The Constitution and the Statutes

of the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation

Established by the General Chapter


Section III: Norms for the Congregation

C64 In the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation the congregational organs of government are: a) the general chapter, b) the abbot president, and c) the abbot president's council.

A. Of the General Chapter

C65 The officers of this Congregation are elected by the general chapter. In its exercise of the right to legislate for the entire Congregation, the general chapter must safeguard the autonomy of the individual monasteries.

C66 The general chapter is composed:

#1- Of the members with the right to vote, who are: the abbot president while in office, the governing abbots, the governing conventual priors, administrators in the sense of C 13, 15, 17.3, proxies of abbots and conventual priors legitimately impeded from attending the general chapter, and one delegate from each autonomous monastery elected by the chapter of the monastery;

#2- Of the members without the right to vote, who are: the priors of dependent houses having at least five monks, and the members of the abbot president's council who are not abbots.

S66 1) The abbot president, on his own initiative, or at the request of his council, may invite experts to the general chapter, without the right to vote.

2) The ordinary general chapter shall be convoked every three years by the abbot president, who presides over it.

3) The abbot president, with the consent of his council, may convoke an extraordinary general chapter whenever one is necessary.

4) The place in which a general chapter meets is to be selected by the abbot president and his council.

C67 The capitulars of each autonomous monastery shall elect from among their number both a delegate to the next general chapter and an alternate delegate who will replace the delegate in that chapter if he is impeded from attending it. The delegations expire at the moment of the adjournment of the general chapter for which they were valid.

S67 Individual monks of a community may submit to their abbot or to their delegate matters for presentation to the general chapter.

S68 1) At least six months before the opening of an ordinary general chapter the abbot president shall send a letter of convocation to all the monasteries. In it he shall indicate the time and place of the chapter, urge the election of the delegate and the alternate delegate at once, and ask that proposals for the agenda of the chapter be submitted to him within two months.

2) All monks of the Congregation have the right to submit proposals for the agenda of the general chapter to the abbot president or to any member of his council.

3) The abbot president, with the aid of his council, shall study the proposals for the agenda of the general chapter which have been submitted, and shall then prepare a list of the matters which will constitute the agenda. This list is to be sent to all the general capitulars two months before the chapter is to convene.

S69 The abbot president shall appoint a monk of the Congregation as secretary of the general chapter.

C68 1) The universal law of the Church (CIC 119, 127) shall be followed in all voting procedures of general chapter, unless the proper law of the Congregation provides otherwise.

2) The adoption of an amendment either of the Constitution or of the Statutes of this Congregation, or of new enactments for the Constitution or for the Statutes, requires the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the general capitulars present with the right to vote.

3) An amendment of the Constitution also requires the approval of the Apostolic See. The authentic interpretation of a provision in the Constitution appertains to the same Apostolic See.

4) A decree of a general chapter remains in force until it is amended or abrogated by a subsequent general chapter, or unless it is issued only for a specified length of time.

C69 It shall be the duty of the general chapter to establish for the monasteries of this Congregation the norms which determine the extent of the respective powers of the abbot, of the council, and of the chapter to dispose of temporal goods of the monastery whether permanently or only temporarily, to contract debts, to make extraordinary expenditures, to borrow, lend, or invest money (S 55).



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Rev. 08 Apr 2009 |