Today’s Plenary Council sessions will take on a different feel, as members spend extra time offline, praying with and reflecting on questions about seeing through the eyes of those who have been abused and reaching those on the peripheries.
The agenda for the Plenary Council poses 16 questions across six themes, with members called to “develop concrete proposals to create a more missionary, Christ-centred Church in Australia at this time”.
Fourteen of the 16 questions are being discerned concurrently during the week by 10 small working groups. Today, the members will consider two particular questions:
- How might we heal the wounds of abuse, coming to see through the eyes of those who have been abused?
- How might the Church in Australia meet the needs of the most vulnerable, go to the peripheries, be missionary in places that may be overlooked or left behind in contemporary Australia? How might we partner with others (Christians, people of other faiths, neighbourhood community groups, government) to do this?
Br Peter Carroll FMS, the provincial leader of the Marist Brothers in Australia and a Plenary Council member, said while the Council “is about mapping out a path for the future, we can’t ignore the tragedies of the past”.
“We must come to terms with our sinfulness and reconcile our future with our past,” he said.
Br Peter said he has urged the Plenary Council membership to consider how a public response will be made to victims and survivors during the Council journey, which runs until July 2022.
Council member Claire Victory, national president of the St Vincent de Paul Society, said when considering how the Church might support the vulnerable, Jesus’ example of offering people opportunities and keeping company with the marginalised is the guide.
Members unpack big questions facing the Church (ACBC Media Blog)