The work of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia

Staff 29 September 2021

The journey to the Plenary Council has been long (and made longer by the coronavirus pandemic), nor will it not end with the First General Assembly. 

Work toward a Council began in 2016 when the Australian Bishops confirmed a plan to host one in 2020. In March 2018 Pope Francis granted formal approval for the Church in Australia to hold the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia.

The listening and dialogue phase began in May 2018, inviting people to consider the question 'What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?'. In July 2019 the National Centre for Pastoral Research published 'Listen to What the Spirit is Saying', and then the Listening and Discernment phase opened, inviting people to reflect on the six National Themes for Discernment through prayer, listening, sharing and discernment. With the coming of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Plenary Council assemblies planned for October 2020 and April 2021 were postponed until October 2021 and July 2022. 

The historic event will develop concrete proposals to create a more missionary, Christ-centred Church in Australia.

Australian Catholics and its sister publication Eureka Street have a number of articles explaining the journey to the Plenary Council and its deliberations.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Time between assemblies a chance for prayer, maturation

Brisbane Mass closes Plenary Council's first assembly

Plenary Council's fist assembly 'inspiring, challenging'

Plenary members present final reports of first assembly

Plenary Council's task: 'Reveal the face of Christ'

Plenary members focus on mission in God's world

Plenary Council journey one for 'dusty, patient pilgrims'

Plenary Council to contemplate woundedness, seek new peripheries

Members unpack big questions facing the Church

Archbishop Fisher: 'Be Powerhouse of Prayer'

Council members begin work of communal discernment

Pope sends blessings to historic Church event

St Francis a model for Australia's Plenary Council

Catholics in Australia urged: 'Become true disciples'

The Journey to the Plenary Council
Australian Catholics

Anticipating the Plenary Council

Truth-telling and the Plenary Council

The Plenary Council

Listening to the Holy Spirit: A guide to discernment

Listening to the Holy Spirit: A Church where everybody leads

What is God asking of the Catholic church?

Eureka Street

The Plenary Council: Consulting the faithful

Strapped in for the Plenary Council ride

The challenges of representing Catholic Australia

The uncomfortable legacy: colonisation and the church

Plenary Council needs the Catholic community

A skeleton for the Plenary Council agenda

The Plenary Council must address structural inertia and church decline

Aussie bishops can't shy from celibacy questions

Plenary Council rocket science a matter of trust

Defend inclusiveness at Catholic Plenary Council

Assembly 1 blogs and podcasts

Toward  a transparent, inclusive and humble church – John Warhurst AO 

Opening Eucharist – Francis Sullivan blog

Plenary Matters – Geraldine Doogue

Fr Frank Brennan's homily – 3 October 2021

Plenary Council podcast