Council of Priests
The Diocesan Bishop has the prerogative to convoke the council, to preside over it (though not necessarily chair its meetings) and to determine the agenda. (Can. 500)
The council is completely consultative in nature and has no authority to act on its own. The Bishop is to consult it on matters of greater importance and he is required to consult it (audito consilio) in matters relating to the convocation of a Diocesan Synod, the establishment, suppression or substantial change to a parish, allocation of offerings given to a parish, the establishment of parish councils, the building of a new church, the conversion of a church for secular use, the selection of presbyters to act in cases involving the administrative removal of a parish priest, the imposition of Diocesan taxes. (Can. 500)
Members are appointed for a designated term, determined by the statutes of the council. The full council or some part of it is to be renewed within a five- year period. (Can. 501)
When the Diocesan see is vacant the council ceases to exist, its functions are assumed by the College of Consultors and the new Bishop is to establish a new council within one year.
Bishops, therefore, because of the gift of the Spirit given to priests at their ordination, will regard them as their indispensable helpers ands advisers in the ministry and in the task of teaching sanctifying and shepherding the People of God.
In accordance with Can. 495 §1 of the Code of Canon Law and the policy of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the Council is a group of priests who represent the presbyterium. The council’s role is to assist the Bishop in the governance of the diocese, so that the pastoral welfare of the people of the Diocese may be best promoted. Its membership comprises elected represntatives from each Deanery and ex-officio officers of the Diocese.
The Council meets three times a year at DABCEC under the chairmanship of Canon Jonathan Martin, VG.
Link to the Bishop
The Bishop presides at meetings of the Council.
Meeting: Agendas and Minutes
The Agenda for the Council is prepared by the Vicars General with items proposed by Deanery Represntatives.
The Bishop's Secretary acts as Secretary to the council distributing the Agenda, recording the minutes and the distributing them to the all the priests of the Diocese.