National webinar to reflect on the First Assembly of the Plenary Council

17 November 2021
A Plenary Council candle is seen during Mass on Day 4 of Assembly 1 of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney. Image: Giovanni Portelli/Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney/Supplied


Thousands of Catholics will join a virtual convocation this Thursday evening 18 November to consider the future of Catholicism.

Lay Catholics are increasingly speaking up about the need for change in their Church following the clerical sexual abuse scandal, the increasing alienation of Catholics, particularly younger generations, and the Church’s loss of focus on its mission.

The Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform is convening this third Convocation to take stock and assess progress of the first assembly of the Australian Plenary Council on the future of the Church.

Ongoing issues of concern include the clericalist culture and patriarchal governance of the Church, the inequality of women, and the discriminatory treatment of LGBTIQA+ people.

Ellen Fanning, co-host of ABC’s The Drum, will moderate discussions among two groups of panellists who will highlight the hopes and expectations of Catholics for the final assembly in July 2022.

The panels will include leading Catholics Claire Victory, National President of the St Vincent de Paul Society, and Robert Fitzgerald, a former Royal Commissioner into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, as well as other Plenary Council members and reform leaders.

The Convocation will invite concrete proposals from Catholics at all levels of connection with the Church.

ACCCR Co-Convener Dr Eleanor Flynn said that most Australian Catholics are alienated from their Church.

“Too many bishops are distant from their people and fail to learn from everyday Catholics trying to live a good Christian life.

“This Convocation will be an opportunity for Catholics to insist that the Plenary Council respond effectively and address greater inclusion for all, especially women and minority groups.

“The Plenary Council is an opportunity for substantial change by the Church and its leaders.

“The Australian bishops must listen to the people of the Church and open their minds to the cultural and structural changes urgently needed to rescue the church from irrelevance.”

The Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (ACCCR) is a coalition of 20 Catholic groups in Australia and New Zealand working for Church reform.

The Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform’s third Convocation of Catholics will be held on Thursday 18 November at 7.30pm AEDT. To register, please click here.

With thanks to the Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (ACCCR).


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