We Are Church in Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland and Spain endorse this statement by Noi Siamo Chiesa.
It is five years since the publication of the most important text of Pope Francis, Laudato SI, an encyclical indicating the road to the Church and to society for believers and non-believers.
Reflections and initiatives on the protection of creation and its connection with peace and with justice have travelled the Christian world, from the World Council of Churches to Cartha Oecumenica of 2001. However, awareness of this issue has never become, over time, a common patrimony of feeling community in the Church so that it was taught in the seminaries, in the preparation for the sacraments, in the reflection on the Word of God. It should also be noted that nothing specific was written in the Council’s documents and also in the Catechism of 1992.
Why am I a candidate for the position of Archbishop of Lyon?
- Noting that in 2020 in the Catholic Church no woman leads even one diocese, not one woman is a priest, no woman is a deacon, no woman has a vote regarding decisions at a synod,
- Considering that the exclusion of half of humanity is not only contrary to the message of Jesus Christ, but damages the Church, leaving the institution prone to abuse,
- Considering that I am not an unknown person, nor a corridor apparatchik, but I have been active in my Church for 35 years, in the field, as a Bible scholar, theologian, journalist, author, President for 8 years of the Conférence des Baptisé-e-s, and the current President of the Comité de la Jupe.
- Everything authorises me to say that I am capable of applying for the title of Bishop, everything makes me legitimate. But everything forbids it to me.
- If my candidature is forbidden by Canon Law, it is simply because I am a woman, that women cannot be priests and only priests when they are appointed as bishops, govern the Catholic Church.
Warum bin ich ein Kandidat für das Amt des Erzbischofs von Lyon?
- Wenn man bedenkt, dass im Jahr 2020 in der katholischen Kirche keine Frau auch nur eine Diözese leitet, keine Frau Priesterin, keine Frau Diakonin ist und keine Frau eine Stimme bei Entscheidungen auf einer Synode hat,
- In der Erwägung, dass der Ausschluss der Hälfte der Menschheit nicht nur der Botschaft Jesu Christi widerspricht, sondern der Kirche schadet und die Institution anfällig für Missbrauch macht,
- Wenn man bedenkt, dass ich weder ein Unbekannter noch ein Korridor-Apparatschik bin, sondern dass ich seit 35 Jahren in meiner Kirche auf diesem Gebiet tätig bin, als Bibelwissenschaftler, Theologe, Journalist, Autor, seit 8 Jahren Präsident der Conférence des Baptisé-e-s und derzeitiger Präsident des Comité de la Jupe.
- Alles berechtigt mich zu sagen, dass ich in der Lage bin, mich um den Bischofstitel zu bewerben, alles macht mich legitim. Aber alles verbietet es mir.
- Wenn meine Kandidatur durch das Kirchenrecht verboten ist, dann nur deshalb, weil ich eine Frau bin, dass Frauen keine Priester-innen sein können und nur Priester, wenn sie zu Bischöfen ernannt werden, die katholische Kirche regieren.
A Peasant Girl buying an indulgence - Francois Marius Granet 1775 - 1849
While everyone's attention is on other things at this particular period of the life of the Church, an old idea is being revived about which we must speak out. We examine it in the attached document (after having considered the coronavirus and the life of the Church, read http://www.noisiamochiesa.org/?p=7997 ). It concerns the revival of Indulgences, a relatively recent ecclesiastical practice in the history of the Church. Ignored in the first millennium (and still today in the Orthodox Church and in Eastern rite Catholics) it was one of the major factors in the break between Luther and the papacy.
Indulgences only became less important after the Council of Trent, then for centuries it was widely practiced, it was ignored by Vatican Council II because of a strong theological challenge and was then taken up a little by Paul VI. Indulgences have now become extraneous to the widespread feelings of most Christian people. The same Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification signed by the Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church in Augsburg on 1999 and the celebrations in Lund for the 500 years of the Reformation in 2017 went in the opposite direction and opposed the practice of Indulgences.
Now Card. Mauro Piacenza, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, has relaunched it in its traditional terms for coronavirus patients and for those who assist them. It was also part of Pope Francis' prayer in St. Peter's Square on March 27 and during Easter Mass.
We think that a difficult time like the present one should not be "used" to go back to a theology and a pastoral practice that is preconciliar as it is strongly anti-ecumenical. We must instead – we think - speak again in depth about sin and forgiveness. The Noi Siamo Chiesa document ends by asking some questions on how to think and live reconciliation.
Rome, April 26, 2020
NOI SIAMO CHIESA
We Are Church supporters in Austria, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Portugal and Spain endorse this statement by Noi Siamo Chiesa.
On April 8, Pope Francis decided to establish a new study commission on the female diaconate. He thus kept the promise made in his concluding speech of the Pan-Amazonian Synod, when he said he would "make the request to recall the Commission, or perhaps open it with new members to continue studying in what forms the permanent diaconate existed in the early Church", and, turning to the listeners, he repeated: "I pick up the gauntlet thrown down to me ... 'that we are listened to' ... I pick up the gauntlet".
However, having seen the list of members of the new Commission, without questioning their good faith, their spirit of service to the Church and their will to fulfill their task with commitment, rigor and depth, we must express our perplexity, for at least three reasons:
by Thomas O’Loughlin
Christianity – because of its use of the image of the cross – is often presented as a cult of death. Many Christians have collaborated in this presenting discipleship in terms of gloom, and prompting the wry comment from Nietzsche: ‘you Christians do not look redeemed!’ Here lies the great difference between, on one hand, what the liturgy of Good Friday wants us to experience anew, and, on the other, popular sentiment. Christianity is the religion of victory over suffering, sin, and death. This is why we call it good Friday.
While Mk 15:33-41 (followed by Mt and Lk) presents the passion as taking place in darkness (seeking to echo Amos 8:9), John – the gospel always read in the liturgy today – presents the events taking place in broad daylight: the mystery of the death of Jesus is a revelation, that which was hidden is now made clear so ‘that [we] may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing [we] may have life in his name’ (Jn 20:31).
Rome, April 5, 2020
NOI SIAMO CHIESA
[ Italian ]
"Noi Siamo Chiesa", in the attached document, present their reflections on the current situation starting from the observation of the fragility of the human race and the absolute need for adequate public powers of intervention at local and world level. We are all interdependent. The sovereign lock downs show their void of perspective. The current movement of consensus and solidarity cannot hide how many large areas of suffering are present in our country, which are always much smaller than the devastation already underway or imminent in the poor countries of the world. The severe restrictions on the rights under way present the risk of continuing beyond the emergency, and vigilance will have to be rigorous. The exclusion of family members from the bedside of the sick is painful and one wonders whether it is not possible to provide for exceptions in specific cases that are safe with regard to the risks of contagion.
Many Christians of all denominations are not going to be able to attend Church services over the next weeks, and maybe even months.
Rather than film myself celebrating Mass for my friends, and sharing the video, which seemed, to me at least, bizarrely clerical and pointless; or simply preparing video or audio of a homily for the Sunday readings, and posting that; I felt that it may be time to try something a little bolder.
You can divide religions into those that are most at home in the large public space and those which are most at home in the domestic space. For most Christians the choice has never been visible: they own many big buildings – and that is where religion takes place. If it takes place elsewhere, that is really just ‘a follow up.’ Christians seem to like big public statements.
But it is startling to recall that the original eucharistic meals – where the followers of Jesus wanted to be distinctive from their fellow Jews – took place in their homes.
‘Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke the loaf at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts’ (Acts 2:46).
In this domestic scale, they were in tune with their Jewish roots. Every meal was to be an occasion at which those gathered blessed God (Dt 8:10); the weekly meal with which the Sabbath began was a special act of praise, and the most special night of the year is Passover meal when God’s liberating deeds are recalled around the table. This year – in most places – Christians are going to have to rediscover this domestic liturgical space.
If you have a garden and can get some greenery, then get enough to give a piece to each person in isolation with you.
If you cannot cut some greenery but have a potted plant, place that on the table – it will remind you and anyone with you of the strange year we are in.
Sit down around the table you are normally at for meals. If you do not have such a common table, then sit around where you normally eat.
Sisters and brothers, this Sunday we gather as individual households or alone in our homes. In all instances God is with us, the Christ is among us, and the Church is at prayer. This prayer resource is for you this Sunday.
This collection of Table Liturgies is intended for those who wish to use a Grace before meals that recalls the meals Jesus celebrated with his followers. Some will regard them as Agapes; others will understand them as Eucharists. When we eat bread and drink wine in memory of Jesus, we are doing what he asked us to do. These liturgies have all been used by small groups of Catholics in the UK over the years and modified as necessary.
Some are very brief and ancient, such as FROM THE PSALTER and THE JEWISH BLESSINGS. Others belong to the first century of the Christian era, such as COME JESUS SAVIOUR and BROKEN BREAD. The liturgy AT TABLE, comes from the 1984 Vatican De Benedictionibus [Book of Blessings, ET 1987] and others have been written by modern-day Christians.
These liturgies therefore make heavy use of the work of others, ancient and modern, and some of these are listed in the bibliography at the end of this booklet in OTHER RESOURCES.
A summary by Christian Weisner:
The Synodal Path is a joint project of the German Bishops’ Conference and the official lay organisation “Central Committee of German Catholics“.
It is influenced by the so-called MHG study, a research project initiated by the German bishops on sexual abuse in the German Church since WW2, published in September 2018.
It is not a Synod according to Canon Law. But after intense discussions with the Vatican there are now Statutes of the Synodal Path for a process of discussions and resolutions of clerics and lay people scheduled for about two years on the following topics:
All over the world public worship is ceasing due to the Coronavirus pandemic. We Are Church members are praying and celebrating their union with Jesus in their homes or making videos so others, who may be in isolation, may join them.
L’exhortation apostolique du pape François “Chère Amazonie”
[ English ]
La CCBF prend acte de l’encouragement que contient cette exhortation apostolique pour les catholiques. Elle les invite à être inventifs en matière de ministères, de célébrations et de rites, dans la conformité au génie du christianisme, afin qu’ils se sentent totalement responsables de l’annonce de l’Évangile, sans attendre une approbation de la hiérarchie.
L’exhortation apostolique « Chère Amazonie » qui vient de paraître se recentre sur la question amazonienne qu’elle explore dans toutes ses dimensions, économique, politique, écologique, culturelle et ecclésiale. Ce faisant, elle ignore, sans les approuver ni les annuler, les propositions des évêques réunis en synode qui s’étaient, à une large majorité, prononcés en faveur de l’ordination d’hommes mariés, pour pallier non seulement la pénurie de prêtres, la dispersion des communautés mais aussi leurs différences culturelles, en particulier linguistiques. Certains en espéraient une décision du Magistère pour un libre choix des ministres ordonnés entre célibat et mariage.
12 February 2020.
Querida Amazonia, Pope Francis’ official response to the Amazon Synod, demonstrates that the Roman Catholic hierarchy lacks the courage and vision needed to address the real needs of the world and its people, says We Are Church International, a leading advocate for structural change in the largest Christian denomination.
Colm Holmes of Ireland, Chair of We Are Church International praised the Pope for his “wonderful dreams for social, cultural and ecological issues in the Amazon.” Holmes said, “We agree with the Pope that our church has significant responsibility for promoting immediate and significant changes in how the earth’s resources and the lives and cultures of indigenous people are protected. We urge all people to live in ways that reflect good stewardship of our planet, and the fact we are all one human family.”
Women's rights in the Church - in the context of sex abuse
by Virginia Saldanha
Towards the end of the 20th century the increased awareness of women’s rights has resulted in the critique of culture, tradition and practices responsible for depriving women of their rightful place in the family and society. The creation of international instruments, laws and protections for women have given women the opportunity to take their place in all spheres of life like politics, business, law enforcement, etc. However, in the Catholic Church women are still kept submissive to patriarchal authority. The nature of religious leadership that compels women to go to men for spiritual guidance and most of all for confession has created a number of problems for women in their working relationship with the clergy, especially sex abuse. Looking at this problem from the framework of universally accepted women’s rights and protections, it is important for the Church to take steps to address this grave issue.
With many voices, but one vision - Catholic women set out on a pilgrimage towards Rome for dignity and equality in the Roman Catholic Church
Rome - 23-25 January, 2020
Catholics from 5 continents and different areas such as universities, religious orders, associations, initiatives, journalism as well as theologians, volunteers, reform activists and pastoral workers in church service, came together last week in Rome to bring together decades of commitment to equal dignity and equal rights for women in the Catholic Church worldwide.
[ English ]
Die Reformbewegung "Wir sind Kirche" wirft dem emeritierten Papst Benedikt einen Beitrag zur Spaltung der katholischen Kirche vor. Seine jüngsten Äußerungen zum Zölibat seien "ungeheuerlich", sagte der Sprecher der Bewegung, Christian Weisner, am Montag in München.
Joseph Ratzinger habe nach seinem Rücktritt als Papst gesagt, "dass er schweigen und sich nicht mehr in die Kirchenpolitik einmischen will". Jetzt tue er sich aber mit einem dezidierten Kritiker seines Nachfolgers Papst Franziskus zusammen. "Das ist eine Kirchenspaltung, zu der er ganz entschieden und in ganz unverantwortlicher Weise beiträgt", sagte Weisner. "Das ist ein ganz ungutes Zeichen."
Weisner rief die katholischen Bischöfe auf, sich deutlich zu distanzieren und ihm zu sagen: "Lieber Joseph Ratzinger, jetzt ist es mal genug."
Auch inhaltlich ist das Festhalten am Zölibat, das Ratzinger laut Vorab-Abdrucken in der französischen Zeitung "Le Figaro" in einem neuen Buch gemeinsam mit dem konservativen Kardinal Robert Sarah fordert, aus Sicht von "Wir sind Kirche" der völlig falsche Weg. Die Kirche könne in Zeiten des weltweiten Priestermangels "eine Missionstätigkeit und die Aufrechthaltung der Gemeinden bei uns anders gar nicht leisten", sagte Weisner.
"In der ganzen Kirchengeschichte gab es lange Phasen, wo der Zölibat nicht verpflichtend gewesen ist", betonte er. "Die katholische Kirche hat sich in der Vergangenheit viel mehr gewandelt als man es uns heute weißmachen will."
"We are Church" accuses Pope Benedict of church division The reform movement "We are Church" accuses the emeritus Pope Benedict of contributing to the division of the Catholic Church. His recent statements on celibacy are "outrageous", said the movement's spokesman, Christian Weisner, on Monday in Munich.
After his resignation as Pope, Joseph Ratzinger had said "that he would keep silent and no longer interfere in church politics". Now, however, he was joining forces with a determined critic of his successor Pope Francis. "This is a schism in the Church to which he is contributing in a very decisive and irresponsible way," Weisner said. "This is a very bad sign."
Weisner called on the Catholic bishops to distance themselves clearly and tell him: "Dear Joseph Ratzinger, enough is enough."
Also in terms of content, the adherence to celibacy, which Ratzinger demands together with the conservative Cardinal Robert Sarah in a new book, according to advance reprints in the French newspaper "Le Figaro", is from the point of view of "We are Church" the completely wrong way. In times of a worldwide lack of priests, the church could not otherwise "perform missionary work and keep the congregations upright in our country", Weisner said.
"In the whole history of the church there were long phases where celibacy was not obligatory," he stressed. "The Catholic Church has changed much more in the past than we are told today.
C h r i s t i a n W e i s n e r WE ARE CHURCH GERMANY
I know the plans I have for you, plans for your well-being and not for your evil, in order to give you a hopeful future. I, the Lord, affirm it (Jeremiah 29, 11).
A year ago, following the impulse of the Spirit, we began a self-convened and self-managed lay synodal time that, in its First Assembly, concluded, among other aspects, that the existence of structures in which the evil exercise of power is enclosed, by its asymmetry in the exercise of it, generates abuses that imply suffering to all the people of God. During 2019, we found that the abuse of power transcended the walls of the Church. It is a normalized practice that transcends the entire Chilean society, coming from political and economic structures that express an abusive system that contrasts with the dignity that everyone has for the fact, first, of being a person, and then for their condition of sons and daughters of God. The social outbreak of October 2019 made it evident.
Catholic women's network in German-speaking countries: "That's the only way forward!"
Catholic women of women's associations, initiatives, women religious orders and church bodies from Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland came together over the weekend to network for the very first time.
The global initiative Voices of Faith had invited the key figures to Stuttgart from 1 to 3 November 2019.
The women's network agreed that in view of the catastrophic church crisis, urgently needed reforms must now be tackled.
The network agrees with Doris Wagner's statement that we women urgently need to stop supporting violent structures. The effective participation of women is needed now, so that vulnerable and wounded people and the mortally threatened creation can once again be at the centre of church commitment. "We women no longer have time to wait. We stand up together and do our utmost to ensure that the church has a future: life-friendly and women-friendly. We call on all women: Use your positive power for change!" said Chantal Götz, Managing Director of Voices of Faith.
At this first meeting, the network identified key issues and gave working groups authority and confidence to work on these issues to overcome internal church blockages. Some of these issues discussed were: Sacrament theology and office structure, criteria and transparency in episcopal ordinations and appointments, symbolic order and vulnerability.
The network also agreed: We urgently need an international meeting at world church level. The participants empower Voices of Faith, with the support of the networks mentioned below, to take the organisation of this meeting into their own hands.
We Are Church Sees Hope for the World and the Catholic Church in Final Report of Amazon Synod;
But the perpetuation of women’s lower-class status in our Church remains a grave injustice
October 27, 2019. We Are Church International sees reason for hope in the final document issued at the conclusion of the Amazon Synod. We Are Church International (WAC-International) stands in solidarity with all the people of the Amazon whose representatives have so bravely and passionately articulated the urgent crisis facing all of humanity due to the ecological destruction that has been underway in the region for decades. We stand with the indigenous leaders who spoke so passionately about the threats to their peoples and cultures and who stood firm against the economic imperialism that has led to the deaths of so many in the area.
September 26, 2019
For Immediate Release
[ German ]
International Catholic Reform Network (ICRN) supports the ongoing work in parishes that are calling women and men to prepare them to preside over the Eucharist. This includes being responsible for the pastoral care and sacramental life of their parish community as was practiced in the early Church before the institution of the ordained priesthood.
ICRN calls on the Polish Bishops to comply with Church teaching regarding LGBT people that calls all to respect the intrinsic dignity of each person in word, action, and law. Attached below is our Warsaw Statement on LGBT.
ICRN voted unanimously to support the charter on the Fundamental Rights and Responsibilities of all Catholics worldwide which obligates the entire church to respect the primacy of conscience; the equality of all Catholics in the church; freedom of expression, including the freedom to dissent; the right and responsibility to participate in a Eucharistic community and to receive responsible pastoral care; genuine participation in decision making, including the selection of their leaders; due and just process when accusations are made; protection of children, and others.
NSAE (Nous sommes aussi l’Église - We also are Church) has been informed of very disturbing news from India, concerning rape cases of nuns.
In early 2018, Bishop Franco Mulakkal, Bishop of Jalandhar, was accused by a Missionary sister of Jesus of having raped her repeatedly between 2014 and 2016. The bishop always denied it, under the well-known argument that it would be a conspiracy against the Church. For several months no one paid attention to the nun's complaint. But in September 2018, five of her sisters organized a sit-in to support her, with the participation of several nuns from different congregations and members of laity.
They were asking for the bishop's arrest, which they finally got : he was charged with rape and released on bail.
One of the sisters who supported her, Sr Lucy Kalappura, belonging to another congregation, the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, is currently the subject of vexations and sanctions, and has just been expelled from her community. Such a decision is extremely serious, as it denies the commitment a nun has made for the entire life, and that she intends to continue to assume. These sanctions are directly linked to her support for the raped sister. Sr. Lucy is known for her effective involvement with the poor and vulnerable people.
Summary of the conference
We Are Church has been sending a delegate to the Asian Youth Academy (AYA) and Asian Theology Forum (ATF) since 2013 (Didier van Houtte; Jean Pierre Schmitz; Martha Heizer and myself). It is organised by the Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum which is managed by Paul Hwang. ALL invites young leaders (aged 25 – 35) from 12 – 15 different Asian countries to spend 10 days together learning about each others countries especially regarding Indigenous Peoples (IP), the environment, climate change, community building, cultures and faith development. In 2019 the meeting was in ChiangMai in Thailand, based in the CLUMP Centre in Doi Thong.
The program started with a Welcoming Ceremony lead by tribal chiefs. We were divided into 5 groups to visit and live in small remote villages of the Karen people. My group was based in Mae Aeb, a village of 150 people, 7 km off the main road along a bumpy twisting road. We tried planting rice, which was a wonderful experience to remove socks and shoes and squelch in the muddy water. We visited the weaving operations and had a long Question & Answer session with the village chief via interpreters and facilitators as the Karen people have their own language, which is very different to the Thai language; we had meals in our host families who looked after their guests first before eating themselves. We helped the village repair their access road with stone chippings, which we helped distribute to fill in holes and repair the road. Our village has now got many links with the outside world; 30 years ago they were totally agriculture based and self sufficient; today many of the young work in the city; and today the village has several pick up trucks, motor bikes, water & electricity supply, Satellite TV and mobile phone network coverage. They are mostly Catholic with a good number of Buddhists who cooperate well together.