This discussion guide accompanies the anthology Still Listening to the Spirit: Woman and and Man Twenty Years Later, providing starting points for engagement with each of the essays. It can be used for personal reflection, or in a parish, school or community group context. Several discussion starters are provided for each essay. You might choose to focus on one or two of the essays or to work through the whole anthology reflecting on each of them. Likewise, you may choose to focus on one or two of the questions in relation to any given essay, or to work your way through all of them.
The anthology of essays was developed in partnership by two offices of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the Office for Social Justice, and the Office for the Participation of Women. It celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the publication of findings of ground-breaking research on the participation of women in the Catholic Church in Australia. It was also intended to provide food for thought and prayer in the discernment phase of preparation for the Plenary Council of the Catholic Church in Australia to be held in 2020.
An important, overarching question is: ‘what does all of this mean for the Plenary Council?’
Submissions on the six themes for discernment are still being accepted by Plenary Council Team during the first months of 2020. International Women’s Day on 8 March might be a good time to convene a group for prayer and reflection and the preparation of a submission. Submissions of up to 1,000 characters can be made via an online form.
If you are meeting with a group to pray and reflect, you may wish to use this discussion guide in conjunction with the resources provided by the Plenary Council team for listening and discernment sessions. The guides for the themes ‘inclusive, participatory and synodal’ and ‘open to conversion, renewal and reform’ are especially relevant for the concerns expressed in these essays.