The Constitution and the Statutes

of the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation

Established by the General Chapter


Section I: Of the Nature and Purpose of the Congregation

C1 The Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation is an association of autonomous Benedictine monasteries forming a monastic congregation (CIC 620), moderated federally by its general chapter and presidentially by its abbot president with his council, according to the norms set down in the Constitution and the Statutes of the Congregation. The Congregation is an integral part of the Benedictine Confederation, to whose laws it is subject.

C2 Though the monastic life is neither clerical nor lay, the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation, by legitimate tradition, is numbered among the clerical institutes and enjoys all the privileges of the same.

C3 1) The purpose of the Congregation is that of promoting its constituent autonomous monasteries' disciplined growth in their ancient traditions, with adaptation of those traditions to modern needs, so that the monasteries will be places in which the things which build up the people of Christ will be cultivated (PC 9). The Congregation, impelled by the Holy Spirit and led by the Church, is to serve and strengthen each of its autonomous monasteries so that the monastic life according to the Gospel, Saint Benedict's Rule for Monasteries, and the sound traditions of each monastery itself will be protected, so also that among the monasteries fraternal help, in persons, goods, and work, will in every way be encouraged.

2) The norms by which the Congregation aims at fulfilling this purpose, and by which all monks of the Congregation are expected, accordingly, to regulate their lives (CIC 598.2), are, after the evangelic norm of following Christ:

a) The Rule of Saint Benedict;
b) The Constitution of the Congregation as approved by the Apostolic See;
c) The Declaration, the Statutes, and the decrees and decisions of the general chapter of the Congregation;
d) The proper laws, contrary neither to the universal law of the Church nor to the Constitution and the Statutes of the Congregation, which each autonomous house has enacted for itself and which have been set down in the Customary of each house, drawn up by the abbot in collaboration with his monks.

C4 The Congregation has no particular work or activity which is incumbent upon all of its monasteries or which gives a particular character to the Congregation. Like all monks, the monks of the monasteries of the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation have as their main task that of rendering to God a service both simple and noble, within the monastic confines; at the same time, they are among those monks who lawfully take up some apostolate or works of Christian charity (PC 9).

C5 1) As public juridic persons, the Congregation itself and each of its constituent monasteries are capable of acquiring, possessing, administering, and alienating temporal goods, in accordance with universal and proper ecclesiastical law, and with civil law considered (see CIC 634.1).

2) The juridic and administrative autonomy of each monastery is such that the Congregation bears no liability for the debts or actions or omissions of any monastery, or of any monk belonging to the monastery. An autonomous monastery of the Congregation bears no liability for the debts or actions or omissions of the Congregation or of any other autonomous monastery with its dependencies or of any monk of any other monastery.



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Rev. 08 Apr 2009 |