Presbyteral Council Statutes
Statutes of the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Jefferson City
“A diocese is a portion of the people of God which is entrusted to a bishop for him to shepherd with the cooperation of the presbyterate (presbyterii), so that, adhering to its pastor and gathered by him in the Holy Spirit through the gospel and the Eucharist, it constitutes a particular church in which the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and operative” (Canon 369).
“In each diocese a presbyteral council is to be established, that is, a group of priests which, representing the presbyterate (presbyterium), 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” (Canon 495 §1).
“With special solicitude, a diocesan bishop is to attend to presbyters and listen to them as assistants and counselors. He is to protect their rights and take care that they correctly fulfill the obligations proper to their state and that the means and institutions which they need to foster spiritual and intellectual life are available to them” (Canon 384).
Title I: Name
§1. The name of the body further described in these Statutes shall be, “The Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Jefferson City” (the “Council”). (Canon 496).
Title II: Nature and Purpose
§1. The Council is a group of priests, representative of the entire presbyterate of the Diocese of Jefferson City, whose purpose is assisting the Bishop of Jefferson City as he governs the diocese and promoting the pastoral good of the people of God entrusted to him. (Canons 384, 495).
§2. The Council assists the Diocesan Bishop by advising him in questions determined by him and by making proposals to him.
§3. The Council possesses a merely consultative vote in all matters except those expressly defined by law.
§4. The Council may not act at all without the Diocesan Bishop and he alone has charge of making public any things or issues presented to or by the Council.
Title III: Membership
§1. Membership of the Council shall consist of not fewer than ten nor more than 16 priests, unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.
§2. The Council is composed of elected members, appointed members, and ex-officio members, of which about half of the total number are to be elected according to the norms of Title IV (Canon 497). All members of the Council, regardless of origin, possess an active voice and a deliberative vote.
§3. The ex-officio members are:
a. The Vicar General
b. The Judicial Vicar
§4. The Diocesan Bishop may freely appoint additional members to the Council for a term of five years. Members appointed in this way may be appointed for subsequent terms. If an appointed member does not finish his term for one of the reasons listed in Title IV §3 his term is extinguished. The Diocesan Bishop may appoint a new member with a new five year term.
§5. Without prejudice to the norms of canon 171, the following priests have both the active (the right to vote) and passive (the right to be voted for) right of election:
a. All secular priests incardinated in the Diocese of Jefferson City, regardless of their place of domicile (Canon 498 §1, 1°);
b. Secular priests not incardinated in the Diocese of Jefferson City who reside in the Diocese and exercise an office for the good of the Diocese (Canon 498 §1, 2°);
c. Priests who are members of a religious institute or society of apostolic life, who reside in the Diocese and exercise an office for the good of the Diocese (Canon 498 §1, 2°).
§6. In §5b and §5c “exercise an office for the good of the Diocese” includes properly constituted ecclesiastical offices according to the norm of canon 145 or another stable function or ministry directly at the service of the Diocese, according to the judgement of the Diocesan Bishop.
§7. Priests having lost the clerical state, having illegitimately abandoned their ministry according to the judgement of the Diocesan Bishop, or otherwise subject to applicable penalties, disciplinary measures, voluntary agreements or provisions of law, enjoy neither the active nor passive right of election (Canon 292).
§8. Members of the Council may only hold membership from one source, either ex-officio, appointed, or elected. Membership either ex-officio or by appointment renders a priest ineligible for election until his term has ceased or he no longer holds the office to which membership is attached.
Title IV: Elections and Terms
§1. The elected representatives of the Council shall constitute about half of the Council and be composed of five (5) deanery representatives, one domiciled in each deanery in the Diocese, one (1) representative elected from among the priests not incardinated in the diocese, and one (1) representative elected from among the retired priests of the diocese (Canon 497, 1°).
a. Subject to the limitation in §2 of this Title, the deanery representatives shall be nominated by the priests domiciled in that deanery who possess active right of election from among the priests domiciled within that same deanery possessing the passive right of election.
b. Subject to the limitation in §2 of this Title, the deanery representatives shall be elected from among the nominees of each deanery by all the priests of the diocese possessing the active right of election.
c. Subject to the limitation in §2 of this Title, the non-incardinated nominees shall be nominated by the non-incardinated priests that possess the active right of election from among the non-incardinated priests in the diocese possessing the passive right of election.
d. Subject to the limitation in §2 of this Title, the non-incardinated representative shall be elected from among the non-incardinated nominees by all priests of the diocese possessing the active right of election.
e. Subject to the limitation in §2 of this Title, the retired nominees shall be nominated by the retired priests that possess the active right of election from among the retired priests in the diocese possessing the passive right of election.
f. Subject to the limitation in §2 of this Title, the retired representative shall be elected from among the retired nominees by all priests of the diocese possessing the active right of election.
§2. The members of the council are elected to serve three-year terms. Members may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms before being required to spend at least one term without elected membership on the Council. Previous terms served from sources besides election do not count towards this restriction (Canon 501 §1).
§3. In the case of a vacancy of an elected representative on the Council due to death, disability, resignation, or removal (either for grave cause or according to Canon 194), the nominee who received the next highest number of votes shall fill out the term. A partial term does not count against term limitation in §2 of this Title.
§4. If a deanery representative member of the Council ceases to have domicile within the deanery for which he is elected, he shall resign from the Council. Thereafter he shall be eligible for election in the deanery in which he is domiciled at the time of the election, subject to the limitation in §2 of this Title.
§5. The election procedures shall be more fully described in Appendix A, attached hereto.
Title V: Officers
§1. The President of the Council is the Diocesan Bishop. He is not a member of the Council but presides over it, determines the questions set before it, and receives proposals from it (Canon 500 §1).
§2. The other officers of the Council are the Chairman, Vice Chairman, and the Secretary. These are elected by and from the membership of the Council. They shall serve either a one-year term or their remaining time as members of the Council, whichever is shorter. The officers may be reelected for a total two consecutive terms, and thereafter are ineligible to hold any office for at least one term. The officers shall have the duties listed below subject to the right of the Diocesan Bishop to modify them at his discretion.
a. The Chairman shall meet with the President to set the agenda for the meetings, chair the meetings, and appoint members to committees as provided in Title VIII.
b. The Vice Chairman assists the Chairman and fulfills the duties of the Chairman in his absence.
c. The Secretary shall:
i. Notify all members of the time and place of the meetings and arrange for the use of the space where the meetings will occur.
ii. Keep all records and the minutes of the meetings and to distribute these to the Council. At the request of the Diocesan Bishop, publish these records or minutes to the presbyterate and/or general public according to Canon 500 §3.
iii. In collaboration with the Chancellor of the Diocese of Jefferson City, maintain the permanent file of all proceedings including voting results.
Title VI: Meetings
§1. The Council shall meet at regularly scheduled meetings not less than six (6) times per year, unless dispensed by the Diocesan Bishop. This provision may not be amended to require fewer than four meetings per calendar year as provided by the USCCB Complementary Norms for Canon 496.
- At the first meeting following the election the Council shall fix the dates of the subsequent six meetings. It shall also vote to elect the officers of the Council.
- Additional special meetings may be called at the discretion of the Diocesan Bishop.
§2. Without prejudice to Canon 166, the members of the Council are to be convoked by whatever means the Diocesan Bishop chooses.
§3. The members of the Council are required to attend all legitimately convoked meetings in person unless they are legitimately impeded. The Diocesan Bishop may permit individual members to participate in meetings by means of telephone or video conference on a case-by-case basis. If a member has two unexcused absences the Chairman must inform them that a third unexcused absence may result in their removal from the Council. With the approval of the Diocesan Bishop, the Chairman shall inform any elected member who has three unexcused absences during their term of office that they have been removed from the Council and have lost all rights of that office. The Diocesan Bishop may allow members to remain on the Council if they have three or more unexcused absences.
§4. The Diocesan Bishop may admit others to the meetings in cases of necessity but only to that portion of the meeting that pertains to them.
Title VII: Manner of Acting
§1. Prior to voting the Council is to conduct an orderly and appropriate sharing of information and discussion for the purpose of achieving consensus. The Chairman moderates this exchange unless the Diocesan Bishop determine otherwise. If the Chairman, or the one designated by the Diocesan Bishop, determines that achieving consensus or an orderly exchange of information and opinions is impossible the meeting will be conducted according to Roberts Rules of Order.
§2. Except for purely procedural matters and internal matters required by these Statutes, the Council may only vote on those matters expressly proposed by the Diocesan Bishop. Any other vote attempted by the Council is null and lacks all force (Canon 500 §3).
§3. The ordinary procedure for voting in matters where the advice of the Council is required by law is an un-tabulated expression of consensus as declared by the Chairman. In these cases, the advice of all present must be sought according to the norm of Canon 127 §1. The Secretary shall make note of the fact that all present were heard.
§4. The ordinary procedure for voting in matters where the consent of the Council is required by law is a tabulated vote, recorded by the Secretary. In these cases, an absolute majority of those present must vote in favor, according to the norm of Canon 127 §1.
§5. Any member of the Council or the Diocesan Bishop may request that any vote take place by means of a tabulated vote or even a secret ballot. The right to make this request is not lost upon the expression of consensus by the Chairman. The right to make this request is extinguished by the legitimate adjournment of the meeting.
§6. Without prejudice to the norm of Canon 166 §3 and Title VI §3 or these Statutes, a quorum shall consist of two-thirds of the total number of Council members, excluding those illegitimately absent. A member is considered to be illegitimately absent when, without being legitimately impeded, after having been convoked according to the norm of law and these Statutes, is absent from the meeting. Without a quorum, no vote is possible.
Title VIII: Committees
§1. The Council shall have an Executive Board. The Executive Board is made up of the officers of the Council namely, the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, and the Secretary. The Executive Board coordinates the work of other committees and prepares for Council meetings. The Executive Board may not act in the name of the Council.
§2. The Council shall have an Elections Committee which consists of at least three members, including the ex-officio members of the Council and one member appointed by the Chairman in consultation with the Executive Board. The Elections Committee shall coordinate, supervise, and conduct election procedures according to the norms of Appendix A.
§3. Subject to the discretion of the Diocesan Bishop, other standing and ad hoc committees may be created. These committees shall have the rights and duties specified by the Executive Board.
Title IX: Amendments
§1. With the approval of the Diocesan Bishop these Statutes can be amended by a two-thirds vote of members present. Proposed amendments are required to be presented in writing at a previous Council meeting. This notice requirement may be waived in an individual case with the unanimous vote of the Council and the consent of the Diocesan Bishop.
Title X: Dissolution
§1. The Council is dissolved by the law itself whenever the Diocesan See becomes vacant. At this time the College of Consultors fulfills the function of the Council.
§2. Subject to the norm of Canon 501 §3 the Diocesan Bishop may dissolve the Council after consultation with the Metropolitan Archbishop of Saint Louis. If the Council is dissolved according to this provision, it must be reconstituted within one year.
After consultation with the Presbyteral Council on 14 December 2021, these statutes are hereby approved by the Diocesan Bishop at the Chancery on the 23rd day of December in the Year of Our Lord 2021 and shall take effect on 1 July 2022.
Title I: Elected Representatives of the Presbyteral Council
Every third year an election shall be held to elect members to the Presbyteral Council (hereafter, the “Council”). As stipulated in the Statutes to which these procedures are attached, there shall be one representative elected from each deanery, one from among the non-incardinated priests, and one from among the retired priests.
§1. Nomination of Representatives.
a. Timing. Nomination ballots shall be distributed by the Election Committee on June 1st of each election year. Ballots must be returned within 15 days.
b. Deanery Representatives. The Election Committee shall distribute to the priests possessing the active right of election (the right to vote) in each deanery a list of all the priests domiciled in that deanery who possess the passive right of election (the right to be elected). Each priest domiciled in that deanery shall vote for two (2) names from that list. The three (3) priests receiving the most votes will be offered the nomination, and must accept within seven (7) days of notification of their nomination. If a priest refuses nomination, or does not respond within the allotted time, the Election Committee shall offer nomination to the priest having the next most votes. This process shall continue until three priests in each deanery have accepted nomination to the Council.
c. Non-Incardinated Priests. The Election Committee shall distribute to all non-incardinated priests in the diocese possessing the active right of election according to Title III §5b-c a ballot containing all the names of the non-incardinated priests in the diocese possessing the passive right of election. Each non-incardinated priest shall vote for two (2) names from that list. The three (3) priests receiving the most votes will be offered the nomination, and must accept within seven (7) days of notification of their nomination. If a priest refuses nomination, or does not respond within the allotted time, the Election Committee shall offer nomination to the priest having the next most votes. This process shall continue until three non-incardinated priests have accepted nomination to the Council.
d. Retired Priests. The Election Committee shall distribute to all retired priests of the diocese possessing the active right of election according to Title III §5a a ballot containing all the names of the retired priests of the diocese possessing the passive right of election. Each retired priest shall vote for two (2) names from that list. The three (3) priests receiving the most votes will be offered the nomination, and must accept within seven (7) days of notification of their nomination. If a priest refuses nomination, or does not respond within the allotted time, the Election Committee shall offer nomination to the priest having the next most votes. This process shall continue until three retired priests have accepted nomination to the Council.
e. No duplicate nominations. A priest may only accept nomination for one of the above categories. For example, if he accepts nomination for as a deanery representative he may not thereafter for the same election, accept nomination as a non-incardinated representative or retired representative. This provision shall not prevent a priest from accepting a nomination from a different group in a subsequent election.
a. Timing. The elections shall be held on July 31 each election year.
b. Election Procedure. Election Ballots shall be distributed 30 days prior to the date established by the Council. Each ballot will have seven distinct categories, each containing three names. Each of the five deaneries shall have a category. The non-incardinated priests and the retired priests shall be the other two categories. The three names listed in each category shall be the three priest who accepted nomination as defined above. Each priest in the diocese possessing the active right of election shall vote for exactly one (1) name from each category. Under-voting is not allowed. On election day the ballots shall be counted by the Election Committee. If a ballot is received electronically it must be printed out and retained for the archives. If a ballot contains more or less than one vote from each category it shall be discarded. After counting all of the valid ballots, the priest who receives the most votes in each category is elected to the Council. If there is a tie the priest senior in ordination shall be elected.
Title II: Election of Officers
§1. Officers of the Presbyteral Council. According to Title V §2, the officers of the Council are the Chairman, Vice Chairman, and the Secretary. They shall be elected at the first meeting of each Council year, as determined by the Diocesan Bishop. They shall serve for a term of one year, or their remaining time as a member of the Council, whichever is shorter.
§2. Manner of Election.
a. Chairman. Each member of the council shall nominate one name from among the Council to be Chairman. A first ballot is then taken with each member making one vote for Chairman from among the nominees. The three candidates with the highest number of votes shall proceed to a second ballot. In the case of a tie for third most votes, the priest senior in ordination shall be selected. The candidate with the highest votes from the second ballot is elected chairman. In the case of a tie the candidate senior in ordination shall be elected chairman.
b. Vice Chairman and Secretary. The election for Vice Chairman and Secretary shall then proceed in the same manner.
Title III: Miscellaneous
§1. Conflicts. Any problem or conflict unforeseen by these procedures shall be resolved by the Election Committee in the spirit of fraternal charity with the approval of the Diocesan Bishop.
§2. Other details. All other details of the election procedure not specifically mentioned by these procedures may be decided upon by the Election Committee with the approval of the Council and the Diocesan Bishop.
After presenting this Appendix to the Presbyteral Council on 5 April 2022 and receiving its unanimous recommendation, I hereby approve this as Appendix A to the Presbyteral Council Statutes. This document shall be fully incorporated into the Presbyteral Council Statutes, effective immediately.
Given at the Chancery in Jefferson City on the 6th day of April in the Year of Our Lord 2022.