For Catholics of the "old school",plenary is one of those get out of jail words that conjures up liberation, release, and a short cut to eternal happiness. This Plenary Council however has a slightly more modest agenda:
‘‘This is no time for the Church to be putting up signs that say “business as usual”. If we needed any proof, then the Royal Commission has shown that. We need to face the facts, and in the light of the facts, which aren’t always friendly, we have to make big decisions about the future. The Plenary Council will place the Church on a sound footing to respond to what is not merely an era of change but a change of era.’
In keeping with smart marketing the project has a webpage, a Facebook Page, a Twitter account, a Youtube Channel, and of course, a theme song:
Check out the Catholica commentary on the song here
So for Catholics "It's Time" for a new era of Australian Catholicism which will be take off in 2020!! Nor sure if that includes adding to the census tally So, let's meet the crew heading this project and see how they line up in communication with the rest of us in various pews. The link on the name will show a piccie and a bit of a bio or where available a video clip.
The Who of @PlenaryCouncil2020
The official web page provides provides a list of key players with no real biographical or background information. In fact the only people for whom any background data is provided are the members of the Bishops Commission!!!
Oh dear, poor old Ian gets a serve as lacking a bit of pastoral sensitivity in this extract from "Hell on the Way to Heaven "by Chrissie Foster. Hope his skills have improved a bit lately for this new role.
Mr Shane Dwyer (also waiting for a response to my friend request)
Initially and on an ad interim basis the Committee will be chaired by Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Chair of the Bishops Commission.
Gender balance is even and lay representation exceeds clerics and religious. The age range appears good with a deliberate lean to younger voices. The presence of an Eastern Rite Church is welcome and it is worth acknowledging John Lochowiak, a member of the First Nations Peoples.
Diocesan coordinators hold first gathering
The How of @PlenaryCouncil2020
One of the reasons there are so many people in the PC Executive Council is that the Australian Catholic Bishops want them to read. Lots and lots of reading in fact if the process is going to work. At the heart of the project is a questionnaire. The site suggests allocating 10 minutes to complete the questions. However, the invitation to submit answers as well as documentation if desired would easily call for quite a bit of reflection. There are a couple of quirky fields in the template. The age range selection goes up to 110!! The religion field allows for all sorts including No Religion at the bottom of the selection. As of publication the questionnaire is only available online in English.
What is not clear is who will read the submissions for reform and even more who will interpret the results?
- Church democracy and the 2020 Plenary Council
- Major Catholic church consultation ambitious - but will it succeed?
- Let's Talk About the Catholic Bishops
- PAT POWER. Quo Vadis? The Plenary Council of the Catholic Church in Australia
- Brian F McCoy SJ Speaking and hearing at the 2020 Plenary Council
- CHRIS GERAGHTY. The Plenary Council.
- Kristina Keanelly Open Catholicism
- Catholics for Renewal
- Catholica Commentary
The Plenary Council process was launched in Australian Dioceses on Pentecost Sunday 2018. Here are a few of the Episocopal homilies and statements from the launch:
+Mark Coleridge (Brisbane)
+Timothy Costelloe (Perth)
+Vincent Long (Parramatta)
+Anthony Fisher (Sydney)
+Chris Saunders (Broome)
+Chris Prowse (Canberra)
+Peter Comensoli (Broken Bay)
While hosting a major conference on Evangelisation Archbishop Mark Colereidge managed to stir the possum with one of his throw away lines: "Proclaim Conference 2018 has commenced andArchbishop Mark Coleridge has opened saying that this is a spirit moment for the church, challenging us to renew and rejuvenate the church in Australia...less stale, less male, less pale. " The Facebook comments are worth following. In particular note the replies to my question about the Welcome to Country.