CONSTITUTION
OF THE
PRESBYTERAL COUNCIL
OF THE
DIOCESE OF CORNER BROOK AND LABRADOR

PREAMBLE:

"All priests, whether diocesan or religious, share and exercise with the Bishop the one priesthood of Christ. They are thus constituted providential cooperators of this episcopal order.” (Christus Dominus, 28) In its liturgy and in the teaching of the Fathers, the tradition of the Church has affirmed that the order of presbyters forms one priesthood with the Bishop as head and father. It has emphasized that presbyters are related to the Bishop as counselors and co-ministers in the apostolic mission (Presbyterorum Ordinis, 7). Consistent with that tradition, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council saw the need to renew and strengthen the relationship between the Bishop and the priests serving in the ministry of a diocese. For this to be experienced in a practical manner, they recommended that a group or senate of priests be set up in a way suited to present-day needs, and in a form with rules determined by law. This group would represent the body of priests who by their advice could effectively assist the Bishop in the administration of the diocese. (Presbyterorum Ordinis, 7) It is with this in mind that we here below present the Constitution of the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador

NAME

ARTICLE I

The name of this body shall be “The Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador.”

PURPOSE

ARTICLE II

The Council’s purpose is articulated in Canon 495, section 1 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law:

“In each diocese a presbyteral council is to be established, that is a group of priests which, representing the presbyterate, is to be like a senate of the bishop and which assists the bishop in the governance of the diocese according to the norm of law to promote as much as possible the pastoral good of the portion of the people of God entrusted to him.”

This purpose includes:

  • Supporting the diocesan bishop in the governance of the diocese according to the norm of law so that the pastoral welfare of the people of God committed/entrusted to the bishop with the cooperation of the presbyters of the diocese may be carried forward as effectively as possible.
  • Providing a forum for the discussion of issues concerning the pastoral work of the diocese.
  • Being representative of the unity and diversity of the priests of the diocese.

PROCEDURES

ARTICLE III

Canon 500 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law outlines the procedures by which the Council carries out its purpose:

“It is for the diocesan bishop to convoke the presbyteral council, presideover it, and determine the questions to be treated by it or receive proposalsfrom the members.” (section 1)

“The presbyteral council possesses only a consultative vote; the diocesanbishop is to hear it in affairs of greater importance but needs its consentonly in cases expressly defined by law.” (section 2)

“The presbyteral council is not able to act without the diocesan bishop whoalone has charge of making public those things which have beenestablished according to the norm of section 2.” (section 3)

DIOCESAN PRESBYTERATE

ARTICLE IV

The presbyterate of the diocese includes:

  • All incardinated priests of the diocese in good standing.
  • All non-incardinated diocesan priests holding an official assignment in the diocese.
  • All priests who are members of religious institutes holding an official assignment in the diocese.

COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP

ARTICLE V

Section 1: The Presbyteral Council shall be comprised of:

  • The Diocesan Bishop,
  • The Vicar(s) General of the diocese.
  • The Chancellor of the diocese (if the Chancellor is a priest).
  • Four members elected from among the Diocesan Presbyterate.
  • As many as two additional priests freely appointed by the diocesan bishop in order to ensure appropriate representation of all the presbyterate and all the regions of the diocese.

Section 2: Election

a) The elected members to the Council shall be elected by mail-ballot by and from all the priests of the Diocesan Presbyterate. Election shall be held in June of the year and terms shall begin on September 1st.

b) The priests eligible to vote shall be asked to submit, by mail, the names of nominees; the Election Committee shall be responsible for confirming the nominees’ consent.

c) At least three weeks before the election the list of nominees and an official ballot shall be mailed to each eligible elector.

d) Each eligible elector receiving the list of nominees for election to the Council and the official ballot is to indicate the priest(s) of his choice and return the ballot to the Election Committee by the deadline date determined by the Committee. Each elector may vote for up to a maximum of four nominees.

Section 3: Term of Office

  • Unless specified otherwise in this Constitution, the term of office for the elected and appointed members shall be of five years.
  • A vacancy of an elected member’s seat shall be filled by the council appointing a replacement for the unexpired portion of the term.
  • The vacancy of an appointed member’s seat shall be filled by an appointment by the Bishop for the unexpired portion of the term.

OFFICERS OF THE COUNCIL

ARTICLE: Vl

The officers of the Presbyteral Council shall be the President, Chairman, and the Secretory. The President of the Council shall be the Bishop. The Chairman and the Secretary shall be elected by the members of the Council from among their members.

MEETINGS

ARTICLE: Vll

Section: 1
Ordinary meetings of the Presbyteral Council are to normally be held at least four times a year. Extra ordinary meetings may be called as needed.
Section: 2
A simple majority of members shall constitute a quorum.
Section: 3
Unless otherwise specifically determined, Presbyteral Council meetings take place at the Diocesan Center, in Corner Brook.
COUNCIL COMMITTEES
ARTICLE: VIII
Section: 1
The Council shall have an Executive Committee and Elections Committee, and such other standing or special committees as shall be necessary to carry on the work of the Council
Section: 2
The Executive Committee shall consist of the officers of the Council. This committee shall prepare the agenda for the meetings of the Council, and shall coordinate where necessary the work of the other committees.
Section: 3
The Elections Committee shall consist of not fewer than three members appointed by the Chairman and confirmed by the Council. This Committee shall have supervision over matters pertaining to eligibility to vote and to be elected, and shall conduct the elections for elected members of the Council.
AMENDMENTS
ARTICLE: IX
This Constitution may be amended by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Council, provided that the amendment has been submitted in writing to the Council as matter for discussion at least one meeting prior to its taking vote and approved by the diocesan bishop.
CESSATION
ARTICLE: X
Section: 1
When the See goes vacant the Council ceases and its functions are carried out by the College of Consultors. The new diocesan bishop shall establish the Council anew within a year after taking possession of the See.
Section: 2
If the Council fails to fulfill its function for the good of the diocese and its faithful, the diocesan bishop may dissolve the Council after consultation with the Metropolitan.
APPENDIX
The Canons pertaining to specific matters related to Presbyteral Council identified in the 1983 Code of Canon Law:
Can. 461, §1: Decision of bishop after consulting the council of priests to hold diocesan synod; no set time for synod.
Can. 515, §2: Establishment of parishes, i.e., erection, modification, division, suppression after consulting the council (cf. also Can. 813 encourages bishop to set up university parish to meet pastoral needs of students; nothing explicit but consultation with the council of priests is expected).
Can. 531: Determination of use of offerings of faithful on occasion of parish services; to be placed in general parish fund.
Can. 536: Decision to promulgate the need to establish parish councils and structuring of guidelines for such councils after the consulting the council of priests.
Can. 1215, §2: Decision regarding permission to build a church (also to be consulted: rectors of neighboring churches).
Can. 1222, §2: Decision to permit church to be converted to secular purposes for reasons other than its poor condition. (Consent of those who could lawfully claim the rights over the church is also required.)
Can. 1263: Decision regarding the imposition of diocesan tax for needs of the diocese on public juridic persons subject to bishop; also, extraordinary and moderate tax for very grave needs to be imposed on other juridic persons and on physical persons (finance council also to be consulted).
Can. 1742, §1: Choice of a special committee of pastors from persons proposed by bishop to be available for processes of transfer or removal of pastors.