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The intent of consensus is to assure that we are acting in concert with a prayerfully discerned sense of the Holy Spirit as well as in concert with the mission of the Church and the Purpose of the Council of the Baptized.

  • When seeking consensus, Council members may vote Yes, Stand Aside, or No
    • Yes is agreement and seeks to pass the measure
    • Stand Aside allows Council members to voice a substantive objection to some aspect of the measure without blocking it
    • No is disagreement and seeks to stop the measure
  • To achieve consensus and pass a measure, two requirements must be met:
    • No more than two dissenting votes, and
    • A minimum of two thirds of all votes must be “Yes” (since a large number of “stand asides” indicates that more work must be done to gain strong consensus)


  • #1: General Consent:A recommendation is presented.The facilitator asks if any discussion is needed.If none is requested, the recommendation is approved.
  • #2: Circle Process / Open Discussion: In this process, deliberations begin with the structured format, but ideas are then developed further through open discussion among Council members.  After a moment of silent reflection, steps in this process include the following:
  • Begin with each Council member making comments in turn around the circle
    • The microphone is then passed to observers for comments if they choose
    • The microphone returns to the circle for a facilitated, open discussion among Council members
    • Facilitator articulates consensus when it seems obvious and calls for group approval
      • Anyone who so wishes can call for an individual voice vote
      • This creates the opportunity for “stand aside” votes or other clarifications
  • #3: Circle Process / Formal: This process stays with the structured format.
    • Begin with each Council member making comments in turn around the circle
    • The microphone is then passed to observers for comments if they choose
    • The microphone returns to the Council member circle for further comments which are expressed in turn around the circle
    • The topic under discussion is then framed as a yes/no question, and consensus is sought through individual voice vote

The facilitator will identify which process will be used.  During the Open Discussion Circle Process, the facilitator or any Council member can call for a return to the Formal Circle Process. Any Council member may call for a moment of silence.

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Council of the Baptized Open Forum, March 13, 2018


Join the discussion of our Vatican II orientation with theologian Catherine Michaud, C.S.J. on Tuesday, March 13, 7:00 p.m.  It is at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 S. Snelling Avenue in St. Paul. 

Deepening our Vatican II Spirituality

Like many church councils before it, Vatican Council II effected an enormous change in the spiritual identity of Catholics. Still, fifty-six years later, Catholics feel insecure about what the Council has called us to embrace. Questions still nag at us. We are asking, among other things:

  • *How did this enormous change happen?
  • *Why did it happen?
  • *Why, over five decades later, does there seem to be such resistance to this Council? 
  • *What exactly does it mean to be a Vatican II Catholic? What is a Vatican II spirituality?


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