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We are on the Pope’s side, for a Church that Goes Out to the Streets

We are on the Pope’s side, for a Church that Goes Out to the Streets
(English translation of Papa Francisco: Estamos ao lado do Papa, por uma Igreja em saída by Don Pribor)
Click on image to sign the statement

We are Christian men and women and equally people of all beliefs and paths, of all genders, races,colors, “ scents ”, Brazilians to the core, even though some of us were not born in this earthy melting pot.

We gather together in this text to proclaim that we are on the side of Pope Francis, for a Church that goes out to the streets, for a world that promotes the culture of encounter and not the same old routine that makes people disposable, for a humanity that welcomes the poorest, those who are fragile, the homeless, people without land or food, people with nothing, instead of treating them like garbage.

We are writing to support the Pope in the context of the political and economic crisis of Brazil, dominated by a government of the rich, born of a coup d’etat, with a political program based on the destruction of workers rights, retirement pensions and others, with attacks against poor people in the cities and in the countryside, especially against the most vulnerable, children, old people,indigenous peoples, women, Afro-Brazilians, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, cross- dressers,transexuals and transgender people.

We feel that we have been invited by Francis to be with the little ones loved by our Teacher.

At the side of the Pope, we stand up against the express intention of a church closing in on itself that hopes to transform today’s flowering spring into a return to a long winter night. The positions taken by four conservative cardinals and their followers, who accuse the Pope in a public letter of “ causing doctrinal confusion in relation to key issues of Catholic doctrine” , are the expression of a vision of the Church that supports projects of power, domination and control over people.

The four cardinals and their sympathizers oppose the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “About Love in the Family” ( Amoris Laetitia), especially the right of divorced couples in second marriages to participate in the Eucharist, based on false moral and theological presuppositions that are not supported in the best of Church tradition.

The Pope, following in the footsteps of the Meek and Humble One, sees diversity and an opportunity for welcome in the place where judgmental eyes only see differences and reasons for separation and exclusion.

Little by little, after years of stagnation, the Church in Brazil is returning to its pastoral and prophetic path with the people. We want much more. We do not deny the right of free expression of opinions by whoever it may be. However, we boldly affirm that the explicit or implicit support that segments of the hierarchy give to these cardinals is an attack on the ecclesiology of the Pope and of Vatican II, which defined the Church as the People of God in movement,far beyond clerical limits. It is not just coincidence that the members of the Church who support the rebellious cardinals also are connected to the coup d’etat in Brazil and to the attacks against the rights of the poorest.

In support of Pope Francis, we make explicit some positions that we believe lead Christians all over the planet to be a church in service to the world.

We uphold:

  1. the universal inclusion of all Christians to citizenship in the church community through the sacraments;
  2. optional celibate priestly ministry;
  3. the creation of a special consultative body made up of women connected to the College of Cardinals in order to create more space for women’s leadership in the Church;
  4. the closing of major seminaries and the return to houses of priestly formation;
  5. the nomination of bishops “ with the smell of the sheep “, in the Pope’s expression, without the interference of the Apostolic Nuncio;
  6. the encouragement and support of the Brazilian Bishops Conference for the Base Christian Communities;
  7. the convergence of the Church with social movements, in the spirit of the three World Meetings of Popular Movements that were convoked by the Pope

Signatories: members of the movement “ The Church- People of God – in Motion “

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My hope is that by speaking out together - a strong chorus of calls for reform - we can provide a common, a clear, a strong and ongoing voice for the yet incomplete vision of Vatican II.

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Sr. Joan Chittister, CCRI Special advisor

"We have to join our forces in order to reach a real breakthrough in this window of opportunity." Hans Kung, CCRI Consultor


"When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion." [Ethiopian proverb]


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