The plenary council was preceded by a "listening and dialogue phase" where the lay faithful submitted suggested topics on what is asked of the Church in Australia, and the future of the Church.
According to the final report on the listening phase, "strongly discussed topics included the rule of celibacy for priests, the ordination of women and the inclusion of divorced and remarried Catholics."
The desire for "greater listening" and lay involvement in the Church, as well as better evangelization was also present in the submitted answers, the report said.
The Australian bishops' close collaboration with Rome stands in contrast to the so-called synodal process underway in Germany.
Last October, the German bishops' conference voted to begin a "binding synodal process" to consider the Church's teaching on sexual morality, clerical celibacy, and the power and authority of the clergy.
The synodal assembly includes priests, deacons, religious, pastoral workers and other lay Catholic groups. Unlike Australia, each member can vote on resolutions, with the votes of laypeople carrying equal weight with those of bishops.
In September, the Vatican issued a canonical critique of the German synodal plans, concluding that they are "not ecclesiologically valid."
In a September letter to Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops-Cardinal Marc Ouellet- presented an assessment by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts which said the German plans were outside of the Church's recognized structures. The process, the Vatican said, must conform to principles outlined by Pope Francis in June, in which the pope outlined the principles of authentic synodality.
In his letter to German Catholics, Francis said that "Every time the ecclesial community has tried to resolve its problems alone, trusting and focusing exclusively on its forces or its methods, its intelligence, its will or prestige, it ended up increasing and perpetuating the evils it tried to solve."
The Vatican legal assessment of the German plans determined that the synodal assembly was actually better described as a particular council, similar to the Australian plans, but lacking the necessary cooperation with Rome.