Australia’s Catholic bishops will tomorrow open their second plenary meeting of the year under COVID-19 restrictions, with almost 40 bishops and other senior Church figures to gather online. Source: ACBC Media Blog.
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference holds biannual plenary meetings each May and November. The May meeting this year was moved online – the first time such a gathering had not been held in person in the Conference’s 54-year history.
“We had hoped back in May, when gathering via videoconference, that we would be able to meet in person by the time of our November meeting,” Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said.
“The second wave in Melbourne, where we had been due to meet, meant a face-to-face plenary was impossible. Our growing familiarity with videoconferencing technology and our May experience mean we are better prepared this time.”
Among the items on the bishops’ four-day agenda is the establishment of a new national agency with responsibility for all areas of safeguarding and professional standards.
The new agency is expected to commence its work early in 2021.
The bishops will also review the new National Response Protocol, which will create consistent, survivor-centred practices for investigation of historical and contemporary complaints of child sexual abuse.
COVID-19 – its challenges, changes and opportunities – will be an overarching theme of the week.
Other items on the Bishops Conference’s agenda include the review of Church governance The Light from the Southern Cross: Promoting Co-Responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia, the induction and formation of bishops and the formation of men for the priesthood.
“We ask Catholic people around Australia to pray for the bishops as we gather. We will certainly be praying for them in this strange and troubled time,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
Bishops set for second virtual plenary meeting (ACBC Media Blog)