In October 2021, the Catholic Church in Australia will gather for the first Assembly of the Plenary Council to be held since the second Vatican Council. In 2018, when the decision to hold a Plenary Council was announced, the entire People of God in Australia began preparing for this historic moment by listening to God and by listening to one another’s stories of faith.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the first Assembly will be a mix of in-person and online delivery. See the up-to-date PLENARY COUNCIL JOURNEY 2020-2022.

Responses to the discernment journey which began with the Listening and Dialogue Phase, followed by the Listening and Discernment Phase can still be accessed for your consideration and reflection. The six Thematic Discernment papers and Reflection Guide, prepared by several writing groups are also still available, by clicking here.

As we make the journey in these months towards the first Assembly, we are all invited to be mindful that the members (formerly called delegates) will be commissioned and participate in formation sessions in preparation to fulfil their role as members. At the same time, we are all called to continue our own journey of prayer and discernment as we look forward in hope to the renewal of the Catholic Church in Australia.

  • Phase I: Listening and Dialogue

    More than 222,000 people participated in Phase I: Listening and Dialogue, contributing 17,457 submissions. The voices of the faithful helped all of us to understand something of the historical experience and the current reality of the Catholic Church in Australia. This gathered data also reveals some deeper hopes and questions, and the diverse yearnings, that we continue to be challenged to consider together.

  • Phase II: Listening and Discernment

    The voices in the Listening and Dialogue submissions inspired The National Themes for Discernment, which have served as guides as we went through Phase II: Listening and Discernment. Catholics all over Australia participated in Writing and Discernment sessions, discerning on the submissions with prayerful hearts and minds. These responses made their way to our Writing and Discernment Groups via our website portal, who drafted thematic papers towards making the agenda for Assembly 1.

    Discernment will go on indefinitely. We invite you to continue getting together with your community for sessions and sending us your responses via the website.

  • Towards Assembly 1

    With the calling of the members, we commenced work towards Assembly 1 of the Plenary Council in earnest. While Discernment continues across the country, members will undergo formation and be sent documents in advance. These documents included the THEMATIC DISCERNMENT PAPERS written by the Writing and Discernment Groups.

    In 2020, we announced more than 280 members (formerly called delegates) for the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia, including members nominated by dioceses, eparchies, ordinariates, leaders of religious congregations, some church ministries and a personal prelature. The members will represent those local churches at the celebration of the Council over two assemblies – originally planned for Adelaide in October 2020 and in Sydney in mid-2021.

    On April 6, 2020, Assembly 1 was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic preventing the desired process of discernment and formation for the members. As of June 2020, Assembly 1 will be held in a multi-modal form online on October 2-10, 2021 and Assembly 2 will be held in Sydney on July 4-9, 2022.

    On February 2021, Continuing the Journey: Working Document (Instumentum Laboris) was released. Find the details on the Instrumentum Laboris page. On June 2021, the Agenda for the Plenary Council was released, and Formation Sessions for Members commenced.

Your Voice

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7 days ago

Plenary Council

Many of us have rested up and are preparing now for the launch of the Synod of Bishops after the tiring but truly fruitful 16 sessions over 6 days that made up Assembly 1.

The months between the first and second general assemblies of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia are now a time for “prayer, reflection, maturation and development”, according to a concluding statement from the first assembly.

Read the story on the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Media Blog or view the full closing statement under "Key Documents" on the Plenary Council website!
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2 weeks ago

Plenary Council

What a week it has been! Videos from the past week, coverage from various media and the fruits of the Assembly will be available via

Assembly 1 saw a year's delay and technological hiccups -- all in the midst of a pandemic. It all culminated in this unique and fruitful experience, where we chose to listen and discern and pray together, even and especially with our different perspectives and coming from the different corners of Australia. We come out of it with an overwhelming sense of joy and hope, knowing we are guided by the Holy Spirit and driven by such love for God and the Catholic Church in Australia.

We thank everyone who has made this week possible, from contributing to Listening and Dialogue to following Assembly 1 online. Please continue to pray for Plenary Council as the journey continues!
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