Diocesan consultors are a certain number of priests in each diocese of the United States who act as official advisers of the bishop in certain matters pertaining to the administration of the diocese. As a body they take the place of the cathedral chapter as established elsewhere by the general law of the Church. Their appointment was recommended (1866) by the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore . The Third Plenary Council (1884) decreed that they should be constituted a diocesan council, and defined their particular rights and duties.
The diocesan consultors, it was decreed (n. 18), should be six, or at least four, in number. Where neither number is possible, there should be at least two. They hold office for three years; but they may be reappointed or selected at the expiration of each term. The manner of their election consists in the appointment by the bishop alone of half of their number, and of the other half by the bishop also, after having taken the vote of the clergy. All the clergy exercising the sacred ministry in the diocese send, in writing, to the bishop three names for every consultor to be elected. From the names thus proposed the bishop selects those whom he judges most fit for the office. At stated periods they are convened and presided over by the bishop, four times, or at least twice, a year, and, as occasion requires, monthly. In case of the death resignation, or removal of a consultor, the bishop appoints his successor with the advice of the other consultors.
The diocesan council has certain rights and duties : (A) when the see is filled, and (B) when it is vacant.(A)
When the see is filled, the bishop is bound to ask the advice of the diocesan consultors:
In all these cases the consultors give their opinion collectively, i.e. in a body, and by secret ballot if they deem proper. The bishop, however, although bound to seek their advice in these matters, is not obliged to follow it.(B)
When the see is vacant :
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