We Are Church writes to Pope calling for voluntary celibacy for priests

 In a letter to Pope Benedict XVI the international Catholic reform movement We Are Church asks him "to reconsider the present organisation of the ministries in the Roman Catholic Church, to urgently repeal the present Church,' law of obligatory celibacy and to re-introduce voluntary celibacy for ordained priests as a first step towards a renewed form of priesthood. In its letter WAC writes: "The opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist should take precedence over the Church law of compulsory celibacy referring canon 213 which gives Christians the right to receive the Holy Eucharist each Sunday. The Catholic reform movement is greatly concerned about the growing shortage of ordained priests which can be seen in the Vatican,s "Annuario Pontificio". Because of this the celebration of the Holy Eucharist has had to be omitted in an increasing number of parishes. This does not only affect Europe and the United States of America, but especially the parishes and missions in South America. It is a global problem that urgently requires a global solution and one that a great majority of practising Catholics would like to see changed. The letter is addressed to "Dear Pope Benedict XVI, dear brother in Christ and is signed by Raquel Mallavibarrena from Madrid, present Chair of the International Movement We Are Church Members from Austria, Belgium, Catalonia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, UK and USA attended the Council in Strasbourg April 30 and May 1. They also participated at the subsequent 18th Annual Conference of the European Network Church on the Move and its study day 'Secularisation in a multicultural and multiconvictional Europe in search of social cohesion based on common values' from May 1st until May 4. We Are Church - a grassroots church reform movement of lay people, priests, and members of persons in religious orders writes in its mission statement that it: "is working to continue the process of reform in the Roman Catholic Church, a process which began with the Vatican II Council (1962-1965) and which has come to a standstill in recent years. We Are Church was started in Austria and Germany in 1995 with a referendum, is now represented in more than twenty countries and is in touch with other reform movements all over the world. The next informal Council will take place in London in May 2009. For more information see: www.we-are-church.org

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