Study of Constitutions: Part III
PRINCIPLES. STRUCTURES. NORMS
CONSTITUTIONS (C): Fundamental, permanent, general.
DIRECTORY (D): Supplementary; current but changeable; detailed.
Important changes in the renewal of sources: Symbolic & real.
- a)GOVERNMENT was placed in the third part of the Constitutions, after charism & persons. It used to be in the first part.
- b)The order was reversed: now LOCAL, PROVINCIAL & GENERAL community. It used to be GENERAL, PROVINCIAL & LOCAL community.
Hints on use of sources:
a) Read through entire text of the Constitutions and Directory at least once, to have a general idea of what is there.
b) Learn the basic Information that every Claretian is expected to know. (Most of what is contained in this paper.)
c) You are not expected to know or remember everything. Much information, especially in the Directory, is specific to certain particular situations. Review them if and when you find yourself in those particular situations.
d) LEARN HOW TO USE THE INDEXES.
Ch. 13: ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE CONGREGATION
Like the Church, the CMF Congregation is charismatic & institutional. All government is at the service of charity & universal mission. (C86)
Structures of the Congregation: (C87-90: D285-286; 294-295) a)
· Major Organisms:
Ø Formed: are developed in mission, formation, economy, government.
Ø In Formation: lacks some elements, but on the way.
o Delegations: Superior has only delegated authority: Independent authority delegated from the Superior General. (Delegations dependent from a province are not kajor organisms)
· Minor Organisms
o Houses (Stability, at least 3 professed members).
o Residences (No stability; ruled by delegate: special mission.)
"Missions" are provinces, delegations or houses with a special form of government. They must be declared & defined as such.
"General Houses" are those that are directly under the authority of the Superior General: e.g., the General Curia, Claretianum, and Juridicum in Rome; occasionally new or difficult missions.
Each local community must have its own superior, vicar and econome. All of the organisms mentioned above need the approval of the General Government for their establishment, change or suppression.
FEDERATIONS OR CONFERENCES.
For mutual help & cooperation, provinces and delegations are formed into Federations or Conferences: (D 306):
· ACLA: Africa
· ASCLA: Asia
· CEC: Central Europe
· CICLA: Latin America
· IBERIA: Spain and Portugal
· NACLA: North America
Ch. 14: Principles of Government (C 93-101; D311-314)
ENROLLMENT (formerly called "incardination")
By first profession one is enrolled in the General Congregation, and specifically in the province for which one has professed. One is enrolled in a local community by assignment of the provincial superior.
ACTIVE & PASSIVE VOICE
With perpetual profession a member has the right to active and passive voice.
a) Active voice: the right to vote according to our legislation.
b) Passive voice: the right to be elected, according to our Legislation. Specifics are in Dir. 322ff.
AUTHORITY in the Congregation is for service.
Superiors (General, Provincial, Local) have ordinary and proper authority, yet subordinate, within their proper jurisdiction and according to canon law & our own legislation. (D364 & elsewhere.)
Ch. 15: Government of the Local community (C 102 -110)
ROLE of Local Superior, Vicar & Econome (treasurer). The Provincial Chapter determines whether they are elected or appointed.
The Plenary Meeting of the community is very important. (C 110).It is made up of all the professed members of the community. It evaluates, discerns, plans, decides concerning the internal life of the community and its ministries. It should meet at least once a month.
More important details are in D430-435, including when the plenary meeting has deliberative votes.
Ch. 16: GOVERNMENT OF THE PROVINCIAL COMMUNITY (C. lll-117; 122-127;
The Provincial Chapter decides on whether and how the Provincial Superior is elected or appointed. The Provincial Chapter also decides whether the term of the Provincial Government is for 6 or 3 years, and how many provincial consultors (one of whom must be the provincial econome).
The consultors (except for the econome) may be chosen at large, or in
reference to a "prefecture"...
The provincial superior chooses his vicar from among the elected consultors. He also chooses the provincial secretary. The Provincial Superior with his Consultors form the Provincial Government. The ideal is to seek "consensus" in their decisions. However, Church law and our own Claretian legislation determine some matters which must be decided by "consultative" votes and others which must be determined by "deliberative" votes. For example, the Provincial superior needs a "consultative" vote to admit a candidate into the novitiate, but must have a "deliberative" vote to admit a novice to first profession.
THE PROVINCIAL CHAPTER "is the instrument that represents the province and expresses the participation, joint responsibility and communion of the whole province." (C122)
Provincial Chapters are held every time it is necessary to elect a new Provincial Superior.
The Superior General (or his delegate) is always the President of the provincial Chapter. There are precise rules for representation and election of chapter members.
oThe Chapter first of all evaluates the "state of the Province" through the written reports submitted beforehand;
oElects the new provincial government;
o Plans and decides the future of the province, usually through a Chapter document or resolutions.
PROVINCIAL ASSEMBLIES are especially encouraged: (C127; D466). "Although they do not have the decision-making character proper of Provincial Chapters, they are important means of participation, co-responsibility and communion. Among their aims, the following stand out: life-sharing, dialogue, mutual acquaintance and encouragement, contributing suggestions, and a review and orientation of the life of the province.
CANONICAL VISITATIONS (C128-134: D472-477)
Canon law and our own Claretian legislation urge the Superior General (or his delegate) to conduct official visits of the various provinces and delegations (with their respective houses and individuals) at least every six years. Provincial superiors should visit their houses and members at least every two years. Both are encouraged to visit informally more frequently, especially to formation centers. Goals and procedures for the visits are described in the Constitutions.
Ch. 18: GOVERNMENT OF THE GENERAL COMMUNITY (C135-156;D478-517)
The SUPERIOR GENERAL unifies, coordinates, animates, plans, and preserves the life, charism and mission of the universal Congregation. His duties are described in detail.The Superior General and his consultors are elected at the General Chapter for a period of 6 years. The Superior General may be re-elected for a second term, but needs a 2/3 majority to be elected for a third term.
The General Chapter determines how many General Consultors there are, and whether they should be elected at-large or in reference to prefectures. Presently there are 6 General Consultors: 4 are elected in reference to prefectures: apostolate, formation, spirituality, finances; 2 are elected as Consultors. (See Claretian Agenda)
The Superior General chooses the Vicar General from among his consultors. The Superior General also selects the Secretary General, the Procurator (who handles the Congregation's business with the Holy See) and the Postulator (who handles causes of beatification & canonization). The
later 3 are usually not consultors.
THE GENERAL CHAPTER is the highest authority of the Congregation. An ordinary General Chapter is held whenever the superior general needs to be elected, i.e., usually every 6 years.
The representation of the General Chapter is carefully regulated by our legislation. Most provinces are represented by their Provincial Superior and one elected delegate. A few larger provinces have an additional delegate or two. Independent Delegations have only one representative. The task of the Chapter is similar to that described above for the Provincial Chapters:
o evaluation of the state of the Congregation through prepared reports and dialogue.
o Election of the new general government
o Planning for the future, usually through the working out of a chapter document and/or resolutions.
-Notes by Ted Cirone, CMF, Revised April 9, 2005