Monday, 30 September 2013

Red Card: ACTA

Red Card: ACTA (Simulation)
UK Catholic Twittersphere is awash with tales of "A Call to Action", a group of Catholics loosely following the principles of the Excommunicated American organisation "Call to Action" which in 1972 called for the Church to "reevaluate its positions on issues like celibacy for priests, the male-only clergy, homosexuality, birth control, and the involvement of every level of the church in important decisions". [1]

A visit to the "A Call to Action" website leaves one rather confused as to its actual purpose. Aside from a rather non-committal mission statement

"We are a group of Catholics, some of whom are ordained, brought together by our love of Christ's church and our anxiety about its future. Still inspired by the Second Vatican Council we want to contribute fully to the life of our church so that we may be a more effective sign of the Kingdom of God. To do this, we believe that an atmosphere of openness and dialogue both with each other and with our bishops needs developing. We desire to help create a climate of trust and respect for all where this dialogue may be fostered."

there is nothing which resolutely defines their principles. Take a visit to their forums however and the subsection headings tells one everything one needs to know:

"Married Priests"
"Women's Ordination"
"Divorce and Remarriage"
"Family Planning"

Add to this list subsections calling for democracy in Church Governance and the acceptance of homosexual relationships and you have a comprehensive liberal manifesto, backed up with the usual misguided and inauthentic interpretation of the Second Vatican Council.

I suspect that the impetus for ACTA's disgruntlement is born of genuine failings within the Church. Any Catholic who has invested deeply in their Faith cannot fail to be wounded when the Church's reputation is dragged through the mud by the failings of its members. The Church and the Sacraments were instituted because God knew that the wound of sin would leave us so debilitated. Without structure to the spiritual life and the conduit of Grace the Sacraments make present to us, who can be saved? In governance too the Church needs structure but this aspect of its dual nature is subject to the worthiness of its officers and the whole community of the faithful. Rather than seeking a genuine renewal born in repentance, ACTA is effectively attempting to throw the baby out with the bath water in seeking to alter the Divine Commission of the Church when the focus needs to be on the unworthiness of its officers, clergy and laity alike.

A Call to Action is predominantly a work of hubris. The church it seeks to create is one fashioned in its own image - an idol to human weakness and capriciousness. It already exists in a myriad forms, stripped of communion with Rome. It is a vision for the church which they claim with make it more relevant to the modern mindset but which will in essence erode its great commission to be One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. "To reject the Church is, like a soldier in the Praetorium, to give Jesus a slap in the face". [2]