(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Tuesday that the clergy should serve lay people and not make use of them and spoke out against clericalism, calling it one of the greatest distortions affecting the Church in Latin America. His comments came in a wide-ranging letter reflecting on the role of the laity that was addressed to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. The Pope’s letter was a follow-up to the commission’s recent Plenary Assembly whose theme was “the indispensable role of the lay faithful in the public life of Latin American countries.” In his letter, Pope Francis explained that he wished to follow-up the discussions and reflections that emerged during the Plenary Assembly in order to prevent them "from not bearing fruit."
He urged the clergy to look closely at the people and lives of the lay faithful and avoid falling into the trap of adopting certain slogans on their behalf that seem well-meaning but in practice don't succeed in supporting the lives of our communities. Pointing to the example of a famous phrase “it’s time for the laity,” he noted that in this particular case, that clock has ground to a halt.
Catholics decry modern-day inquisition
An international group of Catholic sisters, priests and lay people, all of whom have been ‘delated’ (i.e. reported) and subjected to ‘examination’ by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), formerly known as the Holy Office of the Roman Inquisition, have said that this body “doesn’t reflect the gospel values of justice, truth, integrity and mercy that the Catholic Church professes to uphold” and that are called for by Pope Francis. They also say that the CDF “acts in ways that 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.”
“Can you get justice from a body that acts as investigator, accuser, judge and jury and then imposes the penalty?” spokesman for the group, church historian Paul Collins asks. “And then, if an appeal is made, it is heard by the same people,” Collins adds. The accused have to deal with secrecy and anonymity, often having to negotiate with the CDF at third or fourth hand via a network of superiors and bishops. “People are not informed as to who accused them,” Collins says, “there is no presumption of innocence, the accused don’t know who is judging them with prosecutors acting as judges; they don’t even know who their defense counsel is. They are usually never given a chance to defend themselves verbally and in person. Letters go unanswered for months, or are “lost”.
Members of the International Movement We Are Church endorse and fully support the statement by Pax Christi International following the Conference on Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence held in Rome, April 11-13, 2016
Living Gospel Nonviolence and Just Peace
In that spirit we commit ourselves to furthering Catholic understanding and practice of active nonviolence on the road to just peace. As would-be disciples of Jesus, challenged and inspired by stories of hope and courage in these days, we call on the Church we love to: continue developing Catholic social teaching on nonviolence. In particular, we call on Pope Francis to share with the world an encyclical on nonviolence and Just Peace;
- integrate Gospel nonviolence explicitly into the life, including the sacramental life, and work of the Church through dioceses, parishes, agencies, schools, universities, seminaries, religious orders, voluntary associations, and others;
- promote nonviolent practices and strategies (e.g., nonviolent resistance, restorative justice, trauma healing, unarmed civilian protection, conflict transformation, and peace-building strategies);
- initiate a global conversation on nonviolence within the Church, with people of other faiths, and with the larger world to respond to the monumental crises of our time with the vision and strategies of nonviolence and Just Peace;
- no longer use or teach “just war theory”; continue advocating for the abolition of war and nuclear weapons;
- lift up the prophetic voice of the church to challenge unjust world powers and to support and defend those nonviolent activists whose work for peace and justice put their lives at risk.
International Movement We are Church:
Press Release Munich / Rome, April 8, 2016
"Responsibility now lies with the bishops, theologians and local Churches"
The International Movement We are Church sees the letter "Amoris laetitia" of Pope Francis published today as a hopeful new course for the urgent development of Catholic sexual ethics, pastoral and family theology. This letter introduces a new epoch in sexual ethics, very much in line with Vatican II. Now the local churches, including their theological sciences and all the faithful, have a duty to develop the basic ideas and initiatives and spaces set out by Francis.
The letter is in structure, style and content a pleasing departure from the previous legalistic and rigoristic thinking on Catholic sexual teaching towards a perspective of charity that can properly invoke the exemplary action of Jesus. Pope Francis consciously - which some will regret – does not yet make any changes in doctrine. But the discrepancy between the Gospel’s message of Mercy together with the pastoral approach of Pope Francis makes it ever more clear how necessary it is to make corrections and developments in doctrine and in canon law.
La porta, già sbarrata, ora è socchiusa. Dal basso il popolo cristiano la apra- e la tenga aperta- perché la fede nell’Evangelo ispiri nella Chiesa la vita quotidiana delle famiglie. Riflessioni di “Noi Siamo Chiesa” sulla Amoris Laetitia
La troppo lunga Esortazione Apostolica Amoris Laetitia inizia al paragrafo 3 con una affermazione che indica il percorso che si dovrà percorrere: “desidero ribadire che non tutte le discussioni dottrinali, morali o pastorali devono essere risolte con interventi del magistero… in ogni paese o regione si possono cercare soluzioni più inculturate, attente alle tradizioni e alle sfide locali. Infatti, «le culture sono molto diverse tra loro e ogni principio generale […] ha bisogno di essere inculturato, se vuole essere osservato e applicato» (dal discorso conclusivo del Sinodo 2015)”. Questa affermazione di papa Francesco, tanto attesa, dovrà essere valorizzata. Dopo una consultazione diffusa in tutto l’universo cattolico e due sinodi ci si rende conto che i grandi principi rigidi, dottrinari, esigenti saranno belli da declamare, daranno soddisfazione al sistema ecclesiastico ma non al vissuto del popolo cristiano. E papa Francesco continua aspramente:” Stentiamo anche a dare spazio alla coscienza dei fedeli, che tante volte rispondono quanto meglio possibile al Vangelo in mezzo ai loro limiti e possono portare avanti il loro personale discernimento davanti a situazioni in cui si rompono tutti gli schemi. Siamo chiamati a formare le coscienze, non a pretendere di sostituirle” (paragrafi 36-37). Questo è l’esordio che ispira poi la parte finale dell’Esortazione Apostolica.
Pressemitteilung München/Rom, 8. April 2016
Erste Einschätzung des Papstschreibens zur Familie von Wir sind Kirche
Die KirchenVolksBewegung Wir sind Kirche sieht das heute veröffentlichte Papstschreiben „Amoris laetitia“ als Weichenstellung für die dringend notwendige Fortentwicklung der katholischen Sexualethik, Pastoral und Familientheologie. Mit diesem Schreiben ist der auf Linie des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils liegende Epochenwechsel auch in der Sexualethik eingeleitet. Jetzt sind vor allem die Ortskirchen unter Einbeziehung der theologischen Wissenschaften und aller Gläubigen in der Pflicht, die von Franziskus gesetzten Grundlinien, Impulse und Gestaltungsspielräume aufnehmen und weiterzuführen.
PRESS RELEASE from We Are Church (Ireland)
8 APRIL 2016
We are Church Ireland welcomes the publication of ‘Amoris Laetitia’ - the reflections of Pope Francis on the recommendations of the 2014 and 2015 Synod of the family. However the Synod recommendations did not reflect the voices of Catholic families who had no deliberative voice throughout the course of both Synods.
While its pastoral outlook and its emphasis on the ‘logic of mercy’ are very welcome we are disappointed that there are no positive changes for the many divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who are in second relationships.
Summary of Amoris Laetitia [Vatican Radio]
Amoris Laetitia: Five key passages you need to read [Catholic Herald]
Francis' exhortation a radical shift to see grace in imperfection, without fearing moral confusion [NCR] -
Amoris Laetitia is ‘kitchen sink theology’ and all the better for it [Catholic Herald]
Pope Francis offers hope to divorced Catholics, says no to gay marriage [Chicago Tribune]
Amoris Laetitia: How the Pope's exhortation could shake up the Church [Christian Today]
Highlights of Pope Francis' teaching on the family [Vatican Radio]
Erwartungen an postsynodales Schreiben
Pressemitteilung München/Rom, 7. April 2016
Die KirchenVolksBewegung Wir sind Kirche sieht das postsynodale Schreiben „Amoris laetitia“ („Freude der Liebe“), das am Freitag veröffentlicht wird, als Nagelprobe für die Reformfähigkeit der gesamten Kirche. Nach dem inhaltlich in Vielem enttäuschenden Abschlusspapier („relatio finalis“), das die Bischofssynode Ende Oktober 2015 Papst Franziskus übergab, wird jetzt das Schreiben des Papstes ein erster, aber hoffentlich wegweisender Schritt sein, die jahrhundertealte Fixierung der katholischen Lehre auf eine rechtlich rigorose Sexualmoral zu verändern.
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’s highly-anticipated post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia” (The Joy of Love) on love in the family will be released on Friday 8th April. The Vatican said the Exhortation will be presented to journalists at the Holy See’s Press Office on Friday 8th April at 11.30.
The text of the Apostolic Exhortation in Italian, French, English, German, Spanish and Portuguese (in paper and/or digital format) will be available to accredited journalists from 8.00 a.m. (Rome time) on Friday 8th April. However, the document will remain under embargo until 12 noon that day.
The panel of speakers at the press conference will include: Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops; Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, O.P., archbishop of Vienna, and an Italian married couple: Professor Francesco Miano, lecturer in moral philosophy at Rome’s University of Tor Vergata, and his wife, Professor Giuseppina De Simone in Miano, lecturer in philosophy at the Theological Faculty of Southern Italy in Naples.
A simultaneous translation service will be available in Italian, English and Spanish. The Press Conference can be seen via live streaming (audio-video) on the site: http://player.rv.va (Vatican Player, Vatican Radio) where it will subsequently remain available on demand.
See also We Are Church - Ireland's webpage
Today, Good Friday, members of ‘We are Church Ireland‘ staged a dramatic presentation on Grafton Street, Dublin 2, calling for ‘Justice for Worldwide Survivors of Clerical Child Sex Abuse‘ and for members of the Catholic Hierarchy involved in the cover-up of these heinous crimes through not reporting them to the civil authorities, to be brought to justice both in the Civil and Church courts. There is ambivalence and no clear direction from the Vatican on the reporting of clerical child sex abuse to civil authorities worldwide.
A training course organised by The Vatican Congregation for Bishops for newly appointed Catholic bishops from around the world held in September 2015, was told that they had no obligation to report abuse charges to civil law enforcement agencies. The Pontifical commission for the Protection of Minors set up by Pope Francis in 2014 had not been invited by the organising Congregation of Bishops to address the new bishops with their alternate view that all bishops had a moral and religious responsibility to report all child sexual abuse charges to the civil authorities.
Pope Francis begins Sunday his fourth year as leader of the global Roman Catholic church. NCR wanted to mark the occasion by dipping into the some 2,500 stories we published mentioning the Argentine pontiff in 2015 and early 2016. Below are links to many of our reports accompanying the pope around the globe in the past year, followed by some of the most striking statements of his travels.
Next week, Hans Küng, the Catholic priest and Swiss theologian, will mark his 88th birthday. The fifth volume of his complete works, titled Infallibility, has just become available from the German publishing house Herder. In connection with the release of Infallibility, Küng has written the following “urgent appeal to Pope Francis to permit an open and impartial discussion on infallibility of pope and bishops.” The text of his urgent appeal is being released simultaneously by National Catholic Reporter and The Tablet.
We thank FutureChurch for alerting us to this.
Pope Francis, LWF President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan and General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge will lead the Ecumenical Commemoration in cooperation with the Church of Sweden and the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm.
The joint ecumenical event will take place in the city of Lund in anticipation of the 500th Reformation anniversary in 2017. It will highlight the solid ecumenical developments between Catholics and Lutherans and the joint gifts received through dialogue. The event will include a common worship based on the recently published Catholic-Lutheran “Common Prayer” liturgical guide.
“The LWF is approaching the Reformation anniversary in a spirit of ecumenical accountability,” says LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge. “I’m carried by the profound conviction that by working towards reconciliation between Lutherans and Catholics, we are working towards justice, peace and reconciliation in a world torn apart by conflict and violence.”
Base movements from all continents support Pope Francis’ call for substantial reforms in the Roman-Catholic Church and in Society.
Press release Rome, November 20, 2015
Convention ‘Council 50’: Towards a Church – Inspired by the Gospel – for the world’ with more than 100 delegates of worldwide catholic reform movements in Rome, November 20-22, 2015.
This Coming weekend reform movements from diverse continents, countries, cultures and theological tendencies are gathering in Rome and will present a variety of fruits and projects grown from the Second Vatican Council for an inclusive Church for the 21st century. They are bringing their practice, experience and reflexions to Rome and hope to show their potentialities for a revival of the Church, as St Francis of Assisi did in his time.
‘Council 50’ aims to reaffirm the values and the spirit of the Council and to give space and opportunity of networking between the different experiences that sprang from it. ‘Council 50’ intends to revivify the disappointed hopes, to relight the flame of the Council, and to renew the impetus towards the future. So it is making visible the prophetic part of the ‘people of God’ in the Church too often hidden and unknown.
‘Council 50’ strongly supports Pope Francis’ efforts against all resistance: for the renewal of the Roman-Catholic Church, for interreligious dialogue and for a more just and peaceful world. ‘Council 50’ wants to help change the dogmatic and legalistic attitude of the Church into a pastoral and evangelic attitude inspired by the Gospel and in line with the Second Vatican Council. Hence the leitmotiv ‘Council 50: towards a Church – inspired by the Gospel – for the world’.
‘Council 50’ is a networking process that contributes to strengthen the ‘sensum fidei fidelium’ that is one of the key theological teachings of the theological thoughts of the Second Vatican Council as expressed in the dogmatic constitution ‘Lumen Gentium’. This Council brought so much hope 50 years ago but because of unsatisfactory decrees and Pope Francis’ predecessors the prophetic part of the Church at the peripheries of the world were too often ignored, hidden, and even condemned. The teaching of this Council is still waiting to be implemented.
Soon it will be the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Catacomb Pact, in which 40 Bishops and Council Fathers of the Second Vatican Councils committed themselves to a Church of the Poor. An occasion which has been all but forgotten for some time, but whose groundbreaking character manifests itself again in view of the disputes recently initiated in the Catholic Church by Pope Frances. Following the motto „Remembering and renewing the Pact of the Catacombs“ it is the aim of a congregation of more than two-hundred Christians to bring this pact to the attention of the public once more and at the same time highlight the importance of a Church standing alongside the poor and excluded.
On 16 November 1965 – three weeks before the end of the Second Vatican Council – 40 Bishops from all over the world met at the Domitilla Catacomb on the outskirts of Rome. In 13 commitments they promised to lead a simple life, to renounce the insignia of power and enter into a pact with the poor. What those bishops did later became known as the Option for the Poor: „Because there are poor people we have to make a new decision. The poor are the living proof that there is something wrong with society. Because of the poor we have to take an option. From this point of view the Church has to fight against injustice,“ explains Norbert Arnzt (Münster/Germany), who has researched the Catacomb Pact and the history of its effects on the development of Liberation Theology. For the Bishops of the Catacomb Pact it was all about a certain image of the church which reappears when Pope Francis writes, „With its words and gestures the 'awakening' Church places itself inside the daily life of others, shortens distances, lowers itself if necessary to the point of humiliation and embraces human life by touching the suffering body of Christ within the people.“ (Evangelii Gaudium 24)
After 50 years, help relight the flame of Vatican II !
We are faithful Catholics loyal to the message of Vatican II. Over the past 50 years, many of us calling for reforms promised at the Council have been ignored. The second Vatican Council encouraged us to speak out for the good of our Church and Pope Francis has now echoed this message in his apostolic exhortation ‘Evangelii Gaudium’
Now is the time for the hidden part of the Church to emerge from the catacombs - Join us for this once in a lifetime meeting of reform groups and leading Catholic scholars from all over the world.
As equal disciples of Jesus, we are called to show the world and the Church that the seeds planted by the second Vatican Council have produced new growth over the past 50 years. We want to hear about our experiences of keeping the Church alive as inspired by the spirit of Vatican II, what our vision is for its future, and how local groups are living and expressing faith today within an evolving world. Our diversity will show the richness and vitality of the people of God in its unity (I cor 12), as in the different colors of a rainbow
Reform groups, associations and movements, grass-root communities, and interested associations, are organizing throughout the world local events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the close of Vatican II that opened new ways of being Church. Remembering how the apostles and disciples of Jesus came together (Acts 15, 2-4), we are inviting delegates of these movements inspired by Council Vatican II to meet together in a worldwide event in Rome on the 20th -22th of November 2015, in order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the close of Vatican II, to know each other and to exchange our local experiences and reflections.
 Lumen Gentium IV, 37 : The laity should openly reveal to them their needs and desires with that freedom and confidence which is fitting for children of God and brothers in Christ. They are, by reason of the knowledge, competence or outstanding ability which they may enjoy, permitted and sometimes even obliged to express their opinion on those things which concern the good of the Church.
Evangelii Gaudium, (26), (29), (31) : At yet other times, the Bishop will have to walk after the people, helping those who lag behind and – above all – allowing the flock to strike out on new paths
Cardinal Capovilla is a great person in the history of the Council
Telegram to Don Loris Capovilla Sotto Il Monte-Bergamo
Dear Father Loris,
For your one hundred years I communicate the warm friendship and deep affection of the international movement We Are Church and of the movement Noi Siamo Chiesa Thank you for all you did for the Church in the spirit of the Gospel and of the Council especially collaborating with Pope John
A fraternal embrace
Vittorio Bellavite (National Spokeperson of Noi Siamo Chiesa)
Rome, 14 october 2015
Telegramma a Don Loris Capovilla Sottoilmonte-Bergamo
Caro don Loris per i suoi cento anni le comunico la viva amicizia e il profondo affetto del movimento internazionale We Are Church e del movimento Noi Siamo Chiesa La ringraziamo per tutto quello che ha fatto per la Chiesa nello spirito del Vangelo e del Concilio in particolare collaborando con papa Giovanni Un abbraccio fraterno Vittorio Bellavite coordinatore nazionale di Noi Siamo Chiesa
Roma, 14 ottobre 2015
“Follow Pope Francis’ way of dialogue and reform!”
To date more than 50 international Catholic organisations have signed an ‘Appeal to the Synodal Bishops’ due to meet in Rome in October 2015 to address major issues related to Catholic family life.
In a spirit of dialogue as urged by Pope Francis and motivated by the Spirit of God all of these organisations are calling on the bishops to listen attentively to what they are saying so as to make our Church a more compassionate family.
The outcomes from this Synod will have a critical bearing of the relevance of Catholicism to the needs of our time.
The Appeal outlines the fundamental problems experienced by Catholic families throughout the world:
The social and economic problems of the family should be widely discussed by the Synod, particularly those affecting the most vulnerable, children and women.
Regarding the divorced and remarried and their admission to the Eucharist, the practice of the early Church should be adopted, as it is done in the Orthodox Church.
Concerning the Motu Proprio (Apostolic letter) of Pope Francis on the canonical process of nullity of marriage we agree with and welcome the simplification of the procedure, but question the concept of annulment as such.
“Follow Pope Francis’ way of dialogue and reform!”
All matters concerning the family and sexual ethics have been an important part of the reflections of our organizations and movements for many years. We were inspired by the renewal brought into the Church by the Second Vatican Council, which we believe has now been taken up very clearly by Pope Francis.
Over the years we have been deeply concerned about the constantly growing gap between the convictions and conscience of a vast majority of the People of God and the doctrinal teaching and pastoral practice of the Magisterium of the Church.
The two synods called by Pope Francis give hope that the time has come for a new fidelity to the Gospel, so that doctrinal teachings are no longer an obstacle to the faithful who want to practice the Christian virtues in family life.
We participated in the dialogue promoted by the two questionnaires of the Office of the Synod in many ways. As a result, in what follows we present our thoughts and proposals to you as the participants in the Synod on the main issues that we believe should be addressed.
Streamed live on Jul 25, 2015
This day-long forum was an exciting and engaging event designed to inspire, educate and inform participants about the role of women in the church today, and why women are largely missing from the new tone and trends in the church.
Leggendo l’Instrumentum Laboris per il Sinodo di ottobre
La lettura dell’Instrumentum Laboris , il documento base per la discussione del Sinodo dei vescovi di ottobre sulla famiglia che è stato diffuso dal Vaticano martedì 23, è utile per capire a che punto è il percorso verso questa assemblea dopo mesi di interventi pesanti di ogni tipo da parte di conservatori “importanti” come quelli di alcuni Cardinali e di loro amici. Nel frattempo si sono pronunciati tanti gruppi di base che, per la loro stessa natura, non compaiono sulla scena mediatica mentre invece sono abbastanza rappresentativi di quella vasta area dell’universo cattolico che non si sente molto rappresentata da un’assemblea di dignitari ecclesiastici, anziani, maschi e celibi, senza che una donna o dei giovani vi possano intervenire. Per fortuna, grazie a papa Francesco, in questo caso almeno, il sistema delle risposte al questionario, inviato dalla Segreteria del Sinodo per un’ampia consultazione, ha ovviato in parte a questo deficit di presenze.
Ciò premesso, faccio alcune osservazioni leggendo, punto per punto, le questioni principali come emergono dall’Instrumentum (dopo le conclusioni di ottobre con la Relatio Synodi) che ha dovuto tenere conto della consultazione della base.
El culto a los santos y los procedimientos usados para alguien sea así declarado, son con frecuencia ambiguos. Esta forma de religiosidad- la veneración a los santos- se ha mantenido en todo el mundo católico durante siglos. Aunque respetamos los sentimientos religiosos de tantos católicos, nosotros creemos que el culto a los santos debe estar basado en el Evangelio.
“Somos Iglesia” tiene un punto de vista crítico hacia este culto y de manera especial en estos últimos años ya que la mayoría de los santos que se han proclamado proceden de congregaciones religiosas y en concreto, son sus fundadores. En muchos casos se ha dado preferencia a los miembros de grupos conservadores de nuestra iglesia.
Otra razón de nuestra preocupación es la canonización de varios de los últimos papas, ya que parece ser un procedimiento usado por el Vaticano para resaltar más el prestigio y poder del papado.
Sin embargo, esto no significa que no debamos honrar a los cristianos que han sido testigos del Evangelio de manera extraordinaria.
Tal es el caso del asesinado arzobispo de San Salvador, Monseñor Óscar Romero. ¡Nuestra alegría por San Romero!
Con gozo participaremos el 23 de mayo en espíritu y oración en la gran manifestación de alegría del pueblo de El Salvador.