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 church leadership needs developing. Accordingly, we aim to supply channels of free and frank communication. We desire to help create a climate of trust and respect for all where this dialogue may be fostered.
ACTA is a movement built from below by clergy and laity alike in every diocese in England and Wales. It exists to give those people an effective voice. It is an instrument to establish and promote space for a trusting dialogue within a hierarchically structured people’s Church.
ACTA believes that the reforms of the Second Vatican Council are the only way forward for mission to modern society. It is not a small chapel of selected followers; it believes in the Church as a “big tent”, with open doors. As a free and representative association of believers, it seeks to liberate the expertise in the ranks, so as to bring added energy and witness to the Church in the world.
It is impossible to think of a conversion of our activity as a Church that does not include the active participation of all the members of God’s People. Indeed, whenever we have tried to replace, or silence, or ignore, or reduce the People of God to small elites, we end up creating communities, projects, theological approaches, spiritualities and structures without roots, without memory, without faces, without bodies and ultimately, without lives. This is clearly seen in a peculiar way of understanding the Church’s authority, one common in many communities where sexual abuse and the abuse of power and conscience have occurred. Such is the case with clericalism, an approachthat “not only nullifies the character of Christians, but also tends to diminish and undervalue the baptismal grace that the Holy Spirit has placed in the heart of our people”.
Clericalism, whether fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons, leads to an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today. To say “no” to abuse is to say an emphatic “no” to all forms of clericalism.