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Study shows US bishops' increased consultation with laity

The Catholic bishops in the United States are making greater use of consultative bodies that include laity, and are more supportive of diocesan pastoral councils and parish councils than they were six years ago, according to a new survey of bishops.

The US bishops' Committee on the Laity released its Report on Diocesan and Parish Pastoral Councils on Tuesday in Washington.

The publication is based on a survey conducted in December among the 195 heads of US dioceses.

The response rate was 57%, with 107 responses from Latin-rite dioceses and five from Eastern-rite eparchies.

Results showed that 60% of dioceses or eparchies have a diocesan pastoral council, up from the 44% reported in a 1997 study conducted by the Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate and co-sponsored by the laity committee and the bishops' Committee on Pastoral Practices. Several other dioceses said they are "actively considering" setting up a diocesan council, according to an executive summary of the report.

Other respondents "reported that prior attempts at such bodies had proven ineffective, were difficult to conduct given large or rural geographic areas nonconducive to travel, or had temporarily lapsed because of a change in episcopal leadership," the summary said.

Survey shows more consultation with laity among bishops (Catholic News Service 24/3/04)

US Bishops' Committee on the Laity | 2004 Report on Diocesan and Parish Pastoral Councils
Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate
Australian Bishops Committee For The Laity

26 Mar 2004