About MPJPs

‘Public Juridic Person’ (PJP) is the term the Church uses for an entity established by canon (Church) law to perform a specific function. The most common PJPs are dioceses, parishes and Religious Institutes (e.g. Religious Orders).

In recent years, some Religious Institutes have transferred their ministries (e.g., schools, hospitals, aged care) to newly established PJPs. As these new entities have an exclusive responsibility for Church ministries, they are often known as ‘ministerial’ public juridic persons to distinguish them from traditional PJPs.

The features of Ministerial PJPs include:

  • being largely autonomous in canon law (similar to Religious Institutes);
  • having an exclusive focus on Church ministries (unlike Bishops and Leaders of Religious Institutes who have a broader mandate);
  • governance by a college of canonical stewards (whereas diocese and parishes are governed by a single person);
  • canonical stewards can be, and almost always are, lay people (other PJPs require their canonical stewards be a vowed Religious or an ordained cleric); and
  • a clear and set demarcation of roles with the boards they appoint to govern their ministries.

Some MPJPs were established by the Apostolic See through the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and are known as PJPs of pontifical right. Others were established by a Diocesan Bishop or a Province of Bishops. MPJP structures are often unique – reflecting the needs of their ministries, their founding charism and their resources.

MPJPs have operated in Australia for over 25 years. Over that time, they have provided stable governance and the continuance of the Catholic identity of Church ministries. MPJPs ensure their ministries continue to work with the disadvantaged and marginalised and to evolve to meet the needs of the contemporary Church and society.

MPJPs operating in Australia


More information about MPJPs is available on our resources page