<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> International Movement We Are Church (IMWAC) - Balasuriya ARCC
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International Movement We Are Church (IMWAC)
Internationale Bewegung Wir sind Kirche
Luigi de Paoli
Noi Siamo Chiesa
Via U. Vivaldi, 10
I-00122 Roma
Tel.: ++39-(0)6-56 47 06 68
Fax : ++39-(0)6-56 47 06 68
e-mail: luigi.depaoli@eurodatabank.com
Maureen Fiedler, SL
National Coordinator, 
We are Church Coalition
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Hyattsville, MD 20782 USA
Tel.: ++1-(0)301.699-0042
Fax : ++1-(0)301-864-2182              301-864-2182      
email: quixotectr@aol.com
Dr. Thomas Plankensteiner
Plattform „Wir sind Kirche"
Salurner Str. 10
A-6020 Innsbruck
Tel.: ++43-(0)512-56 57 66
Fax : ++43-(0)512-56 57 66
Elfriede Harth
Sprecherin der Internation. Bewegung Wir sind Kirche
Mollerstr. 25
D-64289 Darmstadt
Tel.: ++49-(0)6151-782919
Fax : ++49-(0)6151-782920
e-mail:  imwac@aol.com
Darmstadt, 18 January 1998

Press Release:

Father Balasuriya's rehabilitation represents a success for international solidarity toward the realization of human rights in the Catholic Church 

"International solidarity for the realization of human rights for Catholics even within the Church has achieved an encouraging success" notes Elfriede Harth, spokesperson for the "Internationale Bewegung Wir sind Kirche" (the International Movement We Are Church). Harth is overjoyed at the Vatican‘s rehabilitation of the world-renowned liberation theologian Father Tissa Balasuriya. After five days of tough negotiations involving Sri Lanka and Rome, the Archbishop of Colombo, Mons. Nicolas Markus Fernando, read the communication which rescinded the excommunication of the 73 year old Oblate priest. 

"The awakening self-consciousness of the young Asian, African, and Latin-American churches and their growing struggle to liberate themselves from European domination after five centuries of Roman central authority is misinterpreted by the Vatican as a splitting apart of the Church," Harth continues. The unbearable thaw of reformation is deplored loudly and in public not only in the churches of Germany and Europe in general. The so-called "Instruction Concerning the Laity" or the recently publicized letters of Cardinal Ratzinger in which he sought to discredit the "Movement of the People of the Church" (KirchenVolksBewegung) are no more than unrealistic and ineffective attempts to get rid of justified criticism by the use of administrative trickery. 

The demand for reforming the fundamental structures of the Church is as universal and justified as the Church is catholic. This explains the growing success of the international "We Are Church Movement" which has spread to over twenty countries on all five continents. The change in the way believers think is an irreversible phenomenon and has progressed much further than the Roman curia fears. The "Kirchenvolksbegehren" (Petition of the People of the Church) is no more than the visible tip of the iceberg, as international sociological studies demonstrate. Harth adds that Catholics of both genders have learned to examine all Roman pronouncements critically and to keep only whatever they consider good.

On January 2, 1997 Tissa Balasuriya was the first theologian since the Second Vatican Council to be excommunicated because of his alternate interpretations of certain doctrines, without being given the opportunity to explain his position in a fair trial. This Roman procedure led to international protests.

In his book, Mary and Human Liberation, the Sri Lanka Oblate priest speaks out emphatically for equal rights for women in the Catholic Church and demands women‘s ordination. At the same time this respected expert in interreligious dialogue points out that the European understanding of the notion of original sin cannot be reconciled with the Asian image of God. 

Translated by Ingrid H. Shafer
18 January 1998


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Last revised 19 January 1998 2:15 a.m.
Translation and Hypertext copyright © 1998 Ingrid H. Shafer
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