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July 7, 2021 (Lepanto Institute) – The heretical priest organization, the Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP), recently concluded its annual assembly from June 21-24 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
On May 24, the Lepanto Institute sent a letter to Archbishop Bernard Hebda of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis asking him to publicly condemn the AUSCP for its heretical positions and forbid the priests from his archdiocese from being involved with the Association in any way. Included with the letter were several reports regarding the AUSCP, proving its support for women’s ordination, homosexuality, the forcing of Catholic adoption agencies to provide children to homosexual and transgender couples, and its ties with Vatican-condemned organizations. The Lepanto Institute also provided Abp. Hebda with information regarding Bp. Daniel Thomas’ rebuke of the AUSCP for the confusion and scandal it causes.
Abp. Hebda responded with a letter dated June 17, just five days from the start of the AUSCP’s Annual Assembly. In his brief letter, Abp. Hebda wrote:
“I will not be participating in the assembly. Given that the priests of this Archdiocese are required to attend with me our Archdiocesan Presbyteral Assembly, scheduled in Winona, Minnesota, for the same dates as the AUSCP, I felt that there was no need to issue any statement to the priests of this Archdiocese.”
At least two priests from the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul are known to have attended the AUSCP Assembly. Fr. Michael Joncas, who composed the modern liturgical song “On Eagles Wings,” led a retreat for the AUSCP Assembly.
In a 2018 newsletter, the AUSCP identified Fr. Joncas as a member of the AUSCP.
Furthermore, Fr. Joncas’s participation in the AUSCP goes back at least to 2015:
Fr. Harry Bury, also a priest of the Archdiocese, participated in the week-long assembly and was honored by the AUSCP while he was there.
A year ago, the Lepanto Institute obtained the results of an internal survey conducted by the AUSCP. The survey indicated that the AUSCP has at least 11 members from the Archdiocese of Minneapolis.
Bishop Richard Pates is the newly assigned Apostolic Administrator of Crookston, Minnesota, replacing Bishop Michael Hoeppner who recently resigned in disgrace due to his role in the cover-up of sexual abuse within the diocese. Bishop Pates was prominently featured as a key speaker at this year’s AUSCP Assembly.
The Lepanto Institute was recently contacted by a supporter who met with Bp. Richard Pates in early June.
The supporter wrote:
Dear Mr. Hichborn,
Here in the diocese of Crookston (MN), a small group of us visited Bishop Richard Pates to urge him not to attend the Assembly.
Bishop Pates explained that Archbishop Hebda “wanted to welcome them [the AUSCP] into the archdiocese” but his schedule did not permit him to attend. For this reason, Pates added, Hebda had asked that he go in his stead.
Thank you for your patient efforts on behalf of the Church and the souls of Her clergy.
Abp. Hebda would have received the packet of information from the Lepanto Institute by the time this meeting took place, and approximately two weeks before his June 17 response to our letter. Given the facts, Abp. Hebda not only possessed proof of the AUSCP’s heretical agenda but had ample time to ask Bp. Pates to withdraw from the AUSCP Assembly before it began. He failed to do either. Furthermore, despite having a celebrity priest of his attending the Assembly and at least 11 AUSCP members in his diocese, Abp. Hebda “felt that there was no need to issue any statement to the priests of this Archdiocese.”
Please write to Abp. Hebda and ask him why he would want to welcome an organization of priests who actively promote women’s ordination to the priesthood, homosexuality, and other objectively heretical positions, and why, despite having 11 AUSCP members including a celebrity priest in his diocese, he declined to take the opportunity to condemn the organization for its blatant heresy and forbid his priests from being members.
Abp. Bernard Hebda
777 Forest Street
Saint Paul, MN 55106-3857
Also, please contact your own bishop and ask him to formally condemn the AUSCP, forbidding his priests from being members.
Click here to find the contact information for your bishop!
Reprinted with permission from the Lepanto Institute