Holy spirit

Will Australia be obedient to the Holy Spirit during the Plenary Council? – Catholic perspective

Australia’s ability to discern the motions presented at the final session of the historic Plenary Council will depend heavily on the ability of the faithful to ‘let the Holy Spirit breathe’, says ACU theologian Reverend Dr Ormond Rush .

Dr. Rush is an internationally renowned systematic theologian, priest of the Diocese of Townsville and expert advisor to the Plenary Council. He said at a public event in Brisbane organized by the Australian Catholic Theological Association (ACTA) to discuss the themes of the Plenary Council framework for motions, that the Church cannot forget or omit the third person of the Trinity.

“We will not be a fully renewed Church until we allow the Holy Spirit to breathe among us,” Dr. Rush said during the first of two ACTA Plenary Council conversations.

“The Church is helpless, ignorant, without the Spirit enlightening her to discern how to apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ in new situations.”

Dr. Rush was invited to unpack the seventh theme of the Framework of Motions, At the service of communion, participation and mission: governance at the event, which was sponsored by ACU Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Catholic Theological College, Divinity University, Melbourne and BBI: Australian Institute of Higher Learning. More than 400 people followed the event broadcast live.

He joined fellow ACU theologian and Brisbane Plenary Council member Dr Maeve Louise Heaney, ACU Honorary Doctorate recipient Sr Melissa Dwyer FDCC, Archbishop Christopher Prowse, Bishop Shane Mackinlay , Dr. Julie Trinidad and Toni Janke at the public event and broadcast live on June 16.

Focusing on the term “participation”, Fr Rush said the Church in Australia had a unique opportunity to practice what the Second Vatican Council called “sensus fidei», or the capacity for the baptized, by the gift of the Holy Spirit « to discern the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel » in the Plenary Council.

“As the Church moves through time, into an unknown future, history raises new questions that the Church, let alone humanity, has never had to deal with before,” said Dr. Rush.

“And as he seeks his primary sources, scripture and living tradition, how does the Holy Spirit help the Church and its leaders find answers to these seemingly imponderable questions?

“That’s what the full Council is trying to do.”

Acknowledging that the reception of the Second Vatican Council “has barely begun, even 55 years after its closing”, and that historically the Church has taken an average of 100 years to implement a council, Dr Rush said the Pope was “moving the needle here” with the notion of synodality.

“This is by no means to minimize the role of the oversight of the hierarchy in the three offices of Christ of the Church, but it obliges all of us, lay and ordained, to what the Pope calls a “synodal conversion “,” Dr. Rush said.

“We are all challenged to reimagine what common obedience to the Holy Spirit might mean.”

ACTA President Dr. Heaney said the collaboration between bishops and theologians at the Second Vatican Council was the inspiration for the event of the ACTA Plenary Council conversations.

“In the analogous way in which collaboration between bishops and theologians has contributed to the achievements of this Council, we believe that the future of the Church in Australia and her service to society depends on similar collaborative work with Australian theologians, and in this case, the Plenary Council that we are celebrating,” she said.

Dr Heaney said Australian theologians were happy to support the Church in improving its theological culture and its ability to discern the promptings of the Holy Spirit, especially towards the full Council.

Plenary Council Conversations: Part 2 will be held in Brisbane on July 1 from 6-8 p.m. Register for the event in person and online here.

The second assembly of the Plenary Council begins in Sydney with Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral at 5:00 p.m. AEST. You can find more information about the Assembly, including the live stream schedule, by visiting parracatholic.org/plenary.

With thanks to the ACU.