Name: The Australian Catholic Council for Clergy Life and Ministry

What is the Council?
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, in response to the Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (March 1992), established the Australian Catholic Council for Clergy Life and Ministry in December 1992 as a national body that would be a resource for the members of the Conference in their responsibility for the lifelong formation and education of clergy. The Council provides advice to the Bishops Commission for Church Ministry. 


Appointed Members

  1. Two bishops from Bishops Commission for Church Ministry
  2. Five Diocesan Directors, one from each ecclesiastical province
  3. Two religious (one a priest)
  4. Three lay persons
  5. A deacon

Ex Officio Members
Director, Office for Clergy Life and Ministry, as Secretary
Coordinator of the Permanent Diaconate

Appointment of Members

The Bishops Commission for Church Ministry:

  • Nominates two Bishops
  • Ratifies five Diocesan Directors, one from each of the five Ecclesiastical Provinces, nominated by the Diocesan Directors and approved by their Bishop
  • Approves the nomination of two religious (one a priest) from those presented by Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) and appointed with the approval of their Superiors
  • Approves the nomination of three laypersons nominated by the Council for Clergy Life and Ministry (each with his or her Bishop’s approval).  Diocesan Directors may also nominate suitable laypersons.
  • Approves the nomination of a deacon nominated by the Council with his Bishop’s approval.  Diocesan directors may also nominate a suitable deacon. 

All appointments to the Council are for three years with each member being eligible for a second term. In exceptional circumstances a person may be elected for a third term.

Appointment of Chairperson:

The Chairperson is elected by the Council for a three year term.

Frequency and Place of Meetings:

The Council will usually meet three times a year at a venue decided by the Council.

Administrative Support:

Administrative support will be provided by the Director of the Office for Clergy Life and Ministry and the Secretariat for the Bishops Commission for Church Ministry. 

Areas of Responsibility   

The title of the Council identifies three areas of responsibility:

  • The integration of the formation and education of the clergy in their life and ministry
  • The lifelong process of formation involving the four aspects human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral as outlined in Pastores Dabo Vobis.
  • The process of formation for ordained ministry (bishop, priest, deacon) and the quality of the life and ministry of the clergy in a world which is new and undergoing rapid and continual evolution (Pastores Dabo Vobis p.10).

The Council

  • Advises the Bishops Commission for Church Ministry when confusion or change needs to be addressed in relation to clergy life and ministry throughout Australia
  • Reflects on and offers advice on an integral continuing education for Catholic clergy
  • Reflects on and advises on national and regional networking and gatherings of the Diocesan Directors or representatives for the continuing education of clergy in the Dioceses and Eparchies of the Catholic Church in Australia.
  • Responds to Bishops’ requests to address particular issues

Areas for constant reflection

  • Policies and projects for the continuing education, formation, pastoral care and support of clergy (Bishops, Priests and Deacons)
  • Organisations involved in education and formation of clergy (seminaries etc)
  • Sharing of resources and resource personnel
  • The health care network, and the well- being and healthy living of the clergy.
  • Effective ministry in the multicultural aspect of the Australian Church
  • Living and working together as a presbyterate
  • Recognising the gifts and challenges of the ethnic diversity of the clergy
  • Co-responsibility and collaboration in ministry; clergy and laity working together
  • Clergy working together with lay pastoral ministers
  • Working with clergy who have lost their way
  • The Norms and Guidelines for Permanent Deacons
  • The acculturation process for priests from overseas
  • The advice for those accused of abuse
  • Self-appraisal of life and ministry
  • Encouraging and supporting the Clergy Care Network

November 2013

(This mandate expires after three years and is subject for review and approval by Australian Catholic Bishops Conference on recommendation by the Australian Catholic Council for Clergy Life and Ministry.)

  • Created: 20 August 2008
  • Modified: 05 March 2015