Introduction to Parish Pastoral Councils
with Mark F. Fischer

3. The Pastor's Role in the Council

The pastor consults and the council responds.   The Church presupposes that the pastor seeks wisdom.  He asks the council to investigate, reflect on, and recommend its conclusions about some aspect of the parish situation.

  • Hear the lecture.  Take the quiz.

  • Recall: The Catholic pastor models himself on the Good Shepherd.

  • Reflect: In what sense is the pastor like the philosopher, Socrates?

Councillors are consultants, yes, but no pastor should be indifferent to their recommendations. 

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A. Quiz on the Pastor's Role

Answer the questions true or false.

  1. The council consults the pastor.

  2. The pastor seeks the council's wisdom.

  3. The council is representative because the bishop has entrusted the parish to the members.

  4. The pastor consults because he wants the councillors to feel involved in the parish.

  5. The pastor is like Socrates in that he knows that he does not know everything.

  6. The pastors consults because he wants to make wise decisions on the parish's behalf.


B. Background

The Gospel of John (10:1-42) presents Jesus as the Good Shepherd, and the Catholic pastor strives to imitate him. In the Apology, Plato presents Socrates as the one who knows that he does not know everything. Both are models for the pastor in the pastoral council.

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

Chapter 5: Types of Consultation 

This chapter will help you see that the word "consultation" has at least five different meanings.  When pastors consult, they can do so in five different ways.  The pastor who consults can mean that he seeks a common truth that will unite him and his parishioners.

D. Reflection

What does it mean in your situation for the pastor to consult?  What does it imply about his motives?  What does the Church expect of him?  What does it imply about the work that councillors do?  Discuss this with a friend and state your common conclusions.

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