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Catholic Dictionary




A group of the faithful under a bishop's authority, co-operating with him in serving the needs of a diocese. As decreed by the Second Vatican Council, "In dioceses, as far as possible, councils should be set up to assist the church's apostolic work, whether in the field of evangelization and sanctification, or in the fields of charity, social relations and the rest; the clergy and religious working with the laity in whatever way proves satisfactory." The authority of a diocesan council is always merely consultative with respect to the bishop, who retains the right to accept or bypass the decisions of a diocesan council. Moreover, "these councils can take care of the mutual co-ordination of the various lay associations and undertakings" of a diocese "while keeping autonomy and particular nature of each untouched" (Decree Apostolicam Actuositatem, 26).