ACTA was born in June 2012 when a group of seven priests wrote a letter to The Tablet calling for greater openness and discussion in the Church. The group will celebrate its 4th Annual Conference on 26th November. What is ACTA and what is it trying to achieve?
May the angels lead FrJacques Hamel (86) to Paradise, where the Lord will say, well done my good and faithful servant. This act and all recent atrocities are the work of the devil and pure evil. We must redouble our prayer and invoke the Prince of Peace to be with us all. Eternal rest to all those who have died recently.
Please find the Roman Missal of 1998 which was approved by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales. These have recently been added since the link to the documents had been broken.
Most Roman Catholics appear not to be aware that in 1998 there was an excellent new English translation of the Roman Missal. The first translation had been released in 1973. In in the mid 1980s translation work began again. It was to be more accurate. There was international cooperation among bishops, scholars, liturgists, Latinists, and other experts. It received the approval of all the English-speaking conferences of the world; in ten of the eleven conferences, its approval was unanimous or near-unanimous.
a personal reflection by Bishop Emeritus Christopher Budd in Newton Abbot
Around 40 people attended an event organised by the local ACTA group on 16th July. We heard Bishop Christopher encourage us make space in our lives for some contemplation about God and His loving mercy, recognising that judgmentalism can be a common fault in all our lives. He spoke about the delight and joy which God has in us, and how we can reflect this, hopefully, in our own daily lives, in how we feel about ourselves and relate to other people.
Bishop Christopher then highlighted some of the key points about the Year of Mercy which Pope Francis has written and spoken about, the concept of the “holy door”, pilgrimage and sacrament of reconciliation which all provide opportunities for renewal/new start in our lives. He also spoke of the importance of being open to the needs of the poor.
He concluded by emphasising that the Jubilee Year of Mercy would end on the Feast of Christ the King, but that we all need to carry forward the clear messages it has brought into the rest of our lives, or as he memorably said, “all our tomorrows”. The burst of applause and chatter which followed were clear demonstrations of how helpful and stimulating the address had been, and after some thoughtful questions from “the floor” the afternoon concluded with a short and effective prayer service which organisers had prepared. Many thanks to all involved.
Peter Farrell, ACTA Co-ordinator in the Plymouth Diocese Area (e mail:[email protected])
Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland (1997 – 2011), says it is essential for the future of the Church that the laity speaks out and is able to enter into dialogue with the bishops. In conversation with journalist and broadcaster Clifford Longley at Westminster Cathedral Hall on 23rd June in a meeting organised by ACTA Southwark, Mrs McAleese was sharing her views on how the Church is responding to the vision for it set out by Pope Francis.
She told the audience of nearly 150 how, at the end of her second term as President, she felt compelled by the sexual abuse crisis in the Church to go to Rome to study Canon Law in an attempt to discover how such things could have been allowed to happen. What she found during her time there convinced her that both culturally and organisationally the Church was not properly equipped for its leadership role. While she welcomed the new direction given by Pope Francis , she expressed concern that the management structures and practice were not yet in place to bring it into effect. “When you discover a matter that needs investigation,” she said, “the standard approach in civil society is to set up a representative group of people with relevant knowledge and expertise to examine the facts and put forward a ‘white paper’ that can then be discussed with those in authority, laws amended where necessary and an appropriate action plan implemented. Warm words alone are not sufficient.”
She was also highly critical of the lack of consultation of women in the Church, most obviously by celibate bishops discussing Marriage and the Family. To deny a consultative role to half the members of the Church in this way deprives the Church of many gifts.
Responding to questions from the floor, Mary McAleese also told of her anguish on first hearing from her son the distress he had suffered from being gay. She emphasised that young people do not choose to be gay and highlighted the difficulty for Catholics when they discover that the Church they belong to treats them as ‘disordered’ or worse.
Commenting on her time at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Mary McAleese criticised what she referred to as “the outdated clericalist training” of priests which does not adequately prepare them for collaborative ministry as envisaged by Vatican 2. She had no easy solutions to offer but said that there was a responsibility on the lay members of the Church to contribute to discussions on the development and implementation of Church teaching and that it was vital for the Church for that voice to be heard.