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 Canon Law Pertaining to a Diocesan Synod


Can. 460
A diocesan synod is a group of selected priests and other members of the Christian faithful of a particular church who offer assistance to the diocesan bishop for the good of the whole diocesan community according to the norm of the following canons.

Can. 461
§1. A diocesan synod is to be celebrated in individual particular churches when circumstances suggest it in the judgment of the diocesan bishop after he has heard the presbyteral council.

§2. If a bishop has the care of several dioceses or has the care of one as the proper bishop but of another as administrator, he can convoke one diocesan synod for all the dioceses entrusted to him.

Can. 462
§1. The diocesan bishop alone convokes a diocesan synod, but not one who temporarily presides offer a diocese.

§2. The diocesan bishop presides offer a diocesan synod. He can, however, delegate a vicar general or episcopal vicar to fulfill this responsibility for individual sessions of the synod.

Can. 463
§1. The following must be called to a diocesan synod as members of the synod and are obliged to participate in it:

  1. a coadjutor bishop and auxiliary bishops;
  2. vicars general, episcopal vicars, and the judicial vicar
  3. canons of the cathedral church;
  4. members of the presbyteral council;
  5. lay members of the Christian faithful, even members of institutes of consecrated life, chosen by the pastoral council in a manner and number to be determined by the diocesan bishop or, where this council does not exist, in a manner determined by the diocesan bishop;
  6. the rector of the diocesan major seminary;
  7. vicars forane;
  8. at least one presbyter from each vicariate forane, chosen by all those who have the care of souls there; also another presbyter must be chosen who, if the first is impeded, is to take his place;
  9. some superiors of religious institutes and of societies of apostolic life which have a house in the diocese, chosen in a number and manner determined by the diocesan bishop.

§2. The diocesan bishop can also call others to a diocesan synod as members of the synod; they can be clerics, members of institutes of consecrated life, or lay members of the Christian faithful.

§3. If the diocesan bishop has judged it opportune, he can invite as observers to the diocesan synod other ministers or members of Churches or ecclesial communities which are not in full communion with the Catholic Church.

Can. 464
If a member of the synod is prevented by a legitimate impediment, the member cannot send a proxy to attend it in his or her name. The member, however, is to inform the diocesan bishop of this impediment.

Can. 465
All proposed questions are subject to the free discussion of the members during sessions of the synod.

Can. 466
The only legislator in a diocesan synod is the diocesan bishop; the other members of the synod possess only a consultative vote. Only he signs the synodal declarations and decrees, which can be published by his authority alone.

Can. 467
The diocesan bishop is to communicate the texts of the synodal declarations and decrees to the metropolitan and the conference of bishops.

Can. 468
§1. The diocesan bishop is competent to suspend or dissolve a diocesan synod according to his prudent judgment.

§2. When an episcopal see is vacant or impeded, a diocesan synod is interrupted by the law itself until the succeeding diocesan bishop has decided that it is to be continued or has declared it terminated.



Canon Law Pertaining to the Christian Faithful

Can. 212
§1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.

§2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

**


Canon Law Pertaining to the Pastoral Council


Can. 511
In every diocese and to the extent that pastoral circumstances suggest it, a pastoral council is to be constituted which under the authority of the bishop investigates, considers, and proposes practical conclusions about those things which pertain to pastoral works in the diocese.

Can. 512
§1. A pastoral council consists of members of the Christian faithful who are in full communion with the Catholic Church—clerics, members of institutes of consecrated life, and especially laity—who are designated in a manner determined by the diocesan bishop.

§2. The Christian faithful who are designated to a pastoral council are to be selected in such a way that they truly reflect the entire portion of the people of God which constitutes the diocese, with consideration given to the different areas of the diocese, social conditions and professions, and the role which they have in the apostolate whether individually or joined with others.

§3. No one except members of the Christian faithful outstanding in firm faith, good morals, and prudence is to be designated to a pastoral council.

Can. 513
§1. A pastoral council is constituted for a period of time according to the prescripts of the statutes which are issued by the bishop.

§2. When the see is vacant, a pastoral council ceases.

Can. 514
§1. A pastoral council possesses only a consultative vote. It belongs to the diocesan bishop alone to convoke it according to the needs of the apostolate and to preside over it; it also belongs to him alone to make public what has been done in the council.

§2. The pastoral council is to be convoked at least once a year.

***

Can. 536
§1. If the diocesan bishop judges it opportune after he has heard the presbyteral council, a pastoral council is to be established in each parish, over which the pastor presides and in which the Christian faithful, together with those who share in pastoral care by virtue of their office in the parish, assist in fostering pastoral activity.

§2. A pastoral council possesses a consultative vote only and is governed by the norms established by the diocesan bishop.

**


Canon Law Pertaining to the Finance Council


Can. 537
In each parish there is to be a finance council which is governed, in addition to universal law, by norms issued by the diocesan bishop and in which the Christian faithful, selected according to these same norms, are to assist the pastor in the administration of the goods of the parish, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 532.

**


Canon Law Relating to Parish Governance

Can. 515

§1. A parish is a certain community of the Christian faithful stably constituted in a particular church, whose pastoral care is entrusted to a pastor (parochus) as its proper pastor (pastor) under the authority of the diocesan bishop.

§2. It is only for the diocesan bishop to erect, suppress, or alter parishes. He is neither to erect, suppress, nor alter notably parishes, unless he has heard the presbyteral council.

§3. A legitimately erected parish possesses juridic personality by the law itself.


Can. 517

§2. If, because of a lack of priests, the diocesan bishop has decided that participation in the exercise of the pastoral care of a parish is to be entrusted to a deacon, to another person who is not a priest, or to a community of persons, he is to appoint some priest who, provided with the powers and faculties of a pastor, is to direct the pastoral care.

Can. 519
The pastor (parochus) is the proper pastor (pastor) of the parish entrusted to him, exercising the pastoral care of the community committed to him under the authority of the diocesan bishop in whose ministry of Christ he has been called to share, so that for that same community he carries out the functions of teaching, sanctifying, and governing, also with the cooperation of other presbyters or deacons and with the assistance of lay members of the Christian faithful, according to the norm of law.

***

Can. 529,
§2. A pastor is to recognize and promote the proper part which the lay members of the Christian faithful have in the mission of the Church, by fostering their associations for the purposes of religion. He is to cooperate with his own bishop and the presbyterium of the diocese, also working so that the faithful have concern for parochial communion, consider themselves members of the diocese and of the universal Church, and participate in and sustain efforts to promote this same communion.

***




Canon Law Pertaining to Lay Ministry

Can. 228
§1. Lay persons who are found suitable are qualified to be admitted by the sacred pastors to those ecclesiastical offices and functions which they are able to exercise according to the precepts of the law.

§2. Lay persons who excel in necessary knowledge, prudence, and integrity are qualified to assist the pastors of the Church as experts and advisors, even in councils according to the norm of law.

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Can. 231
§1. Lay persons who permanently or temporarily devote themselves to special service of the Church are obliged to acquire the appropriate formation required to fulfill their function properly and to carry out this function conscientiously, eagerly, and diligently.

§2. Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 230, §1 and with the prescripts of civil law having been observed, lay persons have the right to decent remuneration appropriate to their condition so that they are able to provide decently for their own needs and those of their family. They also have a right for their social provision, social security, and health benefits to be duly provided.

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