Pastoral Council - Canon Law

Canon Law

Canon 511 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law speaks about diocesan pastoral councils: "In each diocese, to the extent that pastoral circumstances recommend it, a pastoral council is to be established whose responsibility it is to investigate under the authority of the bishop all those things which pertain to pastoral works, to ponder them and to propose practical conclusions about them." This reflects the threefold purpose of the pastoral council as first described in the Vatican II Decree on Bishops at paragraph 27.

Canon 536 of the 1983 Code legislates about parish pastoral councils. It states that "§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."

Consequently, the establishment of parish pastoral councils depends upon the judgment of the diocesan bishop, after having consulted his presbyteral council. If he judges it opportune, a pastoral council is established in each parish of his diocese.

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