Vatican documents

Documents published by the Vatican (especially the Vatican II “Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops”) lay down the foundations for parish pastoral and legislate for them. For more information, click on one of the following links:

Vatican documents clarify the purpose of pastoral councils.

Vatican documents published since 1965 clarify the purpose of pastoral councils.

  • Documents of Vatican II.  The Decree on Bishops is the most important, but the other Vatican II documents also mention councils (if not always “pastoral” councils).
  • Post-conciliar documents.  Documents from 1971 and 1973 discussed pastoral councils and extended the concept from dioceses to parishes.
  • The 1983 Code.  The Code of Canon Law introduced pastoral councils into the Church’s legislation, but failed to mention the “lay apostolate councils” from Apostolicam Ecclesiam, par. 26.
  • Synodal documents.  The  1987 synod on the laity emphasized the role of the pastoral council as a way for lay people to participate in the apostolate of pastors.
  • Recent documents.  Since 1997, Vatican congregations have issued six documents pertaining to pastoral councils.