232 - february 2000

On the RevisedText of Part III of the Constitutions and Rules

The revised text of the Third Part of the Constitutionsand Rulesvoted by the 1998 General Chaptertakes effect on February172000. OMI Documentation would like to mark the occasion withthis issue. Several people have contributed to itso the contributionspresented here are quite diversified in nature. They are in no way anofficial commentary on the revised text. It is hoped that these pagesmay be useful to our communities and to each Oblate in reading this textthat 'rules' our religious and missionary life.

Table of Contents


Superior General's Introduction

"The Constitutions and Rules set out a privilegedmeans for each Oblate to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Theyare inspired by the charism lived by the Founder and his first companions;alsothey have received the approval of the Church. Thusthey alloweach Oblate

to evaluate the quality of his response to his vocationand to become a saint" (C163).

This new textfound in the revised Part III of ourRule bookexpresses well what the Constitutions and Rules mean to usOblates: inspiring usthey help us to follow Jesus Christthey allowus to evaluate our fidelity and so ultimately they become a means to reachour final goalto be saints. As we now receive the new Part III of ourRuleswe might reread the Founder's letter written the day after thefirst approval of the Constitutions and Rules (February 181826SelectedTexts No. 208). This letter ends with the same words as the aboveparagraph: "In the name of Godlet us be saints".

While we might agree on the importance of the Rulewe have perhaps some difficulty giving the dry matter of "organizationalstructures" (C 72) the importance of a message from the Spiritcomingto us Oblates through the Church. Is it worthwhile to make a meditativereading of Part III of our Rules? The text clearly contains some pagesof rather technical regulationse.g.about election procedures etc.but there are other lines full of meaning for our daily life as religiousmissionaries. Let us not forget that almost every word of the revisedtext has been weighed during the six year process of preparationthenby the 1998 Chapterand during the examination by the Holy See. We willin fact also discover in this part of our Constitutions an applicationof the Gospel to our life as Oblates. I find it significant that the wordswhich frame Part III are Jesus (C 71)at the beginningand St.Eugene de Mazenod (C 168) at the end.

Let me highlight two points in the new text whichtomy understandingare especially worthy of being studied and meditatedon by us Oblates : community and internationality.

– In the first part of our Rule bookthe sectionon Apostolic Community saysthat we "fulfill our missionin and through the community to which we belong" (C 37). Sucha vision finds itself enriched by the revised C 91: "Local communitiesare the living cells of the Congregation. . . . It is of the nature ofa local community to be a prophetic sign that offers grounds for hopeto the world in its search for integrity and harmony. Every Oblate hasthe right and duty to belong to a local community and to participate inits life and mission."

This will become a realityas is said in the sectionon "The Spirit of Government"if we"participate appropriatelyin it through responsible collaboration"if we discerndecideand act "as a body [in a] shared decision making" (C73). We need to this end the service of our Superiors. Their mission isto be "a sign of the Lord's loving and guiding presence in ourmidst" (C 81). Good financial stewardship (C 153) is also partof a healthy community life.

– At first glancethe issue of internationalityis not too visible in Part III. The 1998 Chapter promoted internationalitynot only through the Chapter Letterbut also by setting up correspondingstructurese.g.by clarifying the relation of Delegations and Missionsto their mother Provinces or by strengthening the Regions (e.g.througha secretariatesub-Regionsjoint projects etc. Cf. R 123ab and c).The most important changehoweverconsists in inviting the smaller ViceProvinces (those with less than "some 40 members")to integrateinto larger unitsthrough "dialogue [and] within the frameworkof a restructuring process" (cf. R 98b and c). Indeedmuch workwill need to be done in this restructuringbut I am convinced it willbe a grace for us and that in the end we will find ourselves to be a moreinternationala more Catholic missionary Congregation.

The revised third Part of our Constitutions and Rulesbecomes effective on February 172000. A complete edition of the entireRule book will be published soon. Let us receive our Rule not only asa legal textbut as "a legacy bequeathed by St. Eugene de Mazenod"let us "be guided by these norms in creative fidelity"(C 168).

RomeJanuary 112000
Fr. Wilhelm StecklingSuperior General

A bit of history

After various attempts spread out over more than twentyyearsthe General Chapter of 1980 voted a new text of our Constitutionsand Rules. In 1982this new text received the approval of the Holy See.These Constitutions have been in force since May 211983. The GeneralChapters of 1986 and 1992with the necessary approvalsmade some modificationsto themmostly to bring them in line with the new Code of Canon Law promulgatedin 1983.

The Chapter of 1992 decided "to set up a committeeto evaluate the current structures of the Congregation" giving theSuperior General and his Council a mandate to establish a "Post-Chaptercommittee on Structures" (cf Acts of the 32nd General Chapterpp. 64ss). This committeechaired by Fr Francis Morriseyset to workquicklylaunching the necessary consultations. It was able to make afirst series of proposals to the Provincials assembled for the Interchaptermeeting in BangkokNovember 1995. The Provincial's reactionsplus theresults of the consultation of the entire Congregation made it then possiblefor the committee to prepare the text to be presented to the 1998 GeneralChapter.

After a few days of study leading up to a certain numberof amendmentsthe Chapter voted a final text on September 141998. The112 capitulars voted unanimously in favor of the Constitutions. Therewas one vote lacking for unanimity as regards the Rules. This text wasthen submitted to the Holy Seewhich approved it on May 31999. TheSuperior General decided that the new text would come into effect on February172000.

This revised text has already been sent to the Provinces.A new complete edition of the Constitutions and Rules should be readyin the next few months in FrenchEnglish and Spanish. Translations andeditions in other languages are under way. It should be noted that a newmethod of numbering the Rules was chosen to facilitate reading. The Ruleswill now bear the same number as the Constitution to which they refer.Thus Rules 128a128b128c128d128efollow Constitution 128 to whichthey are related. The same system of numbering will be introduced intothe whole book.

 

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Post-Chapter Committee's draft text
and the final text approved by the Chapter

 

by Francis MorriseyOMI

 

At first sightit might not seem that there were manysignificant changes in the new section of the Constitutions and Rulesrelating to Government. Howeverupon closer examinationwe note thatthe text contains a number of interesting revisions. Among thesewe couldnote particularly a special section on Missions (of which almost nothingwas mentioned in the 1980 text)a major revision of the articles relatingto financial administrationand a new section on fidelity to the CC &RR. Alsothere is a new numbering system for the Rules to enable thereader to find an article more readily.

Given the number of new foundations in various partsof the worldit was necessary to examine their structures carefully.Although the final text is rather uncomplicated in its approachit triesto allow for flexibility and accountability.

On the other handgiven the changes in the variousProvinces (as some Provinces are growing olderwhile others are in fullgrowth)it was decided to drop the notion of "Vice Province".This naturally has implications for Chapter membership.

Given the needs of the missionthe sections on thelocal community have been reinforcedparticularly in relation to districtcommunitiesas have those on the various types of provincial and generalvisitation. In the same waythe articles referring to Provincial andGeneral Delegations have been clarified. The parts relating to the GeneralGovernment have also been significantly revised to reflect current practice.

Criteria for the establishment of Provincesfor theselection of Chapter delegatesand for the governance of Superiors havebeen clearly spelled outtaking new situations into account.

The Committee's work was most interesting. At timeswe would let ourselves dreambut then we had to come back quickly toreality. For instancewe thought it would be possible to have one Provincialas representative of the Regionwho would attend one General Councilmeeting a year. In this waythere would have been no need of GeneralCouncillors. Howevermany did not like the idea of what they consideredto be a "super Provincial"and others felt there would be toomuch work for one personso this idea didn't make it past the BangkokInter-Chapter meeting. We had also considered the idea of introducingelections in the Congregation on a more regular basisso as to involveall the members more directlyrather than having appointments as thegeneral norm. Howeverhere againpeople were uneasy with the conceptgiven our tradition.

After these mid-course correctionsthe Committee facedthe challenge of designing something that could work equally well in allparts of the Congregation. ThusRegions remained levels of animationbut not of governancesince many Regions were still in the early stagesof development. (The texthoweverallows for flexibility in relationto the number of Regions).

Obviouslythe project could have gone much further.Howeverneither the Inter-Chapter meeting nor the General Chapter wishedto introduce radical changes in the government structures of the Congregationbut simply to update them. Seeing this general attitudeit was importantto build on itand this approach generated unanimity in the Chapter.In turnthere was general satisfaction with what was produced: it wasrealisticit was practicalyet it moved things forward!

It was a privilege to have been able to work on thisproject and all the members of the Committee are indeed grateful for theopportunity to have known each other better and to come to grips withthe implications of our governance structures.

 

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Notes on some modifications
to the Constitutions and Rules
by the revised text of Part Three.

 

By Michel CourvoisierOMI

 

Concerning the Spirit of Government C71-74

C71 ex C73 The Chapter did not modify the formerC73. Howeverit wanted this Constitution to be placed at the head ofPart Three. Part One opens with the call of JesusPart Two with Jesustraining his disciples. Part Three will now begin with Jesus "thesource and model of authority in the Church."

R72a is new. It mentions some of the "values"on which "our governing structures are grounded."

C74 cf ex C74

Ex C74 required "those who are called to serve"to "keep the community they serve informed of what they do."C74 requires the Superiors to "also enable the community they serveto participate as much as possible in decision-makingand to collaboratein carrying out decisions taken."

Concerning the Structures of the Congregation C75-80

C75cf ex C75

The obligation imposed upon "higher levels"to "be in close contact with the lowerproviding supportcoordinationand leadership" is now extended to all: "each level...."

C76cf ex C76

In C76 there is a greater insistence on the importanceof the local community and on the "close contact" inside thesame Region.

The Superior General must guarantee the Congregation's"availability for the needs of the Church everywhere." Ex C76spoke simply of "availability for the needs of the universal Church."

C77 ex C77

The "district community" is no longer an exceptionalsituation. It is one of the "ways" in which Oblates "livecommunity."

R77a and 77b

These new Rules give the definition of a district andof a residence.

C78 suppresses the Vice Provinces establishedby the ex C78when the conditions for setting up a Province "werenot fulfilled."

C80 is new. It gives the first definition ofwhat a "Mission" is.

Concerning Superiors C81-89

C81-82cf ex C80-81

Some changes. It pertains to the Superiors "tolead the community." "A well-defined identity enlightened bythe Oblate charism" is the first quality which is required of them."An ability to listen" is also underlined. "A love of thepoor" is added to "a deep love for the Church and the Congregation."An apostolic spirit" should make the Superiors able "tochallenge the community by periodic reviews and evaluations to respondto the needs of the mission."

C83 ex C82

Among the conditions to be Superiorex C82 requiredbeing "ordained a priest." The expression "be ordained"of C83 also includes the deaconsas foreseen in the Code.

R83a and 83e provide for the possibility of aBrotherwith the necessary indult required by the Codeto be appointedSuperior of a local community. According to R83ea Brother can also replacethe Superior temporarily. (Ex R76 did not consider this for a Brotherwho was not a member of the Council.)

R 86b...e give precise details on the functioningof Councils. R86e (new) requires minutes of Council meetings to be drawnup and communicated to the major Superior concerned.

Concerning the local community C91-95

C91cf ex C87reinsists on the importance ofthe local community. We give the whole text here.

"The local communities are the living cells ofthe Congregation. They are the primary units of our missionary presencewhere life and mission find their support and their expression.

"They help all Oblates become more prayerful andreflectiveand to live the Gospel fullythereby freeing them for evergreater fidelity to their calling within a common project and the frameworkof the priorities of the Province or Delegation.

"It is of the nature of a local community to bea prophetic sign that offers grounds for hope to the world in its searchfor integrity and harmony.

"Every Oblate has the right and the duty to belongto a local community and to take part in its life and mission."

R91a (new)draws upon the document of the 1992ChapterWitnessing in Apostolic Communityto explain "theelements" of community as "a place of fraternal charity andapostolic zeal."

R92d (new) considers the way in which an Oblatewho has been allowed to live alonemust however take part in communitylife.

C93cf ex C89

The following has been added: "At the service ofhis brothersthe Superior brings the community together to evaluate itsexperienceto give itself objectives for its common life and apostolicprojects."

R93b is new. We quote it: "The Superiorassures regular community meetings. These special moments of buildingcommunity enable the members to evaluate and support their Oblate lifeand ministry."

C94 and R94acf ex C90 and ex R91

Even if the appointment of a Superior for a third termremains exceptional (cf C94)the Superior General's permission is nolonger necessary. This recourse is required for a fourth term.


 

Concerning the Province C96-109

C97cf ex C78

"Normally a Province must have attained and beable to maintain a satisfactory level of self-sufficiency. This entailssufficient personnelsuitable vocation and formation programsas wellas a long-term financial stability." This could be compared withex C78.

R97a is new.

"In addition to other criteriaa Province mustgenerally demonstrate a capacity for effective internal organization andcohesiveness. This implies a sense of identityadequate leadership potentiala respect for cultural diversityand the ability to communicate in acommon language."

R98a is new.

"As a general principleProvince territories arenot to overlap."

R98b (new) gives a criterion for the number ofmembers for a Province. "Normally a Province should have some fortymembers in order to assure a proper functioning and stability. If thenumber falls significantly below fortythe Superior General will initiatea dialogue with the Province leadership in order to address the situationand provide for the future."

C99 makes ex R97 a Constitution. "The ProvincialSuperiors share in the Superior General's responsibility and concern forthe whole Congregation..."

C101 (new)

"In his animation of the Provincethe Provincialrelies first of all on the members of his Council and with them he developshis action plans. He works closely with the Superiors of local communitiesand those in charge of formation."

C102 maintains the three year term of officefor the Provincials. It is known that the Committee had proposed a fouryear term. The Chapter maintained the three year termrenewable onceand exceptionally a third time.

R102b is new.

"A simpler form of consultation may take placeafter the first three-year term. Howeverif there is question of a thirdterma more extensive consultation will take place."

C105 is new.

"Visitation is an integral part of the ProvincialSuperior's animation ministry." R105a specifies that a report willbe drawn up after the visitation.

C106

The ex C101 stipulated "at least two Consultors"for the Provincial. C106 says "at least three Councillors."The term now used is "Councillors".

R106c (new) speaks about the extraordinary ProvincialCouncilwhose composition is to be determined by the Provincial Directory.

C108cf ex C103gives more details on the variouscommissions and meetings. The second and third parts are new: "TheProvincial will organize regular meetings with the local Superiors ofthe Province. According to needs and possibilitieshe will organize acongress or a similar gathering of the Province at least once during histerm of officein order to promote a common vision and determine commonprinciples for mission."

Concerning the Delegation C110-116cf. ex C79

The section on the Delegation is almost entirely new.It seems that this status will become more common in the future than currentlypartly as a consequence of the suppression of the status of Vice Province.See also C79.

Let us quote C110which indicates the natureand the role of the Delegation:

"A Delegation is a grouping of several local communitieswith juridical personality.

It is known as a Provincial Delegation if it dependson a Province or on a group of Provincesand as a General Delegationif it depends on the Central Government.

In all casesthe Delegation enjoys the necessary autonomywhile retaining its administrative links with the bodies on which it depends."

Note that according to C111if a ProvincialDelegation is under "the responsibility of a group of Provincesit pertains to the Superior General... to appoint its Superior and Council."

According to C113the Superior of a Delegation"has the same authority as Provincial in his Provinceexcept forthose matters which have been specifically reserved to the Provincialor to the Superior General."

C115 (new) requires the Delegations to developa missionary plan. "While participating in the life of the Regionand in order to develop its own identityeach Delegation will draw upa missionary plan taking into account the needs for the people who arebeing servedthe pastoral plan of the local Churchthe general thrustof the Regionand the policies of the Congregation."

R115a (new):

"Faithful to the vision and missionary thrust ofthe Congregationthe members of the Delegation will make it a point toshare in the local culture and mission of the Church which they are sentto serve."

Concerning the Mission C117-118

The section on the Mission is entirely new. "Missions"have been established since the Congregation opened up ad extra.Here our Constitutions give a definition of a Mission as a structure ofgovernment. Let us quote C117:

"A Mission is established by the Superior Generalin Council in response to the call of a local Church addressing a perceivedmissionary need. In establishing a Missionthe missionary plan of theRegion involvedas well as that of the Congregation as a wholemustbe taken into consideration."

A Mission can be for a given territorybut alsoitseemsa group in a much vaster areasuch as an ethnic group of immigrantsfor example.

R117c specifies: "A Mission is attachedto a Province or to a group of Provinces or it may come under the immediateauthority of the Superior General." This opens the way for all theinitiatives to address "a missionary need."

Concerning the Region C119-123

The introduction of Regions in the Congregation datesfrom the Chapter of 1972. Previouslythe mission territories remainedclosely tied to the countries of the Christian West (Europe and NorthAmerica) which had founded them. The introduction of Regions obliged usto take into account another dimensionwhich had become quite dominantover the yearsthe relationships to the other near-by Oblate groups.This evolution affected the Oblate units in the South as well as thosein the North. Taking into account the experience of these years and whatthe Regions have becomethe Chapter wanted to give more value to this"structure of coordination and collaboration in a given geographicalarea" (cf C75).

C119 defines them.

"To foster animation and coordination among itsmembers and unitsthe Congregation groups ProvincesDelegations andMissions into Regions. The Regions profit from their collective experienceand develop common approaches to Oblate life and mission.

"The Region as such is not a governmental structurewith juridical personality."

R120a (new)

"As a general rulethe Region is internationalin its composition. This favours a broader missionary consciousness withinthe Congregation."

C121 (new)

"The Conference of the Region is composed of theProvincialDelegation and Mission Superiors of the territoryand isthe principal animation body for the life and activity of the Region."

Previouslythe Constitutions did not give a definitionfor the Conference of the Region. This organization took on more and moreimportancemaking the Region a place of collaboration. It should be notedthatlike the Provincialsthe Superiors of Delegations and the Superiorsof Missions form part of the Conference of the Region.

C122-123 (new)

Given the extreme diversity of the Regionsthe regionalstructures will likewise be diversifiedexcept for the role of "officers"and that of the General Councillor for the Region defined by the Constitutions.Thus C123:

"The Conference of the Region selects its own officersfrom among its membership. The president carries out the duties entrustedto him by the Conference. As presidenthe has no authority within theProvincesDelegations and Missions.... The General Councillor for theRegion serves as liaison with the Central Government. He is invited tothe meetings of the Conference."

Let us also quote R123c (new)

"Meeting periodicallythe Conference coordinatescertain joint projects in areas such as mission"Justice and Peace"first and ongoing formation. Committees and task forces may be establishedfor this purpose."

and R123e

"It pertains to the Conference to nominate Oblatesfrom the Region to the Superior General for him to appoint as membersof General Committees such as the General Formation Committee and theGeneral Finance Committee."

Concerning the General Government
and the Chapter C124-128

C124 (new) states what the "general levelof government includes" and what its mission is.

"The general level of government includes the GeneralChapter and the General Administration. In the spirit of the Founderthese ensure that the Congregation remains faithful to its mission andto the demands of religious life. They guarantee our availability forthe needs of the entire Church."

Few comments need be made about the General Chapter.The disappearance of the Vice Provinces reduces the number of Provincialsex officio members of the Chapter. For the election of the delegatesthe procedure used for the elections to the 1998 Chapter will now be therule (R128a)with some clarifications that the experiment showed to beuseful.

Concerning the General Administration C129-132

These Constitutionspartly newclarify the vocabularyand more clearly distinguish the legal aspect from the spiritual aspect.Let us note what is said about the spirit of collegiality:

C131cf ex C111

"Called to the service of authority by the Chapterthe Superior General and Council exercise their responsibilities in aspirit of collegiality. Their first concern is the Oblates' fidelity asa Congregation to the missionary thrust which is our Spirit-given heritagefrom the Founder.

"Exercising their leadership throughout the Congregationand open to the needs of the Church and the worldthey discern commonobjectives; they oversee the development and sharing of resourcespromotean exchange of experiences and informationand foster interdependence."

Concerning the Superior General C133-139

C133 (cf ex C112) adds a second paragraph:

"As the successor of Saint Eugene de MazenodtheSuperior General will continually keep alive the missionary zeal at theheart of our charismhelping to break new ground for the service of evangelization."

R137a gives some details on the obediences givenby the Superior General: "When assigning an Oblate to a Provincethe Superior General may indicate that the assignment is for a specificDelegation or Mission. Prior to such an appointmentan understandingshould be reached between the Superior General and the Provincial concerned."

C138 stresses the importance of visits by theSuperior General.

"Visitation is an integral part of the SuperiorGeneral's animation ministry. This ministry can be carried out in a varietyof ways: fraternal visitsordinary visitationsand special visitations."

R138b specifies what the ordinary visits are."Personally or through an Oblate designated by himthe SuperiorGeneral will provide for the ordinary visitation of a Province or Delegation– evaluating the situationidentifying challengesand correctingirregularities when necessary. Carried out periodicallysuch a visitationis a special time of renewal for groups and individuals. For this reasonthe entire Province or Delegation is responsible for its careful preparationand successful outcome."

R138c provides for "special visitations."

Concerning the General Council
and General Offices and Services C140-149

The whole section was reorganized.

C144 is more precise than ex C120 on the AssistantsGeneral. Elements of ex R128 became a Constitution.

"The Assistants General (they are two accordingto R140a) together with the Vicar Generalensure a continuous presenceof the Council to assist the Superior General in the fulfilment of hisofficeparticularly in areas such as the animation of missionfirstand ongoing formationthe coordination of visitationsand the responsiblestewardship of temporal goods."

C145 likewise specifies the role of the GeneralCouncillors. From now on it is a Constitution which defines their roleand not a Rulecf ex R129.

"As members of the General Administration and ofthe Central Government communitythe General Councillors have their residencein Rome. Their timehoweveris divided between their duties at the centreand their responsibilities in the Regions. They can thus be an effectiveliaison and provide the General Administration with accurate informationconcerning Oblate life in the Regions."

C148 and 149 distinguishes "General Offices"(General Secretariat and General Finance Office) from the "GeneralServices"which are listed in R149a.

Concerning Fidelity to the Constitutions
and Rules C163-168

The General Chapter voted the introduction of a specialchapter of the Constitutions and Rulesto stress the importance and themeaning of fidelity to our common laws. This chapter comprises informationon the procedures for the modification of textson dispensations andon directories. Let us quote the two Constitutions which give the meaningof this fidelity.

C163

"The Constitutions and Rules set out a privilegedmeans for each Oblate to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Theyare inspired by the charism lived by the Founder and his first companions;alsothey have received the approval of the Church. Thusthey alloweach Oblate to evaluate the quality of his response to his vocation andto become a saint."

C168

"Each Oblate through his oblation assumes responsibilityfor the common heritage of the Congregationexpressed in the Constitutionsand Rules and our family tradition. He is exhorted to let himself be guidedby these norms in creative fidelity to the legacy bequeathed by St. Eugenede Mazenod."

 

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Concerning Temporal Goods C150-162

 

Fr. Alfons Keuter OMI
Treasurer General

 

In the new text the order of the articles has been rearrangedand stylistic changes made. This makes for a more logical and easier flowof the text. I will mention only those changes that are new and pointout some important shifts in emphasis. The major change in the natureof the Delegation called for adaptations in this chapter of Part Three.Delegation authorities are now responsible also to the Superior Generaland his Counciland not only to their Province as in the past.

Chapter Six consists of four sectionsas inthe past.

The first section (C150 - C157) can be consideredas general norms. C152 is new. It stresses the principle of subsidiarityin line with the 1992 Chapter decision on solidarity. In this waytheConstitutions underline the financial unity of the Congregation in a strictlydecentralized structure where the temporal goods of the Congregation areadministered on the Province and Delegation levels.

The former R148 (1982)on the administrationof temporal goods at all levelswas divided into two articles which arenow C154 and C155. The aim was to distinguish clearly betweenacts of ordinary administration and acts of extraordinary administration.The related Rule 155a is new and states that the acts of extraordinaryadministration are to be listed in the various Financial Directories.

The former R149 (1982)on the Finance Committeewas upgraded to a Constitution (C157) because of the importanceof the matter.

The second section (C158 - R158c) deals withthe Local Level. We find four new ideas: Contributions to the Provinceor Delegation are to be made even in cases where there is financial dependence(C158). This article flows from our structure which begins with the individualOblate in community. If sharingas one part of our povertyis not introducedat the first level and in all new foundationsit then becomes very difficultto introduce this principle later.

Rule 158a applies the former Rule 15 (on fraternalsharing of financial resourceswhich has now become Rule 22a)to thelocal communities of a Province or Delegation.

Rule 158b extends to each local community thetraditional Oblate principle that Oblate goods are held in common (cfC21).

Rule 158c speaks about financial administratorsand mentions besides the local treasurers those other members of the Congregationwho are entrusted with the collection and disbursement of funds (suchas mission procurators).

The third section (C159 - C161) treats the Provincialand Delegation level. It introduces a number of stylistic changes as wellas some references to Delegations. C160 and R160a describe the responsibilityof the Provincial or Delegation Treasurer in parallel to that of the Provincial(C100) spelling out the requirements of Canon 638 and expressing themin the positive light of subsidiarity.

C161 is new to cover the situation of Delegationsand Missions. The financial administration of Delegations now has a relationto the General Administration as well as to the Province. (See C159 whichsays that the Superior General in Council determines the limits of financialcompetency of Delegations and mentions that they are also to contributeto the General Administration.)

The fourth section (C162 - R162b) concerns theGeneral Level. The second paragraph of C162 has been redrafted to covercases where the intervention of the Holy See is also required. Rule 162areferring to the Treasurer General's animation roleis new.

The last articleR162bhas two major changes:the General Finance Committee is composed of the General Treasurerhisassistant and one Oblate from each Regionnot necessarily a ProvincialTreasurerchosen by the Region and only confirmed by the Superior Generalin Council. A last sentence was added to make it possible to broaden thecommittee to include other available expertise.

The revisedPart Three on Organization speaksabout finances in several other articles.

R72aincorporating the values of cost effectivenessas regards personstime and financesis new.

C78 emphasizes the autonomy of the Provincewhile C97 outlines the criteria for autonomy of a Province. One of thecriteria is long-term financial stability.

The role of the Treasurer in the Council was hotly debatedduring the Chapter. R88a now says: "The Treasurer will attendCouncil meetings when financial questions are discussed; his opinion willbe recorded although he has no deliberative vote unless he is also a Councillor.With the consent of the Councilthe respective Superior may invite himto attend all meetings of the Council." It is pleasing to see thatthe General Council and several Provincial and Delegation Councils havealready made this decision to invite the Treasurer to attend all Councilmeetings. The General Council made one logical restriction: the TreasurerGeneral does not attend when the appointment of Provincials is being considered.

In the section on DelegationsC110-C120 addto the strong bond already existing with the Provincea further responsibilitytowards the General Administration. Time will tell whether this new three-wayrelation between the General Administrationthe Province and the Delegationwill work effectively.

Let me close by hinting that the General Finance Committeeis working on a new edition of the 'Directory for Administration of TemporalGoods' which hopefully will be published in the year 2001.

 

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After the above presentation by Fr Alfons KeuterTreasurerGeneralwe will limit ourself to the following brief comments to guidethe reading.

Let us stress that this chapter six was prepared withmuch care by the General Finance Committee and the Treasurer General beforeits presentation to the General Chapter. Let us quote one or another text:

C152 (new)

"In accordance with the principle of subsidiarityeach Province or Delegation will strive to provide for its own needs infinancial matters."

C158 (cf ex R145)

"The Provincial in Councilor the Superior ofthe Delegation in Councilsets the financial competency of local Superiorsand their Councilsand determines which assets can be managed by individualOblates and by local Superiors and their Councils. He also sets the contributionswhich local communities are to make to the Province or Delegation. Thiscontribution is to be made even in cases where there is financial dependence."

R158a (new)

"While respecting the rights of established housesand the intentions of benefactors and donorsthe Provincial and the Superiorof the Delegation shall provide for fraternal sharing of financial resourcesamong the local communities of the Province or Delegation."

 

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