Plenary Articles

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A collection of reflections on Plenary Council written by Columban Fr Noel Connolly SSC. He is a member of the Facilitation Team for the Plenary Council 2020. 

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  What will we do when we finally get back to our parishes?

Apr 15, 2020
One problem with streamed Masses is that it reduces us to spectators. Whereas liturgy is essentially a community event and participation is critical.
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  Why another phase of discernment?

Oct 28, 2019
Recently I received an email asking why, if we had identified all the themes, we need another phase of discernment. There are several reasons for having this second discernment stage.
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  A unique resource for the Australian Church

Oct 28, 2019
We know the church is not a democracy, but neither should it be a dictatorship. It works best when, as Cardinal Newman says, the magisterium and the people “breathe together”.
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  Only those who have needed mercy can truly show mercy

Mar 20, 2019
The weeks since Cardinal Pell’s conviction have been difficult in our preparations for the Plenary Council. In that time, I have attended two planning sessions both of which included opportunities to pray and share our prayer.
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  To speak boldly, but to listen humbly

Feb 14, 2019
The goal of the Plenary Council is not to end up with a church with perfect structures, good as that might be, but to become more of a joyous, missionary church, and a poor church with and for the poor. Only then will we be Christlike and convincing to our secular brothers and sisters in Australia.
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  We need a missionary rather than a perfect church

Jan 24, 2019
Mission is God’s project and we are not the main actors. The church is neither the starting point nor the end point but rather the servant and sacrament of God’s mission.
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  All I want for Christmas

Dec 19, 2018
Everyone searches for the good, the true and the beautiful. These desires are deeply human. We Christians have always stressed truth and goodness, but beauty is usually not as highly valued.
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  The Kingdom Within

Nov 21, 2018
People who have not been encouraged to speak up for decades, will probably speak clumsily, angrily or shallowly the first time around. It is only over time that we eventually learn what we most deeply want to say.
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  Realising the dream of Vatican II

Oct 24, 2018
The most fundamental Christian calling is baptism and all the baptised share in Christ’s prophetic, priestly and kingly offices. [LG #10-13] To highlight this, Pope Francis recently said, “This tells us that no one in the Church is useless… we are all necessary for building the Temple. No one is secondary.
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  Will the Bishops listen, will anything change?

Sep 19, 2018
Criticising bishops is a Catholic sport. It doesn’t require entrance fees or any special equipment. We have been enjoying it for decades.
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  When we meet in Adelaide we will be restoring a long-standing tradition

May 24, 2018
This time at least one third of the delegates will be lay people. It will also have world significance as Australia will be the first country to hold a Plenary Council with an open agenda. It will be watched by Churches all around the world.
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  Have we too much in our heads to hear the Holy Spirit?

Apr 18, 2018
The early Christians could not rely on the past and they didn’t have clear instructions from Jesus. They didn’t even have Paul’s Epistles or the Gospels which were yet to be written. They had to read the signs of the times and trust in the Spirit.
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  "The biggest crisis in our history"

Mar 24, 2018
This is also a key goal of the Plenary Council 2020. To learn how to become a synodal church where mission, ministry, leadership and decision making are shared across the whole “faithful, people of God”.
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  Preparing for the Plenary Council 2020

Feb 15, 2018
Pope Francis is convinced that it is by listening to one another that we listen to God and that “open and fraternal debate makes theological and pastoral thought grow”. He is also convinced in the power of face-to-face encounter.
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