Proposed amendments to the Framework for Motions

The Australian Plenary Council has now published its Framework for Motions to be discussed at its Second Assembly which will meet in Sydney from 4-9 July 2022.

Once again, ACI’s concern was the lack of emphasis on the lay vocation or apostolate of lay people.

Our latest submission therefore proposed amendments to §79-80, which fall under “Part 6. Formation and Leadership for Mission and Ministry.”

Our thanks to Bishop Shane MacKinlay for agreeing to submit these amendments.

Amendment §79

That a new sub-paragraph d) be inserted in §79 and that subsequent paragraphs be re-numbered accordingly:

d. the specifically lay apostolate of lay people acting as a leaven within the world is promoted; 


Lay apostolate formation is one of the essential formation needs and should be mentioned at the outset.


79. THEREFORE, to meet the formation needs of the present and future, national  formation programs will ensure that:  

a. the diversity of the Catholic community is explicitly recognised; 

b. intercultural competency is encouraged, especially in relation to Aboriginal and  Torres Strait Islander cultures; 

c. the equal dignity of women and men is affirmed; 

d. the specifically lay apostolate of lay people acting as a leaven within the world is promoted; 

e. the concerns, spirituality and modes of communication and connection of young  people are taken into account; 

f. the rich variety of spiritual and devotional traditions of the Church are appreciated  and celebrated; and 

g. synodal practices such as encounter, accompaniment, listening and dialogue are  fostered and promoted. 

Amendment §80

That §80 be separated into two sections, amended to read: 

  1. To achieve this, the Church in Australia and in each diocese commits to develop and accompany lay apostolate formation movements, including classical movements such as the YCW and YCS as well as new initiatives responding to 21st century social realities and needs. Following the see-judge-act method of formation based on small review of life groups meeting regularly, these movements enable Christians to reflect on the concrete experiences of their lives as workers, family members and citizens in the light of the Gospel and to take personal and collective action to transform their lives and communities working for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven (Lumen Gentium §31). Priests, religious and lay ministers will play a vital special role in accompaniment in promoting this formation.
  1. These programs and movements will also support the formation of the domestic Church by encouraging and accompanying parents, guardians and caregivers in their vocation as “the primary and principal” teachers of faith and recognise the crucial role of families as the “school” of Christian formation.”


Lay people have an identity and mission of their own, just as priests and religious have an identity and mission of their own. We are not simply “the baptised.” This needs to be explicitly recognised.

Consequently, lay people also require our own spaces in the Church. These spaces are the lay apostolate movements organised from local to international level, just as religious congregations and the hierarchical Church are. They are spaces in which lay people, including young people, are able to learn and exercise responsibility at local, diocesan, national and even international level.

At the other end of the scale, these movements are based on small, regular, local “review of life” groups and are centres of formation in themselves.

An essential aspect here is that people learn to act to transform their own personal environments, taking action in their own lives as well as engaging in social action on a larger scale. 

It is also important to recognise that priests as well as religious and lay ministers have a hugely significant role in promoting and accompanying the lay apostolate and lay apostolate movements – to the point that movements like the YCW or YCS cannot exist without this..

The YCW and YCS have been recognised by the Church as “schools of life” for almost a century. They cannot exist without institutional support from the Church. Moreover, during the pontificate of Pius XI, the YCW was in fact recognised as a “public institution” of the Church on the same footing as a seminary.

Other new movements based on similar principles and methods are or may also be necessary, including adult movements and other movements that correspond to a particular social environment or sector.


Plenary Council Submission 2021 (Council for the Lay Apostolate)(Australian Cardijn Institute)

Plenary Council Submission 2019 (The lay apostolate of lay people (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Stefan Gigacz, The role of lay people as understood in the Plenary Framework for Motions (Plenary Reflections)

Stefan Gigacz, How should the role of lay people be understood? (Plenary Reflections)