[This message from CTA Metro-NY is shared with Upstate NY CTA.]
On Thursday, August 8, Fr. Schuller concluded his tour with the delivery to Cardinal Dolan of the thousands of symbolic Red Ribbons gathered during his speaking events across the country with packed audiences who came to hear him and engage in dialogue.
Here are a few photos of his last event: delivering the basket of red ribbons to Cardinal Dolan. Despite repeated good faith efforts to arrange a meeting with the Cardinal or his designee, no one from his office agreed to meet Fr. Schuller and our representatives in person.
So Fr. Schuller first went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and made a videotaped message regarding his tour, and then delivered the basket of ribbons in a large box to the chancery’s office, and included a letter to Cardinal Dolan with his reflections on his tour, which he felt was very positive.
Below, the photos and the press statement and the attached (and interesting) city-by-city brief report, and a link to his letter.
Representatives of sponsoring groups accompanying Fr. Schuller:
Joann Vanek, FutureChurch; Nancy Lorence, Call To Action; Louis Speakes
and Francis Piderit of VOTF NY.
While Fr. Schuller was making his statement, an Austrian family on vacation
just happened to pass by and recognized him from having heard him speak
about his tour before he – and they – had left Austria. They were very
moved to meet him in person, especially since it happened by chance.
Rev. Helmut Schüller Concludes U.S. Tour, Bringing Reform Message to St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Fr. Helmut Schüller concluded his three-week, 15-city Catholic Tipping Point tour across America on Thursday, Aug. 8th, on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, delivering both a strong call for church reform and thousands of red ribbons signed by supportive Catholic laity and clergy during his tour to Cardinal Timothy Dolan as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Schüller is founder of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative that issued a global “Call to Disobedience” in 2011, calling for the admission of women and married people to the priesthood as well as greater lay leadership and transparency in Church governance. He visited the U.S. to share his experiences and to learn about conditions in the Catholic Church in America.
“I discovered many faithful Catholics working hard to change the church they love very much,” Schüller said. “I also spoke with many priests who see the need for change, but are afraid to raise their voices. There is no place for fear or intimidation in the Catholic Church. We all must speak out for our rights as Catholics.”
“We are grateful to Fr. Schüller for advancing a much needed conversation among U.S. Catholics,” said Sr. Chris Schenk, CSJ, a coordinator of the tour. “This honest dialogue will continue and spread as we connect with Catholics in other countries. The People of God need to be fully represented in Church leadership and decision-making.”
Schüller began his U.S. tour in New York City on July 16th, and organizers estimate that he spoke to over 5,000 Catholics during his appearances. Many thousands more tuned in via live-streaming and online video. *
Throughout the tour, Fr. Schüller and attendees wore red ribbons symbolizing the spirit of Pentecost and calling for inclusion of the laity at every level of leadership and decision-making in the Church. It was these same ribbons that Schuller delivered at St. Patrick’s Cathedral today.
Schüller also met privately with U.S. priests in each city. These meetings called attention to the dilemma aging priests experience as they minister each day knowing there is no one to replace them when they die or retire. A National Federation of Priests’ Councils study found that for every 100 priests who retire, only 30 are available to replace them. Fr. Dan Hartnett in Cincinnati lauded Fr. Schüller for his “intellect, humility, and strategic mind… Instead of excluding him, we should be grateful for what he is trying to achieve.” Attempts by bishop-leaders in three U.S. dioceses to ban Catholics from hearing Fr. Schüller, backfired; in each city where he was banned, hundreds of Catholics turned out to welcome him and to hear his message.
The tour was sponsored by ten progressive Catholic organizations that support Schüller’s calls for inclusive and transparent changes to Church governance, including greater lay participation, married and women priests, and justice for LGBT persons within the Church. Groups sponsoring the tour are committed to advancing an international movement of Catholics working for fundamental rights in the Church.
* See attached Report by City for detailed information
Read Fr. Schüller’s letter to Cardinal Dolan (ctrl + click)
Looking ahead, sponsoring groups of the Catholic Tipping Point coalition are committed to “supporting an international movement of priests and people working together for fundamental rights in the Church. We want the People of God to be included at every level of Church leadership and decision-making.”
In a final interview with the National Catholic Reporter, Fr. Helmut praised our coalition saying he was impressed with the organization of Catholic reform movements in the U.S. and, praised the “splendid cooperation” among the groups, “sometimes without knowing one another.”
Thanks to all who helped make this tour a success.
Sponsored by: Call To Action, CORPUS, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, DignityUSA, FutureChurch, New Ways Ministry, National Coalition of American Nuns, Quixote Center – Catholics Speak Out!, Voice of the Faithful, and Women’s Ordination Conference