International Gathering Council 50

Council 50

The International Gathering Council 50 took place from November 20th to 22nd November in Rome; its motto was: “Towards a church, inspired by the Gospel, for the world”. This platform gathered more than 40 progressive networks, base ecclesial communities, grass-root communities, etc. in the Catholic church. More than 100 delegates representing worldwide catholic reform movements attended the conference (with up to 125 including special activities).


The aim of Council 50 was to relight the flame of the Second Vatican Council and make visible the prophetic voice of the “people of God” that has continued to thrive despite 35 years of suppression during the last two pontificates. The assembled group consisted of priests and lay people as well as men and women religious. Together, they demonstrated the great potential to revive the Church, so that we can better contribute to healing many of the urgent problems in the world. There were three plenary sessions, eight workshops and a fair where organisations could show their testimonies and materials to people. The Gathering had messages of support from Mgr. Pere Casaldàliga, José Maria Castillo, Mgr. Jacques Gaillot, Hans Küng, Jon Sobrino Sj, José Mª Vigil, among others.

A team of five members of the Catholic Network of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups (EF; Artur Kapturkiewicz, Elisabeth “Babeth” Saint-Guily, Hazel Barnes, Sandra Taylor, and Enric Vilà as coordinator) was present in various ways. The first was organising the workshop “Sexuality and family: societal issues, gender, LGBT, synod results, impact of cultures and religions”, which was attended by about 25 people. Artur was representing transgender people and representing the EF voice in the workshop with his overwhelming testimony. He shared the table with: Germaine Lipeb, representing African women’s voices, and from Cameroon, Rachael Alphonso representing Asian women’s voices from Mumbai-India, and Oliviero Arzuffi representing separated, divorced and remarried people from Italy. The workshop was organised and facilitated by Babeth and Enric. All participants were invited by EF. The result of this workshop, together with the other seven, nourished the development of the Charter of the meeting. The Charter will gather all the workshop contributions and structure them in the form of an engaging agreement and this will be presented to the Pope next month. The EF team organised and staffed a space in the fair together with other organisations. EF members provided their testimonies and talked with many of those attending. All materials from EF were displayed and twelve books were sold, materials for Nuova Proposta were also offered. The EF Team had the opportunity to meet Lula, a gay christian from Brazil, who is member of LGBT Catholic Group and strenghtened our EF links with IMWAC, EN-RE and G3i. The EF team also met also Jamie Manson, Lesbian catholic journalist who can be a good allies for EF communication.

EF Team for Council 50A group statement has been drafted based on workshop discussions held during the event (on topics such as nonviolence, peace based on social and economic justice, environmental action, women’s role in the Church and on sexual teaching—especially concerning LGBT people). The “Council 50 Charter” will be finalised and given to Bishop of Rome Francis during the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the close of the 2nd Vatican Council (December 8th, 2015). Conscious of the “signs of the time”, this statement declares the commitment of reform movements to working for a revival of the Church that demonstrates the power of the Gospel to meet the challenges of our time.

On Sunday 22nd, all participants demonstrated at St. Peter Square to support Bishop of Rome Francis in his reforms and reinvigorate the validity of Second Vatican Council reforms on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its closing ceremony. The delegates of this historic and unprecedented gathering of worldwide reform movements agreed to ongoing networking and to hold subsequent conventions—in 2018 in Latin America (50 years after the Conference of Latin American Bishops in Medellín, Columbia) and in 2021 in Africa.

Additional Documents


Council 50 was founded by the European Network Church on the Move (EN-RE) and the International Movement We Are Church (IMWAC) and benefits from the contributions, participation and support of members of the following networks and associations:

  • American Catholic Council,
  • Amerindia,
  • Articulacion Continental de Comunidades eclesiales de base,
  • Asociación de Teólogos Juan XXIII,
  • Australian Coalition for Church Renewal,
  • Catolicas por el dercho a decider,
  • Center for Asia Peace and Solidarity (CAPS),
  • Comunita’ Cristiane di Base Italiane/Italian Grassroot Communities,
  • Coordination of European Base Communities,
  • Corpus,
  • Ecumenical Association Third World Theologian (EATWOT),
  • European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups,
  • Federacion latinoamericana para la renovacion de los ministerios,
  • International federation for a renewed Catholic Ministry,
  • Institute for Theology and Politics,
  • Kairós/Nós Também Somos Igreja – Brasil,
  • Marienburgvereniging,
  • Movimiento Fé y Politica, Brasil,
  • Pax Romana,
  • Réseau des Anciens Jecistes d’Afrique,
  • Rede brasileira de grupos catolicos LGBT,
  • Redes Cristianas,
  • Vision of Faithful People, Netherlands,
  • We Are Also Church, South Africa,
  • The Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research,
  • Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW), and
  • World Forum Theology and Liberation.

Committee of Recommendation / Messages of Solidarity

  • Leonardo Boff (Brazil),
  • Pedro Casaldaliga (retired bishop of São Félix, Brazil),
  • José Maria Castillo (theologian, Spain),
  • Giovanni Cereti (theologian, Italy),
  • Paul Collins (Australian Coalition for Church Renewal),
  • Duarte da Cunha (Secretary of the conference of Bishop Conferences of the European Union),
  • Giovanni Franzoni (former Abbot of St Paul and one of the founders of grass root community of San Paolo, Rome),
  • Jacques Gaillot (bishop of Partenia, Paris),
  • Nontando Hadebe ( theologian from South Africa and Zimbabwe),
  • Hermann Haering (Prof of Theology, The Netherlands/Germany),
  • Paul Hwang (Center for Asia Peace and Solidarity, South Korea, present in Rome),
  • Douglas Irvine (WAACSA, South Africa, present in Rome),
  • Marco Cassuto Morselli (Presidente dell’Amicizia Ebraico-Cristiana di Roma, Italy),
  • Jon Sobrino (Jesuit theologian, San Salvador),
  • Hans Küng (Stiftung Weltethos, Germany),
  • Raniero La Valle (journalist, Italy),
  • Germaine Lipeb (Réseau des Anciens Jecistes d’Afrique),
  • Anthony Padovano (CORPUS, USA),
  • Luiz Carlos Susin (World Forum Theology and Liberation, Brazil),
  • Juan José Tamayo (Asociación de Teólogos Juan XXIII, Spain),
  • José María Vigil (theologian, Panama), and
  • Alex Zanotelli (missionary, Italy).