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Parish Pastoral Council

pastoral council is a consultative body in dioceses and parishes of the Roman Catholic Church that serves to advise the parish pastor about pastoral issues. The council's main purpose is to investigate, reflect and reach conclusions about pastoral matters to recommend to the parish priest or bishop as appropriate.

Vatican II Origin

The concept of the pastoral council was first articulated in the 1965 Vatican II Decree on Bishops (Christus Dominus, par. 27). The decree recommended that bishops establish diocesan pastoral councils with a threefold purpose. The purpose is to investigate pastoral matters, to ponder or reflect over them, and to reach conclusions that the council can recommend to the bishop.

Six other official documents of the Church define the diocesan pastoral council in this threefold way:

  • Paul VI, "Ecclesiae Sanctae I" (1966) no. 16;

  • the 1971 Synod of Bishops' "The Ministerial Priesthood," art. 2, II, section 3;

  • the 1973 "Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops," no. 204;

  • the 1973 "Circular Letter on 'Pastoral Councils'" by the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, no 9;

  • the 2002 "Instruction" by the Congregation for the Clergy, "The Priest, Pastoral and Leader" (par 26); and

  • the 2004 "Directory" by the Congregation for Bishops, "Apostolorum successores" (par. 184).

In a 1988 address to the bishops of Chile, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spoke of Vatican II as a "pastoral council" with a modest intent, and not as a "rupture with tradition" as described by Marcel Lefebvre.[3]

Foundation Document 

Developed under the leadership of the following members of a steering committee:

 JoAnn MacGregor, Chair,

Members: Phil East, John Gruggen, Joe Martinelli, Ex-Officio, Ann McKerlie, Pat McLaughlin, Mary Mendonca - Recording Secretary, Paula Parker Milda Smith, John VanDommelen, Annette Van Geel, and Gary Williams