It has come to my attention that an organization called the American Catholic Council (ACC) will be holding what they describe as the “North Florida Listening Assembly” in Jacksonville on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011. Self-described as “seeking to reclaim the promise of the Holy Spirit manifested in Vatican II,” this assembly is billed as “a day of reflection and stimulating dialogue” – all in preparation for a national gathering to be held in Detroit in June of 2011. I want to clearly and unequivocally advise all Catholics that this North Florida Listening Assembly is not conducted under the auspices of the Diocese of St. Augustine, nor is it sanctioned, approved or endorsed by the diocese or any other entity of the Roman Catholic Church.
Although the stated purpose of the ACC is to “reclaim the promise of the Holy Spirit manifested in Vatican II,” in fact, the goals proposed in their literature, as well as the organizations which make up the ACC, are largely in opposition to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the Holy Spirit, which inspired that Council.
I commend and embrace all true efforts at Church renewal, but the ACC’s agenda is decidedly not such an effort. Many of the groups which have banded together in the ACC espouse positions which are clearly contrary to Catholic faith and morals, and which engender only alienation and estrangement from the Church.
Accordingly, the Diocese of St. Augustine cautions any Catholic against participating in this North Florida Listening Assembly, as well as the national assembly to be held in June in Detroit. Catholic parishes, schools, and institutions are not to host any meetings, gatherings, or “listening sessions” associated with either event or with the ACC.
Additionally, priests, deacons, and lay ministers are expected to avoid these events, and to strongly urge the faithful not to attend or support them or the ACC in any manner. I ask, rather, that we all pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and shun efforts which threaten the unity of the Church for which Christ, himself, so fervently prayed — Bishop Victory Galeone
Archbishop Allen Vigneron had already issues a similar statement in regards to the Detroit meeting.
It is so predictable the names these dissident groups choose. “North Florida Listening Assembly” like I guess Hillary Clintons Listening Tour. They always betray themselves by saying they are listening when really what they have their ears attuned to is the spirit of the age in an act of itchy ear listening. If tons of faithful Catholics went to one of their events – I can guarantee you there would not be much listening going on.
But really if they are so interested in listening than they should listen to Jesus and specifically when he said “He who hears you, hears me.” when addressing the Apostles and giving them teaching authority. In the case of the ACC they have only not listened to the respective bishops, but have defied them. Jesus continued his statement with “and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” This perfectly describes the ACC and like groups.