For St Valentines Day, an edited letter written by
+C.C.DAVIES. MHM. BSP. EMERITUS OF NGONG. KENYA on 4/2/14 in response to criticism of ACTA. Bishop Colin Davies attended Vatican Council II having become Prefect Apostolic in July 1964 which entitled him to join the Council for the 1964 and 1965 sessions and he was appointed a Bishop in 1976. He fully supports ACTA and feels it is being condemned without being heard:To deny the sincerity of ‘A Call to Action’s’ mission statement is a totally unwarranted and unloving lack of appreciation of the sincerity, the attitude and motivation of Catholics who want what the Church wants.
At a time when Pope Francis and our Bishops are accepting that there is a great need for change in the Church, necessitating a Synod with the full participation of everybody and especially the laity, there are opinions expressed by some which are extremely negative and impute many wrong and subversive ideas.
The Church and Pope Francis have called for a radical change in attitude to diversity. He wants to be inclusive, of all people of good will.
Are ACTA to be excluded?
Pope Francis can be quoted as saying “All the faithful, considered as a whole, are infallible in matters of belief and the people display this infallibility through the supernatural sense of faith of all people walking together. This is what is understood today as “Thinking with the Church”.
“Thinking with the Church” does not mean “Thinking with the male, clerical, and hierarchical Church”.
On another occasion he has said “The hierarchy without the rest of the Church are not infallible.”
The laity must have a forum to “Think with the Church”.
The discussions of ACTA, are based on the teaching of the Church and are vindicated by Church Law C. 225, which states, “Since lay people, like all Christ’s faithful are deputed to apostolate by baptism and confirmation, they are bound….and have the right, whether as individuals or associations, to strive so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all people throughout the world…etc.” Their right comes from Baptism and Confirmation not the clergy. Obviously, mutual love, cooperation and respect are required.
If the Bishops of England do not encourage a group that allows the laity to give voice to their experience of the Faith in the world and in their own lives, then priests are inclined to disregard it.
Could it be that some are judging ACTA, and are voicing loudly, ideas which are not those of ACTA? This is unfair.
A serious effort should be made to listen to the voice of the laity.Let all listen with love and appreciation. Bishops and clergy will be surprised at the positive and faith-filled love for the Church which is motivating them.
When the Church has lost millions of church goers, we should find out why and the laity knows many reasons why. A point, which was brought up repeatedly in meetings of ACTA I attended, was that there is not enough meaningful dialogue.
What do we need to learn as a Church from this letter?
In what ways is the Holy Spirit leading the church today?