National assembly ‘would give laity a voice’

John Sabine (The Southern Cross)

An Adelaide parishioner is seeking support to hold a national assembly of the laity next year to give lay men and women a more united voice on the future of the Church. Source: The Southern Cross.

The “grassroots meeting” is being proposed by John Sabine, a parishioner from the Dulwich/Burnside community, who described it as a chance for the laity to “get their act together” and determine who would be responsible for actioning change in the Church.

“The Catholic Church today is in crisis; throughout the Universal Church there are calls for change. We, the laity, are everywhere being called upon to admit our part in the problem and to do something about it.

“The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has declared a Plenary Council to be called for in 2020/2021 … this is entirely a clerical response. We, the Australian Catholic laity, have decided to act, to stand up and be counted,” Dr Sabine said.

He added that the “desired outcome” of the assembly would be “for an understanding of, and the creation of, an effective voice for the laity in today’s Catholic Church in Australia”.

Dr Sabine said he had been “tossing around” the idea of the national gathering for some time and had discussed the concept with various lay Catholics, including Professor John Warhurst, chair of the Concerned Catholics of Canberra Goulburn.

Similar to the Council of Australian Catholic Women’s colloquium being held in Adelaide later this month, Dr Sabine believed the assembly would be a way of “stirring the waters” and getting the laity “into action”.

“In the lead up to our 2020 Plenary Council much has been made about the laity needing to step up and be counted. For this to happen the laity needs to know more about what the problem is and how they, collectively and individually, might respond to it. What needs to be done and who needs to do it.”

Dr Sabine is proposing the event be held in Adelaide in March next year – well before the historic first session of the Plenary Council in October 2020.


Call for national assembly of laity (The Southern Cross

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