The term Primitive Catholic is used by a small but growing number of Christians, both in established Church bodies as well as in independent Christian congregations. The groups that are so described see themselves as restoring or revisiting the practices of the ancient Christian Church, but doing so in a more Catholic fashion than the Restoration Movement.
While both Primitive Catholics and Restoration Movement Christians would agree that the New Testament Church is the ideal, the two sides disagree on several issues, including the nature and extent of an ordained ministry within the Church (usually structured in an episcopal fashion) and the transmission of ecclesiastical authority through Apostolic Succession. Most congregations and ecclesiastical bodies that use the term are Trinitarian in orientation, and appear to reject at least some elements of the Western doctrine of original sin (though some openly adhere to the Eastern form of the doctrine). All believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and hold to some form of liturgy, though no central book exists within the movement.
Assemblies meet in a variety of settings, including established congregations, house churches, cell groups, and group Bible studies. Some of these models operate in combination in some ministries. Most tend to emphasize smaller, relational congregations or groups.
Many Primitive Catholics are pacifists or believe in non-violent resistance, and strive for the separation of Church and State. Some eschew jury duty, participation in elections, and other civil involvement, seeing themselves as citizens of only the Kingdom of God.
Some Primitive Catholics hold to very specific, detailed doctrinal statements, others adopt the Scriptures and Creeds as boundaries of fellowship. Some within the movement credit David Bercot with introducing them to the possibility of living out a truly primitive faith. Bercot was, at one time, an Anglican who began a small congregation in Texas that existed along Primitive Catholic lines, but he has since become an Anabaptist. Nevertheless, Bercot's popular tape series "What the Early Christians Believed" remains in distribution among Primitive Catholics both for theological education and, in some places, for Christian formation.
An ecclesiastical jurisdiction known as the Primitive Catholic Church lays claim to spiritual and historical connections with the church of the first century, but its acceptance of women clergy and the remarriage of divorcees have called the claim into question by some in the movement.