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.
Hans Küng writes in the NCR:
"Who could have imagined what has happened in the last weeks?
When I decided, months ago, to resign all of my official duties on the occasion of my 85th birthday, I assumed I would never see fulfilled my dream that -- after all the setbacks following the Second Vatican Council -- the Catholic church would once again experience the kind of rejuvenation that it did under Pope John XXIII.
Then my theological companion over so many decades, Joseph Ratzinger -- both of us are now 85 -- suddenly announced his resignation from the papal office effective at the end of February. And on March 19, St. Joseph’s feast day and my birthday, a new pope with the surprising and programmatic name Francis assumed this office.
Has Jorge Mario Bergoglio considered why no pope has dared to choose the name of Francis until now? At any rate, the Argentine was aware that with the name of Francis he was connecting himself with Francis of Assisi, the world-famous 13th-century downshifter who had been the fun-loving, worldly son of a rich textile merchant in Assisi, until at the age of 24, he gave up his family, wealth and career, even giving his splendid clothes back to his father.
It is astonishing how, from the first minute of his election, Pope Francis chose a new style: unlike his predecessor, no miter with gold and jewels, no ermine-trimmed cape, no made-to-measure red shoes and headwear, no magnificent throne."
We thank We Are Church (Ireland) for hosting this talk. They have just revised their website which is well worth a visit.
A report from one of our members on the inspiring talk by Sr. Florence Deacon, President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) on Monday 13th May at the Jesuit Conference Centre, Milltown Park, Dublin.
The cars and the people kept coming, until the Conference Hall in Milltown Institute was filled to over-flowing. Over three hundred people listened as for about 45 minutes, Sr. Florence spoke on: ’50 years since Vatican II; on fire with, or trying to tame, the Spirit?’
She traced her own faith-journey from understanding ‘Church’ as ‘building’, to her present-day understanding of Church as all the People of God, bishops, priests and people together forming the one Body of Christ. She emphasised how all the baptised are called to read the signs of the times, listening to one another in respectful dialogue. Many times she quoted Pope Francis similarly calling for listening and respect, and reminded us of his question in a recent homily, whether we have domesticated the Spirit. She pointed out how already he has exemplified many of the qualities which the LCWR had named before the conclave, as desirable in the new pope. She invited all to keep him in prayer that he may have the courage to make necessary changes.
Speaking of the doctrinal assessment of the LCWR, she explained how it is based on a flawed understanding of the role of this organisation. She stressed that the LCWR wishes for open and honest dialogue with Vatican authorities, which “can only take place outside the glare of the media”. This was why she was willing in this talk to deal only with points which were already public and why she did not comment on the most recent talks in Rome between the LCWR and the Vatican.
Sr. Florence’s talk was followed by time for questions. In response to a question why the LCWR did not take a stronger stance, publicly, in relation to the Vatican authorities, she shared her experience of how respectful dialogue was a more helpful process than confrontation. The query whether she could confirm that the investigation of women religious in the US was at the instigation of a few American bishops including one currently based in Rome, elicited the diplomatic response that ‘There is speculation about that’.
However, even more than her words, it was the integrity, courage and Gospel-based witness of Sr. Florence which spoke most strongly through her input. It evoked a response of heart-felt solidarity and support from the gathering.
She – and We Are Church Ireland – invites all to continue to pray for the Sisters in the LCWR. The Executive meets at the end of this month with the three bishops charged with the ‘renewal’ of the LCWR. It is clear that the dialogue they hope for will require much patience, prayer and the wisdom of the Spirit. Hopefully It is a God-incidence that her talk happened in these days before Pentecost!
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From 'Another Voice'
Professor Hans Küng — now 85 like his former professorial colleague Joseph Ratzinger — offers some reflections about church reform and Francis the new Bishop of Rome.
“What is to be done if our expectations of reform are dashed? The time is past when Pope and bishops could rely on the obedience of the faithful. A certain mysticism of obedience was also introduced by the eleventh-century Gregorian Reform: obeying God means obeying the Church and that means obeying the Pope and vice versa.
“Since that time, it has been drummed into Catholics that the obedience of all Christians to the Pope is a cardinal virtue; commanding and enforcing obedience – by whatever means – has become the Roman style. But the medieval equation of ‘obedience to God = to the Church = to the Pope’ patently contradicts the word of Peter and the other apostles before the High Council in Jerusalem: ‘a person must obey God rather than any human authority.’
“We should then in no way fall into resigned acceptance. Instead, faced with a lack of impulse towards reform from the hierarchy, we must take the offensive, pressing for reform from the bottom up.
“If Pope Francis tackles reforms, he will find he has the wide approval of people far beyond the Catholic Church.
“However, if he allows things to continue as they are, without clearing the log-jam of reforms now in progress, such as that of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, then the call of ‘Time for outrage! Indignez-vous!’ will ring out more and more in the Catholic Church, provoking reforms from the bottom up.
“These would be implemented without the approval of the hierarchy and frequently even in spite of the hierarchy’s attempts at circumvention. In the worst case – as I wrote before the recent papal election – the Catholic Church will experience a new Ice Age instead of a spring and will run the risk of dwindling into a barely relevant large sect.”
More information here:
Press Release Munich / Erfurt, 27 April 2013
We are Church on
The Federal Labour Court judgment "Termination for leaving the church"
The church reform movement We Are Church opines that for the sake of the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church a review the right of self-determination of religious communities, which was taken over from the Weimar Constitution, is urgently required. The Catholic reform movement calls on all political parties and their Members of Parliament to finally undertake a review of Article 140 of the German Fundamental Law, given the recent judgment by the Federal Labour Court.
Article 140 of the Fundamental Law which was taken from the Weimar Constitution (Article 137 WRV) guarantees each religious community the right to arrange and manage their affairs independently, but within the limits of the law that is valid for all. For modern legal understanding this regulation leads to increasingly frequent conflicts between fundamental rights of the individual and the rights of an institutional religious community. So it is no longer acceptable that the churches and their associated charities may invoke at terminations of employees that they are facilities based on ideology (philosophy?), even in the cases when no religious content is taught. This is especially true given the fact that these facilities are state-funded in their totality or to a very large extent.
A primeros de marzo, días antes del cónclave, la revista de información social y religiosa Alandar lanzó en Internet una petición llamada Renueva la Iglesia que tuvo un eco inmediato. La elección del papa Francisco, y su primera declaración ("quiero una Iglesia pobre y de los pobres"), hizo decaer levemente el entusiasmo de los firmantes, como si la frase diera respuesta a muchas de las tribulaciones —y esperanzas y demandas— de los millones de católicos que forman la Iglesia de base.
Lo cuenta Cristina Ruiz Fernández, directora de Alandar, que ha rebautizado la campaña como Francisco, te pedimos que renueves la Iglesia. "Nadie podía imaginar su opción por los pobres. Eso, y otros gestos, son muy esperanzadores. Es una ocasión única para actualizar la institución y hacerla útil a las personas", explica Ruiz Fernández.
Thank you to Dr Paul Collins for permission to reproduce this article.
At first all we had to go on were the signs. The first sign was when Pope Bergoglio defined himself by taking the name Francis after the rich man from Assisi who repudiated his wealth to live like Christ, the poor man who had nowhere to lay his head. Then we saw a pope who 'dressed down' without the ermine lined, red mozzetta (the short cape worn over the shoulders) and the metres of lace that had characterised the previous papacy. Francis has rejected the trappings of 'royalty' moving out of the papal palazzo and into the quite modest, motel-like and accessible Casa Sancta Marta in the Vatican grounds. All the signs pointed not only to a different style but to a substantial change in direction.
Five weeks into his papacy Francis has moved-on from signs and now squarely faces tackling the hard issues. So far (21 April 2013) he has only appointed eleven bishops and seven of these would have been in the appointment system well before he was elected. But Francis has personally appointed two: Mario Aurelio Poli, 65, to replace him in Buenos Aires and Jose Rodriguez Carballo, OFM, 59, former minister general of the Franciscans and President of the International Union of Superiors General, who has been appointed Secretary to the Vatican congregation that oversees religious orders. What are these men like?
Vittorio Bellavite, We Are Church (Italy), and François Becker, FHEDLES, represented us at the World Social Forum. A flavour of the gathering is in the video.
During an interview with Iglesia Descalza, Sr Teresa Forcades was asked
So, don't you think the time has come for the "necessary renewal" of the Church which you advocate in your book?
She replied: Any change in history, both at the church and the societal level, has started from below. When John XXIII was chosen, for example, there were already renewal movements like Nouvelle Théologie in France and the Movimiento Litúrgico, which was very important here in Montserrat. Well, I see something similar happening now: constructive and faithful criticism is rising from the grassroots so that -- I don't know if it will be this pope -- but the time will come when it can't be ignored.
We are Church congratulates
Pope Francis I from Argentina
Press release, Rome, 13 March 2013
The International Movement We are Church congratulates the new Pope on his election and hopes the Holy Spirit will accompany him for the good of the whole Church and the good of Christianity.
At a critical moment in both the Church and the world the Catholic Church is at a turning point in history. That’s why, joined by many faithful Catholics around the globe, we are calling on the new Pope, the new Bishop of Rome, to follow the need for a renewed Church.
First, he needs to start to reform the Vatican and decision making process inside of the Roman Curia, especially he has to clarify its banking system and should give much more self-determination to local churches. We furthermore need a Church much more sincerely committed to social justice, especially to the poor and disadvantaged. We hope that the new Pope will be sensitive enough to build bridges to other religions so that we can all work together for peace and development.
We need equal rights and responsibilities of men and women in the Church if we want to have the credibility to foster human rights and justice in the world. We need a new understanding of priesthood, including the acceptance of married priests. And we need a revised moral teaching, especially on contraception and homosexuality. The future of the Catholic Church depends on seeking truth, justice, and reconciliation for the grave crimes committed and concealed by Catholic clergy worldwide.
The agenda the new Pope has to work on – hopefully with the Cardinals, the Bishops and the People of God all over the world – is very long. To make changes for the better the Cardinals, particularly those who will return to their dioceses, must be more accountable to the people of God in the future.
The new Pope has to accept and follow the teachings of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which are still valid but not put into practice consistently. One of the keywords of this council was dialogue. It is high time that the new Pope and the Catholic hierarchy began talks with loyal and devout Catholics seeking reform and renewal according to the Second Vatican Council. Only then will the new Pope be listened to and his teaching respected by all members of the Church worldwide..
Press contact in Rome:
- Dr. Martha Heizer (We are Church Austria / Intern. Movement We are Church),
Press contact in Italy:
- Vittorio Bellavite (Noi siamo chiesa Italy)
Collegiality, pastoral wisdom, justice and the hopes of the people of God featured in presentations made at the Monastero delle Suore camaldolesi all'Aventino on Thursday evening (7 March 2013)
Noi Siamo Chiesa and the International Movement We Are Church arranged the meeting to offer analysis and reflection at this important moment in the the life of the Church.
Journalists, church workers and representatives of various organisations and movements heard brief presentations by Catholic speakers from three continents. More information may found by clicking on their names
- Martha Heizer (Austria), Chair and co-founder of the We Are Church movement.
- Vittorio Bellavite (Italy), Coordinator of Noi Siamo Chiesa
- Michael Walsh (United Kingdom), Church historian, writer and commentator on Roman Catholic matters.
- Marylin Hatton (Australia), represents her country to Womens Ordination Worldwide
- Anthony Padovano (USA), theologian, writer and Professor at the University of New Jersey.
- Paul Collins (Australia), broadcaster, writer and historian of the Papacy
Following the presentations the speakers were pleased to receive and answer many questions.
The opening day of the Conclave has not yet been decided; but today as in 2005, there are great expectations that this might mark a turning point in the Church and make the gospel of Jesus more and more heard in ourworld. The problems experienced during the pontificate of John Paul II are still unresolved, or have worsened. Nonetheless the conviction remains that the situation can change for the Word of salvation is powerful.
It is the duty of the College of Cardinals to recognise the seriousness of the situation, to read the signs of times. The Cardinals have in their hands both the book of the Gospel and the documents of the Second Vatican Council. They must read them, and meditate on them. Within them are the directions, sometimes implicit but often very explicit, for the road the Church must travel. The expectations of those who appeal to the Council have already often been voiced. “We are Church” has contributed to raising issues about the Church as a whole, but with especial emphasis on the reform of the Papacy, because that is the key to the entire structure of what is the modern Catholic Church. We shall briefly recall four main issues.