Constitutions 1983 of the Clerics Regular of St Paul
- LE COSTITUZIONI
Chierici Regolari di San Paolo
2. Our family, composed of priests, candidates to the priesthood, and coadjutor brothers, who have professed their vows, is a Clerical Order of perpetual solemn vows, directly dependent on the Holy See, and approved by Clement VII in 1533. In our family tradition it is refered to as the Congregation. Its members are called Barnabites, a name derived from the church of St. Barnabas in Milan, the first center of their activity.
3. Coming into existence on the eve of the Council of Trent, which was inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Congregation has been characterized from its earliest days by an intense life of interior renewal2, centered on Christ Crucified3 and on the Eucharist4; by a remarkable communal spirit;5 and by a special involvement in moral reform whose "true purpose", as indicated by the Holy Founder, was the " genuine honor of Christ, genuine availability to one's neighbor and genuine self-abasement and profound humility"6.
4. Since their beginnings the Barnabites have considered ' themselves, and have indeed been, the . bishops' collaborators7. They originally dedicated themselves to missionary work among the people, to spiritual assistance to the clergy, to preaching and the celebration of the sacraments; later they extended their activities to missionary and parochial ministries; to sacred and secular studies; to schools, to youth, and to other forms of pastoral activities, always open to the needs of the times.
6. The present Constitutions aim to preserve the spirit of the Congregation's origins and to adapt the life of the Congregation to the new needs of the Church and of the world; the commitment to live by them is the answer to the gift of God's call and a unifying bond for all confreres.
PART ONE: THE LIFE OF THE CONGREGATION
7. Called to live more fully our baptismal consecration as followers of Christ2 we have freely chosen life in a community in order to realize the same ideal which our first confreres interpreted as renunciation of the spirit of the world, total dedication to God and apostolic service to our brothers.3
8. Religious life creates a community of faith, hope and love based on the Word of God and on prayer4; it achieves a constant communion among the confreres, drawing strength from each member for the growth of all in love5; it is an authentic sign of belonging to Christ6, and a foretaste of the future life, when God will be all in all7.
9. More than uniformity, community life signifies a complementary relationship of persons and of apostolic choices. Indeed, the Spirit distributes his gifts to everyone for the benefit of all8 and creates harmony among the charisms of individuals, so that the Congregation, not by stifling the Spirit, but by testing everything and retaining what is good9 may strive for the greatest charism of all, that is, charity10, which is the fullness of the law11 and the bond of perfection12.
10. The coadjutor brothers, present since the beginning in the one family of the "sons of Saint Paul"13 participate in the mission and activities of the community, sharing in all rights and duties exclusive of those of the priesthood.
11. To respond to God's call in a personal and communal manner and constantly to develop our religious vocation, we need to strengthen our life of prayer, penance, fraternal communion, the practice of the evangelical counsels, and apostolic action.
12. Following the 'example and the teaching of the Master14 we keep alive our dialogue with God by means of prayer so that we may experience his fatherly love, understand and do his will, and increase out brotherly love. Prayer, requisite and foundation for Christian religious life, deepens our understanding of the divine origin of our vocation and helps us to discover the most suitable forms of apostolic presence in the world.
13. Personal prayer derives from and leads to the Liturgy, in ,which Christ, the only and eternal Priest, prays ,with us to the Father, in an unsurpassed self-offering; gives his Spirit to the Church, strengthening its unity; accompanies with his active presence his faithful in their lives. The Liturgy, in its double aspect of Eucharist and Divine Praise, from the beginning of the Congregation, has been the center of community life.
14. The paramount moment of the Liturgy is the Eucharistic Mystery. Through it Christ Builds his body; establishes our brotherhood15; and we, giving thanks to God constantly offer our life to the Father our Founder who was a fervent apostle of the Eucharist, spurs us on to an intense love for this sacrament16.
15. Every recognizes in the daily participation in the Eucharist the most plentiful source of love and of community life. It shall be the responsibility of every Superior to find the most opportune time and mode for the communal celebration of the Eucharist.
16. Promotion of Eucharistic worship and decorum in the celebration of the Liturgy represent a commitment characteristic of our tradition.
17. The offering of ourselves to the Father, made with Christ in the Eucharist, continues during the day through pastoral activities and the Liturgy of the Hours, where, nourished by the Word of God, we join the voice of the entire Church, which continuously and everywhere praises the Lord.
17.1 - The celebration in common of the Liturgy of the Hours, or of at least part of it, shall be encouraged in our communities, along with the participation of the faithful.
18. Mental prayer, “so necessary... that one who does not find in it interior delight will inevitably make no progress”17, is a daily duty of every confrere. It perfects the listening to, the dialogue, with, the contemplation of God through spiritual reflection 011 the Scriptures. Mental prayer also finds themes in liturgical and patristic texts, in Church documents, in the teaching and life of the Saints, and in the very events of daily life seen through eyes of faith.
19. Every community shall gather daily, for at least half an hour; for mental prayer, which may include reflective communal sharing and be a part of liturgical celebrations.
19.1 - The local chapter shall determine models and times for community prayer in order to permit the actual presence of the entire community.
20. Besides liturgical celebrations and mental prayer, other forms of community prayer may be adopted during particular moments in the life of the Congregation, of the Church, and of the world.
20.1 - During the general and provincial chapters, suitable prayers shall be required in communities to ask the help of the Holy Spirit for the work of the chapter.
20.2- Prayer for those united to us by family ties, friendship or gratitude, is a true way of showing our love. It will be for the local community and the confreres to find the most suitable ways of fulfilling these duties which are both natural and religious.
21. The love which unites us to God does notend with our life here on earth and there for we shall keep a remembrance in our personal and community prayers of confreres, relatives, and friends, “who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith,” that they may sleep in Christ and find in his presence light, happiness, and peace18.
22. -On the death of a confrere, each priest will celebrate one Mass. This suffrage shall preferably be offered in a Eucharistic Concelebration, with the whole' community participating. If a concelebration should not take place, the community shall gather for another form, of suffrage.
22.1 - In each community monthly prayers will be offered for the deceased confreres, relatives, and friends.
22.2 In addition, the memory of each confrere will be preserved by a suitable biographical profile.
23. With filial love we cherish the Virgin Mary, honored by our Congregation under the title of Mother of Divine Providence. This devotion, expressed in personal and community forms, according to our tradition, constantly l1en1inds us of the fidelity with which Mary, responded to God's election, and offers a perfect model and a sure help for our religious life.
24. We venerate in a special way the, apostle Paul, “because we have chosen him as our father and guide and are proud to be his followers.”19 We nourish our devotion to him by studying his teachings and by imitating his example20.
25. Along with St. Paul and the Saints of the Congregation, we especially venerate St. Anthony M. Zaccaria, our Father and Founder, whose charism we endeavor faithfully to sustain in the Church, through an intense love of God and our neighbor21 fulfilled with unyielding faith22 and an ever renewed zeal for action.23
26. Just as Jesus 'would interrupt his own ministry to withdraw into more intimate contact with his heavenly Father24 so shall to review our spiritual life and our active apostolate in the light of the Gospel. The annual retreat is an obligation for every confrere.
26.1 - Local chapters and Superiors shall periodically organize for the communities or propose to the confreres spiritual retreats as they see fit.
27. Acknowledging that we are sinners, and mindful that our weakness is an obstacle to total and constant consecration to God, we seek an ongoing conversion of heart and, in a spirit of penance and of reparation, we unfold to God's mercy and grace.
28. The frequent use of the sacrament of Reconciliation, of community discernment, and of personal exan1ination of conscience, are signs of, and means for, constant conversion; in so doing we are purified and strengthened in our journey toward the freedom of the children of God, and toward communion with our brothers; we facilitate the real knowledge of ourselves and J we combat negligence and lukewarmness
29. Community celebrations of Penance and fraternal correction practiced according to the spirit of the Gospel and of our tradition effectively contribute to the proce,ss of community conversion.
29.1 – In harmony with the liturgical seasons, especially during Advent and Lent, community penitential services, chapters of revision of life, and meetings of fraternal correction shall be promoted.
30. The spirit of penance commits us to the practice of various forms of' spiritual asceticism which animate .religious life, such as: continuous and ' extended prayer; search and acceptance of God's will; acceptance of other people; offering to God our limitations; interior and exterior silence; custody of the heart and discipline in using earthly possessions.
31. In this effort to build up our spiritual life, we shall be able to discover in our self-sacrifice a way of sharing in Christ's redemptive work for the sake of men and of the world and our assimilation to Him in bearing insult offering our bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God.
31.1 - The spirit of penance will prompt the communities to live modestly and to take concrete initiatives to meet the most urgent needs in their own environment.
31.2 - During those periods determined by the Liturgy, with particular reference to the recurring events of the Congregation, the local chapters, in communion with Christ's suffering in the brothers, will establish community forms of renunciation.
32. Our union with Christ and with the brothers manifests itself in community life by appreciating that which unites, and by overcoming that which divides, and creates that fraternal communion which is the result of charity.
33. The confreres live in the religious house and take part in the community life, which engages everyone in collaboration for the common good. Each and everyone contributes with his natural and grace given talents, prayer, sincere dialogue, the direct earnings of his own work, and practical cooperation.
34. Community life, based on a common experience of faith, contributes to a harmonious development of each religious as a human being and as a Christian. In particular, it helps toward personal growth and initiative, encourages shared responsibility and fraternal exchange, is a support in difficulties, and provides more effective means for endeavors in common.
35. The animation of community life is a particular duty of the Superior, who is assigned to guide the community and who, following Christ’s example, exercises his authority in spirit of service. It is his duty to facilitate harmony and agreement among the brothers, so that all may cooperate to discover God's plan for the community and to commit themselves to its realization.
36. Common life finds its expression and receives its stimulus from meetings of the confreres to which our family tradition gives the name chapters.
37. Among the different forn1s of chapters, some are decision-making and electoral, others are spiritual in character and bring the members of a community together for mutual animation, such as reflection on Holy Scripture and on the Constitutions, revision of life, chapters of admonitions and of faults, pastoral and theological renewal, and practical problems of each community.
37.1- Other meetings, open to all, may serve to bring together the confreres of the same or different communities, to exchange ideas and experiences, to suggest projects, and to stimulate collaboration and encourage family spirit.
37.2 –The provincial and local chapters shall decide upon the calling of different kinds of chapters, adapting their practical form to different situations.
38. A well-ordered program of community life requires from each member a serious commitment to the duties assigned to him, openness to accept suggestions and a willingness to cooperate with others.
39. Being concerned for one another, we maintain in our houses an atmosphere of recollection and at certain times of silence, as a help to prayer, to study, and to needed rest. We make prudent use of the social communication media, mindful of the value of time and of the demands of our vocation.
40. Each community annually draws up a schedule of activities to be undertaken in common, to be suited to different times and situations, and to be approved by the provincial Superior.
40.1 - The local chapter will decide upon the suitability of reading at table during certain seasons of the year.
41. The general behavior of the confreres strives for simplicity and dignity. As a sign of mutual respect, they take care of what is held in Common.
42. Our charity turns with particular care toward confreres who, by reason of age or illness, have need of special assistanceand because they more visibly bear the marks of Christ’s passion. Our concern extends as well to those who are obliged to live temporarily outside the community.
43. To witness the breadth of evangelical charity, each community is open to its environment in a mutual sharing of spiritual and human goods; in the spirit of our tradition, it is also welcoming and hospitable, particularly toward confreres of other communities. Furthermore, in order to facilitate the orderliness of community life, as a norm, care will be taken to reserve a part of the house exclusively for the confreres.
43.1 - In faithfully maintaining our commitment to the Congregation, we shall also maintain a proper relationship with our families.
43.2 As a help towards a greater human and Christian openness, the confreres are urged to appreciate the advantages offered by contacts with cultures different from those of their own country.
44. Our rellgious family, faithful to its ancient tradition, values learning and regards study as most appropriate to “regular life” Each community has the obligation to offer to the confreres a suitable place, sufficient time, and the necessary means for study and for specific preparation to apostolic work.
45. In their commitment to study, the confreres shall before all else strive for a gradual assimilation of the sacred disciplines. These promote the knowledge and the love of God and of the Church, and simultaneously prepare the religious to ever better respond to the demands of their mission. In a special way the confreres ought to study Holy Scripture, and eagerly enjoy its understanding and comprehension, so that they may gain an insight into its hidden meal1ings, especially those helpful to moral instruction.
46. The personal growth of the religious is also fostered by the knowledge of life events; by the study of secular sciences, and by paying close attention to social and cultural phenomena. The confreres, therefore, will strive to acquire a profound knowledge of man and of the world in order to be able to be more effective in their apostolic endeavors.
47. Engagement in studies, although a duty of all confreres, must be loved and pursued especially by those assigned to it by the Superiors. In particular, by going to the sources of knowledge rather than to its rivulets they will ensure professionalism in research, accuracy in documentation, humility in discovery, and each should, insofar as he can, desire and strive to have rather what can direct him to writing books, ... than to acquire a merely superficial knowledge in the books of others.
47.1 – Engagement in university teaching will be opportunely evaluated by the major Superiors, for a more active presence of the Church and of the Congregation in the world of higher learning.
47.2 - A copy of every publication by the confreres shall be sent to the Barnabite library of the general curia in Rome and to the motherhouse of St. Barnabas in Milan.
48. In order to be published, any writings regarding faith and morals, must have the approval of the local Ordinary and of the major superiors.
49. Work, as part of God's plan for man, and as cooperation with his creative activity, is a duty of each confrere in compliance with the example given by the divine Master and by the apostle Paul.
50. We value work as redemptive and penitential, as well as expressive of Christian virtue. We accept it with joy as a means toward personal growth and fulfillment, and human solidarity.
51. Each religious must take upon himself, in a responsible manner, the duty of work in its different forms, apostolic and professional, intellectual and manual, regarding them as a concrete expression of charity towards his confreres and his neighbor, as well as a normal way for self-support.
52. The choices of forms of works are agreed upon in chapters and with the Superiors, within the limits of their respective competence, according to the needs of time and place, and respecting the individuals’ propensities and the common good.
53. We value free time as a means of growth and maturity, and it must be responsibly offered and accepted. It gives an opportunity for necessary rest and for other activities dictated by personal choice, and it creates aclimate of joy and spontaneity.
53.1 - Provision shall be made in community schedules for times of relaxation in common.
53.2 - Suitable periods of relaxation and vacation shall be assured for the confreres, taking into consideration the spirit of poverty, community obligations, and local customs.
54. Fidelity to religious vocation depends on God's grace, on personal cooperation and a strong community life. The confreres, therefore, shall support one another, especially in prayer, in order to overcome the inevitable difficulties and persevere in the vocation they have received.
55. Our shared responsibility and the Spirit of charity render us more understanding with confreres who find themselves reexamining their choice of life, so that our fraternal affection and advice may facilitate their sincere search for God's will.
56. Confreres who, for serious reasons, have received from the Superior general, with the consent of his council, the permission to live temporarily outside the Congregation, shall be helped in all ways suggested by charity.
57. The juridical position of solemnly professed confreres, who live for a time outside the Congregation, shall be determined by the Superior general, with the consent of his council, and after consultation with the provincial council concerned, according to the norms of universal law.
58. The norms of universal laws shall be followed for ' indult of exclaustration, departure, dismissal, arid transfer to another institute.
59. As regards confreres who leave the congregation definitively, either on their own initiative or as a result of dismissal, the norms of the law shall be followed and the duty of charity observed. In order to facilitate their insertion in society, although they have no right to compensation for services rendered, the provincial Superior, together with the local community, shall determine the necessary financial assistance and other forms of help.
60. The readmission to the · Congregation of those who request it falls within the competence of the Superior general with the consent of his council. He will prudently establish the modalities, having consulted the provincial council concerned, and in accordance with Canon Law.
61. The admission into the Congregation of a perpetually professed religious from another institute falls within the competence of the Superior general with the consent of , his council, and upon consultation with the provincial council concerned. The religious will observe a postulancy period to be determined by the Superior general, the novitiate according to the Constitutions, and an eventual period of post-novitiate formation in a suitable community chosen by the Superior general. The length of the probation period before making profession in the Congregation is to be at least three years.
128 The type of life introduced by St. Anthony M. Zaccaria and interpreted through time by the Constitutions and other rules and regulations, is to be lived by us and proposed to others as a valid expression of religious and apostolic life within the Church.
129. The confreres , living their vocation as a gift from God in service of brothers , shall develop an appropriate vocation promotion, which will make our religious family better known and help to attract new members.
129.1 - In a spirit of cooperation with other forces at work in the Church, our confreres will encourage the increase and the development of vocations for other forms, as well, of ecclesiastical life.
130. Vocation promotion, undertaken by individual confreres and by the community, is to be enhanced and coordinated through suitable initiatives and structures in accord with the general directives of the Congregation and the pastoral planning of the local Churches.
131. Certain norms, regarding the formation curriculum, are held indispensable, in addition to those established by the Church, for a valid preparation of the candidates to our religious life and our apostolate.
132. In the work of formation of our vocations, proper consideration is to be given to the contribution of the humane sciences and to the development of the talents of each candidate.
132.1 - Insofar as possible, major Superiors will establish formation periods to be lived in communal residencies in order to foster in our young people a family spirit.
133. Postulancy is the period of the candidate's first official contact with the Congregation. Its aim is to make possible a mutual acquaintance, an initial assessment of the candidate's aptitudes and dispositions and to prepare him to enter the novitiate with full awareness and sufficient maturity.
133.1 - In assessing the spiritual, psychological, and physical aptitudes and dispositions of the candidate, the norms of the Church and of the Congregation shall be kept in mind.
134. The right of admitting a candidate to postulancy pertains to the provincial Superior, except where otherwise prescribed 2.
135. The period of postulancy is normally spent in a house of the province, which provides a suitable atmosphere for formation, in accordance with the modalities decided by the community with the authorization of the provincial Superior.
135.1 - The postulant will be entrusted by the community to the particular responsibility of a confrere, who shall be accountable for his work to the same community and to the provincial Superior.
135.2 - The postulant will be admitted to the novitiate upon having given proof of his commitment in pursuing his choice and the life project the Congregation offers him.
135.3 - For the young people attending our vocational houses, the period of postulancy coincides with the year preceding the novitiate.
135.4 - The postulant is free to withdraw at any time; the community, in turn, having consulted the provincial Superior, may dismiss him, should it not consider him suitable.
136. The official postulancy period lasts, as a rule, one year or a length of time determined by the provincial Superior, and is not incompatible with studies or other activities undertaken by the aspirant.
137. At the conclusion of the specified period, the postulant makes a written request to the provincial Superior for admission to the novitiate. The provincial Superior, with the consent of his council, taking into consideration the opinion expressed by the community in a chapter meeting, decides on the admission, except as otherwise prescribed 3.
138. The novitiate is the period of initiation of aspirants into the knowledge and practice of religious and apostolic life as specified in the Constitutions and lived in the Congregation. In this period, the novices become ever more conscious of their free and responsible answer to God's call and at the same time, the Congregation has the means properly to evaluate their suitability for our life.
139. During the novitiate, the first priority shall be the spiritual formation of the novicies, with the goal of creating personalities inwardly unified "in the love and desire for whole and total perfection”4. Signal moments of such formation shall be the progressive deepening of the personal relationship with God. the gradual introduction to the practice of the evangelical counsels and t community life, the strengthening of human and Christian virtues, the education toward a stable lifestyle, the assimilation of a sincere love for the Church and the Congregation.
139.1 - Subject matter of study for the novices shall be the Holy Scriptures, especially the Letters of St. Paul, spiritual theology and of religious life, the Constitution and the principal documents of our tradition, the history and the spirituality of the Congregation.
139.2 - In the field of spiritual formation the novices shall be educated to a profound liturgical life in order for them fruitfully to participate, from the beginning, in the divine mysteries.
139.3 - The novices will be taught to make use, in their striving for perfection, of spiritual direction, to be done according to the spirit and norms of the Church.
140. - In our religious family, committed to apostolic activity, the novitiate period must have suitable training in the principles and problems of the apostolate, aiming at preparing the novices to give expression to their consecration to God in generous service to brothers.
l41. Every province may have its own novitiate, either as an independent community or as a part of an established community. The choice of place shall ensure for the novices surroundings favorable to their formation.
142. The erection of a novitiate house is to take place through a written decree of the Superior general with the consent of his council.
142.1 - The novices of one religious province may also undergo their period of formation in the novitiate of another province, upon decision of the provincial councils concerned.
143. The novitiate community consists of all religious assigned to the novitiate house. Formation is entrusted to the responsibility of the Father Master, a solemnly professed confrere, assisted by some confreres chosen by the provincial Superior among the members of the community; the other religious of the community shall contribute by their example, counsel, and prayer.
144. The Father Master shall be a religious chosen for his exemplary life and, as well, a man "full of practical discretion and of vast natural ability" 5.
145. The Father Master of a provincial novitiate is appointed by the provincial Superior with the consent of his council and with the ratification of the general council.
146. The Father Master of an interprovincial novitiate is appointed by the Superior general with the consent of his council, upon nominations by the provincial councils concerned.
147. The novitiate has a duration of twelve months, to be spent, in order to be valid, in the community of the novitiate. The norms of universal law shall be followed regarding the requisites for novices, the modalities relative to age of admission, interruption, suspension, and prolongation of the novitiate.
148. A novice may be dismissed by the provincial Superior, upon receiving the community's recommendations as expressed in a chapter meeting and the advice of his council, considering as well he report of the Father Master and after a hearing with the novice.
3. First Profession and Renewal of Vows
149. The profession of vows is a public and official act of religion by which each commits himself to live his own baptismal consecration through the practice of the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience in our family, at the service of the Church.
150. Except as otherwise prescribed 6, it is the competence of the provincial Superior, with the consent of his council, to admit novices to the first profession, after the novitiate community has expressed its opinion in a chapter meeting.
150.1 - The novice Master adds, to the opinion of the local chapter, his own report on each novice.
151. The novices are admitted to the first profession upon their written request and only after having completed their eighteenth year of age. Through the first profession the novices become official members of the Congregation.
152. Before making his profession, the novice surrenders the administration, use and profit of his temporal goods to persons freely chosen by him, according to the norms of universal and particular law. In order to change these dispositions or to perform any other act regarding temporal goods, the permission of the provincial Superior is required, with the consent of his council.
153. At the conclusion of the novitiate, the profession may be received by the Superior general, the provincial Superior, or by another confrere delegated by him and in the presence of at least two witnesses. For the validity of the temporary profession, the other norms of universal law must be observed.
154. The rite of profession is given in the liturgical books of the Congregation; the formula is a follows - or another properly approved.
Ego N.N. natus (in) ... die ... mense ... anno ... in manibus tuis, Reverende Pater NN. locum Dei tenens, promitto Sanctissimae Trinitati ad Eius laudem me ad annum (vel in perpetuum) castitatem, paupertatem, et oboedientiam servaturum secundum Constitutiones Clericorum Regularium Sancti Pauli. Firmiter (vel solemniter) igitur voveo et professionem emitto die ... mense ... anno ... in festo ... in ecclesia ... urbis (vel oppidi) N. Ego ipse NN. manu mea scripsi, subscripsi et ore meo pronuntiavi.
154.1 - The original document, signed by the one who professes and by the one who receives the profession, is to be kept in the provincial archives. The formula of profession is transcribed by the new professed in the proper register kept in the archives of the novitiate.
154.2 - With his first profession, the religious renounces the use of his temporal goods according to the norms of universal and particular law 7.
154.3 - It is an ancient tradition of our religious family that, starting with the day of first profession, every confrere adds to his baptismal name the name of Mary.
155. Symbolic of our consecration to God also is the religious habit, consisting of the cassock, traditionally in use in our Congregation; it is presented during the rite of first profession. In daily usage, instead of the cassock, the religious may wear another habit approved by the competent ecclesiastical authority, according to local customs.
156. The obligation assumed with the first profession lasts one year and is renewable. The competence to admit to the renewal of vows belongs to the local Superior upon receiving a favorable opinion from his chapter; in the case of a negative opinion, the decision is left to the provincial council. The dismissal of religious professed in temporary vows before they expire, is the competence of the Superior general with the consent of his council.
156.1 - Temporary vows are to be renewed before Superiors, or their Vicars, or other confrere or priest delegated by them and in the presence of at least two witnesses.
158. The norms concerning the formation and the lifestyle, the progressive and adequate integration of the professed, still in formation, into the life of the community and of the province, are determined by the general chapter, the general council, and provincial chapters; their application is the responsibility of the provincial councils, of the local communities, and of those directly in charge.
158.1 - The professed must give evidence of a serious determination to prepare himself for specific services in the Congregation and to live his choice in a responsible way.
159. The professed continue their formation to the end of the predetermined formation curriculum, in suitable communities and under the guidance of the Father Master.
160. The Father Master of a provincial scholasticate is appointed by the provincial Superior with the consent of his council and with the ratification of the general council.
163. Ordinarily the solemnly professed enjoy active and passive voice. The juridical status of those who temporarily live outside the province to which they belong, shall be determined by the competent major Superiors.
164. Admission to solemn profession is the competence of the Superior general with the consent of his council, upon written request from the candidate, and having considered the opinions of the local chapter and provincial council.
165. Solemn profession must be preceded by a three-year period of temporary vows. The Superior general, should he consider it opportune, may prolong the period of temporary profession, according to the norms of universal law.
166. Solemn profession is preceded by a special period of preparation. The length, place, and modalities of such period are decided by the local community with the agreement of the major Superiors.
167. The modalities relative to the rite of solemn profession, to the Superior who receives it, to the formula and the required documents, are analogous to those indicated for first profession 8.
168. On the occasion of the solemn profession, the religious must make an act – canonically and, if possible, also civilly valid - renouncing ownership of all his temporal goods, disposing of them with complete freedom 9.
168.1 - In order to have civil effect, the act of renunciation of temporal goods made by the solemnly professed religious is to conform to the legislation of each country.
170. Admission to sacred orders is reserved to the Superior general, upon written request of the candidate, after considering the opinion of the local chapter, the provincial and general councils.
171.1 - Every community, in accord with the provincial Superior, schedules each year periods of updating for the confreres, in such a way that, within a convenient number of years, all may take advantage of them.
172. The Congregation, vitally rooted in the Church from which it receives evangelical authenticity and juridical nature, recognizes the Roman Pontiff as the Supreme Superior, whom it obeys also in virtue of the vow. Juridically it is governed by the norms of universal and particular law and avails itself of its own structures, created in function of its religious and pastoral goals; these structures have to be constantly adapted to the needs of the times. For all civil purposes it follows the legislation of each country.
173. The Congregation is a unit made up of provincial and local communities. This implies some autonomy at all levels, and the recognition, at different levels, of the authority which coordinates the various initiatives and takes the necessary decisions. In this way, the Congregation realizes a structural decentralization, and it allows for a gradual power of decision-making reserved to the chapters, Superiors, councils, and others entrusted with any office. To this effect, the Congregation subsists in central, provincial, and local structures.
173.1 - By analogy, the norms governing the provinces are also applied to the pro-provinces 2, unless otherwise prescribed.
174. All the confreres, recognizing in one another a common human, Christian, and religious dignity, have the right and duty both freely to express their own opinion on the problems of the Congregation, and to receive and give due and necessary information. They also share responsibilities and duties:
a) by personally exercising their gifts in consultations, voting and elections or through their delegates to provincial or general chapters;
b) by accepting in a spirit of service and without privileges the various assignments, offices, and tasks within the vocation and mission they have In common.
175. It is lawful to vote by mail, other than in the election of an Assistant general 3 outside the general chapter, whenever it is required by the provincial statutes or by chapter or council decisions, within the limits of their competence.
176. The confreres called to serve in various assignments and offices of the Congregation may not undertake commitments that jeopardize the fulfillment of their own duty.
178. The solemn professed confreres2 fully participate as voting members – that is, with active and passive voice – in decision-making and election chapters3 on the conditions indicated in relevant sections4. Other confreres may participate In the work of chapters according to the modalities established by the chapters themselves.
178.1 - Observers and experts may be admitted to chapters in a consultative capacity, on the conditions established by each chapter.
179. It pertains to the Superior or his substitute 5 to convene the chapter, according to the norms established by the Constitutions6.
179.1 - The date and the agenda of the chapter must be timely communicated to all those who have the right to participate in it.
180. The presence of a qualified majority of those having the right to participate is necessary to ensure the legality of a general or provincial chapter. For local chapters, it is sufficient to have an absolute majority.
181. In counting votes the following norms are necessary:
Abstensions and votes that are null, are not counted in computing the majorities. The same criteria are applied to determine in any voting or consultation.
182. Unless otherwise stated, a proposition which receives the absolute majority of the votes becomes a chapter deliberation and it is binding for everyone. If the votes are tied, even after a second vote has been taken, and a decision is necessary, the one who presides has the faculty to decide.
183. Normally the voting is secret. An open vote may be allowed by an absolute majority decision of a chapter: however it is never allowed in an election.
184. Every capitulary has the right to one vote only, personal and free, even if he takes part in the chapter under several titles.
184.1 - Every capitulary election takes place by nomination and by subsequent ballotings. The order of priority in the balloting is determined by the number of preferences obtained or, in case of a tie, by lot. Before proceeding to the balloting, those nominated may express the reasons for their eventual refusal. In the case in which a nominee's refusal is accepted by the chapter, it will then decide if a new written nomination is necessary or to pass directly to the balloting.
184.2 - Unless otherwise indicated, the tellers in a chapter are the one presiding over the chapter, the senior professed and the secretary or, in his absence, the youngest in profession.
184.3 - Those who take part in the chapters are bound to secrery outside the chapter, when confronted with the need to safeguard the good of persons, communities, and Congregation.
184.4 - The deliberations of the general and provincial chapters normally7 remain effective until the following chapters.
2. The Superiors
185. The Superiors (called "Prepositi", that is, "placed above", as well, in our tradition) are confreres chosen as animators and guides of local communities of provinces, and of the Congregation; they are their lawful representatives and govern with powers recognized by b the Constitutions and by universal law.
186. The major Superiors of the Congregation are: the Superior general, provincial Superiors, or their Vicars8, the President of the general chapter, and the President of the provincial chapter, if so decided by the provincial statutes.
187. In our family of Clerics Regular, the priesthood is necessary for appointment as Superior or Vicar.
188. The election or the appointment of Superiors takes place according to the norms indicated in the pertinent place9.
191. The opinion of the counsellors is normally consultative; it is deliberative when specifically indicated10.
192. When a consultative vote is required, the Superior must ask for the opinion of the counsellors, even if he is not juridically obliged to follow it.
193. When a deliberative vote is required, the Superior, in order to act validly must abide by the majority of the council decision. This vote must be collegially 11 expressed by the Superior and the counselors on a written proposal. The result of the voting shall be recorded in the minutes and individually signed by the participants.
194. A council is validly convened if the absolute majority of its members is present.
195. The councils are convened by the respective Superiors on their own initiative or by request of at least half of the counsellors.
195.1 - Other confreres and experts may participate at council meetings, following the modalities established by the council itself, and without right to vote.
GENERAL AND CENTRAL STRUCTURES
197. The general chapter is composed of exofficio and elected members. The exofficio members are: the Superior general, the Assistants general and the provincial Superiors. The elected members, whose total number cannot be inferior to that of the ex-officio members, are the voting confreres, elected by the provincial chapters and by the houses directly dependent on the Superior general, or their substitutes.
198. Religious who enjoy active and passive voice, may be elected to the general chapter.
199. The number of representatives of each province or pro-province and of the houses directly dependent on the Superior general, is established by each general chapter for the following one, according to criteria of representation and proportionality.
200. The substitute members participate with full rights when the elected representatives are unable to take part and their written withdrawal has been accepted by the Superior general with the consent of his council. Once the chapter is in session, the chapter itself decides.
201. The general council can summon to the general chapter other persons capable of making particular contributions to proceedings. The modalities of their participation shall be determined by the chapter itself.
202. Each member of the general chapter seeks the good of the Congregation without being restricted by the mandate of his constituents.
203. Convocation of the general chapter pertains to the Superior general, with the advice of his council, except for the cases foreseen by the Constitutions 1. The modalities of convocation are established by appropriate regulations.
204. Ordinarily, the general chapter takes place every six years, and extraordinarily, when serious cause makes it advisable.
204.1 - In circumstances when, at the end of a six year period, the convocation of a general chapter is impossible or presents serious difficulties, the general council will decide what action to take after hearing the opinion of the provincial councils.
205. The general chapter is extraordinarily convoked:
206. The general chapter is preceded by an adequate consultation of the confreres, promoted by the general council.
207. The principal duties of the general chapter are:
208. Every change to the text of the Constitutions must be approved as such in a general chapter by a qualified majority of votes; this change is then presented to the Holy See for approval, and it becomes constitutional law when approved by the following general chapter.
209. Practical interpretations and temporary abrogations of the Constitutions and of the general chapter's deliberations, are the competence of the general council.
210. The general chapter is conducted according to appropriate regulations proposed by the general council and approved by the chapter itself.
211. To preside over an ordinary general chapter, a President is elected, assisted by four Promoters. They assume the authority and exercise the functions of the Superior general and his Assistants until the election of the Superior general. The management of an extraordinary general chapter is entrusted to a council of five Moderators; however, the ordinary administration is conducted by the Superior general and his council.
212. A qualified majority of the votes in the first three scrutinies and the absolute majority in the following ones is required for election of the President of the general chapter and of the Superior general. Further modalities are determined by the general chapter regulations.
213. In order to ensure an opportune continuity of government, the general chapter shall normally reelect at least one of the members of the prior general council.
214. The general chapter operates in an attitude of listening and of availability to the voice of the Spirit. In this spiritual climate the chapter brings the Congregation to a clearer awareness of its state and of the needs of the times; it summons the Congregation to its best traditions and to a constant renewal; it urges it to a more generous evangelical service, in a renewed cooperation with the Church.