Church needs reform, liberal group pay homage to Luther

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ROME - The liberal dissident We are Church movement has stated that the Roman Catholic Church is still in need of major reform, 500 years after Luther.

 We are Church International has called upon its members to publicise areas in which they believe the Church is in need of reform. They have asked supporters to post flyers recommending changes to church doors, and to take photos of themselves with the posters between Oct 29-31. The flyers outline the following problem areas: “democratic structures, women priests, justice not canon law, married priests and welcome for all.”

 This action pays homage to Martin Luther, an Augustan monk and university lecturer, who sparked the Protestant Reformation by stapling a sheet of paper with 95 criticisms of the Catholic Church to the door of his church in Wittenberg. Luther strongly opposed the selling of “indulgences” to laymen to absolve their sin, a practice he believed to be corrupt. He was also of the belief that paying close attention to the words of the Bible, and not to acts of tradition, were the way to salvation and to true reverence of Jesus Christ.

 While these ideas themselves were not novel, Luther was able to capture the attention of mass media through the recent invention of the printing press. The debate about the veracity of his ideas created a storm that divided the Church, and created the sect “Lutheranism,” or Protestantism.

 We are Church International have carried on this spirit of reform, and have highlighted several areas that they believe are in need of improvement. Sigrid Grabmeier, Chair of the movement, has stated that “half a millennium later, we Catholics owe a great debt to Martin Luther and to our Protestant kin. They dared to speak out about ways in which our Church can be better followers of Christ. We try to carry on their tradition while remaining within the Catholic Communion. Our Church has much to improve upon.

 "On the 500th anniversary of the 95 Theses, we continue our call for our Church to be more accountable and to institute more democratic structures, to permit women and married people whom God has called to serve as priests, to prioritise justice rather than dogma and law, and to be a place that welcomes and affirms all people. We believe these changes are absolutely necessary for the Catholic Church to live out its mission in the world effectively. We remain committed to work towards seeing these goals fulfilled.”