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Petition of the People of the Church
Catholic Referendum

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The Austrian Petition (Referendum, Kirchenvolks-Begehren)

The five demands of the Austrian referendum

1. Building of a church of sisterly and brotherly love:
Equality of all the faithful; Bridging of the chasm between clergy and laity (only in this way can the variety of gifts and charisms once again become fully effective). The right of the people of the diocese to be involved in the process of bishops' appointments (bishops should have the confidence of their people).

2. Full equal rights for women:
Active participation in all official decision making bodies of the Church. Access to permanent diaconate. Access to ordination. (The exclusion of women from church offices cannot be documented in scripture. The Church can no longer afford to continue without the wealth of women's abilities and life experiences. This also applies to positions of leadership.)

3. Free choice of celibate or non-celibate way of live:
(The connection of priesthood and celibate life is a function of historical development rather than biblical authority or dogma, and is therefore open to modification. The right of the congregation to the Eucharist outranks a rule of canon law.)

4. An appreciation of the goodness of sexuality as essential element of human beings who are created and affirmed by God:
Respect for people's right to decide issues of sexual morality as a matter of personal conscience (e.g., birth control). Separation of the issues birth control and abortion. Increased humanity and compassion rather than wholesale condemnation (e.g., concerning premarital sexual relations or the issue of homosexuality). Replacing the paralyzing obsession with sexual morality with emphasis on other important themes (e.g., peace, social justice, preservation of creation).

5. From condemnation to affirmation ("Frohbotschaft statt Drohbotschaft"):
More reassuring support and encouragement rather than fear-engendering and constricting rules. More empathy and readiness for reconciliation in dealing with people in difficult circumstances who want to make a new start (e.g., the divorced and remarried, or married priests who have left the active ministry) rather than unforgiving severity and sternness.

Translations of the Austrian petition (KVB) in other languages: Belgian French Italian Portuguese Spanish

Main topics

- situation of women in the Roman Catholic Church

- nominations of bishops as a conflict in the local church

- statements to the topic sexuality

- social manners and colloquial language in the Roman Catholic Church in relation to criticism

- ........


Result of the Austrian Kirchenvolks-Begehren

Intensive contacts, cooperations and efforts of our group "Wir sind Kirche" lead to the Kirchenvolks-Begehren in Austria

From June 3.-25. 1995 over half a million people in Austria (and over 4000 Catholics in all 5 continents) signed the five claims and objectives of the Austrian Kirchenvolks-Begehren - results in detail: KVB-Austria

People of all continents gave their vote and claimed a renewal of the Roman Catholic Church.

KVBs in the world

After a couple of weeks the "Kirchenvolks-Begehren" spread over to other countries:

In Germany 1,8 Mill - Results in detail: KVB-Germany,

in South-Tyrol (Italy) 18.000 persons - Results in detail: KVB-South-Tyrol and

in Wallonien (Belgium) 10.080 persons - Results in detail: KVB-Wallonien, Belgium signed a KVB petition with the same goals.

In Italy, France, Canada, Spain, Portugal, USA, Switzerland, Brasil, Nicaragua the same or similar petitions are in progress. The Text of the "Austrian Petition of the People of the Church - Kirchenvolks-Begehren" was modifiert and translated into the language of these countries who started referenda, too. The main five points are included in all translations: U.S. Catholic Referendum , Appello dal Popolo di Dio (Italy)