"We Are Church" Isn't a True Catholic Group, Say Spanish Bishops

Note Published on an Association That Started in Austria

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MADRID, Spain, JULY 12, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Spanish bishops’ conference has published a document clarifying that We Are Church is not an ecclesial group.

This civil organization, inspired by an initiative that began in Austria (“Wir sind Kirche”) and spread to several countries, “despite the name it has adopted, is not an ecclesial group and has not received any approval or canonical recognition,” explained a note published by the Catholic bishops’ Information Office.

In Spain, We Are Church is “a civil association that, since the year 1995, welcomes some groups of Christian origin who hold attitudes in common that are opposed to the magisterium and the discipline of the Church,” the episcopate explained.

Born in Innsbruck in 1995, We Are Church relies on petition drives in its call for a democratic church. Among other things, it pushes for women priests, an end to the discipline of celibacy for Latin-rite priests, and the liberalization of Church moral doctrine, according to its Web site.

According to the Spanish bishops’ text, We Are Church proposes “affirmations and claims that are clearly not in keeping with the teachings of the Catholic Church, are wounding and are detrimental to ecclesial communion.”

“Therefore, it is necessary that all Catholics live communion with the whole Church (pastors and faithful) at the heart of their communities, being aware that the proposals of the current We Are Church not only do not favor but gravely impede the ways of authentic ecclesial renewal postulated by Vatican Council II,” the episcopate’s document concludes.

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