Discernment ‘is not comfortable’

Melbourne Catholic podcast host Tiffany Davis, left,  with Lana Turvey-Collins (Melbourne Catholic)

Taking time out to pray and discern is deeply counter-cultural – even for an institution as old as the Catholic Church, says Plenary Council 2020 facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins. Source: Melbourne Catholic.

“It’s a courageous decision,” Ms Turvey Collins told the Melbourne Catholic podcast. “Since the Second Vatican Council this (Australian Plenary) Council is only the third to be held (in the world).

“The Australian psyche is very action-oriented. We’re doers, so three years of preparation and talking is something people are not used to ... The initial stage of dialogue was the first time there was a national formal invitation for all to come and share. When you do this for the first time in a country after 80 years of not doing it, then it takes time for people to move on from what they’re angry about … and then the deep stuff comes through; the really beautiful golden nuggets that can be transformative. And that’s what discernment is about: it’s about finding the depth of the idea.”

Ms Turvey-Collins said discernment has to be an act of faith. “Discernment is not comfortable … we need to learn how to do that well; learn how to be ‘uncomfortably comfortable’ in the mess.”

She cautioned against people raising their hopes too high for the Plenary Council to have fix-all solution.

“I don’t think these council assemblies will answer all of the questions that people want answered,” she said, maintaining that the Church is simply “too big and too complex” for that to happen. However, the message is a hopeful one, reasoning that through this process we can create “a pathway that will set us in the right direction of good things being nurtured and nourished” and to “move and change and be responsive in culture”.

“This whole process has been designed to activate our baptism,” Ms Turvey-Collins said.

“The council assemblies are important and historically significant, but so is every time a group of people gets together to make a decision ... the transformation that has happened because small groups of people rely on one another and on God and the Holy Spirit to make a decision has power beyond belief. So it was very deliberate to have two parts to respond to your discernment - locally and nationally.”


Melbourne Catholic Podcast: Lana Turvey-Collins (Melbourne Catholic

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