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Rather than upholding the Deposit of Faith that leads to salvation, the U.S. bishops are partnering with a dissident group of priests and laymen. In tonight's In-Depth Report, Church Militant's Paul Murano calls on the Lepanto Institute to get to the bottom of this apparent scandal.
Sr. Carol Zinn, consultant, St. John Vianney Center: "How do we lay down our privilege? I think the first thing is we have to know that we have it."
The Association of United States Catholic Priests, or AUSCP, is an 11-year-old group of nominal Catholics supporting priests in their futile attempt to change essential Church teaching. The U.S. bishops now seem to be collaborating with this group, which is known for supporting homosexuality and women priests, among other heresies.
Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute spoke with Church Militant about AUSCP's dissent and the bishops' lack of condemnation.
Michael Hichborn, president, Lepanto Institute: "It just has to do with the unfettered free range of dissidence within the Church. ... The AUSCP is the logical extension of the Call to Action Conference of 1976 — which is why it's so important for them to formally condemn the organization now."
Hichborn is following the group's current push for "priestless parishes," which may have a very specific end goal.
The AUSCP's concept of a priestless parish has to do with the priest shortage. And what they want to do is suggest that a pastoral leader, who is a layman or a woman, could take over a parish, taking on the pastoral responsibilities, while a priest would travel from parish to parish providing the sacraments maybe once a month or so. Ultimately, what this idea would do is lead to the idea of women deacons, because the women could possibly lead the parishes in worship services. And that, of course, is a stepping stone towards women priests. And they even say so in their literature.
Hichborn: "It was this particular office that would certify those pastoral leaders. So the natural relationship between the AUSCP and the USCCB is, through this particular office, incredibly significant."
Faithful Catholics feel powerless. What can they do about a lack of faith among the clergy, leading souls astray?
Hichborn: "It's important at this point for faithful clergy to call out their bishops and to launch an investigation into the relationship between the USCCB and the AUSCP."
The darkness of the world has infiltrated the Church, but it cannot overcome the light of Christ spread through baptized, confirmed and faithful laymen. We live in an era when Christ is counting on the laity, perhaps more than ever.
Clerics speaking at the anti-Catholic conference last month include Bp. John Stowe of Lexington; Fr. Dan Horan, director of the Center for Spirituality at Notre Dame; Ghanaian cardinal Peter Turkson; and Fr. Scott Detisch of the diocese of Erie.