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The President of Universal Life Church Issues Statement - RE: Milwaukee Archdiocese Sanction

The Universal Life Church World Headquarters, is a Non-Denominational and Independant Catholic, Non-Profit Religious Organization with the 2nd largest faith based clergy membership in the world, behind only the Roman Catholic Church. The Universal Life Church World Headquarters unlike the Roman Catholic Church ordains both men and/or women as Non-Denominational Ministers and/or as Independent Catholic Priests.


Carrabelle, FL -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/05/2012 -- The Universal Life Church World Headquarters, is a Non-Denominational and Independant Catholic, Non-Profit Religious Organization with the 2nd largest faith based clergy membership in the world, behind only the Roman Catholic Church. The Universal Life Church World Headquarters unlike the Roman Catholic Church ordains both men and/or women as Non-Denominational Ministers and/or as Independent Catholic Priests. The President of the Universal Life Church World Headquarters, Reverend Michael J. Cauley, OSM. (Brother Michael) is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin native and despite having lived in Florida since 1982 still has many ties to the Milwaukee community and within the Milwaukee Archdiocese as well. Recently the Milwaukee Archdiocese and the Roman Catholic Church sanctioned Father Bill Brennan, a 92 year old Priest and long time friend of Brother Michael.

Brother Michael from his office in Carrabelle, Florida issued this statement to the press, as well as letter to his mentor Father Bill Brennan of Wauwatosa, WI. (Note: Following his statement are two articles, the first from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the second from five years ago from the Catholic News Service). Brother Michael's statement as follows:

I've known Father Bill since I was eight years old. While never molested by a Catholic Priest, a few of my mentors growing up were among the accused, but never, never was Father Bill ever accused. For nearly the past century my brother in Christ has given his life to our Lord and to his flock, from an altar boy as a child to that of an ordained Minister as an adult his loyalty to Christ and his commitment to help lead and teach by example has never waivered. Together we have seen our friends bite the bullet of satan, yet Father Bill always stood strong. Even at 92 years of age Father Bill once again stood strong.

In the 1960's it was Fr James Groppi who stood strong for equal rights, than based on skin color, at the time Fr Groppi was shunned by the hierarchy of the Milwaukee Archdiocese and the Roman Catholic Church. 50 years later we can look back and see that Fr Groppi was right all a long, today he would of been a hero.

In 2050 my friend the same will be said about you. Just know I will ordain every woman on this planet as an Independent Catholic Priest, for it is the Universal Church of which the Roman Catholic Church derived its name from. Some day we will be one, united within Jesus Christ!

Your Brother in Christ ~ Brother Michael

Priest, 92, sanctioned for Mass with woman priest

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

Dec. 4, 2012 6:06 p.m.

A 92-year-old Milwaukee Jesuit is the latest American priest to be sanctioned for celebrating the Catholic Mass with a woman priest in violation of church teaching.

Father Bill Brennan, a longtime peace activist, has been ordered not to celebrate the Eucharist or other sacraments publicly, or to present himself publicly as a priest by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and his religious order, the Society of Jesus.

It comes three weeks after Brennan celebrated Mass with Milwaukee native the Rev. Janice Sevre-Duszynska during an annual protest at what was historically known as the School of the Americas at Fort Benning near Columbus, Ga.

And it follows the excommunication and defrocking of School of the Americas Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest who participated in Sevre-Duszynska's 2008 ordination in Lexington, Ky. (The former School of the Americas is now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.)

Brennan, who remains a priest and lives with other retired Jesuits in a Wauwatosa retirement home, said he knew he risked censure when he celebrated the sacrament with a woman priest.

"Sometimes in our lives we have to trust our conscience and bring about the consequences," said Brennan, a Wauwatosa native who taught at Marquette University High School beginning in 1968 and spent 17 years working in Latin America.

"I wasn't trying to show off for the ladies," he said.

Fellow peace and social justice advocates voiced disappointment in the censure. And Sevre-Duszynska called it "outrageous" and Brennan "prophetic."

"Bill has exemplified with his life the fruits of the spirit," she said. "He has worked for justice with the oppressed and marginalized, and for the liberation that Jesus teaches in the Gospel."

In the Catholic Church, the local bishop - in this case Archbishop Jerome Listecki - confers the "faculties" priests require to serve publicly in a geographic area. Jesuit Spokesman Jeremy Langford and Listecki's chief of staff, Jerry Topczewski, said it was a joint decision to withdraw Brennan's faculties for public ministry.

Unlike Bourgeois' sanction, the move does not appear to have prompted a Vatican review, at least for now. Both the Jesuits and the archdiocese said they planned to take no further actions against the elderly priest.

Brennan, who was arrested during a protest at Fort Benning in 2011, is one of two Milwaukee-area priests who have been sanctioned, at least in part for their actions there.

A 75-year-old Franciscan priest and peace activist, Father Jerry Zawada, was suspended by the Franklin-based Franciscan Friars Assumption BVM province after celebrating Mass at Fort Benning with Sevre-Duszynska in 2010 and 2011. His case is pending before the Vatican, said the Franciscan provincial, Father John Puodziunas. Zawada, who served previously in the Tucson diocese, said he's had no assignment since his suspension.

The Catholic Church prohibits the ordination of women.

Sevre-Duszynska of Lexington is ordained in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, which represents about 124 priests and 10 bishops around the world. The group claims legitimacy, saying the bishop who ordained its first women bishops stood in apostolic succession - the line of Catholic bishops who stretch back to Jesus' apostles. The Vatican rejects that argument.

The ordination of women in the Catholic Church is highly controversial, though a majority of Catholics appear it to support it - 59 percent, according to a 2010 New York Times and CBS News poll.

Theologians have long debated the legitimacy of the ban, and advocates for women priests often are dealt with harshly.

In 2008, the Vatican decreed that women who seek ordination and those who ordain them face automatic excommunication from the church. And in 2010 it listed the attempted ordination of women as a grave sin on par with pedophilia and heresy.

Brennan said his decision to celebrate Mass with Sevre-Duszynska grew not out of some "wild-eyed liberal" protest or heady theological research, but from his deep admiration for his own mother.

He recalled as a child of 9 hearing his older brother tease her, suggesting that "for a woman she was pretty intelligent."

"I'll never forget the look on my mother's face," said Brennan. "She knew we were teasing, but it wasn't funny," he said.

"We never did that again."

Wisconsin Jesuit priest joins humanitarian caravan to Cuba

By Cheri Mantz

Catholic News Service

MILWAUKEE (CNS) -- In his 87 years, many memories have formed in Jesuit Father Bill Brennan's mind.

An experience that he said changed his life took place in 1954 in Guatemala. While he was serving as a missionary in Honduras, his parents journeyed from Milwaukee to Honduras and he convinced them to travel to Guatemala to go sightseeing. However, the travelers didn't know that the U.S. CIA was beginning a coup against the elected government of Guatemala.

While in the airport saying goodbye to his parents, Father Brennan said he heard a message from Guatemala's president over the public-address system that the Americans were invading.

"I didn't fully comprehend what was happening," said Father Brennan from his home at San Camillo in Wauwatosa. "It was a shock; there was the president of Guatemala condemning my country."

Later, Father Brennan found out the reason for the invasion. Guatemala's president was attempting to buy back from local farmers land used to grow bananas. According to the priest, this was viewed as a communist act by the CIA.

In July, Father Brennan traveled to Cuba as part of the Pastors for Peace caravan. The trip was made as an act of civil disobedience against the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba, and to deliver humanitarian and medical supplies to the Cuban people.

Father Brennan feels strongly that Americans and Catholics should step in to help the people of Cuba.

"A blockade is an act of war," he said. "(The United States) refusing to sell medication to a poor country is hardly an act of a good neighbor."

The caravan of three buses and 140 people met in Texas. The buses carried passengers from the U.S., Canada, Germany and England into Mexico. They collected medication, wheelchairs, walkers, notebooks and bicycles along the way. The group flew from Mexico to Cuba and their supplies were shipped by boat.

While the trip was not glamorous and included many hours on an uncomfortable bus, Father Brennan said he plans to make it again next summer. "I'm going to go with the next caravan," he said. "My goal is to have an ecumenical service at the tomb of Che Guevara. We really need much more Catholic participation in this."

Pastors for Peace is made up mostly of Protestant ministers. Father Brennan is the only Catholic priest from the Milwaukee area who is involved. He is a member of the Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations With Cuba, which meets at Central United Methodist Church in Milwaukee.

Father Brennan said the teachings of the Second Vatican Council inspired him to make the trip.

"In Vatican II, it said seeking justice in this world is an integral part of the Gospel," he explained. "How do you challenge the government? Say the rosary together? As a Catholic, what do you do? Jesus came to the poor; he did not have lunch with the governor."

During the 10-day trip that Father Brennan described as a "nonviolent protest," participants visited medical clinics, an adult day-care center and homes for the elderly. They also attended the graduation of the first class of American doctors trained at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana.

"The people were thrilled we were there," Father Brennan said of the Cuban people. "They're suffering. They're grateful; they know we're violating federal laws."

Father Brennan said he feels called to be more active in justice issues. "That experience in 1954 changed my life," he said.

After working as a missionary in Belize and Honduras for 16 years, Father Brennan returned to the U.S. as a teacher at Marquette University High School and as pastor at St. Patrick Church in Milwaukee.

He said Catholics should educate themselves about this situation.

"It's a war process," he said. "Catholics should ask themselves why we are at war. Can we say this is a just war, that we're fighting atheistic communism? Castro was educated by the Jesuits.

"How do you explain not selling our medical treasures?" he continued. "Why are we punishing these people? As a Catholic I have to be concerned."

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