The Conference of Diocesan Priests of India
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CDPI Statutes

 

Revised according to the proposals made by the Committee of Bishops appointed by the CCBI Executive Committee


I. PREAMBLE

The Second Vatican Council has rightly stressed the need for association among secular clergy. Such a need is greater among the diocesan clergy.


“In order that priests may find mutual assistance in the development of their spiritual and intellectual life, that they may be able to cooperate more effectively in their ministry and be saved from the dangers of loneliness which may arise, it is necessary that some kind of common life or some sharing of common life be encouraged among priests. …. One should hold also in high regard and eagerly promote those associations which, having been recognized by competent ecclesiastical authority, encourage priestly holiness in the ministry by the use of an appropriate and duly approved rule of life and by fraternal aid, intending thus to do service to the whole order of priests” (The Ministry and Life of Priests, No.8)

 

The Code of Canon Law too emphasizes the need of diocesan priests to form an Association:

“The secular clergy have the right of association with others for the achievement of purposes befitting the clerical state”.

“The secular clergy are to hold in high esteem those associations especially whose statutes are recognized by the competent authority and which, by a suitable and well-tried rule of life and by fraternal support, promote holiness in the exercise of their ministry and foster the unity of the clergy with one another and with their bishop.” (Can.278 §1 & 2)

Accordingly, the CDPI is an association for the Diocesan priests of India (CCBI) established by the Bishops of the CCBI, as an organization for the diocesan priests, who are incardinated in their dioceses.


II. DEFINITION


The term “Priest” in this document refers to the diocesan priests of the Catholic Dioceses belonging to the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI).


III. NAME AND ORGANIZATION


Conference of Diocesan Priests of India, hereinafter called CDPI, is organized at three levels, namely,

  • At the diocesan level: Conference of Diocesan Priests of India – CDPI+ (name of the) diocese. Ex. CDPI-Bangalore
  •  At the regional level: (Regional) Conference of Diocesan Priests of India-Regional – CDPI+ (name of the) region. Ex. CDPI-Karnataka
  • At the National Level: Conference of Diocesan Priests of India – CDPI


IV. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES


The main purpose of the CDPI is to help diocesan priests in the country to foster a deeper understanding of their priesthood, whereby they will appreciate and perform their priestly ministry in a more effective way. Furthermore, it is to promote a spirit of collegiality among priests and to have deeper collaboration between priests and bishops in the country.

      The following are the major objectives/functions of CDPI:

  • To propose suitable plans for the spiritual, pastoral and socio-cultural progress of the parish, the diocese, the region and the country.
  • To encourage some degree of uniformity within the country in things that affect the daily ministry and life of priests.
  • To promote collaboration of all priests and coordinate pastoral activities in the country.
  • To seek and foster inter-regional cooperation and coordination both in religious and secular matters.
  • To foster relationships through dialogue with the members of the other faiths, collaboration and service between the Church and society, keeping in with the values of the Gospel and the teachings of the Church.
  • To foster love and fellowship among all persons and promote human rights and dignity among all the people.
  • To function as a coordinating agency between the National and Regional bodies of the bishops and the National and Regional bodies of the Diocesan Priests.
  • To implement the recommendations of the CCBI and to represent the concerns of the diocesan priests to the CCBI.
  • To organize seminars and renewal programmes for the on-going formation of priests at the diocesan, regional and national levels.
  • To help identify common (problems and needs) concerns and challenges relating to life and ministry of priests and to seek solutions within existing structures. The CDPI will not interfere in the administration of any diocese. However it would render any service to the dioceses only if asked by the Bishop concerned and only for issues specified by the Bishop.


V.  MEMBERSHIP

a. Deemed membership: All priests incardinated in the dioceses under CCBI are deemed members of the CDPI.
b. Eligibility: Incardination in a diocese of CCBI, Sacerdotal Ordination and continuing in Ministerial Priesthood are the point of eligibility.
c. Duties of members:
i. To participate in meetings and in formation programmes and other programmes organized for the benefit of diocesan priests for their coming together and their ongoing formation and all-round growth.
ii. To carry out their duties as prescribed by the Canon Law.
d. Cessation of Membership: A priest ceases to be a member of CDPI by losing the status of a priestly function or by excardination from the diocese of CCBI or by death.

  

VI. OFFICE ADDRESS

 CCBI Centre,
Post Box No.8490,
Hutchin’s Road 2nd Cross,     
Bangalore - 560 084

 

VII. CDPI-DIOCESE

  • Organization: Conference of Diocesan Priests of India–Diocesan: CDPI+ (name of the Diocese) [Ex. CDPI-  Bangalore] shall consists of the priests incardinated in a diocese of CCBI
  •  General Body: The priests incardinated in a diocese shall form the General Body of the CDPI-Diocese.
  • The diocesan bishop shall be the Patron of the CDPI-Diocese.
  • Diocesan Executive: The CDPI-Diocese shall have a 5 member Diocesan Executive Committee (DEC) of which 2 will be elected by the General Body (or Senate) of the diocesan priests by secret ballot and by a single majority. 2 will be nominated by the diocesan bishop. The Secretary of the Priests’ Council is the ex-officio 5th member if he is a diocesan Priest, or another priest elected by the Priests’ Council.

 

  • Office Bearers:

a. Patron: The diocesan Bishop shall be the Patron of the CDPI-Diocese.
b. Secretary: The Secretary of the Priests Council will be the ex-officio 5th member and secretary of the CDPI-Diocese if he is a diocesan priest. Otherwise a diocesan priest elected by the priests’ council shall become the Secretary of the CDPI (Diocese).
c. The General Body of Diocesan Priests shall elect a President, Vice-President and Joint-Secretary cum Treasurer from among the four members of the DEC by secret ballot and by simple majority.
d. The duration of the term of DEC and the office bearers other than the Patron is three years. It could be increased up to five years according to the policy of the diocese.

  • Meetings of CDPI-Diocese

 

a. The diocesan Executive Committee (DEC) shall meet at least four times a year (quarterly meeting).
b. The CDPI-Diocese General Body shall meet at twice in a year (half-yearly meetings).

 

  • Functions:

 

a. Patron: The Patron of the CDPI-Diocese will exercise an over-all guidance, care and supervision of the activities of the CDPI-Diocese.
i. The Patron shall over see the formation of the DEC and the          elections of the office-bearers of the CDPI-Diocese.
ii. The Patron shall help the CDPI-Diocese to be financially viable   for its activities for the benefit of the ongoing formation of the        diocesan Clergy, for other necessary office and organizational       expenses and to attend regional level and national level meetings of            CDPI.
b. President of CDPI-Diocese:
i. He shall convene the meetings of the CDPI-Diocese in consultation         with the Patron.
ii. He shall represent the diocesan priests of the diocese in the regional        and national level meetings.
c. Vice-President:
i. The vice-President of CDPI-Diocese shall take the place of the     President when the President is absent or held up from attending the        meetings of the CDPI-Diocese.
ii. He substitutes the President when the latter is not able to represent         the diocese in regional or national level meetings.
d. Secretary:
i. The secretary of CDPI-Diocese shall keep the files of the CDPI-  diocesan.
with the Patron and the President, 15 days ahead of the meeting.
iii. He shall present the report of the meetings of the CDPI-Diocese.
e. Joint-Secretary cum Treasurer
i. He shall help the Secretary in carrying out his duties as Secretary of         the CDPI-Diocese.
ii. He shall take up fully the task of the Secretary if there is no         Secretary in the eventuality of the absence of the Council of Priests.
iii. He shall handle the funds of the CDPI-Diocese and submit the accounts to the DEC or to the diocese or to the finding agency as the    case may be.
VIII: CDPI-REGIONAL
CDPI+ name of the Region (Ex. CDPI-Karnataka)
           
            1. Organization:

                  a. The General Body of the CDPI-Region shall consist of all the diocesan priests who are incardinated to the Latin Rite dioceses of the Region.

b. The Patron of the CDPI-Region shall be the Bishop-Chairman of the Regional Commission for Vocations, Seminaries, Clergy and Religious.

c. The Regional Council of the CDPI-Region shall consist of the members of the Executive Committees of the dioceses in the region, the Patron of CDPI-Region and the office bearers of CDPI-Region.

d. The Regional Executive Committee shall consist of one elected member from each diocese of the Diocesan Executive Committees, the office bearers of the CDPI-Region and the Secretary of the Regional Commission for Vocations, Seminaries, Clergy and Religious if he is a diocesan Priest. If not another diocesan Priest is nominated by the Regional Council of Bishops.

2. Office Bearers of CDPI-Region

a. Office bearers of the CDPI-Region consist of the Patron, the President, the Vice-President, The Secretary and the Joint-Secretary cum Treasurer.
b. The President, Vice President and Joint Secretary-cum-Treasurer will be elected by the Regional Council from among the members of the Regional Executive Committee.

c. The Secretary of the Regional Commission for Clergy and Religious is the Secretary of the CDPI-Region if he is a diocesan Priest. Otherwise, a diocesan Priest appointed by the Regional Bishops’ Council shall be the Secretary of the CDPI-Region.

d. Duration of the term of office of these office bearers shall be three years and they may be re-elected only for another term.
3. Meetings:

      a. The Regional Executive Committee shall meet at least twice a year.
b. The Regional Council of Priests shall meet at least once a year.
c. The General Body of the CDPI-Region shall meet normally once in three years, or (as often as) the Regional Council of CDPI-Region (decides), in consultation with the regional meeting of the Bishops, can decide the frequency of such a meeting. The number of priests participating at this General Body meeting from every diocese should be decided in proportion to the number of diocesan priests in that particular diocese and in consultation with the regional Bishops, so that sufficient arrangements are made for pastoral care throughout the region during the days of the General Body.

4. FUNCTIONS
 
a.   Functions of the Patron of the CDPI-Region

  • To be the liaison between the Regional Bishops’ Council and the CDPI-Region.
  • To guide and advise the CDPI-Region P in all matters concerning pastoral and spiritual life.
  • To bring the concerns and recommendations of the Regional Bishops’ Council to the CDPI-Region.
  • To present to the Regional Bishops’ Council the concerns and recommendations of the CDPI-Region.
  • To ensure that the CDPI-Region has financial viability.
  • To attend all the meetings of the CDPI-Region and preside over the election of office bearers of the CDPI-Region.

b. Functions of the President of the CDPI-Region

    • To convene the meetings of the CDPI-Region, in consultation with the Patron.
    • To preside over and facilitate all the meetings of the CDPI-Region.
    • To represent CDPI-Region at the Regional Bishops’ Council and in all                official matters.

c. Functions of the Vice President of the CDPI-Region

    • To assist the President in his functions.
    • To chair meetings when the President is absent or impeded.
    • To represent CDPI-Region, when so delegated by the President.

d. Functions of the Secretary of CDPI-Region

  • To maintain the up-to-date register of members of the Regional Council with their addresses.
  • To prepare the minutes of all the Regional meetings and present the minutes in the Executive Committee and Regional Council Meetings, with a copy to the office of the CDPI and the Regional Commission for Vocations, Seminaries, Clergy and Religious.
  • To help conduct the election of office bearers of the CDPI-Region.
  • To maintain all files and documents of the CDPI-Region.
  • To follow-up the implementation of the recommendations of the CDPI-Region.
  • To circulate useful materials and documents concerning diocesan priests, issued by the CCBI and the Roman Dicasteries.
  • To prepare the agenda for the meetings, in consultation with the President and the Patron.

e. Functions of the Joint Secretary-cum-Treasurer:

  • To assist the Secretary in his duties as secretary of CDPI-Region
  • To maintain the account of income and expenditure of the CDPI-Region.
  • To submit an annual financial report to the CDPI-Region at the close of each financial year.
  • To present the budget for the forthcoming financial year to the CDPI-Region.


IX. CONFERENCE OF THE DIOCESAN PRIESTS OF INDIA- NATIONAL (CDPI)

            1. Organization

  • All diocesan priests, who are incardinated in the dioceses under CCBI, (shall be) are deemed to be members (of the General Body) of the CDPI.
  • The Chairman of the CCBI Commission for Vocations, Seminaries, Clergy and Religious shall be the Patron of the CDPI.
  • The National Council of the CDPI shall consist of the representatives of the Regional Executive Committee (one from each diocese), and the Chairman and the Secretary of CCBI Commission for Vocations, Seminaries, Clergy and Religious.
  • The Executive Committee of the CDPI shall consist of the 13 Presidents of the 13 CDPI-Region and the Chairman and the Secretary of the CCBI Commission.

            2. Office Bearers
           

  • The office bearers of the CDPI shall consist of the President, Vice President, Secretary-cum-Treasurer elected by the National Council, from among the office-bearers of the CDPI-Regional.
  • The Secretary of the CCBI Commission for Vocations, Seminaries, Clergy and Religious, if he is a diocesan priest, shall be the Secretary of the CDPI. If not, a diocesan priest appointed by the CCBI shall be the Secretary of the CDPI. The one elected will be the Joint Secretary-cum Treasurer.

            3. Meetings

  • The National Council of the CDPI shall meet at least once a year.
  • The Executive Committee of the CDPI shall meet at least twice a year.
  • Extended National Council: Once in five years there shall be a national meeting of all the members of the diocesan executives. This meeting consisting of five priests from every diocese is called Extended Council of CDPI.

            4. Term of Office

            The term of office of the elected Office-bearers and the Executive Committee of   the CDPI shall be 5 years. After completing one term, a member may be elected           only for another term 

            5. Functions

a.   Functions of the Patron of CDPI

  • To be the liaison between the CCBI and the CDPI.
  • To guide and advise the CDPI in all matters concerning their pastoral and spiritual life.
  • To bring the concerns and recommendations of the CCBI to the CDPI.
  •  To present to the CCBI the concerns and recommendations of the  CDPI.
  • To ensure financial viability of the CDPI.
  • To attend all the meetings of the CDPI and preside over the election of its office bearers of the CDPI.

b.   Functions of the President of CDPI

  • To convene meetings of the CDPI, in consultation with the Patron and the Secretary.
  • To preside over and facilitate all the meetings of the CDPI-NATIONAL.
  • To (address the CCBI on behalf of the CDPI) present the report of the CDPI to the CCBI and to address the CCBI on behalf of the CDPI (on invitation) and to represent the CDPI in other ecclesial bodies.
  • To facilitate establishing and strengthening of the units of CDPI-Region.

c. Functions of the Vice President of CDPI

  • To assist the President in the discharge of his functions, as required.
  • To chair meetings when the President is absent or impeded.
  • To represent CDPI, when so delegated by the President.

d. Functions of the Secretary

    • To maintain an up-to-date register of members of the National Council of the CDPI with their addresses.
    • To prepare the minutes of all CDPI meetings and present the minutes in the Executive Committee and National Council Meetings, with a copy to the office of the CCBI and to the Secretaries of the CDPI-Region.
    • To help conduct the election of office bearers of CDPI.
    • To maintain all files and documents of the CDPI.
    • To follow-up the implementation of the recommendations of the CDPI.
    • To circulate useful materials and documents concerning diocesan priests issued by the CCBI and the Roman Dicasteries.
    • To prepare the agenda for meetings, in consultation with the President and the Patron.

5.   Functions of the Joint Secretary-cum-Treasurer

  • To assist the Secretary in his duties as Secretary of CDPI.
  • To maintain an account of income and expenditure of the CDPI.
  • To submit an annual financial report to the CDPI at the close of each financial year.
  • To present the budget for the forthcoming financial year to the CDPI.


X. INTERACTION WITH THE CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ OF INDIA

  • The Chairman of the CCBI Commission for Vocations, Seminaries, Clergy and Religious is the Patron of the CDPI. The Chairman of the Regional Commission for Vocations, Seminaries, Clergy and Religious is the Patron of the CDPI-Region. The Diocesan Bishop is the Patron of the CDPI-Diocese.
  • The Statutes of the CDPI are approved by the CCBI.
  • The Chairman and the Secretary of the CCBI Commission for Vocations shall attend the meetings of the CDPI.
  • The Chairman of the Regional Commission for Vocations, Seminaries, Clergy and Religious shall attend the meetings of the CDPI-Region.
  • The office bearers of the CDPI will represent the CDPI at the CCBI meetings on invitation.

 

XI. FINANCE

The CDPI shall raise funds for its administration by voluntary contributions, from the members, from the regional units and from other sources.



XII. QUORUM

           

                a. At the national level: A quorum  of more than a 50% of CCBI dioceses is           necessary for a meeting at the national level.
                b. Regional Level: One more than 50% of the number of dioceses expected to be            present is required for a quorum.

c. An absolute majority of the members sitting in any meeting is required to pass resolutions and to conduct elections during the meetings at the regional or the national levels.


XIII. AMENDMENTS TO STATUTES

Amendments are proposed by members to the diocesan unit. They are brought up at the council of the CDPI-Regional and then are brought up for discussion and for the final proposal at the National Council. Then they are presented to the CCBI for final approval. If approved by the CCBI, they shall be so incorporated into the Statutes.