Prompts for Thanksgiving Table Talk
As we approach this season of Thanksgiving, it is essential to name the things we are grateful for and why they impact our lives. On behalf of the Planning Committee of the American Catholic Council (ACC), we are sustained by your continued testimony that our gathering in Detroit this past Pentecost Weekend invigorated attendees with a new understanding of their rights and responsibilities as adult Catholics.
In Retrospect: We took the summer to digest the varied data provided from that memorable weekend in order to determine trends and actionable directions. Those deliberations have reinforced our collective realization that governance continues to be the root cause of the ongoing crises in our Church. We remain convinced that focusing on solutions that impact leadership and governance structures of the church will yield historic changes.
Early this Fall, the Planning Team concurred that this movement could not simply be a one time event that fades into the history books as a marker event. And so we began to discuss how this movement, with no prior history, no staff, no office and no guaranteed future funding could define itself and its future. This was no easy challenge when we were bombarded with calls, emails, notes and letters all asking what our next steps would be. Because we left the future open to the call of the Spirit and the Sensus Fidelium, we were “listening” but the call was not yet crystal clear.
Toward An Emerging Catholic Spring: Patience has not been consistently one of our virtues, yet in recent months, a future step has emerged with clarity. We are pleased this Thanksgiving to give you a foretaste for your dinner conversations: We are planning to launch an online Institute on Nonviolent Action to be framed by a social analysis of power systems in the institutional Catholic Church. We hope to engage help from the Albert Einstein Institution, the home of Gene Sharp who has been heralded as the father of the Arab Spring.
Might it be that we can stimulate what some have been calling an emerging Catholic Spring? Our pilot initiative will review the theory and practice on nonviolent action, ground it in Gospel imperatives, and then seek to integrate nonviolent methods into a national action plan.We have presented this new direction to a national association of reform groups and debuted it in a caucus held at the Call to Action conference in Milwaukee earlier this month. Receptivity was exceptionally high.
We are currently reviewing available dates with the Einstein Institution’s staff and are in preparation for the project to begin early next year. More information will be forthcoming as it becomes available, but our solution-driven goal is to call for a coordinated action around one or two initiatives that will have national, regional and local applicability and impact.
We are grateful to you for your patience as we discerned this direction, challenged ourselves to take this movement to the next step, and boldly step out into an unknown future with a strong belief that we have been called. We hope this news finds you well and that the holidays provide you with the rest and refreshment needed to find yourself called to step out in faith to join us in our efforts to act as the Church we have been called to be.
In gratitude and humility,
— Janet Hauter & John Hushon
Co-Chairs, American Catholic Council, Inc.