ROME (October 5) -- Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, Pontifical Delegate of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, announced that the Legion’s Extraordinary General Chapter will begin on January 8, 2014.
The chapter is projected to conclude at the end of the month of February. But the Chapter itself will establish the time-frames in light of how the tasks progress and the requirement of addressing all the issues that are on the agenda.
“The upcoming Extraordinary General Chapter comes at the end of a long journey of spiritual renewal and will have as its principle purpose the conclusion of the revising of the Constitutions,” said Cardinal De Paolis.
In all, a few more than 60 Legionaries are expected to participate in the chapter. Approximately one-third will participate ex officio and two-thirds will be elected. Those who participate ex officio will include: General Director, General Counselors, General Procurator, General Administrator, General Secretary, General Prefect of Studies, and Territorial Directors.
The Cardinal’s letter announcing the chapter follows:
[Translated from the original Italian.]
Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, October 4, 2013
Very dear Legionaries of Christ,
When he gave me the mission of governing the Legionaries of Christ in his name, the Holy Father set out a goal to reach, but he did not establish a determined timeframe. He wrote: “for as long as it takes to carry out the path of renewal and lead it to the celebration of an Extraordinary General Chapter, whose main purpose will be to bring to completion the revision of the Constitutions” (letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, June 16, 2010). From the beginning it was clear that the necessary time could not be less than three years. Now, three and a half years have passed. The moment has come to summon the Extraordinary General Chapter indicated by the Holy Father. I thought that it would be good to announce it on the day that the Church celebrates the memory of St. Francis of Assisi. Let us place this important event under the protection of the Poverello of Assisi. It comes at the at the conclusion of a long journey of spiritual renewal and effort revising the Constitutions. The Chapter that I am convoking today, October 4, 2013, will take place at Via Aurelia, 677 in Rome and will begin on January 8, 2014. It is projected to conclude at the end of the month of February. But the Chapter itself will establish the time-frames in light of how the tasks progress and the requirement of addressing all the issues that are on the day’s agenda.
The General Chapter should represent the whole institute and be “a true sign of its unity in charity” (CIC c. 631 §1). The upcoming Extraordinary General Chapter comes at the end of a long journey of spiritual renewal and will have as its principle purpose the conclusion of the revising of the Constitutions. Because of this, and in response to the desires of many, an agreement has been made to increase the representation of the elected members, while the number of members who participate ex officio will remain the same, as is indicated in number 149 §1 of the draft of the Constitutions.
The following norms will apply in the election of the delegates.
- All perpetually professed Legionaries will have active voice1 in the election of the delegates, including those who have received the indult of extra domum (cfr. CIC c. 665 §1). Exclaustrated religious, on the other hand, neither have active nor passive voice.
- Only those religious who are priests as of the date of this letter have passive voice. Evidently, those who are already ex officio members of the Chapter cannot be voted for.
- Each territory constitutes an electoral college that elects one delegate per twenty five perpetually professed religious or fraction thereof.
- The election will take place in two rounds. Those delegates will be elected who in the first round receive more than one half plus one of the number of votes. In the second round, a relative majority will suffice. Those who received the most votes after those elected will be substitute delegates.
- Every voter will have as many votes as the number of delegates of his electoral college.
- Besides the territorial colleges, there will also be a special college composed of the perpetually professed religious who depend directly on the General Directorate [the members of the centers of Rome]. While it remains the case that the perpetually professed religious will only have active voice and the priests will have active and passive voice, for this college a special norm regarding representation is in place: the number is still one candidate for every 25 members and fraction thereof, but only of the priests that enjoy passive voice.
- The territorial directors are responsible for the scrutinies2 in their territories, with the help of at least one of the counselors and in the presence of two or more witnesses. They will communicate the results of the first scrutiny on October 25 and the results of the second scrutiny November 10.
- Having established that the ex officio members enjoy neither active voice nor passive voice, the territorial authorities will distribute the lists of the religious with active voice, the list of the priests with passive voice, the electoral forms, the calendar and the practical indications for carrying out the vote and sending it to the territorial directorates.
It is useful to remember that this Chapter’s “main tasks will be the election of a new Government for the Institute and the approval of the new Constitutions” (letter of His Holiness Pope Francis, June 19, 2013) which will have to be presented to the Holy Father. Other questions will be considered according to a list of issues approved by the chapter fathers themselves, in the degree to which there is time available.
As established by the Code of Canon Law, not only the territories and the local communities, “but also any member can freely send wishes and suggestions to a general chapter” (c. 631 §3).
Let us prepare spiritually for this moment of grace, begging for the Holy Spirit’s assistance and the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercession. I hope the Lord brings you every good thing. I am keeping you in my prayers.
1. “Active voice” means they have the right to vote. “Passive voice” means they have the right to be elected.
2.“Scrutiny” refers to the process of counting the ballots.