Newsletter, May 26, 2014


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American Catholic Council
 Reclaiming the Promise of Vatican II 


Acting to create CHANGE…  
NEWSLETTER                          May 26, 2014 


Janet’s column
 Write to the Pope to Lift Mandate on Sisters!
    We all remember that last Spring the Leadership Conference of Women Religious came under unjust scrutiny from the CDF. Thousands of you signed the NunJustice petition, held vigils, wrote letters and found many ways of expressing outrage about this mandate.
    On April 30th this year,  the Vatican head of the CDF, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, accused U.S. nuns of not abiding to the harsh and unjust reform agenda imposed on them by the Vatican. In addition, the document personally attacked renowned theologian Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ.
   This untenable mandate forced upon the nuns, which threatens their works of justice, is a prime example of how the hierarchy in the Roman Catholic Church misuses its power to diminish the voice of women. Catholics deeply value the prophetic witness of women religious and appreciate their commitment to social justice.
   We feel it is time for the Pope to show he means it when he says he wants to expand leadership opportunities for women.  Let the sisters lead!
  If you haven’t already, please sign the letter to the Pope.  You can also download the letter to mail.  If you want to help Pope Francis better understand the value of women theologians, why not send him a copy of Consider Jesus in Spanish?      Visit the NunJustice Project website for lots of ways to participate in this campaign to recognize the value of women’s leadership.
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 Check out  this interesting article by one of our ACC supporters:  “In Search of the Gay Clerical Voice”
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      Some ACC supporters have taken action with other concerned Catholics to support Catholic school teachers in Ohio in their dispute with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati over contract boundaries.
They have sponsored 12 of these billboards all around the area! 
 Looking for weekly inspiration?
Enjoy Fr. Jim Hogan’s homilies – just email him here and he will add you to his distribution list.
  “Conflict cannot be ignored or concealed.  It has to be faced.  The best way to deal with conflict … is the willingness to face conflict head-on, to resolve it and to make it a link in the chain of a new process.  In this way it becomes possible to build communion amid disagreement …[and] to see others in their deepest dignity”  (Pope Francis, EG, 111)


     This is a call to all Catholics who at some time imagined having a conversation with a Pope, any Pope.  What would you have said then or now?  Well now you and others have that opportunity through the regional gatherings being organized worldwide by Catholic Church Reform International and the American Catholic Council.  They are a true forum to speak without “filters” to the Pope and his bishops gathering in The Synod on the Family. 

     There has been precedent for this in the Vatican’s survey release to the bishops to gather data from the faithful.  Sadly, not all bishops complied or reported so it’s up to us.   In light of the fact that the Synod will be looking at the Family, who knows better than we what  contemporary family life looks like in comparison and contrast to church teaching on families?

     This is our moment.  In collaboration with CCR Int’l, we are launching a model for regional gatherings to collect data on reforms needed in the Church that will support families.  We have a short window for this action:  now until the end of August, 2014.  We will tally the data and develop a report that addresses not only percentages of what Catholics need but will deliver “lived experience” stories to the Vatican to help them understand what we families around the world are facing .

     Organize a gathering!  no group is too small or too large!(Book club?  Faith sharing group?  Justice committee?)  We need to be heard and we can only do that with your help.  The topics to be discussed derive from the position papers developed collaboratively in CCR Int’l;  complete directions for holding a gathering are provided.  Already such gatherings are planned in Australia, Ireland and the U.S, with more inquiries coming in from India, the Philippians and other places. 

     Please help us present your reality to the Synod on the Family this fall!   If you have any questions, please get in touch – we will be happy to assist you.


Janet Hauter

With faith in our voice,

Janet Hauter, National Chair, ACC 


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“Where there is no vision, the people will perish”:

Report on the ACC Survey


     In late April, ACC sent a survey to its supporters, asking them to create a vision of how their “ideal” parish community would look.  What would be the characteristics of a place that drew the attention of news reporters in a positive light?  What things would get people excited and proud to be part of that parish and to be a Catholic in the world today?

     We received the largest response ever for a survey (thank you!) and these entries show that we DO have a dream!  Although there were some differences, collectively, we see a focus on creating a caring community where inclusion, vibrant liturgies, outreach to the disadvantaged and transformative faith are hallmarks  As one of our committee said, “It is clear to me that the respondents can imagine a church re-energized by the presence of God, the actions of Empathy and Compassion which characterize the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the intensely radical stirrings of the Holy Spirit that is found in this new vision of Church!!  This survey was a wonderful experience!”

     We have decided to knit together many exact phrases and comments from the survey responses to give you this “report”.  Just as athletes use imaging during competitions to help achieve victory, we hope that this vision, taken from your responses, will enable all of us to move forward to make this vision a reality. 

     Once you have read this report there are some obvious questions:  “How do we achieve this together?”  “What role do each of us play?”  We would like to build upon this vision in creating a “virtual collaboration” using your suggestions and next steps.  How can we support YOU?  Tell us what you need.  Also, since pieces of this dream may already be a reality, share your examples,  so we can provide action models for others to replicate and implement.  Please send suggestions and stories for sharing to by June 16th

      In our next newsletter we’ll report on next steps and shining models to bring this dream to reality.  We are eager to hear from you as we co-create this vision and take action! 


Contemporary Magnificat for Feast of the Visitation  

My soul sings in gratitude.  I’m dancing in the mystery of God.

The light of the Holy One is within me  and I am blessed, so truly blessed.

This goes deeper than human thinking.  I am filled with awe

at Love whose only condition is to be received.

The gift is not for the proud, for they have no room for it.

The strong and self-sufficient ones don’t have this awareness.

But those who know their emptiness can rejoice in Love’s fullness.

It’s the Love that we are made for, the reason for our being.

It fills our inmost heart space and brings to birth in us, the Holy One.

            by Joy Conley


              “Council 50” plans for international
celebration in Rome
November 13-15, 2015!

A dedicated coalition of reform groups (including ACC, COR and IMWAC)  have been steadily planning this commemoration of the closing of the Second Vatican Council.  Remembering how the apostles and disciples of Jesus came together (Acts 15, 2-4), the “Council 50” committee is inviting delegates of reform movements inspired by Council Vatican II to meet in a worldwide event in Rome on the 13th -15th of November 2015.  This will be both a celebration of the past and a proclamation for the future, where the members will:


– declare our vision of a ‘future for the People of God’ and its commitment, inspired by the Gospel, for a world of peace founded on justice and solidarity;

– promote change and development within the Church, and in its interaction with the world;

– prepare reflections and proposals to be forwarded to the Christian people and to the hierarchy of our Church during the official celebration at the close of Vatican II;

– get to know each other in all our diversity within our unity of disciples of Christ.  

ACC will be represented – we’ll keep you posted on developments as they unfold and how delegates will be selected.


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