National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Fr. Helmut Schüller makes debut in NYC

This summer's most anticipated event -- for reform-minded Catholics, at least -- kicked off Tuesday night in Manhattan's Greenwich Village.

Austrian priest Helmut Schüller offered the first of 15 presentations he will offer around the country in a program called "The Catholic Tipping Point: Conversations."

The event drew a notable crowd of 230 people who braved sweltering heat and humidity to gather at Judson Memorial Church to hear Schüller discuss the "Call to Disobedience" set forth in 2011 by the Austrian Priests' Initiative.

The movement, Schüller said, "was initiated out of deep sorrow for the future of parish communities."

"As a 60-year-old parish priest, I fear that, when my time is over, I will leave my community to an uncertain future," he said.

NCR-issue-christmas-icon.jpgGive a Christmas gift that lasts all year. Give the gift of NCR!

He and a group of Austrian priests decided to go public with their questions and concerns about the shrinking priesthood, the merging of parishes and the inordinate pressures placed on the dwindling number of parish priests.

"Because, as priests, we are members of the hierarchy, the hierarchy became nervous," he told the crowd.

As priests, Schüller said, "we have power, which means we are responsible to use that power." Church reform movements must not be left to the laity alone, he said. "We must be companions to these movements."

The tour is sponsored by 10 progressive Catholic organizations, including Future Church, Call to Action, DignityUSA, and Voice of the Faithful.

I will have a full wrap-up of Tuesday night's event, including Schüller's thoughts on the new pope, his ideas about the state of the church outside of the United States and Europe, and his take on the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement, in my column later this afternoon.

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Christmas-Feature-Flag-300x100.jpg

NCR Email Alerts