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FutureChurch Supports AUSCP Effort to Reform Priestly Formation Program: Urges Catholics to Take Action
Release date: 
Friday, May 4, 2018

FUTURECHURCH SUPPORTS AUSCP EFFORT TO REFORM PRIESTLY FORMATION PROGRAM:  URGES CATHOLICS TO TAKE ACTION

In January 2018, the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests issued a letter to Cardinal Joseph Tobin and the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations urging them to reform the current program for seminary formation.

They wrote, “a new Program of Priestly Formation needs more than minimal editing….It needs in-depth revision.”

The AUSCP recommended review of five major areas.  Chief among them is the inadequate formation of candidates in Vatican II’s pastoral vision and values. 

According to the AUSCP, “the implementation of the program of priestly formation has resulted in many priests in the last several generations of priests who see Vatican II as little more than an historical footnote rather than the guiding vision for our Church in the modern world.”

Further, AUSCP is concerned that some recently ordained clergy “see Vatican II as a distortive moment in the Church’s pilgrimage through time,” believing they must correct the “damage done” by Vatican II’s implementation.

AUSCP argues that the current program for forming priests is no longer effective in light of today’s demands for the Gospel.  The dramatic rise of the “nones”, the alienation of Catholics, and the paucity of persons drawn to the priesthood all argue for a “formation program that is pastoral in the spirit of Vatican II” and one that is effective for our times.  In devising a new program, the AUSCP calls on the Committee to “consult deeply and broadly with laity who are affected by the priests our seminaries educate… and whose input essential.”

FutureChurch shares AUSCP’s concern about the state of priestly formation and supports these efforts for reform.  In February 2015, the Center for Applied Research reported that younger cohorts of priests are increasingly less inclined to welcome lay men and women as co-workers than their Vatican II counterparts.  It is clear that current formation programs do not prepare priests for a church where women and laity have a growing role in the life, ministry, and governance of the Church - a troubling trend that does not bode well for the future life of the Church and the Gospel mission.

FutureChurch urges all Catholics to share their concerns about current priestly formation standards with Cardinal Tobin and the members of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.

WRITE YOUR OWN LETTER OF CONCERN

Share your concerns about priestly formation to Cardinal Tobin.  

DOWNLOAD A TEMPLATE LETTER and ADD YOUR OWN CONCERNS AND EXPERIENCES.

Print and mail your letter to:

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.SS.R.
ATTN: Rev. Ralph O’Donnell
USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations
3211 Fourth Street N.E.
Washington D.C.  20017

Resources

AUSCP Letter to Cardinal Tobin and the USCCB Committee Urging Changes to Priest Formation Program

America Magazine report:  Priests group recommends revision to U.S. Priestly Formation

Center for Applied Research February 2015 Report on Lay Ecclesial Ministry and Priests’ Attitudes

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.