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FutureChurch Celebrates Synod’s Opening to Married Priests and Continues to Call for Opening the Diaconate to Wome
Release date: 
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Deborah Rose-Milavec
Jocelyn Collen, FutureChurch Chair, Board of Trustees
Marie Graf
Russ Petrus

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jocelyn Collen, President, Board of Trustees,

Russ Petrus, Co-Director, 216.228.0869 (o),

Deborah Rose-Milavec, Co-Director, 513.673.1401 (m), 216.228.0869 x3 (o)

FutureChurch, a 30-year-old Catholic reform organization founded by a visionary group of Cleveland Catholics to address the decline in celibate priests and the accompanying impact on Catholics’ ability to participate in the Eucharist, celebrates the historic proposal to re-open priesthood to married men. The organization also continues to call for opening the diaconate to women in light of the Amazonian Synod’s proposal to continue the discernment within the confines of the Commission that has been reviewing the history on Women Deacons in the Early Church and throughout since 2016.

“Peter, the Apostle was married, along with priests, bishops and popes for the first 1000 years of Christianity,” said Russ Petrus, Co-Director of FutureChurch. “It wasn’t until the 11th century that celibacy became a requirement for ordination,” he said. “So we celebrate this historic moment in the ongoing renewal of our Church and as an organization founded in 1990 on the principle of expanding the priesthood to all who are called, including married men,” continued Petrus.

“We are grateful for the prophetic voices of co-founders Fr. Louis Trivison, Sr. Christine Schenk, CSJ, and some 33 Catholics from 16 parishes who called for internal reforms in the Catholic Church because they believed the centrality of the Eucharist outweighed the disciplinary considerations of the state-in-life and gender of ordained ministers,” said Jocelyn Collen, President of the Board of Trustees. “FutureChurch was ‘born’ as a witness to the Spirit identified by the People of God calling for Church officials to a) incorporate women at all levels of ministry and decision making; b) open the priesthood to women and married men, including resigned priests; and c) engage in extensive consultation on such issues as officially permitting divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist, intercommunion, selection of bishops,” continued Collen.

“What Cleveland Catholics identified 30 years ago, is being realized today because of the prophetic leadership of women and men; indigenous, religious and ordained, who lead the Catholic Church in the Amazon,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec, Co-Director of FutureChurch. “Because of their fierce love for the earth and all its inhabitants, they have pioneered and built a church to withstand the onslaught of destruction brought by powerful corporate interests and greedy profiteers who stop at nothing, including murder, to get what they want,” said Rose-Milavec. 

"And, in addition to married priests, because women, for all intents and purposes, act as deacons and priests in their villages, we cannot abandon our work to make sure women in the Amazon and in the worldwide Church are afforded the same opportunities as our brothers to receive the recognition and grace of ordination, and full equality in all levels of governance within the Church,” Rose-Milavec continued.

“In this historic moment, we celebrate the advances generated at the Synod and pledge to continue our 30 year old commitment to the full and equal participation of both women and men in the life, ministry and governance of the Church," said Petrus. "It is time that all the faithful have the opportunity to live out their vocations and to offer the fullness of their gifts, talents, experiences, and faith in service to the Gospel.”

About FutureChurch Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, FutureChurch seeks changes that will provide all Roman Catholics the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership. It is a national coalition of parish centered Catholics striving to educate fellow Catholics about the seriousness of the priest shortage, the centrality of the Eucharist (the Mass), and the systemic inequality of women in the Catholic Church. FutureChurch is a nonprofit organization that makes presentations throughout the country, distributes education, advocacy and prayer resources and recruits activists who work on behalf of its mission.