At fixed times all the abbots/abbesses come together. They discuss there the salvation of their own souls and of those committed to them. They take measures regarding the observance of the Holy Rule and of the Order where there is something that needs to be corrected or added. They foster anew among themselves the benefit of peace and charity. They devote themselves to maintaining the patrimony of the Order and safeguarding and increasing its unity. (C.77)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

No more Mixed General Chapters

We knew something was up, but had no idea what. My mixed commission was waiting to see the abbot general in the afternoon on Sept. 14th, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, but we waited in vain. We only knew that he was saying good bye to the Cardinal, the new Prefect of the Congregation of Religious life. (See the blog for Sept. 14) It shouldn’t take more than an hour to say good bye?

This morning we learned the answer. Right after Tierce – which we pray in the aula – the word was given to the abbot general, who asked Dom Timothy, the procurator general, to come up for an announcement. The good news came slowly after a very brief history: As of September 14 this year we have been granted our request of the MGMs of 2005 and 2008 to have ONE general chapter.

A long and happy applaud. The other two requests that have been given to the Congregation of Religious Life was for non priest superiors and the interpretation of enclosure for nuns. The answer there is that the first of these is not possible because of the authority structure in the Church. The second question we can reintroduce after we have made the necessary changes of our Constitutions for the one general chapter.

The immediate question in the aula was what to do with the ongoing work in the separate chapters for abbots and abbesses. The Law Commission and the Central Commission have decided that we will continue the work in separate commissions, but make the votes in one Chapter.

Another question will be the vote about simple priories from Tuesday (see yesterday’s blog about the Statute on Foundations). If you just add the abbots’ votes to the abbesses’ votes, the result will be that there will be a request for at least 8 professed monks or nuns in a foundation before it can be raised to a simple priory.

Sr. Hanne-Maria of Tautra