April 23, 2015

   American Catholic Council
Easter Transformation Butterfly
    Reclaiming the Promise of Vatican II 
       Reform actions in bloom   
NEWSLETTER             April 23, 2015
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IEC 2015 Gathering
June 26-28   St. Paul, MN
Janet Hauter will be presenting!



Listening Session Report is released!


 supporters were among those who held Listening Sessions in order to provide valuable data to the delegates to the  upcoming Synod on the Family in Rome in the fall.

The Report has been released and you can read it here.

This report has been sent to the Vatican office for the Synod, the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Kurtz, President of the USCCB, all of the bishops who are delegates to the Synod.

Eventually, we will send it to every active U.S. bishop.


U.S. Catholic Priests also issue survey report on the Family Synod
Two AUSCP Board Members, Jim Schexnayder and John Stabeno, personally delivered a report summarizing the view of more than 500 U.S. Catholic priests to the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Synod on Friday, April 10. A news release summarizing the Report can be read by clicking HERE. The full report can be read by clicking  HERE.
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“This report is important because it gives each of our bishops the opportunity to ‘hear’ the unfiltered voices of reform minded Catholics who care about the life and future of the people of God and the Church… “We will be asking our Bishop delegates to honor these voices when they go to Rome in October and make sure they are included as decisions about pastoral practices are being finalized at the Synod.”

(from the COR Press release on the Listening Sessions Report)


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Scanning any Catholic publication these days, you’re bound to read about Pope Francis. He is a mystical strategy master calling us to consider the church a field hospital, a kind of urgent care triage unit where patients can be cared for where they are: the Church reaching out to them.  And we are the staff of this field hospital, even if we feel we haven’t been formally trained, interviewed or had our benefits fully explained! We have been called to serve; Pope Francis has invited us in hundreds of ways during his two year Pontificate   Are you ready to accept his invitation?


We’re watching a new church being born, a church built on the rocks of service and mercy.  Using the field hospital analogy, we need everyone–general practitioners, radiologists, cardiologists, patient navigators to help those who are lost, care coordinators to guarantee that the right services are matched to the right need.  Staffing is the linchpin for creating the church of tomorrow.

ACC hopes that only being a “consumer” in the church today (where our involvement in Church is limited to marriage, baptisms and attending Sunday liturgies) is a rapidly vanishing model.  We want to provide vision and actions plans that will enable us to work together and to really see God in new and different ways.

This reminds me of a story we all have heard I’m sure:

    There were two brick masons working at a site when a stranger     walked by and asked each what they were doing.  The first             responded, “I’m laying bricks.”  The other smiled, saying, 

    “I’m building a cathedral!” 

This difference in perception is key. We are not merely observers of the Francis “magic”, we’re the staff and the patients are desperate for care! We’ve been invited to “make noise in the streets”, “to speak to our bishops”, “to build relationships”.  Yet we watch and listen; we raise up Francis like a rock star.

During the COR meeting this past week in Boston, and on our own Sounding Board strategy call recently, we have begun to plan actions that will get us all involved in this “rebuilding”.  Make sure you save the date of September 20th for nationwide vigils about “Love is our Mission: A Church for All.” (see below for more)  We are also developing templates for conversations with bishops, a “witness” at the USCCB, and ongoing input to the Vatican Synod office.  Please click here for a full “calendar” of events, to which more details will be added as we turn dreams into reality.

Janet Hauter at ACC Strategy Meeting

With Easter joy,

Janet Hauter, National Chair, ACC


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 September in Philadelphia!
    Sometimes things just come together in synchronicity and that seems to be developing in Philadelphia this fall.
  • On the weekend of September 18-20 people from around the world will converge to discuss “Gender, Gospel & Global Justice” at the Women’s Ordination Worldwide 2015 Conference.
  • On the evening of Sunday, September 20th, COR organizations are organizing a witness Vigil with the theme “Love is Our Mission:  A Church for All“.  The kickoff event will be in Philly, but groups and parishes across the nation will hold “sister” vigils, holding up the real issues of real families.  You want to organize one, don’t you? More information will be coming soon.
  • On Monday, September 21st the World Meeting of Families begins.  Although many reform groups have been turned down as exhibitors,there will be a progressive presence!  Watch for more information about the Equally Blessed “pilgrimage” and a “party” sponsored by the young adult group of CTA!
  • Later in the week, September 26/27, Pope Francis will be coming to Philadelphia to participate in some WMF events.  More vigils then, too!
  • Plans are also being developed for witness events at the other locales Pope Francis will visit in New York and Washington, DC…..
ACC will continue to update you about these developing events!

Pope Francis

An      on 

We continue with our 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 communities.


“The content of the Christian witness is not a theory, is not an ideology or a complex system of precepts and prohibitions or a moralism but is a message of salvation, a concrete event, rather a Person: it is Christ risen living and unique Savior of all.  He can be witnessed by the many who have made a personal experience of Him, in prayer and in the Church, through a journey that has its foundation in Baptism… Thanks to this journey, always guided by the Word of God, every Christian can become a witness of the risen Jesus.  And his (or her) witness is all the more credible, shines as more of a way of evangelical living, joyous, courageous, mild, peaceful, merciful.  If instead the Christian lets himself (or herself) be taken by comfort, by vanity, by egoism, if he (or she) becomes deaf and blind to the question of the “resurrection” of many brothers (and sisters) how can he (or she) communicate Jesus alive, how can he (or she) communicate the liberating power of Jesus alive and His infinite tenderness?”
…..Pope Francis, Reginal Coeli, April 19, 2015


As I read the above quote from Francis, I took away the feeling of empowerment that has been given to me as a baptized Catholic who truly believes that, as my friend Fr. Jim Hogan says throughout the Easter season, “Christ is risen!”  That is what we are about as Catholics: people empowered for our human life, “the liberating power of Jesus alive and His infinite tenderness”.  Jesus, who lived and loved as fully human as anyone ever has, is not conquered by anything, not even death.  It begins for us by looking at who the person of Jesus is, how he acted and reacted to the events in His life.  It really is simple and straightforward.   It is like Francis said, “Christian witness is not a theory, is not an ideology or a complex system of precepts and prohibitions or a moralism…”   The last two papacies have taken the church backwards to all those things Francis said Christian witness is not.  Francis is working his hardest to turn the “barque of Peter” away from the shores where she has been moored in theory, ideology, complex systems of precepts and prohibitions and moralisms.  It is about Jesus and we are to be about the business he taught us and showed us in how he lived his life.  This gives me great courage, courage to take on the task of helping Francis steer away from those stagnant shores to a church full of life and sailing with Jesus on board with us in our midst.  Yes, indeed, Christ is risen and how we live that out makes all the difference.  I suggest three things.  As Papa Francesco said in the quote above, we begin with making “a personal experience” of Jesus.  He listed prayer as one of the most important ways to have this experience (he spends four hours a day praying).


I suggest reading the Gospel everyday, either a random passage or the selected passage of the day, spend some time asking how that passage speaks to you, and then letting God speak to YOU!  You can even download an app of the entire Bible on your smartphone to make this easy whenever you have a moment.  I suggest we all help PF in his efforts to set the Church on a new course by getting involved in parish life doing whatever you can.  We all have skills to share. (For lots of ideas for renewed parish life, check out our “Rebuild Church” reportfrom last year!)  Thirdly, stay abreast of what is happening in the church today regarding reform.  The best way to do this is to join in a reform group such as the American Catholic Council who work to provide not only information as to what Papa Francesco is doing to achieve a new vision of Church, but they develop and engage in concrete initiatives to help him push the Church off the shoals where she was parked beginning about 35 years ago.


We must remember that this is our Church, led by Jesus and she needs your help in scraping the barnacles and setting her sails in a new direction.
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