We Are Church
We Are Church is a movement that advocates changing the teachings and the structures of responsibility and authority of the Catholic Church. It originated in German-speaking Austria, Germany and South Tyrol in 1995 under the title Wir sind Kirche and was organized as an international association in 1996.
The association is composed of groups in various countries and does not accept individual members. A list of its national Media Contacts, with e-mail addresses and in some cases telephone numbers, is given on its website.
The movement adopted in 1997 a manifesto that made five demands:
- The building of a Church of brothers and sisters that recognizes the equality of all the baptized, including the inclusion of the People of God in the election of bishops in their local churches.
- Equal rights for men and women, including the admission of women to all Church ministries.
- Free choice of either a celibate or married life for all those who dedicate themselves to the service of the church.
- A positive attitude toward sexuality, and a recognition of personal conscience in decision -making.
- A message of joy and not condemnation, including dialogue, freedom of speech and thought. No anathemas and no exclusion as a means of solving problems, especially as this applies to theologians.
In 2006, the German association published 79 theses of different authors, which included "God is not almighty", "Jesus Christ should not be seen as 'Lord'", "Mary was not a virgin at the birth of Jesus", and "The 'holy catholic church' is neither holy not catholic".
On 4 June 2008, in response to a decree of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that declared subject to an excommunication whose lifting was reserved to the Holy See anyone who attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, the international movement issued a statement under the heading, "Jesus Christ did not ordain men or women to the ministerial priesthood but to care for and nurture each other as brothers and sisters". In July of the same year, it congratulated the "Anglican Church" for its intention to consecrate women as bishops and declared its regret at "the unchristian attitude of the Vatican establishment which, once again, usurping its mission, has come out in criticism of our Anglican brothers and sisters over the decision".
Excommunication of a foundress
On 22 March 2014, the Tiroler Tageszeitung published an interview with Martha Heizer, chairperson and co-founder of the international movement, and her husband, in which they stated that they had been informed that, in line with canon 1378 §2, they were excommunicated on account of their priestless "private Eucharistic celebrations".
- Church 2011
- Association of Catholic Priests - a voluntary association of Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland
- Eighth of May Movement - a somewhat similar movement in the Netherlands that was disbanded in 2003.
- International Movement We Are Church, "History"
- We are Church on the occasion of the 80th birthday of Prof. Hans Kueng on March 19, 2008
- International Movement We Are Church, Contact
- IMWAC Manifesto
- We Are Church’ battles on despite papal snubs
- German website of "We Are Church", Thesen 1-79
- Decretum generale de delicto attentatae sacrae ordinationis mulieris
- Press release of 4 June 2008
- Press Release of July 2008
- Zeit.de: Und wie reagieren die Kirchen?, 2017 (german)
- Code of Canon Law, canon 1378 §2
- Peter Nindler, "'Wir werden in der Kirche so weiterleben wie bisher'" in Tiroler Tageszeitung (22 May 2014)
- ZENIT News Agency, "'We Are Church' Chief Punished for 'Simulating Masses'"