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June 28, 2003
For Immediate Release:
Contact: John Sheehan  413-527-9929

Catholics of the United States should take note of two things that happened outside the official agenda at the recent meeting of the United States Catholic Bishops in St. Louis June 18.  First, the resignation of Frank Keating as chair of the Bishops’ Committee on the Sexual Abuse of Priests was accepted; second, the idea of a Plenary Council of the church in the United States was revisited.   

Frank Keating’s public comments, which led to his resignation, were considered by many to be unfortunate.  Rhetoric aside, in reality, he was speaking the thoughts of some Catholics who think that there are bishops who are not cooperating with the official Commission.  Keating’s remarks should perhaps have been spoken behind closed doors.  His departure does nothing to restore the faith of American Catholics in their bishops' credibility.  If this credibility gap is not repaired, the future health of the church in the United States may be in jeopardy.    

The call for some sort of national meeting or conference of the church in the United States as well as in other countries, is one that the Association for the Rights of Catholics (ARCC) has been making for many years.  However, we can support this project only if it is a gathering planned by a broad spectrum of Catholics.  We can support this project if a broad spectrum of Catholics implement it.  We can support this project if ALL the church issues that exercise the minds of Catholics at the beginning of the 21st century are discussed.  These include specifically a thorough examination and reform of the mode of governance of the church and a thorough examination of the church’s teachings on sexuality.   

ARCC is concerned that the vision of Vatican II to renew the church be implemented.  The vision includes a governance system that is representative, accountable and transparent, a system that reflects the gospel values of integrity and honesty.  We believe that this is what the Spirit of God is asking all of us to do for our future generation of Catholics.   

It is important that the bishops hear what the people have to say about the vision.   ARCC urges all Catholics to contact local bishops to make their needs known in this proposal for a Plenary Council.  It must be inclusive in membership and not exclusive on the agenda.

 ARCC is a 501-c3 non-profit international organization dedicated to achieving substantive structural change in the Roman Catholic Church. It works to implement an identified body of rights that every Catholic has from Baptism and membership in the human community. ARCC works for a more collegial church structure which affirms these rights through accountability and shared decision making.

For More Information Contact:

Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church
3150 Newgate Drive Florissant, MO 63033
Tel: 413.527.9929
FAX: 413.527.5877

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