Monday, April 1, 2024

Unitarian Universalism and the American National Catholic Church: A Comparative Exploration

Unitarian Universalism (UU) and the American National Catholic Church (ANCC) are two distinct religious movements that represent modern and inclusive approaches to spirituality and faith. While they share some commonalities in their progressive outlook and emphasis on inclusivity, they differ significantly in their theological foundations, practices, and historical roots.

Theological Foundations:

Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religious movement characterized by its "free and responsible search for truth and meaning." UUs assert no creed and are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth. They draw inspiration and guidance from six sources, including personal experience, world religions, and humanist teachings. UUs embrace a wide range of beliefs, from religious humanism to various world religions and atheism.

The ANCC, on the other hand, is a contemporary expression of Catholicism, tracing its independent lineage through Roman Catholic Bishop Carlos Duarte-Costa of Brazil. The ANCC is committed to the implementation of the full vision of the Second Vatican Council and maintains a rich tradition of grace-filled sacraments and social action. It differs from the Roman Catholic Church in several ways, including its stance on married clergy, the ordination of women, and full sacramental participation by all.

Inclusivity and Social Justice:

Both Unitarian Universalism and the ANCC place a strong emphasis on inclusivity and social justice. UUs seek inspiration from all major world religions and welcome individuals from diverse backgrounds, including atheists, agnostics, and theists. The ANCC also embraces inclusivity, affirming the dignity and worth of LGBTQ+ persons and supporting family planning and the ordination of women.

Worship and Practices:

Unitarian Universalist congregations often feature diverse practices, reflecting the individual spiritual journeys of their members. Services can include elements from various faith traditions, meditation, and contemporary music. The ANCC, while retaining some traditional Catholic elements, also incorporates modern practices and emphasizes congregational participation in decision-making.

Historical Roots:

Unitarian Universalism has roots in Protestantism and liberal Christianity, particularly Unitarianism and Christian universalism. It emerged as a distinct denomination in the United States through the consolidation of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America in 1961.

The ANCC was founded in 2009 as an independent Catholic church, with historical ties to Bishop Duarte-Costa's reformist efforts in Brazil. It represents a movement within Catholicism that seeks to continue the progressive work of the Second Vatican Council.


Unitarian Universalism and the American National Catholic Church both offer modern and inclusive approaches to religion, with a strong emphasis on social justice and individual spiritual exploration. While UUism provides a non-creedal, pluralistic space for seekers of diverse beliefs, the ANCC offers a contemporary interpretation of Catholicism that embraces progressive values and inclusivity. Both movements challenge traditional religious boundaries and invite individuals to engage in a meaningful and transformative spiritual journey.