Newsletter, February 11, 2013

ACC LogoAmerican Catholic Council 
Reclaiming the Promise of Vatican II

Entering into the season of Lenten renewal…  
Pope’s Resignation … This is Breaking News literally moments before we circulate this newsletter. The implications are sure to be profound. We can only hope and pray that we are witnessing a profound movement of the Spirit. The days, weeks and months ahead will  tell us more. May our Lenten Journey truly be occasion for renewal within the deepest depths of our hearts and our church. GodSpeed on the Journey!
ACC will be monitoring these developments. Let us pray like we’ve never prayed before!
NEWSLETTER                                           February 11,  2013        

IEC collaboration update
Core Values draft
New Advisory Board forming
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In Prayerful Solidarity

The NunJustice Coalition invites all concerned Catholics to join in prayer and fasting this Ash Wednesday and throughout the Lenten season for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) currently suffering from an unjust Vatican mandate.

The Vatican’s misguided mandate threatens the sisters’ works of justice, and points to the sad reality that women have neither voice nor power in the Catholic Church. This lack of voice has led to strained relationships between the sisters, (indeed all laity), and Church hierarchical leadership.

On Ash Wednesday and throughout Lent, please pray for a healing of these relationships and especially for the dialogue now being conducted between LCWR leaders and the three U.S. Bishops delegated by the Vatican to implement the mandate. Go to the website to download a copy of the prayer and pledge to pray.

Many thanks to all!


The recently formed Council of the Baptized, the official “voice” of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform sent a petition to the Archbishop of St Paul and Minneapolis, asking for lay participation in choosing the new leader of the diocese.

The Archbishop responded by letter dated February 1, 2013, to the Council of the Baptized’s recommendation for an Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. He says a plan is already in the works to bring an APC back to this archdiocese.


Read about it here, in the Progressive Catholic Voice.


We urge Catholics concerned about authentic two-way communication in the Church to write to the Archbishop while he is planning the new Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. His address is 226 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55102. Please tell him we want elected members from diverse points of view, open agendas, and open meetings. If the members are handpicked by pastors, the archbishop sets the agenda, and the meetings are secret, the APC will be stillborn.


Order a copy of the Council of the Baptized’s position paper by pasting into the recipient box of your email or call Paula at (612) 379-1043. The paper will be sent to you free of charge.


The Council of the Baptized Media Team
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I’ll fix the leaky roof … and I can be a priest. 

Father Wojciech Giertych, Pope Benedict XVI’s personal theologian, recently expressed some particularly disturbing “reasons” for an all-male priesthood. “Men are more likely to think of God in terms of philosophical definitions and logical syllogisms, he said, a quality valuable for fulfilling a priest’s duty to transmit church teaching.” And although it may seem contradictory, in the next breath he asserts that not only are women not “philosophical” enough, they also cannot “love the church in a characteristically “male way” when they show concern “about structures, about the buildings of the church, about the roof of the church which is leaking, about the bishops’ conference, about the concordat between the church and the state.” Women all over the world are saying, “He said WHAT?!!” Click here for the full article and pictures of some reactions.



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It’s Time to Make All Things New:
Lenten resolutions for challenging times…..

Janet HauterI’m writing from the frozen tundra of Chicago on a crisp February morning while having a meditative moment over my coffee. I am struck by the beauty of the brilliant snow, masking the muddy tumult brewing deep below the surface which will make Spring possible. Dormancy and bitter chill precede the bloom!


While many Catholics, motivated by anger and disappointment, have left the Church, ACC urges you to choose a different path. As we enter Lent, plan to use this time to look inside and call upon the Spirit’s wisdom to eschew anger and, instead, vow to work on root causes to make healthy changes in ourselves, our families, our communities and the larger Church.


As you know, ACC engaged in an intensive study of nonviolent resistance this past fall. We believe that this paradigm can be used to change the governance structure of the Church. Those who participated in the Nonviolence Institute are currently studying the action recommendations that have been developed by participants in response to our program. We will spend Lent in discernment and discussion. Maybe you have a local issue or project that you, too, can be especially focused on during this time of renewal. What challenge calls to you during this Lenten season? How can you “recreate” yourself to be a force for good working toward a church that respects the rights of all the baptized?

Keep us informed by contributing to the different discussion forums in our Assemblies Community Network ( with your ideas, heartbreaks and successes. You will find many kindred spirits all working to reverse the revisionist direction of Catholic leadership. Together, we can be Lenten people on a journey to a renaissance in faith and community.


In Hope and Humility,

          — Janet Hauter     
Chair, ACC National Planning Committee


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 Update on our IEC Project    IEC logo


ACC has begun a collaboration with members of some of the longer-established intentional Eucharistic communities in the DC area. Participants are working on updating the IEC directory on the established   website as well as developing supplementary resources that might be helpful to those in the beginning stages of forming an IEC.

As we work on this project, we will keep you abreast of developments. We realize that there are already many resources and networking opportunities available. Here are some sites that could be helpful immediately:

Assemblies Community Network –  – This ACC site offers its members opportunity for networking, “conversation” and resources. There are several discussion forums devoted to aspects of IECs. If you are not a member, follow the easy directions on the home page to become enrolled.

Intentional Eucharistic Communities Facebook page – – This facebook page is available to anyone who belongs to facebook. Search for “intentional Eucharistic communities group” once you have signed into Facebook. There is potential here for sharing documents, ideas and discussion.

Sacred Quest website — This site developed by John Chuchman contains essays and tips about small faith communities and house churches, as well as a listing of additional websites to explore.

Alternative Catholic Experience website –  This is another website that has a directory of independent Catholic communities that offer an alternative catholic experience.


IEC Survey available 
Are you part of an IEC or aware of one in your community that may not be listed in the IEC website directory?  Anyone is invited to fill out the questionnaire that is being used to update this directory.   Go to the IEC section of the  ACC website for more information about this project and a copy of this survey or click here.  And many thanks for helping us with the project!


Core Values of the American Catholic Council


To the Reader:  Please consider these as a draft of our Core Values in our work to replace the Prodigal Church’s monarchical structure and systems with a gospel community whose governance is egalitarian, diverse, and democratic.


As the American Catholic Council, we recognize that the bishops attending Vatican II voted in overwhelming numbers in favor of the core values of collaboration, subsidiarity, and collegiality.  They also embraced a heightened role for the laity, stating emphatically that the Church is the people of God.  We are emboldened by these concepts and the Spirit of Vatican II on the “signs of the times” and we thirst for continued pursuit of these values as full members of the Body of Christ to re-imagine a Church that “is not yet.”

We have noticed Church leadership that have re-interpreted, negated, and/or ignored the blessings afforded the Church by Vatican II.  We openly reject these revisionist actions and instead recognize and affirm the following values:

We recognize the following as the basis of our values:

  •   The primacy of conscience in decision-making by all members in the Church
  •   The place of democracy, not monarchical control, in structures that govern our lives.
  •   Inclusion of the laity as equal members in deciding central Church issues and appointments to reflect “the signs of the times” and the inherent abilities and rights of the Body of Christ.
  •   The sacred dignity and giftedness of all people and their concomitant right to expression and participation in all aspects of Church.

We state our core values:

RESPECT:  We believe Jesus modeled a unique respect for all people through His loving kindness, Gospel compassion in dealing with conflict and mutual acceptance of the views of others.  We universally embrace that model for all communications and actions.

JUSTICE-BASED ACTIONS:  Our faith is justice centered.  We believe that by our baptism, we are stakeholders in the Church and empowered by the Spirit to speak to injustice in society and in the Church.  We will address injustice issues objectively, appropriately, openly, honestly and courageously and will not shirk that responsibility, as we work to bring about a gospel community whose governance is egalitarian, diverse and democratic.



ACC Advisory Board:

An Invitation to those who feel “called”


Since we are a movement pledged from inception to being “grassroots”, we need to ensure that our work reflects the passions of laity invested in reform.  To do that (and save time since we can’t do “person on the street” interviews) we need a group of dedicated Catholics with a vision of a healthy church that have a cadre of skill sets which will contribute to our mission.

This board is ad hoc and inclusive and therefore open to all who are:

  •   Catholic endorsers of our mission and values with commitment to reform of the governance of the  institutional Church reflecting the principles and spirit of Vatican II
  •   Committed to active participation in the work of the Board, including contributions of all types:  time, talent, treasure.


What specifically are we looking for?

We need a diverse cross-section of the Catholic population (diversity in age, marital status, religious, active employment in the Church, academics, theologians, etc.) to guarantee that we act representatively.   Currently, we believe that twelve would be an effective number but we are open to the Spirit to send us the needed talent for the actions that are in formation for 2013.


How do you define active participation?


We need individuals who can:

  • Commit to monthly conference call meetings to provide insights on our strategic direction and the evolution of a formal strategic plan
  • Maintain email availability
  • Keep current on the work of the ACC and assume a working role that best fits your skill sets
  • Hold this position for a 2-year term to help create the innovative foundation for others to enter with staggered terms
  • Retain the confidentiality of the work in progress until we are ready for “release” and then serve as an ambassador of same

Deadline:  March 5, 2013

Please send a short bio by email to tell us a little about yourself and why you might like to help us set a new direction by becoming “new wineskins” yourself.  We are about conversion of self, families, small Christian communities, faith communities and dioceses with national and global impact.


If you have questions, please do not hesitate to be in touch by writing or calling Sheila Peiffer, or 518-334-6076.


American Catholic Council, Inc.
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