Newsletter: June 28, 2011

ACC LogoAmerican Catholic Council  Detroit Skyline
Reclaiming the Promise of Vatican II
Newsletter: June 28, 2011                                                              Moving Beyond Detroit 

In This Issue
Proceedings in Detroit
Looking Ahead
Controversy in AoD
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_____________The Inaugural 

American Catholic Council

June 10-12, 2011

Lament Liturgy




Janet and Michelle

Padovano CBRR Cropped

Report on  

Listening Sessions

American Catholic Council
Introductory Video


Soundings of the Faithful

Photo Slideshow 

Thanks to our photographer, Judy Hushon, we have some wonderful photos of Detroit to share with you through the online services of Shutterfly. If you do not have a Shutterfly account you can sign up. Its all free to view & download pictures. Enjoy!


We Are Prophets of A Future Not Our Own 


Dearden RomeroThe following  prayer was first offered by John Cardinal Dearden at a mass for departed priests in the Archdiocese of Detroit in 1979. Drafted by his close friend andUntener confidant, Bishop Ken Untener of the Diocese of Saginaw,it was was subsequently prayed by Bishop Romero shortly before he was martyred in El Salvador.

* * * * *

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.  … Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. …


No program accomplishes the church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.  …


We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, …   We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning …


We may never see the end results,  … WE ARE PROPHETS OF A FUTURE NOT OUR OWN.

* * * * * * * *

For the full rendering of the prayer, CLICK HERE.

Mark your Calendar for the 

annual CTA conference in Milwaukee, Nov. 4-6. ACC will be participating and convening a corollary event.

For more info, click here

Detroit Council Stirs New Hope for Better Church

Eighteen hundred Catholics gathered for three blessed days in Detroit to pray and learn together, to hear globally respected speakers, to network, and to celebrate the promise of Vatican II.  The energy and motivation for change generated on Pentecost weekend continues.  Actionable ideas have been submitted and are being compiled and will be reported back for follow-up in the weeks ahead. Geographic “networking” lists are being prepared to facilitate ongoing local planning.  Soundings of the Faithful (report on the Listening Sessions over the 18 months prior to Detroit) and the Catholic Bill of Rights & Responsibilities (acclaimed and adopted on Sunday morning) have been reprinted for distribution to the hierarchy and others. A sincere “Thank You” is surely in order for so many who jumped and took a grand leap of faith to make the ACC a reality … Thank You Frog

  • To the more than 100 Volunteers (mostly from the greater Detroit area, but representing Catholics from across the country) who made the Council possible.  Without you, it could not have been done.  Special thanks to Carol Crowley and Carol Boulanger who organized the impressive greater Detroit contingent and to Roberta Horton who headed up the national volunteer effort.
  • To the Speakers, the Breakout Presenters, the Facilitators and Recorders who framed the agenda on which the Council was built.
  • To the Theology Committee that wrestled through hundreds of comments and four iterations of the CBRR before it was acclaimed on Sunday morning;
  • To the committees that worked on the Opening Liturgy and Sunday Eucharist and the many liturgical ministers including musicans, lectors and eucharistic ministers;
  • To the Listening Assembly Committee for creating a two year effort that engaged thousands of Catholics across the country, designed and operated the online Assemblies Community Network, that produced the “Soundings”  summary report and the related video presented on Saturday morning;
  • To the Detroit Convention Bureau and the Detroit Cobo Convention Center for their professional approach, many contributions, and crisis management in the wake of a one day power outage that ended on the day we opened!

JH & JH(2)And we thank those of you who walked in faith with us and contributed your enthusiasm, ideas, time, talent, and treasure. Most especially, we thank those who traveled to Detroit to make the Council the success that it was. Together, we are bearers of the light of Vatican II. You can expect to hear from us over the coming months as the Planning Committee works through the recommendation for action and as we transition to the future.

Janet Hauter & John Hushon, Co-Chairs
National Planning Committee, American Catholic Council, INC

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Proceedings, Transcripts, DVDs and CDs Available 

DVDsFor those of you who could not attend the Council, we have posted to our website the transcripts of several talks including the Kung/Padovano interview. The Program, Soundings Report, and CBRR documents are also now available on the website.  DVDs and CDs of most all elements of the program are available for purchase through Resurrection Communications. Click here to download a printable mail-in order form.  The order form is also on the website.


Looking Ahead:
The Planning Committee, augmented by several additional interested parties, met on Sunday (immediately after the Council closed) and again on Monday morning. In our deliberations, 

  • We set in motion the preparation of the Reform in Action feedback and follow-up; You can expect to hear more on that before the end of summer. We expect to make use of the Assemblies Community Network as the forum to keep the conversation going and to move forward with actionable initatives; 
  • We reviewed our finances.  It appears that after meeting all of the Council obligations and commitments, and thanks to the generosity of so many, the Council will almost exactly “break-even.”
  • We planned the distribution of Soundings and the CBRR to the hierarchy;
  • We debriefed our failings (for which we apologize) and determined to “open up” the Planning Group to those who could not participate before;
  • We heard a report and proposal from international representatives of We Are Church concerning a possible lay synod (Vatican Council 50/Vatican III?) to be convened in Rome in 2015;
  • We considered how ACC can complement and support  the broader church reform movement and determined to initiate discussions with reform groups to determine how ACC might assist in furthering their respective missions within the parameters of the CBRR;  and
  • We agreed to continue our deliberations via monthly teleconferences during this period of transition. We will meet again in a face-to-face meeting in conjunction with the November annual Call To Action Conference in Milwaukee. At that time, we hope to have a plan of action to move forward.

Controversy with the Archdiocese of Detroit 

The Council attracted substantial Detroit, national and international media attention, primarily related to the actions taken by the Archdiocese of Detroit.  Some of the media was not entirely accurate, particularly concerning the chain of events.  Here is what our archives demonstrate:


Over two years ago when we first chose Detroit as the Council site, we invited the Archdioicese of Detroit (AoD) to participate in listening sessions and in planning the Council.  We also contacted Elephants in the Living Room, a large Detroit-based organization of concerned Catholic priests, deacons and laity that had been in existence for many years as an educational venture in the Archdiocese. Elephants enthusiastically joined us and offered to be our Detroit-based partner. The AoD ignored us.


When ACC issued its preliminary program and invitation (October, 2010), the AoD published a warning on the diocesan website and asked pastors to reprint the warning in their bulletins.  That “pastoral advisory” forbade the use of parish property for Listening Sessions and planning meetings.  Under those circumstances, Elephants concluded that they could not as an organization formally partner with ACC. Yet, many of its members became our biggest supporters and source of volunteers.  In response, the ACC Planning Committee sent a letter to the AoD asking for a meeting to discuss our plans and the warning.  Our letter was apparently ignored. We published it on our website and many parishes published our response. The media picked up the ACC response. (Click here to see further background)


The Executive Committee of Elephants then sent a letter to the Archbishop asking for another meeting. That letter was a detailed defense of ACC and the Motifs of the Spirit of Vatican II which we had published in our response to the AoD.  Eight weeks later, five representatives of Elephants (all priests) met personally  with Archbishop Vigneron of the AoD, and after a long and difficult meeting, parted without resolution (with the Elephants representatives stating that “in conscience” they could not agree or comply with the warnings of the Archbishop).


Eight days before ACC was to open, Msgr. Robert McClory, Vicar of Priests of the AoD, sent via email to Janet Hauter and John Hushon (ACC Co-Chairs), a letter requesting details about the planned Sunday liturgy. We consulted the anticipated presider, two Canon lawyers, and several planning committee members and responded by email within 48 hours.  Our response provided a full description of the liturgy, stating there would be only “one presider, an ordained priest with faculties in the AoD.” Our letter underscored that in the opinion of our canon law consultants, the liturgy would be valid.  We noted that the language throughout the liturgy would be fully inclusive and that we had planned to use a sung/responsive version of Eucharistic Prayer #10, appropriate for Pentecost.


Less than one hour after we sent our response, the AoD chose to ignore it and posted another warning to the Archdiocesan website, this one threatening to initiate laicization proceedings against any priest or deacon who participated in an illicit liturgy.  Our lawyers advised that the liturgy was licit, and therefore the threat was meaningless. This warning also stated that all previous attempts by the AoD to dialogue with ACC had been ignored. That statement simply is not true.


Subsequently, when the AoD learned the identity of our presider, he was threatened with the loss of his parish where he has served for many years.  The consequence would have shattered the parish community where he is deeply loved and respected. Rather than risk that, we invited Fr. Bob Worm to preside. Worm is a retired priest in the Archdiocese of Detroit.  After the liturgy, a spokesperson for the AoD issued a press release which used the “abuse” word in describing the liturgy, just as the Archbishop was packing for the USCCB meeting where the bishops refused to make the strengthening recommendations put forth by the National Review Board to the Charter on the Protection of Children.

American Catholic Council, Inc.
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