A representative of the newly created Association of U.S. Catholic Priests will attend the general meeting of the Association of Catholic Priests (the Irish organization) Oct. 4-5 in Dublin.
Fr. Bernard Survil, who was instrumental in the formation of the U.S. association, said he hopes only to establish personal contact with officers and members of the Irish group.
"We are two independent organizations," he said, "and we don't see that the goals of the Irish association are replicable in the United States."
The Irish association is on record supporting the primacy of conscience, active participation of all the baptized in forming a church where all are treated as equals and a reevaluation of Catholic sexual teaching and practice.
"We have no reason to seize on hot buttons," Survil told NCR. Nor does he see any likelihood the U.S. association will embrace the position of the Austrian organization, the Initiative of Parish Priests, which is promoting reforms including giving communion to all who approach the altar in good faith and the ordination of women priests.
"Their approach is quite strong," Survil said, "and that sort of language would trouble a lot of American Catholics. At this point our agenda is focused on a serious look at the Second Vatican Council."
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Survil, a priest of the Greensburg, Pa., diocese, has worked for many years with the Association of Pittsburgh Priests. It was this organization which conducted a survey of U.S. priests concerning the goals a national association might work toward. The results prompted the birth of the U.S. association. While a Web site is under construction, interested persons may request more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
A veteran activist who also spent 25 years in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, Survil is also well-known in the central Pennsylvania area for his anti-war activities and his opposition to the School of the Americas. He is currently the chaplain at a school for exceptional children.