Cathnews (21 Sept.) reported the activities on the Adelaide Diocesan Assembly 2021 under the title of ‘Diocesan Assembly shows the benefit of “deep listening”.’
The assembly drew many participants – 400 representatives of various bodies, not just parishes. It is curious, though not surprising, to see CathNews quoting those regurgitating the rhetoric of the soon-to-open Fifth Plenary Council of Australia. Here’s a sample:
‘Issues [discussed] included outreach and accompaniment of young people and families, inclusion and healing, parish life and liturgy, responding to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, and leadership and formation.
Each group discussed two themes and through a listening, dialogue and discernment process came up with 144 recommendations.
Diocesan Assembly coordinator Peter Bierer said the first two sessions of the assembly highlighted the value of “deep listening, withholding judgement, noticing our own biases and feelings, discernment and community”.‘
Forgive my scepticism, but those exhorted to deeply listen and withhold judgement and suppress biases about divorce, abortion, homosexuality, Church governance, clergy, and female priests would be people like me. If I ever aired my traditional views about the Catholic Church and its traditional beliefs at such an assembly I would be told in short terms to shut my mouth.
But there is no risk of the need for that sort of suppression. I would never attend such a gathering. Once bitten, twice shy. The one experience of nearly forty years ago was enough. Indeed, the parish priest once lectured me from the pulpit – not by name , of course. But I got the message when he unabashedly fixed his reprimanding eyes on me while condemning resistance to the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’.
As an aside, I remark there is hardly a man to be seen in the report’s colour photo showing the Assembly’s participants.