Pedro Freitas reported

What WAC - Portugal has been doing since the 2010 meeting in the Low Countries

1. Pedro Freitas began his three-year mandate as IMWAC International Coordinator in June 2010. He attended the large Parvis reform meeting in Lyon, France, in November 2010.

2. The Pope came to Portugal on an official visit on 11-14th May 2010, taking in a pilgrimage to Fátima, the Marian shrine. He drew the usual large crowds and enthusiastic support. Though there were no organised demonstrations against the visit, like in London, one group distributed thousands of condoms to people walking to one of the mass venues, with no hassle. Members of WAC-Portugal were present on tv, radio and press, debating reform themes, appearing to public opinion to be much stronger than we really are in numbers.

3. On July 22, 2010, Father Luis Corrêa Lima, a Brazilian Jesuit working in Rio de Janeiro, and who gives support to Cathlic Gay and Lesbian groups, among other pastoral work, gave a talk on: "To be Church today in Brazil - an account by a Jesuit priest" followed by debate. The talk is on our site.


4. On October 16, 2010, we invited Teresa Martinho Toldy, a well-known feminist theologian to give a talk on The Church: What we would like to see changed. The meeting was very well attended and there was a very good debate. Her talk can be heard on our site.

5. On December 2, 2010, three members of the coordinating group were received by the Nuncio in Lisbon. He is Bishop Rino Passigato, an Italian, who is believed to belong to Opus Deis.We had asked for a meeting, with a view to having a general discussion on reform issues in general, but in particular we wanted to say what we expected of the future cardinal patriarch of Lisbon, as the present one is due to retire. We had prepared a letter in which we laid out what we thought should be the profile of such a person and that the People of God should participate in this choice. He and his secretary were very amiable, heard what we had to say, but obviously did not agree with our proposals. He did say that as individuals we could suggest names, which we are not going to do. We then distributed the news that we had had this meeting, through our regular network. That the meeting took place at all astonished some people.

6. The Spanish theologian Juan José Tamayo was invited to give a talk on 'Liberation Theology in the present-day political and religious context" (January 12). An important mainstream journalist interviewed him for a well-known radio program.

7. The Spanish Christina Moreira (she a teacher and a student of theology) and her husband, the theologian and writer Victorino Perez, gave a talk on "A Christian and inter-religious spirituality for the 21st century" (February 14). Their talk can be heard on our site.

8. To celebrate International Prayer Day for Women's Ordination we invited Maria do Rosário Carneiro, a well known member of parliament, to speak on "A Church where there is room for everybody", which she did on March 17, 2011. There was a good debate.

9. On April 2 we organised a Seminar on 'The 2nd Vatican Council - where are we?' The afternoon began with an Introduction by a leading Portuguese Dominican theologian, Frei Bento Domingues, who is over 70 and well remembers the Council. This was followed by two panels, with two women and two men on each. The first discussed memories and expectations at the time, and the second discussed the future of the Church. There was a lot of debate and the only critical voice came from a young man who had denounced the event as 'heretical' and had criticised the official Church news agency for having announced the Seminar on their site. About 70 people attended. The whole was recorded and can be heard on our Portuguese site. The afternoon ended with a mass.

WAC has been contacting other reform-minded groups to remind them about the 50th anniversary of the convening of the Council and at least two are planning to organize meetings, seminars etc.

10. Mariana Mendes Pereira continued to coordinate the e-mail network that distributes information, articles, news, etc. to about 600 people and institutions with with very good reception. We are now also on Facebook with good echoes.

11.Pedro Freitas continued to update and manage the site of WAC-Portugal.

12. The IMWAC Press Release on the beatification of John Paul II was translated and distributed to the media but there was little interest. The same goes for the Press Release on the Pope's book 'Light of the World'. WAC Portugal recommends a rethink on the strategy and contents of press releases.

13. We have prepared a simple low-cost leaflet explaining what is IMWAC.

14. Several Portuguese have signed the German theologian's document.

15. No pedophile Church scandal has broken in Portugal, as yet.

16. A recent public opinion survey showed that 67% of Portuguese Catholics agree that women should be priests. Only 17% believe that priests are totally well-principled and ethical, while 56% believe that only in part, and 22% don't believe in those priestley ethics at all. 64% of Portuguese Catholics consider that the Church has not adapted to modern times.