Rome, …. March 2014
One year ago, our Catholic Church showed real potential for self-reform. Reform for which we had hoped and waited for a very long time. The resignation of Benedict XVI was instrumental in the election of Francis which has given hope to Christian people that a new course in the history of the Church has begun. The crisis at the top had reached such a low point that it is impossible to believe that the Holy Spirit did not breathe on these events.
Pope Francis has put the Gospel and the joy of living in the present moment at the centre of his ministry. Those who feel healed and saved by the Word of Jesus are able, therefore, to love much, to forgive, to suffer with all.
This is Francis’ basic message, a simple message for all ordinary people; all those who are poor in spirit, of whom is the kingdom of heaven. This message has been obscured for too long. Often in many situations, it was hardly visible, buried by the stiffling situation in the Church. Now everything is easier. There was great expectation for this to happen. Movements at the grassroots desired to make the message of Jesus more visible and understandable, even to those who are not believers or are in search of the truth.
FOR RELEASE FEBRUARY 20, 2014
International Church Reform Groups Seek Meeting with Pope Francis
Groups Send Letter Urging Increase in Women’s Leadership, Access to Communion
Contact: Anthony Padovano, 973-539-8732
Linda Pinto, 570-296-5326
As the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ election approaches, leaders of 52 organizations from the United States, Europe, and Asia working towards renewal and reform in the Catholic Church have sent a letter to the Pope. They are urging him to take immediate steps to appoint more women to Church leadership positions, and to stop the practice of banning people from Communion. They have also asked the pontiff to meet with them, saying they represent “millions of Catholics around the world who are deeply committed to our Church, but hope for changes on issues of governance and care.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The recent statement against the Vatican of the Committee for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child confirms, with the authority of the structure of the United Nations, what has been known for some time and which victims of sexual abuses have denounced for years.
The International Movement We Are Church (IMWAC) has been part of the international mobilization on this very serious issue and share the position of the Committee, concerning how the Vatican has dealt, in the majority of cases, with the issue of pedophile priests in the Catholic Church. The attempts to minimize the responsibility of too many Church leaders are at odds with reality; reports and judgments from different countries now make this very clear.
We know that the responsibility for this situation is not individual priests or bishops only, but goes back to the central structures of the Church. The Vatican had the serious responsibility of having tried to wash the dirty linen at home, and in this way it was washed very badly or not at all, and certainly too late.
Pope Francis needs to be uncompromising and to take action very quickly. The decision to establish an ad hoc committee is completely inadequate. There is a need for a directive, which should impose to the Bishops' Conferences in the different countries obligations of transparency and publicity. Church authorities should be obliged to accept, request and support the prosecution of the alleged perpetrators by the judiciary.
These obligations were, and are still, stubbornly refused by the CEI, the Italian Bishops Conference, as confirmed in the recent meeting of its Permanent Council, despite that pedophilia crimes have been committed by the clergy in Italy not less than in other countries.
As believers in the gospel and members of this Church we are deeply saddened by this situation, which makes us suffer and for which we pray.
* * *
The International Movement We Are Church, founded in Rome in 1996, is represented in more than twenty countries on all continents and is networking world-wide with similar-minded reform groups. We Are Church is an international movement within the Roman-Catholic Church and aims at renewal on the basis of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). We Are Church was started in Austria in 1995 with a church referendum.
Wenn die österreichischen Bischöfe heute, Montag, zum Ad-limina-Besuch beim katholischen Kirchenoberhaupt eintreffen, sind die Ergebnisse von Tausenden Einzelbefragungen mit im Gepäck. Das sind die Rückmeldungen der Gläubigen auf den vatikanischen Fragenbogen. Mehr als 34.000 heimische Katholiken beteiligten sich an der päpstlichen Umfrage zu Ehe und Familie. Die Fragebögen werden dem Generalsekretariat der Bischofssynode übergeben, das die Synode zur Familie vorbereitet. Nach dem Pontifikatswechsel sind die Erwartungen an eine grundlegende Kirchenreform groß.
12 gennaio 2014
I nuovi cardinali di papa Francesco: molti vengono “dalla fine del mondo”, Bassetti è cardinale mentre sono fuori i ruiniani Nosiglia, Moraglia e Fisichella. La porpora a Loris Capovilla è un sicuro messaggio di fedeltà al Concilio
Il portavoce nazionale di “Noi Siamo Chiesa” Vittorio Bellavite ha rilasciato la seguente dichiarazione:
“Non è facile capire il significato delle nomine dei diciannove nuovi cardinali, sedici a pieno titolo e tre ultraottantenni. Bisognerebbe conoscere di ognuno di essi la pratica pastorale e l’impegno effettivo per una Chiesa povera e a favore della pace fondata sulla giustizia sociale.
Un giramento di testa, un incontro mancato, un commento brusco alle scelte del nuovo pontefice. Mercoledì scorso, nell’arco di poche ore, è suonato un campanello d’allarme per papa Bergoglio.Finita l’udienza generale in piazza San Pietro – la temperatura era fredda – Francesco si è sentito girare la testa e il lieve malore lo ha costretto ad andarsi subito a riposare, rinunciando all’incontro con il cardinale Angelo Scola, venuto appositamente da Milano per parlargli di una futura visita all’Expo. Non è una cosa da niente. Scola è stato il principale antagonista di Bergoglio al conclave: non per motivi personali naturalmente, ma come esponente di un’altra piattaforma. Scola è tuttora una delle personalità più autorevoli tra i vescovi italiani e un buon rapporto con lui è decisivo per orientare la Cei sulla linea di riforma, che il papa ha in testa.
Hans Küng writes in NCR:
Church reform is forging ahead. In his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis not only intensifies his criticism of capitalism and the fact that money rules the world, but speaks out clearly in favor of church reform "at all levels." He specifically advocates structural reforms -- namely, decentralization toward local dioceses and communities, reform of the papal office, upgrading the laity and against excessive clericalism, in favor of a more effective presence of women in the church, above all in the decision-making bodies. And he comes out equally clearly in favor of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, especially with Judaism and Islam.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Dublin/Ireland, November 5, 2013
International Movement We are Church agree in Dublin on a clear agenda for the next years
The International Movement We are Church (IMWAC) supports Pope Francis’ course for substantial reforms in the RC Church and asks the Bishops to clearly support this new course for more transparency, decentralisation, and dialogue with the faithful. Almost eight months after the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina as Bishop of Rome he is marking out a new course in Rome like the questionnaire for the Family Synod in Rome in 2014 that was published last week.
Representatives from 11 European Countries (Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom) and the United States gathered in All Hallows College in Dublin, Ireland 1 - 3 November 2013 to discuss their contribution to the present reform process of the RC Church.
Pope Francis: A bishop is to serve, not dominate
Pope Francis on Thursday afternoon consecrated two new Archbishops in St. Peter’s Basilica. The two new Archbishops are both Papal Nuncios. French Archbishop Jean-Marie Speich was named Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana in August, while Italian Archbishop Giampiero Gloder was in September named the President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, which is dedicated to the training of the priests who will serve in the Diplomatic Corps of the Holy See.
In his homily Pope Francis said the bishop is like the head of the family, and should always have the Good Shepherd as an example. He also reminded the new Archbishops that there new position is one of service, not honor. “Always in service,” the Pope repeated. “Keep in mind that you were selected to serve, not to dominate.” He also said a bishop must be a man of prayer, because otherwise he will fall into worldliness.
He told them to love those entrusted to them like a father, to always respond immediately when a priest calls them. He said to do this also with the poor, the helpless, to those in need. He told them to pray also for those outside of the Church, because they are also entrusted to them.
Text from the Vatican Radio website
The opinion of the International Movement We Are Church
Today Pope Francis has announced in Consistory the date of the canonization of Pope John Paul II on April 27, 2014 - together with Pope John XXIII.
The decision concerning Pope John Paul II is not agreed by all in the Catholic Church. The International Movement We Are Church has expressed its opinion already in a press release on 16 January 2011.
Pope John Paul II was a pope of great contradiction. His tragedy lies in the discrepancy between his commitment to reform and dialogue in the world and his return to authoritarianism within the church.
It was his penchant for spiritual authoritarianism that contributed to the greatest tragedy of his tenure as pope: the sexual abuse of thousands of children globally. By holding church hierarchy paramount above the needs of the people, John Paul II perpetuated a toxic environment in which priests were permitted, often repeatedly, to sexually abuse children as long as the criminal behaviour was kept secret, preserving the public image of untarnished leadership.
Perhaps one of the best reflections of this is seen in John Paul II’s strong relationship with the Legion of Christ and its founder Marcial Maciel. Maciel is accused of decades of serious abuse against women and youth, much of which was allowed to percolate due in part to the 1983 bylaws John Paul II approved for Maciel’s religious order that demanded secrecy and prohibited criticism of its founder.
It was John Paul II’s same need for hierarchical control that also lead to the constriction of theology with scarring impact on people’s lives. His attempt to discredit liberation theology left thousands working for liberation without the full theological and ecclesial support they deserved while suffering under brutal political regimes.
Spiritual authoritarianism was also seen in John Paul II’s attempt to suppress discourse on gender equality which, in turn, deprived the Catholic world of the gifts women would bring to church leadership. His stance against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people places him in complicity with local churches and governments who continue to deny the civil and moral equality of LGBT persons. Additionally, his repeated denouncements of condom use complicated the moral choice of millions around the world attempting to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and promote sexual health.
The International Movement We Are Church believes that beatification and ultimately sainthood should not be measured by whether a “miracle” can be attributed to a particular person, but rather, whether someone’s life truly embodies the values of Christ who sought, not power, but the well being of God’s people.
|Por ocasião da Abertura do Semestre no Mestrado em Ciências da Religião da UNICAP, com a aula inaugural do teólogo Carlos Mendoza, sobre “Perspectivas antissistêmicas e futuro das religiões”, no dia 15 de agosto de 2013, às 15h, no auditório do CTCH da Universidade, será lançado o Núcleo de Estudos José Comblin. O lançamento contará com palavras de abertura do amigo de Comblin e estudioso da sua obra, o pastor Paulo César Pereira, além de apresentação de número da Revista Paralellus dedicado a Comblin (http://www.unicap.br/ojs-2.3.4/index.php/paralellus) e do site do Núcleo (http://www.unicap.br/comblin).|
(Google translation into English) On the occasion of the opening of the semester in the Master of Science in Religion UNICAP, with the inaugural class of the theologian Carlos Mendoza on "Perspectives antissistêmicas and future of religions", on August 15, 2013, at 15h, in the auditorium of the CTCH University, will be released the Study José Comblin. The launch will feature opening remarks from Comblin friend and student of his work, Pastor Paulo César Pereira, besides presenting issue of the Journal dedicated to Paralellus Comblin ( http://www.unicap.br/ojs-2.3.4 / index.php / paralellus ) and the website of the Center (http://www.unicap.br/comblin ).
Outreach Secretary, Didier Vanhoutte, has sent us the following pictures from the theology conference he is attending in Thailand. He is sending messages each day to the IMWAC Council and these will be compiled into a report after the conference. He is delighted to be among a group of enthusiastic, highly committed and devout Catholics.
Statement by the We Are Church movement.
12 August 2013
With the first meeting of the eight Cardinals at the beginning of October 2013 Pope Francis will start the reform of the curia. It is of the utmost importance to the future of the Roman Catholic Church. It should not take place behind closed doors, but transparently and as an open dialogue with the local churches.
On the 14th of April, 2013 Pope Francis announced a reform of the curia. He constituted a worldwide commission of eight cardinals. The Pope expects the first suggestions of this commission to be handed in by the beginning of October. So far no pontifical task has been announced for this body. So far none of the Cardinals involved has made any comment. But the reform of the curia as a first step to a structural reform of the whole Roman Catholic Church is so important that the basics should be discussed in public.
That is why the INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT WE ARE CHURCH asks the following questions now, before the first meeting of the commission at the beginning of October 2013:
- What are the objectives of the intended reform, what concepts are behind it and what are the Cardinals’ concrete proposals?
- Did the cardinals consult their national and continental bishops’ conferences and lay organisations beforehand?
- What action is there going to be in the face of the worldwide scandals of abuse and cover-ups?
Nominating an international advisory committee is an important step to a more cooperative and participatory Church leadership, given the many serious crises (Vatileaks, Bank of the Vatican, Society of St Pius X, lack of cooperation and so on) and wrong decisions made by the church leaders. But further steps have to be taken. The Roman Curia has hardened to an absolute power over the past centuries!
It is important that the much needed reform not only increases the efficacy of the curia but helps the spirit of transparency; so that collegial plurality and democratic structures in the institutional Church have a chance to develop (e.g. ‘separation of powers’: independence of legislature, executive and judiciary). Women, who constitute more than half of the church members, are hardly ever represented or involved in decision making. New structures of communication and leadership have to be developed. They should correspond with the demands of the Gospel and meet the requirements of a worldwide net of communities of the faithful in different cultural settings. It has to be asked how a lobby of homosexuals could have been established in the Vatican, as Pope Francis said, and what action is to be taken to prevent such future lobbying. The question of why any form of lobbying exists in the Vatican should be answered.
Pope Francis himself talked about „new wine in old wineskins“ and referred to the tradition of the Church that allows renewal of theology and structure by means of dialogue with people from different cultures (c.f. the Pope’s sermon on the 6th of July, 2013). That is why he is expected to make fundamental decisions during his papacy. These will entail the abandonment of obsolete principles and doctrines in order to secure the future well being of the Catholic Church. A commission of experts in church history, systemic theology and exegesis has to be convened as soon as possible to addresses concerns over dogmatic questions.
With all due respect for tradition and continuity, a fundamentally new culture and structure must be developed, and the process should be characterized by dialogue, communion, reform and openness – according to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which still provides valid and precious guide lines. For the Vatican this means, more communication instead of control, more spirituality and open-mindedness instead of sanctions.
The We Are Church movement believes that key decisions must be about:
- Decentralization of decision-making in the church and the giving of more rights and responsibility to the Church at local levels
- Representation in Rome of all churches in the world
- Emancipation of women at all levels
- Collegial responsibility and the abandonment of absolutist and monarchical structures
- The implementation of human rights in the Church
- A code of behaviour, including accountability of church leaders to the people of God.
Fr Helmut Schüller, Austrian Priests' Initiative, speaks in Cleveland, USA
Juazeiro do Norte, 14 de julho de 2013.
Nós juventudes reunidos no Trezinho das Comunidades Eclesiais de Base, na diocese de Crato, em preparação ao 13º Intereclesial que vivenciamos a experiência da Justiça e Profecia a Serviço da Vida no Campo e na Cidade. Assim, queremos anunciar a todas as juventudes de todos os continentes que estarão presentes na Jornada Mundial da Juventude e no 13º Intereclesial de CEBs, que seguindo o testemunho do Cristo libertador procuramos vivenciar uma espiritualidade profética, que se torna visível na opção preferencial pelos pobres e na defesa da vida por uma sociedade do bem viver. Impulsionados pela profecia desta terra e dos mártires que na fidelidade ao Evangelho derramaram seu sangue pela causa do Reino, denunciamos:
(Let's renew our Church ... with Francis)
Die KirchenVolksBewegung Wir sind Kirche begrüßt und unterstützt den pastoralen und Menschen zugewandten Kurs von Papst Franziskus. Doch mit seinem Aufsehen erregenden Stil ist die Kirchenkrise noch lange nicht überwunden. Gerade im Vatikan gibt es starke Widerstände gegen die Reformansätze des Papstes.
Franziskus praktiziert einen spirituellen Leitungsstil. Er selbst gibt ein Vorbild des „Guten Hir- ten“. Doch wird er eine Reform der römischen Kurie durchsetzen können? Wie wird er langfristig das Staatssekretariat oder die Glaubenskongregation besetzen? Welche lehramtlichen Entscheidun- gen wird er z.B. in der Frauenfrage oder gegenüber den US-amerikanischen Ordensfrauen treffen? Welche Akzente wird er zur Überwindung der „Gotteskrise“ und in der Christologie setzen?
Vor Franziskus und uns liegt noch ein langer Weg, die römisch-katholische Kirche wieder auf Reformkurs zu bringen im Sinne des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils. Deshalb: Unterstützen Sie den Erneuerungskurs von Papst Franziskus – und weiterhin auch die KirchenVolksBewegung. Wir sind Kirche hat einige zentrale Aussagen von Franziskus sowie über ihn zusammengestellt. Der neue Kirchenkurs muss möglichst bald in den Bistümern und Gemeinden spürbar werden!
La Encíclica Lumen Fidei viene con la autoría del Papa Francisco, pero es sabido que fue escrita por el Papa anterior, ahora emérito, Benedicto XVI. Confiesa claramente el Papa Francisco: «Asumo tu precioso trabajo, limitándome a añadir al texto alguna contribución». Y así debe ser, de lo contrario, no tendría la nota del magisterio papal. Sería simplemente un texto teológico de alguien que un día fue el Papa.
Benedicto XVI quería escribir una trilogía sobre las virtudes cardinales. Escribió sobre la esperanza y el amor. Pero le faltaba la fe, lo que hace ahora con los pequeños complementos del Papa Francisco.
La Encíclica no trae ninguna novedad sensacional que llame la atención de la comunidad teológica, del conjunto de los fieles o del público en general. Es un texto de alta teología, con un estilo recargado y lleno de citas bíblicas y de los Santos Padres. Curiosamente cita autores de la cultura occidental como Dante, Buber, Dostoievski, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Romano Guardini y al poeta Thomas Eliot. Se puede ver claramente la mano del Papa Benedicto XVI, sobre todo en discusiones refinadas de difícil compresión hasta para los teólogos, manejando expresiones griegas y hebreas, como suele hacer un doctor y maestro.
International Movement We are Church on the first 100 days of Pope Francis (21 June 2013)
Rome, Innsbruck, Munich, June 18,
A 100 days since Pope Francis took office the International Movement We are Church (IMWAC) continues to hope for a transformation in the leadership of the Church. “We welcome all steps towards a greater faithfulness to the Gospel”, says We are Church.
We are Church calls on all Catholic communities to take a fresh and critical view of the organization leading them as well as of the system of medieval privileges still prevailing in it.
The deep crises of the Roman-Catholic Church are not over by far, but now we see at least a better opportunity for our Church, a world-wide community of 1.2 billion faithful, to find authentic and convincing ways to spread the Gospel of Jesus, says We are Church.
Francis, Bishop of Rome, has shown an approach that is not doctrinal, but pastoral for which the faithful have been longing for so long. We hope that his simple but strong gestures of a merciful and benevolent ministry will change the attitude of all clerics and those clinging to obsolete forms of religious practice.
The change in the style of leadership must be followed by substantial reforms in line with the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) to reverse the restoration to pre-Vatican II times of the last 50 years. Otherwise the frustration and further loss of credibility inside and outside the Roman Catholic Church will be enormous.
New forms of dialogue, decentralization and collegial management in line with the teachings of Vatican II and a new approach to the role of women in our Church are essential key issues to be confronted in this historic moment of time.
We are Church supports all steps to combat Eurocentrism and we wish to convert our church into a Church more in line with the Gospel: a Church at the periphery, a poor Church and a Church of the poor. Our Church must be dedicated to world-wide peace and ecology based on justice and human rights. To be credible it must respect and promote human rights also within the Church.
We know this will be a long process of transformation. We support this process and will continue to contribute our points of view based on sound theological research, and hope our contributions will be heeded more than before. We also recognize the important contributions of those prophetic theologians and pastoral workers who have been silenced during the last decades. They now must be completely rehabilitated.
However, we do not want to overestimate the positive signals set by Francis, or to underestimate the strong resistance coming from well-established curial, cultural and economic interests that have been so powerful in the Church for a long time. We are also aware of the strong external pressures being brought on Francis.
We call on Pope Francis to be strong and courageous and wish him the support he needs. We hope that in this pontificate a process of transformation will be initiated for the Roman-Catholic Church and for all of Christianity to find a new and more positive role in a rapidly changing global community of humankind.
We are Church is ready to support this new course towards a loving Church of the People of God.