And to be honest – there’s really not much that’s new about it.
Just before Thanksgiving, I received the latest edition of the American Catholyc Council’s newsletter – this is the group that met in Detroit in June 2011 to discuss how to become better Protestants. I signed up for their newsletter to stay informed of their screwball ideology and misdirected activism. I thought I’d share it with you, to show that they’re embarking on a direction that is as bizarre as it is…pointless.
Prompts for Thanksgiving Table Talk
As we approach this season of Thanksgiving, it is essential to name the things we are grateful for and why they impact our lives. On behalf of the Planning Committee of the American Catholic Council(ACC), we are sustained by your continued testimony that our gathering in Detroit this past Pentecost Weekend invigorated attendees with a new understanding of their rights and responsibilities as adult Catholics.
In Retrospect: We took the summer to digest the varied data provided from that memorable weekend in order to determine trends and actionable directions. Those deliberations have reinforced our collective realization that governance continues to be the root cause of the ongoing crises in our Church. We remain convinced that focusing on solutions that impact leadership and governance structures of the church will yield historic changes.
Early this Fall, the Planning Team concurred that this movement could not simply be a one time event that fades into the history books as a marker event. And so we began to discuss how this movement, with no prior history, no staff, no office and no guaranteed future funding could define itself and its future. This was no easy challenge when we were bombarded with calls, emails, notes and letters all asking what our next steps would be. Because we left the future open to the call of the Spirit and the Sensus Fidelium, we were “listening” but the call was not yet crystal clear.
Toward An Emerging Catholic Spring: Patience has not been consistently one of our virtues, yet in recent months, a future step has emerged with clarity. We are pleased this Thanksgiving to give you a foretaste for your dinner conversations: We are planning to launch an online Institute on Nonviolent Action to be framed by a social analysis of power systems in the institutional Catholic Church. We hope to engage help from the Albert Einstein Institution, the home of Gene Sharp who has been heralded as the father of the Arab Spring.
Might it be that we can stimulate what some have been calling an emerging Catholic Spring? Our pilot initiative will review the theory and practice on nonviolent action, ground it in Gospel imperatives, and then seek to integrate nonviolent methods into a national action plan.We have presented this new direction to a national association of reform groups and debuted it in a caucus held at the Call to Action conference in Milwaukee earlier this month. Receptivity was exceptionally high.
We are currently reviewing available dates with the Einstein Institution’s staff and are in preparation for the project to begin early next year. More information will be forthcoming as it becomes available, but our solution-driven goal is to call for a coordinated action around one or two initiatives that will have national, regional and local applicability and impact.
See what they doing? They’re comparing their movement to the Arab spring. Life under Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman Curia is comparable to what Egyptians suffered under the tyranny of Mubarak, or to the oppression experienced in Tunisia. To them, women being told they can’t be ordained, or being told that ‘yes, you do need an annulment if you’re a divorcee and you want to marry’, is just like getting beat up or raped by ruthless military jack-booted thugs, or getting imprisoned without due process. Last time I checked, the Swiss Guard haven’t been rounding up revolutionaries or detaining dissenters…darn it.
Okay, I didn’t mean that last part (too much). But the comparison is ludicrous. A steaming pile of horse you-know-what. Perhaps a “jump the shark” moment for the ACC. And to carry their ludicrous comparison to the next logical step, they’re negotiating with Gene Sharp, the “father of the Arab Spring”. According to articles from international publications (go the Albert Einstein Institute to see them), Sharp’s book From Dictatorship To Democracy, published in 1993, was instrumental in multiple non-violent revolutions, including the Serbian uprising that helped to oust Milosevic.
The way I see it, non-violent protests are only effective in the face of violent oppression, where the possibility of getting killed while standing for justice is pretty high. That’s what helps generate public support, because the injustices and atrocities enacted by totalitarian regimes become transparent and evident. But in the case of the Catholic Church, which has no army, no secret police, no threat of force and no torture chambers, how would a non-violent protest work? What would it look like?
The obvious truth? It wouldn’t look any different than what they’ve been doing for the past several decades. What is so “new” about this latest gambit? Call-to-Apostasy has been around since 1976, and they’ve been engaged in non-violent protests ever since. The ACC is just another head on the hydra of heresy. So how much more non-violent can they possibly be? Is there such a thing as non-violenter non-violence?
The only reason I can see why the ACC has sought the guidance of Sharp and his institute, is that they want to ride the coattails of his publicity train, and perhaps develop some cred amongst the revolutionaries of the world. They would just looooove it if the pressure of the international community came to bear upon the Church. In nearly every case where Sharp’s tactics were employed successfully, the governments being protested against faced world-wide condemnation, and such condemnation helped bring about change. And that’s what the ACC wants – they want the Church to succumb to world opinion, and implement the changes being demanded of her.
Pfft. So.freakin’.what. As if the world loves the Church now, as it is. If the world takes the side of the ACC, then I know which side of the line I’ll be standing on – the Holy Roman Catholic Church’s side. The ACC, and groups like them, aren’t interested in the Truth, or the faith, or authentic justice, or any such sacred thing. All they want is power, and the pathway to getting that power is to play the part of the disenfranchised victim. Well, they disenfranchised themselves, all on their own. They’ve decided they don’t want to partake of Christ’s kingdom, which is neither a dictatorship nor a democracy.
So go ahead, ACC, sign-up with The Albert Einstein Institute. Go Occupy Vatican, or whatever. The gates of Hell won’t prevail against the Church, and, thankfully, neither will you.