As the legally binding document of the corporate body of the Guild, the Bylaws cover the overall administration of the Guild in all its aspects. The fourteen articles of the Bylaws certify the name and location of the corporation, its purpose, governance, and membership, before moving on to the Board of Directors and its officers, the Superior General, Dean, and Chapter, and finally explaining the Guild's policies on contracts and sales, recording and reporting, and amendments to the Bylaws.
The Rule is binding on the priests and religious of the Guild. The Oblates voluntarily assent to as much of the Rule as their state and duties of life permit. The Rule and its accompanying document, the Calendar, attempt to improve the spiritual and practical way of life of our clergy and oblates who live in an increasingly godless world. As well as describing the Guild and its governance from a more ecclesiastical standpoint than the corresponding articles of the Bylaws, the Rule also covers the Superior General, Dean and Chapter, their meetings, missions and priories, and the workings of the three orders of the Guild.
God has ordained that there be two perfect societies in this world, each under the authority of God. They are the Church and the State, to each of which God delegates his authority, typically to the King and the Pope. They in turn appoint dukes or government ministers, and bishops to administer the regional governments, specific government departments and dioceses within the realm. As common sense implies, the application of authority is always in a downward direction from the governor to the governed, with true authority solely deriving from and residing in the Lord God and Creator himself.
A church organization like the Guild of St. Peter ad Vincula typically would derive the power over its members from this chain of command described above, namely God --> Pope --> Superior General --> Priests --> Members. In the current state of the Church, unfortunately, where it has become impossible to extend God's kingdom under a Magisterium that essentially rejects it, we have been obliged to create a form of government that sufficiently and effectively reflects the original, true and natural pattern of authority devised by God.
The Guild is divided into the same two elements of Church and State. The founding fathers of the United States felt compelled to establish the artificial separation of Church and State, as they did not recognize the one, true Church as such. Naturally, the Guild's founders have no such difficulties in the concept of "Church", and recognize the union of the ecclesiastical and secular in the common aims of the Guild. They have therefore established this dual system of government, each element of which is administered by a body whose members can most expertly determine the appropriate policies of the Guild.
The Guild is governed by a Rule, the articles of which are established and enforced by the Dean and Chapter, in consultation with the Superior General.
The ecclesiastical administration of the Guild is presided over by the Superior General, whose authority is voluntarily accepted by the priests and religious members of the Guild. The "ministers" of the Superior General are the Dean and Members of Chapter, who meet to discuss the policies of the Guild and recommend their findings to the Superior General. If the Superior General finds that the policy they recommend is appropriate, and may be accepted in conscience by the priests and religious of the Guild, he will approve the new policy. After approval, the new policiy is disseminated to all the priests and religious of the Guild, who are expected to implement it as intended.
The secular workings of the Guild are governed by a Board of Directors under the direction of the President of the Corporation and in accordance with the Bylaws. The Board is responsible for the legally binding Bylaws of the Guild, which cover its non-ecclesiastical functions, such as finances, elections, personnel, and administrative projects to be undertaken.
Members of the Board are voting members of the Guild, by virtue of their Office. They are comprised of the Dean of Chapter plus four men and women over the age of twenty-one who have agreed to observe and abide by the provisions and restrictions set forth in the Bylaws, and have been duly elected by Chapter at the Annual Election held in November. Their one-year term of office begins and ends at the Chair of Unity Meeting held each January.
Woven into the texts of the Rule and Bylaws is an intricate system of checks and balances, providing for the unity of the two administrations of the Guild, and ensuring that no one single person or group may effectively trespass on the jurisdiction of the other. The system has worked well so far, successfully avoiding the potential traps inherent in the administration of other traditional groups, where the clergy have either risen to become petty dictators, or been reduced to mere puppets of their lay board.
Guild of St. Peter ad Vincula
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