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Press conference
Press conference at U.S. Bishops meeting (l to r) Sally Orgren, Chris Schenk csj, Dan Daley, Crystal Chan, Jim Orgren and Anne Harter.

Optional Celibacy Campaign Takes Off
Cardinal George, Bishop Michael Pfeifer Support Discussion

A FutureChurch organized press conference at the November U.S. Bishops meeting yielded rich fruit. For the first time, two bishops, Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George and Bishop Michael Pfeifer of San Angelo, TX publicly supported the Milwaukee priests’ call for discussion of optional celibacy. Our delegation to Washington also delivered 7000 letters asking for open discussion of the issue as the “first installment” in an eighteen month Corpus Christi Campaign for Optional Celibacy. 1700 of the letters were collected just four days earlier at the annual meeting of Call to Action.

Sr. Christine Schenk (FutureChurch), Crystal Chan and Dan Daley (CTA National), Anne Harter (FOSIL), Jim and Sally Orgren (CTA Buffalo) and Fr. Jack O’Malley (Association of Pittsburgh Priests) gave public statements about the Corpus Christi Campaign for Optional Celibacy. The group later met for over 30 minutes with two U.S. Bishops Conference staff members who told them: “you are clearly concerned people who love the Church.”

Media coverage included two USA Today articles, a brief but meaty CNN piece, and a four minute interview on Fox Business with Neil Kavuto. Milwaukee Public Radio and Nebraska Public Radio did stories as did PBS’ Religion and Ethics Newsweekly which featured FutureChurch’s Chris Schenk addressing optional celibacy. Religion News Service put a feature story on the national wire. Other newspaper stories appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
the Buffalo News, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the Harrisburg Patriot News, the Green Bay Press Gazette, the Dallas Morning News and the Toledo Blade.

Signed petitions are pouring into the FutureChurch office where our staff is busy preparing them to be presented at the International Synod on the Eucharist. We are also encouraging supporters to sponsor a special Corpus Christi day of prayer and education about the priest shortage and its effect on Catholic sacramental life. Special Corpus Christi prayer services and petitions can be downloaded from the web site as well as a campaign organizing kit and other resources.

Fall 2003



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