Thirty four parishioners came to our first meeting to
explore what might be important for the 2020 Plenary Council to address and
hear what we know to date about how it will proceed.
Both Fr Linh and members of the convening group emphasised
that our engagement calls us into a difficult but rewarding process of
discernment. A number of people articulated a measure of scepticism about the
possibility of good outcomes from that process. In the end, all seemed to agree
that it is worth a “go” and, if nothing else, our personal learnings will be sufficient
The role of a Plenary Council, its structure, its agenda
setting and its participants were described. This information is reproduced here. But the key emphasis was on
the fact that our participation in the consultation and discernment processes
will be crucial to any success of the Council.
Several people spoke to the role of women in the Church from
a number of points of view. A common theme related to women in decision-making
roles. Also noted was the difficulty for some women, some religious for
example, of just being heard. This will clearly be an issue in other parishes
too and hopefully, the listening, hearing and discerning in the Plenary Council
processes will lead to significant change.
The matters of women in all orders, including priesthood and
of married priests were aired in a sort of passing way. Perhaps we know that
these are amongst the most difficult things that the Council could address. Can
they be on the agenda? In asking that question, the possible influence of Opus
Dei groups in setting the agenda was noted and briefly discussed.
Our current habits of consultation and discernment in the
parish were also seen as somewhat deficient. In the first instance, the way to
change some of these realities would not require the sort of changes that a
Plenary Council need address. The absence of ongoing adult formation programs
such as the Alpha program, also noted at this meeting, don’t seem to require
any Plenary Council level changes.
Many noted the absence of young folk in our Mass attendances.
The connection of this well-known and painful fact to a lack of appropriate
activities and liturgies was noted. One energetically put proposal was to
engage our school leavers in ongoing social justice activities. Is this not
Jesus in action! What would be the freedoms needed that a Plenary Council would
The many and difficult responses to the Royal Commission
were also noted as was their impact on how we see the way forward. That is what
we now set out to discern - the ways forward for all of us in this Church.
Usse the form below to make your contribution to the discernment.