Loyalty to the Pope DAILY CATHOLIC for December 10
The Vicar of Christ Speaks
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vol, 8
no. 49

Gif Animation Photos of Holy Father used with permission of EWTN

INTRODUCTION: With the release on November 13th of the document on the respective duties of priests and lay people, especially in parish life and ecause of its importance and need for dissemination, we will take the next several issues to bring you this document in installments, signed by the heads of the Congregation for the Clergy, Pontifical Council for the Laity, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Congregation for Bishops, Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts. It was approved by the Holy Father on August 13 this year and signed two days later on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and released publicly November 13th, the feast of Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini, a saint known for education. Education on these guidelines is necessary for all parishes at every level. Therefore, we bring you the Holy See's complete document in installments. We are foregoing putting the sources in the text as we have done for the first eleven installments since many complained it was difficult reading. Therefore, to keep the flow going we will put sources in a separate file you can click on.

THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS
on the Role of the Laity

INSTRUCTION on Certain Questions regarding the Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest

Fourteenth installment: PRACTICAL PROVISIONS - Article 5
The Structures of Collaboration in the Particular Church
These structures, so necessary to that ecclesial renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council have produced many positive results and have been codified in canonical legislation. They represent a form of active participation in the life and mission of the Church as communion.

1. The norms of the Code with regard to the Council of Priests (Presbyteral Council) specifies those priests who can be its members. (81) Because the Council of Priests is founded on the common participation of the Bishop and his priests in the same priesthood and ministry, member ship in it is reserved to priests alone. (82)

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.

2. Diocesan and parochial Pastoral Councils (83) and Parochial Finance Councils, (84) of which non-ordained faithful are members, enjoy a consultative vote only and cannot in any way become deliberative structures. Only those faithful who possess the qualities prescribed by the canonical norms (85) may be elected to such responsibilities.

3. It is for the Parish Priest to preside at parochial councils. They are to be considered invalid, and hence null and void, any deliberations entered into, (or decisions taken), by a parochial council which has not been presided over by the Parish Priest or which has assembled contrary to his wishes. (86)

4. Diocesan councils may properly and validly express their consent to an act of the Bishop only in those cases in which the law expressly requires such consent.

5. Given the local situation Ordinaries may avail themselves of special study groups or of groups of experts to examine particular questions. Such groups, however, cannot be constituted as structures parallel to diocesan presbyteral or pastoral councils nor indeed to those diocesan structures regulated by the universal law of the Church in Canons 536, 1 and 537. (87) Neither may such a group deprive these structures of their lawful authority. Where structures of this kind have arisen in the past because of local custom or through special circumstances, those measures deemed necessary to conform such structures to the current universal law of the Church must be taken.

6. The Vicars forane, sometimes called deans, archpriests, or by suchlike titles, and those called "assistant vicars", "assistant dean", etc., must always be priests. (88) The non-ordained faithful cannot be validly appointed to these offices.

NEXT ISSUE: PRACTICAL PROVISIONS - Article 6 Liturgical Celebrations

December 10, 1997 volume 8, no. 49
VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS



December 1997