The Plenary Council of the Catholic Church: Another Case of “Reformation, Reformation” – Aren’t Things Bad Enough Already?


This week, 280 bishops, clergy and laity will meet in a Plenary Council to examine issues which will have a profound effect on the shape of the Catholic Church in Australia.

The Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Colderidge, who is also the chairman of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, lobbied for the council following the Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse.

Archbishop Coleridge said the “question of women” will be at the center of plenary council deliberations, as well as the role of lay people in the Church. Other issues on the agenda include how the church might “open up new ways to Indigenous ways of being Christian” and learn from First Nations people.

The First Plenary Council began with a Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Perth. The event runs until October 10 and will take place online.

As might be expected, it appears that the Church is looking for ways to continue its enlightened journey and find new methods of appeasing the crowds, even though this emphasis on modernization has led to a decrease in congregations, except in parishes and orders faithful to tradition. , the doctrine and the magisterium of the Church. Indeed, the conclusion of Vatican Council II announced what a priest described to me as “our 40 years in the desert. We are like the Israelites wandering in the desert after leaving Egypt.

On the indigenous question, it seems that the Council is reinventing the wheel. All delegates need to do is obtain and read a copy of the Memoirs of Salvado, a mission report from the great Spanish missionary, Dom Rosendo Salvado, to the aboriginal people of New Norcia, northwest of Perth. Everything else would stink of the inculturation practiced in South America, encouraged by Pope Francis, with deleterious results.

Here are some food for thought for Council delegates. Insistence on being countercultural, that is, adhering to tradition and not seeking to get rid of it, is the key to ‘revitalization’, although I doubt that any of Australia’s 45 bishops are. willing to admit it publicly. Have they forgotten the words of Vatican II which declared Mass at the height of the life of the Church?

My high school years were spent at Trinity College Perth, which provided choir members from St Mary’s Cathedral. At the cathedral, the musical repertoire included musical settings of masses in Latin, hymns and polyphonies. These gave me a sense of the sacred and the beauty of the liturgy. As a curious teenager, I yearned to learn more about the history of the Church’s liturgy, as the Mass had hardly changed from the apostolic times until the post-conciliar reforms. As the Council stated in Sacrosanctum Concilium, “The Holy Mother Church considers that all legally recognized rites are equal in law and in dignity; that it wishes to preserve them in the future and promote them in all ways. In addition, the Council expressly wished that Gregorian chant and polyphony occupy a prominent place in liturgical offices, because they “express in the highest degree the purposes of sacred music set by the Church: the glory of God, the sanctification of the faithful, making prayer more pleasant, promoting the unity of minds and conferring greater solemnity on sacred rights.

My research led me to discover the traditional mass. I remember attending a solemn high mass at Christmas when I was 17 years old. The choir was made up of young men a year or two older than me. The majority of the congregation was made up of young families. This was in stark contrast to my parish at the time, when the congregation was aging and young families were very much in the minority. At that Christmas midnight mass, I learned more about my faith from the celebrant’s homily that evening than I did in five years of Catholic high school education.

I am now 45 years old and have attended traditional mass, mainly on Sundays and public holidays, for over 25 years. The Latin Mass Parish in Perth, which we attend, has over 600. On Sundays there are five Masses and two most days of the week, broadcast live every day.

At the traditional mass, I did not meet people wishing to sow division in the Church, which the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes suggests. On the contrary, I know many people full of joy who love their faith and side with the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church. The traditional Mass, as far as I know, is a source of unity for the Church, not of division. It is the ardent desire of those of us in the Latin Mass community to be part of the universal Church, not to separate from it.

The traditional Mass, as I have observed, also draws people to the Church. We see so many young families like ours (we have two boys aged 9 and 7) who, inspired by the love of their faith and the law of prayer being the law of belief, find meaning in the traditional Mass. of the sacred which allows them to give their children the best gift they can give, the gift of faith.

The traditional Mass community thrives with young people living their faith and showing their devotion with missionary zeal, inviting friends to experience what they are experiencing and to share it with joy. Simply put, these young adultslove go to mass and participate in the parish community which, as a parent, is what I wish for my own children. They are exactly the kind of people, I would have thought, that the Church aspires to attract, for they are a source of growth and a living witness to a life-giving faith. They should be encouraged and supported, not discouraged.

None of this, of course, means that I don’t like the Novus Ordo Mass. During the week, I often attend masses at the Novus Ordo. All of my sacraments have been celebrated in the Novus Ordo, and yes, it can be celebrated with great devotion and prayer.

In other words, I don’t think you need a week to understand why there is a crisis in the Church and what can be done about it. As Saint Matthew writes in his Gospel (7:16): “By their fruits, you will recognize them ”.

Dr Rocco Loiacono is Senior Lecturer at Curtin Law School.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Curtin University.

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