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Plenary Council 2020 – Tell us your thoughts

The time to have your say on the future of the Australian Catholic Church is right now. We urge you to have your say on how the Catholic Church can better reflect and embody the values of a contemporary Australia. Please note submissions to the Plenary Council close nationally on March 6, 2019.

“A church that does not listen… cannot be credible” – Pope Francis

It has been 80 years since the Australian Catholic Church held a Plenary Council. It’s the highest formal gathering of all local churches, discussing issues important across the country.

We invite all people to engage, to be part of the listening and the dialogue phase on this Plenary Council journey.

To make a submission about the Plenary Council click here.

We are on a journey of listening to God by listening to one another.

What is a Plenary Council?

Put simply, a Plenary Council is the highest form of communion between the various local or particular churches of a nation.

It is, then, not simply a meeting of bishops but a process that calls for the participation of the entire Catholic community.

It invites the whole Church into dialogue, to discern how its communities can live the Gospel with renewed vitality amidst new questions and challenges

Why have a Plenary Council?

The Plenary Council is a response to the call of Saint Pope John Paul II that the Church of the third millennium discerns what the Spirit has been saying and to put into practice pastoral plans with the help of the people of God to prepare for the future.

It also carries forward the call of Pope Francis for the Church to become truly synodal in its engagement with the whole Catholic community.

“The Plenary Council will place the Church on a sound footing to respond to what is not merely an era of change but a change of era” (Arch. Mark)


  • An initiative of the Bishops’ Conference
  • Involves the whole Catholic church in Australia
  • Celebration of the Plenary Council to commence in 2020
  • Last Plenary Council took place over 80 years ago

What is the difference between A Plenary Council and a Synod?

Both gatherings can be influential for the Church. A Plenary Council is the highest form of gathering of local church and has legislative and governance authority.

The decisions that are made at the Council become binding for the Catholic Church in Australia. A Synod does not have this legislative and governance authority.

For more information about the Plenary Council please visit: http://plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au/frequently-asked-questions/

Plenary Resources for your Parish or community are available here.


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