Newsletter, August 11, 2013


ACC LogoAmerican Catholic Council  Holy Spirit
Reclaiming the Promise of Vatican II

Moving towards CHANGE…  
NEWSLETTER                            AUGUST 11, 2013        

New Round of Listening Sessions;
FIrst Regional Leadership Retreat Set for CHICAGO;
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Update:  The Catholic Tipping Point Tour draws crowds everywhere!

  Fr. Helmut Schüller, founder of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative, a movement organized in 2006, has just completed a national speaking tour. His Call to Disobedience, signed by a majority of Austrian priests, has brought worldwide attention and momentum to addressing the crises in the Catholic Church. 
Numerous articles have been written about his thoughtful presentation on the state of the Church and the need for all of us to claim our rights as “citizens of the church”.
   In Jamie Manson’s NCR interview with Schuller he said this in answer to those who question seeking change:

What about the hierarchy’s claim that you are creating disunity in the church?

In these conversations, we are gathering people here who are engaged in this church. They have discussions with me and one another, and then they return to their communities and continue their work for the church. We are not driving them out of the church; we are inspiring them to continue to ask for reform. It is their church. If the bishop could see who the people are who are gathering here, they would not be afraid that we are dividing the church. I think the contrary is happening. I have had people say to me: “I would have left, but after hearing you, I feel there is some hope in fighting for the church and its reform, so I will stay.”

   Want to know more?  Read the articles in NCR and watch a video of his presentation here.


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The ACC advisory body or “Sounding Board” has been meeting monthly by conference call to assist in planning and discernment.   
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 We Are Church 
Reflections on Pope Francis
In a remarkable example of synchronicity, our friends in the International Movement We Are Church (IMWAC) have reflected on Francis’ first days and collected a sample of his central statements that frame his emerging agenda. We will be using this in our Listening Assemblies, but you can r

ead it HERE.  
  Pope Francis
How Does CHANGE Affect You?

Change is generally unsettling for most of us, but this is what we in the church reform movement have been working towards and waiting for.


Many in the media are watching “The Francis Revolution“, as they call it, with great interest as it signals dramatic changes in attitude and style.  While it is premature to speculate where these hints of change are leading, it does give us a taste of a simpler, less monarchical clerical culture. Time will tell if there will be real substance behind the style.

The question becomes: Will WE be ready to embrace new things? We recognize that the call for reform has been a “background noise” for many years, but are we ready to “seize the day?  We, the Baptized, could indeed accelerate change by co-authoring it with the Pope if we help the Vatican to understand what we need and why we need it.

Because of this, ACC is promoting two initiatives that can engage all of us in becoming change agents:  (1)  A new round of national Listening Assemblies for a “Season of Hope;” and (2) A series of weekend Leadership Development Workshops in different regions of the country. We urge all of you to see the details below and on our website. Wouldn’t it be spectacular to influence the media, the Apostolic Nuncio, Pope Francis and the global reform community? Come join in this invigorating work!

Janet Hauter


With renewed hope,

Janet Hauter, National Chair, ACC 


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New Listening Sessions:
Celebrating a Season of Hope

Even in the doldrums of summer, we have almost a dozen Listening Assemblies scheduled or in development to kick off our Season of Hope campaign to foster dialogue and community action, gather data, and be ready to participate fully in creating change in our church!

As we announced last month, ACC has developed a new Listening Assembly template to guide us in discerning the priorities that YOU have for change. This process has been extremely effective in the past, having provided concrete input for the ACC inaugural event in Detroit, 2011 and also the impetus to advance training in nonviolent resistance and action for change in the church.

Now we are preparing for something even bigger!  We are using the listening assemblies as a needs assessment of the Baptized where we will gather data, make it public, and forward results to the Apostolic Nuncio in Washington, Pope Francis and organizers the International Movement WE ARE CHURCH (IMWAC) who are planning a Rome gathering in October, 2015 to discuss Church issues.  This global event will be historic and we will be announcing more on this as news is available.

Listening Ear
We ask all of YOU to host an in-home (or larger venue) of friends, neighbors, colleagues,family and parish to help develop a vision of a Church soon-to-be. Hold a Listening Assembly and become part of a global movement to change the church!  The input you send to our Survey Report will be collated and published.  The relationships you build locally will begin a transformation.

This new Listening Session template, related handouts, and access to the Survey Report is posted to our website in two locations: 
Click Here to access it on our main website;  

Click Here to access it on the Assemblies Community Network.  

The latter is preferred as it links with additional background and resources on Listening Sessions/Assemblies.  

  • Peruse the template for “Celebrating a Season of Hope”: American Catholic Council Listening Assemblies for Change
  • Think about how you can hold these Listening Assemblies in your area:  venue, dates, guest list – get excited!
  • Begin to organize!
  • Need advice – please get in touch with us.
Finally, and VERY IMPORTANT, if you schedule an Listening Session in your community, we ask that you post it to Calendar of Events on the Assemblies Community Network:  CLICK HERE
     Are you ready to be a change-maker?

First Leadership Training Workshop set!!


Jacksonville Listening Assembly(3)

ACC’s pilot regional leadership development workshop/retreat is scheduled for the weekend of October 25-27th in Chicago. Anyone who wants to hone their skills as a leader in the reform movement and feels called to transform themselves and others is urged to consider attending this program, or one of the the three regional workshops that will follow in the Spring in California, Florida, and New York.  


Building on last Fall’s Institute for Nonviolent Action for Church Reform, this training seminar will provide skills and a common language for nonviolent, effective action. The workshops, called Transforming Power Relationships, will aim to influence change in the governance system (leadership and management) of the Church which we believe is the nexus of the institutional dysfunction. 


A full description of the weekend workshop and registration materials will be posted to our website and circulated to the Assemblies Community Network next week.  Save the Date!


Let us pray.  Faithful and loving God, your daughter Clare, a woman of noble birth, embraced a life of poverty, humble service and inclusive love. By her trust in your provident care and the wisdom she learned from the Mystery of Christ, You renewed the Church of her times.  Lead us by Your holy Spirit to that same renewing vision.   We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Way, our Truth and
our Life.  Amen. 


As this Newsletter goes out, hundreds of Catholic nuns are gathering this week in Orlando, FL for the annual meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).


Today, August 11th, and throughout the week, thousands of Catholics join with them in solidarity and in prayer on the Feast of St. Clare.  “The pope intentionally chose St. Francis as his namesake, and he has shown himself to be open to dialogue” stated Erin Saiz Hanna, spokesperson for the Nun Justice Project.  “St. Francis of Assisi’s sacred friendship with St. Clare is well documented.  St. Francis worked collaboratively alongside his sisters rather than against them. We pray Pope Francis, and Archbishop Sartain, will not only speak but listen and authentically dialogue with the sisters as St. Francis did with St. Clare.”

    LCWR, an umbrella group representing 80% of the 57,000 nuns in the United States, remains under scrutiny from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).  In the spring of 2012 the CDF issued a statement accusing LCWR of promoting “radical feminist themes” and “corporate dissent,” causing outrage among Catholics around the globe.  LCWR responded that the CDF statement was based on “unsubstantiated accusations’ and the result of a  “flawed process that lacked transparency.”  Last August, the organization’s president, Sr. Pat Farrell, announced that  “open and honest dialogue” would be LCWR’s next step with Archbishop Sartain who had been appointed to oversee the mandate.

Last summer, nearly 70,000 Catholics signed a petition and hundreds organized vigils to rally around the sisters.

“Catholics around the country have been inspired by the faith and work of the sisters and will continue to support them; we urge Pope Francis to recognize their commitment and contributions and dismiss the mandate,” said Jim FitzGerald, spokesperson for the Nun Justice Project.

    The Nun Justice Project is a grassroots movement supported by the following organizations: American Catholic Council, Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church , Call To Action, Catholics for Choice, CORPUS, DignityUSA, Federation of Christian Ministries, FutureChurch, New Ways Ministry, Quixote Center, RAPPORT, Voice of the Faithful, WATER: Women’s Alliance for Theology Ethics and Ritual, and Women’s Ordination Conference.

For more information, visit


American Catholic Council, Inc.

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