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Church theology expert suggests new council every 50 years

Jesuit theologian Fr Francis A. Sullivan has suggested that the Catholic Church convene a new ecumenical council every 50 years.

He also suggested that national bishops' conferences consider reviving plenary councils as a "structure of participation" for the church in their region.

Speaking at Fordham University in New York last week, he said the church's magisterium, or teaching authority, could be enhanced by making church structures of participation more effective.

He called in particular for more "active participation of the bishops" in universal church teaching and governance.

Fr Sullivan, widely regarded as one of the world's leading experts on issues of church teaching authority, was a professor of ecclesiology at the Gregorian University in Rome from 1956 to 1992 and is currently a professor of theology at Boston College in the US.