Spotsylvania, VA (Michael Hichborn/Lepanto Institute) — The Association of United States Catholic priests (AUSCP), an organization notorious for holding views in direct conflict with immutable Church Teaching, published a statement this month regarding homosexuals in the priesthood. The AUSCP’s document, endorsed by its leadership team on March 28, is titled “BEING GAY, ORDAINED, FAITHFUL TO THE CHURCH AND APPRECIATED BY THE CHURCH – Are all these possible in today’s Church?” and is set to be voted on by the general assembly in June of this year. If passed, this statement will be sent to the press and the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB).
The statement finds fault with the Vatican’s 2005 Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders, specifically where it states:
“In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’.”
The AUSCP statement challenges the bishops to:
1) Admit men with homosexual attractions to formation and sacramental ordination.
2) Give “fraternal affirmation” to already ordained homosexuals.
3) Call for the “ongoing development” of Church teaching concerning sexuality in light of modern advances in the sciences.
In an analysis of the AUSCP’s document, the Lepanto Institute pointed out that the AUSCP is not only employing condemned Modernist rhetoric, but explicitly attacks the Church’s teachings regarding the Natural Law. The AUSCP wrote:
“It is time for Church leadership to authorize a study of its understanding of natural law to include what the modern sciences have unveiled in the 20th century. The Church should encourage moral theologians in a pursuit of a new Catholic ethic of human sexuality and sexual behavior.”
The AUSCP’s document then goes on to equate disordered homosexual tendencies with the self-identification of homosexual priests with claims that:
1) “…gay priests are caught between the truth of their identity and experience, and their role as representatives of the Church and its teachings.”
2) “…this leads to an ongoing identity crisis for the gay priest. ‘Do I deny who I am and go on serving God’s people (‘don’t ask, don’t tell’), or do I acknowledge who I am as a human being and Christ’s minister, and let the chips fall where they may?’”
3) “[For bishops] to offer fraternal, pastoral affirmation of their gay priests and their ministry; in other words, to provide a safe environment for them to be who they know themselves to be.”
“The bishops of the United States should not remain silent about the grave danger the AUSCP poses to the Catholic Church,” said Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute. “The AUSCP boasts of having over 1,500 members, which we have found to be in dioceses all over the United States.”
The Lepanto Institute is renewing its call for bishops to formally condemn the AUSCP, forbidding their priests from being members.
The Lepanto Institute’s report can be read here.