Below, we have given what has been submitted to the Plenary Facilitation Team on behalf of our parish. Most of the scribes took copious notes of the comments. However, the requirement of the Plenary Council Submission is that all submissions need to be 1000 characters ONLY (including spaces!) so what is published here is what has been submitted, as a truncated and edited version of your comments.
Thinking Nationally: A JOYFUL, HOPE-FILLED AND SERVANT COMMUNITY
• get back to the Gospels
• ordain women
• women as deacons
• women in greater leadership roles
• optional celibacy
• laypeople to take on more active roles
• our current leaders to listen and to be open to change.
Thinking Nationally: INCLUSIVE, PARTICIPATORY AND SYNODAL
• Gender equality: Ensure women are involved in all levels of the Church; ordain women as deacons;endorse the principle of women priest
• Be inclusive of Aboriginal spirituality
• Declare the Church doors open to all: LGBTQI, ethnic groups, different religious groups; Be pro-active and public in advocacy for justice, eg the Aboriginal Treaty
• Initiate optional celibacy – invite those priests who left to marry to return
• Together with the Eastern Church become more active in ecumenism; increase collaboration with other Christian congregations sharing resources
• Radical changes are required at all levels of governance - equal representation across race and gender at congresses; inclusive, transparent and accountable ; Canonanon law is not an excuse for no change Must listen & act
Thinking Nationally: HUMBLE, HEALING AND MERCIFUL
• Women should be ordained as deaconesses.
• As a priority, revamp training for the priesthood.
• This should focus on appreciation of the priest as “Jesus in our society” through emphasis on spirituality, reaching out to the poor, pastoral care, more religious programs in parishes and not bureaucratic roles or administrative demands (which should pass to the qualified laity).
• The church should reach out to victims of clerical abuse and if necessary sell off assets to promptly compensate them. A $5 a head donation from all parish members could pay for a just compensation fund.
• Be open, welcoming, compassionate, inclusive, especially to separated or divorced people who feel excluded and unworthy.
• Simplify the process of becoming a catholic. RCIA too complex. Eg, Muslims need only repeat a phrase three times to be accepted into Islamic faith.
Thinking Nationally: OPEN TO CONVERSION, RENEWAL AND REFORM
• Our Bishops should act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with their God. Stop being constrained by what canon law says today.
• Openly accept those whom we have disaffected: divorced, homosexuals etc.
• Fully review / revise the rules around marriage including marriage of gay couples.
• Allow local development of liturgies including the Eucharist.
• Provide for lay-led Eucharistic celebrations.
• Role of women needs to be fully explored especially with a view to ordaining women, first as deacons then as priests.
• Celibacy should be optional.
• Priests who have left to marry should be welcomed back to full exercise of their vocation.
• Lay people should be allowed to preach the homily when they have the skills and appropriate engagement.
• Allow lay participants at the Plenary Council a deliberative vote.
• Allow greater autonomy to priests in the full range of pastoral activities eg where and how they conduct marriages, funerals and other services.
Thinking Nationally: PRAYERFUL AND EUCHARISTIC
• The liturgy is OUR liturgy, but the language of liturgy is not our vernacular, therefore we ask that the ACBC revisit the translation of the Missal for Australians.
• we ask the ACBC to ensure that that the directives of CSS #16 and #18 are carried out, with priority being given to:
1. The language used
2. Homiletic excellence by priests – when given by an individual
3. Homiletic sharing – led by priest but shared with community members
4. The role of music – appropriate choices and types for the 21C in Australia
5. The place of silence – so often ignored in the interest of timing and convenience
6. The place of ritual – so often downplayed