Press Release: May 10, 2011

American Catholic Council  Detroit Skyline
Reclaiming the Promise of Vatican II
Pentecost Weekend, JUNE 10-12, 2011
PRESS RELEASE: May 10, 2011
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Holy Spirit 2


Gracious and Holy God, we join in prayer with all who seek to reclaim the vision and spirit of Vatican II and all those who will gather in Detroit this Pentecost.


May we be anointed by your Spirit to share in divine creativity in solving challenges of carrying out Vatican II’s empowerment of the baptized;

Send forth your Spirit!


May we benefit from the diversity of gifts you have bestowed on all your people and work toward recognizing and using those gifts fully and inclusively;

Send forth your Spirit!


May we be open to Your grace and steadfast in the face of scorn, opposition and dismissal;

Send forth your Spirit!


May we always remember all those who have gone before us, both blazing prophets and quiet souls, who have labored for freedom, truth and dignity for your people;

Send forth your Spirit!


May we join our footsteps with those of your Risen Son, on the Road to Emmaus, the Promise of Pentecost, and the Alleluia of a resurrected Church; Send forth your Spirit!


May we be strengthened by the solidarity of this communal prayer and through the grace and power of the God who lovingly weaves us all together in a tapestry of love, so that we can do more than any one of us dreams alone;

Send forth your Spirit!


Catholics Speak Out in Nationwide

Listening Sessions

Barrington, IL: A key component of the inaugural convening of the American Catholic Council, to unfold in Detroit on Pentecost Weekend June 10-12, will be the release of a report on nearly 100 local and regional Listening Sessions across the country over the past 18 months.

These sessions have taken place in diverse settings, from parish halls and living rooms, to hotel conference rooms and retreat centers.  Each has been an occasion where the faithful have had the opportunity to dialogue and listen to the promptings of the Spirit as they prayerfully considered fundamental questions about the future of the Catholic Church.  Many gathered out of a sense of urgency and a shared sense of responsibility to build a better Church, and one grounded in the vision and promise of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

Jacksonville Listening AssemblyThe overwhelming issue echoed throughout Listening Sessions is the hierarchy’s unwillingness to enter into dialogue with the laity about real issues which affect the lives and faith of real people in the church.  From the perspective of the vast majority of participants in these listening sessions, the hierarchy is increasingly remote, disengaged and irrelevant to the faith lives of rank and file Catholics.  This suggests a fundamental crisis of leadership in an increasingly dysfunctional institutional Church.  Many see this failure to engage the diversity of the faithful as undermining the promise of a more inclusive Church that is central to the reforms called for by Vatican II.  It is increasingly evident that the primary focus of the ACC when it convenes in Detroit will be to address issues of leadership, governance and structural reform.

These dialogues were informed by three fundamental tenets drawn from the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Vatican II).

  • As baptized Catholics, all the faithful share in the ministry of Jesus, the Christ;
  • Because all of us are the Church, the common sense of faithful Catholics (sensus fidelium) is a legitimate agent of the Holy Spirit and serves to inform Church practice and teaching, in tandem with Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium;
  • As adult Catholics, we are called to nurture an informed conscience that is the final arbiter of our actions;

Jacksonville Listening Assembly(3)Preliminary data demonstrates that the overwhelming majority of participants in the listening sessions love the church and do not wish to leave the church like the 30 million who have left in recent years. Many are greatly concerned that the spirit of Vatican II has been repressed.

The 2011 Detroit Council celebrates the upcoming 50th anniversary of the opening of the  Second Vatican Council  convened by Pope John XXIII and seeks to reinvigorate the Council’s reforms, which have been increasingly downplayed in recent years. These include openness to all peoples and cultures, collegial and responsible decision-making, the primacy of a well-formed conscience, and sincere ecumenism.

The ACC Listening Session process also recalls two years of similar sessions leading up to an historic gathering convened in Detroit in 1976 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to implement Vatican II.  Honoring the U.S Bicentennial year, that event 35 years ago recognized that many reforms called for by Vatican II mirrored foundational American principles of freedom of conscience, individual rights, and democratic practices, thus encouraging increased involvement of the laity in Church governance.

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