American-Cassinese Congregation

The Constitutions and the Directory


Part III: Matters Pertaining to the Congregation

Chapter I: The Government of the Congregation and Its Officials

C 104. The government of the American-Cassinese Congregation as such resides with the general chapter, the President of the Congregation, and the council of the President, according to the norms of universal law and the proper law of the Congregation.

D 104. The procedures for voting established in D 101.1 - D 101.11 are to be observed by the general chapter and the council of the President, with due regard for exceptions contained in the proper law of the Congregation.

Article 1: The General Chapter

C 105. The relationship that exists among the autonomous monasteries of the Congregation is nowhere more visible than in the general chapter. Gathered as brothers, the abbots and the delegates representing each monastery form the body that not only is the supreme authority of the Congregation, but also can promote for all the monasteries a fidelity to their Benedictine heritage and can encourage appropriate renewal (CIC 631).

C 106. The general chapter elects the President of the Congregation and his council and has the right to legislate for the Congregation (CIC 631).

C 107. The general chapter is to be convoked every three years by the President of the Congregation. With the consent of his council, the President may convoke an extraordinary general chapter for a grave cause.

D 107.1. The President, having consulted his council, selects the place of meeting, usually with the endorsement of the general chapter.

D 107.2. 1. At least nine months before the opening of an ordinary general chapter the President of the Congregation is to send a letter of convocation to all of the member monasteries, indicating the time and place of the general chapter, urging the election of delegates at once, and asking that propositions to be discussed at the chapter be submitted to him within three months.

D 107.2. 2. All monks of the monasteries of the Congregation have the right to submit material to the President or to any member of his council, though it is specifically the obligation of each delegate to ascertain the wishes of his community and to submit these.

C 108. The President of the Congregation presides over the sessions of the general chapter.

D 108. If the President is unable to attend, the presidency of the general chapter follows the order of precedence established in C 118.2.

C 109. The general chapter is composed of the following members who have a right to vote:

  1. the President of the Congregation;
  2. the members of the council of the President;
  3. the superior of each autonomous monastery;
  4. the delegate from each autonomous monastery elected in accord with the prescriptions of these Constitutions (CIC 631.2).

D 109.1. Each member of the general chapter has only one vote even if he is present under more than one title (CIC 168).

D 109.2. Priors of dependent monasteries participate in the general chapter but do not have the right to vote.

C 110. A superior who for grave reasons is unable to be present at the general chapter is to appoint a capitular from his own monastery to serve as a proxy.

D 110.1. The superior is to prepare a document of delegation that his proxy is to submit to the President of the Congregation.

D 110.2. If the President of the Congregation or a member of his council is not the superior of an autonomous monastery and is unable to attend the general chapter, he does not appoint a proxy.

C 111. The monastic chapter of each autonomous monastery is to elect a capitular of the community as its delegate to the general chapter.

D 111.1. This election is to be certified by the secretary of the monastic chapter and the notification forwarded to the President before the general chapter opens.

D 111.2. The monastic chapter of each autonomous monastery is to elect another capitular to serve as a substitute for the delegate in case it becomes impossible for the latter to attend the general chapter.

D 111.3. The office of delegate to the general chapter ceases with the close of the general chapter.

C 112. The President of the Congregation establishes, with the consent of his council, the agenda for the general chapter.

D 112.1. The agenda is to be sent to all superiors and delegates four months before the general chapter opens.

D 112.2. 1. The President of the Congregation, after consultation with his council, may invite experts to the general chapter.

D 112.2. 2. The expenses of such experts are to be paid by the Congregation.

C 113.1. Provided that the action taken is not contrary to universal law, the general chapter has the right to define, by extension or restriction, to abrogate, and to modify any provision of its own official documents and any decisions of the chapter, saving the right of the Apostolic See to approve changes in the Constitutions (CIC 587.2).

C 113. 2. A decision of the general chapter requires no further confirmation unless it is contrary to universal law or to these Constitutions. The decisions of the general chapter become effective upon publication in the Acts of the general chapter, unless the general chapter itself provides otherwise in specific instances.

C 113. 3. A decision of the general chapter that requires further confirmation becomes binding when the confirmation has been given and the monasteries have been notified.

D 113.1. 1. The general chapter has the authority to forbid a monastery faced with serious financial difficulties to burden itself with additional debt or to spend money over and above the ordinary expenses of administration without the express approval of the general chapter or, in an urgent case, of the President, with the consent of his council.

D 113.1. 2. Any superior violating or disregarding this prohibition shall be immediately suspended from office by the President, having obtained the consent of his council, and, if the case demands it, shall be entirely removed from office. In the case of an abbot of a territorial abbacy, the universal law must be observed.

D 113.2. The minutes of the general chapter are the responsibility of the executive secretary of the Congregation, though non-members of the general chapter may be employed as recording secretaries. The executive secretary is to prepare the Acts and Decrees for publication. Following the approval of the President, the Acts and Decrees are published, copies of which are to be made available to each member of the Congregation in a manner determined by the President after consulting his council.



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