2.3 Canon Law and the Pastoral Council
The Code of Canon Law is the law under which the Church is governed.
The Canon which relates specifically to Parish Pastoral Councils is:
?1. If the diocesan bishop judges it opportune after he has heard the presbyteral council, a pastoral council is to be established in each parish, over which the pastor presides and in which the Christian faithful, together with those who share in pastoral care by virtue of their office in the parish, assist in fostering pastoral activity.
?2. A pastoral council possesses a consultative vote only and is governed by the norms established by the diocesan bishop.
This section on Diocesan Pastoral Councils generally also applies where appropriate to the Parish Pastoral Council:
Can. 511 In every diocese and to the extent that pastoral circumstances suggest it, a pastoral council is to be constituted which under the authority of the bishop investigates, considers, and proposes practical conclusions about those things which pertain to pastoral works in the diocese.
Can. 512 ?1. A pastoral council consists of members of the Christian faithful who are in full communion with the Catholic Church ? clerics, members of institutes of consecrated life, and especially laity ? who are designated in a manner determined by the diocesan bishop.
?2. The Christian faithful who are designated to a pastoral council are to be selected in such a way that they truly reflect the entire portion of the people of God which constitutes the diocese, with consideration given to the different areas of the diocese, social conditions and professions, and the role which they have in the apostolate whether individually or joined with others.
?3. No one except members of the Christian faithful outstanding in firm faith, good morals, and prudence is to be designated to a pastoral council.
Can. 513 ?1. A pastoral council is constituted for a period of time according to the prescripts of the statutes which are issued by the bishop.
?2. When the see is vacant, a pastoral council ceases.
Can. 514 ?1. A pastoral council possesses only a consultative vote. It belongs to the diocesan bishop alone to convoke it according to the needs of the apostolate and to preside over it; it also belongs to him alone to make public what has been done in the council.
?2. The pastoral council is to be convoked at least once a year.
For your information this Canon relates to the Parish finance committee or council:
Can. 537 In each parish there is to be a finance council which is governed, in addition to universal law, by norms issued by the diocesan bishop and in which the Christian faithful, selected according to these same norms, are to assist the pastor in the administration of the goods of the parish, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 532.
Can. 532 In all juridic affairs the pastor represents the parish according to the norm of law. He is to take care that the goods of the parish are administered according to the norm of cann. 1281-1288.
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