American Catholic Council Conference, Cobo Center, Detroit, MI, June 11, 2011 - An estimated 1500-2000 Catholics from around the country, and a few international representatives as well, attended the ACC Conference focused on bringing democratic change to the structure of the Catholic Church. Saturday's schedule included keynote addresses from several renowned authors/theologians including Dr Anthony Padovano, James Carroll, and Matthew Fox who all emphasized reclaiming the Church through the laity guided by the Holy Spirit. Breakout sessions focused on how to accomplish change in areas of finance, governance, liturgy, sexual abuse response, bishop selection, empowering women, and alternative worship communities to name a few. Throughout the day, whether at a keynote address or a breakout session, there was a lot of criticism aimed at the bishops and Pope Benedict XVI. The conference was a source of controversy between the Archdiocese of Detroit and the ACC, and was held in defiance of the Archbishop's request not to hold the conference in Detroit. My own reflection on the day is there are many loving and spiritually guided people involved at various levels of reform who, for the most part, would like to have more open dialogue. There are others who clearly don't want any dialogue, and are after a dramatic change in, or elimination of, the institutional Church. All very thought provoking, and listening to James Carroll, whether you agree or disagree with his philosophy, is a stirring experience. A second observation was there didn't seem to be anyone under the age of 55 at the event; it had the feeling of a 1960's rally. And while there was a good representation of white men, women, and the LGBT community, there was little to no presence of Blacks, Hispanics, or other minority groups. Matthew Fox, not as eloquent as James Carroll, made some comment during his address about making fundamental change for the sake of our children. Other than a couple of teenage boys working at one of the retail booths, and a small choir that took part at the start of the day, there were no children or youth present either.
Keywords:American Catholic Council
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