Call to Action is a movement working for equality and justice in the church and society. The Metro NY chapter is one of 53 local chapters and part of an independent national organization of over 25,000 people.
We are church. Sensus fidelium. Act for justice.
Our organization challenges Catholics to act for justice and to build inclusive communities through a lens of anti-racism and anti-oppression principles. We support a church that is fully inclusive of divorced Catholics and unequivocally responsive to the needs of LGBTQ+ people. Your participation at our meetings and your donations to this movement are especially important in these perilous times. Your contributions help us to educate, inspire and activate Catholics to support changes in the Church which will have a positive and profound impact on the lives of its members.
Synod on Synodality
CTA Metro NY conducted outreach to the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, responding to Pope Francis’ desire that the synodal process reach out to the most marginalized. We are pleased to share these voices with you. You may find our consolidated information here:
CTA Metro NY Synod Report — Incarcerated Responses
Additionally, our organization consolidated responses from both an online listening session and physical surveys mailed to members. This included questions asking individuals to speak on their experience of the Church and their wants to see it change. You may find our consolidated information here:
Synod Report NY Catholics
The members of the Board of Call to Action Metro New York acknowledge the intense suffering, deep pain and anguish of the people of this world due to the coronavirus. We are grateful to all who are providing compassionate care and support to all who are afflicted. We pray for all who have died and for all their loved ones who are grieving their loss. Join with us in asking our loving God to give us wisdom and strength to guide our actions in advocating for others and spreading the graces of love and compassion.
Letter to Cardinal Dolan
The Chapter wrote to Cardinal Dolan about his teaching failures in his recent relationship with President Trump. An article from America Magazine about Dolan and Trump is here along with our letter to Cardinal Dolan.
Work on mass incarceration
The Chapter is prioritizing our work in the spirit of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ statement on racism, “Open Wide Our Hearts” by focusing on the social justice issues resulting from mass incarceration. Click here to see the chapter statement.
The chapter board has sent letters to the Governor and Senate leaders in support of the bills pending in the legislature to reform solitary confinement (A.2500/S.1623) and several other bills that the board has supported in support of reform of mass incarceration including: Elder Parole and Less is More NY A05493B (help people successfully complete Parole). Some board members have also participated in virtual and actual demonstrations and lobbying for HALT Solitary confinement in NYS. Please join us in supporting these bills pending in Albany by writing to your state assemblypersons, state senators and Governor Cuomo and participating in demonstrations as you can. Use this link for up to date info on actions to support solitary confinement. https://nycaic.org/legislation/
HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500)
Solitary confinement meets the definition of torture as defined in the International Treaty against torture, that is, deliberate and intentional infliction of pain and suffering by an agent of the state for punishment and is also considered cruel and inhumane after 15 days. The video prepared by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), Breaking Down the Box, gives a good overview of some of what is grievously wrong with solitary confinement. The NYS Catholic Conference also supports this bill. Clearly this bill will result in a reduction in mass incarceration and result in a fairer more equitable criminal justice system.
Interview with leaders of NYS effort to pass HALT bill for NYS prisons
The H.A.L.T. ( Humane Alternatives to Long Term) Solitary Confinement
(A 2500/S. 1623) bill, would limit the time an inmate can spend in solitary confinement.
Listen to a discussion with Rev Victor Pate and Jerome Wright, two formally incarcerated men currently working on prison reform and the passage of the HALT Bill in NYS.
Less is More: Community Supervision Revocation and Reform Act (S1343C/A5493B)
New York reincarcerates more people on parole for technical violations than nearly every other state in the country. Of people on parole whom New York sent back to prison in 2016, over 6,300 of 65% were reincarcerated for technical parole violations. Only 14% of people on parole who were reincarcerated were returned to prison because they were convicted of a new crime. Black people are incarcerated in NYC jails for technical parole violations at more than 12 times the rate of whites. This bill permits reincarceration for certain technical violations, but caps it to a maximum of 30 days. A right to a speedy due process before reincarceration is included in this bill. Clearly this bill will result in a reduction in mass incarceration and result in a fairer more equitable criminal justice system.
Elder Parole (S2144/A9040)
More than 10,000 people in NYS prisons (20% of the prison population) are aged 50 and older and the vast majority are Black and Latinx people. Older people, especially those who have been convicted of serious crimes, have the lowest recidivism rate of any age group, posing little, if any risk to public safety. This bill allows for the consideration of parole release for people aged 55 and older who have served at least 15 consecutive years in prison. Clearly this bill will result in a reduction in mass incarceration and result in a fairer more equitable criminal justice system.
“Whenever public authority… fails to seek the common good, it abandons its proper purpose and so delegitimizes itself.”
This quote is from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (2005), no. 398 was incorporated in a letter from Bishop Coakley, Bishop Dorsonville and Bishop Shelton Fabre, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, United States Catholic Conference of Bishops calling for police reform. Their letter to the members of the US Congress support police reform proposals related to the need to collect data on the use of force, need for training towards de-escalation, work to end racial profiling, doing away with chokeholds, using body cameras, and greater accountability and means of redress regarding those who exercise public authority.
Please contact your NYS local Catholic bishops and request their support of police reform in NYS consistent with spirit and letter of the USCCB Bishops letter.
The USCCB press release on this letter and the actual USCCB letter on police reform is attached:
About CTA Metro NY
Call to Action was founded in 1976 to promote a progressive agenda in the Catholic Church. We affirm the theological thinking of the Second Vatican Council. In accordance with the principles set down by that Council, we decry the culture of clericalism that pervades our church and encourages clergy at all levels to monopolize decision-making. The new parish structure which we envisage will be a collaborative venture welcoming the talents and insights of all members of the community.
Thus, we affirm the vital importance of the sensus fidelium, and in this crucial area of mature discipleship, we are secure in Christ’s promise that the sincere community is always accompanied by the Spirit.
We support a church that is fully inclusive of divorced Catholics and unequivocally responsive to the needs of LGBTQ+ people who must enjoy full equality in the ecclesial community. In addition, we reject the outmoded thinking that precludes women from ordination as deacons and priests, and we strongly favor the elimination of mandatory celibacy as a prerequisite for ordination.
Call to Action enthusiastically affirms Pope Francis’ prophetic encyclical, Laudato Si, which sets out clearly our moral duties to preserve and enhance our common home. We also applaud this pope’s commitment in Fratelli Tutti to Catholic Social Teaching and his trenchant critique of the prevailing brand of capitalism which pays little heed to considerations of the common good, the core guiding principle of Catholic social belief.
We also abhor racism in all its manifestations and pledge to join other like-minded groups in working to eliminate this evil from our society.