Getting Back on Mission & Enhancing the Plenary Council

Getting Back on MissionFew could argue that the Catholic Church has gone ‘off mission’. The tragedies and scandal of clerical child sexual abuse, and the cover-up by bishops, is symptomatic of a deeply ailing church.

The Plenary Council offers an unprecedented opportunity for the People of God to impact lasting and much needed reform to a Church many of us hold dear.

It’s in light of this that we are pleased to announce the publication of a new book Getting Back on Mission: Reforming our Church Together, published in conjunction with Catholics for Renewal.

This timely and crucial book builds on Garratt Publishing’s proud heritage of making ground-breaking calls for Church reform, even well before the Royal Commission; most notably with Bishop Geoffrey Robinson’s Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus (all the way back in 2006 )and again with For Christ’s Sake: End Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church ... for Good in 2013.

Catholics for Renewal is a group of committed Catholics that has been advocating Church renewal for a decade. Legions of Catholics have supported its work, which has included surveys, open letters, articles, and public evidence at major government inquiries, including at the Royal Commission. You can learn more of this important group’s work by visiting their website here.

Along with Catholics for Renewal, we believe that the Church will change only if individual Catholics take up the challenge and drive that change. Many reform groups throughout Australia are doing just that.

Getting Back on Mission focuses on Jesus’ mission for the Church; it exposes dysfunctional governance involving a grave lack of accountability and transparency, and the exclusion of the People of God particularly women.

The book builds on the Catholics for Renewal’s submission to the Plenary Council and is a user-friendly resource for all Catholics wishing to engage in the ongoing reform of our Church. Its purpose is twofold; to get the Church ‘back on mission’, and to demonstrate how that can be achieved ‘together’. The reforms proposed are based on sound evidence and analysis. For Catholics wanting genuine renewal of their Church, this roadmap for change is a must-read and an essential companion book for the Plenary Council.

What are prominent Catholics Saying About Getting Back on Mission?

In the book’s foreword, Robert Fitzgerald AM, Former Commission at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, writes (in a personal capacity) 

“There is enormous pain in many parts of the Church… the Church risks further losing the trust and confidence of the people of God and the broader community, unless the lessons are learnt, and governance is improved, and renewal occurs... Good Church governance must be based in hope not fear.  It must arise out of humility not arrogance.  It must, at its core, embrace the participation of all the faithful in order to regain legitimacy.”

The book has been reviewed by several prominent Catholics in Australia and around the world who share the message of hope for renewal. 

“I hope this book helps navigate our Church’s sacred pastors to the wisdom and action needed to get us out of this mess.”
Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland


“Catholics for Renewal has provided a realistic, hopeful and authentically Catholic roadmap for the forthcoming Australian Plenary Council.”
Frank Brennan SJ AO, CEO of Catholic Social Services

“This new book is a most comprehensive compendium of necessary reforms for consideration not only for the Plenary Council 2020/21, but immediately by every church leader as a matter of urgency.”
Emeritus Professor John Warhurst AO, Chair of Concerned Catholics Canberra Goulburn, and Member of Australian Bishops’ Church Governance Review Panel


“Want to know what the 2020/21 Plenary Council should be dealing with?  Then read Catholics for Renewal’s Getting Back on Mission.” 
Eric Hodgens (retired) Catholic Priest

“For those interested in the Plenary Council 2020/21, here is a most comprehensive exploration of the issues that confront the Catholic Church in Australia today. …
All Australian Catholics interested in the Church’s future will find this book informative, challenging and essential to understanding the issues that should be addressed at the Plenary Council 2020/21.” 

Peter Maher, Editor of The Swag National Council of Priests Quarterly Magazine,
Former Parish Priest of St Joseph’s Newtown in Sydney

“This historic work, inspired by the disastrous debacle of sexual abuse in the Church that was exposed by the Royal Commission, is far more than another cry for reform that falls on the deaf ears of the hierarchy. It is a glaring exposition of reality. It is a prophetic description of what has been, what is and what will be if the clerical establishment continues to run from this reality. Getting Back on Mission is both terrifying because it tells the truth and hopeful because it comes from believing, courageous and determined members of the People of God who are making the future happen." 
Thomas Doyle, Doctor of Canon Law
Former Dominican priest, Internationally acknowledged expert in the canonical and
pastoral dimension of clerical child sexual abuse

What’s in a cover… a message in the imagery

Characterising the book, He Qi’s cover painting After Resurrection depicts Jesus’ disciples – women and men – empowered by their new faith in the Risen Christ, setting out on God’s mission to bring the light of the Gospel to the world. It also suggests today’s disciples searching together for a way to make the Church a true sign of the Kingdom in the 21st century.

Readers are also presented with two photos at the beginning of the inside pages.  These images are sure to jar the faithful and present a clear picture of what type of Church the People of God in Australia may be seeking.

Join us for the book launch

All of us at Garratt Publishing, in partnership with Catholics for Renewal, invite you to the launch of Getting Back on Mission: Reforming our Church Together in Melbourne on Tuesday 17 September.

This important work will be launched officially by Francis Sullivan, former CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, at what is sure to be an important milestone for the future of the Australian Catholic Church.

WHEN: Tuesday 17 September
TIME:  6.30 pm
The Oratory
Newman College
887 Swanston Street
Parkville, Vic 3052

Light refreshments will be provided from 6.30 pm.

To join us, simply email us at and place Getting Back on Mission Book Launch in the subject line.

A final note…

Getting Back on Mission: Reforming our Church Together is forward-looking and founded on trust in the Spirit – it is about hope. It’s with this in mind, and a desire for transparency the Bishops have so often spoken about, that ensures this book will be a must-read for anyone seeking to make an informed contribution to the Plenary Council.

Getting Back on Mission: Reforming our Church Together is available for pre-order until 30 September 2019 at the special price of $25.00 directly from Garratt Publishing. Click here to buy, or call Garratt Publishing on 1300 650 878.


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