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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 condition.
 
Once people start to believe change is possible, 
the drive to achieve it accelerates. 
                                          -   Patrick Sullivan, ARCC President
 
 
 
President’s Message
 
Christmas 2021 & New Year 2022
 
Patrick B. Sullivan, DPA
ARCC President

 

As we begin the new liturgical year and anticipate the secular New Year, I find it a good time for reflection. We have experienced a difficult year, following another difficult year. Between the pandemic and political turmoil, it is a challenge to get our bearings. Personally, I find I need time for some kind of respite. However, it doesn’t seem to avail itself and the stresses just don’t let up. More than ever, it seems, we must rely on our faith to get us through. I wonder how many of us find that need fulfilled in our experience of church today. Sadly, many of our leaders have really let us down. The focus of so many are  on political agendas and culture wars. Some are even challenging science in a way that is harmful to us. It is so easy to be discouraged.
 
Perhaps, we need to look in the right places. I know that leadership isn’t necessarily a position. It is a calling and every one of us can answer that calling. This is especially the case when those we expected to lead, have failed. I recognized a couple of months ago that it was folly to expect others to change. Instead, I opened my eyes to the real religious leaders. I found them in Christians who work in food banks and homeless shelters. I see them in domestic abuse shelters and halfway houses. I find them in true authentic leaders who will not compromise their values to gain notoriety. There are everyday heroes among us. So many parents have endured and joyfully taken up the challenge of serving as the educator of their children when only virtual classes were offered. 
 
Healthcare workers have suffered long hours and witnessed terrible loss, but they continue to serve us all. This year, I have watched around me as selfless firefighters battle terrible wildfires, some even sacrificing their lives. These are our leaders. They show us what it is to be followers of Yeshua. 
 
Henri Nouwen reminds us of our true identity:
 
"During our short lives the question that guides much of our behavior is: 'Who are we?' Although we may seldom pose that question in a formal way, we live it very concretely in our day-to-day decisions.
 
"The three answers that we generally live — not necessarily give — are: 'We are what we do, we are what others say about us, and we are what we have,' or in other words: 'We are our success, we are our popularity, we are our power.'
 
"Jesus came to announce to us that an identity based on success, popularity, and power is a false identity — an illusion! Loudly and clearly he says: 'You are not what the world makes you; but you are children of God.”
 
                              Nouwen, Here and Now (2006)
It is in this true identity, that we anticipate the Christ event. We welcome the Incarnation into our hearts this time of year. Let that Spirit be the one we heed and answer our call to leadership.
 
We, at ARCC, answer our calling by listening to those who have struggled with a church that holds them to unreasonable expectations.  When so-called leadership focuses on the wrong things, we remind them of the gospel calling. Our board members produce inspiring and thoughtful essays that both call out abuses and shine a light on authentic ministry. I know you probably get a ton of requests for support this time of year. I pray that you can find it in your heart to include ARCC in your gifts. Our mission continues to be vital to the health of our church. 
 
Thank you, in advance, for your contribution. I wish you and yours a very holy and joyful Christmas and blessings in a New Year.
 
 
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