Priests ask bishops for end of secrecy, clericalism, and call for dialogue


Father Kevin Clinton, chair of the AUSCP Leadership Team, sent a letter to U.S. bishops. The text of that letter follows.

Dear Bishop …

Pope Francis is calling us to become a deeply synodal and not only a hierarchical Church. We support him in that and we ask that you, along with your brother bishops, focus your energies on effecting that change in the United States. People are increasingly aware that our Church remains diseased by the three deadly viruses flagged early in Vatican II: legalism, triumphalism, and clericalism. Those viruses generated among leadership pride, secrecy, and lack of accountability. We have got to address this crisis together.

We priests see ourselves as your collaborators in facing this challenge. Our Assembly this June in St. Louis will focus on ways all of us baptized Catholics, laity and the ordained, can and must function together as God’s Priestly People.  Bishops have operated in secrecy for too long. You need to admit it and then you need to end it. We ask you as a bishop to do what Pope Francis urged you to do: dialogue with us, clergy and laity, attentively and with respect. Listen to us, engage us in setting direction for our Church, and accompany us as we do our work in our Church’s field hospitals. Sadly, they are diminishing in number and are weakened for want of ordained or adequately trained and empowered lay ministers. That must change lest we decline further and implode.

We are in crisis. We need change. Please engage all of God’s People in bringing about the needed change. Clericalism most especially must be eradicated, and women must be integrated.

With you we believe that “God is close to the broken hearted, and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.” We are Easter People!  You are in our prayers and we trust that we are in yours.  We are ready to accompany you in addressing these challenges for the good of the entire Church.

Sincerely in Christ on behalf of our Leadership Team, Members and Friends,

Rev. Kevin Clinton, Chair

Association of U.S. Catholic Priests