What are PJPs and what’s their relevance to the Plenary?

In my last post I mentioned the term “PJP” as used in the agenda for the Plenary Council in relation to the following question:

“How might the Church in Australia be better structured for mission, considering the parish, the diocese, religious orders, the PJPs and new communities?”

I had assumed wrongly that PJP referred to “Public Juridic Persons” such as those that belong to the Association of Ministerial Public Juridical Persons

I’ve been informed that PJP in fact stands both Public and Private Juridic Persons, which is an excellent clarification.

In the 1983 Code of Canon Law, juridic persons are entities recognised as such either by the Holy See, bishops’ conferences or individual bishops.

So I’ve endeavoured to find out which organisations are recognised in the Australian Church as either Private or Public Juridic Persons.

No mention of either kind of PJP on the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference website.

A search on the Australian Catholic Directory only reveals one entity: Committee of Religious Institute and Ministerial Public Juridic Person School Authorities Australia.

A search of the CathNews archives likewise only contains one reference to PJPs, again in relation to the Committee of Religious Institute and Ministerial Public Juridic Person School Authorities Australia.

CathNews archive also contains nine references to “juridic persons” all of which related to the very small group of “public juridic persons” including the previously mentioned Committee of Religious Institute and Ministerial Public Juridic Person School Authorities Australia, Catholic Religious Institute and Ministerial Public Juridic Person Victorian Schools Pty LtdMercy Partners and the like.

So although, technically, PJP may refer to be both public and private juridic persons, there does not seem to be any practice in the Australian Church to use the term except for that very small group of above-mentioned public juridic persons.

Moreover, I wonder whether any groups, movements, communities, sodalities, etc would even identify themselves as either a public or private juridic person, let alone a PJP!

So let’s try and broaden the Plenary question:

“How might the Church in Australia be better structured for mission, considering the parish, the diocese, religious orders, as well as various groups, communities, movements, associations and other organisations, whether lay, clerical or mixed?”

Stefan Gigacz

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