October 7-10, 1999

Organized by International Movement We are Church (IMWAC) 
and the European Network: Church on the Move (EN)

For immediate release
September 30, 1999


Catholics to Speak Out in Rome on the Future of the Church
Forum of European Catholics to be held October 7-10, 1999

WHO: Lay Catholics from around the world will gather next week (7-10 October) in Rome at the Forum of European Catholics (FEC) to provide critical analysis in a meeting that parallels the proceedings of the II Special Assembly for Europe of the Bishops Synod. 

Lay Catholics at the Forum will come from Austria, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Portugal, France, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Malta and Italy. Church reform leaders from Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Columbia and the United States will observe the proceedings.  The meeting is organized by International Movement We Are Church/IMWAC and the European Network/Church on the Move.

WHAT: Participants in the Forum or shadow Synod are committed to open discussion of the issues facing the church today, especially as it relates to the Catholic faithful in the pews.  Issues for discussion include the structure of the church and participation by the faithful in the decision-making processes, the position of women in the church and society, conflict and reconciliation in Europe, migration and inter-religious dialogue.  Contentious issues such as the continued ban on contraception, the ordination of women, priestly celibacy and democratic decision making in the church will be discussed and debated.

The Forum of European Catholics will prepare an analysis of the situation and formulate some conclusions as a contribution from members of the People of God to the community of faith in Europe, to the bishops attending the Synod, the European democratic institutions and the media.

WHERE & WHEN:  The Forum for European Catholics will meet in Rome (7-10 October 1999) at Centro Villa Della Giuventu in Santa Severna. This marks the occasion of the II Special Assembly for Europe of the Bishops Synod (1-23rd October 1999). There will be numerous opportunities for press during the week .
There will be a final press conference on Monday 11 of October in Rome at a time and place to be announced on the website 

WHY: From 1st-23rd of October 1999, the Second Special Synod of Bishops for Europe will take place in Rome. It is the last in a series of Synods the Pope convoked in preparation for the beginning of the third millennium. A year ago, the bishops of Asia met together in Rome. At that time a strong lay movement from Asia felt itself excluded from the reflections on the future of their church on their continent. They organized a parallel symposium in Rome to have their voices heard. This inspired European renewal movements International Movement We are Church and the European Network Church on the Move, also excluded from the Synod process, to organize the Forum of European Catholic (FEC).

CONTACT: If you would like to interview a representative from your country attending the Forum in Rome or an organizer from the International Movement We Are Church or the European Network/Church on the Move please contact:

Jon O’Brien, Media Organizer in Italy
Tel: +39-0766-57.00.55
Fax: +39-0766-57.15.27
Mobile: +39-0339-3730802

Luigi de Paoli (Italian language): Mobile: +39-0338-4679696

You may also check out the proceedings and discussion on the website
During the forum there will be daily progress reports about the proceedings.

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Webpage Editor: Ingrid H. Shafer, Ph.D.
  e-mail address: or
Posted 7 October 1999
Last revised 8 October 1999
Electronic text Copyright © 1999 Ingrid H. Shafer