Letter from Archbishop Peter Comensoli on the 5th Australian Plenary Council
To all of Christ's faithful in the Achdiocese of Melbourne
15 July 2022
From October 3 - 10 2021, the Catholic Church in Australia will gather for the first of two Assemblies of the Plenary Council. One week out, as we prepare for the Council, how timely today’s scriptures are as we hear Moses cry out, ‘If only the whole people of God were prophets, and the Lord gave his Spirit to them all!’ and to recall Pentecost Day.
The Council’s base text dares to declare (#198):
‘It is the gift of the Holy Spirit at work in us, as individuals and as the community of disciples which we call the Church, which can guide us as we step bravely into the future, always in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd who is our Way, our Truth and our Life.’
We pray again:
Come Holy Spirit of Pentecost, come Holy Spirit of the great South Land, bless and unite all your people in Australia. Amen!
Due to COVID and the varying lockdown restrictions across Australia, the first Assembly will now take place online. There are close to 280 members from around the country, with 17 from Melbourne. While a face-to-face Plenary would have been ideal, the Plenary Facilitation Team has prepared for all eventualities which means ensuring that each Plenary Member has the tools they'll need to participate online for the full seven days.
The agenda for the Plenary Council has emerged from three years and several layers of prayer, listening, dialogue and discernment. The areas of focus and 16 questions, all aim to address the question of how we are being called to create a more missionary, Christ-centred Church in Australia at this time. While Plenary members will be meeting online, the wider public will be able to join by tuning in to the daily livestream, beginning with the Opening Mass in Perth on Sunday 3 October. Visit the Plenary Website for more details. Please keep the Plenary Council in your prayers, particularly over the coming weeks.
One of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was that the Catholic Church in Australia conduct a review of diocesan and parish governance and management. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia accepted that recommendation and the Implementation Advisory Group was tasked with conducting and presenting that review.
The Implementation Advisory Group established the Governance Review Project Team to lead the review. The GRPT presented a version of the report to the Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia in May 2020. That version, which was not the final version, was leaked and published.
That version was subsequently amended, making a number of corrections and clarifications. The final version of the report, entitled The Light from the Southern Cross: Promoting Co-Responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia, was presented to the Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia in mid-August 2020. The report was published online on August 21, 2020, along with an accompanying Reading Guide.
Two Submissions to the Plenary Council Phase 2 Themes Working Groups available
1 January 2020
Invitation to apply for positions of Leaders and members of pre-Plenary Council Working Groups (By 22 July 2019)
As previously announced The Bishops Commission
for the Plenary Council is seeking people who are willing to
be key partners and leaders in the process of discernment as
the Church in Australia continues preparing for the Plenary
Council in October 2020. The roles advertised are for Chairs
and members of groups which
will each reflect on one of the National Themes of Discernment
announced at Pentecost 2019:
groups will each engage in a process of communal
discernment and reflection on one of the themes in order to
draft a working paper by March 2020; the working papers will
help to form the agenda for the first session of the Plenary
bishops have described this as "a unique opportunity for
visionary and open-hearted, faith-filled people who are
committed to the faith, life and ministries of
the Catholic Church in Australia and the mission of God." The role of these groups as
described should be critical to the development of the Plenary
Council agenda, which in turn will be critical to the adequacy
of discussion at the Plenary Council. The Member Role
For 'Plenary Council Discernment and Writing Group Member' may
be accessed HERE . The Chair Role
Description Secretariat For 'Plenary Council Discernment and
Writing Group Chair’ may be accessed HERE Application details are available HERE
Snapshot report of the Plenary Council “Inclusive, Participatory and Synodal” theme
Plenary Council Team, Sunday 23 June 2019
A link to this second Snapshot report of the Plenary Council theme "Inclusive, Participatory and Synodal" is provided HERE. Included at the end of the Report is a schedule of the release of the other snapshot reports.
Previously published general details HERE on the overall 2020 Plenary 'themes' and on the "Mission and Evangelizing' theme.
Snapshot report of the Plenary Council "Missionary and Evangelizing" theme
Plenary Council Team, Thursday 19 June 2019
A link to the Snapshot report
of the Plenary Council theme of Missionary and Evangelizing is provided HERE.
Included at the end of the Report is a schedule of the release of the other reports.