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.