Hip deep in canon law, part 2: the presbyteral council

Yesterday I wrote about my work on a national level in canon law. Today, I spent a big part of my day doing canon law, only this time for my diocese.

The Code of Canon Law says that every diocese is supposed to have a special advisory body called the Presbyteral Council. This council ceases when the diocese loses its bishop, but it must be reconstituted within 6 months of a new bishop taking office.

Which, of course, is what happened last December 17 for the diocese of Sault Ste. Marie :-)

This means that the Presbyteral Council needs to be re-established for our diocese. This is normally done simply via new elections, but often a new bishop takes the opportunity to examine the existing structure and see if things need to be adapted to new circumstances. That's what I'm doing. And, in particular, what I did today.

My hope is to have new statutes for the Presbyteral Council reviewed by the priests and then promulgated by the end of February. We can then proceed to new elections, and hopefully start the work of reviewing things like a new policy regarding sex abuse allegations, which really needs to be completed by Easter.

I really believe in consulting as part of governing. For me, it's not just a good management practice, it is a way to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of all the members of God's people. That's why we have these sorts of council: to listen to the voice of the Spirit together.