Pastoral Practice Committee 2012 Annual Report

Monday, February 04, 2013

Summary Report to the Third Assembly of Bishops, 2012


In June, 2012 the Committee for Pastoral Practice welcomed new member, His Grace Bishop Sevastianos.

The Committee for Pastoral Practice held three meetings since the Second Assembly of Bishops in 2011:

  • July 15, 2011:  Conference Call.  The Terms of Reference given by the Assembly of Bishops were reviewed, and the Committee formally structured.  The Committee noted that several of the identified fields imply future collaboration with other Committees of the Assembly of Bishops.
  • September 24, 2011:  Plenary Meeting, Los Angeles.  Methods, procedures and timeline established
  • October 26, 2011:  Webinar led by Frs. Ian Pac-Urar and Timothy Baclig for practice area consultants. 



Phase I (completed 2011):

  • Identify the sacramental and pastoral practices (e.g., marriage and divorce, reception of converts, etc.) in current usage among all the jurisdictions represented in the Assembly.
    • Identify the fields of pastoral practice to be surveyed (Completed 2011)
    • Request the official procedures for each of these practices from each jurisdiction (Completed 2011

Phase II (in progress 2012):

  • Establish a matrix of practices that allows for a clear comparison and a protocol to address inconsistencies (In progress, 2012):  Matrix is complete; data is in process of confirmation by each jurisdiction.
  • Catalogue the differences and inconsistencies that exist and determine whether such differences are local (parish or diocese only) or the policy of the jurisdiction (In progress, 2012 – refer to detailed report submitted to Secretariat.)

Phase III (projected 2013):

  • Propose models for resolution that are consistent with canonical practice.  (Anticipated, 2013)

At this writing, the Committee has gathered and analyzed enough information that we are now prepared to hold our first Conference on Pastoral Practice, and venues are being considered for the 2013 Conference.  Once the venue is established, calls for presentations will be published, and each jurisdiction will be invited to send participants.  The goal of the conference will be to discuss the theological and ecclesiological ramifications of the Committee’s findings and to negotiate workable models for proposing resolution.  This part of the Committee’s work can only be accomplished by face-to-face meetings of all the concerned parties – that is, the representatives of all jurisdictions.  The Conference will then be able to make specific, practical recommendations to the Fourth Assembly of Bishops one year from now.


Collaboration with Other Committees

Four areas of Pastoral Practice identified by our Committee require collaboration with the Committee for Clergy Affairs.  These are the areas of: clergy divorce, clergy release and transfer, clergy misconduct and the reception of clergy from the Roman Catholic church.    Although these are areas of specific concern to the committee for clergy Affairs, each of these areas has pastoral ramifications, which concern our Committee.

Our consultant-facilitator, Fr. Ian G. Pac-Urar, is also a consultant to the Committee for Clergy Affairs and is working with the facilitator of that committee to establish a joint task force for this work.