Document Set


‘eFlipbook’  on   Common terminology and principles likely be encountered during Plenary Council deliberations  

Ten short ‘Summary Documents’ on Terminology & Principles relevant to the Plenary Council  have been progressively written by Catholics For Renewal and now conveniently brought together in revised form in a single  eFlipbook    “Keys to Renewing Our Church Together”    and launched in conjunction with Garratt Publishing.  The eFlipbook launched on 20 May 2021 is free.   It or its individual component topic Documents may be accessed/downloaded underneath – at  Document No 93:

122. Archdiocese of Melbourne Consultation Report. Synod 2021-2024 – For a Synodal Church” Communion, Participation and Mission. HERE

121. Synod of Bishops, Australian Summary 2024 Consultation, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, May 2024HERE

120. The Australian Catholic Attendance Report 2021. National Centre for Pastoral Research. A report based on the National Count of Attendance and the National Catholic Census Project, Trudy Dantis, Stephen Reis, Leith Dudfiels and Katherine Jelavic. HERE

119. A Synodal Church in Mission? One Australian perspective.  Catholics For Renewal submission to the Synod General Secretariat question “How can we be a synodal Church in Mission? 2 May 2024  HERE

118. How Can the Church be ‘Synodal in Mission’ in the 21st C? (or in the 21st C what should the Church be and what should it be doing?).   Michael Leahy. May 2024.  HERE

117. Catholics For Renewal AGM Reports 2023.       1. President’s Report   HERE   2. Treasurer’s Report   HERE

116. Catholic Seminaries in Australia: 1835 – 2023, Peter J Wilkinson.              Part 1: Australia’s First Seminaries in Sydney Vicariate Apostolic of New Holland and Van Diemen’s Land (First Published in The Swag, Vol. 31, No 2, Winter 2023. Republished with permission.)  HERE     Part 2: Catholic Seminaries in Australia: 1835 – 2023   Peter J Wilkinson.   Early diocesan and other religious seminaries prior to the 1885 First Australasian Plenary Council   HERE .

Part 3: describes the Visions of Archbishop Bede Vaughan for a comprehensive Australian education system, and Archbishop Patrick Moran for a Plenary Council for Australasia and a Sydney diocesan seminary with national reach. It is published in .PDF form HERE

Part 4: describes the origin of St Patrick’s College Manly and subsequent growth period. It is published in .PDF form HERE

115. Mutations in Church History. Paul Collins, Published for Catholics For Renewal in February 2015. Republished with permission November 2023. A paper with continuing and growing relevance, particularly since publication of Pope Francis’ November 2023 Motu Proprio, Ad theologiam promovendam, relating theology to the times in which we live. This brief document relates well to Document 114 below, and effectively provides a context for it.     HERE

114. The Jesus Movement. David Timbs. Originally published in 2015 this set of summaries and/or direct links to a set of 8 papers was republished in 2023 and following Document 115 above provides a context for understanding ways in which the Church can preach the Gospel in the times we live .   HERE

113. Catholics For Renewal Submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission Consultation Paper on Religious Educational Institutions and Anti Discrimination Laws 23/01/2023
Catholics For Renewal, 27 February 2023
The full C4R submission to ALRC  is available on their website HERE.

112: Catholics For Renewal AGM Reports 2022

i) President‘s Report  HERE,  ii) Financial Statement 2022 HERE

111. Catholics For Renewal Submission to the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops On the Theme of Synod of Bishops XVI General Assembly For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission, 15 August 2022    HERE

110. Lay Involvement in Governance of the Church By and Through the Diocesan Finance Council: 2022 Report, Voice Of The Faithful (VOTF), US, June 2022.      HERE

109: Diocesan Pastoral Councils: An Australian historical study
Damian John Gleeson, Dip FHS, BA, G Dip Prof Comm, M Commerce (Hons), PhD
Original submission: 14 September 2021,  Revised: 26 February 2022
© DJ Gleeson, Revised edition: 26 February 2022
A report commissioned by the National Centre for Pastoral Research,  Australian Catholic Bishops Conference       HERE

108:  Submissions
to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights in relation to the
Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 and related Bills: published
HERE.18 January 2022

The Catholics For Renewal (CFR) submission is No. 196. Some others include: The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC): No. 95;  Vinnies (St Vincent De Paul) No. 19, The Josephites (No. 79).

107:  Extended Timelines-  Plenary Council & Synod of Bishops (ACBC,  9 January 2022)
The accompanying timeline synchronises the schedule of events and activities of the (global) Synod of Bishops program with that of the ongoing Australian Catholic Plenary Council process  HERE

106: Catholics For Renewal AGM papers 2021 (27 October)

President’s Report          HERE

AGM Meeting Minutes     HERE

Treasurer’s Report          HERE

105:  Plenary Council Members: An Analysis.  Peter Wilkinson
At 22 September 2021 total ‘members’ of the 2021/2022 5th Plenary Council of the Catholic Church in Australia numbered 278. Together they have authority to make laws which provide for the pastoral needs of the people of God in Australia (c. 445).  Their authority to legislate comes not from any delegation by their local bishop, but from a ‘summons’ or ‘call’ from the President of the Plenary Council (c. 443). They are ‘members’ of the Council, not ‘delegates’. This analysis provides a comprehensive yet readily accessible breakdown of members  HERE

104. Response to the Agenda for the first meeting of the Fifth Australian Catholic Plenary Council 

A response to the Agenda for the first meeting of the 5th Australian Catholic Plenary Council,

from the Partnered Parishes Plenary Council Facilitators Group of Sacred Heart Diamond Creek,

St Thomas the Apostle Greensborough North,  and St Mary’s Greensborough, 6 September 2021………HERE

103. Much Ado About Nothing

Response from a Biblical Perspective to the themes of the Plenary Council, 12 July 2021

Video (20 minutes) of a paper on the 6 themes of the Plenary Council from a Biblical Perspective presented to the Catholic Biblical,Theological and Moral Association Conference 2021 by Professor Mary Coloe pbvm, University of Divinity……(HERE)

102. Melbourne
Archdiocese Parishes Restructure

Set of recent papers associated with proposed restructure of
Melbourne Parishes. The context is provided in a 11 June 2021 NEWS Item on this website.

101.  A Submission to The Parliament of Victoria on the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020

From Catholics for Renewal Inc. Submitted 27 January 2021, posted on this webpage 18 February 2020     HERE

100. Catholics For Renewal AGM 2020

1) Presidents Report, 21 October 2020  HERE

2) Treasurer’s Report   HERE

3) Elected Office Bearers HERE

99. Know the Dioceses in 2020

To provide a better understanding of the 28 territorial dioceses among the ‘particular’ churches of the Catholic Church in Australia, Dr Peter Wilkinson, current President of Catholics for Renewal, in consultation with the Bishops concerned, has prepared a series of profileson each diocese (map of territorial dioceses for view or download below) drawn from a variety of official church and government data. These were progressively published here beginning with the overall ‘launch’ document and Official Directory of the Catholic Church in Australia, and completed in September 2021:

1. Launch of “Know the Dioceses in 2020” and Official Directory of the Catholic Church in Australia  HERE

2. Diocese/Archdiocese Profiles: (click from the following)

Adelaide;Armidale;Ballarat;Bathurst;Broken Bay;Broome;Brisbane;Bunbury;

Cairns;Canberra-Goulburn;     Darwin;     Geraldton;Hobart;     Lismore;       Maitland-Newcastle;


Sydney;Toowoomba;      Townsville;Wagga Wagga;          Wilcannia Forbes;Wollongong;

98. Submission
to the standing committee on legislation of the parliament of Western
Australia into the children and community services amendment bill 2019

Selected Topics: Mandatory reporting of Child Sexual Abuse by Ministers of Religion and Seal of Confession
Catholics For Renewal submission, 24 July 2020 ………..(HERE)Link to all submissions (HERE)

97. Australian Catholics’ sensus fidei: Priority Issues for the Plenary Council. Peter Wilkinson, June 2020   HERE
This report is based on detailed analysis of of the 28 Diocesan Reports which analysed both the respondents in each territorial diocese and the content of their submissions in response to the ACBC May 2018 question “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?”  Its aim was “to listen to the voice of God speaking through the voices of the people and to gain a sense of their faith (sensus fidei)”.

96.  Women and Ministry – further resources 

1. The Time is now: Mary Coloe:   HERE

2. Women’s Giftedness and experience: Rosie Joyce.  HERE

3. UN Report on Gender Social Norms:  HERE

4. Mary McAleese talk to Voices of Faith (video):   HERE

5. Women and Ministry:  Vivien Williams:   HERE

6. Women in the Church: Household Names, Junia, Phoebe & Prisca in early Christian Rome. Michael Peppard, HERE

95. Confronting the Systemic Dysfunction of Clericalism
Produced by the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests in collaboration with Voice of the Faithful and lay people and clergy across the nation; endorsed by FutureChurch June 2019  Published  HERE  5 April 2020

94. Submission to Plenary Council Phase 2 Themes
Catholics For Renewal submission to the Plenary Council phase-two Theme
Working Groups was submitted on 28 November 2019 and is available HERE. It complies with the 1,000 character limit for each theme.   Working Groups are:   

and Evangelising;  2.Inclusive, Participatory and Synodal; 3. Prayerful
and Eucharistic; 4. Humble, healing and merciful;   5. A joyful,
hope-filled and servant community; and 6. Open to Conversion, renewal
and reform.  

It is also published at Document 94 on the Documents page.  Details in
support of this brief submission, and further major actions are included
in our Plenary Council submission/book Getting Back on Mission (details

93. Summary documents on key terminology, phrases and principles  fundamental to, Australian Catholic faith, Church renewal, and objectives of the Australian Catholic 2020 Plenary Council (incremental from December 2019).

NOTE: In conjunction with Garratt Publishing the following individual Summary Documents written by Catholics For Renewal have been brought together in revised form, currently as a free  eFlipbook  launched here on 20 May 2021.

1)   Sense of faith of Christ’s Faithful – Sensus fidelium  (Sensus fidei fidelium)    [Dec. 2019]   HERE
2)   Synodal Governance for a Pastoral Church  [Jan. 2020]          HERE
3)    Co-responsibility: Sharing in church governance  [Feb. 2020]  HERE
4)    Clericalism [March 2020]    HERE
5)   Women and Ministry [April 2020]                     HERE
6)     Priesthood,Celibacy & Marriage[May 2020] HERE
7)    Subsidiarity [June 2020]              HERE
8)    Signs of the Times [July 2020]HERE

9)   Stewardship [August 2020]         HERE

10) Discernment: It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves [October 2020]   HERE

92. Papers from the Voices of HOPE and CHALLENGE Conference, Yarra Theological Union, 15-17 November 2019

1. Bishop Vincent Long: (Here)

2. Sensus fidei (Noel Connolly):   Here

3. The Time is Now (Mary Coloe):   Here

4. Being Church Beyond the Royal Commission (Paul Bongiorno):   Here

5. Inclusive, transparent and accountable governance in the Church (John Warhurst):   Here

6. Women’s Giftedness and Experience – (Rosie Joyce):    Here

7. Young People Finding a Place in the Church?   (Alicia Deak):    Here

8. Clericalism Talk (Andrew Hamilton):    Here

9. The Adelaide experience of an Inclusive Governance Model (Pat Fox):       Here

91A.  Catholics For Renewal Annual Reports 2019

1. AGM-2019  Office Bearers                 HERE

2. AGM-2019   Presidents Report          HERE

3. AGM 2019   Financial Statement        HERE

91. International Church Reform Network, Report on ICRN Warsaw meeting 23-27 September 2019, David Timbs. HERE

90.  Catholics For Renewal submission to Plenary Council 2020/2021 (Updated 15 July 2019). Published 20 March 2019 this submission was available here but has since been updated and published as a book Getting Back On Mission: Reforming Our Church Together by Garratt Publishing Australia. It is also available from and    The March 2019 Editorial and abstract of submission is available Here

89. The Pax Romana and the Gospel of Disturbance  Advent Reflection – David Timbs, 21 December 2018  (HERE)

88. Catholics for Renewal 2018 Annual General Meeting reports. Sunday 2 December 2018

members of Catholics for Renewal held their Annual General Meeting at
Parkville on 29 November 2018.  The elected office bearers for 2018-2019
are:  President: Dr Peter Wilkinson, BEd., LMiss., DMiss. (PUG)    Vice President: Mr Peter Johnstone, OAM, BA (Admin.), MA (Theol.), FAICD.    Secretary/Treasurer: Dr Garry Nolan, BCom., MBus., DBA, FAICD.

The President’s Report on the activities of the association for the year ended 2018, supplemented by additional activities up to the date of the Annual General Meeting  (HERE)  was
presented and received, and the Financial Statements of the association
for the financial year ended 30 June 2018, prepared by the Treasurer (HERE) were submitted and received.

87.Plenary Council 2020 preparation: ‘Issue’ Resources
To further assist discernment in preparing  inputs to the 2020 Plenary Council agenda setting process the Yarra Deanery in Melbourne in collaboration with Catholics for Renewal have collated and indexed additional resources
to augment and complement those on the Plenary Council website.

86.  Priest shortage, imported clergy and the ‘men of proven character’ solution.   David Timbs, 2 September 2018.  HERE

85. The Seal of Confession: civil law, church law and conscience, Peter Johnstone, reprinted with permission of The Swag, Spring 2018,  1 September 2018    HERE

84.  The joint response from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia  can be found HERE       Royal Commission Into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse, 31 August 2018

83.  The Truth, Justice and Healing Council Final reports can be found HERE

Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse, April 2018, document made public 31 August 2018

82. Ampleforth and Downside (English Benedictine Congregation case study) Investigation Report August 2018, UK
Extracts from Executive summary Independent Inquiry, Child Sexual Abuse, with link to full report, 14 August 2018
There are 10 English Benedictine Congregation (EBC) monasteries in England and none in Wales. Some of the abbeys have schools associated with them, including Ampleforth and Downside. Both are regarded as leading Catholic independent schools, each with acknowledged academic and sporting achievement, and both are now co-educational…..Ten individuals, mostly
monks, connected to these two institutions have been convicted or
cautioned in relation to offences involving sexual activity with a large
number of children, or offences concerning pornography. The true scale
of the abuse however is likely to be considerably higher. Some examples
of the abuse are set out below……(full report)       © Crown copyright 2018

81. The International Catholic Reform Network.    Report by  David Timbs, 5 August 2018
is an international network of priest and lay reform movements that
organizes pastoral dialogue-retreats to model and prepare the church for
the future, to enable its members and invited participants to
communicate and dialogue with one another honestly, to tell stories, to
heal wounds from the struggles of reform, to give courage to all
engaged, and to share energy, enthusiasm, ideas; and in some cases, to
act.    The most recent meeting in Bratislava from 11-15 June 2018 was attended by David Timbs who compiled this report on its background, outcomes and ongoing work.

80. The 2020/21 Plenary: Who is accompanying whom? 

David Timbs, April 2018 HERE

79. Plenary Council 2020 – 3 Year Timeline

Monday 26 March 2018. Available from the Plenary Council website HERE

78. Early Australian Provincial Councils / Plenaries

The papers in this series by Peter Wilkinson were first published in The Swag and are republished here with kind permission of The Swag.

11.1937 4th Plenary Council of Australia & New Zealand – Part 2  (here)

10.1937 4th Plenary Council of Australia & New Zealand – Part 1  (here)

9.  1907. Melbourne Provincial Council   (here)

8.  1905. Third Australian Plenary Council – Part 2 (here)

7.  1905. Third Australian Plenary Council – Part 1 (here)

6.  1895. 2nd Plenary Council (here)

5.  1885.  First Australasian Plenary Council – Part 2 (here)

4.  1885. First Plenary Council of Australasia 14-25 November 1885 – Part 1 – from The Swag Winter Edition, 2018.  (here)

3.  1869: Second Australian Provincial Council  –  from The Swag, Autumn Edition, 2018.(here)

2.  1862: Non-recognised Australian Provincial Council  –  from The Swag Summer Edition 2017.(here)
1.  1844: First Australian Provincial Council  –  from The Swag, Summer Edition 2017.   (here)


Submission by Catholics for Renewal Inc. 14 February 2018  (HERE)

76. Report, Royal Commission onto Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse, Friday 15 December 2017

A copy of the report is available on the Royal Commission’s website

Read Preface and Executive Summary of Final Report

Read section of report relating to Catholic Church
Read Commission recommendations relating specifically to Catholic Church

Read Commission summary on Catholic Church

Royal Commission report released – Catholic Church must act

75. Peter Johnstone: The Catholic Church is ‘Circling the Wagons’.
In this paper Peter Johnstone responds to an article by Greg Craven “Besieged Catholic Church is wounded, but will not fall” published in The Australian, 19 August 2017   HERE

74. Particular Councils: a resource rarely used in Australia
and link to paper by Peter Wilkinson, originally published in The Swag,
Spring 2017 (Vol. 25 No.3. pp 9-11). Republished here with kind
permission from The Swag and the author, 1 September 2017
is the first of a series of articles looking at particular councils or
synods. It is a general examination of their origins, characteristics
and capacity. Others will examine the seven particular councils,
provincial and plenary, which have been held in Australia since 1844, as
well as the preparations for the 2020 Australian Plenary Council, and
what that council might have on its agenda:  Towards a synodal

73. Preparing for the 2020 Australian Plenary Council
Abstract and link
to paper by Peter Wilkinson, originally published in The Swag, Spring
2017 (Vol. 25 No.3. pp 9-11). Republished here with kind
permission from The Swag and the author, 1 September 2017
This second
article in the series looking at particular councils, examines the
initial preparations for the 2020 Australian Plenary Council. Further
articles will examine in some detail the seven particular councils  –
provincial and plenary – which have been held in Australia since 1844,
and a final one will attempt to imagine what the 2020 Plenary Council
might hope to achieve…..(paper)

72. Governance and Culture: the Catholic Church in Australia. Anne O’Brien. Originally published in The Swag, Winter 2017.   Republished by Catholics For Renewal with permission.  Anne O’Brien writes from a lay woman’s perspective and a wealth of experience including working as a facilitator in the Towards Healing process. She is now a member of Catholics Speak Out and Catholics for Renewal. She offers some powerful insights. HERE

71. Progress Report to Signatories of the Open Letter to the bishops of Australia,   23 June 2017. HERE.

70. We Can’t put up a sign saying ‘business as usual’, David Timbs 23 June 2017. HERE

69. Follow-up Letter to the bishops of Australia in response to the ACBC Response to the Open Letter, 19 June 2017, HERE

68. Interim reports to the bishops of Australia on the Open Letter, 2 May 2017, HERE

67. Open Letter to the Bishops of Australia, April 2017HERE

66. A People not a Pyramid – Christianity: Leaderhship in a Society of Equals,David Timbs, Parts 3&4 , 22 April 2017
One of the greatest achievements of the Second Vatican Council was its reclamation of the original grace and inspiration of the Church’s identity and mission as the People of God. It provided both the insight and authority for the Council to embrace courageously a revolutionary programme of fundamental renewal and reform of Church life. The central biblical notion of the People of God is at the heart of the Council’s reaffirmation of the baptismal equality of all its members….. HERE

65. “How Are the Scriptures To Be Believed?” Summary by Dennis Green of a SIP Presentation on 5 October 2016 by David Tracey, Emeritus Professor, Latrobe University. It is a very abbreviated overview of key points presented, in the context of a tight word limit. It aims merely to give the reader the “flavour” of the talk, rather than to include detail of the many points covered. For a more comprehensive coverage the reader is referred to  “Beyond Literal Belief – Religion as Metaphor” by David Tacey (John Garratt publications, 2015).  SIP presentation summary  HERE

64. A People not a Pyramid – Christianity: Leaderhship in a Society of Equals, David Timbs, Parts 1&2 , 24 January 2017
One of the greatest achievements of the Second Vatican Council was to recover and reappropriate the original grace and inspriation of the Church’s beginnings. This provide the insight and empowerment for Vatican II to embrace with courage a revolutionary programme of fundamental rejuvenation and reform of Church life. …..This essay attempts to explain some of the major reasons why this is both opportune and even vital for the rationale and viability of the ongoing systemic reform and renewal of life, leadership and culture of the Catholic Church….this notion of Church citizenship has profound implications for all aspects of Ecclesiology and especially in relation to the current debates about the Church’s doctrine, structure, its leadership and the role of the laity…(HERE)

63. The smell of the sheep.  Peter Day, linked to source with permission of author, 17 February 2017.  The
catastrophe that is sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and the
cultural factors that have contributed to it are seriously complex, and
unravelling the mess will take a generation… or two, or three!  One
readily identifiable and accepted contributor to this disaster is
clericalism. In essence, the abusive wielding of power by clergy –
lording it over others, rather than serving them.….(source)

Having a say in Selecting our Bishops:
Report on results of an Online Survey conducted by Catholics For Renewal.
3 February 2017
62. Summary report Here
61. Full Report Here  
60. Other Diocese Attachment Here

59.  The Maltese Bishops Conference linked document “Criteria for the Application of Chapter VIII of ‘Amoris Laetitia
was signed on January 8 by Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta and
Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo. and released on 13 January 2017.  In guidelines for the application of Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation  “Amoris Laetitia”, the bishops of Malta say that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who, with “an informed and enlightened conscience,” believe they’re at peace with God,”cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments.”

58. Catholic Church and the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Peter Johnstone, Pearls and Irritations, John Menadue blog, 21 November 2016
…..(full article Here)

The Documents as formatted below below were published before this website was restructured in late 2016.

 Videos of all 3 parts of the 29 October 2014  Discussion “The Role of Church Law in the Child Abuse Issue: Help or Hindrance?” are now available for viewing.Kieran Tapsell, Retired Lawyer and author of “Potiphar’s Wife: the Vatican’s Secret and Child Sexual Abuse” put the case that Canon Law has been a hindrance. Canon Lawyer, Rev. Professor Ian Waters, speaking in a private capacity, provided a critique of Kieran’s arguments. Chair was Maria McGarvie.       The discussion was Jointly sponsored by Catholics For Renewal Inc. and Catalyst for Renewal in front of an audience at the Pumphouse Hotel Fitzroy.

Part 1 (here). Speaker: Kieran Tapsell, Retired Lawyer and author of Potiphar’s Wife. 37’29”
Part 2 (here). Responder: Canon Lawyer Rev. Professor Ian Waters (speaking in a private capacity). 23’45” Part 3 (here). Audience interaction with presenters and closing comments.59′ 12″              

57. Submissions published on factors affecting the institutional response to child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, 12 August 2016
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has published 44 submissions received in response to Issues Paper 11.       Issues Paper 11 invited submissions about any factors which may have contributed to the occurrence of child sexual abuse in Catholic institutions or may have affected the institutional response of the Catholic Church to child sexual abuse. Submissions include one from Catholics for Renewal.      RC Media Release here. Submissions Here

56. Catholics for Renewal  abridged response to Issues Paper 11 (Catholic Church Final Hearing) of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual AbuseHERE3 August 2016

55. Selecting nine new Australian bishops this year – involving the faithful. Originally published in SWAG.  Peter Johnstone, President, Catholics for Renewal Inc. Republished 8 June 2016 with permission from SWAGHERE

54Choosing the next Archbishop of Melbourne: how it should occur, and why this is important   (Peter Wilkinson 1 June 2016) HERE

53.Loris Capovilla, Pope John XXIII and Vatican II (David Timbs, June 2016), HERE

52. ‘The Synod on the Family – the start of major reform?’  Peter Johnstone, President, Catholics for Renewal Inc.  The presentation was made on 4 May  2016 at a Spirituality In The Pub gathering at The Pumphouse hotel in Fitzroy, Melbourne for the SIP Group of St Carthage’s Parkville and may be downloaded HERE

51. Publication of  Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on The Joy of Love(Amoris Laetitia)  and a summary  Friday 8 April 2016

The complete document (263 pages) may be sourced from the Vatican Here

A summary document (7 Pages) as published on Vatican Radio may be sourced Here50. Canon Law on Child Sexual Abuse Throughout The Ages
Kieran Tapsell, Republished here with permission from the Author, 21 march 2016
This paper is an attempt to explain it: how bishops, priests and religious all over the world came to regard the sexual abuse of children, not as crimes punishable by the State, but as moral failures that should be dealt with by treatment, and by dismissal from the priesthood or religious life only as a last resort. The explanation lies in a gradual but radical change of culture within the Catholic Church that took place in the latter part of the 19th century that can be traced through changes in canon law….(read full document here)

49. A Maelstrom of Discernment (Archbishop Mark Coleridge on the Family Synod)                                     Extract from David Timbs, Tuesday 1 December 2015                                                                                               “There is a maelstrom, there’s no doubt. And everyone’s feeling it. But that may well be what happens when you get into the very turbulent, and in the end uncontrollable, process of discernment. Once you’re into that maelstrom of discernment you really have to make an act of faith that there is something greater than Solomon.”- Mark Coleridge, Archbishop of Brisbane. (1)              ++Coleridge was evidently referring to the dynamics at work among the bishops during the October 2015 Synod in Rome. While the gathering may well have generated a maelstrom of discernment, it was largely about themselves and had very little to do with deep reflection on the Catholic family’s vocation and mission in the Church and the modern world. Paper HERE

48. Melbourne Parish Family Survey results sent to Australian Synod Representative
Monday 7 September 2015
In response to Pope Francis’s comprehensive endeavour to hear from members of the Church, St Leonard’s Parish in Melbourne has conducted its own survey of attitudes to issues under consideration by the ‘Family Synod’ with support from Catholics For Renewal. Report here.

47. A Eucharistic Famine
Extract from paper by David Timbs, 21 August 2015
A growing area of critical concern for Catholics in many if not most countries in the world is the alarming contraction in access to the Celebration of the Eucharist. The situation has become so acutely serious in Western countries in particular, that some commentators are using a term first used by a missionary in Africa back in 1985, “the Eucharistic famine.” The problem is intrinsically related to the drastically shrinking number of priests active in the ministry. In this issue of the Newsletter, David Timbs has written on the Eucharistic famine and suggests solutions which are congruent and consistent with that never failing wisdom and of the Sensus Fidelium (the sense of the faith of the faithful) which are the baptismal and conformational gifts to the People of God. The changes they are seeking are part of clearly identifiable pattern of positive change not to dogma but to attitudes and disciplines. Paper HERE

46. The Jesus Movement Part V – Paul and his opponents
Extract from Paper by David Timbs, 21 August 2015
In this final New Testament article in the Mutations series “The Jesus Movement Part V: Paul and his opponents” highlighting significant challenges in the earliest days of the Church, David Timbs examines some of the most intense conflicts between Paul and his opponents in the Jesus Movement. All of them in some way bear uncanny resemblance to the dynamics of current passionate arguments, conversations and disputes involving dysfunction and disunity in the modern Catholic Church. Paper HERE

45. On Falsehoods and Corrections
Extract from paper by Garry Everett, 21 August 2015
In the Catholic Leader (July 19th), Archbishop Coleridge offered his views on what he called “the 10 falsehoods relating to same-sex marriage”. He said that he was doing this “as a service to the truth in this complex and important matter”. At the heart of the Archbishop’s article, are three inter-related issues, which underpin the rest of the article. These issues are : love; homosexuality; and marriage. If you accept the “correction to each “ falsehood” in these three issues, then the other seven corrections fall into place. I wish to shine a different light on each of the Archbishop’s key points…………Paper HERE

44. Gay Marriage: A personal letter to the ACBC
Extract from Dr Peter Seal:
“I am writing to you as a concerned Catholic and man of faith. In addition, I am the father of 3 school-age children born from a loving heterosexual conjugal union. I have read carefully the Pastoral Letter from the Catholic Bishops of Australia to all Australians on the ‘Same-sex Marriage’ debate, ‘Don’t Mess With Marriage’. Since then, I have reflected deeply on it, and my conscience has been demanding a response to your missive on what has become a matter of significant gravity in our community.”………Paper HERE

43. The People Speak Link to CCRI-ACC Jubilee of Mercy document resulting from five thousand responses by Catholics world wide to the Vatican’s survey questionnaire on the Lineamenta. Thursday 2 July 2015
This body of work is a collaborative project engaged by Catholic Church Reform Int’l and the American Catholic Council defining where a global audience rates the effectiveness of Church teaching and its effects on the Baptized.  Survey results provide a foundation for a call to action for Grassroots Catholics to actively engage in a culture change in the Church while Pope Francis makes needed structural/systems changes at the top……………..(Here)

42A. The Great Disaffiliation Part IV: Are there grounds for hope with the Francis effect?                    David Timbs, 10  June 2015                                                                                                                                                                                           Extract: According to a number of sources, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was the runner-up in the 2005 papal conclave and perhaps that he chose to be. It has been suggested that he believed that he had become compromised during the Conclave as a result of an alleged dirty tricks operation mounted against him involving the Argentine Ambassador to the Holy See. Given what has transpired since his election as Pope Francis in 2013, one can only begin to imagine what kind of a Church there would be now, ten years on…………….(Here)

42. The Great Disaffiliation Part III: Where are they going?David Timbs, 6  May 2015
 In the first two articles in this series by David Timbs an attempt has been made to identify and examine the causes for the mass disengagement of Catholics from regular Faith practice.  The haemorrhage, especially the 1950s has been catastrophic, especially in the developed world. In Australia, the national average of Catholics regularly practicing the Faith through parish engagement is around 10.6%. It is relatively easy to determine how many Catholics have disengaged from Faith practice, a little more difficult to determine exactly why they have done so but finding out where they go afterwards, if anywhere, is another story. Read Part 2 Here.

41. The Pact of the Catacombs (Domitilla) A poor servant Church
The Vatican II nature of Church:  Good Friday, 3 April 2015
As Vatican Council II drew to a close in 1965, 40 bishops met at night in the Domitilla Catacombs outside Rome. In that holy place of Christian dead they celebrated the Eucharist and signed a document that expressed their personal commitments as bishops to the ideals of the Council under the suggestive title of the Pact of the Catacombs. The only place we have found its complete text transcribed is in the Chronicle of Vatican II by the Franciscan bishop Boaventura Kloppenburg. He titled the document Pact of the Servant and Poor Church……… download the pact here

40. Clericalism
David Timbs, OMG (A Journal of Religion and Culture), April 1 2015
If clericalism looms large in today’s church, it has had centuries to grow strong. David Timbs traces the roots of clericalism back to the end of the Apostolic age, at the end of the first century C.E………….  (here)

39. The Great Disaffiliation, Part II Vatican II: A new spirit in the ChurchPart two of a continuing series of short papers by David Timbs* on the exodus of Catholics from the pews over the past fifty or so years, April 2015 (see Part I – document 36 below) Extract:The Second Vatican Council provided Catholics with an enormous injection of confidence in a world already brimming with high aspirations following half a century of global war and ruin. Despite understandable climate of cynicism and suspicion of old ideologies, Catholics found themselves buoyed by the prospects of living their Faith and expressing it in ways which would invigorate and sustain them. They also found new courage to become more effective bearers of the Gospel to their neighbours………….  Download paper here* David Timbs is a member of Catholics For Renewal

 38. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
Submission from Catholics For Renewal Inc. 8 March 2015
on Consultation Paper Redress and Civil Litigation (Jan. 2015)

Although this submission is directed to the Commission’s Consultation Paper on Redress and Civil Litigation of January 2015, the concerns we express regarding the Catholic Church’s dysfunctional governance are relevant to most aspects of the Commission’s terms of reference. Major concerns about the governance of the Church have been carefully documented in this submission which builds on and refines arguments that we have been articulating for some time. here

37.  Church in crisis: People of God are speaking, but not yet heard!                                                         – Catholics For Renewal Newsletter No. 3, March 7, 2015                                                                                             This Newsletter was sent to subscribers on 7 March 2015, A copy including hyperlinks to additional related content may be downloaded here

36. The Great Disaffiliation, Part 1 – Extract from a short paper by David Timbs, 1 March 2015

…………….There are many explanations for the massive exodus from Catholic pews during just over sixty years. Beginning with this article and continuing until June, I will offer some analysis of what has become a disastrous situation for the Western membership of the Church and particularly for Catholics in Australia…………..(Read David’s full paper here, or download a copy here). David Timbs is a member of Catholics For Renewal

35. God, Compassion and Law – Extracts from a short paper by David Timbs, 1 February 2015
Since his election Pope Francis has been urging Catholics to remember that God should not be defined simply as the Divine Law-giver. The wider narrative is about God who is both personal and relational. It is a story of God who is related to humanity more intimately than anyone or anything else. Francis reminds his fellow Catholics that God is the very personification of limitless mercy and compassion and that Jesus incarnated, lived and preached the Mystery of it all………Francis is reminding the Catholic people that there is always a solution to challenges and impasses whatever they may be. He reminds everyone that nothing, not even the Church’s own laws can contain, limit or domesticate the mystery of Christ and his Gospel.  Francis powerfully reaffirms this conviction when he says..(paper). David Timbs is a member of Catholics F.R.

34 . ‘Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried”  
Powerpoint version of Pastoral Reflection by Philip Malone MSC*, 11 November 2014, as part of a YTU Public Lecture series “Synod of Bishops: Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelisation”
Philip Malone MSC teaches in the area of moral theology, with special interest in introducing students to this important field of study (and experience). Related teaching interests are sacramental and pastoral theology. He has published articles in Compass. Published with Permission here. *Philip Malone MSC, B.A., Dip.Ed., BRSt., S.T.L.

33. Synod14 – “Relatio Synodi” of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization” (5-19 October 2014), 18.10.2014  –  may be downloaded here

32. Pope Francis and living with messiness –  David Timbs, Wednesday 29 October 2014
Pope Francis and living with messiness. David Timbs Francis has been criticised by left and right, liberals and conservatives for lacking clarity in policy, for speaking in riddles and for leaving big issues dangling in mid air. Clarity in speech for Francis is largely a matter of suggestion, hinting, teasing, taunting, being parabolic. His ambiguities and lack of clarity even refusal to be definitive is perhaps an attempt to force people to think independently, not to be infantilised by doctrinaire authoritarian clerics of whatever colour the cloth.       It has created a new age of anxiety for many if not for all. While liberals seek the raging banditry of the risk-taking prophet, while the conservatives and Trads seek dogmatic assurances and catechesis,   Francis offers an uncomfortable Christ who disturbs all equally……….Paper my be downloaded here

31 “The Role of Church Law in the Child Abuse Issue: Help or Hindrance”. Copy of Presentation by Kieran Tapsell at a Discussion on Wednesday 29 October 2014 at the Pumphouse Hotel Fitzroy in the company of Rev. Professor Ian Waters and a live audience. The eveny was co sponsored by Catholics For Renewal and Catalyst For Renewal.  Video recordings of the event may be viewed here (to be added)

30. Media Release: October Synod on the Family – a challenge for Pope Francis Thursday 2 October 2104
At the onset of the Extraordinary Synod On The Family in Rome from 5-15 October 2014 a Catholics For Renewal Media Release today highlights the challenge for Pope Francis given the thinking of many Catholics on Family issues and the already evident diversity of thinking and overall conservatism on key family issues in the Church hierarchy. It may be downloaded here

29 Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI) “Interim Summary Report”  1 October 2014                  Catholics For Renewal and around 100 other Catholic Reform/Renewal Groups throughout the world, working through our international collaborative body Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI) have systematically gathered comprehensive inputs from Catholics around the world and produced an “Interim Summary Report”. It includes some content from a recent Forum hosted at Glen Waverley Parish that relates to the impact on family of child sexual abuse, not covered elsewhere in the Interim Summary. This has just been forwarded to Bishops and Lay persons attending the Family Synod. Here

28. Synod on the Family Media Release  A Small Voice, but No Votes:   October Synod on the Family Remains a Clerical Affair.  Catholics For Renewal Media Release, Thursday 11 September 2014.   Download here

27. The Parish – a Community of Evangelisation                                                                         (theological and historical context and perspectives), David Timbs, 18 August 2014  (here)“The parish is not an outdated institution; precisely because it possesses great flexibility, it can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the pastor and the community.”  “It is a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a center of constant missionary outreach.”  – Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel,

26. Five things we learned about Pope Francis:Summary of America magazine reports by The Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, The Roman Catholic Church of Southern Missouri, U.S. (here)

25. Interim Report, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse            Parts 1 & 2, 30 June 2014 (here)

24. Instrumentum Laboris Working Document for the Synod on the Family, 26 June 2014            Working Document for the October 2014 extraordinary Synod of Bishops: Instrumentum Laboris – The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization (26 June 2014).

23.  Second CathFR Submission to the Australian Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse
Monday 2 June 2014
Catholics For Renewal has lodged a 2nd submission to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, directed specifically to the Commission’s Issues Paper on Redress Schemes. The concerns it also expresses regarding the Church’s dysfunctional governance are relevant to most aspects of the Commission’s terms of reference. It draws in part from earlier submissions, both commenting on and offering suggestions in relation to:

a) the desirable features of redress schemes, and
b) the importance of Church governance reform as part of any redress scheme.

In brief summary the key issues in our submission include:
* supporting the establishment of a national scheme of redress for victims of child sexual abuse
* addressing the cause of offending behaviours (institutional abuse)
* addressing the Church’s flawed system of ecclesiastical governance
* need to ensure the Church becomes a good ‘corporate citizen’
* need for global reform of the Church’s inadequate governance, culture, and practices
* need for the Church to adopt clear and unambiguous modern governance structures, policy and practice
* the importance of an effective national approach to redress schemes to offer compensation and/or services to those who have suffered

The Submission also expresses a view that with establishment of the Commission for the Protection of Minors the Church may now be more likely to receive and accept advice regarding the role of institutional abuse from an expert body such as the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  Download submission here

22. The Fisherman Reinvented (The rise of the monarchical papacy)
Extracted, with permission, from author David Timbs, Originally published June 2012 in then rewritten and republished inOMG, April, 2014 (full version here). 16 May 2014
…… is worthwhile noting some perceptions about the Catholic Church especially from active members. Perceptions are important because whether they are founded or not, they have the potential to make or break individuals or organisations. In the Westminster system of government for example, leaders and governing parties can sometime fall on perceptions.

Some of these more dangerous perceptions are: that the  Fisherman has usurped the role of the Master who originally called him; that Peter has now become the Christ figure, that he calls and names other apostles, not Christ; that the papacy and the institutional Church has been so confected that it is promoted as coextensive with the Kingdom of God; that a toll of instruction, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, has been elevated to a doctrinal rank higher than the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council; that the Holy Spirit has been domesticated and reduced to the slave of ideology and indoctrination; that the Code of Canon Law has been promoted to a principal guide book for those called to lead as priest, prophet and sanctifier and that,  finally, the Gospel itself is now become stripped of its power to confront, challenge, subvert and transform its own servant, the Church itself (more).

21.Further “Pearls and Irritations.John Menadue Website                                                                   August 24 2016,  Peter Johnstone, Australian Catholic Church planning national/plenary synod…….(more) August 23  2016, Paul Collins, Sniffing the Ecclesiastical Wind………….(more)                                             August 7 2015, Eric Hodgens, The Catholic Church is really two churches.Here                                             June 21, 2015 Bruce Duncan, Pope Francis on avoiding environmental catastrophe.HereJune  8, 2015. Michael Kelly SJ. It can’t get any worse. Here                                                                       April 9, 2015,  Kieran Tapsell: The Seventh Pope to Require the Cover up of Child Sexual Abuse? hereMarch 16, 2015, Can Pope Francis Turn the Church around? Eric Hodgens (here) February 13, 2015, The Promoted Pell and the Sacked Morris: Two Catholic Bishops emerging from the Royal Commission, Frank Brennan SJ (here)                                                                                     November 23, 2014 Archbishop Fisher’s Vision. Eric Hodgens, John Menadue website (here)       September 16, Will the Synod on the family work? Eric Hodgens (here)                                                           September 11 2014, Pope Francis is a game-changer, Michael Kelly SJ,(here)                                     August 25 2014, George Pell’s logic on child sex abuse is flawed. Kieran Tapsell (here)
August 21 2014. Those pesky nuns by John Menadue (links to article by Nicholas Kristof) hereAugust 16 2014, The Royal Commission on the Melbourne Response. Kieran Tapsell, here August 7 2014,  Much ado about nothing?   Paul CollinsThe 2014-15 Synod, here                                         July 10 2014, Rolf Harris and the Vatican, Kieran Tapsell, John Menadue website, here                             June 30 2014, The Nestor Case, Kieran Tapsell, John Menadue website, here                                       John Mendadue, JMWebsite , “Catholic Church: catch-up and cover-up” 19 June 2014 here                 Kieran Tapsell, JM Website, “Canon Law and the Truth, Justice and Healing Council”. 16 June 2014 here Julian McDonald,  JMWebsite   “We will right this terrible wrong”. 23 May 2014 here      Kieran  Tapsell,  JMWebsite   “The Vatican at the UN: Who is fossilised in the Past?” 16 May 2014 (here)     By David Marr, Christopher Geraghty, “Kieran Tapsell’s “Potiphar’s Wife”, 8 May 2014, (here)                      By Kieran Tapsell, John Menadue Website    2 May 2014, “Next item on the Catholic reform agenda” (here)

20. The Francis Effect: Joy and Fresh Hope?  (download full paper here)
Extract from Peter Wilkinson, Talk to Spirituality in the Pub Meeting, Sandringham, 23 April 2014

When 115 cardinals entered the Sistine Chapel in early March 2013 to elect a new Bishop of Rome, were they looking for a man who had the qualities set out by St Paul in his 1st Letter to Timothy?

‘… irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not aggressive but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money; able to manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity; for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of the church of God?  … He must also have a good reputation among outsiders ….’ (1 Tim. 3:1-7; 5:17-19).

Or the qualities he listed in his Letter to Titus?

‘… blameless, not arrogant, not irritable, not a drunkard, not aggressive, not greedy for sordid gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, temperate, just, holy and self-controlled, holding fast to the true message as taught so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute opponents’ (Titus, 1:5-9).

Or were they looking for a man with the qualities outlined by Jorge Bergoglio, one of their own?

‘… a pastor, close to the people, a father and brother, with great gentleness, patient, and merciful…not having the psychology of a prince, … able to support the movements of God among his people.’   

19. Some comments arising from the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission
Saturday 29 March 2014, Pearls & Irritations, John Menadue Website
1) “Pell’s business strategy in tatters” by Kieran Tapsell (here).
2) “Farewell to Pell”, Chris Geraghty (here)

18. See, Judge and Act: reading the signs of the times

Extract from presentations by retired Bishop Pat Power on 24 March at Cowra as part of the 125th anniversary celebrations for St Raphael’s parish, and on 25 March at a SIP in Bathurst.
(Read full text here)
……In 1996, I gave a talk in which I expressed my hopes for the Catholic Church. They were that it would be

•    a more  human Church
•    a humbler Church
•    a less clerical Church
•    a more inclusive Church (and therefore more truly catholic)
•    a more open Church
•    a Church which finds unity in diversity
•    a Church which discovers its whole tradition
•    a Church which reflects the person and values of Jesus.

I have restated these hopes many times since, including at the Oceania Synod of Bishops in Rome in 1998 in the presence of Pope John Paul II, the future Pope Benedict XVI and my brother bishops. Surely such aspirations are even more pressing today.

Many Catholics believed that the Church was becoming too comfortable, too respectable yet up until the election of Pope Francis, they felt that nobody was listening to their concerns. Groups calling for reform are regularly dismissed as trouble-makers with little love for the Church when in fact their hearts are breaking for the Church which they see as drifting further away from the message of Jesus. Maybe it has taken the present crisis in the Church to bring us all to our senses. Pope Francis’ willingness to listen and his experience as a very human pastor give us all great hope, but even the Pope recognises the forces which are trying to maintain the status quo.

In 2010, I wrote that the reform needed by the Church involved more than just “tinkering around the edges”. Issues such as the authoritarian nature of the Church, compulsory celibacy for the clergy, the participation of women in the Church and the teaching on sexuality in all aspects cannot be brushed aside. Listening must be a key component of reform and at times that will involve listening to unpalatable truths. It means that all wisdom does not exclusively reside in the present all male leadership in the Church and that the voices of the faithful must be heard……. (Read full text here) Photo: Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn

17. Further Pearls and Irritations

  By Kieran Tapsell or Chris Geraghty or Eric Hodgens,  From the John Menadue Web Site                                         

  March 11  2014,  Sydney’s next bishop – what sort? Eric Hodgens, here

  March 5 2014, Where do bishops come from?  Eric Hodgens.  here

  February 27 2014, The Pell Factor (by Chris Geraghty).  here

  February 7 2014,  The United Nations and the ‘Warts-and-all’ history. here

  January 7, The revival of misprison of a felony.  here.

  January 15, Sex abuse, the de facto privilege of clergy, here.

  January  23, The Inquisition of the Catholic Church at the UN, here.

16. An Open Letter to Pope Francis and the Family Synod Secretariat from the Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Renewal (ACCCR)
Monday 23 December 2013
Prepared by Catholics for Ministry and sent to Pope Francis and the Family Synod Secretariat under the aegis of the Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (ACCCR) the letter may be accessed here

15. Pearls and Irritations(the Pearl is the Irritation of the Oyster)
Monday 23 December 2013
From the John Menadue Web Site the following linked-blogs by Kieran Tapsell have been published:

  • November 17, Systemic issues arising from the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry, here
  • November 24, Sexual abuse, Don’t mention Canon Law, here
  • December 04, Bella Figura and the Vatican,  here.
  • December 10, Vatican and Zero Tolerance protocols, here
  • December 13, Flogging a Dead Horse at the Royal Commission….  here
  • December 17, ++Mark Coleridge and the Humpty Dumpty principle of Canon Law, here
  • December 21, Cracks in the Church Dyke at the Royal Commission, here

14.Catholic Church releases child sexual abuse reform proposals
Extracts from Communications Office, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 3 October 2013

The leadership of the Catholic Church in Australia has endorsed the development of a reform agenda which could see the most significant overhaul of the Church’s approach to clerical sexual abuse in its more than 200-year history in Australia. Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, said the reforms are now being fully developed and will be presented to Church leaders in the first half of 2014. “These proposals recognise that we must do better when we are dealing with victims of sexual abuse and as we work to make sure our institutions are as safe as possibly for children,” Mr Sullivan said…..The reform proposals are outlined in the Truth Justice and Healing Council’s Towards Healing submission to the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse. The Truth Justice and Healing Council Towards Healing submission can be read HERE

13. Who goes to Mass in Australia in the 21st Century?  13/09/2013
Edited Extract from analysis by Peter J Wilkinson (August 2013) Published in The Swag, Vol. 23, No.3

Three times in the 21st century, Australia’s bishops have measured the fidelity of the nation’s Catholics to regular Mass attendance. In 2001, 2006 and 2011, coinciding with the Commonwealth Census, the ACBC Pastoral Research Office (PRO) has conducted National Counts of Attendance in every parish of every diocese. The results of the 2011 Count, recently published, reveal a Catholic community with diminished and diminishing fidelity to the Eucharistic celebration. This analysis is based on those counts together with other data and comprises the following Sections; How many go to Mass? Where do Australian Catholics go to Mass? Who attends Mass regularly? and Where to from here?  Full report herecourtesy The Swag.

12. Catholics for Renewal submission to the Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse 3/09/2013

Catholics for Renewal has made a submission to the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on the effectiveness of the Catholic Church’s Towards Healing protocol on the handling of child sexual abuse complaints within the Church.

The submission identifies a number of deficiencies in the protocol and proposes wide ranging reforms to its operation and the legal framework governing the safeguarding of our children from abuse and the punishment of clerical offenders. The seven key reforms proposed are:

1.The Catholic Church nationally and internationally must accept that its governance structures, culture and practices are seriously deficient and have been responsible for terrible damage to children, and must be reformed as a matter of urgency.

2.The Holy See should be asked to commit to a more accountable, transparent and inclusive Church informed by its member communities, rejecting patriarchal and autocratic cultures.

3.Towards Healing and The Melbourne Response should be reviewed by the Catholic Church as one nationally consistent protocol focussed in every respect on the safeguarding of children, on justice for victims, on pastoral care, and the reporting to civil authorities of all credible allegations of child sexual abuse.

4.Towards Healing should be redeveloped as a national pastoral response to victims of abuse and not be involved in compensation matters. The awarding of compensation is more appropriately a matter for an independent national compensation body, funded by those institutions, including the dioceses and religious congregations of the Catholic Church in Australia, against whom complaints of abuse have been established.

5.The Catholic Church should ensure that clear internal practices and a corresponding culture are developed within its organisations whereby all credible allegations or evidence of sexual abuse is reported to the police.

6.The Catholic Church should ensure that independent regular reviews are conducted of its sexual abuse protocols in association with government.

7.The Commonwealth should legislate in cooperation with State governments for the introduction of mandatory criminal reporting of all credible allegations or evidence of sexual abuse of children in church or other institutions.

The full submission may be downloaded here. Catholics for Renewal encourages members and supporters to discuss the submission with other Catholics committed to the renewal of the Church’s governance and practices. We welcome your feedback on our proposals for reform. 

11. Organisational Governance- Risks and Responsibilities
Paper responding to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, presented to the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare and Victorian Council of Social Service. Wednesday 1 May 2013. Peter Johnstone OAM, Chairman, VincentCare Victoria. Download here

10. CFR Presentation at Inquiry Public Hearing, 23 January 2013
The Presentation at Public Hearing of Inquiry into The Handling Of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations,  23 Jan 2013, may be downloaded here. Appendix may be downloaded here.

9. CFR submission to Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse
Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations.
Catholics for Renewal was established in April 2011 as a national community-based group of Catholics committed to renewal of the Catholic Church so that it is Christian in all respects, in the pursuit of its mission and in its governance. It seeks to work within the Church to enable Catholics to address matters which concern the good of the Church, seeking renewal of the Church in the likeness of Christ, in keeping with their duty as members of the Church .  It received the support of more than 8,000 Australian Catholics who signed an Open Letter to Pope Benedict XV1 and the Australian Bishops last year, expressing a number of concerns about the Church’s spirituality, governance and practices including:

“Our Church has been tainted by injustice and blemished by bad decisions. We still reel from the sexual abuse scandal, where the Church’s initial response was manifestly inadequate and where some authorities, in their attempts to protect the institution, exposed innocent young people to grave harm”

Further background on News page.CFR are presently assembling a mailing list and would be happy to include anyone who contacts us through this website.  The submission concludes with a number of recommendations.   Submission

8. Summary of CFR submission to  Inquiry into the Handling of ChildAbuse                                             Executive summary and copy of recommendations from Catholics for Renewal submission to the Victorian Parliament’s Family and Community Development Committee for the Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations, 21 September 2012, here.

7. An Australian Coalition – A call for Church renewal (January 2012): Jesus inspired his disciples to form a community to proclaim and live the Good News of love, justice, equality, self-giving and hope. 

The institutional Church has failed to listen to its people thus alienating many through an emphasis on power, hierarchy and discrimination, with a lack of transparency and accountability. Australian Catholics have a responsibility to act now in ways that reflect the values of the Gospel, the vision of Vatican II and the best values of Australian society.  (more)

6.A National Synod/Plenary Council for the Catholic Church in Australia in 2015
Vatican II, in its 1965 Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church (Christus Dominus) stated that ‘this sacred ecumenical synod earnestly desires that the venerable institution of synods and councils flourish with fresh vigour. In such a way faith will be deepened and discipline preserved more fittingly and efficaciously in the various churches, as the needs of the times require’ (n. 36) (more).

5. Catholic Synods in Australia, 1844-2011, Peter J Wilkinson, December 2011
Introduction: The Open Letter to Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Bishops of Australia, prepared by Catholics for Renewal in July 2011, contains the recommendation ‘that each diocesan bishop convene at an early date a synod in his diocese, under the provisions of Canon Law (C.460-468), to discuss how the local Church might be a more authentic witness in the 21st century’1. 

Synods have been an integral part of church governance since the time of the Apostles and have played a key role in how Catholics understand their faith, live it, and confront the issues of their times in the light of their understanding of the Gospel.

Since the establishment of the Catholic Church in Australia in 1834, at least 145 Catholic synods – 3 provincial, 4 plenary and 138 diocesan – have been held throughout the nation. However, in the 46 years since the 2nd Vatican Council (1962-1965) which explicitly called for synods ’to flourish with new vigour’ (Christus Dominus, n. 36), and insisted that the laity have an active role in them, no plenary or provincial councils or synods have been held, and only five Australian bishops have convened just six diocesan synods. This is a serious concern for many Australian Catholics who feel they have been denied official church forums allowing their voices to be heard and their views to be properly considered (more).

4. A Parish Charter to celebrate Vatican II
A Parish Charter has been drafted for the consideration of parishes throughout Australia as an initiative to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the commencement of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, and to support the Year of Grace proclaimed by the Australian Bishops. The Charter was drafted by members of Catholics for Ministry and Catholics for Renewal.

The Charter is seen as an opportunity to focus the people of the Church in every parish of Australia on Vatican II’s call for continuing renewal of the Church and pursuit of our mission as the People of God. It introduces a concept of ‘Vatican II Charter Parishes’ which commit to following pastoral policies which respond to the call in Gaudium et Spes ,the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World promulgated by Pope Paul VI in December 1965 to mark the conclusion of the Council (more). 3. The overwhelming conclusion of Peter Wilkinson’s just published and detailed study Catholic Parish Ministry in Australia: Facing Disasteris that there is a real crisis in parish ministry in Australia and that it is huge. Drawing on statistics from The 2010-11 Official Directory of the Catholic Church in Australia Wilkinson looks at everything connected with on-the-ground ministry in Australian Catholicism and shows that parishes are failing for a complex of reasons to meet even the basic liturgical needs of parishioners, let alone the broad range of other challenges facing the church (more).

2. New stats reveal priesthood and participation crisis is deepening.
Comments on and extracts from 2012 update to the Wilkinson Report Catholic Parish Ministry in Australia: The crisis deepens, Peter. J. Wilkinson, April 2012, Catholica, April 2012  (here)

1.Statement to the Holy Father on Ad Limina Visit 2011 – Archbishop Wilson(here)