GET ON THE AGENDA!
During the past year ARCC members were urged to contact their local bishops and give voice to the need to have important items included on the agenda of the biannual meetings of the United States Conference of Catholic bishops. We have since learned that these agendas are locked in advance, with little input outside the bishops’ executive committee. Nevertheless, we in ARCC think that it is important to continue the effort to make our voices heard. If we cannot get on the agenda, at least in the near future, we want to get into the conversations bishops have with one another during these meetings. Urge your bishop to talk about our issues with other bishops at the upcoming meeting June 19-21.
We ARCC members will continue to emphasize three points that are basic exercises in the subsidiarity called for by Vatican II and the Charter of the Rights of Catholics in the Church. We need to see signs that more bishops are acknowledging the need for dialog, accountability and representation. It is time to do a reality check on the points we established last year.
1. Dialogue – We asked bishops and pastors to institutionalize regular town meetings in parishes and dioceses for the discussion issues of mutual concern. Local diocesan sexual abuse commissions should be expanded so that they can deal with other church grievances and issues. Has your bishop called any kind of open meeting? Has the Keating commission visited your diocese and was there a report to the public?
2. Accountability - We earlier asked bishops to appoint lay persons to the admissions and governing boards of all seminaries. Now it is time to ask that the financial records of all bishops and dioceses be made public and that annual audits be conducted by independent agencies. This should be a national initiative. Were you satisfied with the last financial report of your diocese? If not, it is time to make your voice heard. If you were satisfied, did you let your bishop know?
3. Representation - We earlier asked that local communities be consulted in the selection of leaders. The fact that Catholics have no say in the appointment of their pastors can no longer be tolerated. We have seen the destructive results when personnel appointments are carelessly handled. Diocesan personnel policies for appointment of pastors need to be made public. Is your parish or diocese between pastors or bishops? Ask to see diocesan policies and push to have a say in the appointment of your new pastor or bishop.
It would be helpful to us if you could give a report to ARCC about your successes or failures in this project. We thank you in advance. Give us a call at 413-527-9929 or email us at email@example.com.
Posted 12 June 2003