Following the annual assembly of the heresy-minded Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP), we continue our series of reports by spotlighting the sponsors and vendors helping to finance the AUSCP’s activities.
The Lepanto Institute has produced several reports on the actions and positions taken by the AUSCP, and links to some of these reports are as follows:
- AUSCP Officially Called for Women’s Ordination to the Priesthood
- AUSCP Gives Venue to Condemned LGBT Organizations
- AUSCP’s Plan for Ordained Women and Priestless parishes
- AUSCP’s Idea for Priestly Formation and Info on Conference speakers
- AUSCP’s Desire to Obtain Funding from Unsuspecting, Pew-sitting Catholics
- AUSCP’s Membership in an International Network of Heretical Organizations
- AUSCP’s Alliance with Heretical, Pro-Sodomy Organizations
- AUSCP’s Keynote Address from Notorious Priest, Fr. Richard Rohr
- AUSCP’s Vision of the Church in Relation to the Vision of Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich
In short, this is an organization that can in no way be funded, supported, or endorsed by a faithful Catholic without participating in its agenda. Sadly, no-fewer than 8 active bishops have been identified as participants or members in the AUSCP’s annual assembly. Cdl. Cupich was this year’s keynote speaker at the AUSCP’s annual assembly. Abp. Wester of Santa Fe, NM is the AUSCP’s liaison to the USCCB. Abp. Robert Carlson said Mass for the AUSCP this year, indicating that this was his third time doing so. Abp. Wilton Gregory spoke at the AUSCP assembly in Atlanta, GA, as did Bp. McElroy and Bp. Hartmayer. Bp. Stowe of Lexington, KY is a member of the AUSCP, and a recent AUSCP newsletter indicated that the recently deceased Bp. Blair was a member also.
Upon examining the AUSCP program book, there is a list of 19 sponsors and vendors/exhibitors. We’re posting the pages from the AUSCP program book for proof.
According to the AUSCP’s Vendor/Exhibitor contract for 2018, vendors and exhibitors spend between $100-$6,000.
Each of these identified sponsors, Unbound, Southdown Institute, and Food for the Poor, had full-page ads in the program book, which means their funding level of the AUSCP was $6,000 a piece:
This is the page listing all of the AUSCP assembly vendors and exhibitors, whose contributions ranged from $100-$495, depending upon which package they paid for:
The Lepanto Institute reached out to these sponsors and exhibitors to inform them of the heretical positions taken by the AUSCP and to give them an opportunity to refuse future participation. We did not, however, reach out to New Ways Ministry, Voice of the Faithful, FutureChurch and Care of Creation because it was abundantly clear that their positions were already in line with AUSCP’s.
After providing a summary of our findings regarding the AUSCP and links to our reports, we asked each organization the following three questions:
- Was [your organization] aware of the positions taken by the AUSCP, indicated above?
- Does [your organization] agree with the positions taken by the AUSCP?
- Will [your organization] remain a sponsor of the AUSCP, despite knowing these positions are taken by the organization?
To date, the Lepanto Institute has received responses from only two of these organizations, and spoke personally with the president of a third over the phone.
The two organizations who responded via email were Paulist Press and the Southdown Institute.
Response from Southdown Institute
Listed as a sponsor of the AUSCP event, and not just as a vendor, Southdown Institute’s response was as follows:
Dear Mr. Hichborn,
Thank you for your email and your concern for our beloved Roman Catholic Church community. You are correct about our presence at the AUSCP convention as well as our sponsoring role. We attend every year as it is one of the largest, maybe the largest organization of Roman Catholic priests in the U.S. and we believe it is important to promote the healing ministry that we offer at Southdown to that population.
As a mental health organization, we do this type of exhibiting and sponsoring at many different conferences around the country. We are also present at the LCWR conference, the CMSM conference, the National Vocations Directors Conference, the Conference of Bishops etc… In general, our presence at conferences is not connected to us being in agreement or disagreement with specific content or positions of an organization, but is reflective of us offering a ministry of healing to dedicated men and women religious and clergy. All of the organizations whose conferences we attend are well-established in the Roman Catholic Church and are supported by the Church’s hierarchy, as seen in the presence of Cardinal Cupich as keynote speaker, Archbishop Wester as episcopal advisor, and the celebration of Mass by Archbishop Carlson.
I am grateful that you are looking out for the health and well-being of our Catholic Church community. Those Gospel values are close to our hearts here at Southdown as we do our part in bringing healing and support to the clergy and religious who are in leadership. Please be assured of my prayers, and let me know if there is anything else I can do to be of help.
Blessings on you and your loved ones.
Fr. Stephan Kappler
Rev. Stephan Kappler, PsyD
President & Chief Psychologist
Response from Paulist Press
The initial email we received from Paulist Press simply stated Paulist Press’ vision and mission and failed to address any of the concerns in our initial email. After pointing out this glaring omission, we received the following response from Paulist Press:
I am not a spokesperson for Paulist Press. All I know is the AUSCP has never supported the priestly ordination of women, so this statement/observation on your part is untrue. As for your other statements, I have no knowledge of AUSCP positions or affiliations. I am a marketing/sales person for Paulist Press, we bring/display our publications to a variety of potential markets and attend many different exhibitions throughout the United States and have representation overseas. We have been told by AUSCP that all their priest members are in good standing within their diocese and therefore we view the members of AUSCP as potential customers for our publications.
Enjoy the holiday weekend.
We replied with our article detailing AUSCP’s position paper that calls for the ordination of women, and quoted the relevant portion, which states:
“The baptized have a right to enhanced sacramental opportunities. Limiting ordained ministry to males is an act of injustice to the baptized. [emphasis added] Likewise, depriving one half of the human race of the capacity to serve as ordained ministers is an act of injustice.”
This response email to Paulist Press closed by asking for a statement from a spokesman from the organization to the specific question, “Given that AUSCP has made the above statement in direct conflict with the official teaching of the Magisterium, will Paulist Press continue to be a vendor/exhibitor at AUSCP events in the future?”
The one-line response we received nearly two weeks ago simply said, “Thank you for your reply. I will discuss your concerns with the Paulist Fathers who operate the mission of the Paulist Press.”
Response from Cross Catholic Outreach
On July 15, we spoke over the phone with Jim Cavnar, the president of Cross Catholic Outreach. We commended Cross Catholic for its faithfulness in its field of work, letting Mr. Cavnar know that we have often recommended Cross Catholic Outreach as a charitable organization in line with Catholic teaching. Sadly, due to Mr. Cavnar’s decision to continue paying for vending space at the AUSCP’s annual assembly, we can no longer do this.
This is the second year that Cross Catholic had a table at the AUSCP’s event, and while Mr. Cavnar said that they clearly don’t support AUSCP’s positions on women’s ordination or homosexuals in the clergy, Cross Catholic Outreach wants to table there in order to recruit priests to work for them. Mr. Cavnar attempted to compare tabling at an event specifically geared toward spreading heresy throughout the Church with taking an ad out in the New York Times. Of course, recruiting priests from a pool as polluted by heresy as the AUSCP will only ultimately lead to the recruitment of heresy-minded priests.
Mr. Cavnar also indicated that the AUSCP has the support and participation of a number of bishops, which is precisely one of the problems we continue to point out.
In the end, Mr. Cavnar was informed of the AUSCP’s positions, and despite this, he indicated that Cross Catholic Outreach would nonetheless continue to buy a table at its annual events.
The following other sponsors and vendors identified in AUSCP’s program booklet have not responded to our questions and must be assumed to be in agreement with AUSCP. Clearly, as a result of this sponsorship, the Lepanto Institute recommends withdrawing financial support with a note indicating why you will no longer be supporting them:
Food for the Poor
The Catholic Tour
The Cana Institute
Catholic Climate Covenant
Little Books of the Diocese of Saginaw
National Association for Lay Ministers
St. John’s University; School of Theology and Seminary
Catholic Labor Network
Sanctuary of Hope, Inc.