The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests passed six resolutions at the group’s second annual Assembly this week in Seattle:
- favoring exercise of authority in a collegial manner through consensus decision-making processes with councils and boards;
- supporting Pope Francis in the reform of the Church to restore credibility, with participation of laity and clergy in the selection of bishop;
- endorsing Cardinal Bernadin’s Common Ground Initiative to promote inclusive dialogue and collaboration;
- supporting the ordination of women to the permanent diaconate;
- encouraging the reintroduction of general absolution;
- supporting the Labor Priests Project of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils and establishing its own Priest-Labor-Union-Friendly Caucus.
Seven proposed resolutions did not pass:
- asking the US bishops to work to resolve the problem of precipitous decline in number of active priests;
- making the selection of bishops more transparent, with selection generally from the local presbyterate and proceedings not done in secret.
- seeking permission to use the 1974 Sacramentary;
- asking the US bishops to appoint a liaison to AUSCP and include an AUSCP delegate as auditor at its November meeting;
- supporting a plan for evangelization including diagnosis of why Catholics leave;
- calling for study and open discussion of women and married men in the priesthood;
- promoting sufficient time for presbyterate to determine its own interim leader when a bishop reaches age of resignation/retirement.
Two motions were withdrawn, one selecting a Priest of the Month and another decrying the annual collection for the Archdiocese for Military Services. Full wording of all proposed resolutions is found here.
According to its website, AUSCP is a forum where priests across the United States foster dialogue with clergy, bishops, religious, laity, and with their organizations. They seek to celebrate and implement the visionary concepts of the Second Vatican Council; to be servant leaders in a servant Church; to minister with humility, mercy, and faithfulness; to revitalize the Body of Christ through contemplation and witness to the goodness among our fellow pilgrims; to be a voice of hope; and to preach and act prophetically. Slightly under 1,000 US priests belong to AUSCP.
Interesting, I wonder why this resolution didn’t pass:
” •supporting a plan for evangelization including diagnosis of why Catholics leave;”
As Newman once stated, the church without laity would look foolish.
Or the one asking the bishops to address the decline in priests. They’d also, at the very least, be looked down upon less (whether one thinks they deserve it or not) if they invited an episcopal delegate.
@Michael Skaggs – comment #3:
It would be interesting to see why those resolutions didn’t pass. There must have been discussion on the floor? Priest Labor Union caucus? Cmon…
The Association of US Catholic Priests is facing the same problem that Voice of the Faith (VOTF) had when it organized.
The Association only represents some priests, just like VOTF only represented some Catholics. Just who and how many people each represents is very debatable.
The Association appears to be following VOTF’s original path, trying to find a more “centrist” position that will attract many or most priests just like VOTF tried to find a centrist position by supporting victims, priests of integrity and some sort of vague “institutional” reform that initially avoided hot button issues such as priestly celibacy and ordination of women to the priesthood.
While I willingly joined VOTF under its initial “centralist” agenda, I obviously did not see it as an organization that spoke for me. At the first meeting that I attended here in Cleveland I encouraged VOTF to become a networking organizations where Catholics could discuss anything they wanted as adults without clerical supervision.
I suggested that there be no resolutions and votes but rather that if any group of people wanted to do something they simply organize as a group with that agenda rather than a VOTF sponsored group.
The reality of voluntarism is that the only votes that matter is the amount of time you put into the organization. A hundred people can want to see Agenda A done but if no one wants to put any time in it, and there are only ten people who want to do Agenda B but they are willing to put a hundred hours a month into it, Agenda B wins. Having a meeting for one hour to vote for Agenda A accomplishes nothing.
VOTF in this diocese and elsewhere had a number of “priests sounding boards” which were off the record discussions with laity (3-5 priests, 20-30 laity). They enormously increased my respect for priests. Since they were outside the priests parishes and off the record; priests were very candid. They obviously wanted us at laity to succeed in changing the church, and they obviously did not have the time and abundance of freedom and talent that we had.
When the petition about the New Missal circulated I hoped that the 200 or more priests, ministers, and laity in the Cleveland diocese would have formed a “sounding board type of network” that would empower all of us in our various roles. That never happened.
Networks of priests and laity have to empower priests and laity in their own situations rather than being spokespersons for priests or laity. I don’t think the union model works for either priests or laity.
Meanwhile, Cardinal O.Malley won’t allow Schuller, of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative, to speak at a Catholic parish …
@Crystal Watson – comment #5:
It doesn’t seem to be the norm for Card O’Malley. However, for some, once one becomes “papabile” one suddenly becomes firm and uncompromising, for the next time around you know, just in case…..
@Crystal Watson – comment #5:
If you think about it, he can’t do anything else. Allowing it would be perceived by many and portrayed by the media as a ‘break with Rome’. Especially in his position on the advisory committee, it would send an entirely unfortunate message. On the other hand, he does not appear to be threatening excommunication or withholding the sacraments to organizers or participants or otherwise trying to stifle it.
After all, his job is to shepherd the flock, not scatter it in different directions if he can help it.
Brendan Hoban’s new book “Who will break the bread for us?” should be on everyone’s reading list. He describes the critical situation in Ireland regarding vocations.
Other countries should take note.
For every Bishop the message is pertinent.
When a train crash is likely, adjust the points.
Groups such as AUSCP, ACP in Ireland and ACTA (a call to action) here in the UK have only come about through the sincere concern that we feel for the Church both now and in the future. We need to listen to each other
What?! Why not approve the continued use of the Sacramentary?? Haven’t these people heard of continuity??? I would seriously be interested in why it didn’t pass.
Regarding those which did pass…
Collegiality/Councils/Boards: the old adage ‘a camel is a horse built by committee’ still reigns. Decisions must be made by an individual (i.e., the Bishop) or there is no credibility or responsibility. Who appoints the members? Approves them and their decisions? For advice, group think is great. But once the decision is made by individual competent authority, discussion over.
Lay/clergy bishop selection: Sometimes external imposition can be good to ‘rock the boat’. I don’t think locals will necessarily have the best interests of the entire diocese at heart, nor knowledge of options. (Not if they’re minding their parishes, at least!)
Cardinal Bernardin’s Common Ground: please define better. Their websites are a cacophony of saying nothing about what they do. Many people on their board, but no output. Latest newsletter has two stories, one on a member getting an award for whatever it is he does, the other about a college class which, once a semester, has discussion groups. Need more info to evaluate the recommendation.
Women to permanent diaconate: Not at all a bad idea. Certainly worthy of discussion.
General Absolution: Considering the lack of confidence in some priests, this might be a significant way to increase people’s actual participation in the sacrament. The paltry number of participants now makes a mockery of it. But some might say the same of General Absolution!
Union Affiliation: To what end? What about the 88% of us who are non-union?