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Left-wing priests’ association declares unwillingness to participate in National Eucharistic Congress

Left-wing priests’ association declares unwillingness to participate in National Eucharistic Congress
Left-wing priests’ association declares unwillingness to participate in National Eucharistic Congress

NEW YORK — An association of American Catholic priests says its offer to participate in the upcoming National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis has been withdrawn because its broader view of the Eucharist is seen as “threatening and undermining” the congress’s core message; event organizers say they simply ran out of space.

Father Steve Newton, executive director of the Association of Catholic Priests of the USA (AUSCP), said: core that the association was offered a booth at the National Eucharistic Congress following a cancellation in May – the association’s first offer after first asking about attending over a year ago. Then in June, the Congress informed them that the spot had been filled, Newton said.

AUSCP – a more left-leaning association – has about 500 members, according to Newton. The organization’s core values ​​are teaching the Gospel in light of Vatican II, promoting human dignity, and a synodal/collaborative relationship with bishops and lay people, according to its website.

Newton noted that they advocate for issues from Pope Francis’ pontificate that are not necessarily well received by the majority of the U.S. bishops’ conference, and that they “vociferously advocated” these ideas and their relationship to the Eucharist at the convention. He suggested that this is why they were ultimately told there was no room for them to participate.

“I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I can read between the lines,” Newton said core in an email. “The USCCB looked at our website, saw who we are, and sensed that our understanding of the Eucharist goes beyond monstrances and processions. We do not denigrate worship and veneration, but narrow theologies and piety doctrines do not limit our understanding of the Eucharist.”

Newton later added that while the Congress stressed that the Real Presence lies in the host, the Association stressed that it also “lies in those who receive it and compels it (us) to act.”

“I guess they see this as a threat or an undermining of their core message,” Newton said.

Reached by coreA spokesman for the National Eucharistic Congress said the executive team declined to comment on the matter, adding: “The reality is that there was simply no more room. Bishop Andrew Cozzens of Crookston, chairman of the board of the National Eucharistic Congress, did not respond to a core Please comment on the matter.

Newton, in a separate telephone conversation with coresaid the association’s booth at the congress should have resembled the theme of its recent general assembly in Lexington, Kentucky, which was “Eucharist: Sacrament of Encounter.”

“We wanted to say that (the Eucharist) is an encounter with Christ that transforms us into the body and blood of Christ to go out and live that out and invite others to do that,” Newton explained. “Themes include social justice, synodality in the way we worship and who we include and things like that.”

The association’s general meeting was held from June 24 to 27. It was the association’s 13th annual meeting with 220 participants. Speakers and participants at the meeting included Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe and Jesuit Father Thomas Reese.

Stowe emphasized core in an email that the focus was on the Eucharist as “a dynamic gift to the Church that enlivens her mission, rather than on the Eucharist as an object of devotion to be simply worshipped.” He also noted that speakers at the gathering emphasized the centrality of the Eucharist to the synodal process, “which has so little support in the U.S. Church.”

Stowe said the AUSCP’s perspective would have brought more balance to the congress.

“Full, conscious and active participation in the Eucharistic liturgy was contrasted with the Eucharistic processions and blessings, which invite a more passive experience of the Real Presence,” Stowe said. “The emphasis on AUSCP reflections would have provided some balance to the Eucharistic piety and the content of the talks of the various Eucharistic ministers.”

Follow John Lavenburg on X: @johnlavenburg

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