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Code of Canon Law


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CHAPTER III.

PARTICULAR COUNCILS

Can. 439 §1. A plenary council, that is, one for all the particular churches of the same conference of bishops, is to be celebrated whenever it seems necessary or useful to the conference of bishops, with the approval of the Apostolic See.

§2. The norm established in §1 is valid also for the celebration of a provincial council in an ecclesiastical province whose boundaries coincide with the territory of a nation.

Can. 440 §1. A provincial council for the different particular churches of the same ecclesiastical province is to be celebrated whenever it seems opportune in the judgment of the majority of the diocesan bishops of the province, without prejudice to can. 439, §2.

§2. When a metropolitan see is vacant, a provincial council is not to be convoked.

Can. 441 It is for the conference of bishops:

1/ to convoke a plenary council;

2/ to select the place to celebrate the council within the territory of the conference of bishops;

3/ to select from among the diocesan bishops a president of the plenary council whom the Apostolic See must approve;

4/ to determine the agenda and questions to be treated, set the opening and duration of a plenary council, transfer, extend, and dissolve it.

Can. 442 §1. It is for the metropolitan with the consent of the majority of the suffragan bishops:

1/ to convoke a provincial council;

2/ to select the place to celebrate the provincial council within the territory of the province;

3/ to determine the agenda and questions to be treated, set the opening and duration of the provincial council, transfer, extend, and dissolve it.

§2. It is for the metropolitan or, if he is legitimately impeded, a suffragan bishop elected by the other sufuffagan bishops to preside offer a provincial council.

Can. 443 §1. The following must be called to particular councils and have the right of a deliberative vote in them:

1/ diocesan bishops;

2/ coadjutor and auxiliary bishops;

3/ other titular bishops who perform in the territory a special function committed to them by the Apostolic See or the conference of bishops.

§2. Other titular bishops, even retired ones, living in the territory can be called to particular councils; they also have the right of a deliberative vote.

§3. The following must be called to particular councils but with only a consultative vote:

1/ the vicars general and episcopal vicars of all the particular churches in the territory;

2/ major superiors of religious institutes and societies of apostolic life in a number for both men and women which the conference of bishops or the bishops of the province are to determine; these superiors are to be elected respectively by all the major superiors of the institutes and societies which have a seat in the territory;

3/ rectors of ecclesiastical and Catholic universities and deans of faculties of theology and of canon law, which have a seat in the territory;

4/ some rectors of major seminaries elected by the rectors of the seminaries which are located in the territory, in a number to be determined as in n. 2.

§4. Presbyters and other members of the Christian faithful can also be called to particular councils, but with only a consultative vote and in such a way that their number does not exceed half the number of those mentioned in §§1-3.

§5. Moreover, cathedral chapters and the presbyteral council and pastoral council of each particular church are to be invited to provincial councils in such a way that each of them sends two of their members designated collegially by them; however, they have only a consultative vote.

§6. Others can also be invited as guests to particular councils, if it is expedient in the judgment of the conference of bishops for a plenary council, or of the metropolitan together with the suffragan bishops for a provincial council.

Can. 444 §1. All who are called to particular councils must attend them unless they are prevented by a just impediment, about which they are bound to inform the president of the council.

§2. Those who are called to particular councils and have a deliberative vote in them can send a proxy if they are prevented by a just impediment; the proxy has only a consultative vote.

Can. 445 A particular council, for its own territory, takes care that provision is made for the pastoral needs of the people of God and possesses the power of governance, especially legislative power, so that, always without prejudice to the universal law of the Church, it is able to decide what seems opportune for the increase of the faith, the organization of common pastoral action, and the regulation of morals and of the common ecclesiastical discipline which is to be observed, promoted, and protected.

Can. 446 When a particular council has ended, the president is to take care that all the acts of the council are sent to the Apostolic See. Decrees issued by a council are not to be promulgated until the Apostolic See has reviewed them. It is for the council itself to define the manner of promulgation of the decrees and the time when the promulgated decrees begin to oblige.




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