Members of the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council, the Executive Committee and the Facilitation Team met over two days, providing an opportunity to share stories and their hopes for the Plenary Council.
They discussed the history of the decision to hold a Plenary Council, reaching back to the apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte in 2000, through the Year of Grace in 2012, the royal commission which began in 2013, the election of Pope Francis in the same year and the Synods on Marriage and the Family in 2014 and 2015.
Looking ahead, members considered a framework based on Evangelii Gaudium which might structure the consultation and help generate an agenda.
Sarah Moffatt and John Lochowiak from the Adelaide Archdiocese are part of the Executive Committee and attended the meeting.
Ms Moffatt said it was helpful for understanding the process of a plenary council and “how as a Church we move toward this important moment in our history”.
“The element that remains my focus is our journey towards the Plenary Council in 2020 which allows deep listening and consultation with Church communities, the marginalised and people in general,” she said.
“The importance of creating spaces that allow creative tension and robust conversation is vital and this listening will give our leaders a point for discernment.
“It’s a huge privilege to be part of this process and I look forward to engaging with the Adelaide community and beyond as we move forward.”
The joint meeting came two weeks after the meeting of the ACBC president Archbishop Denis Hart, vice-president Archbishop Mark Coleridge, and the chair of the Truth Justice and Healing Council Neville Owen, with key people in the Vatican. The Plenary Council was discussed at this meeting.
While in Rome Archbishop Coleridge also met Cardinal Marc Ouellet of the Congregation for Bishops to discuss the Plenary Council in more detail. The Sydney meeting built upon those discussions in Rome.
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