AMPJP contribution to the Synod on Synodality

17 December 2021 by

AMPJP contribution to the Catholic Church in Australia’s submission to the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops


“A synodal Church is a Church of participation and co-responsibility.”[1]

The bicameral structure of Ministerial Public Juridic Persons (MPJP)[2] is an expression of synodal governance that might be helpful in other governance settings within the Church.

A brief outline of the MPJP structure follows.

  • The MPJP is the canonically authorised sponsor of Church ministries.
  • MPJP Council members are eligible for this role on the basis of their Baptism. They are appointed for their particular gifts in: theology, spirituality, pastoral ministry, governance etc.
  • The MPJP Council as the Church Authority and as the sponsor of its ministries, establishes a company with a Board to manage the Church ministries. The members of this Board have skills in: law, finance, clinical or educational governance, customer engagement etc. These skills and the availability of time allow the Board to ensure that the managers are growing the ministries and meeting their regulatory requirements.
  • The Council appoints Directors to the Board, provides it with a pastoral vision and strategic direction, approves a formation framework for the Board and its ministries, approves/notes the budget, receives regular reports and holds certain reserve powers.
  • At times the MPJP Council and the Ministry Board will meet together for planning, formation and reporting.

While there is a deliberate synergistic overlap in these roles in terms of mission and ministry leadership, the tilt of the MPJP Council is towards canonical governance and the tilt of the Ministry Board is towards civil governance.

This structure of bicameral and complementarity delivers practical and relational benefits.

  • Recognising and utilising distinct skillsets fosters respect.
  • Clearly articulated roles and delegations builds trust.
  • Fulfilling respective commissions enables accountability and advances mission through co-responsibility.

MPJPs have found that their structures strengthen the position of canonical stewards by allowing them to exercise their gifts without having to extend into the operational responsibility for the management of ministries.

Our Church needs to reimagine and allow our “hierarchical and charismatic gifts”[3] to flourish.


[1] “A synodal Church is a Church of participation and co-responsibility” from International Theological Commission (2018) Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church #67
[2] Ministerial PJP is the Australian nomenclature for PJPs established to sponsor Church health, education and other ministries see:
[3] Lumen Gentium #4