without ties to ICAB. Such bishops have been declared doubtful at best by the new regime, citing the claim that a defect in proper intention exists in all bishops who have strayed from ICAB.

Churches in full communion with ICAB are members of WCCAC. There has been a fluctuating number of partner churches in WCCAC and a current list of official WCCAC members is not available. The last world conference was held in 2009 in Guatemala. Since that meeting there has been a reorganization in the works of WCCAC of those considered to have remained true to the teachings of Duarte Costa. Those churches who have obtained consecrations at the hands of Castillo Mendez or Pereira de Oliveira, with false intentions, as in lies and simony, are considered to be in grave sin and are not considered validly consecrated or ordained.[citation needed]

Under Castillo Mendez, ICAB created the Canadian Catholic Apostolic Church in 1988, ordaining Claude R. Baron as the first Canadian bishop. In 1997 Mendez agreed to intercommunion between ICAB and the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church (ICCEC).[22][d]

1997 also saw the ordination of the first 'ICAB succession' bishop in the United Kingdom, namely John Christopher Simmons of Ashford, Kent. John Simmons (1945-2003) formed part of a house community involved in child pornography and pedophilia, which included Frederick Gilbert Linale and Roger Gleaves.[23][24] Both Gleaves and Linale received lengthy sentences;[25] Simmons stood in as head of the church in their absence.[23] The UK branch of ICAB still exists, though currently in no formal relationship with the Brazilian church, and it has changed name several times since John Christopher Simmons' day.[26][27][28] The current leader of this branch, now called Catholic Church of (sic) England & Wales, is James Atkinson-Wake, also known as David Bell.[28][29][30][31][32]

List of bishops and diocesesEdit

As of 2007, the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church has 39 registered dioceses throughout the country, along with missions in other countries.[33]


State of Acre

  • Bishop José Geraldo da Silva

State of Alagoas

  • Diocese of Maceió
    • Bishop Walvert Rommel C. Galvao Barros
    • Bishop Fernando A. Sampaio Pugliesi

State of Amazonas

  • Currently has no diocese
    • Bishop José Geraldo da Silva

State of Amapá

  • Currently has no diocese
    • Bishop José Geraldo da Silva

State of Bahia

State of Ceará

State of Distrito Federal

  • Diocese of Brasília
    • Bishop Bartolomeu Sebastiao Vilela
      • Auxiliary Bishop Jose Carlos Ferreira Lucas

State of Espírito Santo

  • Diocese of Vitória
    • Bishop Domevir Frausino

State of Goiás

  • Diocese of Goiânia
    • Bishop Enrique Javier Souza Rodrigues
  • Diocese of Itumbiara
    • Bishop - vacant
  • Diocese of Porangatu
    • Bishop Waldemir de Araujo Ribeiro

State of Maranhão

  • Diocese of São Luís
    • Bishop Jose Eustáquio Neto
      • Auxiliary Bishop Paulo Cesar Polidoro

State of Mato Grosso

  • Currently has no diocese
  • Bishop - vacant

State of Mato Grosso do Sul

State of Minas Gerais

State of Pará

  • Diocese of Belém
    • Bishop Lourival Almeida

State of Paraíba

  • Diocese of Campina Grande
    • Diocesan Bishop Antonio Julio Feliciano Paiva

State of Paraná

  • Diocese of Curitiba
    • Diocesan Bishop Aurio Fontanella Camargo
  • Diocese of Foz do Iguaçu
    • Diocesan Bishop Manoel Jose da Rocha Neto
  • Diocese of Sarandi
    • Diocesan Bishop Valdir Irineu Backmann

State of Pernambuco

  • Diocese of Recife
    • Bishop Benedito Paulo Leoncio
  • Diocese of Jaboatao dos Guararapes
    • Bishop Geraldo Magela do Nascimento

State of Piauí

  • Currently has no diocese
    • Bishop Luis Fernando Cabral de Barros

State of Rio de Janeiro

  • Diocese of Rio de Janeiro
    • Diocesan Bishop Olinto Ferreira Pinto
      • Coadjutor Bishop Josivaldo Pereira (current President of the Episcopal Council of ICAB)
        • Auxiliary Bishop Isaac Minervino Barbosa
        • Auxiliary Bishop Luciano Rodrigues do Nascimento
        • Auxiliary Bishop Antonio Duarte Santos Rodrigues
  • Diocese of Cabo Frio
    • Bishop Joanir da Silva Neves
  • Diocese of Niterói
    • Bishop - vacant
  • Diocese of Duque de Caxias
    • Diocesan Bishop Jose Ramos Soares da Silva
  • Diocese of Volta Redonda
    • Diocesan Bishop Rodnei Silva
  • Diocese of Mesquita
    • Bishop Arlindo Carlos de Almeida

State of Rio Grande do Norte

  • Diocese of Natal
    • Administrative Diocesan Bishop Francisco Alves da Costa Neto

State of Rio Grande do Sul

State of Rondônia

  • Diocese of Porto Velho
    • Diocesan Bishop Admilson Ferreira de Brito

State of Roraima

  • Currently has no diocese
    • Bishop Jose Geraldo da Silva

State of Santa Catarina

  • Diocese of Lages
    • Bishop - vacant

State of Sergipe

  • Diocese of Aracaju
    • Diocesan Bishop Antônio Furtado Leite

State of São Paulo

  • Diocese of São Paulo
    • Diocesan Bishop Wagner Peres Rodrigues
      • Coadjutor Bishop Gilberto Pergher Jr.
        • Auxiliary Bishop Alexandre Garre
  • Diocese of Jundiaí
    • Diocesan Bishop Paulo Geraldo Perboni
      • Auxiliary Bishop Jose Faria Ramos

State of Tocantins

  • Diocese of Palmas
    • Diocesan Bishop Jose Geraldo da Silv

Outside BrazilEdit

The church has at various times spiritually supported dioceses and bishops in a number of foreign countries, including Angola, Australia, Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Martinique, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Uganda, the United Kingdom and the United States. The list has tended to fluctuate and change frequently, suggesting that maintaining anything more than a loose and occasional dialogue with its branches and affiliates has been a challenge for ICAB.


  1. ^ Under the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which was in effect prior to 1983, only canonically culpable people are formally guilty of schism.
  2. ^ Ferraz had organized his Igreja Católica Livre No Brasil in 1936.[2]
  3. ^ a b José Aires da Cruz succeeded Costa, according to Anson.[2]
  4. ^ Mendez and two other ICAB bishops reconsecrated five ICCEC bishops in 1997; those five reconsecrated bishops reordained all ICCEC's clergy and reconsecrated all its bishops.[22]


  1. ^ "Tabela 2103 - População residente, por situação do domicílio, sexo, grupos de idade e religião: Religião = Católica Apostólica Brasileira". Censo Demográfico 2010 (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro, BR: Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e Anson, Peter F (2006) [1964]. Bishops at large. Independent Catholic Heritage series (1st Apocryphile ed.). Berkeley: Apocryphile Press. pp. 534–535, Addenda. ISBN 0-9771461-8-9.
  3. ^ "Bishop Carlos Duarte Costa". David M. Cheney.
  4. ^ Notes from 19th National Council of ICAB, July 2007
  5. ^ a b "Religion: rebel in Rio". Time. 23 July 1945. ISSN 0040-781X.
  6. ^ "Bishop Eliseu Maria Coroli". David M. Cheney.
  7. ^ "Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira IICAB", Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements, (Peter Clarke, ed.), Routledge, 2004 ISBN 9781134499700
  8. ^ Brazil. Supremo Tribunal Federal (17 November 1949). "Liberdade de culto religioso — MS 1.114". Archivo judiciário (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro, BR: Jornal do Commércio (published 1952). 101 (jan. a mar/1952): 6–15. OCLC 9105470. Archived from the original on 12 March 2005 – via abstract on Supreme Federal Court of Brasil.
  9. ^ a b Boyle, Terrence J. (ed.). "Costa consecrations". Washington, DC: Terrence J. Boyle. Archived from the original on 17 July 2015. [self-published source]  This tertiary source reuses information from other sources but does not name them.
  10. ^ Jarvis, Edward, God Land & Freedom, The True Story of ICAB, Apocryphile Press, Berkeley CA, 2018, pp. 130-132
  11. ^ Jarvis, Edward, God, Land & Freedom: The True Story of ICAB, Apocryphile Press, Berkeley CA, 2018, pp 140-141
  12. ^ "Patriarch Luis Fernando Castillo Mendez". London: Catholic Apostolic National Church. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  13. ^ a b c "Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church" at Enciclopédia TioSam (copied July 6, 2007)[dead link]
  14. ^ "The Pope who is not the Pope, but is Pope", Diário de Natal newspaper, April 9, 2006, p. 14[dead link]
  15. ^ Jarvis, Edward, God, Land & Freedom: The True Story of ICAB, Apocryphile Press, Berkeley CA, 2018, pp. 69-70
  16. ^ Jarvis, Edward, God, Land & Freedom: The True Story of ICAB, Apocryphile Press, Berkeley CA, 2018, p. 82
  17. ^ Bastide, Roger. The African Religions of Brazil, JHU Press, 2007 ISBN 9780801886249
  18. ^ Jarvis, Edward, God, Land & Freedom: The True Story of ICAB, Apocryphile Press, Berkeley CA, 2018, pp 204-208
  19. ^ a b c "Bishop Salomão Barbosa Ferraz". David M. Cheney.
  20. ^ Jarvis, Edward, God, Land & Freedom: The True Story of ICAB, Apocryphile Press, Berkeley CA, 2018, pp. 130-132
  21. ^ "Catholic Church refuses to recognise David Bell as bishop". Turin, IT: La Stampa. 16 December 2012. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  22. ^ a b Tighe, William J. (14 October 2006). "Anglican bodies and organizations". Allentown, PA. Missing or empty |url= (help)  This tertiary source reuses information from other sources but does not name them. Reprinted in Hutchens, S. M. (22 October 2006). "Anglican taxonomy". Chicago, IL: The Fellowship of St. James. Archived from the original on 12 October 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  23. ^ a b Danny O’Sullivan, ‘Bishops on the Loose’, Magonia — Interpreting Contemporary Vision and Belief (magazine), (London), no. 65, November 1998, [pp 10-13] p 11
  24. ^ ‘Most Evil Church on Earth’, The News of The World (London), 23 February 1997 [accessed 10 December 2018]
  25. ^ ‘Priest Jailed for Sex Assaults’, The Herald (Scotland), 2 October 1996; [accessed 10 December 2018]
  26. ^ La Stampa, Rome, 1 August 2012, [accessed 18 November 2018]
  27. ^ The Catholic Herald, London, 17 August 2012,[accessed 18 November 2018]
  28. ^ a b La Stampa, Rome, 5 December 2012, [accessed 18 November 2018]
  29. ^ Benedictine Celestine Renewal, church website,[permanent dead link] [accessed 18 November 2018]
  30. ^ Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila, 3 February 2018, p B4 (Classifieds) [accessed 19 November 2018]
  31. ^ Catholic Church of [sic] England & Wales, church website, [accessed 19 November 2018]
  32. ^ Anglicanorum Coetibus Society, 21 August 2018, [accessed 18 November 2018]
  33. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 October 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit