Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President and Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB emphasised the importance of the Word of God as central to the life of the Church.
Speaking at the Catholic Health Australia National Conference, Tuesday 23 August, in Brisbane, Archbishop Costelloe spoke on his hopes for the future of the Church in Australia following the Fifth Plenary Council, looking at three key areas.
Speaking about and re-emphasising the experience of synodality to which Pope Francis is calling us, Archbishop Costelloe expressed that one of the most deeply held hopes he has for the Church moving forward, is that we can continue along the journey of discovery.
“For this to happen, I believe that we all need to reflect deeply on our own situations and local settings and ask ourselves, honestly and openly, how well we are doing in being an expression of a synodal Church, and what more we might be able to do to deepen this reality,” he told 270 delegates at the two-day conference.
Archbishop Costelloe, who led the four-year journey of the Plenary Council as President, continued by talking about the overall theme of how is God calling us to be a Christ-centred Church?
“This captures one of my most cherished hopes for the Church moving forward: that we all begin to ask ourselves, explicitly, courageously, and humbly, to what extent our mission, and the day-to-day reality of all that we do and all that we are trying to be, is very intentionally centred on Christ,” he expressed.
Explaining his third point with reference to Lumen Gentium, Archbishop Costelloe spoke about the description of the Church as “a kind of sacrament, a sign and instrument that is, of communion with God and unity among all people (LG 1).
“This is a beautiful and powerful image of the Church, but when Lumen Gentium is quoted two key words are often omitted; in Christ. It is in Christ that the Church is a sacrament of communion and unity,” he said.
Concluding his speech, Archbishop Costelloe said that, at a very practical level, one of his hopes for the Church as we move forward is that the process of synodality will be seen and embraced as being intimately, and appropriately, connected with the collegiality of the bishops with each other as the shepherd leaders of their dioceses, and with the Pope as the chief shepherd of the Universal Church.
“My last hope is this: that the journey we have been on together as the Church in Australia, as we reflect on it more deeply as time goes by, might help to dispel some of the division, and I would even say rancour, which sometimes creeps into our life together,” he said.
The full text of Archbishop Costelloe’s speech is available by clicking here.
With thanks to Catholic Health Australia.