The Lepanto Institute is currently on location at the Association of US Catholic Priests 2018 Assembly in Albuquerque. Just last week we reported on the AUSCP’s membership in an international coalition of heretical “church reform” organizations called the International Church Reform Network. Despite this, we are still astounded to see the brazen support the AUSCP is giving to members of this coalition. Organizations such as FutureChurch, DignityUSA and New Ways Ministry are currently exhibiting and freely fostering their false ideologies at the AUSCP exhibition hall.
Even more disturbing is Archbishop Wester’s explicit support of this conference in his own Archdiocese. Everything presented here is happening under his watch and with his approval.
As we reported previously in an article concerning Dr. Carolyn Woo’s (former CEO of Catholic Relief Services) participation in a FutureChurch-sponsored event, FutureChurch supports the ordination of women to the permanent diaconate and to the priesthood, same-sex “marriage,” and contraception.
These are a few of FutureChurch’s distorted ideologies:
- There are hundreds of pages on FutureChurch’s website dedicated to the ordination of women. As one example, FutureChurch has a Q&A page dedicated to providing apologetic arguments as to why and how the Catholic Church should ordain women to the priesthood.
- In preparation for the 2014 and 2015 Synods on the Family, FutureChurch signed on to an open declaration that calls for the Church to accept those in open homosexual relationships and to permit the use of contraception.
- In this October 2015 post on FutureChurch’s facebook feed, FutureChurch applauded the Synod proposal that promoted the use of contraception for Catholics.
- In October of 2016, FutureChurch hosted an event focused on the acceptance of homosexuality in the Catholic Church and opening the way for women’s ordination.
New Ways Ministry
New Ways Ministry, a homosexual advocacy group, is an officially condemned organization by both the Vatican and the USCCB and permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons. According to the 2010 USCCB condemnation penned by Cardinal Francis George:
“No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice. Their claim to be Catholic only confuses the faithful regarding the authentic teaching and ministry of the Church with respect to persons with a homosexual inclination. Accordingly, I wish to make it clear that, like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of Church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States.”
DignityUSA is another homosexual advocacy group that:
Promotes homosexual “marriage” – Here is a recent example where DignityUSA issued a press release praising Ireland for supporting homosexual “marriage.”
Explicitly condones homosexual sexual acts – DignityUSA’s mission statement proclaims, “We believe that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex persons can express their sexuality and gender identities and expressions in a manner that is consonant with Christ’s teaching.”
Furthermore, Dignity USA expounds on this in a document on the goodness of homosexual acts:
“Now Church officials admit that our sexual identity may not be the result of deliberate choice. To some extent they distinguish between sexual orientation and genital activity. Yet they still insist that our sexual identity is an objective disorder, a tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil, and that any genital expression of it is absolutely forbidden.
This we cannot accept. We see sexuality as an intrinsic, integral, and essential aspect of our human personhood, not a separate one. We reclaim our sexuality and its genital expression as intrinsically good.” [emphasis added]
Supports the ordination of women priests – In 2009, according to DignityUSA president Mark Matson, DignityUSA adopted a more “inclusive” mission statement that includes a call for the ordination of women to the priesthood. Furthermore, DignityUSA issued a press release “expressing outrage” that the Vatican excommunicated several women who attempted priestly ordination.
Participates in sacrilegious liturgies conducted by “ordained” women priestesses – According to DignityUSA’s NY chapter, in 2007, it celebrated a sacrilegious “Mass” conducted by an “ordained” woman priestess.
Also, DignityUSA’s current front page features an image which appears to be another pseudo-Eucharistic liturgy complete with women celebrants.
It is imperative that Catholics realize that the Association of United States Catholic Priests is not a fringe organization without any real influence. The fact of the matter is that this group is growing and has a presence in nearly every diocese in the United States. What’s worse is that the AUSCP is getting support from sitting bishops in major dioceses. Archbishop John Wester, the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM is currently present for the AUSCP meeting (pictures above), he is saying Mass for this organization, and he is a member of their leadership as “Episcopal Moderator.” Archbishop Wilton Gregory of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, GA has spoken at AUSCP events and given the organization his applause and support. The same is true for Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago, IL and Bp. Robert McElroy.
The AUSCP has the appearance of legitimacy because of the endorsement and support of these prelates! And given the AUSCP’s intimate involvement with and promotion of outright heretical organizations such as the ones we just outlined, it must be concluded that these prelates support and endorse FutureChurch, DignityUSA, and New Ways Ministry as well.
The only way for these bishops to disabuse the impression that they support AUSCP in its alliances is to immediately, definitively, and without mental reservation condemn and disassociate from the AUSCP, completely.