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First Parish in Dedham Hosts Barred Priest

Posted by T. Resnikoff // July 18th 2013 // Issues and Trends // one comment

When the Catholic Cardinal O’Malley of Boston barred catholic congregations from receiving Rev. Helmut Schuller to debate the necessity to reform church governance known as the Austrian Priest’s Initiative, Unitarian Universalist First Church and Parish in Dedham, MA opened its doors. More than 550 people attended, and as one said, “We’re citizens of this church. How could talking to one another be a bad thing?” Read about it on the First Church website. – Ed.

Hundreds Pack Unitarian Church To Hear Reformist Catholic Priest


Some waited for three hours to get into First Church in Dedham to hear a reformist Austrian priest Helmut Schuller. (Fred Thys/WBUR)DEDHAM, Mass. — Hundreds of people, most of them Catholic, turned out Wednesday night in Dedham to hear a reformist Catholic priest from Austria. The  Rev. Helmut Schuller was scheduled to speak at Saint Susanna Parish in Dedham, but was barred by Cardinal Sean O’Malley due to his positions on several issues which run contrary to official Catholic church doctrine. So the meeting was moved to a Unitarian church — First Church and Parish in Dedham. Some waited for three hours to get into First Church in Dedham to hear a reformist Austrian priest Helmut Schuller. People lined up in the suffocating heat outside First Church as early as 3 p.m. Wednesday. Shortly after 6 p.m., when the doors opened, a sizable crowd had gathered.

“The windows in a Protestant church open,” someone in the crowd said as people filed into the old church, some of its windows jarred open with electric fans. “Ours haven’t opened since John XXIII died.”

People nearly filled the pews, and another 200 opted to listen via loudspeakers outside on the cooler town green.

Schuller is among Austrian priests pushing for the ordination of women and married priests. He also wants lay Catholics to have more say in how the church is run. Schuller is touring the U.S. this summer. Wednesday night he spoke of the closing of Austrian churches.

Reposted from the WBUR website – read the full story by Fred Thys, and listen to audio here.


Learn more about the Austrian Priest’s Initiative and response to Rev. Schuller’s summer speaking tour here:

Dealing With the Austrian Priest’s Initiative (catholicculture.org)

Rev. Helmut Schuller’s “Call to Disobediance” (catholictippingpoint.org)

Banned in Boston: Cardinal O’Malley orders parishes not to let priest speak (globalpost.com)



About the Author

Ted Resnikoff is the Digital Communications Editor at the Unitarian Universalist Association.
One Response to “First Parish in Dedham Hosts Barred Priest”
  1. honeybee33 says:

    While Unitarian Universalism is NOT a Protestant denomination, I’ll overlook the error and accept the statement and its metaphor as a great compliment. And – way to live our faith, First Church and Parish!

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