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3150 Newgate
Florissant, MO 63033
February 8, 2006
For Immediate Release:


February 8, 2006

Bishop William Skylstad, President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 4th Street, N.E.,
Washington DC 20017-1194

Dear Brothers,

The Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC) wishes to congratulate your colleague, Bishop Timothy McDonnell of Springfield MA for recognizing the long suppressed right of the People of God to be effective instruments of the Holy Spirit in the selection of their leaders. Needless to say, we support his initiative to implement the spirit and letter of Canon 212:3: the faithful “have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters that pertain to the good of the Church....”

ARCC has proclaimed throughout its 26-year history; “All Catholics have the right to a voice in all decisions that affect them, including the choosing of their leaders” (Charter of Rights of Catholics in the Church, No. 5). We are encouraged and moved by Bishop Timothy McDonnell's heroic action to bring this about. Bishop McDonnell has provided a model to return to the Catholic people a right/responsibility that they recently have been increasingly denied.

Moreover, in this action he joins the good company of Pope Benedict XVI, who in 1969, along with the rest of his colleagues on the Catholic Theology Faculty of the University of Tübingen, signed and published a special issue of their Tübinger Quartalschrift which argued with ample scholarly evidence in favor of both the election of bishops and their limited term of office. (See the English translation: Leonard and Arlene Swidler, Bishops and People. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1970).

We urge you Bishop Skylstad and all bishops of the USCCB to consider this model of involving your people in the life of their Church, but always with the clear realization that this gift of hope must be accompanied by the accountability it promises. Moreover, if openly accomplished, this consultative process will begin the task of restoring credibility among our American Catholic people, as they see their bishops courageously and creatively calling them to help revitalize their Church.

Thank you for your attention to this letter. I hope to hear from you at your convenience.

Sincerely yours,

Leonard Swidler, Ph.D, S.T.L., LL.D., LL.D. Co-Founder/President,

Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church
3150 Newgate
Florissant, Mo. 63033

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