Press release, April 19, 2012.
Solidarity with silenced theologians and the Austrian based ‘Pfarrer-inititiave’
‘Dialogue within the church is the only way to overcome the present deep and global crisis in the Roman-Catholic Church’, the International Movement We are Church has stated.
It declares its solidarity with the Austrian ‘Pfarrer-initiative’ and with the many recognized and respected theologians who have been silenced by the Vatican, the latest being in Spain Juan José Tamayo and Andres Torres Qeiruga and in Ireland Tony Flannery, Sean Fagan, Owen O'Sullivan and Gerry Moloney.
These theologians have been unjustly silenced without due process and in utter secrecy by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. (For a more comprehensive account cf links at the end).
At the 7th anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict We are church invites all faithful to start an open dialogue about the points contained in the appeal published by the ‘Pfarrer-initiative’ and which has seen already so much positive response from all parts of the world.
The ‘Year of Faith’, announced by the Pope in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) must become also a ‘Year of Dialogue’, the International Movement We are Church says.
Instead of demanding blind obedience, as Pope Benedict did in his sermon on Maundy Thursday, all the issues contained in the appeal of the ‘Pfarrer-initiative’ should be carefully examined individually and not like a package. Their ‘appeal of disobedience’ was firstly published in June 2011 after having tried a dialogue with the hierarchy for five years, but without any success.
The Roman Catholic Church now finds itself in the deep crisis. The seven years of Benedict’s pontificate are increasingly laying bare the fundamental weaknesses of the whole system of the Roman Catholic Church: its autocratic, monarchical governance, its ‘two-tier society’ of priests and ‘lay’ as well as the rapidly growing Roman centralization in recent years, which concedes scarcely any responsibility to the local churches.
Since November 1981, when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was appointed by Pope John Paul II as prefect of the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the present Pope has influenced the worldwide Roman Catholic Church for much longer, and in many more profound ways, than most others in the Vatican have been able to do in all of Church history. But again and again he proved to be deaf to the concerns brought to him by bishops, theologians, and numerous ‘lay’ people from around the world. Liberation Theology, in particular, was treated by him with suspicion and hostility.
However, in spite of so many obstacles to dialogue the International Movement We are Church will continue to work for a new relationship with all our sisters and brothers in our Church in the spirit of the Gospel.
• A list of all persons who, directly or indirectly, have been investigated in any way, disciplined, or excommunicated by the CDF under Joseph Ratzinger (a compilation by “Catholics for Choice,” 2006) is available here.
• A list of 99 theologians and spiritual leaders who were banned, expelled, or silenced under Ratzinger is included in the 2011 book by Matthew Fox, The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved.