Have your say to Pope Francis’ global Synod of Bishops
Catholics across Australia have been invited to provide their views on the church’s future in the lead up to the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops set for October 2023 in Rome.
This follows Pope Francis’ recent official launch of the Synod process and the opening of a new online portal in Australia for receiving submissions.
Archbishop Christopher Prowse has appointed Fr Richard Thompson of Mary Help of Christians Parish to lead a small team to coordinate the Archdiocese’s response.
Fr Thompson said the Synod was a separate but complementary process to Australia’s Fifth Plenary Council, which recently concluded its first assembly. The second assembly is to take place in mid-2022.
The Synod is global while the Plenary Council is focussed nationally on the Catholic Church in Australia.
In drafting its Archdiocesan report, the team will draw from views provided for both the Plenary and Synod processes.
The Archdiocese’s report will then be used with other reports from around Australia to develop a national report to the Synod.
The Synod theme is: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”.
Fr Thompson emphasised that ‘walking together (synodality)’ and ‘listening’ were the key principles behind the theme, with both the Synod and the Plenary Council seeking to address the central question of what is the Holy Spirit saying to the church at this time.
He said Pope Francis had a particular focus on the participation dimension for the Synod, reaching out to those not connected to the church.
“Most of the people in our pews are parents and grandparents,” he said. “Most of their kids who are over 18 aren’t near their church. They are not connected.”
Fr Thompson said his outreach to the unconnected would also include the disenfranchised, LGBTIQA+, those who feel hurt in some way, or see the church as irrelevant or outdated.
“The big challenge is not so much to reach the people in the pews, but the people in the pews who are connected to those who aren’t there,” he said.
The portal for making submissions will remain open until Sunday 12 December 2021 and is available at: https://www.catholic.org.au/synodalchurch
See also ‘Synod on Synodality – Patrick McArdle explains’ https://www.catholicvoice.org.au/assembly-over-where-to-from-here/