In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. (2 Timothy 3: 1-2.)
In order to keep the Gospel forever whole and alive within the Church, the Apostles left bishops as their successors “handing over” to them “the authority to teach in their own place.” What was handed on by the Apostles includes everything which contributes toward the holiness of life and increase in faith of the people of God; and so the Church, in her teaching, life and worship, perpetuates and hands on to all generations all that she herself is, all that she believes.
This tradition which comes from the Apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit…. As the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfilment in her. (Dei Verbum nn 7-8)
1. Membership and Meetings
The Commission shall comprise four bishops as determined by the Conference by laws.
The Commission shall meet at least two times each year at a time and place that the members determine. Use will be made of video or teleconference facilities when the agenda or circumstances warrant.
2. Areas of Responsibility
The Commission works to explain, promote and defend the teachings of the Catholic Church. It serves the bishops of Australia by supporting them in their teaching work and helping to deepen understanding of the Catholic faith and morals among the faithful.
3. Particular Functions
In particular, the Commission performs the following functions:
The Commission studies particular doctrinal or moral questions and offers to Conference and the bishops evaluations of theological trends and individual theological positions.
The Commission responds to requests for assistance from individual bishops in the exercise of their pastoral responsibilities in teaching the faith.
The Commission encourages the work of theologians, scripture scholars, philosophers, and other scholars and makes the work of these scholars available to the bishops where appropriate.
The Commission encourages research into identified pastoral needs and recommends doctrinal solutions to pastoral problems which have an important bearing on the mission of the Church and the reception of its teachings.
The Commission, as approved or requested by the Conference, develops national policies in specific areas of its responsibility.
The Commission, at the request of other Commissions and agencies of Conference, reviews documents which may yet in draft form.
The Commission, in accordance with Conference policy, undertakes public and private activity in support of teachings on doctrine and morals.
The Commission undertakes such specific projects as the Conference may from time to time approve or request.
4. Advisory Role
The Commission serves as a council of advice to the Bishops and the Conference on issues that arise in the areas of its responsibility and, where appropriate, makes recommendations for action that might be undertaken.
The Commission maintains informal relations with individual theologians and scholars, with theologates, universities and institutes of higher learning, and with learned associations such as:
Australian Catholic Biblical Association
5.2 Australian Catholic Theological Association
5.3 Catholic Moral Theology Association of Australia and New Zealand
The Secretariat for Church Life assists the Commission in fulfilling its tasks as requested.