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Contact: Jessica Lillie, votfpr@votf.org, (617) 558-5252, (617) 680-2131 cell

For Immediate release


VOTF instrumental in launching American Catholic Council

January 25, 2009 – Boston

In a move to unite U.S. Catholics, the newly formed American Catholic Council (ACC) called today for an historic assembly of the Catholic Church in the United States. Voice of the Faithful joins this call, spurred by evidence of serious deterioration in the life of the U.S. Church today.

“The way the Church is now is not the way it was meant to be,” says John Hushon, a VOTF board member who serves as the ACC co-chair. “The Gospels make it abundantly clear that Jesus envisioned a community that welcomes and encourages the gifts of all. The two-tiered clerical system that separates the ordained from the non-ordained was never meant to be, and it has caused enormous harm. Vatican II attempted to recapture the universal call to ministry, but this promise has not been fulfilled.”

The idea of a lay-convened gathering to recapture this promise has been championed for several years by VOTF president Dan Bartley and was formally endorsed by VOTF after consultation with its own members and member representatives. In addition, Board member Hushon and VOTF Vice President Janet Hauter are serving as the first co-chairs for the ACC.

To date, 55 individual Catholics—some sitting as representatives of Catholic reform organizations and others as theologian advisors and expert consultants—have joined the ACC’s organizing efforts. Included are prominent Catholics such as Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, well-known author on issues of contemporary spirituality; Robert Blair Kaiser, who writes extensively about Church reform; prominent theologian and author Dr. Paul Lakeland; professor of Catholic Thought and Interreligious Dialogue Dr. Len Swidler; and Chris Schenk, a Sister of Saint Joseph in Cleveland, who serves as Executive Director of FutureChurch.

FutureChurch, VOTF, and other organizations are in the process of formally endorsing the American Catholic Council Declaration for Reform and Renewal, which launches the call for a national council. The declaration was posted online Jan. 23, at www.americancatholiccouncil.org, to mark the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s call for a Second Vatican Council.

ACC aims to fulfill the promise of Vatican II to create a more responsive, accountable Church that calls on the active participation of its people and more closely models the American experience.

The assembly is scheduled to take place in Detroit in the fall of 2011—the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the 35th Anniversary of Cardinal Deardon’s “Call to Action,” which was designed to actualize the reforms of Vatican II for the United States Church. 

For more information about the American Catholic Council or Voice of the Faithful, please email Jessica at votfpr@votf.org or call 617-558-5252 or visit www.americancatholiccouncil.org

Press contact

Jessica Lillie (617) 558-5252, (617) 680 2131 ©

About Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) VOTF is a worldwide movement of concerned mainstream Catholics formed in response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. The group’s mission is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church. Its goals are to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity, and shape structural change within the Catholic Church in full accordance and harmony with Church teaching.





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