Congregation for the Clergy, “The Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community.”
This “Instruction” from the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy was published on August 4, 2002 over the signatures of Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos (Prefect of the Congregation) and by Csaba Ternyak (Secretary of the Congregation and Titular Archbishop of Eminenziana). Pope John Paul II approved the instruction and ordered its publication. Accessed on July 30, 2007 and downloaded from the official Vatican website.
Like the diocesan pastoral council , the provisions of law foresee the constitution of a pastoral council at parochial level, should such be considered opportune by the Bishop, having heard his council of priests . The basic task of such a council is to serve, at institutional level, the orderly collaboration of the faithful in the development of pastoral activity which is proper to priests . The pastoral council is thus a consultative organ in which the faithful, expressing their baptismal responsibility, can assist the parish priest, who presides at the council , by offering their advice on pastoral matters  “The lay faithful ought to be ever more convinced of the special meaning that their commitment to the apostolate takes on in their parish»; hence it is necessary to have «a more convinced, extensive and decided appreciation for “Parish Pastoral Councils”. There are clear reasons for such: In the present circumstances the lay faithful have the ability to do very much and, therefore, ought to do very much towards the growth of an authentic ecclesial communion in their parishes in order to reawaken missionary zeal towards nonbelievers and believers themselves who have abandoned the faith or grown lax in the Christian life .
“All of the faithful have the right, sometimes even the duty, to make their opinions known on matters concerning the good of the Church. This can happen through institutions which have been established to facilitate that purpose: […]the pastoral council can be a most useful aid…providing proposals and suggestions on missionary, catechetical and apostolic initiatives […] as well as on the promotion of doctrinal formation and the sacramental life of the faithful; on the assistance to be given to the pastoral work of priests in various social and territorial situations; on how better to influence public opinion etc.”. The pastoral council is to be seen in relation to the context of the relationship of mutual service that exists between a parish priest and his faithful. It would therefore be senseless to consider the pastoral council as an organ replacing the parish priest in his government of the parish, or as one which, on the basis of a majority vote, materially constrains the parish priest in his direction of the parish.
In accordance with the norms of law on just and honest administration, organs which have been established to consider economic questions in a parish, may not constrain the pastoral role of the parish priest, who is the legal representative and administrator of the goods of the parish .
 Cf. SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL , Decree Christus Dominus, n. 27; CIC can. 511-514.
 Cf. CIC., can. 561 § 1.
 Cf. Ibid., can. 536 § 1.
 Cf. Ibid., can. 536 § 1.
 CONGREGATION FOR CLERGY, PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE LAITY, CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENTS, CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, CONGREGATION FOR THE EVANGELIZATION OF PEOPLES, CONGREGATION FOR THE INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE AND THE SOCIETIES OF APOSTOLIC LIFE, PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF LEGAL TEXTS, Instruction on certain questions regarding the collaboration of the non-ordained faithful in the sacred ministry of priests Ecclesiae de mysterio (15 August 1997), Practical Provisions, art. 5: l.c., pp. 867-868.
 Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici (30 December 1988), n. 27; l.c., p. 441.
 SACRED CONGREGATION FOR THE CLERGY, Circular Letter Omnes christifideles (25 January 1973), nn. 4; 9.
 Cf. CIC, cann. 532 and 1279, §1. )