The Finance Council works closely with the pastor, who is accountable to the diocesan bishop for the administration and stewardship of the temporal goods of the parish. The pastor, according to Canon Law, has among his responsibilities, the responsibility for parish financial and temporal management. The Parish Finance Council is a consultative body that assists the pastor in meeting these obligations. While the Parish Finance Council does not have decision making authority, consultation is at the heart of the decision-making process – sharing information, listening, contributing to the discussion, and promoting consensus.
Canon law states that the pastor is obligated to consult the Finance Council on certain matters. Although the pastor is not obliged to follow the recommendations of the Finance Council, the pastor should not act against such advice, especially when there is consensus, unless there is an overriding reason. In other words, the prudent pastor would not ignore the advice of the Finance Council unless there was a serious reason to do so. When acting contrary to its recommendations the pastor should provide an explanation to the Finance Council regarding the reasons for his decision.
In order to be effective in their responsibilities as members of the Parish Finance Council, members should have a love for the Church and its mission and develop a thorough understanding of the parish’s mission, goals, people and other resources. The members should have knowledge of diocesan statutes and policies regarding temporal issues and other financial matters. It is the pastor’s responsibility to give the members appropriate background and enrichment so they are able to carry out their duties.
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