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ACTA tells bishop: ‘We are not going anywhere’

Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster (Flickr/Mazur)

The lobby group ACTA, have said they are “not going away” following a rebuke from the Bishop of Lancaster.

In a blog on Sunday, Bishop Michael Campbell wrote that A Call To Action (ACTA) is not recognised by the Catholic Church in his diocese.

But ACTA hit back in a statement released yesterday evening which said: “We believe deeply that we can best serve the Church we love by retaining our independence; in this way we can offer our views without fear or favour. If the 500 priests are free to make their opinions known, (as they are), then so are we, as equally members of the Church.”

It continued: “We think this is what Pope Francis wants. He told the Catholic youth in Brazil to ‘make a mess’ in their dioceses. ‘May the bishops and priests forgive me’, he said, ‘if some of you create a bit of confusion afterwards.’ We hope the bishops of England and Wales will catch up with him if they haven’t already done so. ACTA are not going away and if doors don’t open to us, we shall continue to knock.”

The statement said that Bishop Campbell had misundertood their aims. It said: “We are sorry that Bishop Campbell misunderstands and fears our ‘movement from below’. All we are after is to create forums for dialogue – to listen, to be heard and to be heeded. To this end we are waiting for a response to our recent request to meet a representative of the Bishops’ Conference to assure them that we are a support group, open to all, not a bunch of ‘dissenters’.”

In a blog post entitled “A Call To Communion in the Diocese of Lancaster” Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster said that it was his duty to clarify that “this particular pressure group has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Lancaster”.

“As Bishop of Lancaster and thus as a Successor of the Apostles, I am charged, in accord with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, with a special care in my ministry as ‘overseer’ to uphold the unity of the Church in this Diocese of Lancaster and so to guard against any attempt to confuse the faithful regarding authentic Catholic teaching and ministry in this Diocese,” he wrote.