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This proposal, agreed by the CCC Executive, was sent to all CCC members at the end of June 2014. There was unanimous agreement to adopt it at the AGM on 11 October 2014.
Dear CCC Members
We should be grateful if you would give this letter careful consideration as it makes important proposals for the future management of CCC.
You have to be in your sixties or older to remember the publication in July 1968 of Pope Paul VI encyclical on birth control Humanae Vitae. As a direct result of that monumental papal error of judgement, the Catholic Renewal Movement came into existence and in May 1969 published its Manifesto.
For forty-five years CRM/CCC has witnessed to two things, often being vilified for doing so and accused of disloyalty to the Church:
For many of those years, especially in the early ones, we were a lone minority voice among a few stalwart theologians and publications like The Tablet and the National Catholic Reporter of Kansas City. We became used to being labelled 'dissidents' by our opponents, who enjoyed the support of the ecclesiastical authorities in this country and in Rome.
Slowly, oh so slowly, the tide began to turn. The bishops of England and Wales became impatient at attacks on them by champions of 'orthodoxy'. CCC adopted a less confrontational stance, quietly insisting that we represented the mainstream. Our bishops were regularly sent copies of RENEW and whereas one had years ago asked us no longer to 'pollute his letterbox' now one or two actually write to thank us for sending it and to commend us for our honest witness. In subsequent years other groups of Catholics were formed to represent special interests, the RC Caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement for example, Catholic Women's Ordination to press for women priests, and Catholic Women's Network (now Women, Word, Spirit) for women's solidarity, the Austrian initiative which grew into the International Movement We Are Church and numerous others; today we have A Call To Action and priests' groups in several countries, taking their cue from the Austrian Pfarrer Initiative. CCC is no longer the lone voice it once was.
On 13 March 2013 Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Bishop of Rome and, bowing his head, asked the People of God in St Peter's Square for their blessing and prayers. He has made it clear that the Roman Curia must be reformed and has slowly and carefully begun what is going to be a long and difficult process, much resisted in places. He asked that bishops all over the world consult their people and bring their views to the Extra-Ordinary Synod to be held in Rome this October. Bishops have begun to speak out. Cardinal Burke was sent packing, with his wardrobe. Cardinal Pell was found an office job ideally suited to his talents. Religious have been told by Pope Francis not to get worried if they receive a tart letter of criticism from the Inquisition (now renamed the CDF). Homosexuals have been told, 'Who am I to judge?' by the Pope, of all people.
The views held by the membership of CCC over the past 45 years have thus effectively been vindicated. However, much remains to be done in the Church if the CRM Manifesto of 1969 is to be realised. We are still committed to the long haul but maybe in a more supportive and non-confrontational way. As individual Catholics, in our parishes, in our dioceses and in the various associations of Catholics to which some of us belong, we still need to witness to Vatican II. We need to support one another in this but we believe it would be better provided by a different organisational model to the one we have currently have in CCC.
Although CCC in the main represents the older generation of Catholics, it has to be remembered that for aeons in communities it was always the older generation, with both life experience and time to reflect, that spoke out about needs and concerns for the good of their society. Outrage at the betrayal of Vatican II by Pope Paul VI and his successors, especially as it impinged on intimate relationships, drove many younger Catholics to find their voice. Because their concerns were ignored, many have walked away from any connection with the Church. The Church now very much resembles CCC and our members are not out of place. We still have an important part to play.
That being said, and even with the adjustments made to CCC four years ago, our members still find it very difficult to play an active part in the organisation and management. We have to accept that there are probably very good reasons why members are unwilling to accept leadership roles as officers on the CCC Executive.
We know that, as Valerie pointed out in Renew 169, there is still a job to be done for those who belong to and support CCC. The time has come for the organisational structure to be adjusted so the work may continue.
The Executive will therefore be proposing at the October AGM that:
To sum up it is proposed that POGT would:
Of course if these proposals are not acceptable to the majority and there are candidates for the executive willing to take on the burdens of administration, then CCC can continue as it is.
Valerie J Stroud (Chairman) and Simon Bryden-Brook (Secretary) on behalf of the CCC Executive Committee