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Archbishop Vigneron Letter on the American Catholic Council
Issued: June 3, 2011
Contact: Joe Kohn, firstname.lastname@example.org / (313) 237-5943
My dear brother priests and deacons,
As you may be aware, a group calling itself the American Catholic Council will be meeting at Cobo Hall on the weekend of June 11 and 12. Despite my attempts to engage in a dialogue with them about this planned event, the organizers of this conference have not replied to me directly. I have a number of concerns about this event and caution any Catholic against participating for reasons expressed already in previous communications sent by the Archdiocese.
Of particular concern is the "Eucharistic Liturgy," noted on the schedule for this conference on Pentecost Sunday, June 12. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council instruct us, "Every legitimate celebration of the Eucharist is regulated by the bishop, to whom is committed the office of offering the worship of the Christian religion to the divine Majesty and of administering it in accordance with the Lord's commandments and with the Church's laws, as further defined by his particular judgment for his diocese." (Lumen Gentium, 26). I take my role as moderator of the liturgy for the archdiocese (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22) very seriously. To confirm the legitimacy of what they had planned, the ACC had been asked to provide details regarding this liturgy. The response received was ambiguous, and there are good reasons for believing forbidden concelebration will take place by the laity and with those not in full communion with the Church.
In order to fulfill my responsibilities, so clearly enunciated by the Second Vatican Council, of fostering of communion with both the local and the universal Church, I am compelled to caution any priests or deacons who may be considering participation in this liturgy. It is not being celebrated with my permission as required by the law and the good order of the People of God. Further, clergy should be aware of the impact of forbidden concelebration with those who are not in full communion (canons 908 and 1365). This is a serious delict, for which recourse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is required, and which may result in dismissal from the clerical state (cf. Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela, 2001 and 2010).
I ask that you pray with me for the unity of the Church. As we commemorate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin in this upcoming Solemnity, may the Holy Spirit come afresh on all of us, keeping us united in the love of God and keeping our attention and energies focused on the task of sharing Christ in and through His Church.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit
Archdiocese of Detroit
1234 Washington Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48226
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