AUSCP approves goals at 2018 Assembly in Albuquerque

Four goals came to the floor for the members of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests to consider. They included matters of women’s status in the Church, Clericalism, Seminary Formation and Climate Change. All goals received more than the 67 percent needed.

Rev. Bob Bonnot of Youngstown proposed that a working group be formed to develop a white paper on the status of women.

Rev. Kevin Clinton of St. Paul Minneapolis asked for development of a white paper on clericalism. The notion supported the exhortation of Pope Francis that shepherds should “smell like the sheep.”

Rev. Dan Kearns of St. Louis, one of several members who developed a white paper on seminary formation, asked for AUSCP approval to continue efforts to emphasize the need for pastoral emphasis in formation, psycho-sexual evaluation and professional training for discernment.

A goal calling for climate change actions was introduced with personal and global imagery. “The children we baptize, the children of couples we marry, are in great danger” in a world that is suffering from climate change, said Rev. Robert Richter of Milwaukee. He and co-author Rev. Earl Rohleder of the Diocese of Evansville, called for more priests and Catholic organizations to sign the Catholic Climate Covenant. They also called for introduction of a bill in congress for a carbon fee and dividend.

Supporters termed creation care “a life issue” and urged the AUSCP to speak about the issue with “reverence for creation” as does Pope Francis.

Other goals were announced, without requiring a vote, to engage in a project of biblical literacy, and to support the planning of a trip to Rome for the canonization of Pope Paul VI.

The association reaffirmed an earlier (2017) goal on priestless parishes in regard to how the faithful are best served, providing a more active role for lay ministers.