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First synod for entire Church in Australia since 1937 Published: 18 August 2016

First since 1937

It is to be held in 2020, for only the fifth time in Australia’s history, and 79 years after the previous plenary council meeting.

Archbishop Coleridge said bishops had agreed a plenary council or synod was needed because “we are at a time of profound cultural change. Not only in the wider community, but in the Church.”

“I think we have to accept the fact that Christendom is over – by which I mean mass, civic Christianity. It’s over. Now, how do we deal with that fact?” Archbishop Coleridge said.

“We are not the power in the land which we once were.”

The last plenary council of the Church in Australia was held in 1937.

That event, and earlier ones in 1885, 1895, and 1905 were exclusively male gatherings, with only bishops, theologians, and superiors of male religious orders attending.

Women, religious and lay people took no part. Archbishop Coleridge said women in the Church would play a role in 2020.

A plenary council can discuss and legislate on a wide range of issues, including matters of faith, morals, and discipline.

It can also address the critical issues of the times. “This is no time for the Church to be putting up signs that say ‘business as usual’,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

“If we needed any proof, then the Royal Commission has shown that."


Brisbane Archbishop calls for first synod for entire Catholic Church in Australia since 1937

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