Newsletter, January 24, 2012

ACC LogoAmerican Catholic Council  NewSpringBuds
Reclaiming the Promise of Vatican II

Beyond Detroit & Toward a New Catholic Spring 
NEWSLETTER                                           JANUARY 24,  2012               

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Post Your Local or National Event to the ACC Calendar.

Posting your event to ACC’s calendar on the Assemblies Community Network adds “steam” to the momentum for reform and demonstrates vitality of our movement in grassroots. We welcome local, regional or national events that engage the reform agenda of the
American Catholic Council.

Events can take many forms, i.e. Listening Sessions, followups to Detroit, retreats, workshops, conferences, Assemblies, Lay Synods, events by other reform groups, etc. Whether you anticipate a crowd of a thousand or a gathering in your living room,we’d love to have you post it to the calendar.

If not already a subscriber to the Assemblies Community Network, you will be prompted to sign-up. DIRECTIONS for Submitting Events.

Ken Trainor, US Catholic

Lest we think that Vatican II really didn’t change anything, here’s a quick refresher …
Robert Blair Kaiser

Our European brothers and sisters are dealing with more than shaky EUROs, but also groundshaking tremors in the Church calling for change …

Belgium Catholic Reform

John Dick, NCR

In case you missed it, check out brief mention of ACC in this TV broadcast on CBS Sunday Morning (12/4/11):

Worth SeeingWorth Seeing

(Even Again)

We thank our Australian friends at for posting 4 short clips from

Hans Kung’s ACC Kung

The hour-long video premiered at the Opening Session of ACC in Detroit last June and is available for purchase, along with all ACC presentations, at ACC DVD ORDER FORM. See 2nd page of the form;  
Misguided Missal

New Roman Missal

Are you confused about the new language used in Mass?
Are you upset about how these changes came about?
Want to find out more or register your concerns? Check out the “party line” presented by the  US Conference of Catholic Bishops, then do a deeper analysis to see how the new translation is a step back from Vatican II by visiting Misguided Missal.

There you can learn how Catholics have been working for over two years with liturgists and theologians to educate and promote action to resist this retrenchment from Vatican II. Decide what action you might wish to take. We are attempting to coordinate an action during the first week of Lent to maximize impact.

Counting on your Dollars
Donations Piggy Bank

ACC continues to operate on a very limited purse of residual funds from the Detroit gathering in June 2011. We need your support to continue as we work for a new Catholic Spring. Please help by mailing your check or making an onine donation today: How to Donate
  Website Support Volunteers Needed?

We are looking for one or two volunteers to assist in support roles to help manage our websites and electronic media. Experience with the following platforms and services is helpful: Word Press, Constant Contact, NING, and Survey Monkey. Interested persons please contact Technical Support.

Holy Spirit

ACC Charts New Directions toward the Future

We have studied your feedback, especially the many, many inquiries crying “What’s next?” The National Planning Committee is striving to be good stewards of the mission you have entrusted to us by taking time to discern and deliberate those “next steps.”  Although the original focus when we were conceived nearly three years ago was only the Detroit Pentecost gathering, we have since come to realize that there is a “place” for ACC in the larger landscape of the church reform movement.


Our initial aim was to hold an event that might serve as a wake-up call to the baptized on the blessings of Vatican II, and to celebrate that moment in history 50 years ago.  Our goal was to model the vision and promise of that renewed Church and to focus upon the Rights and Responsibilities we are called to live as adult Catholics. By all accounts,that event was a resounding success and will likely be looked upon as a Watershed Moment in the unfolding history of the Catholic Church in the United States. (See Newsletter Archive, 10/31/11).

New DirectionsWe are now able to respond with a new commitment, a re-newed sense of mission, and several new and bold directions. This issue of our newsletter overviews some these key new initiatives that are now underway.

  • Action #1: New CBRR Listening Session Template;
  • Action #2: Redrafting ACC Mission, Goals and Values;
  • Action #3: Nonviolence Institute;
  • Action #4: Resourcing Intentional Eucharistic Communities (IECs);

On the administrative front, we are pleased to report that we have secured a renewed commitment from the majority of members on the original National Planning Committee who will continue to serve in that capacity. In addition, we have created two part-time staff positions:  Administrative Coordinator (Sheila Peiffer) and Communications Coordinator (John Frank).

The American Catholic Council is in full swing and we need your help for the work ahead! Blessings to you in 2012!

In gratitude and humility,

— Janet Hauter       Chair, ACC National Planning Committee

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CBRR Listening Session Template 

It was a moving moment at the American CatholicCouncil gathering in Detroit last June when the entire Assembly stood and with one voice acclaimed the Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities (CBRR). Several years of work and numerous revisions had been made in this document – and the final product was a result of the collaboration of all the many people who held Listening Assemblies prior to June. In other words, the CBRR was shaped and adopted by many of YOU reading this newsletter!

“What’s next” you’ve been asking? Now we need to put this document into action! We have prepared a new Listening Assembly template so that you can easily hold sessions in your local community. These sessions will help you:Padovano CBRR Cropped

  • Understand the CBRR;
  • Reflect on its ramifications;
  • Plan ways to put the CBRR into action;
  • Network with others doing the same;

Anyone can hold Listening Sessions on the CBRR. Our easy guidelines give you the materials and methods for organizing your sessions. The CBRR Listening Session Template organizes the process over four 2-hour sessions and groups the 10 statements of the CBRR into three logical groupings (SELF, COMMUNITY & SERVICE) to provide a cogent and convenient structure and time frame to cover the material. This series will furnish you with exciting material for dialogue and focused inspiration for action.

Jacksonville Listening Assembly(3)In the coming weeks, we also plan to give you the means to “report” on your CBRR Listening Sessions through a simple online report form. Just as the Listening Assemblies prior to Detroit gathered input for revisions in the CBRR, these new Listening Assemblies will be a forum for carrying out the renewal called for by the CBRR. Be a part of the change that you wish to see! To download the template, go to CBRR Listening Session Template. If not already a subscriber to the ACC Assemblies Community Network (ACN) you will be prompted to Sign-Up.  You can also share feedback and experiences by posting to a related dedicated Discussion Forum on CBRR Listening Sessions on the ACN.

Re-Framing the ACC Mission 

The National ACC Planning Committee is in the midst of developing a revised mission statement, along with a statement of vision, values and goals to guide the direction of our national movement beyond Detroit. We continue to focus our energies on a primary purpose that seeks change in the structure and governance of the Catholic Church. We invite your feedback on the latest draft of our revised mission statement:


We are a grassroots movement of faithful Catholics, grounded in prayer and informed by the proceedings of the inaugural gathering of the American Catholic Council on Pentecost Weekend in June 2011. We are dedicated to exercising our baptismal rights and responsibilities as full participants in the mission and governance of the Church, in order to make it more just, inclusive, collegial and compassionate. To that end, we provide action-oriented educational, communication and project resources. 

Detroit Skyline

As we continue to move forward and beyond the inaugural gathering of the ACC in Detroit last Pentecost Weekend (June 2011), we seek to build on our past as we shape the future. The following documents from the past frame our developing mission:

Share your feedback on our developing mission, vision, goals and core values by posting a comment on the ACC Mission Development Forum on the Assemblies Community Network.

Institute on Nonviolence and Church Reform 

In our last newsletter we announced plans to sponsor an Institute to bring together leaders in the church reform movement not only to study the spirituality and practice of nonviolent action for change, but also to do the necessary social analysis of power systems within the institutional Roman Catholic Church. In the coming months we will post to our website an application form for participation in an initial cohort of participants.


Gene SharpThe “course” is in development and will be delivered online. It will be substantially grounded in the writings of Gene Sharp, often cited as the father of the Arab Spring. Dr. Sharp is founder of the Albert Einstein Institution, whose mission is to advance the study and use of strategic nonviolent action for conflict transformation and social change. Sharp is Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. For nearly thirty years he held a research appointment at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs. He is the author of numerous books, From Dictatorship to Democracyincluding The Politics of Nonviolent Action (1973), Gandhi as a Political Strategist (1979), Social Power and Political Freedom (1980), Making Europe Unconquerable (1985), Civilian-Based Defense (1990), and From Dictatorship to Democracy (1993) His most recent book is Waging Nonviolent Struggle: Twentieth Century Practice and Twenty-First Century Potential.


We believe that those of us involved in church reform can learn much from the shift from “dictatorship to democracy” (as Sharp would say) that has been a consistent marker of social progress over the last 300 years, and that is most evident in phenomena like the Women’s movement in the early 20th century, the Civil Rights movement in the laWomen in Arab Springtter half of the 20th century, and the Arab Spring in our own time.


The experience of nonviolent action in the political arena shows us shows us that such tactics can succeed because they attack the institutional dictatorship where it is weakest. We believe the same applies to “ecclesiastic dictatorship” that often defines the power systems within the institutional church. The church “institution” must be studied to determine its weaknesses. And from that, a “Grand Strategy” might surface to hasten the day of a new Catholic Spring, born of the power of the Holy Spirit unleashed among the People of God.


The Institute’s format and schedule is still in development and will likely take the form of 6-8 online sessions conducted over several months, ending with a face-to-face weekend retreat. One of the expected outcomes will be the drafting of strategies for coordinated non-violent action calling for targeted changes in the church’s structure and governance, mirroring some of the changes called for at ACC In Detroit and the Listening Sessions leading up to it. (See Detroit Proceedings).


You can share your reactions and ideas for the developing Institute and its projected outcomes by posting comments to the Nonviolence Institute Discussion Forum on the ACN.

Focus on Intentional Eucharistic Communities 

ACC finds itself responding to a large interest in EucharistIntentional Eucharistic Communities (IECs) as many requested information on how to form them, how to connect wth IECs close to them and how to access resource material. ACC Listening Sessions and input last June in Detroit highlighted the importance of the IEC movement.

IECs represent an alternative worship experience for many Vatican II Catholics, either as supplement “to” or substitute “for” parish-based Catholic life. By one estimate there are nearly 500 such groups. They have emerged as vibrant expressions of the “emerging catholic church” and can play an important role in the incremental reform of the institutional church. IECs are nearly as varied in type as they are in number. Some attempt to be Intentional Eucharistic Community

“all things” –providing sacraments,

social justice ministry, education,

Sunday liturgy and opportunities for

participatory community leadership.

Some are blessed with canonically

ordained Catholic priests. Others

enjoy ordained women or priests

ordained in independent Catholic Churches. Some are ecumenical. Many are extended prayer groups with social ministry and extended family. Others are based at universities and cater to student populations and those attracted to an academic-centered community.


We contacted Dr. Bill D’Antonio, currently convalescing from recent surgery, who was delighted to pass the baton to us to update his foundational work on IECs. You might check out this informative video by Dr. Antonio speaking about IECs.


ACC has determined that it can serve as a resource for IEC development and communication. A workgroup has been established to begin this process to create a central repository for information. While some resources are available to IECs, no organization is attempting a comprehensive “service bureau” function for IECs. ACC believes that it can provide that resource. To get the ball rolling, we welcome your comments in a dedicated IEC Discussion Forum on this theme. Stay tuned for further details as this initiative unfolds.

American Catholic Council, Inc.
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