The idea of publishing an annual report emerged from a desire to inform the Catholic community and wider society about how the Bishops Conference supports the mission of the Church in Australia. It also responds to the call for greater transparency within Catholic organisations.
The first annual report covers work during 2020.
Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge, in the report’s foreword, said it reveals the breadth of the activities of the Conference.
“If you read this report with the eyes of faith, you will see that the bishops, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, are grappling with a wide range of issues and problems at a time when the Church in this country cannot simply take the future for granted,” he wrote.
Archbishop Coleridge said brief reports after its biannual plenary meeting gave “the smallest tip of the iceberg” of what the Bishops Conference does.
“What you find in these pages shows more of the iceberg, but a great deal still remains below the surface,” he wrote.
Fr Stephen Hackett MSC, general secretary of the Bishops Conference, used the report’s introduction to help explain how the Conference’s component parts – the Permanent Committee, the episcopal commissions, the general secretariat and the plenary meetings – work together in service of the Church.
Fr Hackett said the annual report adds to other ways in which the Bishops Conference communicates with the People of God in Australia through reports, media releases, statements, pastoral letters and other material.
The annual report includes sections covering the work of each of the 10 episcopal commissions and panels that met during 2020, the Conference’s agencies and the offices and departments that comprise the general secretariat.
The annual report can be accessed on the Bishops Conference website.