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A New Annunciation: Imagining our Church of the future

A New Annunciation: Imagining our Church of the future

Our Church evangelises within a world of rapid and constant change. In fact, it has always been characterised by change. But the call for change seems particularly acute now. In modern times, change has been an explicit feature of the Church since the Second Vatican Council and is further heightened here in Australia, immersed as we are in the Plenary Council processes. This gathering of our local Church sits in close alignment with Pope Francis’ ever-increasing call for a more synodal Church.

Synodal. An interestingly rich theological term that hasn’t had common place in Catholic parlance, even if it has been an aspiration of many, especially since Vatican II. What does a more synodal Church look like? Synodality is essentially about broader and deeper engagement of all the baptised. So, what does it look like when we have a Church of broader and deeper engagement?

Many consider that the blueprint for Francis’ papacy is contained within his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). Published within nine months of being elected Pope, it describes the role and purpose of the Church in the modern world; and everything Francis has written since finds its source in this document. Having described the purpose and expression of the Church across 283 paragraphs he concludes with a singular reference to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. The final paragraph of the document begins: “There is a Marian style to the Church’s work of evangelisation.” 

In the article that follows, consideration is given to a Church of the future that has a distinctive Marian face. One that is attentive to the Holy Spirit, and with courage and faith seeks to bring about God’s reign in the world. The article draws heavily on the unpublished works of Fr Craig Larkin SM (RIP, 2015), focusing on the Icon of the Ascension and the call to a more Marian Church that is active and contemplative.

One of the article’s authors, David Hall FMS, first encountered Fr Craig’s work over twenty years ago and he has been drawing on it ever since in his teaching, lectures and workshops with Catholic school educators and other Church leaders when exploring what a future Church might look like. David has collaborated with Tracey Edstein to bring into dialogue Fr Craig’s wisdom within our current Church context, amidst the Plenary Council processes. This article is the result of their cooperative efforts. 

They remind us of our credal proclamation that the Church must be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, proposing that the Marian way needs to be our emphasis into the foreseeable future. At a time when we are discerning our future, and can sometimes get lost and side-tracked in the detail, the principles that Tracey and David propose are well worth our consideration.

Click HERE to read 

-Fr Anthony Casamento csma Vice President


Posted by ACU on 16 November 2021