For the last several weeks, the Lepanto Institute has been investigating and reporting on a heretical priestly organization called the Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP). This organization promotes women’s ordination to the diaconate (with eyes on the priestly ordination of women), homosexuality, priestless parishes, married priests, and a host of other heterodox positions.
If you’re interested in having a better understanding of this international movement to spread heresy throughout the Church, previous Lepanto Institute reports on the AUSCP include the following:
- AUSCP’s Plan for Ordained Women and Priestless parishes
- Wester Participating in AUSCP Conference
- AUSCP’s Desire to Obtain Funding from Unsuspecting, Pew-sitting Catholics
- The AUSCP is a Cog in the International Heresy Machine
- AUSCP’s Alliance with Heretical, Pro-Sodomy Organizations
- AUSCP’s Keynote Address from Notorious Priest, Fr. Richard Rohr
Last week, the Lepanto Institute was on location for the AUSCP’s annual assembly, where heretical organizations such as FutureChurch, Voice of the Faithful, the Vatican-condemned New Ways Ministry, and the blasphemous Dignity USA were provided table space for the spread of their errors. Rainbow pins and rainbow buttons that read, “I am equally blessed,” and “Love is love” were a common sight on the lanyards of the priests attending the assembly.
One Brochure for a conference directed at nuns called “Gracious Embodiment: Embracing a Capacious Sexuality” claims that it is a “dialogue among lesbian sisters, congregational leaders, and formation & vocation ministers.” Another one attempts to answer questions about “Transgender People, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression.”
The most chilling of all the literature being spread among the vendors came from the AUSCP itself.
The inside of the AUSCP document explains that its mission is to enact “constructive efforts” to build up a new church in place of the old one, establishing a new foundation with new pillars. Here’s what the AUSCP says:
Theologian Hermann Pottmeyer views our Vatican II era as “an unfinished building site” similar to the building of a new St. Peter’s Basilica during the 1500s.
Construction began with the laying of a foundation and erection of pillars and walls around the old basilica of Constantine. That prepared the way for roof and dome to complete the new outer structure. That took decades. Meanwhile, the old church stayed in place, conditioning the progress of the new. once the external structure was complete, the old basilica was removed.
Similarly, Pottmeyer sees Vatican II as designing a new church to develop around the existing one. The Council’s 16 documents laid a new foundation. The four constitutions on Liturgy, Church, Revelation and Church in the Modern World are the new pillars. Consolidating and finishing a renewed church, inside and out, continues. Like St. Peter’s and the works of previous Councils, it is a work of centuries.
Much remains to be done. We are all part of the renewal team. This divine project – building up the People of God for our era – is the challenge of our time. AUSCP’s mission is to help us all respond to that challenge by working together as one.
This AUSCP handout closes by stating that it was created to build up this “new church.” It says:
We ALL need to be involved. We ALL need to work together with our leadership to accomplish the Spirit’s mission of building up the Church of our time [emphasis added], the People of God.
AUSCP WAS CREATED TO HELP US DO THAT. [Emphasis original.]
Be part of this great work of our lives – building a holy and truly Catholic church for our age. [Emphasis added.]
It should come as no surprise that one of the songs heard coming from the AUSCP conference hall is titled “Sing a New Church,” the refrain of which is:
Let us bring the gifts that differ
and, in splendid, varied ways,
sing a new Church into being,
one in faith and love and praise.
In light of the AUSCP’s imagery of building up a new church, and then tearing down the old one, another AUSCP brochure calls for priests to “be a part of Hope’s revolution,” wherein the chairman of the AUSCP leadership team, Fr. Bob Bonnot, exclaims that “Vatican II’s reforms and directions are irreversible.”
The AUSCP isn’t alone in this endeavor, as it has strongly allied itself with FutureChurch, Voice of the Faithful, Call to Action, the Women’s Ordination Conference, We Are Church, New Ways Ministry, Dignity USA, and several other organizations acting locally and internationally to edit the doctrines and dogmas of the Faith. What is most alarming about this is that they are doing it with the apparent approval of sitting cardinals and bishops, such as Cardinal Cupich, Abp. Wester, Abp. Gregory, and Bp. McElroy. While faithful Catholics may look at those names and brush them off as liberal ideologues confined to their own dioceses, it is important to remember that the AUSCP boasts a membership list of over 1,500 priests in the United States alone…and the group is constantly networking and recruiting. Those are priests working in parishes, chanceries, and seminaries, and as they say in their brochure, they look at their work as the work of centuries.
All of this imagery of building up a “new” church and tearing down the old may sound familiar to amateur students of Catholic prophecy. In the early 1800s, a Catholic mystic, whose body bore the stigmata, experienced a series of prophetic visions regarding what she called a “Counterfeit Church.” In her visions of this counterfeit Church, she saw workers building this new church over the old one, which they intend to demolish. The following excerpts of Anne Catherine Emmerich’s writings describe precisely what the AUSCP (and its allies) says of itself.
I saw the fatal consequences of this counterfeit church; I saw it increase; I saw heretics of all kinds flocking to the city. I saw the ever-increasing tepidity of the clergy, the circle of darkness ever widening. And now the vision became more extended. I saw in all places Catholics oppressed, annoyed, restricted, and deprived of liberty, churches were closed, and great misery prevailed everywhere with war and bloodshed. I saw rude, ignorant people offering violent resistance, but this state of things lasted not long. Again I saw in vision St. Peter’s undermined according to a plan devised by the secret sect while, at the same time, it was damaged by storms; but it was delivered at the moment of greatest distress. Again I saw the Blessed Virgin extending her mantle over it. …
I saw heartrending misery, playing, drinking, gossiping, even courting going on in the church. All sorts of abominations were committed in it; they had even set up a ninepin alley in the middle of it. The priests let things go their way and said Mass very irreverently; only a few of them were still a little intelligent and pious. …
I saw that many pastors allowed themselves to be taken up with ideas that were dangerous to the Church. They were building a great, strange, and extravagant Church. Everyone was to be admitted in it in order to be united and have equal rights: Protestants, Catholics, sects of every description. Such was to be the new Church. …
I saw St. Peter’s. A great crowd of men was trying to pull it down whilst others constantly built it up again. Lines connected these men one with another and with others throughout the whole world. I was amazed at their perfect understanding.
The demolishers, mostly apostates and members of different sects, broke off whole pieces and worked according to rules and instructions. They wore white aprons bound with blue riband. In them were pockets and they had trowels stuck in their belts. The costumes of the others were various.
There were among the demolishers distinguished men wearing uniforms and crosses. They did not work themselves but they marked out on the wall with a trowel where and how it should be torn down. To my horror, I saw among them Catholic Priests. Whenever the workmen did not know how to go on, they went to a certain one in their party. He had a large book which seemed to contain the whole plan of the building and the way to destroy it.” …
I saw again the strange big church that was being built there [in Rome]. There was nothing holy in it. I saw this just as I saw a movement led by Ecclesiastics to which contributed angels, saints and other Christians. But there all the work was being done mechanically. Everything was being done, according to human reason. I saw all sorts of people, things, doctrines, and opinions. There was something proud, presumptuous, and violent about it, and they seemed to be very successful. I did not see a single Angel nor a single saint helping in the work. But far away in the background, I saw the seat of a cruel people armed with spears, and I saw a laughing figure which said: ‘Do build it as solid as you can; we will put it to the ground’.
I saw that many of the instruments in the new Church, such as spears and darts, were meant to be used against the living Church. Everyone dragged in something different: clubs, rods, pumps, cudgels, puppets, mirrors, trumpets, horns bellows – all sorts of things. In the cave below (the sacristy) some people kneaded bread, but nothing came of it; it would not rise. The men in the little mantles brought wood to the steps of the pulpit to make a fire. They puffed and blew and labored hard, but the fire would not burn. All they produced was smoke and fumes. Then they broke a hole in the roof and ran up a pipe, but the smoke would not rise, and the whole place became black and suffocating. Some blew the horns so violently that the tears streamed from their eyes. All in this church belonged to the earth, returned to the earth. All was dead, the work of human skill, a church of the latest style, a church of man’s invention like the new heterodox church in Rome.
The fact of the matter is that there is an international push to demolish the traditions and teachings of the Universal Church in favor of a more inclusive, modern Church centered on man rather than Our Blessed Lord. The AUSCP and its allies pose a clear and present danger to the Faith and to the faithful, not because they possess any real power or authority, but because they are being given legitimacy by prominent bishops and cardinals, who are aiding them in their work. The longer this cabal of heterodoxy is permitted to operate and function without fear of consequences or reprisals, the greater its influence will become. But as Bl. Anne Catherine pointed out, a message we hear repeated at Fatima, at the moment of greatest distress, the Church will be delivered by the Blessed Virgin herself. Let us remain committed to the daily Rosary, praying fervently for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart.
Our Lady of Victory, pray for us!
Michael Hichborn is the president of the Lepanto Institute. Formerly, Michael spent nearly eight years as American Life League’s Director of the Defend the Faith project. He has researched and produced countless articles and reports on the funding of abortion, birth control, homosexuality and Marxism by Catholic Relief Services and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).
Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Christendom College in Political Science and Economics and a Master’s degree in Education from American Intercontinental University.
Michael lives in Virginia with his wife, Alyssa, and their seven children.