Helmut Schüller opened a 15 city tour in New York City on Tuesday night, calling for a range of reforms in the Catholic Church and for priests to join in reform efforts side-by-side with concerned laity.
Some background: Fr. Helmut Schuller is the founder of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative, (Pfarrer-Initiative) organized in 2006 to address a deepening shortage of priests forcing many Austrian parishes to close. His work inspired the establishment of similar priest groups in Germany, Ireland, France, the United States and Australia.
Schüller’s U.S. Tour comes in the midst of a steadily worsening priest shortage. A 2009 study from the National Federation of Priests’ Councils found that for every 100 U.S. priests who retire, only 30 are available to replace them.
In June 2011, the Pfarrer-Initiative issued a “Call to Disobedience” calling for lay leadership and preaching in parishes without a priest, permitting divorced and remarried Catholics to receive sacraments and support for the ordination of women and married men.
Schüller’s tour is sponsored by 10 organizations, including the Quixote Center. His schedule can be viewed here.