Thursday, June 20, 2013

Association of Priests To Meet in June

The Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP) will hold its second annual national assembly, June 24-27, 2013, in Seattle, WA.

The association began in August of 2011, and held its first national conference in Florida in June of 2012. About 240 priests from around the country attended that meeting. A similar number is expected to gather in Seattle. Total membership is around 900; some 45 Cincinnati priests are members.

Eager to support the direction and reforms of the Second Vatican Council the AUSCP has chosen "Lumen Gentium: God's Pilgrim People" as the theme for the 2013 assembly. (Last year's theme focused on Vatican II's document on the liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium.)

The format for this year's meetings is similar to last year's: keynote talks, discussions, consideration of resolutions and voting for or against certain proposals.

Among the proposals offered by some members of the association for this year is a  resolution to urge the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to use their power and authority to resolve the pastoral and sacramental challenges rising from an increase in the number of Catholics and a decline in the number of priests.

The assembly will also consider whether to ask the Holy Father for permission to use the old (1974) Sacramentary prayers at Mass in light of the awkwardness that many priests find with the translation in today's Roman Missal.

One resolution for consideration and vote supports a comprehensive plan for improved, more effective evangelization.

Some issues will be more controversial, such as the ordination of women to the diaconate, a request for permission to use general absolution more frequently, ordination of women and married men to the priesthood, and wider lay/clergy consultation in the selection of bishops.

A slate of 15 proposals will likely take place at the meeting, but if last year's discussions are indicative not all proposals will pass.

The publication of the association's agenda has elicited criticism from some priests and laity across the country. One priest made a special point of noting that most of the AUSCP priests are 70 and older, implying that their gatherings to specially promote Vatican II initiatives would be short lived, and after their demise a more reasoned approach to Vatican II can be pursued.

Keynote speakers scheduled for the Seattle meeting are Father Patrick Brennan (a pastor), Catherine Clifford (a theologian), Robert Kaiser (a journalist who was an observer at Vatican II), Robert Mickens (a Vatican journalist), and James Coriden (a canon lawyer).

Additional information about the AUSCP is available at

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