The Plenary Council process represents a “deep movement of the Holy Spirit” among the Catholic faithful, however calls for a completely ‘new Church’ risks infidelity to God and is opposed to the council’s intent, Bishop Tony Randazzo warned.
The bishop, a member of the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council, said that he had been “delighted” but also at times felt despondent as he has listened to the “prayers, hopes, joys and sufferings of the members of the Body of Christ” throughout the process of consultation in the council’s listening and dialogue phase.
“I must be honest, that when I hear the cry for ‘a new Church’ it distresses me more than a little,” he said.
“[It] implies something different and it incites us to throw away what exists.
“To cast away the Church would be to reject Christ himself and to renounce our faith in Him as the Saviour of the world.
“This, my brothers and sisters, was not the intention of the Australian Catholic Bishops and never will be.”
Instead the bishop urged a spirit of conversion, renewal and reform, led by the Holy Spirit.
“Not a new Church but a renewed Church,” he said.
Bishop Randazzo made his comments at the archdiocese’s annual Catechist Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral, where almost 100 catechists were presented with awards for completing their training or to honour their many years of service.
Awardees included students from Sydney Catholic Schools who trained as catechists this year, with 12 schools represented out of the 17 who offer the program, and the longest-serving catechist Feyona van Stom who marks 50 years.