How are we governed?


The Archbishop, in his governance of the Archdiocese, exercises:

  • Legislative authority
  • Executive authority
  • Judicial authority (Can. 391).

The Archbishop can and does delegate executive authority, but he exercises legislative authority personally. He may exercise judicial authority personally or through the judicial vicar.

The Archbishop governs the Archdiocese with the help of significant others – both persons and bodies.

This office is called the Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation. It assists him in:

  • Pastoral action
  • The administration of the Archdiocese
  • The exercise of judicial authority.

The Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation is lead by:

  • The Vicar General
  • The Archdiocesan Financial Administrator.
  • Both appointments are required by Church Law.

The Vicar General is appointed by the Archbishop ‘to assist in the governance of the whole diocese’ and so shares in the executive authority of the Archbishop (Can. 475).

Think of the Vicar General as the ‘alter ego’ of the Archbishop, assisting him especially in personnel and policy matters.

The Archdiocesan Financial Administrator (AFA) is appointed by the Archbishop, after he has consulted with the Archdiocesan Finance Council and the College of Consultors (Can. 494).

The responsibilities of the Archdiocesan Financial Administrator include:

  • Administer and supervise the goods of the Archdiocese, under the guidance of the Archdiocesan Finance Council
  • Payment of monies
  • Report to the Archdiocesan Finance Council with the yearly income and expenditure statement and balance sheet.

The Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation includes:

The Chancellor, who is the ‘secretary’ of the Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation. The Chancellor is ‘to ensure that the acts of the Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation are drawn up and dispatched, and that they are kept safe’ (Can. 482§1)

The Catholic Development Fund: Is the treasury for the Archdiocese, receiving and allocating monies from parishes and Archdiocesan agencies, benefiting the mission and ministries of the Archdiocese, including the Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation. Financial service, oversight and advice is provided. The manager maximises the use of funds, providing competitive loan rates and account conditions, for the benefit of education, aged care, healthcare, pastoral and family services. An advisory board oversights the Catholic Development Fund, while the Catholic Development Fund is subject to external auditors, reporting annually to both ASIC and ACNC.

Institute for Professional Standards and Safeguarding: Facilitates strong, supportive and right relationships. It is responsible for professional standards policy & procedures, and provides education & formation to ensure compliance with legal, civil and ecclesial requirements for children and vulnerable adults. It is responsible for the reception of all professional standards complaints. The IPSS provides high-level advice.

Youth and Young Adults Ministry: Deepens the relationship between schools and parishes, through the employment of 25 Youth Ministers. We focus on implementing Catholic Schools Youth Ministry Australia (CSYMA), formation and mission programs (Alpha & Belong) in parishes and key Archdiocesan youth events.

Pastoral & Mission Formation: There are three key areas: Young adults, young professionals, and university chaplaincy; training, formation and support of catechists in state public schools and schools of religion; helping parishes develop Adult Initiation Programs for those desiring to enter into the faith-life of the Catholic Community.

Archdiocesan Communications: Serves the Archbishop and Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation in communicating the Gospel of Christ, promoting and preserving the integrity of the mission by providing relevant, valuable and consistent content – digital and print. We seek to engage a variety of audiences through the Catholic Voice, offering news of the Church – from the parish to the world – daily on digital platforms and in print.

Parish Support: Provides administrative support to all Parish Priests and Parish office staff, including delivery of tailored training courses, one-to-one training, professional development in parish office administration and church database (PACS). Financial input, payment, reporting & BAS requirements are provided for 21 parishes. The Parish Support Manager is involved in recruitment, interviews and mediation and is involved in Archdiocesan Internal Audits.

Tribunal: Is an office of the Inter-Diocesan Tribunal of Sydney (NSW & ACT), responsible for the preparation and assessment of all marriage cases presented to it by people who reside within the Archdiocese. The Tribunal assists people who have been married and divorced, who seek to marry in the Catholic Church. Some people enter an ‘annulment process,’ while others receive help via the ‘Petrine Privilege’ and ‘Pauline Privilege.’ 

Marriage, Family & Relationships: Serves the pastoral and educational activities with respect to life, marriage and family. Marriage Family & Relationships provides oversight and facilitation of marriage and natural fertility programs; promotes and provides enrichment resources and opportunities; liaises and collaborates with groups, movements, ministries; presents values-based relationship and sexuality programs into Catholic Schools; provides resources to parents, teachers and pastoral workers.

Financial Services: Assists the Archdiocesan Financial Administrator in the financial running of the Archdiocese, including invoicing, payments, payroll & stipends, banking, levies, insurances, budget and overall financial management.

The Archbishop is assisted by key consultative bodies:

  • The Archdiocesan Finance Council (AFC) is composed of ‘Christ’s faithful, expert in financial affairs and civil law, of outstanding integrity, and appointed by the Archbishop’ (Can. 492§1). The AFC has a number of responsibilities:
    • Advising the Archbishop on Archdiocesan taxation
    • Advising the Archbishop on important acts of administration
    • Examining the accounts of administration each year
    • Advising the Archbishop on the sale of Church properties
    • Advising the Archbishop on Archdiocesan investment
    • Oversee the Archdiocesan annual budget prepared by the AFA
    • Presentation of the annual Archdiocesan financial statements, prepared by the AFA, to the Archbishop and his Consultors
  • The Council of Priests is representative of the priests of the Archdiocese. The Council acts like a ‘senate,’ assisting the Archbishop in the governance of the Archdiocese for the pastoral welfare of the lay faithful (Can. 495§1). The Council has its own statues. Some priests are elected, others are appointed.
  • The College of Consultors is similar in nature to the Council of Priests, but smaller in nature, and deals with more delicate, personnel matters, and more urgent matters. It has particular functions when there is no Archbishop.
  • The Archdiocesan Pastoral Council studies and weighs up those matters that affect the pastoral work of the Archdiocese and proposes pastoral recommendations. It is composed of both priests and lay people and has a consultative vote.