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When Lepanto Institute requested the archbisop of St. Paul-Minneapolis condemn a group of clergy hell-bent on obscuring Catholic truth, Abp. Bernard Hebda instead welcomed that group into his diocese. Church Militant's Paul Murano explores the mixed messages Hebda and other clergy are sending by embracing such a dissident group and looks at the hesitancy of condemning it.
Faithful Catholic: "What's going on in the Church is not OK. We as laity, we need to be heard."
Bp. Robert McElroy: "It's great to be here with you today."
The Association of United States Catholic Priests, or AUSCP, has supported ordaining women, normalizing homosexuality and adopting children to homosexual and so-called transgender couples. When AUSCP came to Minneapolis last month for its annual meeting, Abp. Hebda was not ready to condemn it.
Michael Hichborn: "To my knowledge, the only statement Abp. Hebda has ever made regarding the AUSCP, public or otherwise, was the letter that he sent to me just a few days before the AUSCP's annual assembly began."
That letter Hebda sent to Michael Hichborn of Lepanto Institute was a response to Hichborn's request that Hebda condemn the liberal heterodox group before it met in his archdiocese. Hebda wrote he would not be attending, nor would his priests, since they all had a scheduled meeting at the same time. It was far short of a condemnation and apparently left out some important information.
Abp. Hebda: "I know I disappointed some of my letter writers."
According to a source close to Lepanto Institute, Hebda asked Bp. Richard Pates of nearby Crookston diocese to attend the meeting in his stead to welcome the group on his behalf. Bishop Pates did attend, and so did long-time AUSCP supporter Abp. John Wester of Santa Fe.
Michael Hichborn: "Given the active support the AUSCP receives from Cdl. [Blase] Cupich, Cdl. [Wilton] Gregory, and the fact that Abp. John Wester is actually the USCCB's liaison to the AUSCP, it's not surprising the USCCB hasn't done anything to condemn this organization."
Further, two priests of the Minneapolis archdiocese also attended despite Hebda's contrary written assertion. The AUSCP website illustrates the group as being a religious version of the Democrat Party. Its left-leaning concerns include climate change, immigration, White supremacy and women's equality.
Michael Hichborn: "It's absolutely imperative for good bishops to forcefully condemn the AUSCP now, before it gains any more influence."
In a Church desperate for clarity within a world where truth is purposely obscured, faithful Catholics are left to conclude too many bishops and priests tacitly support such a dissident group and its mission to subvert the Church.