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1. The General Chapter will follow a flexible format. Depending on the time at our disposal we will adopt a variety of methods aimed at helping Chapter members to engage in creative dialogue and respond effectively to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the needs of the world, the Church and the Order.

2. Facilitators for group dynamics and content guides will take part in the Chapter and assist members in their work.

The facilitator will:

- assist moderators in conducting Chapter sessions;

- hold daily meetings with the moderators and guides to draw up a work program;

- be available for assistance and intervention in difficult or polarized situations.

The guide will:

- observe and closely follow Chapter sessions;

- attend daily meetings with moderators and facilitators and offer suggestions on subjects coming up in Chapter sessions as well as follow-up ideas for later sessions.

3. During the second session of the Chapter, an outline of general directions and a work schedule should be made available to all Chapter members for their study and approval (Const. nos. 270, 272b, 273).



4. Those sessions in which all the Chapter members participate are called general sessions. Chapter decrees and decisions can only be approved in general sessions. Balloting will follow the norms in paragraph 21 of this Ordo.

5. For a general session to be valid two-thirds of those having the right to vote must be present.

6. The Chapter can assign Chapter members to commissions, study groups etc., in conformity with the norms of universal law and the Constitutions.

7. The Prior General of the previous three-year term will preside at the first general session. During this first session, a President of the Chapter will be elected in accordance with article 271d of the Constitutions. This President will preside at all sessions of the Chapter until a new Prior General has been elected and has accepted his election. During the election of the Chapter President the Prior General of the previous six-year term does not enjoy passive voice (Const. 271d). From the moment the new Prior General accepts his election, the office of Chapter President ceases to exist. The Prior General elect will preside until the end of the Chapter.

8. The President:

- will open and close all Chapter sessions;

- will decide all disputes about procedure and conduct of the Chapter;

- will give Chapter members permission to be absent during Chapter sessions.

9. The four moderators will supervise sessions and other work meetings. In accord with the President, they will regulate the interventions of Chapter members, and decide the agenda and format to be followed. Before the Chapter begins the General Council will appoint the moderators (cf. Deliberation of the Council of Provinces, 1988).

10. At the beginning of each general session the moderators should see to the distribution of all prepared texts and to informing Chapter members of what has been discussed in the groups.

11. A Chapter member can make an intervention in the general session in his own name, in the name of others, or on behalf of a group. If he is speaking in the name of someone else or on behalf of a group he must clearly identify the other person or group for whom he is speaking.

12. A Chapter member who wishes to present a proposal in the general session must inform the moderators and give them a written outline of his proposal the day before his intervention or at least three hours before the session begins so that the moderators can adjust the agenda and distribute any written material they have been given. A Chapter member has three minutes to present his proposal in the general session unless he has made other arrangements with the moderators.

13. The moderator will regulate the interventions of Chapter members during the discussion of proposals. To encourage broad participation in discussions, a single Chapter member should not make more than three interventions in the same session and the moderators should interrupt anyone who is monopolizing the discussion.

14. Proposals and texts be discussed in a general session only after Chapter members have had a chance to study material individually, in small groups or in the general session itself.

15. Once a proposal has been sufficiently examined and discussed the Chapter will proceed to vote in the general session. This vote will be either deliberative or consultative. The norms in paragraph 21 must be observed during the vote. Before voting takes place, the text being voted upon and whether or not the vote is deliberative or consultative must be made abundantly clear.



16. The moderators will propose and the Chapter will decide how groups are to be organized; for example: a) by geographical area; b) by common language; c) by specific work interest; d) as integrated multi-language groups. The groups will present a written or oral report of their work to the Chapter. Unless the Chapter decides otherwise, these groups cannot make decisions that will bind the whole Chapter.

17. The work to be done and the results being sought will determine the make-up of each group. Therefore, in study groups where an exchange of views and cultural perspectives is necessary members should be chosen from diverse regions and language communities. Members who have expressed a personal preference or are especially competent should be included in groups studying specific subjects. The moderators can restrict the composition of a group for different reasons - communications problems arising from language diversity or the need for a reasonable distribution of Chapter members in various groups.

18. Each group should begin by electing a leader and a secretary. The leader is responsible for the progress of the group’s work; he will maintain contact with the moderators and the secretary and he, along with the secretary, will present the results of the group’s work in the assembly. The secretary will keep a record of all the discussions taking place and will prepare a written report and whatever else Chapter work may require. Reports and other group documents should be given to the secretary of the Chapter for translation, printing and distribution to the members of the Chapter.



19. The secretariat will designate locations for general sessions and group work.

20. When possible a meeting should be held at the end of every day; the President of the Chapter, the four moderators, the secretary, the facilitators and the guides should attend this meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to evaluate the Chapter’s progress and prepare a detailed agenda for the next day. A Chapter member or others can be invited to this meeting as consultants.



21. The following norms should be observed in balloting:

a. A vote is null if it is not free, secret, certain, absolute and determinate (cf. Canon 172§1).

b. The absolute majority of votes is to be counted in accordance with Canon 119 and article 245 of the Constitutions.

c. In particular for elections:

I. The vote must be expressed by a ballot specifically designated for that purpose;

II. The candidate being voted for must be designated by his complete name, i.e. given name and surname, otherwise the ballot is invalid unless it is equally clear for whom one is voting;

III. The vote must be written on the ballot in a permanent fashion, using a fountain pen or a ballpoint pen (biro) not a pencil;

IV. If one’s own signature or any other sign is written on the ballot the vote is rendered null.

d. In particular for other votes:

I. The vote must be expressed by a ballot specifically designated for that purpose, by a system of automatic voting, or by a show of hands in conformity with article 225 of the Constitutions;

II. In casting his ballot the Chapter member has the following choices: placet, non placet, placet iuxta modum, blank, abstain. If a ballot is marked placet iuxta modum the voter must indicate separately and in detail the modification he is proposing. All modifications to the text must be presented during the discussion and voted upon before proceeding to a vote on the final text.

III. At least eight Chapter members must subscribe to a modification before it can be presented to a vote.

IV. If a modification has been proposed voting will proceed in the following fashion: first the original proposal is voted upon; if it wins approval it becomes normative. If the original proposal is not approved the modification will be voted upon.

V. Unless the Chapter decides otherwise, modifications and new proposals cannot be voted upon in the same session in which they were presented. Chapter members must be given the necessary time to study the subject.

VI. As was the case with modifications at least eight Chapter members must subscribe to proposals before they can be submitted to a vote. They must be given in to the moderators who will hand them over to the secretariat for printing and distribution to the Chapter members.

e. Once ballots have been collected or machine and show-of-hands votes have been counted in the presence of the President and the members of the Chapter it shall be determined whether the number of votes corresponds to the number of voters present. If this is not the case the vote is null and to be repeated.

f. The President or one of the moderators will declare the results of a vote in the general session.



22. Elections during the Chapter will follow the procedure studied and approved by the members of the Chapter in the second session (Const. art. 272b, 273).



23. The Chapter’s official languages are: Italian, English and Spanish.

24. The official text of the Chapter Acts will be edited in Italian. Once the Chapter has concluded, the Secretariat will see that the Acts are translated into the other languages and submitted to the General Council for approval.

25. During the Chapter written texts will be distributed in Italian, Spanish and English.

26. If a member of the Chapter wants to speak in a language other than those considered official he must give a written version of his intervention to the Secretariat with sufficient time to have it translated - unless the member himself provides a translation into one of the official languages.



27. The Secretariat of the Chapter is made up of the Secretary, Sub-secretaries and assistants. The interpreters will work together with the Secretariat.

28. The Secretariat is responsible for publishing the Atti del Capitolo (Acts of the Chapter) every day. After the Commission for Reviewing the Acts has examined and approved them, they should be made available to all members of the Chapter. If anyone has observations on the text, he should give them into the Secretariat within twenty-four hours of the text’s appearance.

29. It is moreover the responsibility of the Secretariat:

- to receive documents from Chapter members (reports, proposals, modifications, etc); to provide translations when necessary; to produce enough copies of a text for distribution to all the members of the Chapter;

- to see to any needs Chapter members may express;

- to oversee the official publication of the Acts in the Analecta Ordinis, once the Chapter has ended.



30. Premise. Since we need only revise specific articles or paragraphs in the Constitutions approved at the General Chapter of 1995, we thought it appropriate to prepare a procedure that corresponds to that type of revision.

31. This procedure:

a. enables us to identify and isolate articles or paragraphs that need extensive revision;

b. permits minor changes to articles and paragraphs - or modifications that do not substantially alter the content of articles and paragraphs;

c. allows us the opportunity to create a Special Commission at the Chapter to revise and re-write those texts to be modified; this Commission will be made up of three persons proposed by the Curia or Chapter members proposed by the moderators and approved by the Chapter. At least two members of the Commission must be Canon lawyers;

d. permits both the indicative vote (straw vote - consultative vote) with certain minor changes a text would be generally acceptable, and the definitive vote (deliberative) - the text is to be accepted as definitive and normative.

32. The procedure comprises the following steps:

a. if a whole article or only one paragraph of an article needs a revision of content or a serious re-write, a new text for the whole article - or paragraph as the case may be - will be proposed.

b. When a revision of content or re-write is being considered, each new text should be studied in small groups.

c. Each group should indicate in a general session those articles or paragraphs it considers unacceptable, and explain briefly the reasons that led to this conclusion. An indicative/consultative (straw vote) should be taken in the general session on each of the articles or paragraphs in question. If one third of the Chapter votes to reject an article or paragraph it will be sent to the Special Commission for revision. Each Chapter member can submit suggestions to the Special Commission for modifying the articles or paragraphs in question.

33. Once the Special Commission has considered suggestions from groups or individuals and has revised unacceptable articles and paragraphs, it shall present these texts to the Chapter at large. The Chapter assembly will then cast an indicative (consultative) vote on the revised text. In the event a particular article or paragraph is not approved, it will be returned to the Special Commission for further revision.

34. Once revision is complete, articles and paragraphs will be presented, one by one, to the members of the Chapter for a definitive (deliberative) vote.

a. If an article or paragraph receives an absolute majority it becomes the normative text.

b. If a revised article or paragraph does not receive an absolute majority, after a brief discussion, it should be returned to the Commission for further revision and later presentation for a definitive (deliberative) vote in the assembly.

35. If a Chapter member is dissatisfied with the minor modifications made by the Special Commission he can, along with eight other Chapter members, bring the matter up in the assembly.

36. The Special Commission’s work concerns only the Italian version of the new Constitutions which is considered the original text. The Special Commission must refer questions of translation to the Secretariat which is responsible for modifications in translation.

37. The General Chapter considers the Italian, Spanish and English versions of the new Constitutions as the official texts. If there is a conflict of interpretation, the Italian version will prevail, in that it is the original text.



38. The following provisions hold for this procedure:


a) An expert will lead our reflection on discernment.

b) Plenary Assembly. Based on the General’s report, the discussions of specific items and the work done in groups, the facilitators will create a profile of the sort of government that will respond to the present needs of the Order; they will present this profile to the assembly.

c) A time of prayer.

d) Meetings of mixed groups. Nominations for General, Vice-general, Procurator General, General Treasurer accompanied by curricula vitae and a description of administrative abilities (résumés).

2. VOTING in the plenary assembly (Const. art. 294).

a) A consultative vote for the General, Vice-General, Procurator General and General Treasurer.

b) A canonical vote for the General, Vice-General, Procurator General and General Treasurer.

39. For General Councilors follow what is found in 38,1c to the end. It should be borne in mind that in discernment for the councilors groups will be formed in accordance with the geographic areas for which the councilors will be responsible.



40. Be advised that there are three official texts of the Ordo Capituli: Italian, Spanish and English. If any doubts should arise, the Italian text will prevail since it is the original language of the Ordo Capituli.

Commissione Preparatoria Capitolo Generale 2001
Via Giovanni Lanza, 138
00184 Rome, Italy