American-Cassinese Congregation

The Constitutions and the Directory

Part I: Matters Pertaining to the Individual Monasteries

Chapter II: The Abbot and Governance of the Monastery

Article 3: The Council of Seniors

C 29. In each monastery of the Congregation there shall be a council of seniors that meets regularly to assist the abbot in exercising his responsibility for all aspects of the life of the monastic community (RB 3; CIC 627).

C 30.1. The council of seniors is composed of not fewer than four and not more than ten capitulars, the number being determined by the chapter.

C 30.2. Half the members of the council shall be appointed by the abbot, half elected by the chapter according to the procedures established in the proper law of the Congregation.

C 30.3. Members of the council are elected for a term of one year, unless the monastic chapter votes to elect a given number of seniors for terms of two or three years.

C 30.4. Members of the council may be reelected indefinitely.

C 31. The council is convoked by the abbot or, because of necessity and at the abbot’s direction, by the prior or a member of the council. The council must be convoked for those matters specified in universal law and the proper law of the Congregation, and also if at least one-half of the members requests it.

D 31.1. 1. The abbot should inform the community as soon as possible of the deliberations of the council of seniors.

D 31.1. 2. Safeguarding the law of charity and prudence, members of the council may discuss with other community members matters considered in their meetings. However, the abbot may oblige the members of the council to observe secrecy regarding certain matters.

D 31.2. 1. The consent of the council of seniors is required for the abbot to act in all instances specified by universal law, by the proper law of the Congregation, or by the decision of the local monastic chapter, among which are the following:

  1. To authorize certain extraordinary expenditures according to the financial norms of the Congregation;
  2. To authorize certain alienation or contracting of debts according to the financial norms of the Congregation;
  3. To grant permission for a monk to live outside the monastery in accordance with the provisions of D 80.2;
  4. To grant an indult of exclaustration;
  5. To petition for imposed exclaustration;
  6. To grant an indult for a monk in temporary vows to leave the monastery.

D 31.2. 2. The abbot must consult with the council of seniors in all instances specified by universal law, by the proper law of the Congregation, or by the decision of the local monastic chapter, among which are the following:

  1. To appoint certain officials of the monastery;
  2. To extend a novitiate beyond twelve months;
  3. To allow a renewal of temporary profession if made originally for less than three years;
  4. To extend the usual period of temporary profession;
  5. To dismiss a claustral oblate;
  6. To establish the horarium;
  7. To send a monk from the abbey to a dependent priory;
  8. To permit a monk to embrace the eremitical life;
  9. To appoint the prior of a dependent priory;
  10. To apply the provisions of D 92.2.2 to a monk unlawfully absent from the monastery;
  11. To establish the nature and length of probation for the readmission of a monk who left the monastery legitimately.

D 31.2. 3. The council of seniors acts collegially with the abbot in all instances specified by the universal law or by the proper law of the Congregation, including the declaration of an ipso facto dismissal (CIC 694.2).

  

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