OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Catholic Bishops restructure Conference, greater involvement of clergy, religious and laity

Friday, 12 May 2006

Sydney (Fides Service) - The Catholic bishops of Australia have decided to reorganise the structure of their Bishops’ Conference announcing in a Pastoral Letter the new composition of the offices and commissions which should guarantee great flexibility and possibility to discus in a national key the times and important pastoral problems. This restructuring, the Bishops explain in the text, intends also to stimulate more collaboration between the Commissions and the clergy and laity. The 19 existing commissions will be replaced by 12 new commissions which will deal with: Doctrine and Morals; Liturgy; Mission and Formation in the Faith; Catholic Education; Pastoral Life; Relations with Aborigines; Justice and Service; Ecclesial Ministries; Caritas; Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations; Administration and Information; Canon Law.
Each Commission will have greater executive power and also special advisory organs or committees created principally in the clergy, among religious and in the laity.
The 42 Australian Bishops gathered in assembly elected Archbishop Philip Wilson, Archbishop of Adelaide, new president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Archbishop John Bathersby, Archbishop of Brisbane was chosen as vice president. The Standing Council of the Australian Bishops is formed also by Card. George Pell, Archbishops Denis Hart and Adrian Doyle, Bishops Michael Putney and David Walker.
At the end of the work the Bishops had day of dialogue discussion and sharing with Muslim leaders who deeply appreciated the invitation and the time spent with the Bishops. “We must believe that we are building this dialogue not so much for ourselves as for the good of our people. We must be united and show that we are united. This is what God expects from us”, they said. (Agenzia Fides 12/5/2006 righe 26 parole 269)