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August 25, 2003

3150 Newgate Drive
Florissant, MO 63033

John Sheehan 413-527-9929
Mary Louise Hartman 609-921-9134

Catholic Bishops Must Reclaim Their Own Conscience.

The Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC) joins the courageous priests of the Milwaukee archdiocese who voice the concern of Catholics throughout the world, but particularly in the U.S. and calls for a restoration of optional celibacy in the secular priesthood. While Church leaders urge greater participation in the vital sacramental life of the Church, they do little to reverse the dwindling number of priest needed to provide for this. Their action, or lack of it, speaks much louder to us than their words and even further diminishes their already tarnished credibility.

Who will take the place of our aging priests? Who will serve as our ministers? Donald Cozzens in a Boston College Magazine article reports, "The Institutional Church seems relatively untroubled by such questions." Perhaps, but certainly Catholic faithful, the Church, are. We call upon our bishops to courageously reclaim the forfeited convictions of their own conscience and to proclaim the message and presence of Christ to their people rather than deny them their rights as they obey the human mandates of the Vatican.

We urge parish councils in Milwaukee and throughout the country to support their priests in this effort. These courageous priests, and any courageous bishop supporting them, provide for the REAL spiritual needs of the people.

They demonstrate willingness to use the more traditional autonomous authority of bishops, to exercise the subsidiarity provided by Vatican II, and to challenge harmful human constrictions imposed by the Vatican, which are spiritually detrimental to their people. ARCC is a 501-c3 non-profit international organization dedicated to achieving substantive structural change in the Roman Catholic Church. It works to implement an identified body of rights that every Catholic has from Baptism and membership in the human community. ARCC works for a more collegial church structure which affirms these rights through accountability and shared decision making.

Other voices

Another Voice

Questions From a Ewe

Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

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