The Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland is the Swiss member church of the Union of Utrecht of Old Catholic Churches. The Union of Utrecht was founded by some Jansenists, and expanded with an influx of discontented Roman Catholics following their disappointment with the First Vatican Council (1869-1870). The church is a national Swiss church and recognised (as are the Evangelical Reformed and the Roman Catholic churches) in 11 cantons by the government. Since 1874, the University of Bern has had its own Christian Catholic theological faculty, which is now one part (as the Christian Catholic section) of the Faculty of Theology. The strongest concentration of Christian Catholics lies in the cantons of Solothurn, Aargau, Zurich and Geneva.
In 1841 the Zürich Catholic community planned to build a church to commemorate the 1270s Augustinian abbey church. As the whole community was expelled from the Catholic church, the Augustinerkirche at the Münzplatz became its present parish church. Ferdinand Stadler (1813–1870), an architect born in Zürich, was charged with the construction of a new church building.
In 2009, Bishop Harald Rein was elected as the head of the church. Prior to this, he served as a parish priest and as vicar general of the church. On September 12, 2009, he was consecrated in Zurich by Archbishop Joris Vercammen of Utrecht.
Old Catholic Bishops of Switzerland
The following bishops have overseen the Old Catholic Church in Switzerland.
- Eduard Herzog (1876-1924)
- Adolf Küry (1924-1955)
- Urs Küry (1955-1971)
- Léon Gauthier (1972-1986)
- Hans Gerny (1986-2002)
- Fritz-René Müller (2002-2009)
- Harald Rein (2009 to present)