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High hopes as US priests gather to discuss reforms

Pope Francis' arrival may herald a new openness to dialogue

High hopes as US priests gather to discuss reforms

(Picture: Religion News Service)

The death of liberal Catholicism has been proclaimed so often in recent decades that few even bother to check to see if the body still has a pulse.

But a fledgling organization of priests believes the obituaries are premature, and as the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests gathers this month to discuss an agenda for church reform, its leaders are pointing to support from the laity as well as inspiration from the top: Pope Francis.

“For me, his papacy so far has been a lifesaver,” said the Rev. Dave Cooper, a priest from Milwaukee who is head of the AUSCP, which will hold its second annual assembly at Seattle University from June 24-27.

Not that Francis is a starry-eyed liberal who is about to ordain women priests or turn the church into a representative democracy. He’s not. Rather, it is the new pope’s repeated exhortations for the church to engage the world, to be humble and open to dialogue, and above all to show people – including Catholics – a welcoming face that has buoyed Cooper and others in the AUSCP.

“The pastoral style is most encouraging to me personally,” Cooper said. “I hope it will grow and deepen and continue.”

Full Story: Buoyed by a new pope, priests gather to urge church reform

Source: Religion News Service

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