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Issue: #38 May 2017

Opportunities are blossoming this May.  Read our entire newsletter.  Plan to join us at the May Open Forum.  Bring your energy to our discussion of the question of whether we are a big tent religion. See the full article in Council of the Baptized News.

Read Why am I Involved?   This month, CCCR Board member Dan DeWan reflects on what draws him and what keeps him coming back to Catholic church reform work.   As you read this new section, we invite you to consider the question, "How may I become more involved?"  
Have you tried to come up with a short statement of purpose about the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, and the Council of the Baptized, and how they differ?  Here is a simple statement you may consider using:

     "The Catholic Coalition for Church Reform [CCCR] and the      Council of the Baptized [CoB] are working to  bring trust   
     and accountability to the Archdiocese,  and to welcome
     everyone to the table.  CoB listens to and advocates for
     the  concerns of Catholics.   CCCR  is the action arm and
     organizes, plans and  implements programs creating that
     trust and accountability."

Try using this statement in initiating your conversations about the CCCR and CoB. 
  CoBNewsCouncil of the Baptized News
April Open Forum
The well-attended April Open Forum explored the question, "are we a priestly people?"  The panel presented a rich review of the history, tradition, and culture of priesthood since Jesus' time.  This discussion spurred an encore meeting to raise questions.  Some thought we had not made enough progress in the over 50 years since Vatican II. Others expressed that we need to learn far more from the past 2000 years as we move forward. 

May Open Forum:  Is There Only One Way to be Catholic, or Are We a "Big Tent" Religion?
Are we a Church with a single, strict viewpoint, or do we have a history of openness to multiple approaches and understandings of our faith?  Join us as Fr. Paul Feela walks us through some of our own history.  

Presenter:   Father Paul Feela
Date:   May 9 ,  2017
Time:   7-8pm
Place: Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
          700 Snelling Ave South
          St. Paul, MN 55116 

We invite your active participation.  Join us for these lively exchanges.  We look forward to seeing you!
 Opportunities Opportunities:  Be Involved

Here are some ways you may consider contributing to the work of CCCR and CoB:

1.  Listen to reflections on the Sunday readings at Catholic Women Preach .

2.  Write a letter to the editor of the Catholic Spirit on an issue of interest to you.  Go to their website at: 

3. Become involved in one of the current CCCR action campaign initiatives:  
    a) Women's Commission
    b) Archdiocesan Pastoral Council/Synod
    c) Liturgy Commission
    d) Deanery Organization
    e) Office of Conciliation
    f) Follow the Money
If you are interested in working on any of these issue areas, or have a specific interest you would like to see pursued, send an e-mail to:
WhyAmIInvolvedWhy Am I Involved?

There are many reasons and stories to share.  The following reflections are from Dan DeWan:

I was born and raised a Catholic, from Catholic kindergarten through Catholic High School.  Both of my parents were Catholic and all of my friends were Catholic.  My teachers were Catholic nuns and priests with a few lay teachers in high school.  So is it any wonder that, like so many Catholic youth growing up in the 50s and 60s that I dreamed of becoming a priest.  I even followed up that dream by entering the Dominican pre-ecclesiastical program at Providence College in Rhode Island.  I should have known something wasn't completely right with my decision because I asked for and was allowed to also pursue a degree in chemistry.  So my days were spent with all my friends studying chemistry, physics and math except they had philosophy while I had Latin.   I should also have known when the rector met me at the door well after curfew holding my shoe that kept the locked door open so that I could get back in after having a late night coffee at the nearby Dunkin Donuts.  I finally figured it out later that summer when I decided to drop my dream of being a priest, dropped out of school and joined the army, which may not have been the brightest of decisions but within 3 ½ years, while still in the Army, I met Nancy and  married  her.  After over 47 years we remain married and have three wonderful sons, so the Army wasn't all bad..

 Through all of this, I remained a practicing Catholic.  My wife and I and 3 sons regularly attended church and were active in the parish - lectors, Eucharistic ministers, parish council, CCW, altar boys, choir, and cemetery committee.   Nancy and I were joiners not only in parish activities but also, and perhaps even more so, in our community of North Branch, but it made sense that, since we both lived and worked in the community, if the community thrived, so would our business.  Then in about 2000, our youngest son came out as gay.  Nancy signed us up to receive the newsletter from the Catholic Pastoral Council for Sexual Minorities (CPCSM) and around this time she signed us up as members of Call to Action (CTA).  Within a couple of years, our oldest son broke off his engagement and later also came out as gay.  Personally, Nancy and I accepted this and supported our children, but after a disastrous coming out to our close, evangelical friends, we became closeted.   Fortunately, we had the support of our Pastor, John Parkos, and our deacon and his wife, Tom and Elizabeth Langlois. 

Although I had met Paula Ruddy at CPCSM events in the early 2000s, my first real discussion with her was at an event about ending poverty by 2020 hosted by Archbishop Harry Flynn and the ECLA Bishop Peter Rogness in 2005.  I was looking to become more active in a wider community beyond North Branch.  Paula and I kept in touch through the succeeding years through CPCSM and other Catholic gay rights activities until in early 2009 she asked me to attend a meeting of this organization being formed to reform the Catholic Church.  I agreed because I was a joiner and was curious about a group of people who weren't afraid to speak out to the church leaders about the damage they were doing to our gay and lesbian children, and to all of our girls and women by restricting their roles in the church, and to all of those who were abused by priests often with the assistance of bishops who would move priests rather than risk damage to the good name of the church. 

When I arrived at my first meeting I was impressed with the qualifications of all the others in attendance and the years of effort they had already put in on church reform.  But then they asked us to formally introduce ourselves and to "explain our ecclesiology."  I was terrified.  I had barely heard of the term let alone developed my own.  Fortunately, I wasn't the first to introduce myself so I had a good ten minutes to listen to what others had to say, ponder what I had been thinking about the church and prepare an answer that to this day I don't know whether it made any sense.  Whatever I said, I survived and recognized that, if this group could put up with me, I would become committed to them and the vision of the church that they had.  As the months and now years have gone by, I have appreciated how welcoming a group it is and it feels good to be with others and not have to be concerned about being ostracized by having and speaking unorthodox ideas.  I volunteer when I think my talents can be of use to the organization that became known as the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform and then the Council of the Baptized.  I am grateful for all of the good people that I have met and their unwavering devotion to the Catholic Church and their desire to see it reformed to better reflect Christ's core message of radical equality, unabashed inclusivity and transforming love.  
                                                    -Dan DeWan
RRRecommended Reading  

What can Jesus teach today's Muslims? - Mustafa Akyol ( The New York Times, February 13, 2017).

Francis' words about women: what does he really think?  - Rita Ferrone  ( Commonweal,  April 5, 2017).
It may be time to radically rethink ordination  - Bill Tammeus ( National Catholic Reporter , April 8, 2017).

New Catholic LGBT book is praised by high church leaders  - by Francis DeBernardo, Editor  ( New Ministry's Bondings 2.0 Blog, April 8 , 2017).

Executing 7 men in 10 days this Easter will not restore justice in Arkansas - by Karen Clifton  (America:  The Jesuit Review , April 13, 2017).  
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CCCR Strategic Focus
Empower laity to claim a meaningful role in the Church
Evolve our relationship with the Archdiocese
to collaborate
 while maintaining our integrity as an organization.