For immediate release
Association of U.S. Catholic Priests
October 5, 2015
American priests ask Pope Francis to keep parishes open
Believing that the future of Catholic parishes is threatened, a prominent priests’ group is joining an appeal to Pope Francis to keep parishes open.
The Leadership Team of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests has issued a statement endorsing the appeal from the organization, FutureChurch. It calls for “a reset of the pastoral strategy that relies on parish closings and mergings.”
The AUSCP is the largest association of Catholic priests in the United States. The endorsement of the FutureChurch statement was published in the October 4, 2015 Bulletin, a newsletter serving about one thousand AUSCP members.
The priests say that “the closing of any parish not requested by the members themselves” is seen “as invariably wounding the Body of Christ. It leaves casualties among the People of God rather than healing.”
They say the current pastoral strategy “withdraws the church from various ‘peripheries,’ and that “Such steps betray Pope Francis’ call for the church to function as a field hospital for the marginalized.”
The priests say there are options, “including the ordination of married viri probati.” The Latin phrase for “proven men,” refers to reported comments from Pope Francis that he would welcome a request from bishops’ conferences to consider ordaining married men.
The AUSCP has previously asked the bishops of the United States to consider making such a request to Rome. “Proven men” could include permanent deacons already serving the church in many parishes, they said.
For more information
Rev. Bernard “Bob” Bonnot chairs the AUSCP Leadership Team.
Phone: (330) 755-9819
AUSCP Website: http://www.uscatholicpriests.org
FutureChurch Appeal: http://action.groundswell-mvmt.org/petitions/pope-francis-help-us-build-the-church-by-keeping-our-parishes-open
Text of the AUSCP Statement
Published October 4, 2015
The Leadership Team of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) is calling for a reset of the pastoral strategy that relies on parish closings and mergings. It sees the closing of any parish not requested by the members themselves as invariably wounding the Body of Christ. It leaves casualties among the people of God rather than healing. It withdraws the church from various ‘peripheries.’ Such steps betray Pope Francis’ call for the church to function as a field hospital for the marginalized. Other options must be identified and implemented, including the ordination of married viri probati.
On behalf of the AUSCP