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​​​​College of Consultors

The college of consultors is an institute established by canon law (Canon 502) as one of the specific consultative bodies with which the archbishop must consult on significant administrative and temporal matters. This reflects an essential element of canon law that reserves final responsibility and a final decision on many matters to the archbishop, but only after he has consulted and received advice from particular groups in reaching that decision.

Current members of the college of consultors include the archbishop, auxiliary bishops, moderator of the curia, and other priests who have leadership roles in the archdiocese. The vicar for canonical services acts as the recording secretary (see the listing in the current Archdiocese of Los Angeles Catholic Directory​). Under canon law, the college of consultors meets as needed to advise the archbishop regarding the more important acts of administration in light of the economic condition of the archdiocese. In discharging its consultative role, the college of consultors provides advice to the archbishop on the position to be taken in the performance of acts of extraordinary administration as defined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which serves as the national conference of Catholic bishops under canon law (Canon 1277). This includes determining whether to give its advice that the archbishop should alienate the goods of the archdiocese or a juridic person over whom the archbishop exercises responsibility, when the value of the goods whose alienation is proposed exceeds the minimum amounts set by the USCCB from time to time for dioceses in the United States (cf. Canon 1292.1). The college of consultors also has specified duties under canon law when the office of archbishop is vacant or impeded.

The college of consultors must include at least six​ but no more than 12 priests or bishops and uniquely, the college is established for a five-year term. When the five-year term is over, the college of consultors can continue to function until a new college of consultors is established (cf. Canon 502.1), at which time the archbishop can reappoint the same people or designate new members.

Where canon law specifies that the consent or advice of the college of consultors is required, there must be consent of an absolute majority of those present and counsel of all who are present must have been sought (cf. Canon 127.1). All whose consent or counsel is required are obliged to offer their opinion sincerely (cf. Canon 127.3).

Meetings of the college of consultors are confidential as specified under canon law or as determined by the archbishop (cf. Canons 127.3 and 471.2).

Council of Priests

Under canon law, a presbyteral council is required to be convened and presided over by the archbishop as the consultative board on matters promoting the pastoral welfare of the people of God entrusted to him (Canon 495). In the archdiocese, the Council of Priests of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the presbyteral council.

The council operates as an advisory body and as a "senate" of clergy under statutes and bylaws adopted and updated by the council from time to time, as appropriate. The Council of Priests is organized to

  • aid the archbishop in the governance of the archdiocese according to the standards or norms so that the pastoral welfare of the people of God committed to the archbishop with the cooperation of the priests may be carried forward as effectively as possible;

  • provide a forum through which the presbyterate can offer their wisdom, raise questions, and engage in the full and free discussion of all issues of concern in the archdiocese;

  • search for and propose ways and means for more effective pastoral ministry among the people of God; and

  • provide dialogue and advice that foster what is appropriate for effective priestly life and ministry.

The Council of Priests generally meets as a body on a monthly basis and also has both standing and ad hoc committees that meet and report on a regular basis.

Members of the Council of Priests are elected by (a) priests incardinated in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, including those working and residing within the archdiocese, studying or ministering in an assignment outside of the archdiocese, or who are retired (Canon 498.1.1)​ and (b) priests incardinated elsewhere, whether in another diocese, a personal prelature, a religious institute, or a society of apostolic life, but who have faculties to minister in the archdiocese and who are then serving in the archdiocese (Canon 498).

The members of the Council of Priests include the archbishop, auxiliary and regional bishops or regional episcopal vicars, and the moderator of the curia,​​ who are all ex officio members, as well as the deans of the 20 deaneries of the archdiocese. The archbishop may appoint other members. Other clergy with official roles may serve as consultants. Members are generally elected for five-year terms but automatically resign when transferred to a different region or when no longer a dean, as the case may be.

As one of the key consultative bodies set by canon law, the Council of Priests acts by majority vote. The council is consulted on policy matters that directly impact priests generally such as compensation and standards for issuance of faculties to minister, and may be consulted on any matter when the archbishop is seeking advice. Also, under canon law, the Council of Priests must be consulted by the archbishop in matters of ​great moment (Canon 500.2), including matters related to

  • the advisability of an archdiocesan synod (Canon 461.1);

  • the establishment, suppression, and division of parishes or the modification of the nature of a parish or its boundaries (Canon 515.2);

  • regulations of the allocation of offerings on the occasion of parish services (Canon 531);

  • mandating that a Parish Pastoral Council​ be established in every parish (Canon 536.1);

  • granting permission to build a church (Canon 1215.2) or authorizing that a church be converted to secular purposes except where it has become impossible to continue using it for worship (Canon 1222);

  • the imposition or the modification of archdiocesan assessments (Canon 1263); and

  • other matters that have or could be expected to have a significant impact on the patrimony, organization, or operation of the archdiocese or on the life of the clergy as a whole.

Finance Council

The Finance Council of the archdiocese was formally established in 1986 by Archbishop Roger Mahony to comply with the requirements of canon law (Canon 492).

It is subject to the provisions of canon law and consists of clergy and lay or religious members of the Christian faithful who serve as volunteers or ex officio members and are skilled in financial matters and familiar with the applicable elements of canon and civil law. The Finance Council exists to assist the archbishop in handling those financial matters that fall within the purview of the archbishop and has the duties set forth in the Code of Canon Law, Book 5, The Temporal Goods of the Church (Canon 493). The Finance Council advises the archbishop on those acts of administration, which are more important in light of the economic condition of the diocese (Canon 1277), and, in particular, acts of extraordinary administration that he is required to submit to the Finance Council pursuant to the norms of the USCCB (Canon 1277 and the USCCB Complementary Norms).

In addition, the Finance Council reviews and adopts an annual budget for the Archdiocesan Catholic Center​, including the cemetery operations and the regional offices; examines the annual financial reports and statements of operations; and oversees the annual independent audit of the financial statements for the Archdiocesan Catholic Center​, Catholic C​​emeteries​, and any other operations in the archdiocese over which the archbishop exercises direct control (Canon 493).

The Finance Council also directly and through committees advises on a wide range of fiscal and financial matters ranging from gifts and wills administration, parish and school financial status and planning, strategic financial issues, capital and real estate development and management matters, material litigation and contingencies, debt and other financings, insurance and the investment and management of the Investment Pool​​, major fund-raising and stewardship initiatives, oversight of major assets, parish assessments, operation of funds, the selection of the chief financial officer of the archdiocese, and such other matters as the archbishop refers to the council.

The voting members of the Finance Council include at least nine but no more than 25 individuals appointed by the archbishop and designated as voting members. Voting members include an auxiliary bishop and no more than five other clergy, with the balance being non-clergy persons selected from religious communities in the archdiocese and from the Roman Catholic laity in the archdiocese. The moderator of the curia and the chief finance officer are ex officio and do not vote on matters before the Finance Council. The archbishop participates in the meetings of the Finance Council but does not vote.

The voting members of the Finance Council are appointed for staggered five-year terms and may be appointed to a second five-year term at the discretion of the archbishop. After a hiatus of at least three years, former members may be reappointed to the Finance Council.

The archbishop designates a chair and vice chair and a secretary is designated. The council meets regularly, generally monthly, and operates both as a full council and through several committees with substantial responsibility for overseeing the particular aspects of the council's charge.

Other Advisory Groups


In addition to the college of consultors, Council of Priests, and Finance Council, which are mandated by canon law, the archbishop is expected to designate people for the Office of the Archbishop​ and establish such other advisory boards, committees, and administrative groups as he considers appropriate to advise and assist him in the discharge of his pastoral and administrative duties. The archbishop has designated a Leadership Team to oversee various functions in the archdiocese and the Archdiocesan Catholic Center​ and to be his principal administrative advisory group. In addition, he meets regularly with the auxiliary bishops on matters of pastoral or administrative concern to the archdiocese, the California Catholic Conference, the USCCB​, or the Church generally.

There are a number of other archdiocesan advisory boards that serve as important advisory bodies to the archbishop and assist him in a wide range of administrative needs and other archdiocesan programs and social and community activities. The boards and their members are listed in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Catholic Directory.


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