Catholics invited to 'speak from the heart and mind'

Lana Turvey-Collins (The Catholic Leader/Mark Bowling)

Lana Turvey-Collins does not shrink from the challenge of leading a high-stakes national conversation about the future of the Catholic Church in Australia. Source: The Catholic Leader.

As the facilitator of the Church’s historic Plenary Council 2020, she is leading a three-year “transformative journey” with the cultural reform of the Church on the table.

“I am not naïve to the significant changes that many want,” Ms Turvey-Collins said, referring to a Church faced with dwindling numbers, a shortage of priests, and rocked by the revelations of the royal commission into child sexual abuse.

“If I didn’t have hope then I wouldn’t be in it. If I didn’t have hope about the kind of Church Jesus talks about as Kingdom, why would I be in the role?

“We invite all people to speak about whatever they want to speak about from their heart and mind.”

A Queenslander, with strong academic credentials and with her own life-changing experiences in Africa, Ms Turvey-Collins acknowledges the robust public debate the plenary will generate, and its ground-breaking potential.

“Women’s role in leadership in the Church is something personally relevant,” she said.

“I am a 39-year-old woman and if my husband and I have kids, I want our daughters to have a place in Church.

“There is already so much great leadership going on [with] women every day in all sorts of places – lay women, religious women, Catholic teachers, nurses, doctors, scientists and theologians.

“I think the listening and dialogue encounter means we can engage the voice in a way we maybe haven’t experienced before.”

The last plenary council, held in 1937, was an exclusively male gathering, with only bishops, theologians and superiors of male religious orders attending.

The 2020 version has a different complexion with all-of-church participation from a richly diverse community, and the intent to discuss and legislate on a wide range of issues, including matters of faith, morals and discipline.

The starting point for Plenary 2020 will be an official launch on Pentecost Sunday (May 20), with an invitation to Catholics and Catholic organisations to provide their views, through a range of meetings and online kits – downloadable from a plenary council website that goes live in May.


Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins urging all Church members to speak ‘from their heart and mind’ (The Catholic Leader)


Mud-wrestling the Catholic elephant (Eureka Street

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