BOSTON, MA, June 25, 2013 ( – Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley has forbidden dissenting Austrian priest Fr. Helmut Schüller from speaking on archdiocesan-owned property and instructed St. Susanna Parish to cancel Schüller’s scheduled talk on July 17.  The talk was moved to the First Church of Dedham, a Unitarian Universalist church.

Deacon Larry Bloom of St. Susanna’s Parish said Cardinal O’Malley cancelled the talk because Schüller “espouses beliefs that are contrary to the teachings of the Church.”

The founder of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative, Schüller published a “Call to Disobedience” in June 2011, which was reportedly signed by 10% of Austrian priests.  In it, he demanded reform of Catholic teaching and practice to allow married and female priests and the reception of Holy Communion by non-Catholics and divorced and remarried Catholics.


For his frequent and public acts of dissent, Schüller’s archbishop stripped him of the title “Monsignor.”

Patrick McNamara of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights told that by banning the priest, “Cardinal O’Malley is exercising his teaching role as bishop and affirming that dissent is no simple matter to be easily flouted.”

“We applaud his courage and conviction.”

Some at St. Susanna’s parish are reportedly upset and a bit confused.  Deacon Bloom says this is the first time they’ve been ordered to cancel one of their many talks.  When asked if the parish regularly hosts speakers who espouse dissident positions, Bloom responded, “Oh yeah.”

Deacon Bloom told that the talk has not been cancelled altogether, but instead has been moved off of archdiocesan property.

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“I heard [Schüller] had some good ideas that we wouldn’t be able to hear if it was cancelled,” he said.

He added, “He had several novel thoughts about what to do when you’re running out of priests.  That’s happening all over the place, including Boston.”

Some of the “novel” thoughts the deacon was looking forward to hearing about were on the topic of increasing the ability of the laity to operate a parish with communion services and to preach. 

When asked what he thought of Fr. Schüller’s position on the ordination of women, he said, “We understand the Church is not interested in that.” 

“I think that people are troubled by what they hear from the Church and we bring in people to speak on those topics.” 

Deal Hudson, the founder of Catholic Advocate, told, “Cardinal O'Malley has been quietly and humbly drawing some lines in the sand around the Boston Archdiocese. Only those who had already gone off the deep end would complain.”