Australia’s Catholic Plenary Council meets virtually for the first time


A rally REPRESENTING Australian Roman Catholics from across the country is currently meeting virtually at the First Plenary Council (the highest official gathering of all local churches in a country) which has been held since 1937. This first council session has been held. will end on Sunday, and a second session will take place in July of next year.

The 278 members, comprising the 46 invited bishops and priests, deacons, religious and lay people, examine the current problems of the Church, including the decline in church attendance, the shortage of priests, the findings of the Royal Commission on institutional responses to child sexuality abuse, and the role played by women. The meeting agenda contains 16 questions on the themes of conversion, prayer, formation, structures, governance and institutions.

The meeting follows a consultation which invited the RCs to submit their views. Over 200,000 people participated and there were over 17,000 written submissions.

Speaking on a national radio broadcast, the Archbishop of Brisbane, Bishop Mark Coleridge, said it could not be “business as usual” for the Church. The position of women, he said, would be “central and fundamental” in the discussions.

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