The Collaborative Role of the Presbyteral Council in the Governance of a Diocese

Title: The Collaborative Role of the Presbyteral Council in the Governance of a Diocese
Authors: Okosun, John E.
Date: 2012-11-16
Abstract: Abstract This thesis aims at establishing the juridical significance of the collaborative role of the presbyteral council in diocesan governance and proposes some concrete means through which this collaboration may be fostered in the particular Churches. It traces the historical antecedents to the presbyteral council and posits that since the beginning of Christianity, those who govern in the Church have always been assigned some kind of consultative and collaborative organs, made up of priests in most cases, and they were obliged to hear or obtain their consent in more important matters. Hence at different times in history, the presbyteral colleges, the cathedral chapter and the diocesan consultors emerged as organs which played this role. With the Second Vatican Council, there was a call for a new consultative body which would reflect the theology of Vatican II by focusing on unity of mission between bishops and priests; accordingly the council fathers called for the establishment of the presbyteral council. The thesis takes a step further to give an expository analysis of the current law on the presbyteral council, it alludes that the presbyteral council which represents the presbyterium of the diocese, is consultative in nature and is called to assist the diocesan bishop in the governance of the diocese through advice. It says categorically that, it is obligatory for every diocese to establish this council and makes it clear that the statutes of the presbyteral council are important instruments in the realization of the goals of this council. It then analysis the statutes of thirty one North American archdioceses and highlights those elements which should form part of good statutes, these include the nature, role, manner of acting and the method of determining membership of the council. Finally, it brings out other factors which could help to foster the collaborative role of the council in the governance of the local Church; these include the way priests are formed, the style of governance of the bishop, the life style of priests, the way priests are prepared for the election of council members and the ability of members to assert their proper role.
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