DPC LogoSmallRick Krivanka of Cleveland asked about the Pastoral Council’s Purpose and Function on January 4, 2013:

Do you have any helpful conceptual designs for Parish Pastoral Councils that clearly spell out their purpose and practical function with the best latest thinking?

I have a concern from a pastor who has done a governance type council a few different times. He said that it ends up being largely ineffective and struggles to have a meaningful purpose.

When it reaches that stage it goes through a meandering death via having no purpose.


Mark F. Fischer replied:

“Governance type” councils can mislead parishioners and create a false understanding of the role of the pastor. This type can wrongly suggest that the Pastoral Council governs the parish, not the pastor.

Pastoral Councils are consultative bodies.  That means that the pastor consults the council to achieve a purpose.  A good design for a PPC should spell out its purpose and function.

My basic contention is that the Diocesan Pastoral Council was the “first” pastoral council, recommended in the 1965 Vatican II Decree on Bishops, no. 27. In 1973, the Vatican extended the DPC concept from dioceses to parishes. So I argue that the pastoral council is a single type of council, whether it exists on the diocesan or the parish level.


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