International Movement We Are Church
Chair: Sigrid Grabmeier
Tel: +49-170 8626 290
Vice-Chair: Dr. Martha Heizer
Cardinale Lorenzo Baldisseri
Segreteria Generale del Sinodo dei Vescovi
00120 Città del Vaticano.
25. 4. 2015
Response to the request by Pope Francis to some of the issues in the Lineamenta of the
2015 Synod of the Family
Dear Cardinal Baldisseri,
in a spirit of prayful anticipation the Council of International Movement We are Church,
gathered in Vienna, welcomes the consultation process with the People of God in preparation
for the Synod on the Family in October 2015.
We have however been disappointed that many bishops failed to participate in a consultative
process in their diocese. To ensure the success of the Synod we think it essential that this
consultative process be continued and enlarged in the time leading up to October.
The Synod will only be fruitful if it is guided by the Holy Spirit as expressed through a wide
range of consulters, a majority of whom must reflect the many diverse family structures in our
world. The very small number of women attending and their exclusion from voting makes the
Synod a deeply flawed process which lacks catholicity and therefor credibility and authority.
Having consulted and listened to our members living in different countries and cultures
IMWAC is agreed that the three most urgent issues to be addressed by the Synod are:
Caring for Wounded Families (Separated, Divorced and Not Remarried, Divorced
and Remarried, Single Parent Families) (Lineamenta Q 37 & Q 38)
People whose marriages have irretrievably broken down should be given pastoral support
through a caring ministry to help them move through their loss.
Marriages which are entered into by both parties in good faith do break down. Either or both
parties may enter a second marriage in good faith and this second marriage should be
In light of the primacy of conscience, divorced and remarried people are free to make their
own decision with regard to receiving Communion. The community accepts remarried
couples and does not judge them and official Church teaching should reflect this.
It should be accepted, that even if marriages fail, partner do not experience them as not having
existed, so they do not see any reason to annull them. Nevertheless, the annulment process
should be shorter, inexpensive, transparent and without apportioning blame to either party.
Pastoral Attention towards Persons with Homosexual Tendencies (Lineamenta Q 40)
(An aspect missing from Sections 54 and 55 of the Lineamenta, is any reference to lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender couples)
A statement on marriage needs to acknowledge that within our Church the understanding of
marriage as an institution has evolved over many centuries and changed in many ways. Such
an evolution is evidenced in: “The well-being of the individual person and of human and
Christian society is intimately linked with the healthy condition of that community produced
by marriage and family. Hence Christians and all people who hold this community in high
esteem sincerely rejoice in the various ways by which people today find help in fostering this
community of love and perfecting its life, and by which parents are assisted in their lofty
calling.” (Section 47, Gaudium et Spes). As this understanding continues to develop, our hope
is that one day all those who live this reality may find equal acceptance in our Church.
Pastoral care of LGBT* persons and their families requires that they be treated with the
respect due to all God’s children. Phrases such as ‘intrinsically disordered’ or refusal of
Communion to those known to be in an LGBT* relationship are a block to such persons either
receiving or offering ministry within our Church. Perceptions and language need to change to
enable these persons to know themselves as equal, welcomed and valued members of God’s
family. Church has to be aware of her responibility towards discrimination, criminalisation
and even danger of death for Homosexuals in countries that refer to catholic values.
The Transmission of Life and the Challenge of a Declining Birthrate (Lineamenta Q 43)
The vast majority of the People of God are open to life but do not accept the teaching of
Humanae Vitae on the morality of artificial contraception. The primacy of conscience of
couples must be respected: we therefore recommend that this teaching be changed. Openness
to live may need a new interpretation on behalf of taking care towards old and sick
people . We believe it is necessary that the Synod is dealing with the social and economic
conditions under which the family must exist and how the church can respond.
We continue to pray that the Synod will be guided by the Holy Spirit and bring renewal and
new hope to the People of God.
Chair of International Movement We are Church