Definition of pastoral letter in US English:

pastoral letter


  • An official letter from a bishop to all the clergy or members of his or her diocese.

    • ‘Lutheran and Catholic bishops to share joint retreats, co-sponsor pastoral letters on topics of mutual concern and conviction, and to share joint efforts for the common good.’
    • ‘I felt right at home, for example, with the U.S. bishops' pastoral letters on the economy, nuclear arms, and capital punishment.’
    • ‘In fact, the U.S. bishops in their 1968 pastoral letter Human Life in Our Day recognized the legitimacy of such dissent if there are serious reasons for it, if the teaching authority of the church is not impugned, and if scandal is not given.’
    • ‘The bishop of my own diocese acknowledged as much in his pastoral letter on the subject.’
    • ‘Without further qualification, his position will guarantee that the bishops' pastoral letters will not move hearts and minds.’
    • ‘A historical and theological analysis beginning with Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum in 1891 and going through this pontificate, with special attention to the pastoral letters of the U.S. bishops.’
    • ‘Now, this was the year after the bishops had issued their pastoral letter on war and peace, The Challenge of Peace.’
    • ‘The bishops sent a pastoral letter to churches on Sunday demanding a ‘credible electoral process ‘and peaceful campaigning ahead of March elections.’’
    • ‘In 1991, almost ten years after the bishops had attempted to draft the pastoral letter, the six bishops involved were summoned to the Vatican to explain themselves.’
    • ‘The pastoral letter from the Catholic bishops summed up the feelings of us all last week.’
    • ‘He worked with the U.S. bishops to draft their pastoral letter on the American economy, Economic Justice for All, which cut strongly against the grain of the policy thinking of the administration then in power.’
    • ‘They periodically mobilized their priests to read pastoral letters against attempts to overturn laws that banned or restricted contraception.’
    • ‘Synodal judgments and episcopal pastoral letters concerning the contents of the Bible become usual only in the fourth century, and at first are of only local importance.’
    • ‘Institutional Churches such as Roman Catholic and Presbyterian played an important role in the referendum and produced pastoral letters and statements in which the Bible was used to critique the prevailing situation.’
    • ‘The bishops are finalising the draft of a pastoral letter which will be read at masses in all 26 dioceses next weekend.’
    • ‘After several hours of discussion, including two hours in a closed ‘off the record’ session, the bishops drafted a pastoral letter.’
    • ‘When in 1861 a Louisiana bishop wrote a pastoral letter adopting the slaveholders' view on race, he was sharply censured by Rome.’
    • ‘His pastoral letter suggests that all Catholics, not just Catholic politicians, who oppose the recriminalization of abortion, or who vote for prochoice politicians, are under a similar obligation to refrain from receiving Communion.’
    • ‘The Church of Ireland bishops, in a pastoral letter on human sexuality a year ago, admitted to a ‘considerable range of viewpoints’ among themselves on the issue of homosexuality.’
    • ‘He realized that he could continue to shepherd his people by adopting St. Paul's strategy of writing pastoral letters from prison.’


pastoral letter

/pasˈtôrəl ˈledər/