It was most gratifying that the chairman of the Protestant Churches in Germany, Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, accompanied by the president of the German Catholic bishops' conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, officially visited Pope Francis in Rome together on the occasion of the Reformation Jubilee. The Pope spoke of "an already reconciled diversity." He said he greatly appreciated the spiritual and theological gifts that the Reformation had given us and that he wanted to do everything he could "to overcome the obstacles that still remained."
Already in September 2016, Bishop Bedford-Strohm and Cardinal Marx presented their "Common Word" entitled "Healing Memories — Bearing Witness to Christ." After five centuries of condemning and inflicting wounds upon each other, both the two leading Churches in Germany declared that they intended to celebrate the Reformation anniversary together as a "Feast for Jesus Christ."
A further pivotal point in the commemoration process will be the main Service of Repentance and Reconciliation that the Council of the Protestant Churches and the Catholic bishops' conference will celebrate together at Hildesheim on March 11, 2017.
We Are Church International is deeply disturbed by the ongoing difficulties faced by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which have led to the resignation of Marie Collins, an outspoken survivor of clerical sexual abuse.
Statements made by Ms. Collins following her resignation indicate that the Commission lacked the resources, respect, and responsiveness needed for their work to be effective. This is a tragic affront to the victims, survivors, families, and parishes impacted by decades of clerical abuse and hierarchical cover up. It indicates that, despite numerous claims of concern and repentance, leaders of the Catholic Church still do not believe that addressing the damage done to so many for so long needs to be a top priority for our Church.
We Are Church International extends its profound respect and gratitude to Marie Collins, and to many others who have fought for justice for clerical abuse survivors, victims, and their families, and for implementation of Church policies and practices that protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse.
We Are Church International further calls on Pope Francis to personally address the issues that have undermined the Commission’s work. The Commission needs an adequate budget and staff to support their work. The Tribunal to hold bishops accountable for protecting abusers and putting additional children at risk must be established, and given the authority to conduct authentic investigations and enforce substantive consequences for those found to have engaged in cover ups of abuse. Most importantly, the Commission needs unfettered access to documents and individuals that have information about past abuse and current practices. The opaque culture of the Vatican and Catholic chanceries around the world must be transformed by a commitment to accountability for any meaningful work to be accomplished.
The abuse of children and vulnerable adults by clerics and the cover up of abuse by Catholic hierarchs is one of the most shameful events in our Church’s history. It has alienated thousands of Catholics around the world and seriously undermined the Church’s moral authority. We Are Church International calls for authentic repentance and a radical transformation of action and belief on the part of our entire Church.
We Are Church International, founded in Rome in 1996, is a global coalition of national church reform groups. It is committed to the renewal of the Roman Catholic Church based on the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the theological spirit developed from it.
From the statement of Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen of Parramatta at the Royal Commission into Institutional response to child abuse in Australia - February 2017
I do believe that the marginalisation of women and the laity is part of this culture of clericalism that contributes not insignificantly to the sexual abuse crisis, and I think if we are serious about reform, this is one of the areas that we need to look at.
Accountability in that perfect Church model only works upwards. You’re accountable to the person above you. As long as the bishop has the backing of the Pope, he’s safe. As long as the priest has the backing of his bishop, he’s safe. There’s no accountability that reaches outwards or downwards, and that’s the critical problem, as far as I see. That discipleship of equals calls into question that upward accountability that is in operation as a result of that ecclesiastical model of a perfect society where everyone knows their place and the pecking order is strictly dictated by ordination.
The laity have no meaningful or direct participation in the appointment, supervision and even removal of the parish priest. I think that needs to change. Or even at the episcopal level, the appointment, supervision and removal of a bishop is virtually excluded from the faithful. The Morris affair is a typical example of that. There’s no accountability to the faithful there. So that needs to be examined if we are serious about creating a new culture of accountability in the Church today.
From the statement of Bishop Vincent Long of Parramatta at the Royal Commission into Institutional response to child abuse in Australia.
I see the clericalism as a by-product of a certain model of Church informed or underpinned or sustained by a certain theology. I mean, it’s no secret that we have been operating, at least under the two previous pontificates, from what I’d describe as a perfect society model where there is a neat, almost divinely inspired, pecking order, and that pecking order is heavily tilted towards the ordained. So you have the pope, the cardinals, the bishops, religious, consecrated men and women, and the laity right at the bottom of the pyramid.
I think we need to dismantle that model of Church. If I could use the biblical image of wineskins, it’s old wineskins that are no longer relevant, no longer able to contain the new wine, if you like. I think we really need to examine seriously that kind of model of Church where it promotes the superiority of the ordained and it facilitates that power imbalance between the ordained and the non-ordained, which in turn facilitates that attitude of clericalism, if you like.
By Paul Collins and Tony Flannery
He who is the object of an enquiry should be present at the process, and, unless absent through contumacy, should have the various headings of the enquiry explained to him, so as to allow him the possibility of defending himself. As well, he is to be informed not only of what the various witnesses have accused him of, but also of the names of those witnesses. (Fourth Lateran Council, 1215)
Nowadays it is widely agreed in the church that the processes and procedures of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) are contrary to natural justice and in need of reform. They represent the legal principles, processes and attitudes of the absolutism of sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe. They don’t reflect the gospel values of justice, truth, integrity and mercy that the church professes to uphold. They are out of keeping with contemporary concepts of human rights, accountability and transparency that the world expects from the Christian community and which the Catholic Church demands from secular organizations. The purpose of this proposed new approach is to reflect the attitude of Jesus (Matthew 18:15-17) and to integrate values that the world sees as basic to a functioning, civilized society.
We Are Church International very critical about Trump orders
[ Italian ]
Halting and undermining the refugees, the immigrants, the Muslims, seeing social diversity as cause for fear, attacking the religious liberty, and building a US-Mexico border wall are offences to all of humanity.
We, We Are Church International, are deeply concerned as Christians, and as humans and we strongly speak out against this blatant disregard for human rights.
We speak with the same words of our sisters and brothers in USA, especially those of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and of Pax Christi. They affirm the “God's call to welcome the stranger (Mt. 25:35) and to care for those most in need (Mt 25:40)”. They affirm “We need a country where people feel safe, welcomed, and know the only prerequisite for their rights is being human”
We are convinced, according to the Gospel, that people all over the world, no matter their skin colour, or religion, or social conditions, or country of origin, or sexual orientations are brothers and sisters, and that we must have compassion and take responsibility for each other.
We are committed to the vision of justice that trumps hate and builds bridges instead of walls.
We proclaim peace and justice first, for all the people of the world.
Rome, February 2017
José María Castillo: "Muchos se hacen curas para tener nivel de vida, dignidad o categoría"
"Hasta el siglo XIII, la vocación no se veía como llamada de Dios, sino de la comunidad"
(José María Castillo, teólogo).- Tal como se han puesto las cosas, en el momento que vivimos, el futuro de la Iglesia da que pensar. Porque produce la impresión de que la Iglesia, tal como está organizada y tal como funciona, tiene cada día menos presencia en la sociedad, menos influjo en la vida de la gente y, por tanto, un futuro bastante problemático y demasiado incierto.
Cada día hay menos sacerdotes, cada semana nos enteramos de conventos que se cierran para convertirlos en hoteles, residencias o monumentos medio arruinados. El descenso creciente en las prácticas sacramentales es alarmante. Más de la mitad de las parroquias católicas de todo el mundo no tienen párroco o lo tienen nominalmente, pero no de hecho.
Hace pocos días, el papa Francisco decía en una entrevista: "El clericalismo es el peor mal de la Iglesia, que el pastor se vuelva un funcionario". Y es verdad que hay curas, que se metieron en un seminario o se fueron a un convento, porque no querían pasarse la vida siendo unos "nadies" que no pintan nada en la vida. Esto sucede así, más de lo que imaginamos.
Pero, aunque se trate de personas generosas y decentes, ¿cómo no van a terminar siendo meros "funcionarios" unos individuos, que, para cumplir con sus obligaciones, tienen que ir de un lado para otro, siempre de prisa, sin poder atender sosegadamente a nadie? Y conste que me limito a recordar sólo esta causa de que en la Iglesia haya tantos "clérigos funcionarios".
No quiero ahondar en la raíz profunda del problema, que no es otra que la cantidad de individuos que se hacen curas porque, en el fondo, lo que quieren es tener un nivel de vida, una dignidad o una categoría, que no se corresponden ni con el proyecto de vida que nos presenta el Evangelio, ni con lo que de ellos espera y necesita la Iglesia.
Además - y esto es lo más importante -, ¿es la Iglesia una mera empresa de "servicios religiosos"? ¿cómo puede ser eso la Iglesia, si es que pretende mantener vivo el recuerdo de Jesús de Nazaret, que fue asesinado por los hombres del sacerdocio y del templo, los más estrictos representantes de los "servicios religiosos"?
This weekend proved to be a dark moment in U.S. history. The executive order to turn away refugees and to close our nation to those, particularly Muslims, fleeing violence, oppression and persecution is contrary to both Catholic and American values. Have we not repeated the disastrous decisions of those in the past who turned away other people fleeing violence, leaving certain ethnicities and religions marginalized and excluded? We Catholics know that history well, for, like others, we have been on the other side of such decisions.
These actions impose a sweeping and immediate halt on migrants and refugees from several countries, people who are suffering, fleeing for their lives. Their design and implementation have been rushed, chaotic, cruel and oblivious to the realities that will produce enduring security for the United States. They have left people holding valid visas and other proper documents detained in our airports, sent back to the places some were fleeing or not allowed to board planes headed here. Only at the eleventh hour did a federal judge intervene to suspend this unjust action.
"The hallmark of the Church is its proximity. We are all the Church."
An hour before the start there was standing room only! 1,000 arrived to celebrate Fr Tony Flannery's 70th birthday and his over 40 years of service to our church. Fr Willie Cummins from Ennistymon joined Fr Tony on the altar. A choir assembled specially for this occasion sang out loud to the heavens. Noírín Ní Riain enchanted us with her singing and especially her song for Tony!
The mass started spot on 2.30pm. Tony gave General Absolution to all assembled (a big screen outside had as many watching as were packed inside Killimordaly Community Centre). In his homily Tony said nit was time for believing communities to recover the Eucharist for themselves. Everyone was invited to receive communion as a statement of love for all.
In the leaflet welcoming all Tony set out the main issues between him and the Vatican:
* Priesthood: The first thing the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in the Vatican objected to was an article which I wrote in the height of the clerical sex abuse crisis here in Ireland. I said in that article that I believed the priesthood as we have it now is not as Christ would want it. In the context in which I was writing, that seemed an obvious statement to make. But, taken out of context, and sitting in a desk in the CDF, they considered it heresy.
* Catholic Teaching on Relationships and sexuality: The CDF objected to some things I had written about issues around artificial contraception, and the teaching on homosexuality. I had said, and written, many times over the years that I regarded the document issued by Pope Paul Vl forbidding all forms of artificial contraception under pain of serious sin to be wrong. The CDF demanded that I state publicly that I fully accepted that teaching. Equally I had difficulty with teaching that described people of a homosexual orientation as in a 'disordered state', and that all homosexual acts were 'intrinsically evil'. Again they demanded that I state publicly that I accepted their views on all this. I could not do that.
by Sigrid Grabmeier, Chair of We Are Church Intl.
This statement, according to Vatican Radio on 13 December 2016, comes from the Pope's speech at the Eucharistic celebration of the same day, a few days after the publication of the new guidelines for the education of priests "The gift of vocation" by the Congregation of the Clergy, signed by Francis himself . - His concern that the "shepherds" should be closer to the people, not think of themselves as something better and not to rise above the "sinners and prostitutes" is not new. But in the new guidelines, I find this concern only very poorly implemented, if not even counter-productive.
The celibate priesthood continues to be exaggerated, even the clear rejection of homosexual priesthood candidates or even of women in priestly ministry. Behind them, there is still an official understanding, a picture of priesthood and a doctrine that in a certain way cause clericalism: the theology of sacrifice and the idea that the priest simultaneously acts as the representative of Christ and the Church, always challenged "to configure oneself to Christ by exercising pastoral ministry. ".- The" configuration to Christ ", an expression often found in the document, is a requirement which nearly invites to clericalism. For even if it is repeatedly asserted how important it is for the young men to exercise themselves in humility, chastity, modesty, and obedience, they are to be formed quite differently from all others. Many passages give me the impression of guidelines for the manipulation of boys and young men who are indoctrinated as early as possible on what is so particular about their vocation.
There are certainly also positive aspects in the document, e.g. protection of minors, which will be a topic in priest education in the future. Above all, however, there is a great deal of fear of the loss of meaning of the clergy, a nimbus which is bound to a clericalization by means of a spiritualization which is already tending to kitsch and pious elegies. Actually exactly the opposite of what Francis wants to achieve. - But maybe that is the plan: what you can not prevent, you have to run against the wall or into the empty space. - We should not wait for that. "We are Church" and that is to say, search for ways, ways to go from a survived hierarchical to a viable cooperative church.
[ German ]
We Are Church has won the Integration Award 2017, from the Aprelbaum Foundation - together with Prof. Günter Hegele of the professional Evangelical academics in Germany.
Founded in 1989, the charitable Apfelbaum Foundation promotes long-term and applied initiatives for community growth and development.
The citation reads:
"The Foundation gives you the Integration Award 2017
- for your persistent development and perseverance of the internationally networked Movement We Are Church and
- for your empathic and creative proposals for reforms in your own Catholic Church, but also for your 'yes' to the Reformation 500 years ago and to a reconciled Diversity of Christians in an ecumenical spirit. "
We are Church, in receiving this prize, sees itself in very good company. Hans Küng and OikoCredit were first prize winners in 1996. Other laureates and winners include: Eugen Drewermann, Alice Schwarzer, Rupert Neudeck, Monika Hauser, Richard Schröder, Karl-Josef Kuschel, Tilman Zülch and Lamya Kaddor.
Recipient organisations include, among others, Amnesty International, the Reconciliation Service for Peace, the Terre des Femmes, the MSF, the OSCE, the Nes Ammim in Israel.
We have received regular support from the Apfelbaum Foundation from their priority fund "convergence of religions", and this has been an incentive for us over many years. Now, at the beginning of this Anniversary Year of The Reformation, The Integration Award 2017 will spur us on to continue our work for a more integrated world.
We Are Church Germany
Genau vier Jahre sind es her, dass Papst Benedikt an einem Rosenmontag seinen freiwilligen Amtsverzicht angekündigt und damit das Papstamt von falschen Ansprüchen befreit hat. Die Wahl von Papst Franziskus vom „anderen Ende der Welt“ hat es dann ermöglicht, dass dieser den synodalen Kurs des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils endlich auch in Rom umsetzen kann, den Joseph Ratzinger zunächst als Glaubenspräfekt und dann als Papst 31 Jahre lang so vehement bekämpft hat.
Dass dieser Kurswechsel Widerstände erzeugen würde, war vorauszusehen und ist wohl unvermeidlich. Denn schließlich sind viele Kardinäle, Ortsbischöfe sowie Mitarbeiter der römischen Kurie noch in der Zeit und nach den Vorgaben der beiden Vorgängerpäpste ausgewählt und ernannt worden. Aber Papst Franziskus hat aus seiner Zeit in Argentinien Erfahrung im Umgang mit Widerständen. In der Santa-Marta-Morgenmesse am 1. Dezember und beim Weihnachtsempfang 2016 für die römische Kurie spricht er die verschiedenen Formen des Widerstandes an: Den offenen Widerstand aus gutem Willen, der durchaus von Gott kommen kann; den verborgenen Widerstand der leeren Worte von denen, die sich zwar zur Veränderung bereit erklären, aber alles beim Alten belassen; und schließlich den böswilligen Widerstand als wohl gefährlichste Form, der sich hinter rechtfertigenden Worten versteckt und Zuflucht in Traditionen sucht.
Zu diesem böswilligen Widerstand ist sicher die „Anfrage“ der vier ultra-konservativen emeritierten Kardinäle zum nachsynodalen Schreiben Amoris laetitia zu rechnen, auch wenn Papst Franziskus dies nicht konkret anspricht. Mit Walter Brandmüller und Joachim Meisner sind auch zwei deutsche Kardinäle dabei, die sich Papst Franziskus direkt in den Weg stellen. Und so kann ich mir nicht vorstellen, dass dieser Widerstand ohne Wissen des ehemaligen Papstes und den von ihm noch kurz vor seinem Rücktritt zum Präfekt der Glaubenskongregation ernannten Kardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller geschehen ist.
Dass diese Opposition, die es in dieser Art seit der Gegenreformation nicht mehr gegeben hat, überhaupt entstehen konnte, ist auch dem verborgenen Widerstand der leeren Worte oder gar Schweigen vieler Bischofskonferenzen – auch der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz! – anzulasten. Denn sie haben noch immer nicht die positiven Spielräume des nachsynodalen Schreibens Amoris laetitia ausgefüllt und weiterentwickelt. Für die Bischöfe, aber auch für die wissenschaftliche Theologie ist es jetzt allerhöchste Zeit, sich eindeutig zum Reformkurs von Papst Franziskus zu bekennen, der ganz auf der Linie des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils liegt.
Wir sind Kirche Deutschland
by Tony Flannery C.Ss.R
This January marks a significant milestone in my life; the eighteenth of the month is my seventieth birthday. I have wondered how best to mark it. I am not by nature a ‘party person’, so that option did not greatly appeal to me. Having spent forty years of my life ministering as a priest, I am now into my fifth year when I am forbidden by Church authorities to minister publicly. I have decided to honour my age, and my lifetime, by ignoring the Church censures, and celebrating a public Mass. Since I would not be allowed to do so either in a Catholic church or other Catholic controlled building, I have chosen, with the kind permission of the committee, to celebrate it in the local community hall in the village where I now live, which means that the Mass will take place in Killimordaly Community Centre on Sunday, January 22nd, at 2.30pm.
Why am I doing this? I don’t think that I am doing it just for the sake of defying Church authorities. Neither do I want it to be the beginning of an unofficial ministry on my part. I have no wish to start a new ecclesial movement. My reasons are as follows:
1. For the last five years I have been in something of a ‘limbo’ state, neither fully in or fully out of the priesthood. I have known from an early stage that there was no possibility of a resolution of the dispute between myself and the Vatican. So this public Mass will be for me a way of acknowledging the forty years of my life, and the work I did as a priest—a way of acknowledging who I am.
2. Since my dispute with the Vatican went public I have received enormous support from people all over the country, and indeed internationally. Eucharist is essentially a thanksgiving and In this Mass I am giving thanks for the good will of many people.
3. Since the beginning of my difference with the CDF, I have consistently held to one fundamental point. I don’t have any problem with the Church exercising authority. Every institution needs an authority structure. But authority must be exercised in a way that is just, and that respects the dignity of the person. In my experience, and in the experience of many others whom I have come to know in these past years, Church authority is exercised in a way that is unjust and abusive. For that reason I hope that my action will highlight once again the urgent need for change in the way the Vatican deals with people who express opinions that are considered to be at odds with official Church teaching.
4. In celebrating this public Mass I am also saying something else that I regard as important. The Mass, the Eucharist, is not in the ownership of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or indeed of the Vatican. It belongs to the believing communities. That was where it began in the early Church, and where it finds its true meaning. My hope is, in this time of great change and upheaval in Church and society, that the believing communities begin, by whatever means possible, to regain ownership of the Eucharist. My late Redemptorist confrere, and distinguished theologian, Bernard Haring, put it this way: “The people of God have a God-given right to the Eucharist. On the basis of human law, to deprive the people of God of the Eucharist is objectively gravely sinful”
I am somewhat apprehensive about presiding at a public mass after almost 5 years in the wilderness, but to quote Macbeth, “to go back is as tedious as to go on” and I now feel the urge to take a positive step.
For those who may wish to come to this event from various parts of the country, this is how you will find Killimordaly Community Centre:
Leave the M6 at exit 16, and take the road to KILTULLAGH.
Having reached the village of Kiltullagh – the church is clearly visible in front of you – follow the sign for Ballinasloe.
After about two hundred yards take a left off this road, and follow the signs for ATTYMON. After about a mile you will pass the hurling pitch on your right. A few hundred yards further on you will see the Community Centre, also on the right.
After the Mass refreshments will be available in the local pub, The Earl Inn, about a mile from the hall.
Somebody sent me the following, for directions on a Sat Nav or a phone. Don’t know if my copy and transfer of them will work.
Sat Nav coordinates
Smart phone directions Google Maps
El Festival Internacional de Literatura de Mantua, en Italia, recordó de manera especial el primer aniversario de la visita pastoral del Papa Francisco a Cuba, que tuvo lugar entre el 19 y 22 de septiembre de 2015. Para hablar de la estela que dejó ese viaje histórico y comentar sobre el impacto del pontificado de Jorge Mario Bergoglio, la editora de Cubadebate Rosa Miriam Elizalde dialogó con el fraile dominico Frei Betto, ante un público que abarrotó el Palacio de San Sebastián, en la ciudad lombarda. El encuentro tuvo como título la trase en latín “Extra pauperes nulla salud” (“Fuera de los pobres no hay salvación”). A continuación, reproducimos íntegramente el intercambio.
The International Literature Festival of Mantua in Italy specially recalled the first anniversary of Pope Francisco's pastoral visit to Cuba, which took place between 19 and 22 September 2015. To talk about the trail that historical trip left and comment on the impact of the pontificate of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the editor of Cubadebate Rosa Miriam Elizalde spoke with the Dominican friar Frei Betto, before an audience that crowded into the Palace of San Sebastián, in the Lombard city. The meeting was entitled "Extra pauperes nulla salud" ("Without the poor there is no salvation"). We offer the entire exchange.
Von der Kunst, an der Basis Kirchenzukunft zu gestalten
Eine „Feier mit Feuer“ wollten wir veranstalten – und es ist gelungen! Die Teilnehmenden an unserem Fest waren nach ihren eigenen Worten „wieder sehr motiviert“, „sehr dankbar für alles, was ihr für die Kirche tut“, „angesteckt von der Freude, die ihr ausstrahlt“, „froh, dass ihr mein Feuer wieder stärker gemacht habt“…Das alles gilt auch umgekehrt: wir vom Vorstand fühlten uns durch die entgegengebrachte Solidarität und Herzlichkeit unterstützt und getragen von unseren Mitgliedern!
Am Beginn erzählte Thomas Plankensteiner, der Initiator des Kirchenvolks-Begehrens vor 20 Jahren, von seiner eigenen Motivation und den Anfängen der Bewegung. „Ohne staatlichen oder kirchlichen Apparat, ohne Handys und soziale Netze, aber mit großer Hilfe der Medien haben wir in kürzester Zeit 1500 Mitarbeiter und Mitarbeiterinnen in ganz Österreich gefunden, die in zwei Wochen 505.000 Unterschriften gesammelt haben.“ Und er betonte wieder: „Nicht um Modernisierung geht es oder um Liberalisierung, auch nicht um Zeitgeist: es geht um die Evangelisierung der Kirche!“
Enrique, Somos Iglesia Chile, has alerted us to this video.
Raquel from Somos Iglesia (Spain) offers this commentary for friends who do not speak Spanish.
I guess that Enrique Orellana has chosen this video as a testimony of a nun “living inside the war” that questions the politics of the USA and Europe concerning Syria supporting the opposition to the president.
The video is of a talk given in Spain by a Argentinian Nun who has lived and worked in Aleppo for several years. She says that Syria is not a democratic country but she affirms that the president allows religious freedom and this has led, during years, to a peaceful relationship between Catholics, Christians in general, and Muslims. So she put the focus on the terrorism of ISIS who are very against Christians in Syria and Iraq. They are the main problem. The rest of the talk consists of a description of the everyday life of Catholics in Aleppo under the war between the government and the terrorists.
The Missionary says that the media in Europe and America are not well informed in general and she ask people to read Catholic media instead.
In “Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace,” his message for the 50th anniversary of World Peace Day, January 1, 2017, Pope Francis has called for peacebuilding through active nonviolence. He identifies the many communities throughout the world impacted by various forms of violence, and calls on all people to commit to “acknowledge one another as sacred gifts endowed with immense dignity.”
We Are Church International endorses this important message, and commits itself and its members around the globe to the practice of nonviolence, community-building, and good stewardship of the earth. We commend our Pope for addressing this critical issue in a way that honors people of all faiths and ways of life.
We wish to underscore that the World Peace Day Message is a historical moment which changes course from much of the past Magisterium of the Church. Pope Francis is on the same wavelength as the “Appeal to the Catholic Church to recommit to the centrality of Gospel nonviolence” born from the Conference of Rome (11-13 avril 2016), which was “an assembly with people of God from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania included lay people, theologians, members of religious congregations, priests, and bishops”.
We Are Church International especially notes the portion of Pope Francis’ message that acknowledges, “This is also a programme and a challenge for political and religious leaders, the heads of international institutions, and business and media executives: to apply the Beatitudes in the exercise of their respective responsibilities. It is a challenge to build up society, communities and businesses by acting as peacemakers. It is to show mercy by refusing to discard people, harm the environment, or seek to win at any cost. To do so requires ‘the willingness to face conflict head on, to resolve it and to make it a link in the chain of a new process’… Active nonviolence is a way of showing that unity is truly more powerful and more fruitful than conflict…Certainly differences can cause frictions. But let us face them constructively and non-violently, so that ‘tensions and oppositions can achieve a diversified and life-giving unity,’ preserving ‘what is valid and useful on both sides’. “
“We call on Pope Francis and other leaders of our Church to apply this message to the governance of our own Church,” said Sigrid Grabmeier, Chair of We Are Church International. “Too often, the people of the Church have been discarded or treated with disrespect. Disagreement has been swept under the rug or seen as dangerous, even when it comes from deep love of our faith. We seek the opportunity for dialogue and creative problem-solving as part of peacemaking within our Church.”
We Are Church International has urged its members and communities to observe World Day of Peace with prayer, study of active nonviolence, and recommitment to the goals expressed by Pope Francis.
We Are Church International (IMWAC) founded in Rome in 1996, is a global coalition of national church reform groups. It is committed to the renewal of the Roman Catholic Church based on the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the theological spirit developed from it.
December 23, 2016. On 22 December 2016 Pope Francis rebuked the curia for the third year for not all giving their full support to his reforms.
Speaking to members of the Church hierarchy who have resisted his efforts to implement significant changes, the Pope said, “The reform of the Curia is in no way implemented with a change of persons – something that certainly is happening and will continue to happen – but with a conversion in persons. Permanent formation is not enough; what we need also and above all is permanent conversion and purification. Without a change of mentality, efforts at practical improvement will be in vain.”
"Also of great importance is an enhanced role for women and lay people in the life of the Church and their integration into roles of leadership in the Dicasteries, with particular attention to multiculturalism.”
We Are Church supports Pope Francis’ reform aims which include an “inverted pyramid” structure for our church. We agree that the Church’s focus must return to service of the poor. We encourage Pope Francis to engage far greater numbers of laity and especially women in the Vatican and throughout our church. This reform will signal the Pope’s commitment to the Catholic Church modeling equality and justice in the world.
We Are Church International (IMWAC) founded in Rome in 1996, is a global coalition of national church reform groups. It is committed to the renewal of the Roman Catholic Church based on the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the theological spirit developed from it.
Iglesia Descalza offers us this reflection
By Bishop Emeritus Pedro Casaldáliga (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Que sea Navidad, la verdadera.
Las barbas crecidas y blancas,
y los supermercados del consumismo,
deben quedar al margen.
Y nosotros debemos plantarnos en medio del egoísmo
y negarnos a la profecía absurda,
para abrir espacio al llanto y al canto de la solidaridad
y al grito de los pequeños y excluidos.
Que sea verdad todo lo que decimos en la liturgia y el folclore.
Que sea una Navidad de las raíces de Belén,
el Misterio de la Encarnación llamándonos a hacer Reino cada día.
Que sea Navidad, que no nos perdamos la Navidad.
Let it be Christmas, the real one.
The long white beards
and the supermarkets of consumerism
should be left aside.
And we must stand in the midst of selfishness
and refuse the absurd prophecy
to make room for the sobs and songs of solidarity
and the cry of the least and the excluded.
Let everything we say in liturgy and folklore be true.
Let it be a Christmas from the roots of Bethlehem,
the Mystery of the Incarnation calling us to build the Kingdom every day.
Let it be Christmas, let us not lose Christmas.
You chose the name Francis, after the saint of the poor.
You went to the refugees in Lampedusa and Lesbos.
You tell your and our church to move towards the people.
You proposed an inverted pyramid structure for our church.
You opened doors and windows for free thought and speech within the church.
You made worldwide justice and global climate change a concern of the church.
You counter egoism and power with the globalisation of solidarity, of sharing and responsibility.
Thank You for all that.
We pray, that the doors you opened will stay open.
We pray, that even more doors and windows will open.
We pray, that you will be able to continue your work for a church of the people of God.
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy has released a new document (dated December 8, 2016) entitled “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation,” which is a set of guidelines for priestly formation. Pope Francis has approved these guidelines.
“These guidelines are a tremendous insult to the thousands of gay men who have served and continue to serve the Church with honor and dedication” said Sigrid Grabmeier, Chair of We Are Church International. “These guidelines are also in complete contrast to Pope Francis famous comment ‘Who am I to judge?’”
The guidelines reinforce a sense of gay people as flawed, unfit for ministry, and as second- or third-class members of the Church.
Married people are all excluded as celibacy is made an absolute requirement. Women are also completely ignored. “By continuing to limit priesthood to celibate males, the Vatican is ensuring that women and people with families remain excluded from having any significant impact on dogma and pastoral practice in the Church, since ordination is a de facto requirement for holding the vast majority of positions of influence. Even more importantly, the exclusion of gay people and women gives support to the many countries and cultures where they are demeaned, attacked and even killed,” said Grabmeier.
“We Are Church believes that God calls people to serve the Church regardless of gender, sexual orientation, relationship or marital status, age, or any other human attribute,” continued Grabmeier. “We strongly urge that these guidelines be withdrawn.”
# # #
We Are Church International (IMWAC) founded in Rome in 1996, is committed to the renewal of the Roman Catholic Church based on the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the theological spirit developed from it.
[Pictured: Krzysztof Olaf Charamsa]
Comment from Eric (Sweden)
The key lines highlighted by "America" magazine suggests to me that we are witnessing yet another act of old homosexual self-hatred from the darkness within the clerical closet. God knows they are many acts of self-hatred in homosocial male societies like the military and the Church. As old Freud noted, male patriarchal bonding demands a combination of a perverse culture of silence as well as an homoerotic element of power and seduction. The great enemy of that male power game in the military as well as in the Church has always been a "gay culture"and post-freudian feminists able to expose male ambiguity and self-hatred.
"Deep -seated homosexual tendencies" as well as a the notion of a unified "gay culture" are old technical terms inherited from documents issued by JP 2 and B 16. In their original context they where supposed to suggest the CV of a future pedophile. I guess that connection is not explicitly made today, but is it still implicit, as "America" seems to suggest?
So friends, I am very happy with our press release and with all comments. Yes, priests and bishops who identify themselves as "gay" are a great treat to the clerical institution and we can extend support and solidarity. Yet, first and foremost, I believe we desperately need the inverted pyramid fight in exposing the liberating anthropology and indeed ecclesiology of the Gospel. Maybe, it is enough to witness in silence and in shame how the old clerical structures of abuse and self-hatred destroy themselves in these days, since most of "our" seminaries are empty? But as long as there are still young people exposed to these seminaries and structures and many more to suffer as victims of clerical abuse, I think we need to be outspoken!
The "Synodal Church", let me take this word. The Church is born from the community, it is born from the foundation, it is born from Baptism, and it is organised around a bishop, who brings it together and gives it strength; the bishop who is the successor of the Apostles. This is the Church. But in all the world there are many bishops, many organised Churches, and there is Peter. Therefore either there is a pyramidal Church, in which what Peter says is done, or there is a synodal Church, in which Peter is Peter but he accompanies the Church, he lets her grow, he listens to her, he learns from this reality and goes about harmonising it, discerning what comes from the Church and restoring it to her. The richest experience of all this was that of the last two Synods. There all the bishops of the world were heard, during preparation; all the Churches of the world, the dioceses, worked. All this material was worked on during the first Synod, which gave its results to the Church, and then we returned a second time - the second Synod - to complete all this. And from there Amoris Laetitia emerged. It is interesting to see the rich variety of nuances, typical of the Church. It is unity in diversity. This is synodality.
Do not descend from high to low, but listen to the Churches, harmonise them, discern. And so there is a post-Synodal exhortation, which is Amoris Laetitia, which is the result of two Synods, in which all the Church worked, and which the Pope made his own. It is expressed in a harmonious way. It is interesting that all that it contains [Amoris Laetitia], in the Synod it was approved by more than two thirds of the fathers. And this is a guarantee. A synodal Church means that there is this movement from high to low, high to love. And the same in the dioceses. But there is a Latin phrase, that says that the Churches are always cum Petro et sub Petro. Peter is the guarantor of the unity of the Church. He is the guarantor.
This is the meaning. And it is necessary to progress in synodality, which is one of the things that the Orthodox have conserved. And also the Oriental Catholic Churches. It is a richness of theirs, and I recognise it in the Encyclical.