Five weeks left for Listening and Dialogue phase

Plenary Council president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB says he’s expecting another flood of responses from people across the country during the final five weeks of the “Listening and Dialogue” phase of the Council.

In the eight months since the Listening and Dialogue period commenced at Pentecost, more than 40,000 people have either made a submission or participated in a group discussion that culminated in a submission.

“Given it’s more than 80 years since the last Plenary Council in Australia and given, too, the changes in the Church and society since then, it was impossible to know how many people would take part in this historic process,” Archbishop Costelloe said.

“To stand here, five weeks from the end of this pivotal opening phase, it is both exciting and humbling to have heard from such large numbers of people and for them to have shared their stories of faith and hope, but also their stories of despair and heartbreak.

“Each of those stories is valuable and meaningful. So will be the stories we receive between now and Ash Wednesday.”

Lana Turvey-Collins, the Plenary Council facilitator, said the Christmas period, as expected, saw another spike in the number of responses.

“We knew that many people who have a longstanding connection with Catholic life and culture, if not the weekly ritual of the Church, would attend Christmas Masses and welcome the opportunity to consider the question ‘What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?’,” she said.

“Our Christmas card campaign with local dioceses and parishes was designed to encourage everyone to embrace this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help the Church and its people consider our present and our future.”

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Ms Turvey-Collins said while the Listening and Dialogue phase will conclude on Ash Wednesday (March 6), collaboration – under the guidance of the Holy Spirit – will be a constant throughout the three-year journey.

She said the National Centre for Pastoral Research, using best-practice analysis methods, will identify key themes and topic areas that have emerged during the Listening and Dialogue period. They will be the focal points for the next step in the process.

“After Easter, when we will receive the objective analysis of the tens of thousands of voices that have contributed to this process, we will move into the next stage of the preparation phase: ‘Listening and Discernment’,” Ms Turvey-Collins said.

“People will continually be invited to participate in the Plenary Council, which is both a finite period of time, but also a transformative moment for the Church in Australia, which we expect will be more focused on dialogue and partnership in the years following the Council.”

Archbishop Costelloe said bishops are keen to understand what their communities have been saying during the Listening and Dialogue process, mindful that some issues are local in nature.

“Some of the changes that are being and will continue to be discussed may well need to happen at the parish or diocesan level, rather than national, so we bishops need to be attuned to that and ready to respond in a timely fashion,” he said.

Visit the Plenary Council website at

Source: ACBC Media Blog.


Wordpress (1)
  • Colliss Parrett 4 years

    What is the point in making a submission on illegal drugs when the ACBC and some other ‘Catholic’ individuals and bodies have openly flaunted what Pope Francis and a predecessor have laid down clearly and many times as the acceptable Catholic drug policy.

    Not only that, some major Catholic publications have provided an open-door invitation to the very illicit drug policy pushed by non-theists which the Popes have rejected since the 1990s. Further, the non-theists are in effect followers of that drug policy initiated by an atheist in America !

    Over 20 Catholics have let me know of their anger and to date another 17 have told me they no longer go to Mass rsulting from Dr Wodak being permitted to publish his item in the C/W. Two said they have lost children under the harm minimisation/harm reduction anti-Papist ‘drug education’ being freely carried out in our Catholic schools.

    In this context the Australian Catholic Church has divorced itself from the Vicar of Christ! The only reason I go to Mass now is to receive Our Lord, that’s all – not to see or hear anything else.

    And in case some or many think I know nothing about drugs and drug policy – when in Commonwealth Health as Director, Drugs Policy Branch, I helped ban cigarette advertising from television ; I instigated the ban on smoking in aircraft and in restaurants, and negotiated the introduction of low alcohol beer .

    It is clear that the ACBC and the Australian Church are acting within their own authority with obedience to the Pope only when it suits them.