Free Catholic Church - Church Background

Church Background

In 1937 the Roman Catholic bishop Carlos Duarte Costa - and his diocese of Botucatu, Brazil - severed ties with the Vatican. The bishop was excommunicated in 1945 after he accused the Vatican of having collaborated with the national socialists (Nazis) and fascists. He then founded the Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira (Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church). In 1949 the church was brought to Germany by the future Archbishop Johannes Peter Meyer-Mendez where it was registered as the Free Catholic Church ("Freikatholische Kirche").

After the death of Archbishop Meyer-Mendez, his successor Georg Fröbrich, later Archbishop Hilarios Karl-Heinz Ungerer, transferred the seat of the archbishop, i.e. the principal seat, from Cologne to Munich, the capital of Bavaria. Archbishop Ungerer also was temporarily conductor of the now vacant Kustodie der Mariaviten in Bayern - founded by Archbishop Maria Paulus Norbert Maas - until his successful bid for demission of bishop's duties in 1978.

In September 1972, Bishop Ungerer rented a shop for a "shop church", which became the Free Catholic Shop Church at 25 Thalkirchner Strasse in Munich, as was the fashion in some big towns at that time. Over the next 25 years he endeavoured to integrate marginal groups into the church.

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