An Austrian priest whose views of the Catholic Church, including the priesthood, “diverge very seriously from Catholic belief and practice” has been barred from speaking at any parish or facility of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, according to a July 18 statement by the archdiocese.
Nevertheless, Father Helmut Schuller will speak Friday evening at a conference center on the campus of Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia as part of his national speaking tour.
Father Schuller founded the Austrian Priests’ Initiative in 2006 and the “Call for Disobedience” in 2011 to support changes in Church practice and parish life in particular. His speaking tour, titled “Catholic Tipping Point,” encourages prohibited practices in the Church such as lay preaching and ordination of married men and women.
In its statement, the Archdiocese emphasized that Chestnut Hill College, which is run by the Sisters of St. Joseph, is not sponsoring the priest’s appearance, nor is it affiliated with the Archdiocese.
But the statement took the college to task for “allowing a campus venue to be used in this manner.” Doing so, it said, “is regrettable and inevitably damages the unity of the local Church.”
It added that Archbishop Charles Chaput’s concerns over Father Schuller’s appearance “have been communicated directly to the leadership of the college and the Sisters of St. Joseph.”
The priest has also been banned from speaking at parishes and institutions of the Archdiocese of Boston.