The confluence of the Rhine and the Amazon is flowing passed Ayres Rock. Witness the official prayer for the Plenary Council of the Catholic Church in Australia 2020:
Come, Holy Spirit of Pentecost.
Come, Holy Spirit of the great South Land.
O God, bless and unite all your people in Australia and guide us on the pilgrim way of the Plenary Council. Give us the grace to see your face in one another and to recognise Jesus, our companion on the road. Give us the courage to tell our stories and to speak boldly of your truth. Give us ears to listen humbly to each other and a discerning heart to hear what you are saying. Lead your Church into a hope-filled future, that we may live the joy of the Gospel. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, bread for the journey from age to age. Amen.
Our Lady Help of Christians, pray for us.
St Mary MacKillop, pray for us.
This is prayer as indoctrination; and it needs to be unpacked.
It begins with an invocation of the ‘Holy Spirit of the great South Land’. Who, you will ask, is this deity, unmentioned in scripture? The zeitgeist? The genius loci? An aboriginal fetish? Who can tell?
In the prayer ‘truth’ is discovered in the telling of stories. And in listening attentively to one another. Revelation, it is being claimed, is a human construct. And there can be little doubt what those stories will be about. They will be tales of hurt, isolation and rejection, brought about by an unfeeling ‘rigid’ Catholicism. The ‘pilgrim way of the Plenary Council’ is one which will ’unite all your people’ and lead them into a ‘hope-filled future’.
The whole liberal agenda is set out in this prayer, in much the way in which the aims of a Papal Synod are set out in the Instrumentum Laboris – and in the closing summary (which is invariably written beforehand). What God is saying (despite focus groups and grass roots consultations) has been predetermined. And there are no prizes for guessing what it will be.