Parish Councils... or Pastoral?

Does anyone know the rules/Canons regarding councils of a church? I always referred to them as “Parish Councils” but assumed that it was a colloquial term. I know that Canons 511 & 536 refer to Church councils that are advisory and report to the Pastor or Bishop.

Many parishes have a Parish council and I didnt know what rules or Canons regulated these.

Any documents or links would be helpful!

Parish Council/Pastoral Council – same thing. Canon Law mandates that there be a Diocesan Pastoral Council and then leaves the decision on Parish Pastoral Councils to the Bishops. Most parishes I’ve been in have them because the bishops wanted them in place.

Can. 536 §1. If the diocesan bishop judges it opportune after he has heard the presbyteral council, a pastoral council is to be established in each parish, over which the pastor presides and in which the Christian faithful, together with those who share in pastoral care by virtue of their office in the parish, assist in fostering pastoral activity.
§2. A pastoral council possesses a consultative vote only and is governed by the norms established by the diocesan bishop.

Over the years that I was involved in parish/pastoral councils it became very clear that nobody had ever explained to the members that their role was consultative only. I’ve also never seen any diocesan norms on these councils in any of the parishes in which I was a member of the council – no, I wasn’t a parish hopper, I was a military dependent and we moved ~ every 3 years.:wink:

Here are a couple of documents from my diocese regarding parish pastoral councils.

archgh.org/PastoralCouncils/NormsPrshPstrl.PDF
archgh.org/PastoralCouncils/NormReferences.PDF

[quote=Phemie]Over the years that I was involved in parish/pastoral councils it became very clear that nobody had ever explained to the members that their role was consultative only. I’ve also never seen any diocesan norms on these councils in any of the parishes in which I was a member of the council – no, I wasn’t a parish hopper, I was a military dependent and we moved ~ every 3 years.:wink:
[/quote]

I am in my last year serving on my parish pastoral council. It was made clear during the discernment process that the role of the ppc was consultative only and that all decision making would always stay with the pastor. I know that prior to our current pastor, the ppc had a decision making role and, once the new pastor arrived and brought the ppc into line with Church rules, most of the council resigned. Some of them are still resentful six years later.

Peace

Tim

Wow, that’s like my parish about 8 years ago when the new pastor said “The buck stops with me since I’m the one who has to answer to the Bishop.” Very angry upset people.

The latest pastor, OTOH, wants the parishioners responsible for everything.

I wish many priests would have as much guts to stand up and say the buck stops here.

My archdiocese was restructured over a decade ago into sub-set pastoral committee’s.
in the English and French deaneries. I have often asked how lay Catholics who serve on these boards get so much power to dictate to a parish priest on how the administration will be run to such a point the priest is left asking permission from a bishop if he can over-ride decisions of the pastoral committee for his own parish.

The finance council is required by Canon Law. The parish council is not.

Even the finance council is a consultative body. But there is always a way to get around things. Limited to a $5000 expenditure? Want to buy something that costs more? Write two cheques.

I see the same thing at the diocesan level: if the person who can write a cheque for $15000 isn’t around, someone else with more limits writes 3 for $5000 each.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.