The Church: path, truth and life.
“The Spanish Episcopal Conference is a permanent institution made up of the Spanish Bishops, in communion with the Roman Pontiff, for the joint exercise of some pastoral functions of the Spanish Episcopate” (Charter, Art. 1,1); this does not mean that it is a “great diocese” that encompasses all the others; each one has its own autonomy.
The documents outline the role and actions of the 113 Episcopal Conferences in existence in the world today, which are: “Lumen Gentium” (23), “Christus Dominus” (37-38), “Eclesiae Imago” (211), “Eclesiae Sanctae” (41), “Apostolos Suos” and the Canon Law (cc.447-459).
The Spanish Episcopal Conference was established by rescript of the Sacred Consistorial Congregation, protocol N 1.047/64, of 3-10-1966. It enjoys public ecclesiastical legal status (Art. 1,3) and civil status by virtue of the Agreement on Legal Affairs of 3-1-1979 between the Holy See and the Spanish State.
- Its first Charter was adopted by the Constituent Assembly in the year 1966 and ratified by Pope Paul VI that same year, “ad quinquenium” (for a five-year period).
- It won definitive recognition on 5-2-1977 by decree of the Sacred Congregation for Bishops.
- Subsequently, on 23-11-1989, the 51st Plenary Assembly approved the modification of some articles, confirmed by the Congregation for Bishops by decree of 5-2-1991.
- The latest renewal was approved by the 92nd Plenary Assembly of the SEC (24-28 November 2008) and confirmed by the Decree of the Congregation of Bishops of 19 December 2008.
All Spanish Bishops with pastoral responsibilities have full say and voting rights in the Plenary Assemblies: Emeritus Bishops (retired) without pastoral responsibility, only full say. The positions are chosen for a three-year period. No two successive mandates may be exceeded except for that of the Secretary-General, who is chosen for a five-year period.