The Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office

The Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office was a follow-up document to the one on the Church, and it gives a “job description” for bishops. It focuses on three basic areas of episcopal responsibility: first, the bishops’ collegial responsibility for the universal Church and their relationship with the pope; next, the document looks at the bishop’s responsibilities in the local diocese; and finally, the decree deals with the cooperation of bishops responsible for the Church in a particular region, calling for the use of synods and councils to serve that purpose. Specific attention is given to the nature and authority of the episcopal conference. It was approved on Oct. 28, 1965, by a vote of 2,319 to 2.