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Plenary Council Update – Edition 5

08 October, 2018

It is my hope that through paitent dialogue and faith-filled discernment, the conciliar journey will confirm the Catholics of Australia in a spirit of fraternal unity and missionary discipleship, thus enabling them to be a leaven of

justice, and
in today’s rapidly changing society.

Pope Francis

We are being called to be missionary disciples.

In our Diocese we are moving into the future through our listening experiences in the various regions.

The facilitator of the Plenary Council of 2020 (Lana Turvey-Collins) reminds us:-

“The methodology of the Listening and Dialogue Encounter is an experience that takes some practice. The desire to list “what I want” or “what I don’t like” and put it forward for someone else to make the change is an approach that embeds a culture of clericalism and repeats behaviours that nurture a hierarchical Church.

Dialogue and listening to one another and reflecting on what God might be wanting from us, however, requires behaviours, language and attitudes of synodality. In this process, we need to work together, collaborating across boundaries that may have divided us in the past and, in this way, we can become a more missionary Church”.

Lana Turvey- Collins, is the head of the Facilitation Team for the Plenary Council. Two other members are Fr Noel Connolly (Columban) and Mr Peter Gates (from Catholic Mission.)

What is the role of the Facilitation Team?

The Facilitation Team is responsible for helping the Church in Australia to prepare for the Plenary Council. This includes enabling a dialogue and listening process that all people can engage in about the future of the Church in Australia; providing and facilitating education and formation about topics related to the Plenary Council and the mission of the Church; and also organising the events of the Plenary Council sessions in 2020 and 2021.

We need a missionary Church, rather than a perfect Church
by Fr Noel Connolly SSC, Plenary Council Facilitation Team

My hope is that we can build a Church in which lay men and especially women can play their rightful role in the ministry and governance of the Church, and where we can learn to trust one another – bishops and all the people of God.

But in recent weeks I have been giving more thought to the question posed for the Council: “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?” The question refers to Australia, not to the Church. The Plenary Council is not just for our Church, but for our country. Even if we were to come up with a transformed Church, if the country does not benefit, we will have “failed”. We will have failed because we will have failed to be Church.