Australian Bishops urge further consultation on leaked governance report

Australian Bishops “Interim” Report

Title: Australian Bishops urge further consultation on leaked governance report

Author: Vatican News

Publisher: Vatican News

Date: 15JUN2020

Archbishop Mark Coleridge issues a statement regarding a leaked report on Church governance in Australia, and calls for further consultation before the final version can be released.

The President of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference has called a leaked report on Church governance “an interim version” and not the final report.

The report is entitled “The Light from the Southern Cross: Promoting Co-Responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia”. The Bishops commissioned the 208-page report and handpicked 14 people—including lay people, clergy, and international experts—to write it.

The report makes 86 recommendations for changes in the governance of the Catholic Church in Australia. They hit on issues such as subsidiarity, administration, synodality, dialogue, discernment, and leadership, as well as offering concrete suggestions for strengthening the role of the laity at parish and diocesan levels.

Terms of reference not fulfilled

In a statement released on 12 June, Archbishop Mark Coleridge said the terms of reference set forth for the governance review have not yet been fulfilled.

He said those terms were set out in a letter he wrote in March 2019 to the Chair of the Implementation Advisory Group.

The letter, said Archbishop Coleridge, required the final report to be “finalised in consultation with the Conference; and any matters pertaining to the Holy See, Plenary Council or other parties should be conveyed to them prior to publication.”

The Bishops’ Conference also retained the right to decide upon the timing of publication.

Archbishop Coleridge said the Bishops had not finished consulting with the Holy See before the report was leaked on 1 June.

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