Nazareth Catholic Parish

Grovedale, Torquay and Anglesea

2020 - The Journey So Far

Knox Lecture 2016

This, for us, was the kick-off locally. Archbishop of Brisbane and Vice President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Mark Coleridge attended the second session of the Synod on marriage and the family in Rome. It’s fair to say he went in the shadow of the impending report of our Royal Commission into Institutional Sexual Abuse, but he was inspired by the leadership of Pope Francis and the company of friends. For him, Pope Francis… “Like the God of Abraham…just popped out of nowhere.” In this lecture he traces his journey and imparts a lot of key thoughts that will guide us on the struggle that will, undoubtedly, be the Plenary Council of 2020. It’s a bit lengthy but a charming travel yarn and well worth a read.   Read it here.

National Pastoral Leaders and Pastoral Planners Conference

This Conference was held in Melbourne in September 2017 and Archbishop Mark Coleridge spoke on " Plenary 2020 and the Future of the Catholic Church in Australia." His presentation was videoed and is presented below in three sessions.

Part 1/3

 Bishop Mark speaks to the nature of this journey, some of the lead up events and politics, and of his personal call to 'go' on this journey. 

Part 2/3

Here Bishop Mark identifies some of the key cultural, political and practical issues to be addresssed, clearly states that 'everything is on the table' and explains that this Plenary Council is a decision-making council.

Part 3/3

 Bishop Mark makes a heartfelt and simple call to arms for all of us to engage in this journey. 

The Wheels Have Started to Turn

Since these two events much has been happening in the background.

• The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has sought and been granted the approval of Pope Francis to convene this Plenary Council
• the ACBC has established a Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council. (Read more.)
• The Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council has announced appointments to the Plenary Council Executive Committee. (Read more.)
• The Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council has announced appointments to the Plenary Council Facilitation Team. (Read more.)

The Journey to 2020

Bishops, leaders of religious congregations and Catholic lay leaders from across Australia have already come together in Sydney for the first of a series of consultation seminars in the lead up to the historic Plenary Council in 2020.

The consultation seminars, The Journey to 2020: Opening the Conversation to the Plenary Council are being led by the Chair of the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council, The Archbishop of Brisbane, Most Reverend Mark Coleridge.

In his keynote address Archbishop Coleridge emphasised the importance of ensuring the Plenary Council was a meaningful consultation process.

“This must certainly not be just another talk-fest that risks becoming tokenistic, but one that allows all voices to be heard, that is attuned to the Holy Spirit and which actively seeks out the views of the disaffected as well as those more actively engaged with the Church”, Archbishop Coleridge said.

“The consultation process will drive the agenda of the Plenary Council and social media will play a key role in ensuring that it is as inclusive as possible so that those who are unable to attend the consultations in person can still be actively involved”, he added.

Archbishop Coleridge urged the participants to reflect upon the longer term significance of the Plenary Council.
“The world is watching this process and we can’t therefore afford to see the Plenary Council as merely significant for the Australian Church”, he said.
“This will indeed help shape the direction of the universal Church as well”.


We have had one general meeting (read more.) and scheduled another for May 1st at which we hope Bishop Mark Edwards will be present.
In the meantime we will be promoting other group meetings – some under our own steam, and others under the umbrella of the Council Facilitation team. As your comments aggregate we will open pages on this site for discussion of specific issues that our bishops would consider in need of attention.
Here is the first of our "Let's Talk About" Topics - CLERICALISM 
What is clericalism? Pope Francis has characterised it thus:
Clericalism leads to a homogenization of the laity; treating it as an 'emissary' limits the various initiatives and efforts and, I dare say, the boldness necessary to be able to bring the Good News of the Gospel to all areas of social and above all political activity. Clericalism, far from inspiring various contributions and proposals, gradually extinguishes the prophetic flame of which the entire Church is called to bear witness in the heart of her peoples." 
(Address to participants in the Pontifical Commission for Latin America plenary assembly, April 26, 2016)
and Andrew Hamiliton SJ characterises it as:
'"The attitudes and qualities identified with clericalism are both odd and counterproductive. An inflexible formalism in dress and address, a strong emphasis on the boundaries between church and society, a non-consultative exercise of authority, a fussy preoccupation with rules and customs and a claim to wisdom founded in office are seen by Catholics and others as evidence of alienation and of unwarranted presumption. We might wonder, too, if they are consistent with Jesus' instructions to his disciples.

But it is better to light candles than to curse the darkness. It is common to complain of the lack of strong leadership both in public life and in the Catholic Church. That comes in part because of the difficulty of reading the world we are entering and identifying good ways through. In such circumstances we need good leaders at every level who will leave aside claims based on special knowledge, dignity of rank, difference from the people they serve. They will focus on consultation, on the claims of a common humanity and on the recognition of shared uncertainty, in order to identify the ground on which they stand and ways forward."
And in their own demeanour they will shape symbols of a humble and shared endeavour. We should encourage them when we see them and demand them when we don't.
 (Eureka Street, 27 Feb 2018)
Many have identified clericalism as a key area of concern for the 2020 Plenary Council. But what does it mean and how do we generate a view from the parish?

We suggest that each Parish Group meet to discuss the issue of clericalism, record their discussions and paste them on this web site, through MAKE A COMMENT.
Each group (eg: Finance, Altar Society, Pastoral Team, Compliance, Parish Advisory Team, Family Groups, Wednesday Prayer Group, etc, etc., could include a discussion of these three questions in the agenda of their next scheduled meeting:
•  What does your group understand by 'clericalism'?
•    Within the bounds of your group's understanding of clericalism, is there anything that your group is prevented from doing as a result of   'clericalism'?
•    What does your group feel is the most important reform - in relation to Clericalism -  that has to be addressed at the 2020 Plenary?
In looking at the first question it could be salutary to consider a distinction between capital C Clericalism – enforced by our historical structures and the habits of Clerics – and small c clericalism - tolerated, even promoted by the non-clerics.

The Tuesday Discussion Group will gather these comments and organise wider meetings to discern a Parish Response for the Plenary Council.
Further reading can be found at these sites. They are all fairly short and quite provocative.
Clericalism: Let's Talk is directed towards priests discernent of the barriers of clericalism in their parishes, but the questions are worth reading to open up discussion. 
We have a large number of active groups in this parish, so we look forward to hearing the various responses from many.