Response to Governance Review Project
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) commissioned a review of diocesan and parish governance and management in Australia, the report of which was published in August 2020 as The Light from the Southern Cross: Promoting Co-responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia. Amongst the review report’s 86 recommendations were a number relating to Diocesan and Parish Pastoral Councils. The National Centre for Pastoral Research (NCPR) was commissioned by ACBC to inform the Conference’s response to these recommendations.
The Centre undertook several key initiatives to address the ACBC request:
- a review of Parish and Diocesan Pastoral Council models found in Australia and overseas
- an analysis of existing NCPR data, to gather findings on Parish and Diocesan Pastoral Councils particularly from the National Church Life Survey, Plenary Council and Building Stronger Parishes projects
- commissioning a significant study of Diocesan Pastoral Councils from Dr Damien Gleeson, 2022 Australian Religious History Fellow, State Library of New South Wales.
The Centre reported on these initiatives to the November 2021 ACBC Plenary Meeting and the December 2021 ACBC Australian Catholic Council for Pastoral Research (Council) meeting. The Council meeting noted, and commended, the breadth and depth of Dr Gleeson’s study and, in light of the current Australian Plenary Council, highlighted the report’s timeliness as the Australian Church explores renewal. The Council recommended that Dr Gleeson’s report entitled Diocesan Pastoral Councils: An Australian Historical Study be made available to a wider audience along with other related NCPR research.
The reports from this project can be viewed and are available for download at these links:
Diocesan Pastoral Councils: An Australian Historical Study
Report details: September 2021. Damian John Gleeson, Diocesan Pastoral Councils: An Australian historical study. Copyright Note: This Report, which was in part self-funded, is subject to Australian and International Copyright laws. It may not be copied, reproduced or transmitted. Permission to cite or copy from this document may be directed to the author, who may be contacted through the National Centre for Pastoral Research at the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
Report details: August 2023. Trudy Dantis, Leith Dudfield, Stephen Reid, & Paul Bowell, ACBC Response to Governance Review – Diocesan Pastoral Councils: A Research Review. Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
Report details: August 2023. Trudy Dantis, Leith Dudfield, Stephen Reid, Paul Bowell & Lavina Thomas, ACBC Response to Governance Review – Parish Pastoral Councils: A Research Review. Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
The Centre thanks Dr Gleeson and the many people who contributed to the reports, and still others who assisted with the broader project.