Since 1997, the Vatican has published six documents pertaining to pastoral councils. They affirm the traditional understanding of the council as the representative body that the pastor consults by asking it to investigate a practical matter, to reflect on it, and to recommend its conclusions.
- Instruction, “The Pastoral Conversion of the Parish Community in the Service of the Evangelising Mission of the Church,” July 20, 2020.
- Apostolorum successores, Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops, 2004
- The Priest, Pastor and Leader, Instruction of 2002
- Novo millennio ineunte, Apostolic Letter, 2001
- Ecclesia in Asia, Apostolic Exhortation, 1999
- Ecclesia de mysterio, Instruction on Certain Questions, 1997