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Archbishop Christophe Pierre, papal nuncio to the United States of America.ShalomWorldTV / Youtube screen grab

February 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, will be speaking at the meeting of a dissident priest group, the Association of US Catholic Priests (AUSCP), in June of this year. The group openly promotes homosexuality and female ordination. The archbishop has refused to comment on his presence at the meeting.

Among other things, the AUSCP is in favor of married priests and women’s ordination. In the past, the AUSCP has hosted progressive members of the hierarchy like Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego.

Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute, asked the nuncio in December 2019 for comment on his scheduled presence at the assembly of the AUSCP, but never received a reply.

“You may not be aware, but the AUSCP is a gravely dissident organization which promotes homosexuality, associates with organizations that promote same-sex ‘marriage,’ supports open homosexuality in the priesthood, has undermined the authority and decisions made by bishops, and has endorsed the ordination of women to the priesthood,” Hichborn pointed out in his letter to the Apostolic Nuncio, who acts as the ambassador of the Vatican to the government of the United States of America.

Hichborn included some of his research on the AUSCP in his letter. He has a receipt showing that the nunciature received his letter.

“I am providing this information to you in the hope that you will reconsider your participation in the AUSCP’s assembly next spring, as your participation would not only raise the profile of this organization, but give the impression that it was one which bears the support and approval of the Holy See. I cannot stress enough how confusing and damaging to the souls of the faithful such an impression could be,” the president of the Lepanto Institute argued.

He encouraged the nuncio to refuse attending the AUSCP event in Maryland. “If I do not hear from you in sixty days, I will assume that your response to my plea is in the negative,” Hichborn added in his letter.

After 60 days had passed, Hichborn published his letter to the nuncio. LifeSiteNews reached out for comment to the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC, but did not receive an answer.

Founded in 2011, the AUSCP advances a number of controversial positions. On its website, the organization states its goal of encouraging “the American bishops to petition the Pope to change the present law requiring celibacy of all Roman Catholic priests by opening ordination to married men of proven quality (viri probati).”

Only recently, Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, explained that allowing married priests would be a mistake.

“We are often victims of a profound historical ignorance on this subject. The Church had married priests during the first centuries. But as soon as they were ordained, they were required to abstain completely from sexual relations with their wives,” Sarah told the National Catholic Register.

“If a priest is married, then he has a private life, a conjugal and family life. He must make time for his wife and children. He is unable to show, by his whole life, that he is totally and absolutely given to God and the Church,” the cardinal cautioned.

In 2013, the AUSCP passed a resolution to promote the ongoing discussion of the ordination of women as permanent deacons and “agreed to ask the US bishops to give public support to the restoration of the first millennium practice of ordaining women as permanent deacons.”

Last October, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, affirmed that Pope John Paul II had closed the door to women’s ordination in his 1994 Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

“The impossibility that a woman validly receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders in each of the three degrees is a truth contained in Revelation and it is thus infallibly confirmed by the Church's Magisterium and presented as to be believed,” Müller argued.

The three degrees of the sacrament of Holy Orders refer to deacon, priest, and bishop. If women cannot validly receive the sacrament, they cannot validly be ordained to any of its degrees, including the diaconate.

In its declaration on the status of women in the Church, published in 2019, the AUSCP accused the Church of keeping “ecclesial structures that maintain outmoded philosophical notions of nature, gender, and personhood. Rules, fixed order, dogmatic formulas, unyielding laws, patriarchy, authority, and obedience have rendered the Church resistant to the radical interconnectivity that marks all levels of nature. The Church is bound to die out unless the system undergoes radical transformation. Thus, the institutional Church needs to consider the evolving insights of science and the universe.”

Contact information: 

Archbishop Christophe Pierre
Apostolic Nunciature
3339 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008-3610

Phone: 202-333-7121
Fax: 202-337-4036
Email: [email protected]


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