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(Monasteries of the Heart, Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB)
ARCC Hans Kung Award Goes to ACC founders Hauter & Hushon
The Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC) recently presented the 2012 Hans Küng Award to John Hushon & Janet Hauter, co-chairs of the 2011 inaugural American Catholic Council that adopted the Catholic Bill of Rights & Responsibilities. The presentation took place in Chicago on April 21st and is given each year to persons who have promoted rights that enable Catholics to live out their responsibilities as adult followers of Jesus Christ.
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The Assemblies Community Network is a helpful tool to facilitate collaboration in the grassroots among Catholics committed to reform of our Catholic Church. Use it to find other “subscribers” in your area, to join in discussion forums, and to set-up “planning groups” for local organizing. This June we will announce several free telecons where subscribers to the ACN can learn how to use these and other features of the network. In the interim, check out How to Use ACN.
Are We Moving toward the Tipping Point?? Recent events suggest that we may be heading toward a synergistic tipping point that can set in motion a strategic and effective organized resistance campaign to change the Church in the face of ever increasing heavy-handed authoritarian actions taken by the Vatican and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
We note the confluence of several factors in the year since the inaugural gathering of the American Catholic Council last Pentecost in Detroit and the proclamation of the Catholic Bill of Rights & Responsibilities: (1) A deepening focus on contemplative spirituality to undergird the Church Reform movement; (2) the recent controversy around the USCCB and Obama Administration on contraception; (3) the current Vatican crackdown on LCWR which has sparked an extraordinary grassroots response as well as coordinated actions across several reform groups (read more on that below); and (4) the forthcoming ACC Institute on Nonviolent Action for Church Reform. These and other indicators suggest that we may be in a “soup mix” that sets the stage for developing strategic action for significant change over the long haul.
This newsletter reminds you of some of the ingredients in that “Soup Mix,” inviting you to do your part in the growing movement for change in the Catholic Church. The Spirit is amongst us! Be well, do good, and be faithful to the Gospel!
– ACC Plannning Committee
CHANGING POWER RELATIONSHIPS
Institute on Nonviolent Action & Church Reform
Registration Deadline: May 30th
Applications are now open for those who wish to participate in ACC’s project to study and practice nonviolent action to change church structures.The NVA Institute, to begin in mid-August and continue through mid-November, will involve an initial cohort of 25 participants who commit to intensive study and dialogue around theories of nonviolent action, strategic planning and action steps to employ those strategies in changing the institutional Catholic Church. The works of Dr. Gene Sharp (Senior Scholar at the Einstein Institution in Boston, MA) will form the basis of the curriculum, with additional resources.
Actions Resisting Vatican Suppression of American Nuns Continues to Energize Grassroots
As of this writing, there are nearly 40,000 signers to the online petition in support of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). The aim is to reach a symbolic “57,000″ signers, representing the 57,000 women religious who are represented by LCWR, and who comprise 80% of all nuns in the US. If you haven’t yet signed the petition, go to Support the Sisters. If you’ve already signed it, please forward the link to your friends and family and ask them to sign.
Organizers of the campaign have also announced a series of actions to resist the Vatican crackdown of LCWR. Go to www.nunjustice.org where you can download talking points, a sample flyer, a prayer service, and a sample letter to the Papal Nuncio. You can also visit the “tumblr” site of for Nun Justice at http://nunjustice.tumblr.com/for a listing of vigils, demonstrations, and other actions. Nun Justice is a collaborative action sponsored by several reform organizations that comprise the Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR).
You can also share ideas about the LCWR controversy by monitoring and posting to ACC’s LCWR Discussion Forum on the Assemblies Community Network. There you will find a number of strategies being considered in the grassroots across the US, including diverting financial support of parishes to communities of women religious and a plan to demonstrate at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, DC, among others.
What is COR?
Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR) is a coalition of Catholic groups, inspired by Vatican II, to further the reform and renewal of the Catholic Church. COR came into existence in 1991 and the American Catholic Council has been a member since its own beginnings two years ago. Over the years, COR has served as an information clearinghouse and has engaged in a number of collaboration actions.
COR meetings are held twice a year, each spring and fall, to exchange ideas and stay informed on reform projects. Each member organization sends two representatives to the meetings. At the April Meeting in Washington DC, ACC was represented by Sheila Peiffer (National Coordinator) and John Frank (Communications Coordinator).
This spring, COR launched a strategic analysis of the group’s functioning, with the goal of increasing cooperative projects. With the LCWR crackdown having just occurred, COR jumped into a project immediately: Nun Justice, a coalition formed to support the sisters and work to remove the Vatican mandate. (See article above).
A Church Reformer’s Marian Prayer in May
O Holy Spirit …
As the April showers usher the blooms of May, should we acclaim Mary, the sister of us all? But . . .
How can we shower her with laud when oppression to women abounds here and abroad?
How can we throw her petals of acclamation when women are forbidden to minister at her son’s table?
How can we offer her hymns of praises when women are banned from preaching at the churches’ pulpits?
How can we pray before her image when women are not allowed to call themselves Christ’s icons?
April comes this year with no showers of gladness and May brings ominous thorns of sadness. But still …
We trust in your Pentecostal power,
O Holy Spirit, in whose image women were created;
We believe that your almighty force will replace the embroidered miters with shawls of sackcloth, the gilded staff with sticks of lowly shepherds and shepherdesses;
We are confident that you will inspire your people to respond to the signs of times by ushering a new awakening in our church.
We will then sing Mary’s Magnificat when women and men, equal in all respects, will acclaim You, O Holy Spirit, as Yahweh’s Uncreated Love.