We Are Church postulates:
„No reform of the curia behind closed doors!“
On the first meeting of the eight headed Cardinal Committee at the
beginning of October 2013
Pope Francis started the reform of the curia. It is of utmost importance for 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. Therefore 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 corporation. So far no involved cardinal has expressed himself. But the reform of the curia as a first step to a structural reform of the whole Roman Catholic Church is so important that basics should be discussed in public.
That’s why the International Movement of WE ARE CHURCH asks the following questions before the first convention of the eight-headed commission meeting at the beginning of October 2013 in Rome:
1) What are the objectives of the intended reform, what concepts are behind it and what are the Cardinals` concrete proposals?
2) Did the cardinals consult their national and continental bishop conferences and lay organisations beforehand?
3) What will be the necessary consequences 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 leadership given the serious and multifold 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 absolutistic power over the past centuries!
It is important that the imminent much needed reform will not only increase the efficacy of the curia but help the spirit of transparency, so that a collegial plurality and democratic structures in the Church have a chance to develop (separation of powers e.g.). 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 questioned why a lobby of homosexuals could have been established in the Vatican, as Pope Francis said, and which means should be taken against future lobbyism.
The question of why any form of lobbyism exists in the Vatican should be clarified.
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. They will entail that obsolete principles and doctrines have to be abandoned in order to secure the future well being of the Catholic Church. What concerns dogmatic questions, a commission of experts on church history, systematic theology and exegesis has to be convened as soon as possible.
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 – in the sense of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which still provides valid and precious guiding lines. This means for the Vatican: more communication instead of control, and more spirituality and open-mindedness instead of sanctions.
The key decisions are:
1. Decentralization of decision-making bodies by the church and giving more rights and
responsibility to the Church at local levels
2. Representation of the churches from all over the world in Rome
3. Emancipation of women on all levels
4. Collegial responsibility and giving up absolutistic and monarchical structures
5. Human rights in the Church
6. Code of behaviour: accountability of church leaders to the people of God.
INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT WE ARE CHURCH
Rome, 12 august 2013