The Diocesan Pastoral Council met yesterday (Saturday) at the Bethany Center for its final time prior to the summer recess. We had a long discussion of the state of Catholic education in the diocese and I found the input of almost all on the Council who spoke to be both wise and occasionally profound. The Diocesan Pastoral Council is presently composed of twenty-five representatives from across the five counties of the diocese. In additional to geographical representation from each of the seven deaneries, the priests, religious sisters, religious brothers, youth, multi-cultural, deacons all have places at the table. It took me a long time to organize a diocesan pastoral council and now that I have had the benefit of their wisdom and insights, I regret the delay in many ways.
The law of the Church (Canon Law) does not requite pastoral councils either at the diocesan or parish level. It does require a Finance Council at both levels and for the diocesan Church it requires a Council of Priests and a College of Consultors. In most instances, this same law requires only that the bishop and/or pastor “hear” the advice of these advisory bodies and gthen he can do as hed wishes. To fail to listen and to act against the wisdom of these advisory committees would to my mind be perilous in most instances.
Since its formation the DPC has intensely studied the matter of communications within the diocese and recommended abandoning the FLORIDA CATHOLIC in favor of a greater reliance on electronic communications via the internet and the new diocesan magazine, GATHERED, NOURISHED, SENT. When the present school study is complete, I hope they can turn their attention to matters such as the present decline in Catholics seeking using the sacrament of marriage along with marriage preparation, etc. Out of the lived experience of Catholics will certainly come wise council. You would be proud and pleased with the early work of this dedicated consultative body and I look forward always to our time together.