Council of the Baptized:
Serving Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis
Preamble: Catholics of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, in our desire to embody the message of Jesus in the institutional church, as called by our Christian baptism and the bishops of the Church at Vatican II, hereby establish this Council of the Baptized to discern and to communicate the sense of the faithful in our local church and to implement action to address our concerns.
The Council of the Baptized (Council) shall receive concerns of conscience about Church policies and practices (Topics) from the people of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, prayerfully reflect on them, and issue consensus statements (Consensus Statements) to facilitate communication among the people and between the people and Archdiocesan leadership and to implement action to address our concerns.
A. Submission of Topics
1. Topics shall be presented to the Council in writing, either by email to (Council email address) or by U.S. post to the Council’s address of record. The writing shall be signed with the name of the person or persons submitting it and shall contain their contact information.
2. A designated committee will tabulate and categorize the Topics, which will then be prioritized by the Council as a whole. The Council will decide which Topics to consider immediately, which to defer, and which Topics they will not address.
B. Process of Deliberation
1. Topics for the Council to consider shall be assigned by the Executive Committee to committees of members of the Council for research, fact-finding, and drafting.
2. The committee responsible for a Topic shall determine the necessity, time and manner of hearings on theological background, the spirit of Vatican II, and on the lived experience of the faithful.
3. The Council as a whole shall deliberate on the final draft of the Consensus Statement for each Topic. The Executive Committee shall send the draft to be considered to each member at least 7 days prior to the date of deliberation. Each member shall reflect prayerfully on the Topic and discuss it with support team and/or others to discern if the position taken furthers the mission of the Church.
4. Any member who wishes to speak on the Topic shall notify the Executive Secretary prior to the Council’s deliberation. All members may be heard, either orally or in writing. In the event that meeting time is exhausted, deliberation on the Topic may be continued at another meeting.
5. The Council as a whole may hold hearings if further fact-finding, theological background, or testimony of the lived experience of the faithful is deemed necessary.
6. The decision to publish the Consensus Statement shall be by consensus of the Council as a whole.
1. The Council shall publish Consensus Statements for communication to the people and Church leadership in multiple ways:
• Council Media Communications
• Council Members shall report to their quadrants or deaneries
• Spokespersons shall report to the participants of Listening Sessions
• Email network notices
• Website and blog posting
2. The Council shall publish reports of its deliberations on all Topics on which it has not issued a Consensus Statement.
The Council shall be an entity independent in governance from the governing Board of Directors of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform and its Action Coordinating Team (CCCR/ACT). However, to form the Council without delay while giving CCCR/ACT time to establish election procedures among parishioners in the Archdiocesan deanery system, the Council is projected to be established in 3 stages of increasing representation and independence from CCCR/ACT over a 5 year period.
Stage 1-2011-2013: Members shall represent the participants of Synod 2011.
Stage 2-2013-2015: Members shall represent the participants of Synod 2013.
Stage 3-2015: Members shall represent the people of the Archdiocese affiliated by parish and deanery.
B. Number of Members and Manner of Selection:
The Council shall be composed of 21 members.
Stage 1-2011 to 2013: Four members from each geographical quadrant of deaneries in the Archdiocese shall be selected through a process of discernment by a committee authorized by the Board of CCCR/ACT.
Nominations, both self nominations and nomination of others, shall be made in writing before and at Synod of the Baptized 2011. The committee shall sort the nominees by geographical quadrants of deaneries. Those nominees willing to serve will submit personal statements, and enter into the discernment process determined by the CCCR/ACT committee. CCCR/ACT shall also select by discernment five members at large from a field of persons who have skills necessary for the Council’s work.
Stage 2-2013-2015: Four members from each quadrant of deaneries shall be elected by the participantsof Synod 2013 by a procedure determined by CCCR/ACT. The Synod participants shall also elect 5 members at large from a field of persons who have skills necessary for the Council’s work.
Stage 3-2015: Fifteen members shall be elected from the areas designated as deaneries in the Archdiocese. Each parish shall have two representatives to the deanery, one man and one woman. Eachparish and each deanery shall initiate a s/election process for seating one delegate to the Council. The Executive Board of the Council shall appoint six delegates-at-large from a field of persons who have skills necessary for the Council’s work without regard to their parish affiliation.
C. Terms of Service:
Stage 1: Members shall serve from selection by discernment to Synod of the Baptized 2013. A member may run for re-election in 2013 to 2015.
Stage 2: Members shall serve to 2015.
Stage 3: Of the members elected from deaneries, six shall serve one year, five for two years 5 for three year terms. At-large members selected by the Council Executive Committee shall serve one, two or three year terms as determined by the Executive Committee.
No member may be elected to more than two consecutive three year terms.
D. Council Leadership
The Council shall elect a 3 member Executive Committee from its membership. The Executive Committee shall be responsible for the work of the Council.
E. Support Teams, Number and Manner of Selection:
In all 3 stages of the Council establishment, three persons shall be selected to work with each member appointed or elected from the quadrants or deaneries. The manner of selection of the support teams shall be the same as the manner of selection of the member. The purpose of the support team is to aid the member in carrying out his/her duties of deliberation on and dissemination of the Consensus Statements, to communicate with the people of the deanery and to facilitate deanery organization and elections.
Each member shall be a thoughtful, open-minded person, willing to support the purposes of the Council.
G. Gender, Ethnic and Generational Equality:
Each parish, deanery, and appointing Executive Committee shall strive for gender, ethnic, and age diversity.
The Council shall be administered as follows:
A. Executive Secretary
The Executive Committee shall engage the services of an Executive Secretary. The Executive Secretary shall be an employee or a volunteer. Initially, the Executive Secretary shall be a person who is fully conversant with the vision of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform/Action Coordinating Team(CCCR/ACT) and the spirit of Vatican II and be willing to work collegially with CCCR/ACT. The number of hours per week required to do the administrative work of the Council shall be determined by the Executive Committee from time to time. The Executive Secretary shall be responsible for
• receiving the Topics from the people,
• preparing and distributing Topics to the Executive Committee,
• scheduling meetings for committees,
• scheduling the processing of Topics for Consensus Statements through committee and onto the Council schedule for deliberation and into publication,
• keeping records and files on all work in progress and work completed,
• coordinating the work of the Council Administrative Offices that report to the Executive Committee.
B. Council Administrative Offices:
The following offices to administer the Council’s work shall be established by the Executive Committee:
1. Media Communications
2. Finance and Fundraising
4. Election Management
A. The Council of the Baptized shall meet at least monthly. Its meetings shall be open to the public, and the Church leadership shall be invited to attend. Meetings shall be held in a convenient place for the maximum attendance of the people of the Archdiocese.
B. A quorum for meeting shall consist of 13 Council members.
The Council of the Baptized shall be accountable to the people through each member’s representation of quadrants or parishes and deaneries. Members shall report to their quadrants (2011-2015), and to their deaneries thereafter in a manner specified by each deanery.
Terms of Reference in the Council Charter
Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR) is a Minnesota non-profit corporation with a 16 member Board representing 9 reform oriented organizations in the Archdiocese in coalition to raise awareness of church policies and practices that serve the mission of the Church. CCCR is tax exempt under IRS code section 501 (c) 3. See www.cccrmn.org.
Action Coordinating Team (ACT) is a 5 member team commissioned at Synod 2010 to organize action teams within the Archdiocese to raise awareness among Catholics of church policies and practices that serve the mission of the Church.
Council of the Baptized
Council of the Baptized is a representative and deliberative body serving the Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis whose work is to address questions of conscience and to communicate the voice of the people throughout the Archdiocese.
Consensus is the process of arriving at a decision through open discussion and resolution of major discrepancies. Consensus results in a decision that all members of the group can accept and hold without compromising any strong convictions or needs.
Discernment is the process of arriving at a decision in accord with the group’s understanding of God’s will through prayerful reflection and deliberation. Communal discernment is related to consensus but adds the following dimensions to the consensus process: prayerful reflection, gathering of evidence, discussion of positive and negative factors of proposed alternative plans of action, and confirmation by the group. Communal discernment is intended for use in decision-making on issues of major importance.
Spirit of Vatican II
By the expression “the spirit of Vatican II” we mean the two impulses that inspired and animated the Second Vatican Council (1961-1965). This “spirit” is one of both aggiornamento (“updating”) and ressourcement (“return to the sources”) and inspires an interpretation of Vatican II documents that sees the church, in the words of John XXIII, not as a museum but as a flowering garden of life.
John W. O’Malley in his book What Happened at Vatican II, reminds us that the “spirit” of Vatican II continues to invite us today to reorient the Church. . .
from commands to invitations from exclusion to inclusion
from laws to ideals from hostility to friendship
from definitions to mystery from rivalry to partnership
from threats to persuasion from suspicion to trust
from coercion to conscience from static to on-going
from monologue to dialogue from passive acceptance to active engagement
from ruling to serving
from withdrawn to integrated from prescriptive to principles
from vertical to horizontal from behavior modification to inner appropriation
from fault finding to appreciation