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