IMWAC – 15th Anniversary
A press release from WAC Austria
15 years ago, on November 25 1996, groups of “We are Church” from Austria, Germany, Italy, South-Tyrol and France came together in Rome and founded the “International Movement We Are Church” (IMWAC). At that time they represented only a few countries in Western Europe. Today IMWAC is a world-wide organisation. There are active groups in more than 25 countries, in Europe, South- and North-America, Africa, Australia and Asia, and in addition there is a wide-spread church reform network including persons in more than 50 countries.
The common aim of these groups is to implement in the Roman-Catholic church necessary reforms founded on the Bible and on Bible-based tradition. In seeking answers to the signs of the time they follow the guide-lines of the 2nd Vatican Council.
In the traditional wording of our belief they see a main obstacle for passing it on to persons living in modern times. Old-fashioned formulas prevent people from getting in touch with precious help and guidance. Degrading rules of church-law obstruct the dialogue with the hierarchy and with the secular world. Such rules are in contrast with the message of Jesus and with the declarations of the 2nd Vatican Council.
The world-wide IMWAC-movement originated from the Church Referendum, which was carried out in Austria in 1995. Its demands are not only still valid today, but even more urgent due to the catastrophic lack of priests and a rising number of people turning their back on the church:
The creation of a church of brothers and sisters. The abolition of the separation between clerics and lay people. Democratic cooperation in the nomination of bishops.
Full participation of women in all aspects of church life. Deaconate for women and as a next step ordination of women into priesthood.
Removal of the obligation of clerical celibacy.
A positive attitude towards sexuality and recognition of the primacy of an informed moral conscience, e. g. in contraception, which must not be regarded as equivalent to abolition. No condemnation of homosexuality. Instead of being fixed on issues of sexuality the hierarchy should be more intensely engaged in issues of peace, justice and safeguard of creation.
A message of joy and not threat or discrimination. More understanding and less unrelenting severity for persons in difficult situations, i. e. remarried divorcees or married priests.