Thank you to Dr Paul Collins for permission to reproduce this article.
At first all we had to go on were the signs. The first sign was when Pope Bergoglio defined himself by taking the name Francis after the rich man from Assisi who repudiated his wealth to live like Christ, the poor man who had nowhere to lay his head. Then we saw a pope who 'dressed down' without the ermine lined, red mozzetta (the short cape worn over the shoulders) and the metres of lace that had characterised the previous papacy. Francis has rejected the trappings of 'royalty' moving out of the papal palazzo and into the quite modest, motel-like and accessible Casa Sancta Marta in the Vatican grounds. All the signs pointed not only to a different style but to a substantial change in direction.
Five weeks into his papacy Francis has moved-on from signs and now squarely faces tackling the hard issues. So far (21 April 2013) he has only appointed eleven bishops and seven of these would have been in the appointment system well before he was elected. But Francis has personally appointed two: Mario Aurelio Poli, 65, to replace him in Buenos Aires and Jose Rodriguez Carballo, OFM, 59, former minister general of the Franciscans and President of the International Union of Superiors General, who has been appointed Secretary to the Vatican congregation that oversees religious orders. What are these men like?
Vittorio Bellavite, We Are Church (Italy), and François Becker, FHEDLES, represented us at the World Social Forum. A flavour of the gathering is in the video.
During an interview with Iglesia Descalza, Sr Teresa Forcades was asked
So, don't you think the time has come for the "necessary renewal" of the Church which you advocate in your book?
She replied: Any change in history, both at the church and the societal level, has started from below. When John XXIII was chosen, for example, there were already renewal movements like Nouvelle Théologie in France and the Movimiento Litúrgico, which was very important here in Montserrat. Well, I see something similar happening now: constructive and faithful criticism is rising from the grassroots so that -- I don't know if it will be this pope -- but the time will come when it can't be ignored.
We are Church congratulates
Pope Francis I from Argentina
Press release, Rome, 13 March 2013
The International Movement We are Church congratulates the new Pope on his election and hopes the Holy Spirit will accompany him for the good of the whole Church and the good of Christianity.
At a critical moment in both the Church and the world the Catholic Church is at a turning point in history. That’s why, joined by many faithful Catholics around the globe, we are calling on the new Pope, the new Bishop of Rome, to follow the need for a renewed Church.
First, he needs to start to reform the Vatican and decision making process inside of the Roman Curia, especially he has to clarify its banking system and should give much more self-determination to local churches. We furthermore need a Church much more sincerely committed to social justice, especially to the poor and disadvantaged. We hope that the new Pope will be sensitive enough to build bridges to other religions so that we can all work together for peace and development.
We need equal rights and responsibilities of men and women in the Church if we want to have the credibility to foster human rights and justice in the world. We need a new understanding of priesthood, including the acceptance of married priests. And we need a revised moral teaching, especially on contraception and homosexuality. The future of the Catholic Church depends on seeking truth, justice, and reconciliation for the grave crimes committed and concealed by Catholic clergy worldwide.
The agenda the new Pope has to work on – hopefully with the Cardinals, the Bishops and the People of God all over the world – is very long. To make changes for the better the Cardinals, particularly those who will return to their dioceses, must be more accountable to the people of God in the future.
The new Pope has to accept and follow the teachings of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which are still valid but not put into practice consistently. One of the keywords of this council was dialogue. It is high time that the new Pope and the Catholic hierarchy began talks with loyal and devout Catholics seeking reform and renewal according to the Second Vatican Council. Only then will the new Pope be listened to and his teaching respected by all members of the Church worldwide..
Press contact in Rome:
- Dr. Martha Heizer (We are Church Austria / Intern. Movement We are Church),
Press contact in Italy:
- Vittorio Bellavite (Noi siamo chiesa Italy)
Collegiality, pastoral wisdom, justice and the hopes of the people of God featured in presentations made at the Monastero delle Suore camaldolesi all'Aventino on Thursday evening (7 March 2013)
Noi Siamo Chiesa and the International Movement We Are Church arranged the meeting to offer analysis and reflection at this important moment in the the life of the Church.
Journalists, church workers and representatives of various organisations and movements heard brief presentations by Catholic speakers from three continents. More information may found by clicking on their names
- Martha Heizer (Austria), Chair and co-founder of the We Are Church movement.
- Vittorio Bellavite (Italy), Coordinator of Noi Siamo Chiesa
- Michael Walsh (United Kingdom), Church historian, writer and commentator on Roman Catholic matters.
- Marylin Hatton (Australia), represents her country to Womens Ordination Worldwide
- Anthony Padovano (USA), theologian, writer and Professor at the University of New Jersey.
- Paul Collins (Australia), broadcaster, writer and historian of the Papacy
Following the presentations the speakers were pleased to receive and answer many questions.
The opening day of the Conclave has not yet been decided; but today as in 2005, there are great expectations that this might mark a turning point in the Church and make the gospel of Jesus more and more heard in ourworld. The problems experienced during the pontificate of John Paul II are still unresolved, or have worsened. Nonetheless the conviction remains that the situation can change for the Word of salvation is powerful.
It is the duty of the College of Cardinals to recognise the seriousness of the situation, to read the signs of times. The Cardinals have in their hands both the book of the Gospel and the documents of the Second Vatican Council. They must read them, and meditate on them. Within them are the directions, sometimes implicit but often very explicit, for the road the Church must travel. The expectations of those who appeal to the Council have already often been voiced. “We are Church” has contributed to raising issues about the Church as a whole, but with especial emphasis on the reform of the Papacy, because that is the key to the entire structure of what is the modern Catholic Church. We shall briefly recall four main issues.