Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne, Australia is seen in this undated file photo. (CNS photo/courtesy ACBC)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Perhaps “a pebble of spiritual disruption” needs to be dropped into the “stagnant pools” where the Catholic Church’s enthusiasm for the Gospel and for mission have been allowed to wane, the archbishop of Melbourne told the Synod of Bishops.

“Our task is to rediscover a young church that goes out, not to re-create a church for the young to come to,” Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli told members of the synod Oct. 10.

The archbishop described the massive figure of Jesus in the Sistine Chapel fresco of the Last Judgment as “glowing with vitality and beautiful to behold. And he is gloriously young.”

“Our Redeemer is young because he is alive,” the archbishop said. In the same way, the church — his body — is meant to be young and alive, just as it was in the early days after Pentecost.

“Pentecost set off a Gospel fire in the disciples, anointing them and sending them out into the world,” he said. “The disciples did not wait for people to come to them; they got up and went out.”

Archbishop Comensoli urged the bishops to make an examination of conscience, asking themselves if they truly act like successors of the apostles, going out into the world with the Gospel like the Acts of the Apostles describes.


“Or have we stagnated in the Spirit, lost our missionary fire and become beholden to a ‘fake gospel’ of religious maintenance?” he asked.

“It is time to leave behind a church that only sits around waiting,” he told his fellow bishops.

And addressing young people, Archbishop Comensoli asked them to be patient with those in the older generation who find their world difficult to understand and who are concerned about the choices young people sometimes make.

“Yet you are also seekers of a Gospel horizon within which to locate your lives,” he told young people. “You hope for faithful witnesses in whom you can place your trust. You seek true guides who will welcome your abundant energies and accompany you on the journey.”

Archbishop Comensoli expressed his hope that together the bishops and young people could rekindle the fire of Pentecost and find that “Gospel horizon.”