Catholic Church

The Catholic Church

Church Structure

Catholic education is very much part of the Catholic Church itself.


The hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Australia is headed by the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in Australia resident in Canberra ACT.

The Catholic Church in Australia is administratively and geographically divided into seven archdioceses and 21 dioceses. All the capital cities of the Australian States and Canberra, are the centre for archdioceses.

In addition there are some administrative divisions in the Church in Australia which cater for special groups - for example; the Melkites, the Maronites, and the Military Ordinate for the Armed Services in Australia.

The archbishops and bishops of all dioceses and the Ordinariate together with the auxiliary bishops constitute the Australian Episcopal Conference. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference meets at least annually.  The Conference has a Central Commission and various bishops’ committees.


In Queensland there are five diocese - the Archdiocese of Brisbane and the Diocese of Rockhampton, Townsville, Cairns and Toowoomba. Each diocese is under the leadership of a bishop. The Brisbane Archdiocese is led by the Archbishop with the assistance of two auxiliary bishops. The bishops of Queensland meet in conference, usually twice yearly. 

The Diocese

Diocese have differing structures according to their size and geography.  Deaneries are regional areas consistent with Canon Law which form a number of parishes into a group.

Councils of priests exist in each diocese and archdiocese under their own Canon Law Statutes and are advisory to the archbishop and the bishops of the respective dioceses.

Each diocesan bishop appoints a College of Consulters from the Council of Priests to provide advice and consultation on a range of church matters.  A finance committee is also to be established in each diocese.

The Parish

The parish is the basic structure of the Church which brings together in community the families and individuals of a common region. The Parish Pastoral Council was recommended by the bishops at Vatican II as a structure for local parish communities to co-ordinate the mission of the Church at local level.  Each parish is also required to establish a finance committee to assist the parish priest in the administration of parish goods.

Pius XII Provincial Seminary

The Pius XII is the base for the formation of diocesan priests in Queensland. The seminary is responsible to the bishops of the dioceses of Queensland.

Religious Orders in Queensland

Australia has been enriched by religious orders of priests, brothers and sisters who have contributed to many areas of Church and secular life.  Amongst the many fields of religious and charitable endeavour, education, health care and parish pastoral ministry have been prominent.

Church Documents

Listed below are some Church documents relevant to Catholic Education:

"Vatican Council II"

  • "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church"  Lumen Gentium, 21 November 1964
    “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World”  Gaudium et Spes, 7 December 1965
  • “Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People”  Apostolicam Actuositatem, 18 November 1965
  •  “Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity” Ad Gentes Divinitus, 7 December 1965
  • “Declaration on Christian Education” Gravissimum Educationis, 28 October 1965
  • “The Catholic School” Congregation for Catholic Education,  Australian Edition, March 1992
  • “The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millenium” (For Seminaries and Educational Institutions) Congregation for Catholic Education, Australian Edition, July 1998
  • “Lay Catholics in Schools – Witnesses to Faith” Congregation for Catholic Education,  Australian Edition, March 1990
  • “The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School” (Guidelines for Reflection and Renewal) Congregation for Catholic Education,  Australian Edition, April 1990
  • “Walking His Way, Telling His Truth, Living His Life“ Implications of Ecclesia in Oceania for Catholic Education (NCEC 2003)
  • “The Queensland Bishops Project: Catholic Schools for the 21st Century” A report to the Queensland Bishops - August 2001

Key Links