We Are Church Intl.



History of We Are Church

1995 Church Referendum ‘We are Church’ started in Austria, Germany, and Southern Tyrol. 2.5 million signatures for a renewal of the Roman-Catholic Church according to the intention of the Second Vatican Council

  • The creation of a Church of brothers and sisters
  • Full participation of women in all aspects of Church life
  • Removal of the obligation of clerical celibacy
  • A positive attitude towards sexuality and recognition of the primacy of an informed moral conscience
  • A message of joy and not threat or discrimination.

1996 International Movement We are Church (IMWAC) founded in Rome

1997 Participation at the Ecumenical Meeting in Graz/Austria (despite the intervention of Cardinal Ratzinger)

1997 Incontro Internazionale Del Popolo Di Dio to present signatures to the Pope at the 35th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II

1998 ‘Pope for the Time to Come: Bishop of Rome and Universal Pastor’ More than 145 major groups around the world endorsed the document.

1999 Forum of European Christians shadowing the Bishops' Synod for Europe in Rome

2001 Synod of the People of God – with participants from around the world shadowing the Xth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome

2002 We are Church-YOUTH at Challenge the Church parallel to the ‘WorldYouthDay’ in Toronto/Canada

2003 IMWAC-Council in Barcelona/Spain

2004 IMWAC-Council in Brussels/Belgium

2005 Conclave-Project ”Visions of a New Church” in Rome, April 14-16

2005We are Church – worldwide’ 10th anniversary of the Church referendum in Innsbruck/Austria

2005 We are Church-YOUTH initiates ‘WorldYouthDay4all’ at Catholic WorldYouthDay Aug. 2005 in Cologne /Germany

2006 IMWAC-Council in Freising/Germany, June 16-18

2006 Third letter to Pope Benedict asking for dialogue on the 10th anniversary of the International Movement We are Church (founded in Rome, Nov. 25, 1996)

2007 Informal IMWAC-Council at the 10th anniversary of Nós Somos Igreja in Lisboa/Portugal

2008 IMWAC participated in the Call for Women’s Ordination during Bishop's Synod in Rome, organized by WOW.

2009 IMWAC-Council in Freising/Germany, October 16-18

2010 Informal IMWAC-Council in Mennerode /The Netherlands, May 7

2010  IMWAC participated in the Call for Women’s Ordination at the end of the ‘Year for Priests’ in Rome

2011 Memorandum “Church 2011: The need for a new beginning”, Romero-Appeal, Solidarity with Bishop Morris

2011 Informal IMWAC-Council in Barcelona/Spain, April 28

2012 Press conference „Witnesses of a renewed Church for the times to come“ in Rome, October 9

2012 IMWAC-Council in Lisbon/Portugal, October 26-28

2013 Conclave-Project ”Collegiality, Justice and Pastoral Wisdom” in Rome, March 4-14

2013  Letter to Pope Francis and to the Cardinals about Reform of the Roman Curia, September 20

2013  IMWAC-Council and Council-50-Working Group in Dublin/Ireland, November 1-4

2014 Synod-Project in Rome, October 4-18

2015 IMWAC-Council and Council-50-Working Group in Vienna/Austria, March 13-15

2015  Family Synod-Project, Pact of the Catacombs and Council-50 in Rome, October/November

2018 Joint conference: WAC-I-Council, European Network, Global Council Network in Rome/Italy, March 15-19

2018  Monitoring the Synod of Bishops ”Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment” in Rome, Oct

2019 Monitoring of the Amazonia Synod

2020  Monitoring of the Synodal Path in Germany

2021 Celebration and Council meeting in Rome to celebrate 25 years of WAC Intl

2022 Critical companionship of the Worldwide Synodal Process of Pope Francis

2023 Working with Root and Branch towards a Synod of the People of God in Rome parallel to the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October.

The We Are Church movement has a presence in or is co-operating with similar groups in Algeria, Austria, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Catalonia, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Kenya, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, South Tyrol, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, United Kingdom, USA, Venezuela

We Are Church cooperates with other reform movements around the world e.g. European Network Church on the Move, Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW), North Atlantic Federation for a Renewed Catholic Priesthood, Catholic Church Reform International, Global Council Network, International Catholic Reform Network (ICRN).

Chair and Media: Colm Holmes, We are Church Ireland, Tel. +353-86606 3636, E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Vice chair: Dr. Martha Heizer, Plattform Wir sind Kirche, Austria, Tel.: +43 650 4168500, E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Webmaster: Valerie Stroud, We are Church UK; Great Britain,  E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

International Contact: Jean Pierre Schmitz, France

Finance: Mary Morrissey, Ireland


Manifesto of We Are Church International

Proclaimed in Rome, 12 October 1997

Here in Rome, 35 years ago, Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council. Catholics throughout the world have put great hope on this event : that might result a more credible church - free, collegial, poor, and a servant.

  • We need a Church of love, where all are accepted equally.
  • We need a catholic [i.e. universal ] Church, where each person is welcome with his/her life experiences, images of God and longing for community.
  • We need a Church that affirms God's creation, that acts in a reconciling manner and reflects the unconditional love of Jesus Christ for all humankind.
  • We need a Church committed to justice and peace, and which puts solidarity with the excluded of the world at the centre of its action.

In the certainty that God's Spirit leads her /his Church on new ways, millions of Christians have supported the Kirchenvolks- Begehren. [i.e. Petition, Declaration, Referendum, etc.]

They signed the five demands :

  • The building of a Church of brothers and sisters that recognizes the equality of all the baptized, including the inclusion of the People of God in the election of bishops in their local churches.
  • Equal rights for men and women, including the admission of women to all Church ministries.
  • Free choice of either a celibate or married life for all those who dedicate themselves to the service of the church.
  • A positive attitude toward sexuality, and a recognition of personal conscience in decision -making.
  • A message of joy and not condemnation, including dialogue, freedom of speech and thought. No anathemas and no exclusion as a means of solving problems, especially as this applies to theologians.

We stand here for all these people. We speak in their name and we declare that we will continue our journey within the Catholic Church.

We have a dream that the Third Millennium will begin with a truly ecumenical Council of all Christian Churches, which will regard each other as equals in their search for peace and friendship among themselves. This will be a Council marked by dialogue and respect for all religions - at the service of the world.

We support the call of the World Council of Churches to launch, in the year 2000, a process leading to a truly universal Council.

The Roman Declaration (1996)

Women and men delegates from ten countries, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, South Tyrol (Italy), Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States of America, gathered in Rome from 22-25 November 1996 to further the work of reform in the Roman Catholic Church.

At the tomb of St Peter they remembered the words: "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of One who has called you out of darkness into wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9-10)

They founded the International Movement We Are Church to network and create communication inside the Church and to spread the Petition of the people. This Petition which was begun in Austria, Germany and South Tyrol focuses on the need for a Church

  • which values participation
  • with all ministries open to women and men,
  • with optional celibacy,
  • which values sexuality and primacy of conscience,
  • which is committed to social justice and human rights,
  • which does not marginalise its own people.

This came as a response to the suffering of many in the Church due to lack of freedom, justice and compassion. In the spirit of Vatican II we demand dialogue to bring about authentic renewal and substantial reform. We are taking steps to achieve these objectives immediately.

The delegates are in solidarity with Christians and organisations in the 'second' and 'third' world who fight for a Church engaged in the liberation of women and men.

The delegates agreed to organise a pilgrimage, "INCONTRO DEL POPOLO DI DIO", from their countries to Rome on 11 October 1997, the 35th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, which made promised to God's people which have not yet been kept.

(The Roman Declaration was signed by the delegates on 25 November 1996)