Plenary reflections #2: John Warhurst
Steps towards the real test of synodality
The First Assembly of the Plenary Council raises questions including:. What direction are we heading? What is our Catholic identity? Did we come as far as could reasonably be expected?
Panoramic answers are hard to formulate and the outcomes can best be categorised issue by issue.
On two big social issues, recognising Indigenous culture and spirituality, and ecological conversion, the Assembly wants both internal action and stronger external leadership by the church.
On the role of women in decision-making within the church there is also a clear appetite for inclusion, accountability, and equality. This is driven, despite some cultural and theological objections, by widespread acceptance of synodality and co-responsibility.
On governance reform the need for diocesan and parish pastoral councils is almost universally accepted.
Sexuality, including justice for LGBTQI+ Catholics can’t be avoided, it touches most of us in some way within the church.
Women in ordained ministry remains a tough battle. Theological questions and the Australian Church’s sense of its own role come into play.
How to resolve differences of opinion remains unexplored because we took no substantial votes. This is where synodality remains untested.
- Emeritus Professor John Warhurst AO is a Plenary Council member and chairman of Concerned Catholics Canberra Goulburn
Is this feed back “code” for somehow reversing church teaching on LGBTQI+ activities and women priests. I hope not.
In so few words John has covered the burning questions on so many minds.
Let’s live in the hope we can move towards solidarity
with charity and understanding.
The Catholic Church is defined by the “Authority” given by Christ to His Apostles. It is my sincere hope the Bishops defend this authority and do not allow “synodality” to act as the trojan horse of “democratic intent of the laity”. Such intent – if allowed – could easily move us further down the path of moral relativism that has been invading the Church praxis.
Our Bishops should be willing to stand firm on biblical teaching irrespective of pressures exerted my a modern Australian secular culture. History and Sacred Tradition shows there is no room for reversing teaching on LGBT++ activity, homosexuality, women priests etc etc.
Compassion – Yes! But it goes with clear uncompromising teaching from the Church through its Apostles/Bishops. Praying that the Spirit gives strength to the Bishops to exercise their “Authority” in this PC.