What is Fabrique d'église (Church council)
Fabrique d’église (can also be referred to as Church Council) is a public entity responsible for managing the property of a parish. We are thus a team of volunteers entrusted with the responsibility for the material management of the movable and immovable property of our church and additional buildings (e.g. presbytery). In this short summary we describe the situation of for our church rather than explaining all possibilities.
How is Fabrique d'église Organised
The Council consists of 5 elected members and 2 ex officio members: the priest and the mayor or his representative. The council appoints from its members a president, a secretary and a treasurer.
A short history
During the revolutionary period, which began in 1789, several laws decreed the confiscation of Church property. Church councils were recognized as public entities endowed with legal personality in Belgium, by virtue of the Concordat signed by Pope Pius VII and Napoleon on July 15, 1801, with a view to re-establishing the unity of the Church and the freedom of worship. The imperial decree of December 30, 1809 consecrates the recognition of church councils as a public entity responsible for the temporal management of worship.
What does Fabrique d'église do
The members of the church council do not deal with pastoral or liturgical matters, at least not directly. The activity of the church council precedes and “accompanies” the liturgy in a way:
- The church council takes care to provide everything that is necessary to celebrate religious services from a material point of view. If you organize a festive meal at home on the occasion of a birthday or a communion and want to give this event a spirit of celebration, you will make sure that your home is in perfect condition, there are flowers and a nice tablecloth. Mass is a Eucharistic meal to which all Christians are invited. The church council therefore buys everything necessary to celebrate religious services: wine, hosts, candles, liturgical books, ciboria, patenes, etc. but also liturgical vestments, for example albs.
- The church council also ensures maintenance of the furniture and the building, in particular the heating. It carries out the necessary repairs on the building of worship. Indeed, as our church had been underinvested in the past, it now requires fairly often various repairs that require multiple interventions and frequent contacts with various contractors that are called to intervene.
- The church council is also responsible for the maintenance and repair of the presbytery. The presbytery is, in the legal sense and from the point of view of subsidies, a building of worship. This also requires also a lot of financial and human resources to keep the building operational.
The resources of the church councils come from:
- Collections, rental income (including rental of the tower for an mobile phone antenna) and invested funds (donations and legacies), fees in the case of burials and weddings.
- In the event of insufficient own resources: subsidies from the municipal administration – so far this has not been the case of our church council.
The preparation of the budget and the statement of annual accounts as well as the management of assets are subject to extremely strict rules and the treasurer has a particular and important task within the council. The budget and the accounts are monitored very closely, both by the Bishopric and by the administration, namely the City of Brussels and the provincial government.