Yearly Summary of the Mutual Support Committee

AUSCP NewsMutual Support
Submitted by: Mutual Support Working Group

In the winter of 2021, the leadership team of the AUSCP established a working group for the mutual support of priests. The nine members of the Mutual Support Work Group have been working together for three years. Our goal has been to provide support and connection for priests who are experiencing difficulties in their ministry on any level, but especially when being accused of inappropriate sexual behavior, falsely or otherwise.
We have come to appreciate that the pain of this situation is so often made worse by the isolation that it immediately fosters. In addition to listening to and supporting our hurting brothers, we have taken several steps to educate one another and raise awareness of the injustice that can easily flow from false accusations while at the same
time acknowledging the great pain caused by sexual abuse.

We regularly receive calls for help through the AUSCP Office and our website and respond immediately to calls for help. The following are some of the things we have been doing during these past three years:

  • We established a Mutual Support page on the AUSCP website.
  • We wrote a letter to all the Priests of the USA (over 30,000) deploring the scourge of Sexual Abuse and offering support to priests who have been accused.
    This letter included a “Wallet Card” which advises priests on their rights as stated in Canon Law. It has been well received.
  • We have been publishing twice per month articles in the Sunday E Newsletter of AUSCP to educate and raise awareness.
  • We have met with Canon Lawyers to further advise us on how to deal with priests in need of support when they get accused – falsely or otherwise.
  • We have reviewed the many stories of priests falsely accused with the help of author, David F. Pierre, Jr. (see David F. Pierre Jr: books, biography, latest update)
  • Developed a set of Protocol and Guidelines for interacting with brother priests when we receive a call for support and advice.
  • We have developed a network of persons and agencies to which we can refer priests who need immediate assistance. These include Men of Melchizedek, Opus Bonus Sacredotii, and Justice for Priests and Deacons.
  • We have conducted listening sessions at the last two AUSCP Annual
  • Received calls requesting advice and assistance about:
    • Being summoned to the Chancery
    • Dealing with false accusations
    • Asking what rights do I have as a priest
    • What to do as retirement looms close
  • We have authored a paper on “BEING GAY, ORDAINED, FAITHFUL TO THE CHURCH AND APPRECIATED BY THE CHURCH” which was enthusiastically endorsed by the membership at our 2023 Assembly. This statement about human sexuality in the priesthood we hope this prophetic document will call forth some deep thinking from our ranks and hopefully move us forward as a community of priests within the broader community – the People of God.
  • Most recently we are undertaking a project entitled “Untold Stories.” This will feature the real stories of priests around the country who have been accused of inappropriate behavior falsely and how their lives changed radically thereafter.

If you know of any priest who has a story to tell about being unjustly and falsely accused, please let him know that we stand with him and want to give him a platform
to anonymously tell his truth. Our hope is that by raising awareness of this injustice we can help our bishops develop revised protocols to protect the good name and
reputation of priests while at the same time protecting the flock over which they have responsibility.

We also invite comments and contributions from our members pertaining to our goal of providing support of priests.

Ed Palumbos
Chair, Mutual Support Work Group

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