The Catholic church in Australia is undertaking a major review of its operations. Known as the Plenary Council 2020, the review is seeking the views of a wide range of Australians. Further details are available at plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au

The Plenary takes place at a time when successive Church reports have tracked a major decline across all age groups in the proportion of Catholics who attend Mass.  

We recognise that many people who have been brought up in Catholic families and attended Catholic schools no longer have an affiliation with the Catholic church. However, as four concerned Catholics, we think it is important that their views are heard in this review process if the Church is to develop a new approach that will improve its relevance to the Australian people.

Consequently, we are asking people to complete this short on-line survey. Responses are made on an anonymous basis. They will be collated and a report will be written reflecting the views expressed. The report will be submitted to the Plenary Council and will be published at the same time. We thank Jesuit Social Services for assistance in administering the survey and for offering to direct any inquiries or feedback to the authors of this survey.

We anticipate that the survey will take approximately ten minutes to complete.

If you have any questions or queries about this survey, or if it raises concerns for you, please contact Jesuit Social Services at jss@jss.or.au and a staff member will direct your query or concern appropriately.

Thank you for considering our request. We greatly value your views.

The Initiating Committee:

Ms Patricia Faulkner AO, Sister Bernadette Gauthier SJC, Fr Joe Caddy AM, and Mr Tony Nicholson.

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* 1. Gender

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* 2. Age

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* 3. Country of birth

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* 4. Did you at any time attend Catholic schools? (tick as they apply to you)

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* 5. Do you go to Mass?

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* 6. Do you have other connections with the Catholic Church?

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* 7. Thinking about the role of the Catholic church in Australian society, what do you see as its most positive contributions?

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* 8. What do you see as its most negative contributions?

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* 9. How do you rate the overall contribution of the church to Australian society?

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* 10. What are the top three aspects of the Catholic church that would need to change in order for it to make a more positive contribution to Australian society?

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* 11. Are there other aspects? Please describe

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* 12. Thinking about your own life, how do you rate the overall relevance and helpfulness of the Catholic Church to you?

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* 13. In preparing this survey we have received many suggestions about how the Church might become more relevant to the lives of people who have become disengaged from it. In order for the Catholic Church to be more relevant to your life and to the broader Australian community, how important are the following changes that have been suggested to us?

  Not at all important Not very important Neutral A little important Very important
Provide greater capacity for pastoral care and spiritual nourishment.
Speak out more on social justice issues such as homelessness, unemployment and the acceptance of refugees.
Encourage greater traditional practices such as the Latin Mass.
Review the Church’s position on matters to do with death and dying.
Fully implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse.
Make the liturgy more engaging.
Ensure that eligibility for the receipt of the sacraments is determined by the individual’s conscience and not by Church rules.
Give an equal status to women in all aspects of the Church.
Allow a greater role for ordinary Catholics in Church decision making.
Speak out more on environmental and other issues critical to the planet’s future.
Remove any practices or policies that discriminate against those from the LGBTQI community.
Introduce greater accountability to ordinary Catholics and the wider Australian community, concerning the governance arrangements of the Church, including the stewardship of its assets.

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* 14. Finally, are you able to describe your vision of a good church in Australia or is there anything else you would like to say?

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