Newsletter, JULY 2010

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On the way to Detroit

Reclaiming the Promise of Vatican II     Newsletter / JULY 2010

Focusing Our Aims in Detroit
New Online Forums
Update on Listening Sessions
Invitation to Exhibitors
Pre-Council Partner Sessions
Visit our website
American Catholic Council
to learn more about us and access prayers and educational resources.
Registration Now Open For the ACC National Council in Detroit
June 10-12 2011


Or Download Form, print and mail it to:

ACC Registrar
c/o T.M. Enterprises
7431 E State St #235 Rockford, IL 61108
(Tel) 815-299-7158

Register by July 31st for Early Bird Discount
Group Discounts
Also Available
Join Our Email List
Our Foundational Documents
Declaration of Reform

Catholic Bill of Rights
and Responsibilities

Other Documents

On the Way to Detroit


Now is the time to be planning Fall and Spring Listening Sessions in your Community. Learn how you can convene a local or regional “LISTENING SESSION” (Assembly) in your local community, parish, faith-sharing group, Small Christian Community, diocese, organization or region in an effort to help us gather the “Sense of the Faithful” (Sensum Fidelium) and pass that input to the processes that unfold in Detroit.  Checkout the Assemblies Community Network (ACN) for more info.  It’s the “nerve center” of grassroots organizing and communications among U.S. Catholics invested with the mission and agenda of the ACC. From there, you can also access:
. CALENDAR of Assemblies
· TOOLKIT to plan a Listening Session in your Community;
· DATA COLLECTION Surveys that inform the proceedings and processes of the Detroit National Council in June, 2011;

If interested in convening a local Listening Session, please submit this form:
Assembly Planning Form
Local Planners Telecons

Planners of Listening Sessions (Assemblies) can join in teleconferences to learn more and share ideas. All times EDT.
Next Telecons:
Telecon A: Nuts & Bolts of Planning an Assembly: Mon., August 9, 7pm Telecon B: Tutorial on Using the ACN site and Survey Admistration:
Thurs. August 12, 7pm
Participants should RSVP by emailing: Linda Pinto


Call-in Number and Access Code will be sent to all registrants via email approximately 24 hours in advance.
More Information available on Assemblies Community Network.

Prayer for New BeginningsNew Beginnings

God of history and of my heart, so much has happened to me during these whirlwind days…

You know my frail heart and my frayed history – and now another day begins.

O God, help me to believe in beginnings and in beginning again, no matter how often I’ve failed before… 

Help me to be a beginning for others, to be a singer to the songless, a storyteller to the aimless, a befriender of the friendless;To become a beginning of hope for the despairing, of assurance for the doubting,
of reconciliation for the divided;

To become a beginning of freedom for the oppressed, of comfort for the sorrowing, of friendship for the forgotten;

To become a beginning of beauty for the forlorn of sweetness for the soured, of gentleness for the angry, of wholeness for the broken, of peace for the frightened and violent of the earth.

Help me to believe in beginnings, to make a beginning, to be a beginning, so that I may not just grow old, but grow new each day of this wild, amazing life you call me to live with the passion of Jesus Christ. AMEN.
Excerpts from a prayer by Ted Loder, Guerillas of Grace, Innisfree Press, PA


Donations Piggy Bank
Can you


We welcome your Tax-deductable donations to help support the work of the American Catholic Council.

The easiest and most direct means is to make a direct online CREDIT CARD donation by going to Donations and then clicking the link to NETWORK FOR GOOD. Once there, follow these steps:
1. Under Charity, enter American Catholic Council;
2. Under State, enter Florida,
(where ACC is incorporated);
3. Choose the CREDIT CARD option; Do NOT use the Paypal option;
4. Follow the prompts to complete your transaction;

Alternately, you can write a check, payable to American Catholic Council, and mail to:
American Catholic Council
P.O. Box 3106
Barrington, IL 60016


partners climbing


This month’s featured Partner Group is Voice of the Faithful, a lay organization of faithful Catholics, who organized in 2002 as a response to the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. It has since expanded worldwide with more than 30,000 members. Its mission is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church.

Last Call for Early Bird Discount: Aug. 7th Deadline
Register Now for Best Rate in Detroit!

The first round of Early Registration with the greatest discount for the ACC National Council in Detroit (June 10-12, 2011) has been extended 7 days. The normal rate is $260, but if you submit on line or via mail postmarked by August 7th,  you lock in a great rate at $170 pp ($153 in groups of 10 or more). You can register in two ways: Early Bird


For an overview of the developing program, check out June and May Newsletter Archive.

Focusing Our Aims In Detroit:
FocusIn recent days the ACC National Planning Committee has had occasion to weigh in on a debate between two progressive Catholic thinkers, Michael Morwood and Robert Blair Kaiser, that recently appeared in an online exchange in New Catholic Times. Morwood is a former priest from Australia, author and adult Christian educator now living in the US. Kaiser is also an author and journalist by profession, formerly with CBS and the New York Times, for whom he covered Vatican II back in the 1960s.
We believe it appropriate to share ACC’s response that was recently submitted to New Catholic Times, as it can be a springboard to clarify our aims and intentions as to what we hope to accomplish in Detroit and beyond. By sharing this exchange, we hope to further tap the feedback of our constituents and spark a lively exchange through the interactive Forums that are now set up on the ACC Assemblies Community Network (see further below on how to access the Forums).
Background to the Exchange:
Several months ago, Morwood published his critique of the mission of ACC. His statement indicated he could not support ACC or its objectives because we failed to include in our mission statement a fundamental review of the statements of Catholic faith contained in the Nicene Creed.  You can read the full commentary on Morwood’s Website.

Last month, Kaiser critiqued Mr. Morwood’s position in Kaiser’s Response in New Catholic Times.  We note that Kaiser had been initially involved in the early formation of ACC in 2008, but subsequently resigned from the National Planning Committee because he felt that we had not, as part of our mission statement, called for the creation of an autochthonous American Catholic Church, i.e. an indigenous genuinely “American” Catholic Church.

The ensuing controversy between these two fine thinkers has indirectly impacted ACC. Though we respect the right of each to speak his mind, the situation is compounded in that:  (1) We only became aware of Morwood’s critique through third parties and never received it directly; and (2) Kaiser did not consult with us prior to his response and does not speak for ACC leadership. Accordingly it is incumbent on us to clear the air on this matter and clarify our position.

ACC’s Response recently submitted to New Catholic Times:
In September 2008, those involved in the early development of ACC considered the various missions, opportunities and issues associated with the formation of another group of lay-led reform Catholics in the US.  We decided then that many issues addressed by the missions of our partners in the reform movement had a clear commonality: They would all benefit from the application of the Motifs of the Holy Spirit which emerged from the Second Vatican Council.

John XXIIIIn January 2009, on the 50th anniversary of the call of Blessed John XXIII for convening Vatican II, the American Catholic Council issued its Declaration.  In that document we addressed our reading of the “Signs of the Times” and suggested that an anniversary celebration of Vatican II could renew our commitment to the Motifs of the Spirit which emerged from this historical event.

We underscored the following Motifs of the Holy Spirit as manifested in Vatican II:
· The universal call of all the baptized to ministry & participation in our Church;
· The primacy of a properly formed conscience in moral decision making;
· The universal availability of sacraments for food on the journey;
· Humble ecumenism;
· Participation of all the baptized in the temporal governance of our Church;
· The need to look again at the earliest institutional formation of our Church;

We decided to plan a two year series of Listening Sessions through local and regional Assemblies across the country, to invite the baptized to learn about, discuss and express their concerns, dreams and priorities about these motifs.  We are now more than a year into that venture.

We have been criticized on the right for being insufficiently deferential to the “magisterium” as they define it.  We have been criticized on the left for not being willing to take on the doctrines of Nicea, for being too institutionally deferential, and for not being the incubator of a new form of US Catholicism.

None of our individual planners speak for ACC and in fact no one does, as we are only midway through the listening process which will help form our agenda in Detroit on Pentecost Weekend in June 2011.

But, this much we do know:

  • Certain fundamental rights and responsibilities of all the baptized need to be proclaimed and celebrated; See our developing draft of a Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities which is emerging as a central component of our deliberation in Detroit; and
  • leadershipLeadership and Governance are emerging as the central issues, though not to the exclusion of others;  a thorough renewal of our institutional structures is required, if we are ever to have full participation of all the baptized, greater availability of ministerial opportunity, greater accountability, a reversal of the disintegration of the Catholic Church in the US and beyond, and a return to the Church envisioned in the Gospels;

We regret that some may feel this is not enough, or conversely, that even this agenda is simply impossible or Pollyanna-ish.  Yet, planning for the Council continues to more forward and we are greatly optimistic that thousands of Catholics who believe that our Church can be renewed and revitalized with the help of the Holy Spirit will join us in Detroit. Please work with us.  Please join us. Thank you

— Janet Hauter & John Hushon
Co-Chairs, American Catholic Council, Inc.

Note: You can monitor and/or participate in this continued discussion in the FORUM within the ACC Assemblies Community Network: Morwood/Kaiser Discussion. To learn how FORUM works, see the article below.

We are pleased to announce a new line-up of discussion “Categories” in the FORUM that has been relocated to the ACC Assemblies Community Network. Only the “home” page of the Assemblies Community Network is visible to the public. Most features of this “social networking site” (including all interactive features like the MEMBER FORUM) will require a simple “sign-up” process. If you are not already a member of the Network, you will be prompted to sign-up when you click on “Discussion Forums” in the horizontal Menu Bar.  Before doing so, we strongly encourage you to review the following documents about “membership” in the Network:
On Balancing Privacy and Transparency
How Membership Works on the Assemblies Community Network
Forum GraphicThe Forum consists of 8 Categories, each with a number of discussion threads that have been set up. Members can reply to any existing discussion or create new discussions in most of the categories.
The categories are as follows:
1. Key ACC Documents;
2. Nuts and Bolts of Planning Listening Sessions;
3. The Process in Detroit: Hopes, Expectations and Anxieties;
4. GOVERNANCE: The pivotal ACC Agenda;
5. Other Issues of Church Reform;
6. Engaging Young Adults and College Students;
7. Reaching out to Other Constituencies;
8. Other Topics;

Please See the following additional information:
Overview Description of content in each Category;
Guidelines for using the Discussion Forum;
If you need further assistance, please contact Technical Support.
We look forward to your continued Conversation!

Update on Local Listening Sessions (Assemblies):

There’s been a significant increase in the number of people in most every state in the nation who are accessing the Assemblies Community Network and going further by joining as members of that innovative online interactive community. Local Planning

The North Florida ACC Team is hosting hospitality sessions in homes across the region, as they prepare for an assembly in Jacksonville in February.
North Florida Planning Session

Teams continue to form around the country, using the summer months to plan for Fall Assemblies. More than 30 local planners recently took part in teleconferences designed to support local planning efforts.

We give thanks for the courage of these folks in the grassroots who are rising to the challenge. Like Jeremiah, they may often feel like saying, “I don’t know how to speak. I am only a child!” … yet they echo the prophet Isaiah, saying, “HERE I AM LORD!” … trusting in the consoling words of our Loving God, “Do Not Be Afraid, I am with you … I have called you by name.”

People ARE spreading the word by including articles about ACC in their newsletters and email communications far and wide. Here are some stats as of July 23:

  • Listening Sessions COMPLETED: 27 sessions in 11 states
  • Participants in past Listening Sessions: Approximately 900
  • Confirmed UPCOMING SESSIONS on the ACN Calendar: 9
  • Prospective UPCOMING SESSIONS in Planning: 35+
  • ACC Email Database: 1218
  • “Sign-ups” on Assemblies Community Network (ACN): 337
  • First Time Visitors to the ACN website: 4368
  • Total Hit Count to the ACN website: 5929


For more information, check out the Local Planners Toolkit on the Assemblies Community Network or email Peg Bisgrove or Sheila Peiffer of the Local/Regional Assembly Committee.


ExhibitorThe Exhibition Center at the Council will be in Ambassador Hall of Detroit’s Cobo Convention Center, in close proximity to the food court to assure maximum traffic.The Convention Center is under new management, has been remodeled and modernized and has relaxed many of the set up/take down expenses and issues of the past. All booth rentals include an 8′ Table with two chairs, back-drape, table covering, and TWO admissions to all Council Sessions;
–Commercial Sales: $400
–Non-Profits Not Selling Merchandise: $250

We are also planning to incorporate a local artisans “craft fair” adjacent to the Exhibition Center.The Council begins at 6 pm on Friday, June 10 and ends at 1 pm on Sunday June 12. However, the Exhibition Center and Food Court open at 4pm on Friday and all exhibits should be setup by that time. Reservations are accepted on a first come-first served basis. There is limited availability for exhibitors, so please make arrangements ASAP. To reserve your space, email: and put “ACC EXHIBITION BOOTH” in the subject heading.


CTAACC Caucus at CTAConference
We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a “caucus” at the annual conference of Call to Action in Milwaukee  Nov. 5-7. The ACC caucus convenes at 4 pm on Friday, Nov. 5, just prior to the start of the formal CTA program. Our event will take the form of a combined listening session and general informational session about ACC. We will also staff a booth in the Exhibitor’s section throughout the weekend, respond to questions and provide copies of the Detroit program and registration forms. For more information on CTA’s Annual Conference, click here. We are grateful for the support of many CTA chapters and members across the country who have either convened ACC listening sessions or participated in them.


Pre-Council Partner Sessions: Please be reminded that additional meeting rooms for ACC Partner Organizations will be available in Detroit at the Marriott, but must be reserved by August 31st. These rooms, with tables, chairs, podium and water service, are available for up to two days before the conference (Thurs and Fri, June 9-10) and during the conference itself, at a cost of $150-250 (depending upon size). Additional arrangements and refreshments can be made available. If your organization would like to reserve a room, please contact John Hushon or Janet Hauter.
Please forward this Newsletter to others who you feel are longing for a renewed Catholic Church and may be interested in joining us in Detroit next June.  THANK YOU!!The American Catholic Council, Inc.
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