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Cardinal Bars Dissident Priest From Speaking on Archdiocesan Property (6374)

The archdiocese would not allow a visiting priest to speak at a Catholic parish because the subjects of the talk are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

06/27/2013 Comments (45)
Stephen Driscoll/CNA.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley speaks with CNA in Rome on Feb. 4.

– Stephen Driscoll/CNA.

BOSTON — The Archdiocese of Boston verified that an Austrian priest will not be allowed to speak on archdiocesan property during a stop on his U.S. speaking tour due to his dissenting views on Catholic teaching.

“It is the policy of the Archdiocese of Boston, and the generally accepted practice in dioceses across the country, not to permit individuals to conduct speaking engagements in Catholic parishes or at Church events when those individuals promote positions that are contrary to Catholic teachings,” spokesman Terrance Donilon said in a statement provided to CNA.

Father Helmut Schüller, who was set to speak at St. Susanna parish in Dedham, Mass., on July 17, is the founder of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative — a group founded in 2006 that advocates for “optional celibacy” for priests, women’s ordination and other positions contrary to Catholic doctrine.

To this end, Father Schüller has raised a “Call to Disobedience” — or the refusal to accept basic tenets of the Catholic faith — in order to “reform” the Bride of Christ.

Auxiliary Bishop of Boston Bishop Walter Edyvean called St. Susanna's last week to notify them that Cardinal O’Malley would not allow the priest to speak “at any Catholic parish because he espouses beliefs that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church,” the National Catholic Reporter wrote June 24.

Among the sponsoring organizations of the tour, “The Catholic Tipping Point,” are the Women’s Ordination Conference and Future Church, both of which promote initiatives contrary to Catholic teaching.

The priest’s July 16 to Aug. 6 speaking tour includes stops in New York City, Baltimore, Detroit, Denver and Los Angeles. All the stops except for Detroit are scheduled to take place at local Protestant churches.

As of publication time, Father Schüller is still set to speak at Sts. Simon and Jude parish in Westland, Mich., on July 26.

Father Schüller previously served as the head of Caritas Austria and as the vicar general of the Archdiocese of Vienna until 1999, when he was dismissed by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn. In 2012, the Vatican revoked Father Schüller’s title of “monsignor.”

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