Catholic Dictionary




Modeled on the diocesan council, a group of parishioners organized to co-operate with the pastor in the apostolic work of a parish. After describing the functions of diocesan councils the Second Vatican Council decreed that "Such councils should also be found, if possible, at parochial, inter-parochial and inter-diocesan levels, and also on the national and international plane" (decree Apostolicam Actuositatem, 26). As conceived by the Church, parish councils are merely advisory to the pastor and are meant to assist him. Unlike their counterparts among Protestants, a Catholic parish council does not operate under the trustee system. It does not either replace the authority of the pastor or make him juridically dependent on its decision.