ACTA: Minutes of the Fourth Meeting of the Lancaster & Liverpool Group
Coppull, Tuesday 16 April 2013
1. After refreshments, the meeting began with prayer. Ray McGarry was in the chair and Angie Bolton took the minutes.
2. Apologies for absence were received from: Claire Ball, Susan Bamber, Jim Clarke, Clare Cobb, Maureen Connell, Dennis Cullen, Ann-Marie Cullen, Stephen D’Arcy, Peter Dolan, Anton Fernandopuille, Stephen Hoyland and Tony Slingo (12).
3. Present were: Kathy Bamber, Ewa Bem, Angie Bolton, Paul Browne, Anne C, Chris Cullen, Moya Duffy, Terry Duffy, Val Farrell, Josephine Fenton, Maryrose Fitzsimmons, Elizabeth Kelly, Ray McGarry, Ann Miller, Joanne Parker, Richard Sloan, John Sullivan, Robert Swan, Theresa Swan, and Alex Walker (20).
4. The minutes of our third meeting were accepted with slight amendments. The accepted version is attached.
5. Under matters arising, Paul Browne presented copies of the draft letter that he had written to Bishop Michael Campbell, asking for permission to use the ‘old’ (Vatican II) translation. Some discussion followed. There seemed to be unanimous agreement from all who spoke that the sentiments expressed reflected the views of the group but it was decided that the letter was too strong and honest and based on the premise that the bishop would simply reject it. But it was argued that with the resignation of Pope Benedict and the election of Pope Francis we were in a new era – and that what might once have been rejected out of hand may now get a hearing. So it was decided that not only should it be toned down but it should be redrafted to include a request to meet the bishop. And that a similar letter should be sent to the acting Bishop of Liverpool, Tom Williams. Josephine Fenton agreed to draft a second more diplomatic letter to both bishops, which would be emailed to the group in advance of the next meeting.
Ray McGarry agreed to be the main signatory for the letters and was happy for them to be sent from his home address.
6. ACTA Diocesan Leaders’ Conference: A proposal had been made that the group fund the second group representative, John Sullivan, but John declined this offer and several other members said that they had also booked places and that there are still some places available. It is to be held at Hinsley Hall, Leeds, 6-7 May 2013. Details are on the main ACTA website.
7. The topic relating to the shortage of priests and possible solutions was discussed at some length. There appeared to be a split in the group between those who felt that we should take steps to address this in ways that were not incompatible with current official dogma, ie to begin with a request to allow mature, married men to be ordained. On the other hand, some group members wished to highlight the fact that many Catholics today support the idea of women priests and that a request such as that above allows a clericalist, misogynistic ethos to continue to flourish. It was agreed that this topic was of the utmost importance and that it should be further discussed at the next meeting.
8. I announced that I would like to resign from the post of Acting Secretary due to additional work commitments but I indicated that I would be happy to continue until a suitable replacement could be found. Terry Duffy very kindly agreed to take on the role of Treasurer.
8. We agreed that our next meeting would be on Tuesday 21 May, 7.30-9pm, at the same place: the Parish Centre of St John the Divine, Hewlett Street, Coppull, Lancashire, PR7 5AH. As the room is not available until 7.30pm, could I ask that people aim to arrive promptly at this time and no earlier? Many thanks.