Sacred Congregation for Bishops, Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops (Ecclesiae imago, May 31, 1973) translation prepared by the Benedictine monks of the Seminary of Christ the King, Mission, British Columbia (Ottawa: Publications Service of the Canadian Catholic Conference, 1974).
Paragraph number 179
“As regards effective organization for the work of caring for souls, besides the broader guidelines mentioned above (cf. n. 176) the bishop shall consider that kind of parish best . . . in which laymen, according to the office given them, take part in the parish pastoral council and take charge of works of the apostolate proper to themselves.” (n. 179, p. 92).
Paragraph number 204 (The Pastoral Council)
“204. The pastoral council is a body set up to investigate and carefully consider whatever pertains to diocesan pastoral activities and to arrive at practical conclusions to help the People of God pattern their lives and actions more closely on the Gospel (CD 27; ES I, 16). By its study and reflection, the council furnishes the judgments necessary to enable the diocesan community to plan its pastoral program systematically and to fulfill it effectively.5
“Although the pastoral council is not mandatory, it is highly recommended.6 It is made up of clergy (deacons, therefore, being in no wise excepted), religious and laity, specially chosen by the bishop (CD 27; ES I, 16).
“The council has only a consultative voice; nevertheless, the bishop has great respect for its recommendations, for they offer his apostolic office the serious and settled cooperation of the ecclesiastical community.
“To make the council’s work more effective, the bishop can order, if the good of the faithful requires it, that in every parish, among the other offices of the apostolate, parish pastoral councils be set up and that these be aligned with the diocesan council. These councils, grouped together according to areas, could choose their representatives to serve on the diocesan council, so that the whole diocesan community may feel that it is offering its cooperation to its bishop through the diocesan council.
“In order that the council may actually achieve this goal, it will be helpful if study precedes their common deliberation; and if the case warrants, the help of institutes or offices that work in the field may be used (ES I, 16; III, 4), as for example, the socio-religious office, the office for the means of social communication, etc.” (n. 204, p. 105)