Bishops' Conference of Austria
The Austrian Bishops’ Conference, established in 1849, is one of the oldest in the world. The Conference comprises all the diocesan and auxiliary bishops holding office in the Austrian dioceses, along with the Abbot of Wettingen-Mehrerau.
The task of the Bishops’ Conference is to study and promote common pastoral undertakings, mutual advice and the necessary co-ordination of ecclesial activity, the joint issuing of juridical norms, as well as regard for relationships with other Bishops’ Conferences. An important area of work for the Bishops’ Conference is the relationship between church, state and society in Austria.
The main body of the Bishops’ Conference is the General Assembly which, as a rule, meets three times a year (in spring, summer and autumn). The Plenary Assembly is chaired by the President of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference, elected for six years, who represents the Conference externally. As a consequence of a papal indult, the Austrian Bishops’ Conference does not have a "Permanent Council".
The General Assemblies of Bishops are prepared and reviewed at their conclusion by the General Secretariat, which also manages relations with the permanent ecclesiastical and state institutions, and also follows up necessary correspondence.
To tackle specific issues in a concrete manner, the Bishops’ Conference has entrusted numerous tasks to its members, tasks they undertake within episcopal "commissions", or with an episcopal "point of reference".
There are three episcopal commissions:
- the Commission for faith
- the Commission for catechesis
- the Finance Commission