Within the space of a month, three significant events have happened within our church: our local Diocesan Assembly, the first session of the Fifth Plenary Council of the Catholic Church in Australia and the beginning phase of the next Synod of Bishops to be held in 2023 on synodality.
Four of the Adelaide Archdiocese's lay members of the Plenary Council reflect on their experience of the first assembly, held online due to COVID border restrictions.
Recall that more than 200,000 people joined discussion groups in preparation for the Plenary Council, and from these groups came 17,000 suggested items for consideration.
The first general assembly of the Plenary Council, meeting October 3-10, was an extraordinary experience. About 300 members of the Catholic community in Australia engaged in a process of communal discernment involving people from almost every sphere of Church life including laity, deacons, bishops and priests.
In a fiery ‘intervention’ at the Plenary council, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP urged Catholic Australia to “wake up to the flood of non-practice” and the “pandemic of moral confusion”.
The end of another extraordinary year is drawing closer and our daily lives are occupied with the things needing to be completed for this year, along with thoughtful preparation and planning for the year ahead.
A central aspect of our faith is that the human person is made for communion; communion with God; communion with our sisters and brothers; communion with our deepest self and communion with the whole of creation.
Working as a journalist you get to cover a multitude of topics, but one that has consistently filled the column space over the past 18 months has, of course, been COVID.
A recurring theme in the discussions taking place during the Diocesan Assembly this month was the absence of young people and families in our parishes.
There have been times when I wondered if we would ever make it. But after all the delays and changes of plan, we have come at last to the first assembly of the Plenary Council, which has quite a pre-history.