Juridical Manifestations of the Presbyterium


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Chapter 2: The Presbyterium at the Diocesan Level

The word presbyterium is frequently used in Magisterial documents since the Second Vatican Council, however, a complete definition is rarely given. Perhaps the Lex Ecclesiae Fundamentalis, which although not promulgated, can still reveal the Church's notion of the presbyterium.

Presbyters (as established by Ordination in the Order of the presbyterate) are all mutually connected by an intimate sacramental fraternity; however, they who are assigned to the service of a certain particular Church under their proper Bishop, indeed bound by a diversity of offices but also carrying out one sacerdotal ministry for mankind, form with the bishop one presbyterium, whose task it is to be for assistance to the Bishop in shepherding the people in the ways determined by law.1
This chapter begins examining the "ways determined by law" by which the priests of the presbyterium work together in service of their particular Church. These juridical expressions of the presbyterium include: the presbyteral council (Cann. 495-501, CCEO Cann. 264-270), college of consultors (Can. 502, CCEO Can. 271), chapters of canons (Cann. 503-510), the diocesan synod (Cann. 460-468, CCEO Cann. 235-242), and the diocesan curia (Cann. 469-494, CCEO 243-275) which includes various priestly offices.

Presbyteral Council

The renewed knowledge of the role priests have in cooperating in the diocesan governance lead the Council to call for a reform of the cathedral chapters.

Among the cooperators of the bishop in the governing of the diocese are included the priests who constitute his senate or council, such as the cathedral chapter, the council of consultors, or other committees according to the circumstances and character of different localities. These councils, and especially the cathedral chapters, should be reorganized, as far as is necessary, to suit contemporary needs. (CD 27)2
Thus, many functions of the cathedral chapter were transferred to a new body or council, called the "senate of the Bishop" in the words of St. Ignatius.3 This council is in no way to limit the power of the Bishop, but rather assist him in his office of governance, providing a means for him to avail himself of the opinion of those who share the same pastoral mission and sacramental priesthood with him.
[Bishops] should be glad to listen to their priests' views and even consult them and hold conference with them about matters that concern the needs of pastoral work and the good of the diocese. But for this to be reduced to practice a group or senate of priests should be set up in a way suited to present-day needs, and in a form and with rules to be determined by law. This group would represent the body of priests [presbyterium] and by their advice could effectively help the bishop in the management of the diocese. (PO 7)4
Pope Paul VI in his Motu Proprio implementing the Second Vatican Council, realizes the above two paragraphs by giving a name to this body: Consilium Presbyterale, and made it mandatory for all dioceses, which it still is today.
In each diocese, according to a method and plan to be determined by the bishop, there should be a council of priests, that is a group or senate of priests who represent the body of priests [presbyterium] and who by their counsel can effectively assist the bishop in the government of the diocese. In this council the bishop should listen to his priests, consult them and have dialogue with them.5
Thus, two essential characteristics of this new juridical reality are concretely established, it is a group of priests "who are to be, as it were, the Bishop's senate" and "who represent the presbyterium" (Can. 495 §1).6 As one author defines: "a group or senate of priests, representatives of the respective Presbyterium, able to help with their advice the diocesan Bishop, in the ruling and governance of the particular Church to whose service they are incardinated or assigned."7

The Congregation for the Clergy further specified the competence, membership and the consultative character of presbyteral council, which would be largely taken up by the Code of Canon Law and other documents. Of particular note is its emphasis on the council's theological basis. Before Vatican II, the reason for consultative bodies was a mere practical utility, "a simple postulate or requisite for correct and wise government". Now the foundation is far more profound: "there exists between the bishop and his priests in the particular church a hierarchical communion in virtue of which the bishop and priests share one and the same priesthood and one and the same ministry".8 A new reason - other than practical considerations - has been articulated: "The hierarchical communion of the bishop and his presbytery [presbyterium], founded on the unity of the ministerial priesthood and mission, manifests itself in some way, i.e., in an institutional form".9

The competence of the council is to include any important questions proposed or admitted by the bishop, especially those referring to the sanctification of the faithful, doctrine or governance of the diocese. The council is not just to consider the priests themselves, but rather anything that concerns the entire ecclesiastical community the priests serve.10 "For example, such topics as evangelization, catechetics, justice and peace, liturgy, ecumenism, vocations, parishes, and schools."11

It is the task of the council, among other things, to seek out clear and distinctly defined aims of the manifold ministries in the diocese, to propose matters that are more urgent, to indicate methods of acting, to assist whatever the Spirit frequently stirs up through individuals or groups, to foster the spiritual life, in order to attain the necessary unity more easily.12
Thus is to be excluded any "configuration of the presbyteral council as a technical organ with sectorial competence, or purely of study, or as an organism which protects the interests of the clergy".13

The presbyteral council has only a consultative voice, of which the bishop avails himself in examination of the "negotio maioris momenti" (Can. 500 §2, CCEO Can. 269 §2).14 The code does not contain an exhaustive list of the issues the council can and should treat, but it does specify some of these matters of notable importance where its consultative opinion is required. These include: the calling of a diocesan synod or eparchial assembly (Can. 416, CCEO Can. 236), the determination of parishes and their boundaries (Can. 515 §2, CCEO Can. 280), the institution of parish pastoral councils (Can. 536 §1), the building of churches (Can. 1215 §2) and their deconsecration (Can. 1222 §2, CCEO Can. 873 §2), and the imposition of a tax (Can. 1263).15

The consultative nature of the council is a reminder that the presbyterium always remains obedient to the Bishop's authority, which in not exercised collegially but rather personally by him as successor of the Apostles. "The decision belongs to the bishop, who is personally responsible before the portion of the people of God entrusted to him. The work of the council indeed helps, but in no way substitutes the responsibility of the bishop."16

The relations between the Presbyteral Council and the Bishop are not theologically and juridically identical to the relations of collegiality between the Bishops and the Pope... one can speak of collegiality only analogically.17
Nevertheless, the council's consultative function is more than the Bishop merely hearing its opinion. "The phrase 'only consultative' should not be interpreted as 'just consultative,' conveying the idea that it is of little value."18 It has a proper role as an organism in which the priests and bishop converse and study together. "The efficacy of the consultative vote, even unanimous, of the Presbyteral Council is not just in the numerical majority, but in the reasons for the vote itself".19 Pope John Paul II makes its consultative value very evident:
The structures of participation envisaged by Canon Law, such as the Council of Priests... must be every more highly valued. These of course are not governed by the rules of parliamentary democracy, because they are consultative rather than deliberative; yet this does not mean that they are less meaningful and relevant.20
Thus, without limiting the Bishop's power to make decisions, it provides an opportunity for participation in reaching common solutions through the reports, opinions, proposals and advice of the priests representing the presbyterium. "The activity of this council cannot be fully shaped by law. Its effectiveness depends especially on a repeated effort to listen to the opinions of all in order to reach a consensus with the bishop, to whom it belongs to make the final decision."21

One must always recall that the council's ultimate role is "to assist the Bishop, in accordance with the law, in the governance of the diocese, so that the pastoral welfare of that portion of the people of God entrusted to the Bishop may be most effectively promoted." (Can. 495 §1)22 Authors speak of two ways the council achieves this goal of promoting the mission of the Church. "Its immediate and mediate finality is dual: the effectiveness of a decision and the fostering of the relationship between the diocesan bishop and the presbyterate."23

The priests' council should play a dual role. As the bishop's senate, it should advise the bishop by its counsel in governing the particular church. As the representative body of presbyterium, having daily contact with the ministry of the diocese, it should report to the bishop the responses and attitudes of the presbyterium and of the people of God. This would actualize the unity of the presbyterium.24
Thus, a properly functioning presbyteral council should bear fruit not only in the Bishop making better decisions, but also in greater unity among the priests and with the Bishop. "As a result, brotherhood within the presbytery [presbyterium] is fostered and also common discussion or dialogue between the bishop and priests."25 This means the council must act with a "style" of communion and fraternity, so that it avoids the possible danger of "becoming an organism that works, discusses, advises without in reality communicating with the diocesan presbyterium and with the diocese."26 The presbyteral council thus becomes a way of promoting collaboration and priestly fraternity in an institutional way: "The Council of Priests, which is of its nature something diocesan, is an institutional manifestation of the brotherhood among priests which has its basis in the sacrament of Orders."27
The Presbyteral Council must be a "bridge", even if not the sole one, between the Bishop and the Presbyterium, in a way that the latter - in communion, co-responsibility and obedience - might participate in the service which the authority of the Bishop fulfills for the diocese.28
In evaluating these two roles, it can be concluded that effective governance is an effect of a properly function presbyteral council, but we recall that it is not the sole reason for its existence. "The senate is a sign of the relationship between a bishop and his priests and its existence is a concrete and institutional expression of what priests fundamentally are - necessary co-workers of the Bishop."29

The presbyteral council consists solely of priests.30 Otherwise, the membership is concretely determined by its statutes, approved by the bishop, which every council is required to have (Can. 496, CCEO Can. 265). To be representative of the presbyterium, a mixed system is foreseen, combining representation, designation, and membership by law. About half of the members are freely elected by the priests themselves, some are members by law from their office, and others are freely nominated by the bishop (Can. 497, CCEO Can. 266). Among these three groups should be included the diverse ministries and districts of the diocese (Can. 499, CCEO Can. 268) so that the whole presbyterium is represented. Note, however, that "it is a representation more moral then strictly quantitative."31

Even if the elected may have been the expression of the vote of a zone or of vicariate, as a result of a specific way of election, once a member of the council, he will not be representative of that single zone but of all the presbyterium. The same is validly said for the members ex officio and the members nominated by the bishop.32
This idea will also help one to avoid falling into democratic tendencies, confusing the words "senate" or "representation" with their civil usage.33 As one can imagine, the inclusion of these two terms was highly debated during the redaction of Presbyterorum Ordinis 7, but both terms remained in the text.34 The name senate recalls how priests are collaborators of the bishop, leaving his proper authority intact.35 Representation is simply an effective way to achieve this collaboration, given the practical difficulty of always polling the whole presbyterium.
One must exclude the hypothesis that the council is structured as a representative body analogous to that present in the constitutional states, removing themselves from the power of determination of the bishop and resulting in becoming a kind of counter-power or a type of organ of pressure in confrontation with the ordinary.36
The "Directory for Priests" also warns against the "Temptation of 'Democratism'":
It should be remembered that the presbyterate [presbyterium] and the Council of Priests are not an expression of the right of association of the clergy, and even less can be understood according to views of a syndicalistic nature [union organization] which claim interests of parties foreign to the ecclesial community.37
It would also be incorrect not to see the Bishop as a member of the presbyteral council. After Vatican II, the council sometimes operated as an independent body that occasionally invited the bishop to hear what the priests had to say on various topics. Then he would go away and decide what he wanted to do. According to the code, the bishop is an essential part, for he is "to convene the council of priests, to preside over it, and to determine the matters to be discussed in it or to accept items proposed by the members." (Can. 500 §1, cf. CCEO Can. 269 §1)38 He alone can promulgate its decisions (Can. 500 §3, CCEO Can. 269 §3).
The bishop, being head of the presbyterium, must also be head of the presbyteral council and hence avoiding possible juxtapositions between the bishop and the council itself, even if, as was quickly clarified, the bishop is not always held to preside at the meetings of the council.39
There are three possible sources for a priest's right to vote for and be a member in the presbyteral council (Can. 498, CCEO Can. 267). First are the secular priests incardinated in the diocese.40 Second are those priests exercising some useful office or function there. Last is the possible participation of other priests simply living in the diocese. This establishes a kind of "hierarchical order of importance". Why is incardination the first and fundamental title?
The bond of incardination is so strong that it is not lessened even in the case in which the priests may lack the dwelling in the diocese, or the exercise of an office in its favor. The reason lies in the fact that incardination generates the belonging to the presbyterium... Incardination adds something to the participation in the priesthood of Christ, since it links the presbyter to a determined particular Church.41
Pope John Paul II confirms that even priests who are no longer able to exercise active priestly ministry do not lose their membership in the presbyterium that they belong to by incardination. "Priests who are sick, elderly and retired have a special place in the presbyterium... Clergy who retire from administrative responsibility should be made to feel that they still have a valued place within the presbyterium."42

As a final note, the presbyteral council is the unique "senate" of the bishop and thus has a different status than association of priests: "the sole 'coetus seu senatus sacerdotum Presbiterium repraesentantium' recognized by the Holy See is precisely the Council or Presbyteral Senate".43 As Herranz states, neither the order of presbyters, nor the presbyterium, and not even the presbyteral council can be considered an exercise of the right of association, like a priestly association.44

In sum, "the presbyteral council constitutes the practical realization, the true 'rebirth' of the diocesan Presbyterium."45 It is a juridical means for the bishop and his priests to strengthen their bonds of communion, participate in governance that is more efficacious, and enhance the spiritual welfare of the people of God.

How does the theological reality of the presbyterium find expression? ... Without structure the presbyterium has no shape, no voice. It is from this exigency that the call for senates of priests comes. By means of a senate the presbyterium has concretized structure through which to operate.46
"The presbyteral council constitutes one (but certainly not the only and not even the only important) juridical-positive expression of the theological-institutional precanonical reality of the presbyterium."47 Now we continue to another manifestation of the presbyterium, the college of consultors.

College of Consultors and the Cathedral Chapter

The vacuum left by the breakdown of the presbyterium after the third and fourth centuries was filled by the cathedral chapter of canons. As rural priests could not assist the bishop in administration of the diocese, it gradually became the prerogative of the clergy attached to the cathedral. Indeed, while theologians and biblical scholars might have largely forgotten the concept of the presbyterium, it was still juridically practiced by having different bodies function as advisors of the Bishop.48

Several times bishops supported gathering the clergy of their cathedral under a common rule. St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) and St. Eusebius of Vercelli (283-371) are each credited with being the origin of the chapter of canons, however "the first certain evidence is contained in the famous ecclesiastical constitution or ordinance of the Benedictine monk Chrodegang, Bishop of Metz."49

They were called canons (from the Greek kanön) because they followed a definite rule. Although the word canon first applied to all the clergy on the official staff of a diocese, the word was gradually limited to those secular clerics belonging to a cathedral church. A similar mode of life was adopted by other than cathedral churches, giving rise to a distinction between cathedral canons and collegiate canons. The canons of both cathedral and collegiate churches were members of a corporate body called a "chapter."50
Notice that this ecclesial structure began as a diocesan reality: "they were clerics inserted in various ways in the diocesan structure". Although based on clerical communities, soon this institution "was actualized in a religious form" modeled after the monasteries and the ideals of apostolic life, known as the canon regulars.51 "Two exceptions clearly separate or distinguish the canonical life from the purely monastic. The canonici did not make a profession of religious vows, not did they renounce the ownership of their personal property."52

Historically, the cathedral canons took various forms and attained additional rights, including election of the bishop or presentation of candidates for offices, and the right to govern the diocese when it was vacant. They reached their height in the thirteenth century: "It was a wide-ranging power possessed by the chapter, almost outside the control of the bishop, who often owed his election to the chapter. This power... rendered the chapter more an opposing force than an asset to the bishop."53

The Popes, however, soon began to reserve to themselves the appointment of vacant episcopal sees. Trent and other councils also limited the ruling power of the cathedral chapters, subjecting their canons, like all clerics, to the bishop. Thus, the bishop was reestablished as the head of the diocese, but there was little effective consultation of the Bishop with his presbyters. Meanwhile the chapter continued to enjoy "precedence of a large statutory and patrimonial autonomy, and discharged important tasks both in the diocesan governance and in the direction and pastoral care of the cathedral church."54

The terminology of St. Ignatius also remained, as the cathedral chapter was still called a "senate" and "council",55 even in the 1917 Code of Canon Law (CIC 1917 Cann. 391-422).56 In places like the United States that did not have such chapters, another consultative institution developed: diocesan consultors.57 The universal law later incorporated these consultors by way of exception (CIC 1917 Cann. 423-428).58

As it formed his diocesan senate, the bishop was obliged to ask its counsel or consent for various acts of administration (many similar to current law regarding the consultation of the presbyteral council). "The chapter can be considered as forming one body with the bishop, in as far as it constitutes his senate and aids him in the government of his diocese".59 In a vacant see, the chapter received all the bishop's jurisdiction until it elected, within eight days, a vicar capitular to administrate the diocese. The cathedral chapter could only be erected by the Holy See and had a variety of dignities, privileges and liturgical functions.60

While being a consultative body, the chapter was not representative of the priests of the diocese. Therefore, with its renewal of the presbyterium, the Second Vatican Council called for the chapter's revision.61

Among the cooperators of the bishop in the governing of the diocese are included the priests who constitute his senate or council, such as the cathedral chapter, the council of consultors, or other committees... These councils, and especially the cathedral chapters, should be reorganized, as far as is necessary, to suit contemporary needs. (CD 27)62
This reform culminated in the creation of a new figure, a board of priest consultors who were to receive some of the functions of the old cathedral chapter, called the "collegio consultorum".

As implemented in law, the college of consultors consists of six to twelve priests appointed for a five-year term by the diocesan bishop, who presides over the college (Can. 502, CCEO Can. 271). It assists him in major decisions especially related to patrimonial matters, such as appointment (and removal) of the financial administrator (Can. 494, CCEO Can. 262), financial acts of major importance and extraordinary administration (Can. 1277), and the alienation of goods (Can. 1292, CCEO Can. 1036).

The consultors play a key role when the diocesan see is impeded or vacant, including: temporary governance of the diocese (Can. 419, CCEO Can. 221), election of the diocesan Administrator (Cann. 421, 413 §2, CCEO Can. 233 §2), acting for the presbyteral council, which ceases when the see is vacant (Can. 501, CCEO Can. 270) and limiting the diocesan Administrator with its binding consent (Cann. 272, 485, 1018 §1, 1°; CCEO Cann. 255, 363 2°, 750 2°).

The law requires that the diocesan bishop form the college of consultors by appointing priests who are members of the presbyteral council at the time of their appointment (Can. 502 §1, CCEO Can. 271 §4). This creates a link between the two bodies, although they are canonically independent entities.63

Both... find their theological foundation in that "one presbyterium" which the presbyters, "wise cooperators of the episcopal order" and his "help and instrument", constitute with their bishop (LG 28). In these organisms, in fact, it is realized in institutional forms the duty of the bishop to consult the presbyterium and "hold conference with them about matters that concern the needs of pastoral work and the good of the diocese" (PO 7).64
"Both the bodies have competence in pastoral, financial and governing matters, although legally the priests' council is to be 'pre-eminent'."65 Obviously, the consultors assume a greater role when the see becomes vacant as the presbyteral council ceases at that moment. Moreover, although primarily consultative, the opinion of the college of consultors, unlike the presbyteral council, is sometimes binding,66 for example: carrying out acts of extraordinary administration (Can. 1277) and alienation of goods (Can. 1292 §1, Can. 1036 §1 1-2°).67

Some have suggested that if a presbyteral council has twelve or fewer members, the Bishop could appoint the entire council as the college of consultors for better coordination. While technically possible, this seems to be contrary to the mind of the legislator who envisions two separate bodies.68 In addition, a Bishop should only choose the priests from the council who would be the best consultors, i.e. are more experienced, knowledgeable, trustworthy, etc.69 There are also some practical concerns: consultors should be able to assemble more quickly if urgency is required,70 and sometimes a greater confidentiality is needed.71

It was proposed in drafting the new code that consultors be dropped altogether and be replaced with the priests' council. One of the reasons this was not done was to provide for those situations where the bishop may not want to discuss sensitive financial matters with a large priests' council, and may also want to be able to select from among the council's members the more experienced and astute who would advise him on financial matters and be responsible when the see becomes vacant.72
Two consequences result from the reform of the cathedral chapter. First, as we have seen, its consultative participation in the diocesan governance was lost, passing to the presbyteral council and the college of consultors (unless the Episcopal Conference indicates otherwise). Second, its primarily role was clearly defined, to carry out liturgical acts in the cathedral or collegial church.
The cathedral chapter is today the college of priests to whom it belongs to carry out the more solemn liturgical functions in the cathedral or collegial church, and to fulfill the tasks which are entrusted to it either by the law or by the diocesan bishop.73
Establishment or suppression of the cathedral chapter is still reserved to the Apostolic See. A chapter maintains a certain autonomy of self regulation and function, having its own statutes which are approved by the bishop.

Notice that this reform, though encouraged, is not absolutely obligatory, as an Episcopal Conference "can determine that the functions of the college of consultors be entrusted to the cathedral chapter." (Can. 502 §3)74 Because of the diverse history, circumstances and dignity of cathedral chapters in each place, the bishop's conference may allow them to keep many of their powers of governance.75

Thus these two groups, the college of consultors and the cathedral chapter, are means by which priests are advisors and helpers of the Bishop. Both manifest the bonds of the presbyterium as juridical institutions by which priests join together in ministry. Even if the chapter no longer participates in administration and governance, it is still "a representative college of public prayer of the presbyterate in behalf of the particular Church".76

The Diocesan Synod

The law foresees several other assemblies in the particular church that assist the diocesan bishop in the exercise of his office, including the diocesan synod (Cann. 460-468, CCEO Can. 243-275), the diocesan finance council (Cann. 492-493, CCEO Can. 262-263) and the diocesan pastoral council (Cann. 511-514, CCEO Can. 272-275). Their consultation and representation are a manifestation of a certain sacramental co-responsibility on two levels: that of the clergy, who have received holy orders, and that of the lay faithful, who have received baptism.77
[Hierarchical communion] recognizes the authority of the bishop while at the same time indicating that, though this authority is exercised personally in the particular Church (vs. synodally), it nonetheless cannot be exercised in isolation of the community. This is an important distinction in understanding the form of ecclesiastical governance, for it underlines the fact that models of absolute monarchy, strict democracy or business management are not compatible with or descriptive of this peculiarly ecclesial structure.78
As both the diocesan synod and pastoral council must include priests, as may the finance council, these bodies can involve the bishop's cooperation and consultation with his presbyters, manifesting the presbyterium in a certain way, while including the participation of the laity. Among these stands out the diocesan synod, for even with the presence of the laity - "both from its historical origin and for its character still especially representative of the presbyters - constitutes an institutional expression of the collaboration of the presbyterium with the Bishop."79

A diocesan synod, also called an eparchial convocation or assembly, is "an assembly of selected priests and other members of Christ's faithful of a particular Church which, for the good of the whole diocesan community, assists the diocesan Bishop" (Can. 460).80 It is convoked and moderated by the bishop (Can. 462, CCEO Can. 237), who summons various clergy, religious and laity to attend.

The history of the synod can be traced to the demise of the early church's concept of the presbyterium. Although seemingly lost, two canonical institutions preserved this early collegiality: the diocesan synod and the cathedral chapter, as discussed above. "Only when the presbyterium would not include in its membership the entire body of the clergy would its work have to be supplemented and finally supplanted by another body: the synod."81

In this way, the synod can be seen as a predecessor of the modern presbyteral council. "Historically it has been an exclusively clerical institute".82 Even today it has a close connection with and representation of the presbyterium. The bishop must consult the presbyteral council before convoking the diocesan synod (Can. 461 §1, CCEO Can. 235). In includes all the members of the presbyteral council (and college of consultors) (Can. 463 §1, 4°, CCEO Can. 238 §1, 3°, 7°). Numerous other priests must be called and are obliged to participate, including: the vicars general, episcopal vicars and judicial vicars, the canons of the cathedral chapter, the vicars forane (deans) and at least one priest from each vicariate forane (or district) and a substitute (Can. 463 §1, 2-3°, 7-8°; CCEO Can. §1, 2°, 5-6°).

Besides its history and membership, what also differentiates the diocesan synod from other organs of co-responsibility is its function, the material it treats. The synod is the only organ with a legislative role, helping the bishop formulate particular law for the diocese. "From the juridical point of view, the diocesan synod is to be considered as a diocesan institution with a prevalently legislative nature."83

Through the diocesan synod, "the bishop... officially fulfills his function and ministry of feeding the flock entrusted to him, by adapting the laws and norms of the universal Church to local conditions."84 This legislative function never denies the fact that the Bishop is the sole legislator and promulgator within the diocesan synod, and the other members have only a consultative vote (Can. 466, CCEO Can. 241), but it does have similarity to the consultative function the early presbyterium enjoyed, even in legislative matters.

While primary, the creation of legislation is not the sole function of the synod Like other organs, the synod can assist the bishop in other ways, and become an opportunity for greater cooperation and unity among the priests themselves, especially as its work also includes pastoral planning, "by pointing out the policy and program of apostolic work in the diocese, by resolving problems encountered in the apostolate and administration, by giving impetus to projects and undertakings".85

Indeed, as the diocesan synod includes the participation of both diocesan and religious clergy, it offers a further opportunity for their cooperation. "In discussing and suggesting policies for the diocese, it offers also place for discussion to promote relation between Diocesan Clergy and Religious and to frame common policies regulating the relation between Religious and Diocesan Clergy."86

The current code does not specify how often the diocesan synod should be held. Of curiosity is the contradicting fact that the Church has recommended and even required the frequent convoking of diocesan synods, however, this has almost never taken place in practice. "The history of the diocesan synod has fared no better in the years subsequent to the promulgation of the [1917] Code of Canon Law. In the United States of America diocesan synods have been the exception rather than the rule."87

The synod will hopefully be seen and used as a helpful means of both the presbyterium and the laity assisting the bishop in his governance, a renewal called for by Vatican II: "that these admirable institutions - synods and councils - may flourish with renewed vigor so that the growth of religion and the maintenance of discipline in the various churches may increasingly be more effectively provided for in accordance with the needs of the times." (CD 36)88 The celebration of a synod should "truly be of a very great force for the renewal of the life and institutions of the diocesan church."89

Diocesan Curia

Besides the consultative bodies mentioned above, various clergy and laity assist the diocesan bishop in governing. These work "especially in directing pastoral action, in providing for the administration of the diocese, and in exercising judicial power." (Can. 469)90 These institutions, committees and persons are together called the "diocesan curia". It should not be conceived of or used as a bureaucratic organ of power, but an instrument that is truly pastoral.

The diocesan curia never takes away from or absolves the Bishop's full and personal responsibility for evangelizing, sanctifying and ruling. It should never be confused with collegial governance, such as the council of a religious congregation (Can. 627 §1).91 Maintaining the bishop's personal responsibility, the curia manifests a co-responsibility, sharing the functions of the bishop to actualize a better pastoral service. "The diocesan curia should be so organized that it may be a useful medium for the bishop, not only for diocesan administration, but also for pastoral activity." (CD 27)92

Certain offices within the diocesan curia require someone who shares the sacramental priesthood, especially the offices that require the power of orders or share in the power of governance.93 The vicar general(s) and episcopal vicars (Can. 478§1, CCEO Can. 247 §2), judicial vicar and associate judicial vicars (Can. 1420 §4, CCEO 1086 §4), moderator of the curia (Can. 473 §2), vicars forane (Can. 553 §1, CCEO 276 §1) and the priest consultors of the Bishop (Cann. 1742 §1, 1745 2°, 1750; CCEO Cann. 1391 §1, 1394 2°, 1399 §1) are all offices reserved for priests.94

In the diocesan curia, numerous offices may be exercised by deacons and laity who possess the necessary requirements, but priests are not excluded from holding any of these offices of collaboration, such as: chancellor and vice-chancellor (Can. 482; CCEO Can. 252),95 judge (Can. 1421 §2; CCEO Can. 1087 §2), assessor (Can. 1424, CCEO Can. 1089), auditor (Can. 1428 §2, CCEO Can. 1093), promotor of justice and defender of the bond (Can. 1435, CCEO Cann. 1094, 1096), and notaries (Can. 483 §1, CCEO Can. 253). In addition, the typical curia will include a variety of offices, departments, apostolates and responsibilities of a diocesan-wide nature. Established by the Bishop when "necessary or useful" for the diocese (CCEO Can. 243 §3),96 it could include education, formation, liturgy, charity, immigrants, tourism, etc. All the offices of the curia, whether clerical or lay, are freely appointed (and removed) by the Bishop (Can. 470, CCEO Can. 244 §1). The positions within the curia are ad tempus, they are never for life.97

As studied, the presbyteral council is given a preeminent position in the diocese, yet the other organs in the curia have specific roles that should not be supplanted. Although some curial positions are without power, they should never be subordinated to the control of the diocesan councils.

The diocesan curia first manifests the presbyterium in the fact that its members hold numerous curial offices, as mentioned above. "One hopes that the Bishop's special Presbyterium may be reconstituted around him; whose members, titleholders of liturgical, jurisdictional, pastoral and administrative functions, may also have an office and a duty in the Curia."98 In addition, it seems that the bishop is free to appoint other priests to consult as advisors, besides those mentioned in the procedures for the transfer or removal of parish priests (Can. 1740-1752, CCEO Can. 1389-1400). Priests of the presbyterium are bound to accept and carry out the assignments given them.

Secondly, the presbyterium will be manifested and strengthened in the curia by the better coordination that it can create among the priests. The very purpose of the diocesan curia is to increase cooperation and thus, if it is working effectively, all the offices - both clerical and lay - will help the unity of pastoral action and discipline among the priests. The diocesan chanceries "direct, inspire and sustain priests in their pastoral activity":

All the efforts of each group of persons responsible for diverse sectors of pastoral action in the diocese as well as the services of departments of pastoral work possess the character of close collaboration with those priests who concern themselves especially with action in the particular sector. These contacts often transform themselves into certain forms of community, by placing the accent on the priestly ministry and on collaboration.99
Primary among the positions within the curia are the vicarious offices of vicar general, episcopal vicar, and judicial vicar, the first two being most important for the presbyterium.100 The word vicarious in Latin means one who takes another's place, a substitute. "In canon law, a vicar is one who acts in place of another or with another's authority. A diocesan bishop acts on his own or 'proper' authority; a vicar general acts with the bishop's authority, in his stead."101

The vicars carry out the daily juridical and pastoral functions in the person of the Bishop. Both the vicar general and episcopal vicars enjoy ordinary power and are thus called Ordinaries, having the same executive power as the diocesan Bishop, except for those things reserved to him (Can. 134, CCEO Can. 984 §2).102 The vicar general enjoys this power in the entire diocese, while the episcopal vicar is appointed to a particular territory (a vicariate), to an activity or apostolate, or to a group of the faithful. (Can. 476, CCEO Can. 246) The vicars must be priests,103 at least thirty years old, learned in canon law or theology, and have sound doctrine, integrity, prudence and experience (Can. 478, CCEO Can. 247 §2).104 They must keep the bishop completely informed about action on serious matters, and never act against his policies or wishes (Can. 480, CCEO Can. 249).

These vicars, together with the moderator of the curia, are the primary collaborators with the bishop. The moderator of the curia is new, optional office, created when judged useful, and usually held by the vicar general, "to coordinate activities concerning administrative matters and to ensure that the others who belong to the curia properly fulfill the offices entrusted to them." (Can. 473 §2).105 Also optional is the "episcopal council, comprising the Vicars general and episcopal Vicars", which can be established "where the Bishop judges it useful for the better promotion of pastoral action" (Can. 473 §4).106

"The new office of episcopal vicar has been established in the law by the Council so that the bishop, strengthened by new collaborators, can exercise the pastoral government of the diocese more effectively."107 Vatican II mentioned two cases, common in today's migratory culture, where appointment of an episcopal vicar might be suitable: for the care of believers of different rites, and for those of different languages. "The bishop of that diocese should make provision for their spiritual needs either by providing priests of those rites [or languages], or special parishes, or by appointing episcopal vicars, with the necessary faculties." (CD 23)108 It also allows that if necessary, such an episcopal vicar may be ordained a bishop. The directory for bishops also foresees that, when expedient, a diocese may "be divided into still larger areas or pastoral regions, with episcopal vicars at their head, who carry out pastoral functions at the bidding and in the name of the bishop."109

Another area the episcopal vicar could aid is the cooperation of religious with the bishop, and helping coordinate between the diocesan and religious priests. Religious are subject to the Bishop in their external activities and apostolate: "in matters concerning the care of souls, the public exercise of divine worship and other works of the apostolate" (Can. 678 §1, cf. CCEO Can. 415).110 A priest "vicar for religious" is not a governing authority over religious superiors, but rather a service to help the religious life prosper and be appreciated.

It is advisable that the office of episcopal vicar for religious be set up in the diocese to render a service of collaboration, in this field, with the pastoral ministry of the bishop... The mandate of episcopal vicar for religious congregations consists in helping accomplish a task which of its nature pertains exclusively to the bishop, that is, watching over religious life in the diocese and integrating it into its complex of pastoral activities.111
It is also strongly recommended that a variety of religious: priests, brothers and women religious, would assist such an episcopal vicar as consultors or in some similar way.

We have seen a number of organs by which priests assist the Bishop in shepherding the people of the diocese. The presbyterium is manifested through the work of various collective bodies: the presbyteral council, college of consultors, chapters of canons, diocesan synod and the episcopal council; and through individual offices, especially the vicar general, episcopal vicars and moderator of the curia. All these, together with the diocesan curia, should help the priests of the presbyterium work together in service of the diocese. Now we shall look at other organs that carry out this function, but on a smaller scale: helping groups of priests collaborate with the Bishop at the inter-parochial and individual parish levels.


1 Synopsis "Lex Ecclesiae Fundamentalis". ed. O.G.M. Boelens Leuven: Uitgeverij Peeters, 2001, 79. Can. 48. "Presbyteri, (utpote per Ordinationem in Ordine presbyteratus constituti,) omnes inter se intima fraternitate sacramentali connectuntur; qui vero servitio certae Ecclesiae particularis sub Episcopo eiusdem proprio addicuntur, diversis quidem oficiis mancipati sed unum pro hominibus sacerdotale ministerium gerentes, unum cum Episcopo efformant presbyterium, cuius est modis iure determinatis Episcopo in populos pascendo adiutorio esse." Translation mine.

2 Vatican II. Christus Dominus, 27. "Inter Episcopi cooperatores in regimine dioecesis, illi presbyteri quoque enumerantur qui eius senatum consiliumve constituunt, ut sunt capitulum cathedrale, consultorum coetus vel alia consilia, secundum diversorum locorum circumstantias vel indolem. Haec instituta, praesertim capitula cathedralia, novae ordinationi, quatenus opus sit, necessitatibus hodiernis aptatae, subiciantur."

3 Cf. Trallians 3:1. Cited on page 9.

4 Vatican II. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 7. "Eos libenter audiant, immo consulant et cum eis colloquantur de iis quae ad necessitates operis pastoralis et ad bonum dioecesis spectant. Ut vero id ad effectum deducatur, habeatur, modo hodiernis adiunctis ac necessitatibus accommodate, forma ac normis iure determinandis, coetus seu / senatus sacerdotum, Presbyterium repraesentantium, qui Episcopum in regimine dioeceseos suis consiliis efficaciter adiuvare possit."

5 Paul VI. Ecclesiae Sanctae. 6 Aug 1966, I,15,1. "In unaquaque diocesi, modis ac formis ab Episcopo statuendis, habeatur Consilium Presbyterale, scilicet coetus seu senatus sacerdotum, Presbyterium repraesentantium, qui Episcopum in regimine diocesis suis consiliis efficaciter adiuvare possit. In hoc Consilio Episcopus sacerdotes suos audiat, consulat et cum eis solloquatur".

6 Can. 495 §1. "consilium presbyterale, coetus scilicet sacerdotum, qui tamquam senatus sit Episcopi, presbyterium repraesentans". CCEO Can. 264 does not include the title "senate".

7 Herranz, 1990, 278-279. "gruppo o senato di sacerdoti, rappresentanti del rispettivo Presbiterio, in grado di aiutare con il loro consiglio il Vescovo diocesano, nel regime o governo della Chiesa particolare al cui servizio essi sono incardinati o addetti."

8 Congregation for Clergy. "Circular Letter regarding Priest's Councils." Presbyteri Sacra. April 11, 1970: AAS 62 (1970), 3. "simplex videbatur postulatum seu requisitum recti et sapientis gubernii" ... "inter Episcopum et suos presbyteros adesse in ecclesia particulari communionem hierarchicam, vi cuius Episcopus et presbyteri unum idemque sacerdotium, unum idemque ministerium participant".

9 Congregation for Bishops. "Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops." Ecclesiae imago. February 22, 1973, 203a. "Communio hierarchica inter Episcopum et eius presbyterium, in unitate sacerdotii ministerialis et missionis fundata, aliquo modo, id est institutoria forma manifestatur".

10 Cf. Congregation for Clergy. Presbyteri Sacra, 8.

11 United States Bishops. "United in Service: Reflections of the Presbyteral Council." Origins 21 (1991) 419-420.

12 Congregation for Bishops. Ecclesiae imago, 203b. "Inter alia ei competit multiplicium ministeriorum in dioecesi exercitorum investigare fines certos et distincte circumscriptos, res urgentiores proponere, rationem agendi indicare, quidquid Spiritus per singulos et coetus insinuare solet adiuvare, vitam spiritualem fovere, quo facilius necessaria unitas attingi possit."

13 Cardia, Carlo. Il governo della Chiesa. Bologna: il Mulino, 1984, 197-198. "È da escludersi una configurazione del consiglio presbiterale come organo tecnico con competenze settoriali, o puramente di studio, o come organismo che tutela gli interessi del clero".

14 Can. 500 §2. "The council of priests has only a consultative vote. The diocesan Bishop is to consult it in matters of more serious moment, but he requires its consent only in the cases expressly defined in the law." Currently, no such cases of binding consent have been defined in the Church's universal law.

15 Can. 127 §2, 2° shows the importance of consultation, which even affects validity. "If advice is required, the Superior's act is invalid if the Superior does not hear those persons. The Superior is not in any way bound to accept their vote, even if it is unanimous; nevertheless, without what is, in his or her judgment, an overriding reason, the Superior is not to act against their vote, especially if it is a unanimous one."

16 Congregation for Clergy. Presbyteri Sacra, 9. "decisio iam spectat ad Episcopum qui responsabilitate personali tenetur erga portionem Populi Dei sibi commissam, ideoque responsabilitas Episcopi navitate Consilii adiuvatur, minime substituitur."

17 Romita, Fiorenzo, ed. "Diritto e Pastorale nella Chiesa Oggi." Monitor Ecclesiasticus 94 (1969) 593. "La relazioni tra Consiglio Presbiterale e Vescovo non sono teologicamente e giuridicamente identiche alle relazioni di collegialità tra i Vescovi e il Papa.... Sono analogicamente si può parlare di collegialità".

18 United States Bishops, 1991, 417.

19 Romita, 595. "l'efficacia del voto consultivo, anche concorde, del Consiglio Presbiterale sta non già nella maggioranza numerica, ma nelle ragioni del voto stesso".

20 John Paul II. Novo Millennio Ineunte, 45. "illa participationis instituta quea iam Ius Canonicum praevidet, qualia sunt Consilia presbyteralia et pastoralia. Uti patet, non diriguntur ea normis popularis regiminis, quandoquidem per viam consulendi operantur non autem decernendi; non tamen idcirco vim suam amittunt aut significationem."

21 Synod of Bishops, 1971. part II, II, n. 1. "Navitas huius Consilii lege plene definiri non potest; eius efficacia pendent praesertim ex iterato conanime omnium opiniones audiendi, ut ad consensum perveniatur cum Episcopo, cuius est decisionem finalem ferre."

22 Can. 495 §1. "Episcopum in regimine dioecesis ad normam iuris adiuvare, ut bonum pastorale portionis populi Dei ipsi commissae quam maxime provehatur." CCEO Can. 264. "...assists the eparchial bishop by its advice in those things which regard the needs of pastoral activity and the good of the eparchy."

23 Calvo, 292.

24 Alaguselvan, 50.

25 Congregation for Bishops. Ecclesiae imago, 203a. "exinde fraternitas presbyterii et commune colloquium seu dialogus inter Episcopum et presbyteros fovetur."

26 Montini, G. Paolo. "Comunione e comunicazione tra Consiglio presbiterale diocesano, presbiterio diocesano e diocesi." Quaderni di diritto ecclesiale. 8 (1995) 103. "possibilità di divenire un organismo che opera, discute, consiglia senza poter in realtà comunicare con il presbiterio diocesano e la diocesi."

27 Synod of Bishops, 1971. part II, II, n. 1. "Fraternitatis inter sacerdos in sacramanto Ordinis fundatae, Consilium Presbyterale, quod natura sua est dioecesanum, quaedam forma est institutionalis manifestationis."

28 Carretto, 264. "Il Consiglio Presbiterale deve essere un "ponte", anche se non l'unico, tra il Vescovo ed il Presbiterio, di modo che questo ultimo in comunione, corresponsabilità ed obbedienza partecipi al servizio che l'autorità del Vescovo compie per la diocesi."

29 Purcell, 144. He cites Congregation for Clergy, Presbyteri Sacra, 5 and Congregation for Bishops, Ecclesiae imago, 203a.

30 Congregation for Clergy, et al. "Instruction on Certain Questions regarding the Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests." Ecclesiae de Mysterio. August 15, 1997, art. 5 §1. "Deacons, non-ordained members of the faithful, even if collaborators with the Sacred Ministers, and those priests who have lost the clerical state or who have abandoned the Sacred Ministry do not have either an active or a passive voice in the Council of Priests."

31 Arrieta. "Commentario sul Can. 495" in Lombardía and Arrieta, 384. "è una rappresentazione più morale che strettamente quantitativa."

32 Incitti, Giacomo. Il consiglio presbiterale: Alle origini di una crisi. Bologna: Edizioni Dehoniane, 1996, 100. "Anche se l'eletto fosse l'espressione del voto di una zona o di un vicariato, in conseguenza di una modalità specifica di elezione, una volta membro del consiglio, non sarà rappresentante di quella singola zona ma di tutto il presbiterio. Lo stesso discorso vale per i membri di diritto e i membri nominati dal vescovo."

33 Cf. Arrieta, Juan Ignacio. "Organos de participación y corresponsabilidad en la iglesia diocesana." Ius Canonicum 34 (1994) 19-20, who also speaks of how the representation is to be of the whole presbyterium, not a personal representation of determined members, sectors or components. "The representation understood as juridical relation, present in the democratic society, does not have room in the juridical-order of the Church." "La representación entendida como relación jurídica, presente en la sociedad democrática, no tiene cabida en el ordenamiento de la Iglesia."

34 Cf. Wulf, et al., in Vorgrimler, 4: 241. "Some bishops rejected the phrase 'presbyterium repraesentantium' and objected to the idea of a senatus, for such formulations would imply the notion of a parliamentary government of the Church. Cf. Sarzi Sartori, 2000, 70.

35 The title "senate of the bishop" also provides a strong historical continuity "with the presbyteral colleges of the early Church and the institutions of the Church's canonical tradition", recalling the relationship between the bishop and presbyterium, which assists in the governance of the diocese. Calvo, 38-39.

36 Cardia, 195. "Si deve escludere da una parte l'ipotesi che il consiglio si strutturi come una camera rappresentativa analoga a quelle presenti negli Stati costituzionali, sottraendosi al potere di determinazione del vescovo e finendo col diventare una sorta di contropotere o una specie di organismo di pressione nei confronti dell'ordinario".

37 Congregation for Clergy. "Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests", 17. "Recordandum est hac in re presbyterium et Consilium Presbyterale non significationes esse iuris consociationis clericorum et eo minus intellegi posse secundum visiones naturae coporatorum hominum propriae, quae partium vindicationes et comoda poscunt, communioni ecclesiali repugnantia."

38 Can. 500 §1. "Episcopi dioecesani est consilium presbyterale convocare, eidem praesidere atque quaestiones in eodem tractandas determinare auta membris propositas recipere."

39 Inclitti, 1996, 58-59. "il vescovo, essendo capo del presbiterio, debba essere anche capo del consiglio presbiterale e ciò per evitare eventuali possibili contrapposizioni tra il vescovo e il consiglio stesso, anche se, come viene subito chiarito, il vescovo non è tenuto a presiedere sempre le riunioni del consiglio."

40 Unlike Inclitti quoted below, Marchesi argues that when Can. 498 is interpreted in its "text and context" (Can. 17) the incardinated priests need something more: they also have to exercise an office or service in the diocese to participate. Marchesi, Mario. "Il Consiglio presbiterale: gruppo di sacerdoti, rappresentante di un presbiterio." Quaderni di diritto ecclesiale. 8 (1995) 63-65.

41 Inclitti, 2003, 317. "Il vincolo dell'incardinazione è così forte che non viene meno neanche nel caso in cui il sacerdote mancasse la dimora in diocesi, o l'esercizio di un officio in suo favore. La ragione risiede nel fatto che l'incardinazione genera l'appartenenza al presbiterio... L'incardinazione aggiunge qualcosa alla partecipazione al sacerdozio di Cristo, poiché lega il presbitero a una determinata Chiesa particolare".

42 John Paul II. Ecclesia In Oceania. November 22, 2001: AAS 94 (2002) 361-444, 49.

43 Congregation for Clergy. Response of January 17, 1979, in Canon Law Digest: 9, 243-244. It declared that the Association of Chicago Priests could not be recognized as such as senate, only the presbyteral council. Cf. Congregation for Clergy. Presbyteri Sacra, 10: "the title and function of the bishop's senate in the government of the diocese belongs only to the priest's council."

44 "The belonging to the Order of presbyters is realized by an ontological way" from the sacrament of Orders, "the membership in the Presbyterium is born from a juridical bond of a hierarchal and ministerial nature", and the presbyteral council is "instituted by the ecclesiastical authority." Herranz, 1990, 281-282. "l'appartenenza all'Ordine dei presbiteri si realizza per via ontologica con la consacrazione conferita dal presbiterato" ... "si tratta di un organismo istituito dall'autorità ecclesiastica".

45 Carretto, 245. "Il Consiglio Presbiterale costituisce la realizzazione pratica, la vera "rinascita" del Presbiterio diocesano." This is emphasized even in the subtitle of his article: "The Presbyteral Council: juridical expression and postconciliar realization of the diocesan Presbyterium".

46 Miller, 64.

47 Erdö, Peter and J. García Martin. "La missione come principio organizzativo della Chiesa - Un aspetto particolare: la missione dei presbiteri e dei vescovi." Periodica de re canonica. 84 (1995) 436-437. "il consiglio presbiterale costituisce una (ma certamente non la sola e nemmeno quella unica importante) espressione giuridico-positiva della realtà teologico-istituzionale precanonica del presbiterio."

48 Cf. Carretto, 237. He mentions as specific examples the Cathedral Chapter and Diocesan Synod.

49 Dunford, David. "Canon" in The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York, Robert Appleton Company, 1908. Cf. Borgman, 74-77 on the popularity and spread of the Rule of St. Chrodegang (d. 763-766).

50 Miller, 23.

51 Grégoire, Réginald. La vocazione sacerdotale: I canonici regolari nel Medioevo. Rome: Edizioni Studium, 1982,12. "erano chierici inseriti in vari modi nella stuttura diocesana" "si attuò in forme religiose."

52 Borgman, 75.

53 Purcell, 138.

54 Cardia, 205. "precedenza di una larga autonomia statutaria e patrimoniale e assolveva importanti compiti sia nel governo diocesano che nella direzione e nella cura pastorale della chiesa cattedrale."

55 Calvo, 32-33. "The canonists thus identified the presbyterium as the remote origin of the cathedral chapter... In this sense the title 'senate of the bishop' denoted the function of collegial collaboration in diocesan governance rather than a specific structure."

56 Codex Iuridici Canonici . May 27,1917. Can. 391. "a cathedral Chapter, serves, as it were, as a senate for the Bishop according to the norms of the sacred canons, and, the see being vacant, supplies his place in the governance of the diocese." Translations from The 1917 or Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law. Edward N. Peters, ed. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2001; hereafter cited as "CIC 1917".

57 Cf. Miller, 79. "The needs of the young Church forbade the idea of establishing cathedral chapters because of the scarcity of priests... Yet the bishops needed help in the administration of the diocese."

58 CIC 1917 Can. 423. "In any diocese in which there cannot yet be established or restored a cathedral Chapter of canons, there shall be instituted by the Bishop... diocesan consultors".

59 Fanning, William. "Chapter" in The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 3. New York, Robert Appleton Company, 1908.

60 As a rule the Eastern Churches do not have chapters of canons in their history, the only exception being a few in Eastern Europe in the nineteenth century. These collapsed with the arrival of communism after 1945, and thus chapters do not exist in the Eastern Churches or in their law (Pospishil, Victor J. Eastern Catholic Church Law. Brooklyn, NY: St. Maron Publications, 1993, 183).

61 Corecco, 187. "The presbyterium is without doubt the institution treated by the Code which has also further determined, in a more or less explicit way, the reduction of the power of the ancient institution of the cathedral chapter in the government of the diocese."

62 Vatican II. Christus Dominus, 28. "Inter Episcopi cooperatores in regimine dioecesis, illi presbyteri quoque enumerantur qui eius senatum consiliumve constituunt, ut sunt capitulum cathedrale, consultorum coetus vel alia consilia... Haec instituta, praesertim capitula cathedralia, novae ordinationi, quatenus opus sit, necessitatibus hodiernis aptatae, subiciantur." Cf. Vatican II. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 7, fn 41. "In established law the Cathedral Chapter is regarded as the bishop's 'senate and council', or in its absence the group of diocesan consultors. But it is desirable to reform these institutions in such a way as to make better provision for present-day needs."

63 As it is a manifestation of the presbyterium's cooperation with the bishop, it may be suggested that the college of consultors should also maintain a representative composition, similar to the presbyteral council (e.g. including priests from diverse ministries and regions). Cf. Cardia, 199.

64 Feliciani, Giorgio. "Corresponsabilità ecclesiale nella struttura gerarchica della chiesa." in Comunione ecclesiale e strutture di corresponsabilità: Dal Vaticano II al nuovo Codice di Diritto Canonico. Jean Beyer, et al, eds. Rome: Gregoriana, 1990, 44. "trovano il loro fondamento teologico in quell' 'unico presbiterio' che i presbiteri, 'saggi cooperatori dell'ordine episcopale' e suo 'aiuto e strumento', costituiscono con il loro vescovo (Lumen Gentium, 28). In questi organismi, infatti, si realizza in forme istituzionali il dovere di quest'ultimo di consultare il presbiterio per 'esaminare assieme i problemi riguardanti le necessità del lavoro pastorale e il bene della diocesi' (Presbyterorum Ordinis, 7).

65 Alaguselvan, 58. He cites Congregation for Clergy, Presbyteri Sacra, 9. The presbyteral council "is affirmed to be a special consultative organ because by its nature and its procedural process it is preeminent among other organs of the same kind."

66 Miller argues that the presbyterium in the early church had binding and even legislative authority, therefore the modern college of consultors is an important manifestation of it: "the work of the presbyterium appears to have been much the same as that of the present day cathedral chapter or board of diocesan consultors, rather that the priest's senate in its present form." (Miller, 21)

67 These cases, where the law establishes that the consent of the College of Consultors is binding over the bishop, do not apply to a patriarch acting in his own eparchy, who must only consult its opinion (CCEO Can. 271 §6).

68 Cf. Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts. "Authentic Response of June 11, 1984." AAS 76 (1984) 746-747. Trans. in Caparros, E., et al., 1288-1289. "According to Can. 502, §1, a member of the college of consultors who ceases to be a member of the presbyteral council remains in office as consultor." "ad normam Can. 502, §1, membrum Collegii Consultorum quod desinit esse membrum Consilii Presbyteralis remaneat in suo munere consultoris."
In law, the college of consultors is clearly established with its own juridical competence, independent from the presbyteral council. Cf. Arrieta, Juan Ignacio. "La configuración juridica del Colegio de Consultores." Ius Canonicum 24 (1984) 783-793.

69 Cf. CIC 1917 Can. 423. Diocesan consultors are to be "priests commended for their piety, morals, learning, and prudence." "sacerdotes pietate, moribus, doctrina ac prudentia commendati."

70 Cf. Arrieta. "Commentario sul Can. 502" in Lombardía and Arrieta, 389. "Its more reduced composition and facility of convocation, permits advising of the Bishop in a continuous manner, above all in the problems of particular urgency." "la sua composizione più ridotta e facilità di convocazione, permette di consigliare il Vescovo in forma continua, soprattutto nei problemi di particolare urgenza."

71 Cf. Congregation for Clergy. Presbyteri Sacra, 8. The presbyteral council does not "treat of those questions which of their nature demand a more discreet manner of procedure as happens, for example, in the conferral of office."

72 Provost, James H. in CLSA Advisory Opinions: 1984-1993. ed. Patrick J. Cogan. Washington D.C.: CLSA, 1995, 104.

73 Cardia, 206. "Il capitolo cattedrale è oggi il collegio dei sacerdoti al quale spetta assolvere alle funzioni liturgiche più solenni nella chiesa cattedrale o collegiata, e adempire i compiti che gli vengano affidati o dalla legge o dal vescovo diocesano." He cites Can. 503.

74 Can. 502 §3. "Episcoporum conferentia statuere potest ut munera collegii consultorum capitulo cathedrali committantur." "However, it seems opportune that, where this solution is opted for, it is also established that all the members of the Chapter belong to the presbyteral Council, to not misrepresent this latter institution" (Lombardía and Arrieta, 390). "Perciò, sembra opportuno che, laddove si opti per questa soluzione, venga anche stabilito che tutti i membri del Capitolo appartengono al Consiglio presbiterale, per non snaturare quest'ultima istituzione".

75 Cf. Congregation for Clergy. Presbyteri Sacra, 10. "individual episcopal conferences shall prepare their motions relative to the revision of the cathedral chapter and the reformation or confirmation of the board of consultors."

76 Congregation for the Clergy. "Priests in the Early Church and in Vatican II" [5-11-03] http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cclergy/documents/rc_con_cclergy_doc_23111.2.html.

77 Christ's faithful manifest this responsibility, not only through obedience, but also through assisting their pastors in governance and making known their needs and opinions. "They have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church." (Can. 212 §3)

78 Calvo, 160.

79 Erdö and Martin, 437-438. "Malgrado la presenza dei laici al sinodo diocesano... - sia per la sua origine storica che per il suo carattere tuttora specialmente rappresentativo dei presbiteri - costituisce un'espressione istituzionale della collaborazione del presbiterio con il Vescovo."

80 Can. 460. "est coetus delectorum sacerdotum aliorumque christifidelium Ecclesiae particularis, qui in bonum totius communitatis dioecesanae Episcopo dioecesano adiutricem operam praestant".

81 Miller, 21.

82 Riccardo, 48.

83 Arrieta, Juan Ignacio. Governance Stuctures within the Catholic Church. Montreal: Wilson & Lafleur Ltée, 2000, 232.

84 Congregation for Bishops. Ecclesiae imago, 163. "est congregatio, in qua Episcopus... sollemni modo fungitur officio ac ministerio pascendi gregem sibi commissum, lege et normas universalis Ecclesiae adiunctis localibus aptando".

85 Congregation for Bishops. Ecclesiae imago, 163. "via ac rationes laboris apostolici in dioecesi indicando, apostolatus ac regiminus difficultates solvendo, opera et incepta generalia instimulando".

86 Madalaimuthu, Philomindas. Religious in their relation with diocesan bishop and diocesan clergy. Rome: Urbaniana, 1997, 91.

87 Miller, 27. He traces the development of the synod, its history, and the legislation regarding the frequency of celebration of the diocesan synod: called for once a year by Lateran V, it fell into disuse; this was renewed by Trent but ignored. Vatican I proposed every three years, every six years was originally proposed for the CIC 1917, but the minimum actually established in law was ten (ibid., 25-27).

88 Vatican II. Christus Dominus, 36. "ut veneranda Synodorum et Conciliorum instituta novo vigeant robore, quo aptius et efficacius fidei incremento disciplinaeque conservationi in variis Ecclesiis, pro temporum adiunctis, provideatur."

89 Congregation for Bishops. Ecclesiae imago, 165. "ut Synodi celebratio pro ecclesiae dioecesanae vite et institutis instaurandis potissimum revera momentum habeat."

90 Can. 469. "praesertim in actione pastorali dirigenda, in administratione dioecesis curanda, necnon in potestate iudiciali exercenda."

91 E.g. Can. 699 §1. "The supreme Moderator and his or her council are to proceed in collegial fashion".

92 Vatican II. Christus Dominus, 27. "Curia dioecesana ita ordinetur ut aptum instrumentum Episcopo fiat, non tantum ad dioecesim administrandam, sed etiam ad opera apostolatus exercenda."

93 Cf. Can. 274 §1. "Only clerics can obtain offices the exercise of which requires the power of order or the power of ecclesiastical governance."

94 Such offices could also be held by bishops. E.g. "The coadjutor Bishop... is to be appointed a Vicar general", "the diocesan Bishop is to appoint his auxiliary or auxiliaries as Vicar general or at least episcopal Vicar" (Can. 406 §§1-2). An auxiliary Bishop continues to enjoy the power of his vicarious office while the see is vacant (Can. 409 §2), unlike a priest who holds such an office.

95 In Eastern law, the chancellor is required to be a cleric, a priest or deacon, and appointment of a lay person to this positions is prohibited unless particular law allows otherwise (CCEO Can. 252 §1).

96 CCEO Can. 243 §3. "Episcopus eparchialis necessitatibus vel utilitate eparchiae exigentibus alia quoque officia in curia eparchiali constituere potest."

97 E.g. Can. 481 §1 "The power of the Vicar general or episcopal Vicar ceases when the period of their mandate expires, or by resignation."

98 Romita, 591. "si auspica che sia ricostituito attorno al Vescovo il suo speciale Presbiterio; i cui membri, titolari di funzioni liturgiche, giurisdizionali, pastorali e amministrative, abbiano anche un ufficio ed un incarico in Curia."

99 Barela, 51.

100 In Eastern law, the vicar general is called the "protosyncellus", and episcopal vicars a "syncellus".

101 Riccardo, 53.

102 Can. 134 §1. "In law the term Ordinary means, apart from the Roman Pontiff, diocesan Bishops ... and those who have general ordinary executive power, that is, Vicars general and episcopal Vicars".

103 It is common, at least among American dioceses, to give the name "vicar" to various people in the curia who are obviously not episcopal vicars, as they are held by non-ordained laity or religious, such as a "vicar for religious" or "vicar for education". It seems to me this confusing use of the title "vicar" should be avoided. "It is unlawful for the non-ordained faithful to assume titles such as 'pastor', 'chaplain', 'coordinator', ' moderator' or other such similar titles which can confuse their role and that of the Pastor, who is always a Bishop or Priest." (Congregation for Clergy, et al. Ecclesiae de Mysterio. art. 1 §3.)

104 While the offices are essentially the same, CCEO Can. 247 adds two other requirements: normally them must be celibates (i.e. not married or widowed), and cannot be related by blood (consanguinity) to the bishop, up to the fourth degree (i.e. cousin or nephew).

105 Can. 473 §2. "coordinare quae ad negotia administrativa tractanda attinent, itemque curare ut ceteri curiae addicti officium sibi commissum rite adimpleant."

106 Can. 473 §4. "Ubi id expedire iudicaverit, Episcopus, ad actionem pastoralem aptius fovendam, constituere potest consilium episcopale, constans scilicet Vicariis generalibus et Vicariis episcopalibus."

107 Paul VI. Ecclesiae Sanctae, I,14,1. "Novum officium Vicarii Episcopalis in iure ideo a Concilio conditum est, ut Episcopus novis cooperatoribus auctus, meliore quo fieri possit modo regimen pastorale dioecesis exercere valeat."

108 Vatican II. Christus Dominus, 23 §3. "Hunc quoque in finem, ubi sint fideles diversi Ritus, eorum spiritualibus necessitatibus Episcopus dioecesanus provideat sive per sacerdotes aut paroecias eiusdem Ritus, sive per Vicarium Episcopalem aptis facultatibus instructum".

109 Congregation for Bishops. Ecclesiae imago, 189. "quoque regiones seu plagas pastorales distribui potest, quibus Vicarii episcopales praeficiantur, munera pastoralia de mandato et nomine Episcopi exercentes." This will be studied more fully in the next chapter, pages 49-51.

110 Can. 678 §1. "Religiosi subsunt potestati Episcoporum... in iis quae curam animarum, exercitium publicum cultus divini et alia apostolatus opera respiciunt."

111 Congregation for Religious and Congregation for Bishops. "Directives for the Mutual Relations between Bishops and Religious in the Church." Mutuae Relationes. May 14, 1978, 54. "Expedit ut in Dioecesi officium habetatur Vicarii Episcopalis pro Religiosorum et Religiosarum Institutis ad servitium cooperationis in hoc campo praestandum ipsi pastorali Episcopi ministerio; ... Vicarius igitur Episcopalis pro Religiosorum et Religiosarum Congregationibus hoc habet mandatum, ut sit auxilio ad quoddam explendum munus, proprium per se et exclusivum Episcopi, curandi scilicet religiosam vitam in Dioecesi eamque in totam pastoralem actionem inserendi."


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