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25 January 2017 Changing the Conversation (170509) Celebrating More Than 50 Years (170509) Conscience-Based Moral Judgments (170509) Dignitaries Humanae (170509) False Views on Jesus' Views on Divorce (170509) Mission and Human Rights (170509) Jesus and the Ordination of Women (170516) 29 May 2017 How much of Church Doctrine do we really believe? (170602) Trump Pulls Out of Paris Agreement (170602) 05 June 2017 Thoughts on Religious Vocations: An Open Letter to Pope Francis (170605) I can't get the institutional church out of my system (170618) 25 June 2017 Just War? Enough Already (170703) What would Teilhard say? Evolve or be annihilated (170710) Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (170719) Religion's Wax Nose (170726) American Civil Religion (170731) A Heresy of the Times (170807) Cardinal Calls for Global Church (170818) The Price of Being a Prophet (170821) The Implosion of the Roman Catholic Church (170902) Reflection on Racism in America (170913) Who am I? Where am I going? (170918) One Priest's Hopes for the Mass Translation (170925) The Edge of the Inside (171002) Selective Christianity (171016) Theology at the Cutting Edge: Healing the Political and Social Divide in America (171016) Resisting Islamophobia Is The Catholic Thing To Do. (171023) It Started With a Letter to the Archbishop (171030) Why Do We Still Tolerate Mass Stipends? (171106) Their Cross to Bear: Catholic Women Told to Forgive (171113) Papal loyalists become dissidents (171120) Echoes of Theocracy (171127) Will Pope Francis Remove the 'Warning'? (171204) Gumbleton on Nuclear Deterrence (171211) The Scandal of the 2011 Missal (171218)
ARCC News 2018
Prophets of a Future Not Our Own (20180101) 2018: Time to Become Ultra-Human? (20180118) Time for a Bonfire of Their Vanities? (20180122) Until All Are Welcome My House, My Rules: 3 Women "Rejected" (20180208) Policing the Communion Line (20180205) A Time to Judge (20180212) Mary McAleese Being Banned is Embarrassing (20180219) Correct, Don't Complicate Excommunication (20180226) Catholic Tradition, Labour, and Organizing Workers (20180305) Misogyny in the Vatican (20180312) The Unofficial Saint of the Internet (20180318) Francis Invites Change, But We Are the Change (20180325) Rediscovering the Role of Mary Magdalene as Apostle of the Apostles (20180401) Synodality and its Perils (20180409) Get rid of the clergy - But keep Holy Orders (20180415) Renewing the Program of Priestly Formation (20180429) Male and Female, in the image and likeness of God (20180506) Wedding Bans: Why Do Parishes Turn Young Couples Away? (20180513) Christian Humanism, the Path to the Divine (20180520) Mary - Prophet and Priest (20180527) A Wake-Up Call to Liberal Theologians (20160603) Canonization is right for Oscar Romero (20180610) Could the Church take a risk? (20180618) AJC expresses "Profound Concern" over beatification (20180624) The Bible's #MeToo Problem (20180701) 'Humanae Vitae' and the census fidelium (20180715) The Catholic Church wasn't always so against contraception (20180722) 50 years later, scientist's findings on birth control... (20180729) #MeToo, Your Excellency The Catholic Church needs a way to deal with bad bishops (20180812) The Catholic Church is tempted by power and obsessed with sex (20180819) Real change against abuse... (20180826) Pope Francis is facing a crisis of justice (20180829) Catholics Are Facing a Very Real Emergency (20180902) Truth and its violent consequences (20180909) The Third Millennial Catholic Reformation (20180917) Reality in an Historical-Critical Perspective (20180923) Both Prudential & Indisputable (20180930) Catholic Crossroads and Catholic Conflict (20181007) Schism or Evolution? (20181015) Theology: Stones or Bread? (20181028) White Christian America (20181102) Stone Throwing. Or Not. (20181104) Young People, Hope for the Church(es) (20181112) Who Represents the Laity? (20181118) Open Letter to the US Catholic Bishops: It's Over (20181125) From Collegiality to Synodality (20181203) The Birth of the Messiah (20181217) A Non-traditional Blessing for 2019 (20181231)
ARCC News 2019
Epiphany 2019 (20190107) Celibacy isn't the cause of the church sex-abuse crisis; the priesthood is (20190114) How to save Western civilization - again (20190121) Catholic curricula and the invisibility of Native Americans (20190128) Ministry and Power (20190204) A Document on Human Fraternity Our History The Reflection on the Wrath of God (20190224) Read Just One Speech (20190304) Why the Priesthood Needs Women (20190311) "Honest Rituals" argues for sacrament update (20190325) Stop Calling Me "Father" (20190401) The Sexual Abuse Crisis is not a Crisis (20190408) Palm Sunday 2019 (20190414) What Women Want (20190428) Targeting Pope Francis (20190513) Power Sharing Seen As Essential... (20190520) Pde Francis Dithering... (20190527) When the Sky Didn't Fall... (20190603) The Ancient Diaconate of Women (20190609) Bishop Bransfield and the Misuse of Funds (20190616) When it comes to Church reform... (20190624) We asked Catholic Church women if they... (20190630) Women in Christianity - Free to share their wounds (20190707) Can laypeople lead a parish? (20190714) Civility (2190721) Mary the Magdalen (20190729) Faithful America (20190804) Sacralizing Politics (20190811) Tackle Clericalism First (20190818) Failure Guaranteed (20190826) Divorce, Annulment & Communion (20190901) Human Nature & Human Sexuality (20190909) Climate Change Most Important Life Issue (20190915) Being An Open-Minded Believer (20190923) The Laity Hold the Key (20190929) Be Prophetic (20191013) Are You Satisfied With Priestly Ministry? (20191020) Racism - A Challenge to the Church (20191101) Irish Priests Call for... (20191104) McAleese Calls on Pope... (20191111) Top 5 Takeaways from the Amazon Synod (20191111) Thomas Doyle traces the disintegration... (20191202) We've been bishops in 3 Death Penalty states... (20191209) Spirituality (20191223)
Changing Power Relationships
ARCC Courses


How to save Western civilization - again (20190121)

How to save Western civilization - again


Contemporary Catholic Belief and Action


The mission of ARCC is to bring about substantive structural change within the Catholic Church by seeking to institutionalize a collegial understanding of church where decision making is shared and accountability is realized among Catholics of every kind and conditio n.
Once people start to believe change is possible, 
the drive to achieve it accelerates. 
                                          -   Patrick Sullivan, ARCC President
How to save Western civilization - again
Joan Chittister
Sinking ships are not difficult to identify. You can watch their long, slow, laborious decline as the stern begins to slip away and the bow, the head of the ship, becomes useless. You can see that it is no longer making any kind of real progress into the wind. You know that it has lost control of itself.
The interesting thing is that governments and churches decline in exactly the same way: first the people, the body of the institution, begin to cast off, to disappear; then little of importance is heard from the leadership.
Collapse is obvious and immanent. What is difficult to figure out is why once great institutions suddenly begin to sink. Even more disconcerting is the notion that nothing could have been done to stop the implosion in the first place.
The probable causes of such decline are also many, of course - the environment maybe; systemic breakdown, perhaps; and surely the internal strain that comes eventually to all systems and structures that have been allowed to become arthritic over time, taken for granted over time, become lethargic over time.
But whatever the cause of the shipwreck, it's essential to remember that its not only institutions that disappear. The people who depended on them go down with the ship, too - their trust in it misplaced, their unconsciousness of the danger ships just naturally embody overlooked, their sense of eternal security shattered. Until the impossible happens and the fragility of life reasserts itself. Over and over and over again. From century to century.
Governments go down. Churches, too, sinning as much as they save, lose their bearings. So how is it that we stand by while our institutions shrivel and our courage shrinks? It's not our fault, we argue. The cause is outside ourselves - in the institution itself, we say. Not in us. 
Wrong. The truth is that very great social debacle starts with us, with the people who look away while it happens, who allow the attitudes that feed it to prevail.
Today, in an era of government upheaval, I want to explore this question of institutional breakdown but from a perspective formed over twenty centuries ago and the vision of the man who set out to restore the heart of the human enterprise.
In the 6th century, Rome - the invincible - began to crumble from the inside out. Its Roman legions, the ground of the empire's political power, had sucked the resources out of the colonies and, no longer earning their keep, were now draining Rome itself instead. The rich had become dissolute. The poor were destitute and desperate. The immigrants on the border - foreigners -  were beginning to stream into Rome, not to destroy it but to share in its bounty.
They had emperors who were intent on enlarging the empire and popes whose major concern was establishing papal preeminence. So, who was there to reverse this race to the bottom of one of the greatest empires the world had ever known?
The answer was as unlikely as the problem. A young student, Benedict from Norcia, disillusioned by the low moral condition of the much-heralded Rome, turned his back on the system. He dropped out. He left school rather than commit himself to the goals and desiccant values of a place that had squandered its wealth and its purpose on itself. Rather than pursue the priorities of the then society, he began to teach another way to live.
Benedict developed small communities and, in a world where power and bullying, egregious greed and pathological individualism, authoritarianism and narcissism left a sense of community behind, taught that pride is the basic flaw in the human system. Humility, the cornerstone of society, of civilization, of the social order, he taught, is its corrective.
He based his rule of life on twelve principles of humility that, historians say to this day, saved Western Civilization.
It's those principles of life that need to be revisited in our own time if either church or state can possibly lead the world through the self-centeredness of society in our own time.
From where I stand, it is those twelve principles of life - recognition of my place in the universe, the need for wisdom rather than power, self-revelation rather than self-aggrandizement, and right relationships - that are badly needed now. If we are ever to recover from the twisted and contorted systems that pass for church and state at the present time, we must begin to examine the assumptions and attitudes that we are allowing to creep into our institutions and, worse, into our own souls.
It's those principles that I will begin to examine, one at a time these next weeks, in what has become a highly polarized - and sinking world - around us. Maybe if we can discover what is undermining our best efforts we might at least arrest our present plunge to the depths. 
Joan Chittister is a Benedictine sister of Erie, Pennsylvania.
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