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Canons of the Church – v. 2017


~~    Name, Seal, Mission, Ecclesial Tradition

 

Title 1. Name, Seal, Mission

 

    Canon 1     § 1 The official name of this Church is: Ecumenical Catholic Church+USA with "An Old Catholic Church" as an optional subtitle.

                

 § 2 Each congregation and ministry within the Church must include as part of its official and operating name “ECC+USA” or where it is spelled out “Ecumenical Catholic Church+USA,” for example, Vilatte Institute ECC+USA; Holy Family Ecumenical Catholic Church+USA.

 

    Can. 2       §1 The Ecumenical Catholic Church+USA is a non-profit corporation incorporated in the State of Missouri.  The “National Church Office” is located in St. Louis, Missouri.  The presiding bishop shall appoint a national chancellor to oversee the day-to-day operations of the national church in consultation with the Council of Bishops.

 

§2   The official corporate seal of the Church is:

 

Seal

§3   The Church's logo is:

 

Logo

 

    Can. 3       The mission of the Ecumenical Catholic Church+USA is fulfilled in ministering to all people by preaching the Word of God, offering the Seven Sacraments of the Church, and witnessing Christ's mercy and love using an ecumenical approach that maintains Catholic tradition.

 

Title 2.  Ecclesial Tradition

 

    Can. 4       This Church is an Old Catholic Church in name, spirit, and polity.

 

    Can. 5       The Church accepts the Declaration of Utrecht and the Fourteen Theses of the Old Catholic Church with an exception regarding the belief in the Immaculate Conception of Mary the Theotokos.   (See Appendix C for an explanation of the Church's interpretation of the Utrecht documents.)

 


~Book Two~

Beliefs, Liturgy, Sacraments

 

Title 1.  Belief Statements

 

    Can. 6   The following are the core doctrinal statements of the Church:

 

 1º    We believe in The Holy Trinity.

 

 2º   We believe that Jesus is the Christ, that he is God, and he is our personal savior.

 

 3º   We believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of Jesus and worthy of honor, liturgical observance and intercession in prayer.

 

 4º   We believe in the inerrancy and divine inspiration of Holy Scriptures.

 

 5º   We believe in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

 

 6º   We believe in the three historic creeds: Niceno-Constantinopolitan, Apostles, and Athanasian.

 

 7º   We believe and accept the doctrines of the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Catholic Faith of the First Millennium.

 

 8º   We believe and appreciate the wisdom and guidance of the Early Church Fathers.

 

 9º   We believe in the seven sacraments of the Catholic Faith Tradition: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Anointing and Anointing the Sick, Reconciliation (Confession), Marriage, and Holy Orders.

 

 10º We believe that Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist, body and blood, humanity and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine.

 

 11º We believe in and hold the Apostolic Succession of Holy Orders.

 

 12º We believe that all Holy Orders (bishops, priests, and deacons) are open to both men and women.

 

 13º We believe that celibacy for those in Holy Orders is a personal decision.

 

 14º We believe in the sanctity of marriage as a life long commitment between a man and woman.

 

 15º We believe that within certain marriages there may be circumstances or conditions that make life within that relationship unbearable or dangerous and thus divorce becomes appropriate or even necessary. Realizing that Jesus is merciful and it is he alone who understands fully the reality of any human decision, the church welcomes to all the sacraments those who have been divorced and/or remarried.

 

 16º We believe that all humankind is called to chastity and sexual purity within their state in life.

 

 17º We believe contraception is a personal decision of the married couple.

 

 18º We believe that all life is sacred. We believe that abortion and euthanasia is the taking of human life.

 

 19º  We believe that the Gospel commandment to "love others as we love ourselves" is the key to living the Christian life and it manifests itself in global concern for all peoples, patriotism for one's nation, good citizenship, and responsible stewardship of our planet.

 

Title 2.  Liturgy

 

    Can. 7       The ministry of the Sacraments must always be identical in matter, form, and intent to those used by other historic Catholic churches, specifically the Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal, Anglican, Old Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches and in compliance with the canons of this church.

 

    Can. 8       Rituals surrounding the matter and form of the Sacraments will show respect for the Catholic liturgical traditions, reflect the meaning of the mystery that is celebrated, but may also reflect appropriate local customs.

 

    Can. 9       In the liturgy, references to the Trinity must be in the traditional Catholic format, i.e., God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

 

Title 3.  The Sacraments:  Matter, Form, Minister, Norms.

 

Chapter One.  The Sacrament of Baptism

 

    Can. 10    §1  The Sacrament of Baptism is administered by the pouring of water three times over the forehead while saying the words: "I baptize you, in the name of the Father (pour water the first time), and of the Son (pour water the second time), and of the Holy Spirit (pour water the third time)." Additional blessings and anointing are included in the traditional baptismal rite and should usually be included in each baptismal ceremony.

 

 §2    Immersion is also an acceptable format for administering Baptism. 

 

 §3    Sprinkling with water is not considered a flowing of water and must not be used for the Sacrament of Baptism in this church.

    Can. 11     The ordinary minister of baptism is the pastor of the congregation or any priest or deacon appointed by the pastor. In danger of death situations, any person may administer the Sacrament of Baptism.

 

    Chapter Two.  The Sacrament of the Eucharist (Mass)

 

    Can. 12    §1  The bread and wine (not grape juice) is the matter of the sacrament of the Eucharist.  The form is the words of institution. "This is my body" said over the bread and "This is my blood" said over the wine both coupled with the intention of the priest to consecrate the specific bread and wine on the Altar.

 

 §2  It is neither customary nor acceptable to consecrate bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ except in the larger context of the Mass liturgy establishing the Eucharistic meal of the People of God.

 

    Can. 13     The ordinary minister of the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist is a validly ordained bishop or priest in good standing in a church which holds to the teaching and demonstrates to be a church in apostolic succession.

 

    Can. 14     Deacons and ministers of the Eucharist may distribute Communion in a church or to the sick at other places, however, they do not have the Holy Orders required to validly "say" Mass.  The term “Deacon’s Mass” must not be used; the accurate term for Communion Services conducted by a deacon are “Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified” or “Pre-Sanctified Liturgy” or it may be called simply “Communion Service”.

 

    Can. 15    §1  The 1964 English translation of the Missale Romanum is endorsed by this church as the standard for the Celebration of the Eucharist.

 

 §2  Any of the traditional Eastern and Western Catholic liturgies (e.g., Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Episcopal) are approved for use by clergy in this church.

 

 §3  Adaptations and changes to the traditional Eastern and Western Catholic liturgies must be approved by the Council of Bishops prior to their use in any of the church's congregations or ministries.

 

Chapter Three.  Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation)

 

    Can. 16     §1  The Sacrament of Penance (Confession, Sacrament of Reconciliation) may be celebrated privately in a one to one setting with individual absolution, or publicly as part of a Penance Service or in the Celebration of the Eucharist with General Absolution.

 

 §2  The preferred celebration of this sacrament is by the bishop or priest after sufficient catechesis giving General Absolution at Mass or a Penance Service.

 

 §3  Private confession or individual absolution afterwards is not required.

 

    Can. 17     The matter of the Sacrament of Penance is generally considered to be the contrition of the penitent for his or her sinfulness. The form of the sacrament is the following statement by the priest: "May our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you, and by his authority I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."

 

    Can. 18     The ordinary minister of the Sacrament of Penance is a bishop or priest in good standing with the church. In danger of death situations, any priest validly ordained in any church in Apostolic Succession may administer the sacrament when requested by the dying person.

 

    Can. 19     §1  The secrecy of sacramental confession is morally absolute for the confessor and must under no circumstances be broken by word or in any other manner.

 

§2     An interpreter, if one is being used, and all others to whom knowledge acquired from a confession shall come in any way are also absolutely obliged to maintain confidentiality.

 

§3     The confessor must in no way make external use of any knowledge gained in confession.  The content of a confession is not normally a matter of subsequent discussion with the penitent, unless initiated by the same.   A confessor with authority over someone must in no way use information acquired in confession for external governance.

 

§4     This obligation of confidentiality of Sacramental Confession (referred to as the "seal of Confession") rises above the demands of the civil legal system.

 

Chapter Four:  The Sacrament of Confirmation

 

    Can. 20    The matter of the Sacrament of Confirmation is the laying on of the minister's hand on the head of the one being confirmed while anointing his/her head while making the sign of the cross with oil. The form of the sacrament is the following prayer said while anointing: I sign you with the sign of the cross + and I confirm you with the Chrism of salvation, In the name of the Father, + and of the Son, +, and of the Holy + Spirit. Amen. The surrounding prayers and blessings from the ritual should always be included in the administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation.

 

    Can. 21     §1  The ordinary minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation is the bishop of the diocese. The diocesan bishop may ask another bishop of this Church to administer the sacrament in his/her diocese.

 

§2     In special situations when a bishop is not available, e.g., because of travel distance, the Ordinary or the Presiding Bishop may delegate or appoint any priest of this Church, preferably a Diocesan Chancellor or Vicar, to be the extraordinary minister of Confirmation.

 

§3     The pastor of the congregation or the celebrant of the Easter Vigil Mass may administer the Sacrament of Confirmation for adults receiving the Rites of Christian Initiation.

 

§4     In danger of death situations, any priest anywhere, may be extraordinary minister of the sacrament of Confirmation.

 

Chapter Five:   The Sacrament of Marriage

 

    Can. 22   The matter of the Sacrament of Marriage is the man and woman's exchange of body and soul, heart and mind with the intention of entering freely and without reservation into this union "until death do us part".   The form of the Sacrament is the exchange of the marriage vows, using the traditional formula or other words expressing the same promises, made before a priest or deacon and two witnesses. Ordinarily, the formula and surrounding prayers and exhortation found in the traditional Catholic rituals should be followed.

 

§1   The theology of marriage identifies the couple as being the ministers of their marriage to each other. 

 

 §2   The following applies to the ordained minister as the official church witness to a marriage.

 

 1º   The ordinary minister of the sacrament of marriage is the diocesan bishop or pastor.  Any other bishop, priest, or deacon delegated by the bishop or pastor may be the minister of marriage.

 

 2º    A deacon may officiate at a marriage with the approval of his/her pastor (within the parish) or the bishop (within the diocese).

 

 3º    In emergency situations where a priest or deacon is not and will not be available for a wedding ceremony, a cleric in minor orders of the church as available in rank order (subdeacon, acolyte, lector, porter) may be appointed by the Presiding or diocesan bishop, but only in accordance with the civil law of the State where the marriage is taking place.  Clerics in Minor Orders are never to be appointed or assume the role of being the ordinary minister of the Sacrament of Marriage.

 

    Can 24.    In witnessing marriages, the individual minister will be personally responsible to be aware of and conform to all civil laws, procedures, and registrations pertaining to ministers and the witnessing of marriages.

 

    Can 25      Clergy may witness simply civil marriages in accord with state law, however, the cleric should seek to use every marriage as a way to bring Christ and his church into the lives of the married couple.

 

    Can. 26    §1 The couple must conform to all civil regulations regarding marriage.

 

§2     The minister must provide a minimum of at least two one hour conferences on the sacrament of marriage, characteristics of successful marriages, and preparation of the marriage ceremony.

 

§3     While the church believes that marriage is for life and that such an intention must accompany a Christian marriage, it recognizes the possibility of divorce. Clergy may witness a marriage of a person who has been legally divorced from a previous marriage.

 

    Can. 27   The clergy of this church may neither witness nor bless a same gender marriage.

 

Chapter Six. The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick

 

    Can. 28    The matter of the sacrament is laying hands on the head of the sick person and then anointing the person on the forehead and hands by a priest with the properly blessed Oil of the Sick. The form of the sacrament is: Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. Amen., while anointing the head, and May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.  Amen., while anointing the hands.   The extended ritual of prayers, blessings, and anointing of the eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, hands and feet (as convenient and appropriate) may be included in the administration of this sacrament.

 

    Can. 29       The ordinary minister of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is a bishop or priest in good standing with the church. In danger of death situations, any priest validly ordained in any church in Apostolic Succession may administer the sacrament.  Deacons may never attempt to administer this sacrament.

 

    Can. 30    The Sacred Oil used in the Anointing of the Sick (Oil of the Sick) is ordinarily to be blessed by the Presiding or Diocesan Bishop. However, in case of necessity, any priest may bless the oil during the actual celebration of the sacrament. Any priest may carry the holy oil with him or her so that in the case of necessity the sacrament can be administered in a timely manner.

 

Chapter Seven. The Sacrament of Holy Orders

 

    Can. 31     §1   The Sacrament of Holy Orders confers according to the intention of the ordaining bishop, the sacred order of deacon, priest, or bishop.

 

§2 The Rite of Tonsure and Minor Orders (Porter, Acolyte, Lector, and Subdeacon) are steps to Major Orders and are not part of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

 

    Can. 32   Sacred Orders is conferred by the imposition of hands (matter) and the prayers of consecration (form) which the liturgical books prescribe for each grade.

 

    Can. 33    The minister of holy orders is a consecrated Bishop. Ordinarily for episcopal ordinations, three bishops (the principal consecrator and two co-consecrators) are required by church tradition.

 

    Can. 34    The following are prerequisites and regulations regarding the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

 

 1º   Baptism is required for the valid reception of all ordained orders within the church.

 

 2º  The candidate for Orders must have received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

 

 3º  All levels of Holy Orders are open to both men and women.

 

 4º  Celibacy is optional and not a requirement for Holy Orders.

 

 5º  Chastity within one's state of life is required of all Christians and a clergyperson is called and expected to be a model and example of  Christian virtue.

 

6º  Participation in special social cause agendas are an inappropriate reason to be ordained and therefore persons involved  in such agendas are not eligible for ordination in this church.

 

 

    Can. 35  To be eligible for the Sacred Order of Deacon, the candidate must, in addition to the requirements of Canon 34 fulfill the following:

 

 1º   The candidate for the Sacred Order of Deacon must be at least 23 years old at the time of the deaconate ordination.

 

 2º   The candidate must have completed all of the approved course of studies in the church disciplines of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Theology, Liturgy, and Homiletics.

 

 3º   The candidate must have completed the requirements and been ordained to the Minor Orders.

 

 4º   The candidate must have developed with an approved mentor a plan for developing a ministry and have received the approval of the diocesan bishop and the Presiding Bishop.

 

    Can. 36    To be eligible for the Sacred Order of Priesthood, the deacon candidates must have fulfilled the following:

 

 1º   The candidate for the Sacred Order of Priest must be at least 24 years old at the time of the priestly ordination. 

 

 2º   The deacon must have completed all of an approved course of  studies for the Sacred Priesthood in the theological and scriptural disciplines, and have successfully passed the Council of Bishops’ Canonical Examination.

 

 3º  The deacon must have served the church as a deacon for at least six months in a ministry approved by the diocesan bishop and the Presiding Bishop.

 

 4º  The deacon must have implemented the plan of ministry and incorporated the ministry as a state non-profit corporation or church.    

 

    Can. 37    To be eligible for the Sacred Order of Bishop, the priest candidates must have fulfilled the following:

 

 1º  The priest must be at least 35 years old at the time of the episcopal consecration.

 

 2º  The priest must have served as a priest in this church for at least five years.

 

 3º  The priest must have developed a successful church ministry.

 

 4º  The priest must have contributed to the church-at-large    through participation in church meetings, synods, projects, or effectively carrying out church-wide responsibilities.

 

 5º  The priest must have been nominated by the presbyterate of the diocese, received the endorsement of the laity of that diocese, and the approval of the Council of Bishops.

 

 


~ Three~

The Laity

 

Title 1: Membership in the Church

 

    Can. 38      The necessary and sufficient condition for membership in this church is to believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and to be configured to the Son of God, Jesus Christ, through the Sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation.

 

    Can. 39   Any Baptized and Confirmed Christian is welcomed to membership in the Ecumenical Catholic Church+USA and is invited to full participation in the sacraments, ministry, and polity of the Church.  Reception into membership in this Church is through the local congregation or, in its place, through a clergyperson of the this Church.

 

    Can. 40   The process for Reception or Resignation of a congregation’s membership in this Church is governed as described in the following paragraphs of this Canon. 

        

§1     In order for a congregation (parish) to receive membership as a congregation in this Church, the Parish Council of the congregation must make be a specific resolution requesting such membership passed by unanimous favorable vote of the voting members of the Council.  The pastor, if he (or, she) is not a voting member of the Council, must also submit his approval and endorsement of the Council’s resolution.  The approval of the diocesan bishop or other regional or national church body is not required, although each must be informed of the intention and vote of the Parish Council.

        

§2     When the bishop of a diocese petitions for incardination (membership) in this church with the intention that member congregations of the diocese will also join with him, each Parish Council of all member congregations must petition separately as described in §1 above.

        

§3    In order for a congregation to withdraw from membership in this Church, the Parish Council (which in this Church includes the pastor as an ex officio voting member) must make a specific resolution of withdrawal to the Council of Bishops that has been duly proposed, moved, seconded, and approved unanimously by the Parish Council and has received a three-fourths (3/4) favorable vote to secede by the clergy and registered members of the congregation.  The Council of Bishops has the right to audit the voting process and results.

 

Title 2: The Rights and Obligations of the Christian Faithful

 

Article One:  Rights and Obligations within the Church Community

 

    Can. 41     All members of this Church have the following rights and obligations to live the Gospel message within the Church community:

 

 1º  To maintain fellowship with one another.

 

 2º  To live a holy life and to promote each other's growth.

 

 3º  To work as individuals or in associations to spread the divine message of salvation.

 

 4º  To hear and follow, when such is reasonable, the pastors of the church as teachers of the faithful.

 

 5º  To make known their needs and desires to the pastors of the church.

 

 6º  To receive appropriate formation and on-going spiritual support from pastors for whatever ministry one exercises for the Church.

 

 7º  To manifest their opinion on matters that pertain to the good of the church to their pastors and other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals, and consideration for the common good and respect for persons.

 

 8º  To assist and counsel pastors as experts or advisors in areas where qualified.

 

 9º  To receive assistance from pastors, especially the Word of God and the Holy  Sacraments of the Catholic Faith Tradition.

 

 10º  To worship God according to their own rite and follow their own spiritual life as they understand such spiritual life through the teachings of the church.

 

 11º  To participate and govern, and if necessary to establish, charitable and religious associations or those that promote the Christian vocation in the world.

 

 12º  To promote the mission of the church and to sustain apostolic action according to their own state and condition.

 

 13º  To obtain a Christian education;  to acquire knowledge of Christian doctrine, to attend ecclesiastical and public colleges, seminaries, and universities and obtain ecclesiastical degrees, and when qualified, to respond to a call to teach sacred sciences and subjects.

 

 14º  To be free from any coercion in choosing a state in life.

 

 15º  To be installed in the lay ministries of Communion assistant, Reader (Lector), Altar Assistant (Acolyte), or Sacristan.

 

 16º  To fulfill the functions of Lector, Commentator, Cantor, Communion assistant, Reader, or Altar Assistant (Acolyte), or Sacristan even if not formally installed, when necessity warrants.

 

 17º   To respond to the call of a community or pastor to seek one of the Offices of Minor or Major Orders.

 

 18º  To enjoy a good reputation and privacy.

 

 19º To legitimately vindicate and defend rights before a competent ecclesiastical tribunal; to be judged by law with equity; not to be punished except in accord with the norm of law.

 

 20º  To take into account the common good when exercising one's rights.

 

 21º  To support the Church's mission according to one's own opportunity, ability and means through involvement in the local congregation and ministries with treasure, talent and time.

 

 22º   To receive a decent remuneration, social security and health benefits when employed by the Church.

 

Article Two:  Rights and Obligations within the Civil Community

    

    Can. 42     All members of this Church have the following rights and obligations to live the Gospel message within the civil community:

 

 1º   To imbue the economic, political and social order in which one lives and works with the spirit of the Gospel.

 

 2º   To live the Gospel message to "love Almighty God with your whole mind, heart, and soul, and love neighbor as you love yourself."

 

 3º   To live and promote the "common good" in society as a witness to the words of Jesus Christ "that whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me."

 

 4º   To exercise freedoms that are one's entitlement within the society in which one lives but to exercise such freedom imbued with the spirit of the Gospel.

 

 5º   To enjoy a freedom of expression and to prudently express opinions on matters in which one has expertise, while observing due respect for fellow human beings.

 

 6º   When qualified, to assume public positions and offices that one is able to exercise.

    

Article Three:  The Rights and Obligations of
all Christian Married Persons

 

    Can. 43  All Christian married persons have the following rights and obligations:

 

 1º  To work to build up the People of God through marriage and family.

 

  2º  To educate their children in the norms and spirit of the Gospel message.

 

 3º  To provide Christian education for their children.

 

 


~ Book Four~
The Clergy

    

Title 1:  Membership and Spiritual Endorsement of Clergy.

 

    Can. 44  §1 Clerical Membership is shared by all clergy in Minor or Major Orders in good standing with this church.

 

 §2   Membership is established through ordination by a bishop in the church or through an act of incardination by the Council of Bishops.

 

 §3   These clergypersons enjoy all rights and assume all responsibilities attached to clerical membership as appropriate for their order as outlined in these canons and as associated with customs and practices of the Catholic Faith Tradition.

 

 §4   In order to exercise public, pastoral ministerial functions in the Apostolic Succession of the bishops of the Church a cleric must have the spiritual endorsement (faculties) of the Church.

 

 

Chapter One:  The prerequisites for Spiritual Endorsement

of a cleric by this Church

 

    Can. 45  Valid ordination to Minor or Major Orders and membership in good standing in this church are required to receive the spiritual endorsement (faculties) of the church to perform ministry within the Apostolic Succession of the Church.

 

    Can. 46  To receive the spiritual endorsement of the church to perform public, pastoral ministerial functions, the cleric must have developed a ministry to serve as cleric in a particular ministry or be assigned to serve a ministry by the Diocesan Bishop and the Council of Bishops.

 

 

Chapter Two:  The Ministry Council’s Relationship

to the Cleric, the Church, and Requirements

of State and Federal Law.

 

    Article One:  The Cleric and the Ministry Council.

 

    Can. 47  §1 The spiritual endorsement from the Church to practice ministry is based on the cleric's Ordination order and is contingent upon the cleric  remaining in good standing with the church.

 

§2     The Pastor (Pastoral Director) serves as an ex officio voting member of the Ministry Council’s Board of Directors and serves as its Chief Operational Officer in the day to day operations of all fiscal aspects of the ministry.  Further, the cleric, with advisory support from the Board of Directors, is in charge of all spiritual and liturgical aspects of the ministry; scheduling of services; and use of the building; hiring and supervision of staff; and all other responsibilities that support the mission of the ministry.

 

    Can. 48  §1 The Diocesan Bishop is responsible for supervisory oversight of all aspects of the cleric's ministry.

 

 §2   The clergyperson is directly responsible to Diocesan Bishop for the civil and legal performance of his/her ministry.

 

 §3    The cleric serves as the spiritual leader in the care of souls and wise steward of the temporal aspects of the ministry.

 

 §4    The clergyperson and the Ministry Council work together as collegial partners accomplishing the mission of the ministry.   

 

    Can. 49   The Ecumenical Catholic Church+USA corporation herewith subscribes and includes in these its corporation by-laws,  and further requires each member ministry’s non-profit corporation board of directors in its supervisory oversight of all civil and legal aspects of their ministry to have set in its by-laws rules, regulations, and procedures for financial accountability, conformity to reporting requirements of the Internal Revenue Service, maintenance of legal and church records, and other generally accepted good business practices including the following specific articles:

 

§1     PURPOSE: The corporation is organized exclusively for charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

 

§2     INUREMENT OF INCOME: No part of the net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to, its members, directors, officers or other private persons except that the corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable   compensation for services rendered.

 

§3     CONFLICT OF INTEREST.  All actual conflicts of interest are forbidden and all apparent conflicts of interest are to be avoided by anyone holding an organizational position which controls or influences the hiring of employees, the determination of compensation and benefits, the awarding of contracts,  or entering into any arrangement that might benefit the private interest of him or herself or any officer or director of the organization or which might result in a possible excess benefit transaction to a family member of that person.  Compensation includes direct or indirect   remuneration as well as gifts or favors that are not insubstantial.  A person with a real or apparent personal, family or corporate interest in the outcome of a vote must recuse him or herself from the voting on that issue.

 

§4     LEGISLATIVE OR POLITICAL ACTIVITIES: No substantial part of the activities of the corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation and the corporation shall not participate in or intervene (including the publishing or distribution of statements) in any political campaign   on behalf of any candidate for public office.

 

§5     OPERATIONAL LIMITATIONS: Notwithstanding any other provisions of these articles, the corporation shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by a corporation exempt from Federal Income Tax under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law) or (b) by a corporation, contributions to which are deductible under Section    170(c) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law). 

 

§6     DISSOLUTION CLAUSE: Upon the dissolution of the corporation, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government, for a public purpose. Any such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by a Court of Competent Jurisdiction of the county in which the principal office of the corporation is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such   organization or organizations, as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.

 

Article Two:  Responsibility of Ministry Council's board members, clergy, and participants at any job or volunteer level to report physical, sexual, or mental abuse.

 

    Can. 50   §1   All persons involved with this church at any level of responsibility and participation must fully and immediately comply with all state laws regarding the reporting of mental and physical abuse of minors, including sexual abuse.

 

§2     All persons involved with this church at any level of responsibility and participation must commit to and comply with the directives of this Church's "Protecting God's People Policy" as presented in Appendix E of this document.  

 

§3    The sole exception to the directives of this canon is for those ordained to the Sacred Priesthood for information learned as a confessor from a penitent within the Sacrament of Penance taken in the most formal sense.

 

Article Three:  Regarding disputes and dysfunctional relationships between the cleric and the ministry's

Board of Directors.

 

    Can. 51     §1 If a dispute between the Ministry Council and the cleric develops making their mutual relationship for the benefit of the ministry dysfunctional, the cleric or the Board of Directors must immediately inform the Council of Bishops through the Diocesan Bishop in writing and present explicit details of the dispute.

 

§2     Upon receipt of the statement from either the cleric or the Board of Directors, the Diocesan Bishop will investigate the matter and make a recommendation to the Council of Bishops concerning the resolution of the dispute.

 

§3     Other than providing assistance through mediation aimed at ameliorating the situation, the church has no recourse, beyond advisory, for dealing with disputes or an otherwise dysfunctional relationship between the cleric and the Ministry Council.

 

§4     In disputes between the cleric and the Ministry Council, there may be legal recourses for either or both the cleric or the organization.

 

Article Four:  Regarding Actual or Threatened Litigation.

 

    Can. 52     The Board of Directors of the Ministry Council must inform the bishop of the diocese (who will inform the Presiding Bishop) of any type of actual or threatened litigation by or to the church, Ministry Council, any of the church corporation officers, or any cleric.

 

Article Five:  The Church's role in assigning and replacing

clergy for Ministry Councils.

 

    Can. 53     §1   The Church has no canonical or civil legal obligation to assign clergy to a ministry, or to replace clergy when the relationship between the Board of Directors and the cleric becomes dysfunctional, or to assign or replace clergy when a cleric retires, dies, is removed for cause, or voluntarily withdraws his/her services to the ministry.

 

§2     The church will within the scope of these canons and as far as practicably possible within its financial and personnel resources, assist the Ministry Council in finding and selecting a clergy person to serve the spiritual goals of that organization. 

 

                      Canon 54 - blank

 

                      Canon 55 - blank

 

Title 2:  Ecclesiastical Titles and Descriptions

 

    Can. 56     The following are titles with descriptions of offices of orders and honors within this church:

 

1º     Presiding Bishop:  A title of office reserved for the bishop elected by the Council of Bishops to serve as the visible head of the church and as chief executive officer on day to day church business.

 

2º     Metropolitan Bishop:  A title of office reserved for the head bishop of a particular country within the structure of the Church.

 

3º     Bishop:  A title of orders reserved for those men and women having been consecrated with Episcopal Orders.  Bishops may use the titles, "Most Reverend" or "+Rev." or, simply "Bishop".

 

4º     Bishop Ordinary:  (usually referred to as simply, "the Ordinary").  A title of office for a bishop who has diocesan jurisdiction.

 

5º     Personal Prelature:  A title of office referring to the jurisdiction of a bishop over a religious order or religious institute within the church.  The bishop here may be referred to as the "Bishop Protector" of the religious order or institute.  The title of "Bishop Protector" with the jurisdiction of a personal prelature also     refers to the assigned jurisdiction of a bishop who holds the office of bishop as a special honor or to enable the effective carrying out specific responsibilities within the church.

 

6º     Auxiliary Bishop:  A title of office for a bishop who assists an Ordinary and does not have a diocesan jurisdiction.

 

7º     Bishop Emeritus:  A title of honor for a bishop who has retired from active ministry and has been assigned an honorary jurisdiction within the church.

 

8º     Apostolic Administrator:  A title of office for the administrator of a diocese without a bishop ordinary. The Apostolic Administrator is a bishop, priest or deacon who is appointed for one year with renewable terms by the Council of Bishops to handle the administration of a diocese.

 

9º     Pastor:  A title of office for a bishop, priest, or deacon who has spiritual and administrative authority and responsibility for the care of souls of the congregation’s membership; supervisory authority of the parish’s tangible holdings; and supervision of all clerics and laity serving the congregation in a paid or volunteer capacity.

 

10º  Pastoral Director:  A title of office for a bishop, priest, or deacon who has spiritual and administrative authority and responsibility for the care of souls of the ministry’s membership; supervisory authority of the ministry’s tangible holdings; and supervision of clerical and laity personnel serving the ministry.

 

 11º  Vicar:  A title of office for those having a special administrative or spiritual office within the church or diocese who administers the responsibilities in the name of the bishop. For example, Vicar of Clergy Formation, Vicar of Diocesan Administration, etc.

 

12º  Chancellor:  A title of office for a national church or diocesan administrator, ordinarily a priest or deacon, who carries out the day to day operation of the diocese in the name of the bishop and is the official custodian of the records of the diocese.

 

13º  Priest:  A title of order reserved for those men and women in the Church who have been ordained to the Sacred Order of Priesthood. The proper title for a priest is "Reverend". Men will be referred to as "Father". Women will be referred to as "Mother" or another title which the individual priest finds preferable to signify her role within a specific community.

 

14º  Deacon:  A title of order reserved for those men and women in the Church who have been ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacon. The diaconate may be a permanent or transitory order as determined by the deacon and his/her bishop. The proper title for a deacon is "Deacon" and "Reverend Deacon". 

 

15º  Subdeacon:  A title of order for those men and women in the church who have been ordained to the minor order of Subdeacon, either as a permanent or transitory clerical order. Subdeacons are ordained to assist the deacon and priest at the Celebration of the Eucharist; read or sing the Epistle; distribute Holy Communion at Mass and to the sick and homebound; and in the absence of a deacon may be delegated by the celebrant, according to the rubrics, to fulfill several of the responsibilities of the deacon. The appropriate vestments for subdeacons assisting at the Liturgy of the Eucharist are the amice (optional), alb with cincture, tunic, and maniple (optional and only if vested in tunic). Under the direction of the Pastor or Bishop, subdeacons may serve as parish administrators and instructors of religious education. In emergency situations only and as limited by Canon 92, the subdeacon may be delegated by the diocesan bishop to be the extraordinary minister for a marriage.

 

16º    Lector:  A title of order for those men and women in the Church who have been ordained to the minor order of Lector, either as a permanent or transitory clerical order. Lectors are ordained to read the Word of God at the Celebration of the Eucharist and may distribute Holy Communion at Mass and to the sick and homebound. Further, under the direction of their Pastor or Bishop, Lectors may serve as parish administrators and instructors of religious education. The appropriate vestment for Lectors at the Celebration of the Eucharist solemn liturgies is the alb with cincture and (optionally) a simple cross or crucifix.

 

17º   Acolyte:  A title of order for those men and women in the Church who have been ordained to the minor order of Acolyte, either as a permanent or transitory clerical order. Acolytes are ordained to fulfill the role of assisting the celebrant at the Celebration of the Eucharist and may distribute Holy Communion at Mass and to the sick and homebound. Further, under the direction of their Pastor or Bishop, acolytes may serve as parish administrators. The appropriate vestment for Acolytes at Mass is the alb with cincture and (optionally) a simple cross or crucifix.

 

18º  Porter:  A title of order for those men and women in the Church who have been ordained to the minor order of Porter, either as a permanent or transitory clerical order.  Porters are ordained to fulfill the role of caring for the Church building, locking and unlocking doors, ringing the bells, care of the books and sacred vessels, setting the ribbons in the Altar Missal and carrying in and opening the Missal for Mass. The appropriate vestment for Porters at Mass is the alb with cincture and (optionally) a simple cross or crucifix.

 

19º   Cleric:  The Rite of Institution of Clerics (also known as, The Rite of Tonsure) is the rite by which a layperson is received into the clerical state and is a prerequisite for the reception of all orders. (Note: Tonsure has evolved over the centuries from a full shaven head, to the corona, to a half-dollar size shaven spot on the crown of the head, to a ceremonial clipping of the hair in five small spots forming a cross. The present rite is an adaptation of this ancient ritual.) The Rite of Reception indicates that the Lord is the cleric's portion and inheritance. This Rite of Reception is not an order, but rather a rite of initiation.

 

20º   Clergy Candidates (seminarians):  Those men and women who have been accepted by the Council of Bishops to begin their education for ordination and future ministry in the Church.

21º   Oblate: men and women who have dedicated themselves to the service of Almighty God in Holy Religion according to a particular charism within an organization in this Church.

(See Canon 91.)

 

Title 3: General Norms for Clergy

 

Article One:  Jurisdictional Relationship of

Clergy Members of this Church.

 

    Can. 57   §1   Every Priest, Deacon, clergy in Minor Orders, and clergy candidate must serve under a jurisdictional (Diocesan, Protector of an Order) bishop.

 

§2   There are to be no clerici vagi ("free lance") clergy within the church.

 

§3   Spiritual endorsement (faculties) from the Council of Bishops is required in the exercise of ministry as a representative of this church.

 

    Can. 58   Clergy of this church cannot maintain a clergy membership simultaneously in another church or in a religious order not under the jurisdiction of this Church.

 

 

 

Article Two: Requirements for Incardination

and Clerical Candidacy

 

    Can. 59    §1  An applicant for incardination or clerical candidacy must undergo an in-person interview before acceptance by the Vocation Director and the bishop of the diocese where he/she lives, or another person designated by the Presiding Bishop.

 

§2   The background examination of an applicant will include:

 

1º    Academic, personal, and employment background evaluation;

 

2º   Three letters of reference from three persons not associated with the church;

 

3º   A letter of spousal support (if applicable);

 

4º   A personal and professional background report according to the norms of the church's "Protecting God's People" policy  (See Appendix E);

 

5º   A copy of sacramental records:  Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, and Orders;

 

6º   Academic credentials and transcripts;

 

7º   For incardination of priests and deacons, the Council of Bishops may require a Canonical Examination of ministerial competency.

 

§3  Personnel files of each applicant containing evaluations and supportive documentation will be maintained in the Church Archives maintained by the Office of the Presiding Bishop.

 

§4  Applicants for Clerical candidacy and incardination will be asked to report and provide photographs of any tattoos or body piercings that they have which are observable when wearing socks, long pants, and a collarless short sleeve T-shirt.

 

1º Candidates with observable body piercings that are considered by the Council of Bishops to be detrimental to ministerial decorum will not be accepted as candidates unless the piercing item is removed and the skin properly repaired.

 

2º Candidates with observable tattoos will not be accepted with tattoos that are obscene, morally or socially offensive, or are distracting to the ministerial function as a cleric as determined by the Council of Bishops.

 

    Can. 60   §1 Each candidate after initial acceptance for incardination or clerical candidacy will participate in a full year of “Mutual Discernment.”

 

§2     During the year of Mutual Discernment, the candidate is expected to participate fully in Church activities, especially the annual Synod; attendance at the annual synod is required within the Year of Mutual Discernment.  The goal for the candidate is to meet the Church's clergy as well as learn about and experience Church culture and polity.

 

§3     The candidate’s “Year of Mutual Discernment” begins on the date of his/her acceptance letter from the Council of Bishops.  At any time during the "Year", if the relationship of Church and candidate does not seem compatible enough to live and work in personal, liturgical, or theological peace, harmony, cooperation, and mutual respect, the Church is free to end the relationship of candidacy.  The candidate is also free to end his/her candidacy anytime during the "Year" without explanation.  It is expected in all cases of termination of candidacy that the bishops of the Church and the candidate will go their own way in peace without incriminations or rancor.

 

§4     The "Year of Mutual Discernment" may be extended beyond one year by mutual agreement when requirements have not been fulfilled or other circumstances have not provided enough time and opportunity for mutual discernment.

 

§5     Candidates for ordination must begin his/her ministry studies during this year.

 

§6     All candidates for ordination and incardination are required to take an approved Church Law course through the church's seminary program so they are fully aware of the beliefs, expectations, and polity of the church.

 

    Can. 61   §1  Applicants approved by the Council of Bishops for ordination candidacy, must assume preparation for ordained ministry as their primary Church responsibility and provide focus and time to complete the formation program as prescribed by the Council of Bishops in a timely manner.

 

§2     All clergy candidates for ministry in this Church shall be trained in a program endorsed by the Council of Bishops; the candidate’s Diocesan Bishop will serve or appoint someone as a mentor during the candidate’s “Year of Mutual Discernment” and during his/her formation program.

 

§3     Courses of study may be individualized for each candidate based on his/her educational and experiential background. However, these courses of studies are subject to review and prior approval by the Presiding Bishop and the Vocational Formation Committee.

 

Article Three:  Clerical Attire

 

    Can. 62    §1  The preferred street attire for clergy is a clerical shirt for deacons and priests, and for bishops a clerical shirt with pectoral cross.

 

§2   Any traditional (standard) color of clerical shirt as sold in religious goods store is acceptable; purple and red-purple is reserved for bishops.

 

§3   Since many clergypersons minister as "Worker-Priests" in a variety of settings, the decision if and when to wear clerical attire is made by each clergyperson based on his/her ministerial environment.

 

§4   It is acceptable for those clerics ordained to minor orders to wear the clerical shirt and collar when it is appropriate to the ministry they are performing. However, clerics in minor orders ordinarily do not wear the clerical collar as street attire.

 

§5   When wearing secular attire the clergy of this church are expected to wear some symbol (e.g., clergy lapel pin) of their association with this church.

 

Article Four:  Civil Incorporation of Ministries;

Annual Ministry Report

 

    Can. 63   Every ministry must be incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the state of residence of the deacon, priest, or bishop who serves as a cleric in that ministry. The cleric serves as an agent, appointee, employee, or volunteer of the corporation board. 

 

    Can. 64   Deacons, priests and bishops are expected to make a descriptive and statistical report on their ministry to the Presiding Bishop and the Council of Bishops at the end of each calendar year.

 

    Article Five:  Lawsuits involving clergy or ministries

 

    Can. 65   Clergypersons of this church shall immediately inform the Ministry Council of any civil or criminal actions and the circumstances surrounding the litigation or action whether these actions relate to church business or not. The Presiding Bishop, in consultation with the cleric's Ministry Council and the Council of Bishops, shall decide whether the cleric should continue public service pending the resolution of the matter.

 

Article Six:  Mandatory Reporting of Physical

or Mental Abuse of Minors

 

    Can. 66  §1   Following the Church's "Protecting God's People" policy, all accusations of mental or physical (including sexual) abuse of a minor by any clergyperson of this Church shall immediately be reported to the appropriate civil authorities having legal jurisdiction for such an accusation.

 

§2  The Church's spiritual endorsement of that clergyperson will be withdrawn pending the outcome of the legal investigation. The clergyperson may not perform acts of ministry during the time of investigation.

 

Article Seven:  Maintenance of Sacramental Records

 

    Can. 67  §1 Every clergyperson has the responsibility to see that the exercise of ministry in the following areas are duly recorded in the record books of the church or diocese where the sacred event occurs: Baptism, Confirmation, First Holy Communion, Holy Orders, Marriage, Funerals.

 

§2     In non-congregational ministries the cleric must maintain a set of sacramental records as in §1 of this canon within the records of the Ministry Council.

 

§3     The clergyperson must make written arrangements with his/her family and the Ministry Council that such records will be forwarded to the bishop of the diocese or to the Presiding Bishop at the cleric's death or other circumstance where the cleric no longer is functioning as a clergyperson of this church.

 


Article Eight:  Retirement of Clergypersons.

 

    Can. 68  §1   There is no mandatory retirement age for clergy.

 

§2     The Council of Bishops will provide spiritual endorsement for the ministry of retired clergy who maintain at least annual contact by filing the annual report and pay the annual retired clergy dues.

 

Article Nine:  Formal Participation in Rites of Other Churches

 

    Can. 69  §1  Clergy in this Church may participate in the liturgical rites of churches possessing Apostolic Succession within the Catholic Faith Tradition.

 

§2     Clergy may provide supply services to churches and congregations within the Christian Tradition on a temporary and limited basis.  The appearance or de facto status of dual membership in this church and any other church is not permissible.  All supply functions must be approved by the diocesan bishop; supply extending beyond three months must be approved by the Council of Bishops.

 

§3   Bishops are discouraged from serving as a co-consecrator in episcopal ordination rites for those outside this church and where such is desired consultation with the Council of Bishops is required.

 

§4   The Council of Bishops must approve the participation of a bishop of another church in an episcopal ordination ceremony for a bishop of this church; such is appropriate only when there otherwise would not be three bishops for the episcopal ordination ceremony.

 

§5   No clergy person of this church may hold a permanent pastoral office or any level of clerical membership in another church denomination.

 


Title 4:  Norms for Bishops

 

Article One. Duties and Responsibilities of Bishops

 

    Can. 70    A bishop is ordained to be a pastor, the good shepherd of the clergy, religious, and laity in his/her jurisdiction. That responsibility includes, but is not limited to the following:

 

1º   To serve as a active member of the Council of Bishops; protect the Catholic Faith Tradition; instruct, encourage, and enforce adherence to these Canons within the Church community; to communicate and listen to the concerns, suggestions, and aspirations of clergy and laity within the mission of the Church; and to appoint personnel and personally assume offices and duties as required for the spiritual growth of the Church and the people of God entrusted to its ministries.

 

2º   To pray each day the Liturgy of the Hours or other appropriate prayers for the church, the people of God and the world-at-large.

 

3º   To continue life-long study in Sacred Scripture and Theology.

 

4º   To preach the word of God based on Sacred Scripture and Catholic Faith Tradition.

 

5º   To celebrate the Eucharist frequently.

 

6º   To share responsibly in the administration of the church through an active role in the Council of Bishops.

 

7º   To visit congregations within his/her jurisdiction at least once every year.

 

8º   To examine and select candidates for the ministry.

9º   To participate in the education of candidates for the ministry.

 

10º  To listen to clergy and laity in the administration of the jurisdiction.

 

11º   To be an example of Christ's justice, love, and mercy in dealing with clergy and laity.

 

12º   To attend the annual church Synod/Retreat unless unable for serious reasons.

 

Article Two:  Election of Bishops

 

    Can. 71  §1   When the pastoral need for a bishop is determined by the Council of Bishops, the local clergy in Major Orders (i.e., priests and deacons) of that diocese will be asked to nominate a candidate who meets the criteria of eligibility for Episcopal Consecration.

 

§2     If the nomination is accepted by the candidate, the local clergy in Major Orders will present the candidate to the laity of that diocese for their concurrence.

 

§3     If the nominee has the concurrence of the laity, the priest will be presented to the Council of Bishops for final vetting under the guidance of the Presiding Bishop. If the Presiding Bishop determines that the nominee is acceptable, a recommendation for consecration is made to the Council of Bishops. If the nominee is deemed unacceptable because of heresy or immorality, or some other fault, the Presiding Bishop will not recommend consecration to the Council of Bishops.  The Council of Bishops will review either the recommendation or non-recommendation of the candidate.

 

§4     Once approved by the Council of Bishops by a unanimous vote, the members of the Council will consecrate the bishop-elect at the next annual Synod, or at another appropriate time and place.

    Can. 72   In addition to holding a Masters Degree, a cleric must have been functioning as a priest within this Church for at least five years before he/she can be nominated by the local clergy as a bishop candidate. Any exception to the five year rule must be based strictly on the need of the Church as recommended by the Presiding Bishop and approved by unanimous vote of the Council of Bishops.

 

Article Three:  Incardination of Bishops

 

    Can. 73     §1   When a bishop from another church seeks incardination in this Church, the bishop will be vetted by the Council of Bishops under the guidance of the Presiding Bishop. The Presiding Bishop will make a final statement of findings to the Council of Bishops which will vote on the incardination request. A unanimous favorable vote by the Council of Bishops is required for the incardination of the candidate. Once approved, the Presiding Bishop or delegate, as soon as possible, will preside at an Incardination Ceremony to officially welcome the bishop to this Church.

 

§2     If the newly incardinated bishop brings a significant number of clergy and laity to this Church, the Council of Bishops will determine if establishing a new diocese and appointing the bishop as its Diocesan Bishop is appropriate based on the best interests of the Church.

 

§3     If the newly incardinated bishop enters this Church without a significant number of clergy and laity, the bishop will be recognized as a priest member of the clergy in the diocese of ministry or residence.

 

§4     An incardinated bishop serving as a priest is a member of the clergy of a diocese and is eligible when fulfilling the provisions of Canons 37 and 71, to be nominated by the local clergy to the office of Diocesan Bishop or a Personal Prelature.

 

 

 

Title 5:  Norms For the Council of Bishops

 

Article One:  Meetings of the Council of Bishops

 

    Can. 74   §1  The Council of Bishops will meet in a formal in person and in camera session at least once a year during the second or third calendar quarter.

 

§2  The Council of Bishops may meet at other times as needed either in person, electronically, or telephonically, as practicable and convenient.

 

§3   Typically the responsibility to establish an agenda and call a meeting of the Council of Bishops belongs to the Presiding Bishop.  However, any bishop may call a meeting providing each bishop is notified and supplied prior to the meeting an agenda of items or topics to be discussed.

 

§4    The proceedings and decisions of the Council of Bishops meetings, with the exception of personnel and other confidential matters, are reported and, when appropriate, promulgated in the ECC+USA letters from the Presiding Bishop.

 

§5    Additions, deletions, and modifications of these canons are presented to the participants at the next annual synod for their concurrence.

 

Article Two:  Membership of the Council of Bishops

 

    Can. 75     §1   All diocesan bishops and diocesan apostolic administrators are members of the Council of Bishops.

 

§2     Bishop Protectors of Orders may be invited to participate without a right to vote at Council of Bishops meetings.

 

§3     The Presiding Bishop is the ex officio chairperson of the Council of Bishops.

Article Three:  Agenda for the Council of Bishops Annual Meeting

    

    Can. 76   Each year during the first quarter of the calendar year, the Council of Bishops will invite proposals from clergy and laity that will enhance the church.  These proposals may be new church law statements; a clarification, an addition, improvement, or removal in the Church's doctrinal belief statements, changes to the church's procedures or polity; and literally anything else that pertains to the good of this church.

 

    Can. 77     §1   The Presiding Bishop is responsible to collect agenda items for the meetings of the Council of Bishops. Sources of these agenda items are bishops, clergypersons, Ministry Councils, and laypersons.

 

§2     All items presented for inclusion on the agenda must include a clear statement of the purpose of the agenda item, the requested outcome, and sufficient focused documentation to assist the bishops in fully understanding the issue and making an informed decision.

 

§3     Each proposal must be formally presented on "Proposal for Consideration by the Council of Bishops" form which will be mailed to all clergy in January of each year with the instruction to distribute copies of the document to lay members of their ministries.

 

§4     All items must be presented to the Presiding Bishop at least two months prior to the next scheduled Council of Bishops meeting so that documentation can be forwarded to the bishops prior to the meeting.

 

§5     The Presiding Bishop will be the competent authority to determine the sufficiency and appropriateness of the documentation and will work with the person or group making the request to develop focused documentation.

 

 

Article Four:  Voting in the Council of Bishops Meetings

 

    Can. 78       Each diocese shall have only one vote within the Council of Bishops.  The Diocesan Bishop has the right to vote, but may appoint a proxy.

 

    Can. 79      Each diocesan bishop and duly appointed diocesan apostolic administrator will have equal rights and responsibilities within the Council of Bishops and the Church itself when acting within the context of a meeting of the Council of Bishops.

 

    Can. 80  §1  Except as provided in Canons that require a unanimous favorable vote, a 2/3 favorable vote is sufficient to pass proposals, propositions, and other items presented on the agenda.

 

§2     To vote, Diocesan Bishops must be present in person or by proxy with the following exception.  For motions that have been circulated to the bishops prior to the meeting and which have not been substantially modified by the bishops present at the meeting, the votes of the absent but voting bishops are included in the requirement for passage

 

§3     If the motion does not have the required agreement of the Diocesan Bishops as stated in §2, the motion fails.

 

§4     Respect for fellow bishops will cause, wherever possible, that motions for the Council of Bishops meetings will be formulated through discussion among the bishops and presented to all active bishops so that those unable to attend the Synod will have the opportunity to present their papers, discussion, and vote on the motions.

 

Article Five:  Council of Bishops Meeting, Reports and Promulgation

 

    Can. 81  The proceedings and decisions of the Council of Bishops meetings are reported and, when appropriate, brought to the Synod for Concurrence, and promulgated in church-wide newsletters from the Presiding Bishop.

 

Title 6:  Norms for the Presiding Bishop

    

Article One:  Election, Term of Office, and Removal of the Presiding Bishop

 

    Can. 82    §1  The candidate for Presiding Bishop much have served as a bishop in this church for a period of at least five years prior to the beginning his/her first term as Presiding Bishop.

 

§2     The Council of Bishops, after surveying all clergy and congregations, elects the Presiding Bishop for a five year renewable term of office.

 

§3     The Presiding Bishop is not limited in the number of consecutive or non-consecutive terms to which he/she may be elected or serve.

 

§4    If the office of Presiding Bishop becomes vacant from removal, resignation, or death, the new Presiding Bishop will be elected to begin a five year term. 

 

    Can. 83     §1  The Presiding Bishop may be removed from office during his/her term only by a unanimous vote by the Council of Bishops at a special meeting called by three-fourths of the council's membership to consider removal.

 

§2     Prior to any vote of removal of the Presiding Bishop, the reasons for such an action will be presented in detail and the Presiding Bishop will be given an opportunity to respond to concerns of the other bishops.

 

§3     The Presiding Bishop will not vote on the motion for removal.  

 

 

Article Two:  Role of Presiding Bishop.

 

    Can. 84  §1   The Presiding Bishop is the "visible head of the church", its spokesperson, and leader during his/her term of office. As such, clergy and laity show loyalty, fidelity, reverence, and conformity to directions resulting from the bishop's leadership responsibilities.

 

§2     In the Canon of the Mass, the remembrance of the Presiding Bishop follows this format: "for FIRST NAME, our Presiding Bishop, (for N., our Diocesan Bishop,) and for all the bishops, together with the clergy and the entire people...." or a similar format depending upon the particular Canon.

 

    Can. 85     §1   As the Chief Executive Officer of the Church, the Presiding Bishop makes day to day operational decisions and is expected only to inform the Council of Bishops on matters of peculiar significance.

 

§2     The Presiding Bishop has broad discretionary authority, independent of the Council of Bishops, to carry out his/her duties within the church. The Council of Bishops, however, may reasonably expect that the Presiding Bishop provide appropriate details for his/her decisions made outside a meeting of the Council of Bishops.

 

§3     The Presiding Bishop will establish a group of church consultors who will advise him/her in matters of significance in the operation of the church; all bishops serve as special consultors to the Presiding Bishop.

 

§4    The Presiding Bishop will organize a Church Synod each year.

 

§5    The Presiding Bishop will act as mediator and/or judge in all disputes within the church unless due to real or apparent conflict of interest, the matter is referred to another bishop or other cleric by the Council of Bishops.

 

Title 7:  Norms for Priests

 

Article One:   Duties and Responsibilities of Priests

 

    Can. 86   A priest is ordained to serve the people of God and all humankind by providing the Sacraments and the Word of God to those entrusted to his/her care. That responsibility includes, but is not limited to:

 

1º     To support the Diocesan Bishop in the pastoral responsibility of the case of souls entrusted to Church's care; to give respect and obedience, as promised at ordination, to the directives of the bishop and the Council of Bishops in matters related to Church doctrine, discipline, these Canons, and general administration of the Church.

 

2º     To pray each day the Liturgy of the Hours or other appropriate prayers for the church, the people of God and the world-at-large.

 

3º     To continue life-long study in the Sacred scripture and Theology.

 

4º     To preach the word of God based on Sacred Scripture and Catholic tradition.

 

5º     To celebrate the Eucharist frequently. As a pastor to provide a Mass schedule for his/her congregation (parish) at least weekly, frequently, and, if possible, every day.

 

6º     To teach and administer the Sacraments of the Catholic Faith Tradition to the laity.

 

7º     To share responsibly in the administration of the church through an active role in the diocesan synod; to accept diocesan duties as assigned by the bishop.

 

8º     To personally practice and encourage those entrusted to his/her care to practice in their lives the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

 

9º     As pastor or parish administrator to listen and be cooperative with other clergy and laity in the administration of the parish.

 

10º  To be an example of Christ's justice, love, and mercy in dealing with fellow clergy and laity.

 

11º  To know, respect, and promote the rights and responsibility of the Church's laity as presented in Canons 41-43.  

 

12º  To attend the annual church Synod/Retreat unless excused for serious reasons.    

 

Article Two:  Spiritual Endorsement (Faculties) Granted to Priests

 

    Can. 87    §1 The following faculties (spiritual endorsements) are granted to all priests within the Jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Catholic Church +USA. Priests may celebrate according to the Canons of this Church and according to the traditional liturgy of the Catholic Faith Tradition, the following Sacraments of the Catholic Faith.

 

1º     Baptism (administered to a child or adult of any age using either baptismal rite only or with the full ancient rite of  Baptism, Chrismation, and Holy Communion);

                               

2º     Confirmation (in the Vigil of Easter liturgy; in danger of  death situations; and with permission of the diocesan bishop);

 

3º     Reconciliation (General absolution or private confession; no sins are reserved);

 

4º     Anointing of the Sick;

 

5º     Celebration of the Holy Eucharist (Priests may celebrate the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist publicly or privately at any time and at any suitable place following any traditional liturgical text of the Catholic Faith Tradition.);

    

6º     Holy Orders (granted only to priests who are bishops; the Council of Bishops must approve all ordinations in this church);

 

7º     Marriage (only between a man and woman; baptized or non-baptized; observing all State Laws regarding marriage).

 

§2     Priests may preach everywhere in our churches, congregations, and ministries, unless this faculty has been restricted or removed by the Ordinary or Presiding Bishop.

 

§3     Priests may lead the rites of funerals for members of our ministries or for anyone upon request of the family or other responsible person.

 

§4     Priests may serve as Pastors of congregations and pastoral directors of ministries when assigned by or with the approval of  the Ordinary, the Presiding Bishop, or the Council of Bishops.

 

§5     Except in the Rite of Baptism, priests may only perform the Exorcism Rite of the Catholic Faith Tradition with a just and sufficient spiritual cause and with the prior approval of the Council of Bishops.

 


Title 8:  Norms for Deacons and Subdeacons

 

Article One:  Duties and Responsibilities of Deacons and Subdeacons

 

    Can. 88       Deacons and Subdeacons are ordained to a ministry of service to the church, to the bishop, to the pastor, and to the people of God. That responsibility includes, but is not limited to:

 

1º     To support the Diocesan Bishop in the pastoral responsibility of the case of souls entrusted to Church's care; to give respect and obedience, as promised at ordination, to the directives of the bishop and the Council of Bishops in matters related to Church doctrine, discipline, these Canons, and general administration of the Church.

 

2º     To actively and willingly assist the pastor of the congregation with the care of souls, to give respect and obedience to the directives of the pastor who is acting in the name of the Diocesan Bishop. 

 

3º     Praying each day the Liturgy of the Hours or other appropriate prayers for the church, the people of God and the world-at-large.

 

4º     To continue studies after ordination in the sacred scripture and theology.

 

5º    To preach the word of God based on Sacred Scripture and Catholic tradition.

 

6º    To participate in the Celebration of the Eucharist frequently.

 

7º    To share responsibly in the administration of the parish through an active role in parish events; to accept parish duties as assigned by the pastor willingly and actively.

 

8º     To personally practice and encourage parishioners to practice in their lives the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

 

9º     To be an example of Christ's justice, love, and mercy in dealing with fellow clergy and laity.

 

10º   To attend the annual church Synod/Retreat unless excused for serious reasons.

 

Article Two:  Spiritual Endorsement (Faculties)

Granted to Deacons and Subdeacons.

 

    Can. 89     Contingent upon the specific approval of the diocesan bishop and the pastor of the parish, the following faculties are granted to all Deacons within the Jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Catholic Church+USA.

 

1º     Deacons may assist in the Ministry of the Word to the people of God, in communion with the bishops and priests.  Accordingly, deacons may assist in the catechetical formation of the laity and may especially assist in the preparation of the faithful for the receptions of the Sacraments.

 

2º     Deacons may baptize infants or children, and adults whom they have instructed in the faith or when they are delegated by the pastor.  Baptism is to take place if possible and appropriate, in the parish church.

 

3º     Deacons may assist at the celebration of the Eucharist according to the rubrics as outlined in the church's document, Ritus Servandus for Priests and Deacons.

 

4º     Deacons may distribute the Eucharist outside of Mass or lead the faithful in a Pre-Sanctified Eucharist Liturgy.

 

5º     Deacons are granted the faculty to preach everywhere in our churches, chapels, congregations, and ministries, unless this faculty has been restricted or removed by the Ordinary or Presiding Bishop.  This faculty should always be exercised with the approval of the Celebrant at the Mass, the Pastor, the Ordinary, or the Presiding Bishop.

 

6º     Deacons, with the approval of the Pastor, Ordinary, or Presiding Bishop may validly assist at all marriages within the State of the parish to which they are assigned.  Deacons may assist at marriages in other States with the approval of the Ordinary within the diocese or the Presiding Bishop.  State laws must be carefully observed, and according to Canon 24 the minister is always personally and professionally responsible for knowing and fulfilling the law.

 

7º     Deacons may preside at the rites of funerals.

 

8º     Deacons may impart those blessings which have been expressly committed to them in the rubrics and in the Book of Blessings.

 

9º    Deacons may serve as Pastors of congregations and ministries when assigned by the Ordinary and Presiding Bishop.

 

    Can. 90   Contingent upon the specific approval of the diocesan bishop and the pastor of the parish, the following faculties are granted to all subdeacons within the Jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Catholic Church+USA.

 

1º     The liturgical role of the Subdeacon is to assist at the celebration of the Eucharist in much the same way as a Deacon with some major exceptions:

 

a)   The Subdeacon does not kiss the altar at the beginning or end of Mass, nor does he/she hold up the host or chalice at the minor elevation at the end of the Canon.

 

b)   The Subdeacon never gives blessings with the host or chalice; he/she may not bless with the sign of the cross within a Communion service.  Minor blessings outside of a liturgical service are acceptable if the pastor or diocesan bishop approves (e.g., blessing of an animal, car, or other inanimate objects).

 

c)   The Subdeacon does not deliver the homily at Mass unless he/she has an appropriate level of training and educational background and has the permission of the celebrant and the celebrant has approved the text of the homily. A Subdeacon will not ordinarily deliver a homily at Mass.

 

2º     The Epistle (Second Reading of the Mass) should be read by the Subdeacon.  The First Reading ordinarily is read by an ordained Lector or layperson authorized to be a reader at Mass.  (The reading of the Gospel is reserved for the Deacon and is read by the Celebrant when there is no Deacon at the Mass.)

 

3º    At a Solemn Mass (that is, Mass with the Celebrant assisted by a Deacon and Subdeacon) the Subdeacon may serve as crucifer on certain occasions such as Palm Sunday, Requiems, Holy Saturday, Christmas and Easter or other major liturgical feasts) thus adding solemnity to the liturgy.

 

4º     At a Solemn Mass, after the Deacon processes with the Book of Gospels to the reading place, the Subdeacon may hold the Book of the Gospels while the Gospel is read or sung by the Deacon. Then, the Subdeacon may carry the Book of Gospels back to the Celebrant holding it open to where it will be kissed by the Celebrant.

 

5º     At a Solemn Mass, the Subdeacon assists the deacon and priest in setting the altar for the Offertory. In a Mass without a Deacon, the Subdeacon helps the Celebrant directly.

 

6º     The Subdeacon may say or sing the following directives at Mass in the absence of a Deacon and with the approval of the Celebrant of the Mass:

    

• "Calling to mind our sins..." in the Penitential Rite;

• "Let us pray to the Lord" in the Prayers of the Faithful.

• "Let us be attentive!" at the Gospel.

• "Let us Proclaim the mystery of faith." after the Consecration.

• "Let us bow our heads and pray for God's blessing" before the Last Blessing.

• "The Mass is ended; Go in peace," after the Last Blessing.

 

7º     Subdeacons may preside at the rites of funerals.

 

8º     Under these very restricted conditions, the Subdeacon may be the extraordinary minister of the Sacraments of Marriage and Baptism.

 

a)  The Subdeacon may witness marriages in emergency situations and with the delegation of the diocesan bishop and providing that all State legal requirements are met. Because the Subdeacon so acts only in emergency situations, it would follow that he/she would not be the cleric to fulfill the Church requirement of providing two instructional sessions for the couple before marriage.

 

b)  The Subdeacon may confer the sacrament of Baptism with the approval of the diocesan bishop only if a bishop, priest, or deacon is not available in an extreme situation.

 

c)  An example of emergency and extreme situations would be if the event was scheduled and it could not be easily delayed and the deacon or priest who was going to confer the rite fell ill or was injured and another cleric in Major Orders could not be at the service because of distance, etc.

 

d)  It is intended that the Subdeacon not become the ordinary minister of these sacraments. Except in extreme situations the Subdeacon may not witness Marriages and may not confer the sacrament of Baptism.

 

e)  When the Subdeacon is authorized to confer either of these sacraments a special rite for such administration by a Subdeacon must be carefully followed because the Subdeacon is not ordained with the Sacrament of Holy Orders and there are some parts the formal ritual which he/she is not authorized to do.  The Subdeacon must follow the ritual approved by the Church.

 

f)  It is intended that the Subdeacon assume some of the liturgical roles of the Deacon; however, the clear distinction between a cleric in minor and Major Orders must be maintained and protected by the pastor and celebrant, as well as the Council of Bishops.

 

g)  The Subdeacon can be delegated to serve in various administrative roles as assigned to him or her by the pastor or Diocesan Bishop.

 

Title 9:  Norms for Minor Orders and

Commissioned Church Ministers.

 

Article One:  Duties and Responsibilities Clerics in Minor Orders, Commissioned Ministers,
and Dedicated Religious Men and Women (Oblates).

   

    Can. 91  §1   Worthy persons are ordained or commissioned to assist bishops, priests, and deacons in performing their ministries as the need in the church, diocese, or parish necessitates. These are roles of service at the direction of the bishop or pastor. These include:


1º those ordained to the Minor Orders of Porter, Lector, and Acolyte; and Subdeacon;


2º those laypersons commissioned (appointed) to serve as Communion assistants, ministers of sacred music, and religious educators;


3º those men and women who have made a religious oblation (personal commitment) to a religious organization established by the Church with an assigned Bishop Protector and Spiritual Director, specifically, Oblates of Mary Theotokos; Ecumenical Oblates of St. Benedict; and Oblate Hermits of St. Francis Assisi)

 

§2     Specific responsibilities will differ with each ministry, however, the following are common obligations of those in all Minor Orders, Commissioned Ministries, and Oblates.

 

1º     To actively and willingly assist the clergy with the care of souls; to give respect and obedience to the directives   of the pastor or pastoral director who is acting in the name of the Diocesan Bishop. 

 

2º     Praying each day appropriate prayers for the Church, the people of God and the world-at-large.

 

3º    To continue studies after ordination, appointment, or oblation in the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Theology.

 

4º    To witness the word of God based on Sacred Scripture and the Catholic Faith Tradition.

 

5º    To participate in the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist frequently.

 

6º    To share responsibly in the administration of the parish through an active role in the parish synod; to accept parish duties as assigned by the pastor.

 

7º    To personally practice and encourage all people to practice in their lives the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

 

8º    To be an example of Christ's justice, love, and mercy in dealing with all people.

 

9º     Clerics in Minor Orders are strongly encouraged to attend the annual church Synod unless unable for serious reasons; appointed or commissioned ministers and oblates are encouraged to attend the annual Church Synod.

 

Title 10:  Norms for Clergy Candidates

 

    Can. 92   §1  Clergy candidates (seminarians) must assume preparation for ordained ministry as their primary Church responsibility providing sufficient focus and time to complete the studies in a timely manner.  

 

§2     Seminarians must participate as much as possible in the life of the Church by attending Synods, praying for the Church and its people, and if geographical location permits by becoming involved in a local congregation or ministry. 

 

§3     The Council of Bishops does not encourage and will not endorse seminarians who are not deacons to begin any type of ministry because of its likely interference with the seminarian's primary responsibility to seminary coursework.

 

§4     The provisions of Canon 91 are applicable to seminarians to the degree that they do not interfere with coursework studies.

 

Title 11:  Discipline and Dismissal of Clergy

    

Article One: Lines of Authority

 

    Can. 93  Each jurisdictional bishop (i.e., diocesan bishop, bishop protector, and personal prelature) while observing the canons is autonomous within his/her Diocese, jurisdiction, or Order with regard to discipline and dismissal of clergy from that jurisdiction.

 

    Can. 94 §1 All acts of discipline and dismissal within the Church may be appealed to the Presiding Bishop and further appeal, if appropriate, to the Council of Bishops as the final juridical court.

 

§2     A cleric who resigns his/her clerical membership in this Church before, during or after the following appeal process thereby loses all standing within the Church and all rights of appeal end with acceptance of that resignation by the Presiding Bishop.

 

Article Two: Stages of Clerical Discipline

 

    Can. 95 §1   The following six stages of disciplinary action toward a priest, deacon, or cleric in minor orders must be followed by the jurisdictional bishop and the subject of discipline in order to be eligible to participate in the appeal process.

 

Stage 1:     The cleric's bishop will arrange for a discussion between the cleric and the bishop (or an appointee) covering areas of concern with some counsel as to how to proceed to ameliorate the situation.  There is no written record at this stage.

 

Stage 2:     If the matter is not corrected:  The bishop sends a letter of concern with suggestions as on how to handle the difficulties. A copy of the letter is to be kept in the cleric's file, which is sealed to all but the jurisdictional bishop and later upon appeal to the Presiding Bishop and Council of Bishops.

 

Stage 3:     If the matter is not corrected:  The bishop sends a letter of warning, with specific directions as to how to proceed or modify behavior or deal with a situation. A time limit is stated and the cleric is directed to comply. This letter and all correspondence from the cleric is placed in the cleric's file.

 

 

 

Stage 4:     If the matter is not corrected:  

 

1º     The bishop issues a letter of suspension with specific direction as to actions necessary to be taken before the suspension may be lifted. A time limit is started and the cleric directed to comply. Suspension means the individual has lost the church's spiritual endorsement for ministry and may not function as a cleric of the church nor perform duties of orders or office except in an emergency. Documentation and correspondence are maintained in the cleric's file.

 

2º     The cleric may appeal the suspension to the Presiding Bishop.

 

Stage 5:    If the suspended cleric does not appeal the jurisdictional bishop’s suspension within 30 days, or because of the gravity or immediacy of the situation, at the discretion of the Presiding Bishop, within seven days, a letter of dismissal and formal excardination from the Presiding Bishop is issued to the cleric.  This letter of dismissal severs the cleric from the diocese and removes spiritual protection and ecclesial endorsement.  Copies of this document are placed in the cleric's file and the Presiding Bishop will send a copy with a brief explanation to each member of the Council of Bishops.

    

    Can. 96  When the jurisdictional bishop considers immediate excardination of a cleric necessary because of the nature or gravity of the charge, issue, or behavior, and for the good of the Church, the case shall be referred directly to the Presiding Bishop who will present the case to the Council of Bishops which will conduct a hearing in accord with the directives of Canon 97.

 


Article Three: Appeal Process and Hearing

by the Council of Bishops

 

    Can. 97          §1   After the jurisdictional bishop and cleric have completed the stages of clerical discipline as outlined in Canon 94, the excardinated cleric may appeal to the Council of Bishops to hear the matter and make a definitive decision for the church.

 

§2     The Council of Bishops will appoint an Advocate to assist the cleric in presenting his/her case. The jurisdictional bishop and the cleric must submit documentary evidence on the case within a timeframe set by the Presiding Bishop as chairperson for the Council of Bishops.

 

§3     The Council of Bishops will determine the specifics of the hearing format (annual meeting agenda item; conference call; review of documentation and written statements) and determine the hearing timeline.

 

§4     At the hearing by the Council of Bishops, the excardinated cleric and the jurisdictional bishop will present factual information and documentation supporting their positions in the issue.

 

§5     The Council of Bishops may decide to uphold the jurisdictional bishop's decision; reverse or mitigate the decision; or provide alternatives for the cleric to continue ministry within the church.

 

    Can. 98       When a cleric is under a disciplinary charge, a bishop of another diocese or jurisdiction shall not give spiritual protection, endorsement, or solace until the charges are resolved.

 

 


~Book Five~

Church Authority

and Structure

 

Title 1.  Authority in the Church

 

Chapter One:  Hierarchical Authority:  Spiritual and Civil

 

    Can. 99       §1   This Church follows the Catholic Faith Tradition of church administration through a hierarchical organization; namely, a hierarchy of orders and office, with concomitant spiritual authority and responsibility appropriate to each hierarchical level.

 

§2     The ordained membership has the prime authority and responsibility for all the Scriptural, dogmatic and moral, liturgical, and spiritual aspects of this church.

 

§3     The Council of Bishops has the prime authority and responsibility for the civil and legal aspects of this church (i.e., the business aspects and church polity) as conducted through church synods, corporation boards, and parish councils.

 

Chapter Two:  Authority of the Canons of the Church

 

    Can. 100   The Canons of this Church serve variously as the By-laws, directives, guidelines, norms, and goals of this Church; as such they constitute the contract of mutual understanding and expectation under which all clerical and lay members serve after making their commitment to the Church.

 

    Can. 101   Additions, deletions, and amendments to these Canons shall require a unanimous positive vote at a properly convened meeting of the Council of Bishops.

 

    Can. 102   Changes to these Canons will be presented by the Presiding Bishop at the next annual synod following the Council of Bishops meeting.

Chapter Three:  Authority of the Council of Bishops

 

    Can. 103   §1   The primary decision-making authority within the Church is the Council of Bishops meeting in a formal session.

 

§2     An individual bishop may not act, declare, legislate, or speak for the Church on matters not clearly stated in these canons or defined by the Council of Bishops.  Personal opinions should be clearly stated as such and must not be contrary to matters clearly defined by these canons or the Council of Bishops.

 

    Can. 104   Major decisions in matters of faith, morals, church discipline, and Church Law will be made only at a properly convened meeting of the Council of Bishops.

 

    Can. 105  The Council of Bishops will regularly seek the advice, recommendations, suggestions, opinions from the clergy and laity on all aspects of the church's mission and polity.

 

Chapter Four:  Standing Committees Assisting

the Council of Bishops

 

    Can. 106  The following standing committees will be maintained to assist the Council of Bishops:

 

1º     The Church Law, Policy & Procedures committee shall organize, recommend additions, deletions, and modifications to the Laws of the Church and any aspect of church discipline  or polity.  This committee shall consist of one member of the episcopate and four other volunteers or appointees by the Council of Bishops. 

 

2º     The Liturgical Text Authorization Committee shall be responsible for establishing the scripture texts and prayer formats authorized for use in the church.  This committee shall consist of three members of the clergy and at least one lay person.

 

3º     The Vocational Formation Committee shall be responsible for establishing programs for the recruitment, retention and training of clergy for the church. The committee will recommend to the Council of Bishops acceptable pre-service and in-service training for clergypersons. This committee shall consist of three members of the clergy and at least one lay person.

 

4º     The Seminary Supervisory Committee shall review the clergy training program recommendations of the Vocational Formation Committee and endorse those programs which provide acceptable training in traditional Catholic dogmatic and moral theology, liturgy, homiletics, spirituality, and pastoral administration.

 

5º     The Social Media Communication Committee assists in the promotion of the Church in vehicles of Social Media Communication such as websites; Facebook pages; Twitter accounts; and others as needed and appropriate.  The committee members will be appointed by the Presiding Bishop.

 

Chapter Five:  Synods:  Purpose, Attendance, Voting

 

Article One:   Purpose of Synods

 

    Can. 107   An annual synod of this Church shall be held at a date and time determined by the Presiding Bishop in consultation with the Council of Bishops and clergy as representatives of congregations and ministries.

 

    Can. 108  The purpose of the annual synod is to bring together the clerical and lay membership of this Church  for a time of liturgical prayer, fellowship, learning, discussion, conduct of church business, and development of friendships and relationships of mutual support in the service of the Lord.

 

Article Two:  Attendance at Synods

 

    Can. 109   §1   Attendance at the annual synod is open to all clergy, clergy candidates, and active lay participants of the church's congregations and ministries.

 

§2     Attendance and participation at the annual synod is not open to the general public without a specific invitation from the Presiding Bishop.

 

§3     Clerics in major orders are required to attend the annual Synod unless specifically excused by the Presiding Bishop for matters of health or other grave circumstance.

 

§4     Clerics in minor orders and clergy candidates should make every reasonable effort to attend.

 

§5     Members of the laity are invited to attend and two representatives from each congregation and ministry should be encouraged and as much as possible receive financial assistance from the parish or ministry to attend.

 

Article Three:  Voting at Synods

 

    Can. 110   §1   All registered synod participants who are active members of the Church are entitled to one vote in all Synod elections.

 

§2     Voting must be presented in person; proxy voting is not allowed at synods.

 

§3     Delegate voting by a specific or proportional representation of each congregation or other ministry may be introduced in the future as the number of congregations and ministries increases.

 

§4    Although registered synod attendance is open to non-ECC+USA members of our ecumenical orders and ministries, as well as people invited by the Presiding Bishop because they have expressed an interest in attending a synod before joining the Church or applying for membership, incardination, or ordination candidate status, they are not allowed to vote at the synod.

 

§5    For a Synod resolution to “pass”, a 70% majority vote of those in attendance and eligible to vote at the time of voting is required. A vote between 50% and 69% results in the proposal being tabled for study and future discussion. A vote of less than 50% results in the resolution simply “not passing”.

 

Title 2. Jurisdictional Designations

 

    Can. 111   §1  Jurisdiction of bishops in this Church may be territorial (i.e., a diocese limited to a state or region) or, non-territorial (i.e., at-large: any state, any region).

 

§2     Bishop Protectors of a religious order, institute, or community generally have non-territorial jurisdictions and thus may have clergy serving anywhere within the Church's jurisdiction.

 

§3     The jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Catholic Church+USA is limited by this Canon to North America.

 

    Can. 112  There are four territorial jurisdictions within this Church:

 

         1º    The Diocese of St. Andrew - East Coast

 

         2º    The Diocese of St. Francis of Assisi - Mid-Eastern

 

         3º    The Diocese of Sts. Simon and Jude – Mid-West

 

         4º    The Diocese of the Good Shepherd- West

 

 


~Book Six~

Church Finances

 

    Can. 113   §1   The mission of this Church is financed through the good will offering of the clergy and lay membership in congregations and ministries.

 

§2     Clergy Dues, as determined by the Council of Bishops, will be requested each year from all clergy receiving Spiritual Endorsement from this Church.

 

§3     Tithing, based on the Scriptural precept of giving a 10% share of one's income back to God who is the giver of all the good things that a person receives in life, will be taught and recommended in each congregation and ministry as God's way of financing the work of the Church.

 

§4     Congregations and ministries will tithe to their diocese; each diocese will tithe to the National Church treasury.

 

    Can. 114   §1  The management of church corporations’ finances is described in “ByLaws for ECC+USA Corporations and Parish Councils”, Appendix F of these Canons.  The “ByLaws” are the required template of Bylaws for all church related corporations and councils; any changes to these “ByLaws”  require the approval of the Council of Bishops.

 

§2     The compensation package for clerics and other employees, which may include salary, health insurance, retirement and various other benefits commensurate with the person’s job responsibility and the corporation’s income, is determined by the corporation’s Board of Directors.

 

§3     Retirement benefits for any church employee must be structured by the Board of Directors with a written plan that is compliant with USA Internal Revenue Service rules for church employee retirement plans.

 

§4     Retirement benefit payments are to be retained in a commercial retirement instrument; they may not be retained in any church corporation owned bank account.

    

§5     Contributions to employee retirement plans by church corporations may only be made during the active employment of the employee; no contribution to the plan may be made after retirement or other termination of employment.

 

§6     No other retirement benefit method can be promised or negotiated between the Board and the employee; the Board cannot make any benefit agreement that obligates the Board, Congregation, or any other church related ministry beyond the active employment of an employee.

 

    Can. 115   §1 Standards of accountability for church funds at all levels will be in accord with accepted practices of good business; internal and external audits scheduled as determined by the corporation boards; conformity to the regulations of the United States Internal Revenue Service for church and non-profit corporations; and standards of state laws for non-profit corporations.

 

§2     Annual financial reports will be published for the diocesan bishop, the local clergy and the lay membership by the Presiding Bishop's Office for the national church; Diocesan Bishops for the dioceses; pastors for all congregations and pastoral directors for all other ministries which maintain membership in this Church.  

 


~ Book Seven~

Inter-Communion

 

Title 1.   Norms for Intercommunion with other Christians.

 

    Can. 116     §1 As an ecumenical catholic church, this church welcomes all Christians to participate fully in the life of the church.

 

§2     This church does not enter into formal intercommunion agreements with other churches. However, other Christian churches and their membership are invited to worship with our clergy and faithful according to following norms.

 

1º     All Christians who believe in the true presence of Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion are invited to receive Communion at our Celebration of the Sacred Liturgy.

 

2º     Bishops and priests ordained in a valid line of Apostolic Succession are invited to concelebrate in our Celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. Deacons and clerics in Minor Orders are also invited to participate according to their order.

 

§3     Members of this church may participate in the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist in church communities within the Catholic Faith Tradition. Participation in churches of other traditions is at the discretion of each member of this church while showing respect for      the traditions of the other church regarding participation by non-members.

 

§4     Bishops and priests, and other clerics of this church may concelebrate or participate in the Liturgical celebrations of churches within the Catholic Faith Tradition.

 

§5     The norms listed in Canon 69 must be respected in the application of the norms of this canon, particularly those norms relating to bishops serving as episcopal co-consecrators and to all clerics providing extended pastoral supply to other churches.

 

 

~ Book Eight~   
Appendices


Appendix A    Lines of Apostolic Succession

                 
Appendix B    Ratification and Revision History of this Document

                 
Appendix C    ECC+USA Commentary of Understanding
regarding the Declaration of Utrecht and the Fourteen Theses of the Old Catholic Church

                 

Appendix D   (vacant)
 

Appendix E   "Protecting God's People"

                 

Appendix F   ByLaws for ECC+USA Corporations and Parish Council