New guide supports local reflection on Plenary Council outcomes

Catholic communities across the country are being invited to consider how the outcomes of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia can be integrated into local contexts with the help of a new study guide.

Dozens of decisions were made during the second assembly of the Plenary Council last year, contained in 10 decrees. While those decrees are awaiting recognitio from the Dicastery for Bishops before they can be promulgated, some initial reflection and planning can be carried out for their implementation.

“We are mindful of the enthusiasm that existed around the Plenary Council and the desire to start building on the decisions that were made in that historic moment for the Church in Australia,” said Bishop Shane Mackinlay, who was the Council’s vice-president.

“By preparing Carrying Forward the Plenary Council, we are encouraging Catholic parishes, schools and other communities to pray about, reflect upon and review what your community is already doing, or could be doing, in relation to acting on the commitments the Council members made.

“This can help us continue with the synodal journey, walking together and encountering the face of Christ in each person.”

Bishop Mackinlay said the guide will be particularly relevant for those who participated in the Plenary Council process and those who have been involved with preparing for the Synod of Bishops for a Synodal Church, but also for people who are new to the path of synodality.

The document was released at Pentecost, a key moment in each of the past six years for the Plenary Council journey. Bishop Mackinlay said that decision was intentional.

“For many years, we have been inviting the Holy Spirit to guide the People of God in Australia as we seek to understand what God is asking of us,” he said.

“On this great feast of the Holy Spirit, we again invoke that Spirit to enlighten our minds and enliven our hearts to integrate the vision of the Plenary Council in each of our individual contexts.”

Bishop Mackinlay thanked staff of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s National Centre for Evangelisation, who prepared the guide.

Carrying Forward the Plenary Council can be accessed on the Plenary Council website: