Newsletter, June 23, 2014

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American Catholic Council
 Reclaiming the Promise of Vatican II 
Taking steps to create CHANGE…  
NEWSLETTER                          June 23, 2014

Eye on Francis
Sensus Fidei affirmed
 Three Cheers for the U.S. Priests’ Association standing with LCWR!
AUSCP Logo  
    The Association of US Catholic Priests has written to Pope Francis expressing “sadness and dismay” about Cardinal Muller’s remarks about the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
    The letter reflects thoughtfully on the situation and ends by saying, “We pray that abuse of process and persons will not continue in this case or others, but
that a genuinely dialogic process, conducted with gentleness and reverence, will bring this issue to a conclusion more in keeping with Acts 15, Vatican II, and your own pastoral approach.”
   ACC applauds the AUSCP speaking out and we join with them in hoping that Pope Francis will respond.
Pray for the AUSCP as they hold their annual meeting this week!
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 Did you see this article by Chris Schenk in NCR? It summarizes our COR Survey for the Synod on the Family and puts it into current perspective.
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IEC 2015 Gathering
June 26-28
St. Paul, MN
Mark your calendars now for this exciting 4th Gathering of members of Intentional Eucharistic Communities from around the country, as well as those interested in knowing more about these groups.  ACC will be there, presenting at a breakout session, and participating in a faith-filled dynamic weekend.  Visit the IEC  website for more details.
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  “Let us try a little harder to take the first step and to become involved. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples…An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives;  An evangelizing community is also supportive, standing by people at every step of the way, no matter how difficult or lengthy this may prove to be. It is familiar with patient expectation and apostolic endurance.” (Pope Francis, EG, 24)


Recently we invited ACC supporters to submit a short survey, creating a collective “vision” of the Church they would like to see in the future (near future we hope!). We were very pleased with the high response rate and the picture that emerged.  While not dissimilar to some reform agendas that we are all familiar with, the characteristics defined give us achievable goals and inspiration.


The four major areas depicted by the responses are:

  • Parishes that are welcoming and inclusive;
  • Parishes that have strong, active lay participation;
  • Parishes with vibrant and relevant liturgies;
  • Parishes with dedication to service and social justice.

Exciting themes to think about, but we want specificity!  We brainstormed specific actions in each major category that YOU could take on a local level to move us all in the same direction.  I encourage you to look at these actions for some creative tools that any of us could initiate and see tangible local progress.


You will note that some actions build relationships, a theme I have emphasized for some time. I am inspired by the fact that Pope Francis continues his mantra of “dialogue, dialogue, dialogue” as it forms the basis of building those relationships.  Moving in this direction does demand a new skill set and ACC is currently working to expand our “toolkit” about relationship building (more soon!).


Catholics are often uncomfortable with even minor confrontation since we have been enculturated to be silent, obedient and deferential.  This is an historic moment for courage, for voice and for action.  To engage in this kind of local action requires some common behaviors:

1.      We must care enough about “the other” (pastor, parish leadership, etc.) to listen

2.      We must honestly attempt to see things from “the other’s” point of view.

3.      We must follow Francis’ call for dialogue which eliminates the game playing and posturing where one side wins and the other loses

4.      We need to approach “the other” with a predisposition toward love, honesty and vulnerability


This is a tall order but together, we can make reform start small literally in our own backyard and watch the seed of these actions begin to take root.  We are eager to share the good news of these grassroots reforms beginning to take place so when you are successful in introducing any of these changes, let us know so that we can celebrate with you and watch reform take on the joy of Gospel-centered work!

Janet Hauter

With faith in our common efforts,

Janet Hauter, National Chair, ACC


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 Catholic Tipping Point Speaking Tour
Once again, ACC is joining with a coalition of reform organizations to foster crucial dialogue about our Church.  Next fall, Fr. Tony Flannery,
a native of Galway and member of the Redemptorist Congregation for more than 50 years will speak in 18 cities around the U.S.  Fr. Tony is the founding member of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) in Ireland.Fr.Tony has been ordered to remain silent and forbidden to minister as a priest because of his refusal to sign a document that violates his conscience: namely that women cannot be priests and that he accepts all Church stances on contraception, homosexuality, and refusal of the sacraments to people in second relationships. After a year during which he attempted to come to some accommodation with the Vatican without success, he has decided to take a public stance on the need for reform in the Church.  His journey is chronicled in his book, A Question of Conscience (read a review here).Fr. Tony will tour the U.S.from October 22 – November 18, 2014, holding conversations with Catholic laity and leadership on topics of women in the Church, the future of ministry, the problem with infallibility, and the sexual teachings of the Catholic Church.

Rather than remain silent, Fr. Tony and all people of conscience are ready to dialogue.  Watch for more details here.

Pope Francis

An      on 

This month we introduce a new feature from
Reyanna Rice, Board member of Concerned Catholics of Montana and ACC supporter.  She is actively following and analyzing Pope Francis’ statements and actions and will offer a reflection each month to inspire us to integrate reform into our own lives and our communities.
“I remember that in Brazil they had prepared a closed popemobile for me, with glass, but I couldn’t greet the people and tell them I love them from within a sardine can.  Even if it’s made of glass, for me there is a wall.  It’s true that something could happen to me, but let’s be realistic, at my age I don’t have much to lose.”
(Pope Francis:  From Interview with the Spanish daily LA Vanguardia, June 9, 2014)
I see this statement as coming from the model of church that Francis talks about a lot.  It is the very essence of a church wide open, even realizing the risk involved.   This statement is a challenge to all of us.  What kind of sardine can am I letting myself be shut into?  Is my model, notion, way of being church a sardine can shutting me in so that I can’t greet people and tell them I love them?  What really do I have to lose if I let myself out of my personal sardine can?
Forum on Family Registration Now Open!
Catholic Church Reform International will host a “Forum on Family: Listening to the Faithful” in the Caravita Center in central Rome on Thursday and Friday, October 2nd and 3rd.   You are welcome to join this group of reformers from around the world to deliberate and take action to ensure that the lived experience of faithful Catholics is incorporated into the considerations of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family (convening just after this forum.)  Be a part of history!  Come to Rome and put your faith into action!  Register and learn more here.


New Vatican Document affirms Sensus Fidei!
     The International Theological Commission has just published a document on Sensus Fidei which affirms the right of the faithful to be heard and to participate in creating Church teachings.  “In matters of faith the baptized cannot be passive.  They have received the Spirit and are endowed as members of the body of the Lord with gifts and charisms for the renewal and building up of the Church…Not only do they have the right to be heard, but their reaction to what is proposed as belonging to the faith must be taken very seriously…..”(Par. 74, Sensus fidei in the life of the Church (2014))  
                When will their actions match their words?
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