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Archbishop Prowse, Clara Geoghegan and Malcolm Hart with the prefect of the Dicastery for Clergy, Cardinal Lazzaro You Heung-sik, in Rome.

Archbishop Christopher Prowse says a gathering at the Vatican this week will help clergy and lay people alike better understand how they can work together to carry out God’s mission. Source: ACBC Media Blog.

Archbishop Prowse, chair of the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry, is attending the conference, which has the theme “Pastors and Lay Faithful Called to Walk Together”.

Clara Geoghegan, the Bishops Commission’s executive secretary, and Malcolm Hart, director of the National Centre for Evangelisation, are also in Rome for the event.

Archbishop Prowse said while the concept of “co-responsibility” has been embraced in many Australian contexts, he hopes to discover more about its adoption in other settings.

“The Church in Australia has been walking this journey of how priest and lay people can share in God’s mission for many years,” he said.

“We look forward to hearing more about approaches that are being taken around the world that can help our efforts in Australia.”

A key example of the Australian engagement with the concept came during the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia.

In the Council’s final decrees, there was a call for “a culture of synodality for parishes, dioceses and eparchies, where healthy and fruitful relationships between clergy and laity ‘recognise different but complementary charisms and opportunities for co-responsibility’, and desire ‘consultative and collaborative approaches to governance at all levels in the Church’.”

It called for such co-responsibility to be exercised “in ways that are discerned as being appropriate and achievable”.

In the opening address to the conference, Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life prefect Cardinal Kevin Farrell said there were many areas – citing financial administration, civil law and arts as examples – where lay people have greater competence than priests or consecrated persons.

Find out more about the conference here.


Conference explores shared mission for clergy, laity (ACBC Media Blog)