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Culture of Conversation Hosts National Gathering

A small group working toward a Culture of Conversation within the Catholic Church in the United States (www.cultureofconversation.org) hosted a national gathering, October 14-16, 2004, in Niskayuna, New York. Invitees were deliberately selected from a spectrum of moderate to liberal ecclesiastical views among bishops and laity, religious and clerical experiences within the Catholic Church in the United States. Twenty-two persons, including five bishops, gathered to explore ways and means of transforming the Church into a community in which open and frank discussion of critical issues is encouraged and the progressive elements of Church documents might be realized.

The meeting was invitational and private in order to provide the best opportunity for honest sharing, prayerful reflection, and openness to diverse opinions and viewpoints. The perspective of this gathering was to see in the current struggle of the Church in the United States an opportunity to renew a commitment to communio in the processes, structures, and attitudes within and among Roman Catholics.

Participants named those elements they most cherish in the Catholic Church, told stories in which those elements were absent, and named ways to move forward toward a Church in whichimagination, passion for life and love, liberation of the Spirit, and agents of transformation were released for the sake of the Church and the world. Oneinvitee remarked, “I have been energized by this weekend’s conversation. It is enoughfor me that this event hashappened.” Others shared that sentiment, but hoped to see the experience multiplied.

For further information, contact Culture of Conversation (cultureofconversation@hotmail.org) or speak with any of the conveners of the weekend: Helen Marie Burns, RSM; Dan Daley; Vic Doucette; Mary Louise Hartman; Bishop Thomas Gumbleton; Bishop Howard Hubbard; Christine Schenk, CSJ; Nancy Sylvester, IHM; and Bishop Joseph Sullivan.


Winter 2005



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