Sr Pat Kenny from the English/Scottish Province attended the ‘A Call To Action’ national conference last October and writes here of her experience:
A Call To Action is a UK Catholic movement working for equality and justice in the Church and society and believes that the Spirit of God is at work in the whole Church, not just in its appointed leaders. It has 1500 members covering all dioceses in England and Wales.
The entire Catholic Church has the obligation of responding to the needs of the world and taking initiative in programs of peace and justice. A Call To Action (ACTA) promotes its vision of a progressive, engaged Catholicism through its acclaimed annual conferences, award-winning publications, extensive network of regional groups and joint programs with other Catholic renewal organizations.
ACTA held its national conference this year at Newman University, Birmingham on 26th October and was attended by around 200 people, lay, religious and clergy from dioceses around the country. The theme was ‘Courageous Conversations’.
The speakers were Professor John Sullivan from Hope University, Liverpool, “Ecclesial Citizens, not sheep”, Professor Ursula King “The Church in Dialogue with Women” and Gerry J. Hughes SJ “Where do we go from here”.
John quoted Ephesians 2:19 ‘You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors; you are citizens like all the saints and part of God’s household’. There is a need for a sense of belonging not one of ‘group think’ or tribalism. The danger is in becoming unbalanced (big head – small body) as people continue to leave the Church. He saw the work of ACTA as getting a better balance resulting in a Church that is humble, inclusive and compassionate, promoting honest dialogue. We cannot be leaven without having a voice. We all share in the roles of ‘priest, prophet and king’.
Ursula felt the answer to her subject theme was a definite NO! John XXIII saw the issue of women as a sign of the times and the 2nd Vatican Council opened the door to women – too wide to be closed! Today we need to see the work of the Spirit in the world where the gender category comprises of ALL humanity and women are no longer objects but subjects. She quoted “One small step...” as a description of women’s recognition in the Church – an ongoing process of deepening faith.
Gerry felt that ACTA needs to find ways of looking at the topics raised at the conference and stated that before we try to teach anyone, we should see first what we can learn from the conference - as a Church that steps outside itself to meet the people.
For further information about the conference and the movement click HERE.