Part I-General Principles
“This power, which they (Bishop) personally exercise in Christ’s name is ordinary, proper, and immediate. In virtue of this power, bishop have the sacred right and duty before the Lord, to make laws for their subjects, to pass judgment on them, and to moderate everything pertaining to the ordering of worship and the apostolate.” (Lumen Gentium, 27)
“Although priests do not possess the highest degree of the priesthood, and although they are dependent on the bishops in the exercise of their power, they are nevertheless united with the bishop in sacerdotal dignity . . . All priests, both diocesan and religious, by reason of order and ministry, are associated with this body of bishops, and serve the good of the whole Church according to their vocation and the grace given to them.” (Lumen Gentium, 28)
“And if by the will of Christ some are made teachers, dispenser of mysteries, and shepherds on behalf of others, yet all share a true equality with regard to the dignity and to the activity common to all the faithful for the building up of the Body of Christ . . . Thus in their diversity all bear witness to the admirable unity of the Body of Christ. This very diversity of graces, of ministries and works gather the children of God into one, because ‘all these things are the work of one and the same Spirit!’” (Lumen Gentium, 32)
In accordance with the principle stated above, the bishop as shepered of his diocese can perform his office more easily and effectively of his consults with his Presbytery, the Religious and the Laity in matters affecting pastoral renewal in the building up of Christ’s Body. The ultimate responsibility is his own before God himself but he shares this responsibility with its flock according to the graces received by each.
Part II-GENERAL NORMS
Art. 1. The role of the Bishop in the Synod.
The diocesan Bishop alone shall:
1.) Convoke the Synod and formulate the Norm and Procedures;
2.) Appoints the Officers and Members of the Preparatory Commissions;
3.) Discuss with the Preparatory Commission the Topics to be included in the Synod and finally choose the Topics;
4.) Appoint the different Officers of the Synod;
5.) Decide with the Coordinating Commission the role of the different Officers and Assistant Officers of the Synod;
6.) Decide with the coordinating Commission the role should be accredited as delegates on the Diocesan level;
7.) Decide with the coordinating Commissions how many Delegates will be allowed from each parish and their qualifications will be;
8.) Preside over the Synodal Assembly either personally or through a member of the Council of Presiding Officers;
9.) Ratify the Acts, Resolutions and Recommendations of the Synodal Assembly;
10.) Order the Promulgations and/or Publication of the Synodal Proceedings and Final Drafts of Resolutions and Recommendations of the Synod.
Art. 2: The Coordinating Commissions shall be constituted by the Bishop and under his direction and/or for his behalf exercise general jurisdiction over procedural matters of the synod in accordance with these Norms.
Sec. 1 – They shat meet as often as needed to prepare the draft of the Topics to be send to the parishes; make corrections in the drafts; re-edited them and submit them to the Secretary General for the latter to send them to the parishes.
Sec. 2 – Once the drafts and feedbacks from the parishes are received by the Secretary General, the Coordinating Commissions will meet again to evaluate the feedbacks from the parishes and make appropriate recommendations to the Bishop and the whole Coordinating Commissions for an amendment Draft of the Topics.
Sec. 3 – Each Coordinating Commission with the Bishop will decide, depending on their evaluation of the feedback from the parish groups, whether the second Drafts will be sent again to the parish groups or submitted to enlarged body or groups of experts.
Sec. 4 – With the approval of the Bishop, the respective Coordinating Commissions may invite experts, both clergy-men and laymen to help them in their work.
Sec. 5 – Each Coordinating Commission will formulate the final draft of Topic that will be submitted to the Synodal Assembly.
Art. 3: The Council if Presiding Officers.
The Bishop shall choose from among the recommendees of the Coordinating Commission those who shall compose the Council of Presiding Officers. These shall take turns in pre-siding over the Synodal assemblies in the name of the Bishop. They shall formulate the guidelines for the Sessions. The presiding officer shall undersign the proceedings of the session. He presides over. His signature together with that of the Notary will authenticate the records and proceedings of each session.
Art. 4: (Voting) Delegates to the Synod.
Sec. 1 – The following are voting delegates to the Synod;
Sec. 2 – Alternates or Proxies for voting Delegates from every parish may be accepted upon presentation of a written consent of the Delegate and approval by the Parish Priest.
Sec. 3 – All cases of doubt regarding the right to be seated as a voting Delegate shall be resolved by the Coordinating Commission.
Sec. 4 – The voting Delegates are expected to attend the Synodal Session from the opening to the closing ceremony. They shall enjoy the privilege to participate in the deliberation and to vote when voting is called. They shall present their credential before every session.
Sec. 5 – Observer may be allowed at the deliberations of the Coordinating Committee. Observer from other diocese shall be authorized and authenticated only by the Bishop.
Art. 5: The Secretary General of the Synod.
The Secretary General of the Synod shall be appointed by the Bishop. He shall discharge his duties under the direction of the Bishop and the Coordinating Commission.
He is a member of the Synod and as Secretary General he shall undersign all the official acts of the Synod.
He shall take charge of the following:
Art. 6: The Protonotary of the Synod.
The Synodal Protonotary shall be appointed by the Bishop upon the recommendation of the Coordinating Commissions. He shall authenticate with the Secretary General all the document and Acts of the Synod. The Protonotary shall examine all the Drafts to established conformity with Church Document and Teachings.
He shall also help in giving form and style to the Drafts and final Documents.
Art. 7: The Liturgical Director of the Synod.
The Liturgical Director of the Synod shall be appointed by the Bishop upon recommendation of the Coordinating Commission.
Sec. 1 – He shall prepare a special prayer for the success of the Synod as well as special supplications to be inserted in the Prayer of the Faithful in liturgical celebrations.
Sec. 2 – He shall prepare the liturgical ceremonies at the opening of the Synodal Assembly, the Assemblies and the concluding ceremonies of the Synod.
Sec. 3 – He shall take the necessary steps to promote the atmosphere of prayer. The Synod will succeed only to the extent that the synodal deliberations and final decisions of the synod as a Diocesan Community are guided by the Holy Spirit. Thus the Synod from the beginning to end will be a work of the Diocesan Community and of the Holy Spirit.
Art. 8: The Public Relations Director of the Synod.
Sec. 1 -: A Public Relations Director shall be appointed by the Bishop upon the recommendation of the Coordinating Commissions.
Sec. 2 -: The Public Relations Director shall take charge of all publicity regarding the Synod. Official press regarding the Synodal shall be handled exclusively by this office.
Sec. 3 -: The Office of the Public Relations Director shall select and invite members of the mass media to attend the Synodal Assembly after they had been accredited by the office of the Secretary General.
Sec. 4 -: The Public Relations Director and his assistants shall meet with the Mass media representative to answer questions and make clarifications on the synodal proceedings. In this work they may seek the assistance of the Protonotary of the Synod.
Art. 9: The Directors appointed may recommend to the Coordinating Committee the Assistants they may need for an effective performance of their work.
III – PROCEDURES
Art. 1: The Three Phases of the Synod:
The Synod shall undergo three phases of development, to wit: (1) the preparatory phase, (2) the Study and Recommendation by the Parish Synodal Committees, and (3) the Synodal Assembly proper.
Art. 2: The preparatory phases shall include the following:
Sec. 1 – Issuance of the Bishop’s Letter announcing the celebration of the 76Diocesan Synod, creating the Steering Committee and appointing the members of the Preparatory/ Coordinating Commissions.
Sec. 2 – Organization Meeting of the Steering Committee to choose the Topic to be included in the Synod and assign them to their respective Commissions;
Sec. 3 – Separate studies by each Commission on the topic the topic assigned to it leading to a tentative draft that will be submitted to the Preparatory Commissions assembled en banc to study each draft, and suggest corrections or amendments for a second draft by each Commission.
Sec. 4 – Second separate studies by each Commission incorporating the suggestions of the Preparatory Commission en banc in the second draft to be submitted to the Preparatory Commission a second and final time.
Sec. 5 – The Preparatory Commission chaired by the Bishop shall study every amended Draft of each Commission for final suggestions and amendments in the Drafts. This may take several meeting en banc by the Preparatory Commission before all the Drafts are studied and final re-commendation are made.
Sec. 6 – The General Secretariat shall prepare the corrected Drafts of the different Commissions, print the required copies of the Drafts and send them to the parishes.
Sec. 7 – While these studies by the preparatory Commissions are going on at the Episcopal See, in the parishes the Parish Synodal Committees will be organized according to special Norms released for this purpose. (Cir. Letter, # 7, S.77)
Art. 3: The Second Phase of the Synod will include the studies that will be undertaken in all of the diocese by the respective Parish Syndonal Committees.
Sec. 1 – The Parish Synodal Committees headed by the respective parish priests shall study the Draft sent to them by the General Secretariat according to the Norms established for this purpose. Within two months they shall send to the General Secretariat their report or answer to the drafts.
Sec. 2 – Upon mutual consultation, each parish priest and Parish Synodal Committee shall designate the official Delegate of the parish to the Synodal Assembly and his alternate in case the official delegate may not be able to attend.
Art. 4: The Third Phase of the Synod will include the Synodal Assembly, the adoption of Resolutions, Statues, or Pastoral Norms that will become the “Spirit and Letter” of our Synod and be the basis and direction of our pastoral life. The approval by the Bishop of the Resolution, Statues and Norms adopted by the Synod with an accompanying Decree of Promulgation shall complete the Synod.
Art. 5: The Synodal Assembly Proper.
Sec. 1 – The date for the plenary Synodal Assembly shall be fix by the Bishop after consulting the Coordinating Commission. Unless necessary, the plenary Synodal Assembly shall be held for four days, with the opening and closing ceremonies at the Cathedral of St. Ferdinand, Lucena City.
Sec. 2 – All liturgical matters regarding the Synod, particularly the opening and closing ceremonies, shall be the competence of the Liturgical Director of the Synod.
Sec. 3 – All procedural matters regarding the plenary Synodal Assembly including the choice of the place and fixing the time for the Synodal Assembly, shall be the competence of the Coordinating Commission. The Council of Presidents shall consult with the Coordinating Commission in matters concerning the parliamentary procedures to be followed in the public discussions.
Sec. 4 – The Floor Leader, who shall be appointed by the Bishop shall prepare with the Secretary General the agenda for each session of the Synodal Assembly. He shall propose to the President of each Session the matter to be dispose to the President of each Session the matter to be discussed. He shall propose to the President of each Session what action to be taken when a subject matter has be thoroughly discussed.
Sec. 5 – The Proponent of each subject shall propose and defend before the Assembly his subject matter. He shall enjoy the privilege to talk for clarification and rebuttal should it be deemed necessary with the acquiescence of the Presiding Officer.
Sec. 6 – Any Delegate who is willing to speak on any given subject matter shall file his “request to speak” with the Floor Leader. The speakers shall be called according to the order of “request to speak” as submitted by the Floor Leader to the President Officer. Each speaker shall be allowed to speak for five minutes. A warning bell shall be sounded by the presiding officer when the speaker has used four minutes. For rebuttals, three minutes shall be allowed.
A Delegate may speak only once on the same subject. He shall also be allowed one rebuttal.
Sec. 7 – Each speaker shall write a summary of his intervention in the Assembly. After his intervention, he shall submit to the General Secretariat this written summary.
Sec. 8 – When a speaker speaks for a group, he should say so and identify those in whose name he is speaking
Sec. 9 – Votes and Voting Procedure;
When a Commission report has been thoroughly discussed and debated upon, a vote shall be taken on each report. The President Officer upon recommendation of the Floor Leader shall close debate and a vote shall be taken
Art. 6: The National Language and English shall be the official languages of the Synod.
Art. 7: As a general rule voting shall be done through official synodal ballots that will be distributed to the Delegates by the Gen. Secretariat. When the vote is taken to approve proposal in whole or in part, the vote shall be expressed as; “affirmative”, “negative” or “affirmative with reservation”.
Sec. 2 – When a vote is cast as “affirmative with reservation”, it shall be accompanied with a clear and brief explanation of the “reservation”.
Sec. 3 – The Presiding Officer may opt for voting by “voice” or by “raising of hands” when he deems it convenient and proper.
Sec. 4 – To approve a proposal, a two thirds majority of the voting Delegates present shall be required.
Sec. 5 – Voting by secret ballot shall be mandatory when the Proponent of a particular subject matter so requests.
Sec. 6 – When a proposal, which in the opinion of the Coordinating Commission is very important, fails to get the two majority required for approval, a motion for reconsideration by the Coordinating Commission shall be entertained. In such a case, a member or two of the Coordinating Commission shall be allowed to give additional arguments for proposal. After one or at most two rebuttals have been entertained, a new vote by secret ballot shall be taken.
Art. 8: When all the prepared drafts and will be a Decree approving the Acts of the Synod and promulgating them together with the creation of the Diocesan instrumentalities to implement the decision of the Synod.