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Vatican changes rules for Australian Bishops Conference

The Vatican has approved a new set of statutes that affect the way the Australian bishops function as a group.

Bishops Conference Secretary Fr Brian Finnigan said the changes will take effect on Sunday.

He said they ban proxy votes at Bishops Conference meetings, which means bishops must attend the meeting in person in order to vote on resolutions.

Another significant change is that the election for the Central Commission or permanent committee requires that the elected body is composed of members from across the country, with no concentration of members from one of the more populous states (e.g. NSW).

Fr Finnegan said the changes will bring the functioning of the Bishops Conference more into line with Vatican II.

He said: "It is pleasing to have the original Statutes of 1979 revised and approved for implementation. A number of by-laws are being developed to give practical application to the Statutes."

New Statutes for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC)
Decree of Promulgation