Ass. of US Catholic Priests met in St. Louis. Average age….

Tom Fox of the National Schismatic Reporter (aka The Fishwrap) posted about a group of priests who just met in St. Louis.

A friend sent an email with the link and the comment:

I believe that this defines the words “irrelevant”, “inconsequential” and “game over”.

In the meantime, young priests are learning the older, traditional Mass.

You decide:

‘Vatican II’ priests meet, express new hope [Fishwrap harps about how “polarizing” people is so horrible, and yet they themselves are the only ones they permit to engage in it.]

SAINT LOUIS — Some 225 priests have gathered in St. Louis for a three-day conference here, aimed at carrying church renewal forward. [Forward unto becoming, what, congregationalists?]
The theme of the assembly is “Revelation in our Lives and Time,” drawn from the Vatican II document Dei Verbum, the primary Vatican II document on Sacred Scripture.

The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests [Abbrev. as Ass of USCP] was formed following an Aug. 25, 2011 meeting of 27 self-described “Vatican II priests” at Mundelein Seminary in Illinois. The organization’s inaugural assembly in June 2012 drew some 240 delegates from 55 dioceses to St. Leo University, northeast of Tampa, Fla.

About 150 priests attended the second conference in last year at Seattle University.

The mood among these priests, whose average age is 69, [!] seems generally upbeat in the wake of the election of Pope Francis last year. A life size Francis cutout is a major draw with the priests snapping photos between assemblies.


And to think that I wasn’t invited.

Age discrimination!

God bless them, each and every one.  Sincerely.

And former Father Greg Reynolds is still excommunicated.

UPDATE: 26 June

The meeting has concluded and they had their closing ‘liturgy”.

Here is a taste.  Pray for these aging men.  The average age at the meeting was 69.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Joseph-Mary says:

    Father you are not old enough to be in the “ASS” group…

    The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests [Abbrev. as Ass of USCP] !!!!!

    Sad, sad, sad. And these are the men who have been leading parishes for the past 40 years–years of dissent and non-catechesis. Lord have mercy.

  2. amenamen says:

    We have obtained the official transcript of their panel discussion on the topic of “Revelation in our Lives and Time”:

  3. NBW says:

    I would have never guessed the men in the photos were priests; they’re certainly not dressed like priests. So, so sad.

  4. truthfinder says:

    So if average male life expectancy is about 78, will “Vatican II priests” be generally extinct in a decade?

  5. stephen c says:

    “God bless them each and every one. Sincerely.” I agree with that sentiment. Both I (born half a dozen decades ago) and most of these priests have many many more yesterdays in this world behind me (or us) than tomorrows ahead of me (or us), and while I am saddened that most of them never saw fit to stand against the devastating evil of abortion and against secular coldness and against the other sins of our age as much as I would have wanted them to do, the fact remains that most of them gave up a vast amount of worldly rewards and pleasures and flattering compliments in order to follow Jesus, and most of them did, I hope, try to follow the Lord in the ways that their unfortunate times and their sad modernist culture and their abilities (limited abilities, of course, because all our abilities are limited) allowed them to do. The fact is, life is short, and after this short life I prayerfully hope to see these guys join me in praising the Lord and praying to him that he might turn our mistakes, as long as we repent of them, into amazing avenues of grace for those we would have timely loved so so much more if we had only cared enough for them, as in a better world we would have (or as, in a perfect world, would have if we had been given the grace to actually care as much about them as we should have – figuring these things out is difficult – even Aquinas admitted that his complicated speculations were as “straw”).

  6. Matthew says:

    Are you sure they are priests. They don’t look like priests, they look like they just visited the men’s knit shirt sale rack at JCPenney.

    My uncle is a priest of about 70 years of age. He wears a proper roman collar and jacket when he ventures outside home.

  7. RafqasRoad says:

    We have this type making up much of the layety of our local churches here in the Rural NSW parish I am a part of in South Eastern Australia. it is tragic. Just yesterday, a man who shall remain nameless all but blasphemed our Lord jesus Christ in a SV de P meeting when he wholesale attacked the practice of adoration and processing with our Lord in the monsterance along the lines that VII stopped all of that – for the better – and that the altar is where its happening, not the tabernacle. This sad individual was all but gleeful that tabernacles are now often unlocatable in churches and cathedrals and poured scorn on a huge Corpus Christe procession held in Sydney’s CBD last week. I murmoured to a lady sitting next to me that SC, LG and GeS HAVE NEVER called for the cessation of adoration, the removal of tabernacles etc and – without the Tabernacle the altar is meaningless. The sentiment of this man is a pandemic within 90% of churchgoers between the ages of 55 and 80 – it breaks my heart! I had to physically pull myself away from stopping when I passed him after the meeting as he ranted to another punter there about all of this who, thank God, stuck up for Christ.

    I thank God that the 70YO priest who currently keeps this disperate rural parish going is teaching the little kinder children at our local Catholic school the vital importance of the Tabernacle what, or rather, who resides within it, the altar, genuflecting before the tabernacle, how and why we ought to anoint ourselves with Holy Water when entering the church and though he is very very timmerous about anything latin, when its his turn to run it, does a great Adoration hour every Friday, plus first Saturday. (one of his confrares, Fr. R., who has just been for surgery to receive a pacemaker and is a survivor of prostate cancer usually concludes the adoration and sings an amazingly beautiful Latin hymn at the end). I wish these boomer lay clingers on could have heard Fr. P and Fr. R. in church speaking about, teaching about and doing the very things they decry. I thank God for the biological solution on the one hand that it will rid us of the liberal boomer and builder scourge who still think its the summer of 1969. ON the other hand, however, it will take with its passing Fr. P. (an amazing confessor) and the mighty yet humble Fr. R. Our music bigwigs are not much better than the man who degraded Christ in the monstrance, tabernacle and procession; I campaign whenever I see them for more Rutter, Sullivan, Parry, Howells, Tavernor (both of them), Vaughan-Williams and Britton, along with the amazing English chant Psalm settings that come to us from choirs such as Kings College, Cambridge.

    They think they’re so up to date – if they were really getting with the times, they’d be getting ready to perform the amazing Australian Mass setting by Brophey, released last year!! IT IS TRULY AWESOME!! but they’re stuck in 1970.

    Pray that the toxin exhuded by the layety mentioned above is neutralized by our priests and the next generation, plus those who truly care for our Lord and aren’t set in amber like these old fossils. Brophey’s Mass setting will long outlive the gruel, incipid ‘gather us in’ et al.

  8. jacobi says:

    And not a single dog collar amongst them. But then why should there be?

    After all they are the new Church in which the priest will be just one of the boys, (and maybe even girls). I mean as for all that stuff about the Ordained Priesthood and the rest of that pre-Vat II superstition …………

  9. Hidden One says:

    They remain priests, and thus deserve more respect and prayer than is too often given them.

  10. JBS says:


    Maybe it’s because rude people like you call it a “dog collar”.

  11. JBS says:

    The II Vatican Council requires priests to pray the Office in Latin, so I wonder if these sacred ministers did so in common during the meeting. The same council reiterates that the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation, so I wonder if they all believe that.

    The II Vatican Council is a great council because it makes Trent come alive in our own age. Therefore, it’s good to be an authentic “Vatican II” priest.

  12. Wow. Could make a fortune selling Grecian Formula there.

    Sad, just sad. Instead of worrying about how they can make the Church ‘relevant’ and conform to society’s whims…maybe some effort should be applied to making society conform to God’s will?

    Or is that too much work? I think, what we’re seeing, is the slow decline of the V-II generation who saw their precious vocation as just another ‘job’ to parrot the company line, and the rise of the younger men (MEN) who tested the mealy-mouthed pablum of the 60s, 70s, and 80s church, found it wanting, and are going in another more sturdy direction.

    Like the nuns on the bus, I think you’ll see this organization slowly fade into even further irrelevance as time goes by and the average age approaches the octogenarian and beyond.

  13. robtbrown says:

    That gathering reminds me of what a priest friend told me about the reaction of some priests in his archdiocese toward the rather small liturgical adjustments made a few years ago. He said some acted as if they were being required to start saying mass in ancient Greek.

  14. John V says:

    Do take a moment to peruse their web site. Of particular interest is one of the Proposals up for discussion at this week’s Assembly, “Difficulties with the 2011 Missale Romanum Translation”.

    The Proposal: “That the AUSCP/AUSCP Board form a taskforce of pastors and pastorally sensitive scholars of liturgy to create an archive of problematic translations in the present Missale Romanum 2002/2008 aimed at the next translation.”

    Some of the work: “That the AUSCP Board petition the bishops to refuse to allow the process used to produce the Roman Missal to inflict [sic] other liturgical translations; for example: Pastoral USA adaptations of the RCIA rites, the Pastoral Care of the Sick, the USA funeral adaptations funeral rites.”

    Some of the “Considerations” giving rise to the Proposal:

    “WHEREAS many scholars, bishops and priests find the translation method espoused by “Liturgiam authenticam” and promoted by Vox Clara causing serious problems of intelligibility for the faithful, bishops and presbyters when these texts are proclaimed aloud; [When you see “presbyter” instead of “priest”, alarm bells should ring.]

    WHEREAS there are problems in grammar and syntax [Maybe if you are not bright enough to be able to read.]

    WHEREAS an effort to be theologically precise and comprehensive in saying many things in one long sentence, results in unintelligibility, confusion and frustration to the listener.” [ut supra]

    Finally, the Proposal recommends that “Four to six additional taskforce members from AUSCP membership and liturgical experts join the co-chairs in forming a Vernacular Taskforce to advance the intentions of this goal.” [Excellent. Keep forming those committees, men!]

    Hmmm. A “liturgical expert” for a “Vernacular Taskforce”. Something tells me it won’t be Fr. Z.

  15. Legisperitus says:

    “Revelation in our Lives and Time” is an appropriate title, since the New Pentecost crowd still seem convinced that there was a new (and contradictory) public revelation at Vatican II.

  16. Fr. Erik Richtsteig says:

    Lovely, as if the LCWR and the National Federation of Priest’s Councils were not enough.

  17. kimberley jean says:

    They may be old but don’t count them out. An old man can be a vicious fighter and the young priests have no power.

  18. Kathleen10 says:

    They are stating it’s not what is said, it’s how it is said that is the problem.
    They are claiming it is a matter of “intelligibility”, that the people and even Bishops are having problems articulating the words of the new translation, because words are set in long sentences and the syntax is awkward.
    That would indicate that only grammatical adjustments would be made, or so they say. They could find no finer scholar on this point than Fr. Z., surely.
    Which reminds me, is it not timeth for yon Talk Like Shakespeare Day? I look forward to thus all yeareth.

  19. Sonshine135 says:

    Sadly, these Priests like the Sisters in the LCWR all just seem extremely bitter to me. They are absolutely beside themselves that the “new evangelization” has become a “renewed evangelization” of the older form of the liturgy. I pray for them too. These are the men who spearheaded the effort to rip out high altars, statues, and pipe organs and replace them with tables, felt banners, and guitars. They truly hate the counterinsurgency that is quietly building up in the church. I truly pity these people.

  20. frival says:

    If anyone is still under the unfortunate impression that anger and lack of charity are the sole purview of the traditionalist crowd they only need read the comments section in that article. I fear mothers across the world might just be right and some of these have had their faces permanently fixed in a dark scowl. Evangelium gaudium, indeed.

  21. jacobi says:


    I assure you that the expression “dog collar” is in no way a derogatory, on this side of the pond anyway. I assume you are from the other? If anything it was an expression of affection in the pre-Vat II days, when the relationship between clergy and laity was so much more natural than it is now.

  22. RomeontheRange says:

    I would like to applaud the exemplary charity of stephen c above. Even as we strive collectively to do better for our Lord and our Mother Church than the AUSCP’s generation has done in its theology, liturgy, and even in its sartorial practice, let us keep in mind that if we do not outpace them in charity as well — in charity before all other considerations — it will all be for nothing in the end.
    cf. 1 Cor. 13 et seq.

  23. greg3064 says:


    They are absolutely beside themselves that the “new evangelization” has become a “renewed evangelization” of the older form of the liturgy. I pray for them too. These are the men who spearheaded the effort to rip out high altars, statues, and pipe organs and replace them with tables, felt banners, and guitars. They truly hate the counterinsurgency that is quietly building up in the church. I truly pity these people.

    Too true. I recently came back to the Catholic Church because it takes its traditions, teachings, and liturgy seriously. If that weren’t the case, it would be just another church with a lowercase c.

  24. AngelGuarded says:

    The picture of them in the article is telling. None wearing “blacks.” Brings to mind our parish’s 70-year-old priest who is retiring (in four days, but who is counting?) who is very um, progressive, and does not wear blacks when out and about, contrasted with our new 35-year-old pastor (thanks be to God) who wears his blacks, his birreta, and all his priestly clothing with humble pride (if you’ll permit me that oxymoron). Fr Z’s biological solution will resolve this. I just hope I’m young enough and not too senile to experience its end.

  25. AnAmericanMother says:

    As one approaching little-old-ladyhood myself, I will certainly pray for these poor priests.

    JBS, Jacobi –
    I agree that “dog collar” is not at all derogatory – probably started in the military and spread from there. It began as a way of distinguishing the “white-all-around” clerical collar of the “low-” or “broad-church” Anglican from the tabbed clerical collar of the Roman Catholic and “high-church” Anglican, but I get the impression that that distinction has been lost.

  26. JBS says:


    I have never before in 43 years heard this ridiculous term. I doubt I am the only one who would find it offensive. Priests are certainly not dogs, although there is a pronounced history of priests being treated worse than animals in England. The identifying attire is properly referred to as a “Roman collar”. I suggest it is best to use this acceptable term, at least when referring to North American priests. As for the particular priests in question, for better or worse, it is the usual practice for priests gathered together to forego clerical attire.

  27. Imrahil says:

    Dear JBS and AnAmericanMother,

    as a little part of “just saying”, I’ll throw in that soldiers tend not to be offended when hearing that they wear a “dog tag”. In fact they usually use the term themselves.

  28. AnAmericanMother says:

    Just another example of the Americans and English being divided by a common language.
    You’re not going to root it out of English discourse.
    But if it’s any comfort, you’re probably not going to find many Roman Catholic priests wearing one, since (along with ‘preaching bands’) it’s the traditional hallmark of the lower-church Anglicans – who I guess technically speaking aren’t in orders, from our point of view.

  29. AnAmericanMother says:

    That one comes from the term “dog-face soldier” i.e. an honest to goodness combat infantryman or engineer, and not some REM . . . never mind. :-)
    My dad was a combat engineer in N. Africa, Sicily and Italy – he did not find “dog tags” or “dog face” offensive.

  30. acardnal says:

    Fr Z, you should have requested a press credential to attend because it might have reciprocity at the next LCWR annual meeting, too!

  31. acardnal says:

    Fr Z, you should have requested a press credential to attend because it might have reciprocity at the next LCWR annual meeting, too!

  32. Lin says:

    Pray for them and their parishes. We have a progressive pastor, age 67, and it is VERY painful. I have seen him in a Roman collar once on Christmas. He even wore a turtleneck to a prayer service at a funeral home. He obviously does not want to be identified as a Catholic priest. Most of them are VERY angry, too. Very sad!

  33. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I see only white men in the pic. Perhaps there is also a discrimination of minorities going on? LOL. No wonder I wasn’t invited either- -too young and too Hispanic. Pobrecitos, as Pope Francis would say.

  34. Former Altar Boy says:

    I’ll bet if Father Z was there, he’d be wearing his clericals.

  35. MouseTemplar says:

    When our former bishop consolidated four Catholic schools, he chose one of these gentlemen to remain in charge of the remaining school. Now they teach Yoga in the “Liturgy Atrium” and my son attends a local Charter public school….

  36. The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy is a national association of 500+ priests and deacons who are loyal to the Magisterium and obedient to the Roman Pontiff. Our membership spans all ages from newly ordained to seasoned pastors like myself who just celebrated 26 years of priesthood to Fr. Bob Levis who is 92 and ordained 66 years. The CCC is meeting July 8-11 in Hanceville and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is our keynote speaker along with Dr. Scott Hahn and Fr. Charles Conner. January 5-9, 2015, we meet in Rome with our Australian, British and Irish compatriots (all CCC’s) with Cardinal Pell, Cardinal Burke and Archbishop DiNoia speaking. Unfortunately, the dissident AUSCP gets plenty of publicity but they are an endangered species. The CCC is orthodox, they are not. We promote sacerdotal fraternity as well as ongoing spiritual, theological and pastoral formation under the patronage of Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy. They spread dissent and disobedience. The CCC is open to any and all Catholic priests, deacons and seminarians in good standing with Holy Mother Church, their diocese or religious community. Please pray for us.

  37. Mojoron says:

    Looks to me as if there needs to be some fastin’ goin’ on there.

  38. I’ve offered criticism of this group, but not about their clothing in this picture. They were at an all priests event, so I don’t really expect them to wear clerics in that setting. I’d focus on something else…

    For example…

    The N”C”R article — or else the comments — had one of these fellows complaining about how bishops and younger priests casting them aside, as if this was a collective assessment. In polite terms, I call Bovine Substance.

    Some priests of a certain generation probably do feel that way, because they saw their projects and attitudes and preferences cast aside. But they never want to talk about why those ideas, and projects, were cast aside. No, it was only “ageism,” not anything else.

    It’s a clever tactic, because avoids all discussion of any problems that would justify the change of direction they can’t bear to discuss. To hear these guys, almost nothing at all has been wanting in anything in the life of the church since, say, 1967. If pressed, they will acknowledge “a few problems,” but mainly they point to the failure to keep “going forward,” and then, the horrible, horrible “turning back the clock.” It would be like a doctor who just couldn’t understand why they weren’t interested in medicine as practiced in 1970.

    Sadly, this reveals a deep narcissism which is the bane of our age, still, but which was a huge problem for many years in the church. It was fed and affirmed, and when suddenly, that narcissism is no longer petted and cooed over, the shock turns to incomprehending rage.

  39. GregH says:

    I didn’t know Fr Levis was still alive! Awesome that he is! What a great priest!!!!!!!

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  41. jacobi says:

    Just as a matter of interest I have looked up the origins of the expression ”dog collar”.

    One authority, Methodist, comments on the unreasonable dislike of the collar amongst Christians, and happily uses the term “Dog Collar”.

    Its modern use is Protestant in origin although they claim biblical origins.

    It is not a “Roman Collar” and rejects and it rejects the use of that term.

    And if I may make a further comment, the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ on Earth, has more important things to worry about right now!

  42. Christine says:

    I just went to their site and read that at their meeting in Seattle in 2013, Bishop Donald Trautman (Trautperson) presided. That really said it all for me. These men really need a lot of prayer!

  43. La mama de Sebastian says:

    So now I know why our pastor was not there this weekend! He totally fits the bill for this ass…osciation. From the age down to the polo shirt. (We much better like the retired priest who comes in to celebrate mass when he’s out; one gets to actually pay attention during the homily)

  44. Katherine says:

    When Archbishop Jackels was installed in Dubuque a couple of years ago, approximately 400 priests attended. At the beginning of the celebration, I began to notice something interesting in the procession: the priests were all grey-headed. So, I began to tally the number who had not gone grey. If I remember correctly, it was seven. Seven! (Since I did not begin counting until I noticed, though, a couple more might have gotten by…)

    I had the distinct feeling that day, among all of the gathered “faithful,” that the good Archbishop was entering the belly of the beast, a lamb among wolves.

  45. kimberley jean says:

    The phrase “I’m offended” has become the new “I denounce you to Big Brother!” and the rest of us are supposed to join in for the two minute hate. We need to resist this.

  46. Rachel K says:

    JBS – I am surprised at your outrage at the use of the term “dog collar”. Here in the UK it is used frequently and causes no offence, in fact it is used in affection or an endearing way. I have never heard the words ” Roman Collar” used here other than by high Anglicans or those now in the Ordinariate.
    Perhaps it is a blip in the common language we share, as AnAmericanMother says?
    Either way, don’t waste time or energy being offended by that which was not intended as such. There are so many things worthy of our righteous anger…
    Fr John Trigilio, thankyou for reminding us that faithful priests also gather to support each other in the faith and to continue their education. I hope your conference us fruitful.

  47. Kathleen10 says:

    Fr. Trigilio! I don’t know if you will check back but how good to see your comment! It is important to note the difference between the CCC you mentioned and the more liberal/progressive group of priests. Thank you for that important point.
    Your program on EWTN, “Web of Faith” with Fr. Levis and now with Fr. Brighenti was and is a superb program that answers so many questions about Catholicism, and I would like to thank you for it. It was a great blessing to my family and no doubt to countless others! All we have are poor “thank you’s” to offer our faithful priests and bishops and an inclusion in prayer. May God reward you all richly as you deserve.

  48. marcpuckett says:

    Lin, 25th at 05:20, There is a real sense in which I think many of those priests probably have a right to be angry. For whatever reasons, they were sold a bill of goods back in the 60s and early 70s, and however it may be that they let themselves be seduced by the sales pitch, the spirit of the world, of the age, of the devil, of ‘the Council’, they most of them began with and kept for who knows how long the best of intentions. I see Fr Fox commented supra; he and the folks over at PrayTell had a… controversy, a year ago or whenever… the point is that the first comment on one of the posts to do with all of that came from a priest who, when I knew him, was associate pastor at the parish where I was received into the Church back in the mid-70s. Fr N. had a good pastoral persona, celebrated the Mass attente ac devote– but… who knows? Anyway, they infuriate me, that lot, at the level of ideas and so forth but individually… alas, alas.

  49. smlyons77 says:

    Wow…I recognize one of those priests. He’s a retired priest in my Diocese. Guess who isn’t coming to do a Mass or funeral the next time we need a fill-in?

    I went through the list of retired priests who are available to do “fill-in” work a couple weeks ago based on those who signed a letter of support for Father Tony Flannery. I spotted a few from my diocese on the list. They received the White-Out treatment and are no longer welcome at the Parish where I am the office manager.

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