On 9 Feb. 2022, the executive director for the Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP), Fr. Stephen Newton, C.S.C., sent a letter to Michael Hichborn, president and founder of the Lepanto Institute.
The letter is said to have been sent "at the request of the AUSCP Core Team ... in response to Lepanto once again labeling AUSCP a heretical organization," and it referenced our recent article, headlined, "The Synod's Backdoor for Heretics." The AUSCP's letter can be read here.
The thrust of the letter is to ask that both Hichborn and Lepanto "cease continued slander and defamation aimed at the AUSCP and individual members." As slander refers to the crime of issuing false statements, the AUSCP's concern is that the Lepanto Institute refers to the AUSCP as a heretical organization, while they claim that the AUSCP "is in good standing with the Catholic Church."
Specifically, the AUSCP is unhappy with our assertion that it has officially endorsed the ordination of women to the priesthood.
Heavily implying legal action should we persist in referring to the AUSCP as "heretical" and repeating our finding that they support women's ordination to the priesthood, Fr. Newton opened the path to "having a civil discussion" on these matters, and it is in this spirit in which we now respond.
In the first place, Fr. Newton says that the AUSCP is in "good standing with the Catholic Church" and has "the support and membership of several bishops."
However, I'm sure Fr. Newton can understand why it would seem to be otherwise, since the AUSCP's local ordinary, Bp. Daniel Thomas of the diocese of Toledo, has referred to affiliation with the AUSCP as a "source of grave concern due to the confusion and scandal they have caused."
The reason for this strongly worded statement is that, in 2020, a representative of the AUSCP, Ms. Beverly Bingle, had been formally excommunicated by the bishop for sacrilegiously attempting ordination to the priesthood. It is difficult to see how an organization can be "in good standing with the Catholic Church" when the local ordinary refers to it as a "source of grave concern due to the confusion and scandal they have caused."
Read the rest at Lepanto Institute.