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Christmas Greetings

The very first message delivered to us was that offered by the angels to the shepherds. "Fear not, for I bring you good news..." (Luke 2:8-20) Throughout the Gospels, we are reminded that we should not fear. This is at the very heart of what it means to be the People of God. We are all called to listen to the Spirit and follow our hearts to bring about the Reign of God. This, of course, requires that we live out our faith in spite of all the obstacles we see before us.


Fear is the primary enemy of authentic evangelism. I will be the first to admit that this is no small matter. I know there have been times when I have allowed my fears to prevent me from doing what is right. When I have overcome those fears, though, I have found that the reward is far greater than any consequence I could imagine. Many of us are encouraged by the words of Pope Francis, calling on us all to be true servants of Christ by reaching out to the poor and focusing on the joy announced by those angels to the shepherds. Nevertheless, we cannot simply rely on the Pope's words to bring about a church of which we can be proud. 


There is so much more to do. We need to challenge the leadership of the church, especially our bishops. We will assist any group that is interested in claiming their power. There has been a significant effort recently that involves petitioning the Vatican through the group of Cardinals that were called by Pope Francis to address the needs for reform. 


If we believe that we have a right to be involved in the selection and/or retention of bishops, then we just assert that right. We propose that the people of a diocese may take one of two actions. First, the people conduct an election of their own. If they have a bishop, and they are concerned about the behaviors of their bishop, they conduct a recall election. If they happen to live in a diocese with an empty seat, they conduct their own election of their new bishop. Both of these actions are consistent with our history, as clearly shown by John Dick in his article in our newsletter earlier this year. 


The second action we propose is to conduct an evaluation of the bishop. This would be like any other performance appraisal. There is no reason that the people cannot express their own satisfaction. The point is this: it is time to overcome our fears and claim our rightful place at the table. All of the People of God should be able to share fully in their church, women and men. 


We have had an active year and anticipate even more activity in the coming year. We continue to see an increase in the number of subscribers to ARCC News. This tells us that we are moving in the right direction. We have also had a number of ARCC Angels who donated $100 or more this year. We are ever so grateful for that kind of support. 


We have already worked with groups in dioceses who are interested in taking the next step and making their voice known by either recalling their bishop or voting for a new bishop in the case of an open seat.

We have identified the software that will facilitate this effort and we will help any group that wishes to follow this example. 


We have welcomed several new board members with an enormous wealth of knowledge and experience. There is no doubt that the Spirit is active and we are witnessing exciting times.


As we celebrate the Incarnation, let us all reflect on the wonder of God's love-Creator chooses to become creature. If God has invited us to a more intimate relationship with Godself, how is it that anyone can deny that in any way? We, at ARCC, are committed to doing whatever we can to empower the People of God. We rely on the support of you all to continue our mission. Please consider how you may contribute to this important endeavor. While I know this is not the main reason anyone would provide financial support, I remind you that this is the end of the year and time to think about a tax-deductible contribution to ARCC. 


We are always grateful for those who have supported us in the past and anticipate your continued generosity. I wish you the very Merriest Christmas and a blessed New Year.


Patrick B. Edgar, DPA