The abusive deconstruction of the Mass began in the late 1960’s, introducing liturgical dancers and girl altar-boys to the Catholic Church. Organizations like Call to Action, FutureChurch, Pax Christi, and a host of others have done their utmost to tear down the Traditions of the Church, replacing them with neo-pagan practices. Now, an organization operating under the name “Association of U.S. Catholic Priests” (AUSCP) is actively working to complete the paganization of the Catholic Church by establishing Catholic parishes run by “ordained” deaconesses.
Recent articles by the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) and ChurchMilitant.com caused us to take notice of the AUSCP. After performing a quick review of a broad spectrum of reporting (both friendly and hostile) on the AUSCP, we commissioned an Organization Profile and related research on the organization itself and its activities. Over the next several weeks, we will be reporting on various aspects of the findings in the commissioned report, but for this first article, we will focus primarily on the AUSCP’s blueprint for creating Catholic parishes run by deaconesses.
In an August 2016 press release, the AUSCP published a statement signed by its leadership team which claims that “ordaining woman permanent deacons will enhance pastoral ministry to God’s people.” This position by the AUSCP is not a new one, however, as the press release points out:
“In its national assembly held in Seattle, WA, in June of 2013, the Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP) passed a resolution to promote the ongoing discussion of the ordination of women as permanent deacons in our Catholic Church.“
The resolution mentioned in the press release did more than simply “promote ongoing discussion” on the ordination of women as deacons, however. Taking matters a step further, the resolution specifically called for the ordination of women as deacons and a rewriting of Canon law to lift restrictions against the ordination of women. The passed resolution says:
“Be it resolved The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) supports the ordination of women to the permanent diaconate and recommends:
- That the ongoing discussion of the ordination of women to the diaconate continue;
- That the US Catholic Bishops publicly support the restoration of the ancient
practice of ordaining deaconesses; (cf. Constitution of the Holy Apostles, 8. 19-20)
- That the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) request
amendment of canon 1024 which restricts valid sacred ordination to baptized males
This support for female deacons, however, is not intended to be an end in itself, but a stepping stone to something far more insidious. At the end of the day, as with nearly all dissident, heretical sects like this one, the end goal is the priestly ordination of women by stages. The AUSCP’s Proposal 7 was immediately followed by a resolution for the ordination of women as priestesses:
“Be it resolved that the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP), call for the study of, and an open discussion for the ordination of women and married men to the priesthood.” Rationale:
- This is a first necessary step (…study and discussion…)
- The People of God need shepherds
- The people of God need sacraments
Let’s review the progression … AUSCP asserts its full-throated support for the ordination of women to the permanent diaconate and the removal of restrictions to the ordination of women. Following that, AUSCP proposes “open discussion” on the ordination of women to the priestesshood. In the rationale, it calls “open discussion” a necessary first step toward ordaining women as priestesses. It’s worth noting that “open discussion” is never truly about an academic exercise directed toward Truth, but is more in line with the directed dialogue initiated by the serpent in Eden. In other words, just the possibility of having this discussion is seen as necessary for getting what they want … ordained women. But, before there can be a dialogue about the viability of ordaining women as priestesses, there must first be something to talk about and something to show as support for their position. This is why opening the door to the female diaconate is so important to them, and why their plan for “priestlesses parishes” is so integral to the plan.
AUSCP has a document on its website titled, “PASTORAL CARE IN AND THROUGH PRIESTLESS PARISHES.” In this document, the blueprint never specifies deaconesses or priestesses, but when considered in the light of the above proposals, the push for “priestless parishes” takes on a much darker tone than even the title suggests.
It’s bad enough to consider the proposal for a parish without a priestly pastor. But this proposal suggests an avenue by which deaconesses could take the place of priests as “Pastoral Leaders” of a parish. The proposal suggests that Pastoral Leaders will:
“take responsibility for the day to day coordination of parish activities, and take initiative as needed to motivate, to correct, and to affirm persons who work in the parish ministries; and where needed, provide conflict resolution and reconciliation. To be a true pastoral leader he/she must lead worship where appropriate, and likewise break open the Word. In short, he/she would be in the role of pastor, excepting sacramental ministry, and under the supervision of the canonical pastor.“
Here’s the thing … the current code of Canon Law permits only males to lead in liturgical worship. But … the reasoning goes … if a woman can take on the administrative duties of a deacon, and the priest is stretched too thin, why not allow her to also act in his place while he is away. Ordaining a woman as a deaconess would allow women to read the Gospels, give sermons, and conduct baptisms, weddings, and funerals. Women are already distributing Holy Communion, so why not let them conduct Communion Services in the absence of a priest? The only thing she couldn’t do is consecrate.
So, as an answer to the priest shortage crisis, the AUSCP (and others) proposes the ordination of women to the diaconate. The next step is to appoint them as pastoral leaders in “priestless parishes,” where a local priest runs around several parishes to conduct an occasional Mass to consecrate enough hosts to last until his next visit. In this capacity, the deaconess/pastoral leader will conduct Communion services without the Mass, looking for all intents and purposes like a priestess without actually being one. And then, if AUSCP (and its cohorts) can get some bishop somewhere to experiment with their proposal for “priestless parishes,” implementing ordained deaconesses as Pastoral Leaders, then it can proceed to its second proposal, which is open discussion for the ordination of women as priestesses. At this point, since women would already be doing just about everything else a priest does, with the exception of consecration, the logical next step is “simply” ordaining women to the priestesshood.
While it may seem a far cry for this to happen, the AUSCP has a great deal of influence through the bishops who have willingly participated in their conferences. For instance, then Archbishop Cupich of Chicago celebrated Mass for AUSCP’s Assembly in 2016.
The AUSCP’s Assembly in 2017 had the keynote address given by Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Georgia.
Archbishop Wester of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico was a participant, and Bishop Gregory Hartmayer, of the Diocese of Savannah, gave a retreat to the AUSCP.
At the 2017 Assembly, Archbishop Wester agreed to serve in a newly created position called Episcopal Moderator. Quite conveniently, the AUSCP 2018 Assembly will be in Albuquerque, NM: June 25-28, 2018.
Bishop McElroy of San Diego, California is slated to be a featured speaker in that assembly. Considering that there is a persistent rumor that Bp. McElroy is slated to replace Cardinal Wuerl in Washington, DC, his involvement in the AUSCP may be more significant. Only time will tell.
It’s important to point out a few other influential figures who participated in the AUSCP Assemblies. Fr. Thomas Rosica, who is the CEO of Canada’s Salt and Light Media Foundation and was appointed by Pope Francis as the English language Media Attaché of the Holy See Press Office, participated in the AUSCP’s 2015 Assembly. As Fr. Rosica was being introduced, the speaker mistakenly identified Fr. Rosica with EWTN, which drew boos and laughs, and the speaker apologized for “insulting” Fr. Rosica for doing so.
Other prominent figures you may recognize are Fr. Bryan Massingale:
Sister Simone Campbell:
Fr. Greg Boyle:
And Jack Jezreel, founder of JustFaith Ministries:
If you think this is far-fetched and would never happen in the Catholic Church, let’s examine a few things that have been allowed to happen in Catholic Churches over the last 60 years.
Egocentric liturgical dancing has replace Christocentric reverence and awe.
Gross abuses such as mock-sacrifice offered through puppets have been allowed to replace the True and sublime Sacrifice.
Clown Masses have been permitted while the Traditional Mass has been suppressed.
Holy Communion has been allowed to be distributed by laymen (including women), and in the hand, replacing the distribution of Communion ONLY by a priest and on the tongue.
The point is, the danger posed by the AUSCP should not be blown off as a passing fad concocted by some aging, effeminate priests.
In subsequent articles, we will examine the structure of the AUSCP and give tips on how to identify whether AUSCP’s influence has spread to your parish.