Australia’s Archbishop Costelloe: Cardinal Newman’s ‘development of doctrine’ is key to understanding the synod

16 Nov 2023

By Contributor

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB America Magazine Interview
ACBC President and Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe sdb, seated, centre with fellow delegates from the Synod. Photo: Thierry Bonaventura/

By Gerard O’Connell

“I don’t think we experienced the inversion of the pyramid model of the church at the synod; rather we experienced a different model altogether of the church,” the Australian archbishop Timothy Costelloe, S.D.B., one of the president delegates of the synod, told America’s Vatican correspondent in this exclusive interview in Rome on Oct. 30.

A member of the Salesian order, Archbishop Costelloe has been archbishop of Perth in Western Australia since Pope Benedict XVI appointed him to that post in 2012. The 69-year-old archbishop is the president of the Australian Catholic bishops’ conference, served as president of the Plenary Council of the Australian church (2021-22) and is a member of the preparatory committee for the synod.

In this interview, which has been edited for clarity and length, he described “being a synodal church” as “an experience” that “we have to live in order to understand it.”

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Gerard O’Connell is America’s Vatican correspondent and author of The Election of Pope Francis: An Inside Story of the Conclave That Changed History. He has been covering the Vatican since 1985.