Part II, 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. 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.
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 and Parochial Finance
Councils, 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 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.
§ 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. 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. The non-ordained faithful cannot be
validly appointed to these offices.