|Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP, Fr. Helmut Schuller, Donna Rougeux, ARCWP|
A Conversation with Fr. Helmut SchullerJuly 27, 2013
Fr. Helmut Schuller founded the Austrian Priests’ Initiative in 2006 to address a deepening priest shortage that closed parishes. In 2010, the Austrian Priests’ Initiative issued a “Call to Disobedience” asking for lay leadership and preaching in parishes without a priest, permitting divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments, and ordination of women and married men.
When Fr. Helmut was in Cincinnati he spoke for about an hour and then opened the discussion for Q and A. Three of his opening points were:
1) Priests are asked for obedience by bishops who have no one to answer to. Bishops are not accountable to anyone.
2) Obedience is used to keep control of the laity. The “pay pray and obey” mentality is still alive and well.
3) Disobedience in silence has no repercussions
The community is a gift to the church not a danger or something that needs to be controlled. Schuller said “I am against using the Eucharist as an instrument of exclusion.” The audience clapped in response to this statement.
Instead of viewing the modern world as a culture of death like JPII did, Schuller and his movement says the people need to know that the church walks with them in the midst of the good and bad of the culture not condemning it but bringing light to it.
Schuller pointed to the absence of the youth in the present traditional church. He said that adults and seniors of this generation have endless patience with the traditional church. And he said young people do not have that kind of patience.
In reflecting on the need for the church to embrace and follow the Vatican II teachings Schuller used the biblical image of needing new wine skins for the new wine. It seems the present traditional church is clinging to the old wineskins and they are bursting.
One last quote will hopefully echo Shuller’s distinct dialect when he pointed to the vortex of the continued problems in the traditional church. “Those who have the money plays the music.” Schuller talked about the bullying power and control that continues to come from groups like the Legionaries of Christ and Opus Dei because they have money and power. If we want to support reform and change we must direct our money in that direction.
It was a delight and a great honor to meet Fr. Helmut Schuller. He is a kindred spirit leading a reform movement in Austria in the same manner that ARCWP is working for reform in the Roman Catholic Church internationally. We are listening to the people and empowering them to be the church by opening the doors and windows of the church so that Sophia Spirit can lead us. We are re-imaging the church with new wineskins for the new wine that came forth at Vatican II.