The Lepanto Institute has been ringing the alarm bell about the Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP) and its unrelenting push to undermine Catholic teaching for several years now. In the past, we've reported on this group for its alliance with sexually deviant organizations and agendas, its work with an international network of heretical organizations, and its call for "priestless parishes."
The AUSCP's scandalous work even elicited a warning from its own bishop, Bp. Daniel Thomas, who said that any association with the AUSCP "may be a source of grave concern due to the confusion and scandal they have caused."
Now the AUSCP is taking action to push for the ordination of women to the permanent diaconate with an eye toward ordination to sacramental priesthood.
In an April newsletter, the AUSCP urged its priest members to visit a website called www.Discerningdeacons.org and participate in a "Discerning Deacons Week of Action," saying: "Help us launch and spread the good news about the active discernment of our Church about women in diaconal ministry. Our goal is to invite 100 supporters to join us in small daily actions to get the word out."
One of the speakers in the virtual event is Dr. Phyllis Zagano, whose work the Lepanto Institute spotlighted in 2016. The reason it is so important to these dissidents to see women ordained to the diaconate is so the discussion on the ordination of women to the priesthood can be opened. Walking a razor-thin line, so as not to cross over into outright promotion of women's priesthood, Zagano wrote an article in 2003 for the Jesuit-run America Magazine on "case for Catholic women deacons," in which she said: "If women were sacramentally ordained deacons and the diaconate shares in the sacerdotal priesthood (as the commission argues), then women have already shared in the sacerdotal priesthood. I am not arguing for women priests, only pointing out that the argument seems to do so."
Linked in the AUSCP newsletter announcing the event were sample prayers "For the Restoration of Women to the Deaconate." The first prayer offered the following petition to God:
We long to hear the Good News
announced by women ordained to serve your people
through the Word, liturgy, and charity.
We need women restored to the diaconate,
and we ask your Holy Spirit to open hearts and minds
to embrace this return to tradition.
Just a few months before this zoom meeting, the AUSCP hosted the heretical FutureChurch in a webinar that unmistakably mapped out a path to the priestly ordination of women. The Jan. 19, 2021 webinar titled, "Is Pope Francis Really Creating a More Inclusive Presence for Women" gave a platform to FutureChurch co-director, Deb-Rose Milavec.