Letter to Pope Francis

Open Letter to Pope Francis on Behalf of Married Roman Catholic Priests
April 5, 2019
Memorial of St. Isidore, Bishop | Doctor of the Church
His Holiness Francis
Apostolic Palace 
00120 Vatican City State
Your Holiness Pope Francis,
Cordial greeting to you.
The Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) is pleased to provide a “home” for married Roman Catholic priests and hopefully to eventually enable them to continue to serve sacramentally within the Roman Catholic Church.
As historically documented, we were canonically created in 1985 as the Catholic Apostolic Church, Eastern Rite, International Ordinariate, later identified as the Federation of Jesus Abbeys and most recently as the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical. We were founded within the Personal Papal Prelature of Pope John Paul II of 1985. Our specific pastoral activity, as well as the desire of Pope John Paul II, was to create a way for married Roman Catholic priests to return home to continue to serve within Roman Catholic parishes.
One day St. Francis of Assisi prayed in the little church of Saint Damian outside the walls of Assisi. He felt the eyes of the Christ on the crucifix gazing at him and heard a voice saying three times, “Francis, go and repair my house, which you see is falling down.” This message is just as relevant today as it was in the time of Francis of Assisi.
You “were the only Roman Catholic cleric to praise the life of a former bishop [Jerónimo José Podestá] who had left the priesthood to marry ….You knelt at his deathbed and comforted him.” As Archbishop of Argentina, you noted that in the Eastern churches, priests can be married, and “they are very good priests…It is a matter of discipline, not of faith. It can change.” Obviously, you are very sensitive to the needs of the People of God for the Eucharistic food which only a priest can provide. There is refreshed anticipation that our Church will return to our earliest tradition embracing both married and celibate priests.
The Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) is where we embrace priests who have left celibate promises/vows as Roman Catholic priests to marry. Sadly, they have become abandoned by the Church and disheartened, and we seek in the OFE to love and console them. We have within the Order married priests of proven seriousness and maturity who wish to return to sacramental ministry. We select married men who are called to priesthood to make them available to Roman and Eastern Catholic Bishops.
We can say is that the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) is the only formal outcome of a 34 year study presented by the task force created by the Vatican in 1985. Holy Father, we will be remembering you in our prayers during the Divine Liturgy. We, too, ask to be remembered in your prayers.
In filial devotion,
Abbot Father Michael+, OFE 
Very Reverend Michael Cuozzo+, OFE, MDiv, DD, STD, PhD
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