AUSCP and its Episcopal Guardians

BY MICHAEL HICHBORN, LepantoInstitute, 2019-08-07

Over two years ago, we started exposing the work of the heretical Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP).  Links to some of these reports are as follows:

AUSCP Seeks to Redefine the Catholic Priesthood and Heirarchy

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

Despite our repeated warnings, we continue to see remarks suggesting that the AUSCP is a fringe organization that should be ignored, or a shriveling band of disaffected hippies that will soon find a natural end to their endeavors as they age out of existence.  While it is true that the majority of visible members of the AUSCP are old, retired dissidents, their influence and reach cannot be underestimated!

The fact of the matter is that the AUSCP has powerful allies in the episcopacy who not only have a lot of influence in the Church in the United States, but hold key, influential positions at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  This kind of reach through the AUSCP’s allies is precisely why the AUSCP needs to be exposed and condemned, and why it cannot be ignored or shrugged off.

What follows is a list of currently known AUSCP allies in the Episcopacy.

Cardinal Blasé Cupich

In January of 2016, then Archbishop Cupich welcomed the AUSCP’s leadership team to discuss it’s fifth annual assembly to be held in June of that year.  At the assembly that June, Abp. Cupich celebrated Mass for the AUSCP with member, Bp. John Stowe.  This past June, Cdl. Cupich delivered the keynote address for the AUSCP’s assembly, on the topic, “Ordination Does Not Annihilate Our Baptism.”  When we consider that the AUSCP shares a comfortable enough relationship with Cdl. Cupich that he speaks at their conferences, celebrates Mass on their behalf, and meets with their leadership team, we can certainly understand the AUSCP’s excitement when Cupich was appointed to the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops.  After the appointment was made, AUSCP was quick to identify Cdl. Cupich as an ally, saying: “Archbishop Cupich, with whom the AUSCP celebrated in Chicago, will have a defining role in the selection of new U.S. bishops.”  This is by no means insignificant!  Cdl. Cupich also sits on the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, which also gives AUSCP considerable reach throughout the entire Catholic Church.

Archbishop John C. Wester

In June of 2016, Archbishop Wester agreed to serve as the Episcopal Moderator for the AUSCP, acting effectively as a liaison to the USCCB.  In response to the invitation to serve in this role, Abp. Wester said, “I am honored by your request and am happy to serve in this capacity. I look forward to speaking with you in the future so that I can learn how I can be of assistance and support.”

In January of 2018, Abp. Wester hosted the AUSCP leadership team to discuss the 2018 assembly, and in June of that year, he happily participated in it.  Abp. Wester was again at the AUSCP’s assembly this past June.

The biggest concern about Abp. Wester’s warm relationship with the AUSCP is that he currently sits on SIX committees and subcommittees of the USCCB.  As close as he is with the AUSCP, especially with an official role bridging the USCCB and the AUSCP, Abp. Wester is perhaps the most dangerous and influential of the AUSCP’s allies.

Abp. Wester currently sits on the following committees and subcommittees of the USCCB:

Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations

Committee on Communications

Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church

Committee on Migration

Subcommittee on the Church in Africa

Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America

His reach in the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations has the potential to significantly expand the AUSCP’s goals for forming seminarians and young priests.  His membership in the Committee on Communication has the potential to amplify the voice of the AUSCP through USCCB channels.   And his position on the other committees provides avenues for greater collaboration and entanglement between the USCCB and the AUSCP itself.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory

In January of 2017, Abp. Gregory met with the AUSCP leadership team to discuss their plans for the annual assembly that June.  That June, Abp. Gregory participated in the AUSCP’s assembly by giving a talk there.

As a former president of the USCCB, Abp. Gregory lends a certain amount of credibility and legitimacy to the organization.  Currently, he sits on the USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship and the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism.  As an ally of the AUSCP, his presence on the Committee on Divine Worship could play a substantial role as the AUSCP seeks to promote the idea of ordained female deacons, priestless parishes, and even ordained female priests.

Bishop Robert McElroy

Bp. McElroy, an avid supporter of homosexuality, delivered the AUSCP’s keynote address in June of 2018.

Bp. McElroy was a participant yet again in the AUSCP’s 2019 annual assembly.

As with Abp. Wester, Bp. McElroy sits on several committees and subcommittees of the USCCB, two of which he serves with Abp. Wester himself.  Bp. McElroy is on the USCCB’s Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Subcommittee on the Church in Africa, and the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America.  The Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development is the committee responsible for several lobbying efforts of the USCCB on Capitol Hill.  The subcommittee under this one is actually the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which grants millions of dollars to hard-left organizations, many of which promote abortion, contraception, homosexuality and Marxism.  The Committee on International Justice and Peace has a strong relationship with Catholic Relief Services, another entity known for the promotion of contraception.

Bp. John Hartmayer

In 2017, Bp. Hartmayer joined Abp. Gregory for the AUSCP’s sixth annual assembly.  At the assembly, Bp. Hartmayer served as the retreat leader for the AUSCP members in attendance.  Bp. Hartmayer serves on two USCCB committees that would be very useful to the AUSCP’s agendas: Catholic Communication Campaign and the National Collections Committee.

Bp. John Stowe

Bishop Stowe, an actual member of the AUSCP, is perhaps the most actively involved of this group of bishops.  As a member of the AUSCP, Bp. Stowe is signaling his complete allegiance and alliance with the organization’s pro-homosexual, pro-women’s ordination goals.

In 2016, Bp. Stowe spoke favorably to an assembly of the Major Superiors of Men of homosexual men and women in religious life.  In 2017, he participated in an event put on by the condemned New Ways Ministry titled, “Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis.”  In 2019, Bp. Stowe led an LGBT retreat at Notre Dame University.  In June of this year, he composed a pro-homosexual prayer “celebrating pride,” to be distributed at “Pride Month” events.

It’s also important to remember that Bp. Stowe viciously attacked the Covington Catholic boys over the hoax perpetrated by a lying activist named Nathan Philips.

His unrelenting allegiance to the AUSCP’s gravely anti-Catholic agenda is simply without question.  So, his presence on the USCCB’s subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development will serve the AUSCP’s agenda well as he helps to guide CCHD funding to organizations favorable to it.


As the saying goes, “It helps to have friends in high places.”  The AUSCP has bishops who are very friendly to the organization, if not also to their cause.  The influence the AUSCP can have through their episcopal allies has the potential to be devastating to the faith, and what’s worse is that the cover of legitimacy given to these heretical priests enables them to maintain their operations without fear of sanctions.


Write your bishop and beg him to publicly condemn the AUSCP and forbid his priests from being members!  For a complete listing of bishops and their addresses, click here.

Here is a sample letter to assist you in writing to your bishop:

Your Excellency (title and last name of bishop):

Greetings to you in the name of the Queen of Heaven and Earth!  My name is ____, a member of _____ parish.  I am writing to you in the spirit of Canons 907 and 212 to bring to your attention a matter of grave danger to the integrity of faith and morals within our diocese.

An organization of Catholic priests called the Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP) is seeking to foment a revolt in the Catholic Church by promoting homosexuality, women’s ordination, priestless parishes, and the deconstruction of the sacerdotal nature of the priesthood.  The AUSCP, which has been in existence since 2011, boasts of having over 1,300 members and is closely aligned with two organizations (New Ways Ministry and Dignity USA) which promote same-sex “marriage” and homosexual relationships.  It also works in collaboration with the dissident Voice of the Faithful and the heretical FutureChurch.

I beg Your Excellency to investigate this organization and publicly condemn it, forbidding your priests from being members.  Because of these priests and their allies, the salvation of many souls is in grave peril.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.

Sincerely yours in Christ,