Introduction to Parish Pastoral Councils
with Mark F. Fischer

2. The Purpose of the Parish Pastoral Council

"Pastoral" councils have the task of investigating, reflecting, and reaching conclusions - in a word, pastoral planning.  But many people say that councils should coordinate a system of committees.  Which is correct?

  • Listen to the audio lecture.

  • Take the quiz.

  • Read the relevant passages from the Church's official documents.

  • For further information, consult Chapter 3 from Pastoral Councils in Today's Catholic Parish.

  • Describe how a council would plan for other parishioners to implement a proposal.

The Camtasia Studio video content presented here requires JavaScript to be enabled and the latest version of the Adobe Flash Player. If you are you using a browser with JavaScript disabled please enable it now. Otherwise, please update your version of the free Adobe Flash Player by downloading here.

A. Quiz on Council Purposes

Answer the questions true or false.

  1. Pastoral planning expresses the council's threefold task.

  2. Apart from the Vatican II "Decree on Bishops" (no. 27), no Vatican documents affirm the threefold task.

  3. Canon 536 of the 1983 Code says that councils should foster pastoral activities.

  4. Pastoral councils assist the pastor's apostolate.

  5. Pastoral councils always implement what they recommend.

  6. When councillors implement the council's recommendations, they do so as volunteers under the pastor's direction.

B. Meaning of Consultation

Vatican II's Decree on Bishops says that councils have a threefold planning role.  The Decree on the Laity says that lay apostolate councils may coordinate lay initiatives.  Canon 536 says councils have a consultative vote only.

C. Reading from Pastoral Councils in Today's Catholic Parish:

Chapter 3: The Purpose 

This chapter will help you distinguish between the council's proper "planning" function and the "coordinating" function often attributed to it

D. Reflection

The Bishops Decree says that pastoral councils plan.  The Laity Decree's words about coordinating lay initiatives do not apply to the "pastoral" council.  How can it help parishioners plan to implement a proposal?  (500 words).

© 2008.  For more information about parish pastoral councils, email Mark Fischer.