1996 Feb 21 – Flyer (Bulletin Letters)

1996 Feb 21 – Flyer (Bulletin Letters)


Wednesday Feb. 21, 1996 – St Ambrose Cathedral, Des Moines Iowa

An Unofficial

Ash Wednesday Prayer Service

“A Prayer for Dialogue in the Catholic Church”

”We believe the church is being confronted with a choice between its sacramental tradition and its commitment to an exclusively male celibate priesthood. One of the most critical aspects of this confrontation is that most church leaders have failed to accept responsibility for the choice…”

Full Pews & Empty Altars

by Richard Schoenherr

Who are we and why are we on the steps of

St. Ambrose Cathedral this Ash Wed. morning?

We are concerned Catholics who wish to add our voices and prayers to two national Catholic reform movements, Call To Action and Future Church. We are calling for “A National Dialogue On The Future Of Priestly Ministry”.

This call for dialogue responds to a moment of great opportunity in our U.S. Catholic Church. In June 1995, twelve bishops, among them Bishops Untener, Murphy, Gumbleton, Lucker and Archbishop Weakland, released a position paper calling for frank and open discussion among U.S. bishops on topics including the priest shortage, ordination of married men, the question of women and equality in the Church, loss of the Mass, the issue of priest moral, pedophilia and the quality of candidates being attracted to the priesthood today. Reportedly more than 100 additional bishops support much of this statement.

Recently the Vatican reiterated its ban on women’s ordination despite the fact that 43% of all the worlds parishes have no priest. In the United States, 2,000 parishes (%10) have no resident pastor. Between 1966 and 2005 there will be a 40% decline in the number of priests in the U.S. In the Diocese of Des Moines there were 131 active priest in 1966. That number dropped to 100 in 1985 and is expected to drop to 73 by the year 2005, an overall 44% decline between the years 1966 and 2005

In the same time period the Catholic population in the United States is expected to increase by 65%. In 1975 there was one priest for every 1,100 Catholics. In 2005, there will be one priest for every 2,200 Catholics and the median age of priests will be 60. That’s only nine years from now! (Full Pews and Empty Altars by Richard Schoenherr and Lawrence Young)

We believe that now is the time for all Catholics, laity, religious, clergy, and bishops to engage in open and honest dialogue to seek creative solutions to this crisis in our Catholic family.

We must claim responsibility to revitalize priestly ministry, for the sake of the Gospel; for the sake of the Eucharist and the Church – present and future; for the sake of women and married people called to priestly ministry but unjustly denied the opportunity to respond to ªthat call; for the sake of our ordained brothers, who carry an increasingly heavy work load and for the sake of young people who hunger for spiritual values from a credible church.

Iowa Call To Action contacts:


Fr. Frank Cordaro                                           Rev. Mr. John Ayers                                       Rita Hohenshell

Lacona IA                                                   Clear Lake IA                                                 Des Moines IA

(515) 534-4691                                           (515) 357-4489                                                           (515) 285-1816


A Statement In Support

“We wish to go on record in our support for a national dialogue on the future of priestly ministry. We would be with you in person except we fear the possible consequences our presence would pose to our active priestly ministries. We are committed to further the needed, on going dialogue with in the Catholic Church regarding these issues.”

Fr. Frank Cordaro       Lacona Iowa

Fr. Tom Coenen                      Leon Iowa

Fr. Tom DeCarlo                    Johnston Iowa

Fr. David Polich                     Des Moines Iowa

Fr. Kevin Cameron                 Des Moines Iowa


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