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Code of Canon Law
IntraText CT - Text
Can. 447 The Episcopal Conference, a permanent institution, is the assembly of the Bishops of a country or of a certain territory, exercising together certain pastoral offices for Christ's faithful of that territory. By forms and means of apostolate suited to the circumstances of time and place, it is to promote, in accordance with the law, that greater good which the Church offers to all people.
§2 An Episcopal Conference can, however, be established for a territory of greater or less extent if the Apostolic See, after consultation with the diocesan Bishops concerned, judges that circumstances suggest this. Such a Conference would include only the Bishops of some particular Churches in a certain territory, or those who preside over particular Churches in different countries. It is for the Apostolic See to lay down special norms for each case.
Can. 450 §1 By virtue of the law, the following persons in the territory belong to the Episcopal Conference: all diocesan Bishops and those equivalent to them in law; all coadjutor Bishops, auxiliary Bishops and other titular Bishops who exercise in the territory a special office assigned to them by the Apostolic See or by the Episcopal Conference. Ordinaries of another rite may be invited, but have only a consultative vote, unless the statutes of the Episcopal Conference decree otherwise.
Can. 451 Each Episcopal Conference is to draw up its own statutes, to be reviewed by the Apostolic See. In these, among other things, arrangements for the plenary meetings of the Conference are to be set out, and provision is to be made for a permanent committee of Bishops, and a general secretary of the Conference, and for other offices and commissions by which, in the judgement of the Conference, its purpose can more effectively be achieved.
Can. 452 §1 Each Episcopal Conference is to elect its president and determine who, in the lawful absence of the president, will exercise the function of vice-president. It is also to designate a general secretary, in accordance with the statutes.
§2 Auxiliary Bishops and other titular Bishops who belong to the Episcopal Conference have a deliberative or consultative vote according to the provisions of the statutes of the Conference. Only those mentioned in §1, however, have a deliberative vote in the making or changing of the statutes.
Can. 455 §1 The Episcopal Conference can make general decrees only in cases where the universal law has so prescribed, or by special mandate of the Apostolic See, either on its own initiative or at the request of the Conference itself.
§2 For the decrees mentioned in §1 validly to be enacted at a plenary meeting, they must receive two thirds of the votes of those who belong to the Conference with a deliberative vote. These decrees do not oblige until they have been reviewed by the Apostolic See and lawfully promulgated.
§4 In cases where neither the universal law nor a special mandate of the Apostolic See gives the Episcopal Conference the power mentioned in §1, the competence of each diocesan Bishop remains intact. In such cases, neither the Conference nor its president can act in the name of all the Bishops unless each and every Bishop has given his consent.
Can. 457 The permanent committee of Bishops is to prepare the agenda for the plenary meetings of the Conference, and it is to ensure that the decisions taken at those meetings are duly executed. It is also to conduct whatever other business is entrusted to it in accordance with the statutes.
1° prepare an account of the acts and decrees of the plenary meetings of the Conference, as well as the acts of the permanent committee of Bishops and to communicate these to all members of the Conference; also to record whatever other acts are entrusted to him by the president or the permanent committee;
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