Mandate of the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life


Tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it --not for sordid gain but eagerly (I Pet 5:2).

1. Membership and Meeting

1.1. The Commission shall comprise four (4) bishops as determined by the Conference by laws.
1.2. The Commission shall meet at least two (2) times each year at a time and place that the members determine. Use will be made of video or teleconference facilities when the agenda or circumstances warrants.

2. Areas of Responsibility
The Commission promotes the pastoral life and mission of the Catholic Church in Australia in the following areas:

  • Support for migrants and refugees
  • Specialist chaplaincies (Prisons, Detention Centres, Seafarers)
  • Pastoral support for aged persons
  • People with disability
  • Sport & Health
  • Groups that may be or are perceived to be marginalised in Church life.

3. Particular Functions
In particular, the Commission performs the following functions:

3.1 The Commission monitors the activity of the Church and its agencies in the following area:

3.1.1 The Apostleship of the Sea

3.2 The Commission, as approved or requested by the Conference, develops national policies in specific areas of its responsibility.

3.3 The Commission, in accordance with Conference policy, undertakes public and private advocacy in support of:

3.3.1 Migrants and Refugees

3.3.2 People with Disabilities

3.3.3 All people who are also marginalised or disadvantaged in Australian society or have special needs

3.3.4 Pastoral care related to other areas within the Commission’s mandate

3.4 The Commission undertakes such specific projects as the Conference may from time to time approve or request.

3.5 The Commission will designate a bishop to act as its delegate in the following areas:

3.5.1 Migrants and Refugees

3.5.2 People with disabilities

3.5.3 Prisoners

3.5.4 The Apostleship of the Sea – Episcopal Promoter (who shall be the national delegate to the Holy See and other international representative bodies for this apostolate)

3.5.5 Other areas within the Commission’s mandate which the Commission determines require the attention of a Bishop Delegate, for example the National Pastoral Planners Network.

4. Advisory Role
The Commission advises the Bishops and the Conference on issues that arise in the areas of its responsibility and, where appropriate, makes recommendations for action that might be undertaken at a national level.

5. Advisory Bodies
The Commission establishes, in accordance with the mandates in Schedule 1, the following advisory bodies to assist it in its responsibilities:

5.1 The Australian Catholic Disability Council

5.2 The Australian Catholic Prisoners’ Pastoral Care Council

5.3 The Advisory Council to the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office

6. Relations

6.1 The Commission maintains formal relations with:

6.1.1 National Pastoral Planners Network

7. Offices
The Commission supervises the work of the following offices in accordance with the mandates detailed in Schedule 2.

7.1 Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office

8. Secretariat
The Secretariat for Pastoral Life, comprised of the Executive Secretary, and Disability Projects Officer and temporary positions as may be required and approved from time to time, assists the Commission in fulfilling its tasks.

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GPO Box 368
Canberra ACT 2601

1300 4FAITH (1300 432 484)
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