Catholic pastors consult pastoral councils in order to be better leaders. Bishops and priests ask their councilors to investigate some aspects of the church, reflect on it, and recommend their conclusions. In brief, the work of the pastoral council is pastoral planning.

Councillors help their pastor by studying, reflecting, and recommending their conclusions.

Pastoral councils were first recommended in Vatican II’s “Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops.” They exist in three-fourths of the 18,000 Catholic parishes in the USA.

Yet even today, more than fifty years after Vatican II, the debate about the nature of the pastoral council still continues. People discuss what councils do, how they do it, and the motive for putting their gifts at the service of the Church. To learn more about parish pastoral councils, click on one of the following links.