Australia’s bishops and religious are considering the recommendations for change in a 208-page review into the governance of the Church.
If implemented, they would see administrative and financial control of dioceses and parishes radically reshaped and shared between the clergy and laypeople and an increased role for women.
In mid-May, the bishops considered the report, The Light from the Southern Cross: Promoting Co-Responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia, submitted by the Implementation Advisory Group’s Governance Review Project Team. They are continuing to mull a response to 86 recommendations.
The report was initiated by the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference in May 2019 in response to a key recommendation of Australia’s landmark Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The governance report was written by 14 people, handpicked lay and clergy – men and women – from Australia as well as international experts. People familiar with the process who declined to be identified said the report was to have been kept secret until about November, but it was leaked to the internet on 1st June.
A spokesman for the bishops said: “The version that has been published is not the final document. One of the reasons for the delay of the report’s release was the need for some corrections and clarifications. That process has commenced and is likely to take several weeks. There is also a need to discern how and when various recommendations might best be considered, not least in light of the upcoming assemblies of the Plenary Council.”
Picture: People maintain social distancing as they attend Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on 15th May 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. (CNS photo/Dan Himbrechts, AAP Image via Reuters).