It’s Work…Work…Work…at the General Chapter
If you’re wondering why we at the General Chapter might not be posting as often as during the first two weeks….well it’s that there often doesn’t seem much exciting news to report. The elections are completed, and work on the revised Capuchin Constitutions has begun. What’s to report? It’s a lot of work.
|Outgoing Vicar General, and chair of the Constitutions Commission, Felice Cangelosi of Sicily|
Monday forming and early afternoon, Bro. Felice Cangelosi of Sicily, who chaired the Constitutions Commission, gave his general introduction to the project. I believe a conservative estimate would be that the presentation took a total of 3 hours and that it was not always easy to stay focused on the topic. It was comprehensive!
|John Celichowski of the Midwest Capuchins is the president of our our small group.|
Late Monday afternoon, Bro. Chris Popravak from the Mid-America (Denver) Province in the USA, gave an introduction to chapter one. Chris was widely praised for an engaging PowerPoint presentation that focused on the key issues affecting chapter one. Tuesday morning, each coetus or small group in the chapter met to review the text of chapter one and submit recommended changes.
Our group managed to finish that work in time for Bro. Miguel Pena of Spain to introduce chapter 2 on formation at 4pm. Important changes included the definition that initial formation extends from postulancy through ministry formation. A ratio formations, or formation handbook, would be required of each jurisdiction and the general Order as a whole. It is further proposed that the General Minister and his Council approve all those handbooks from throughout the world. The proposed text clearly establishes the General Minister as having an essential hand in initial formation throughout the Order.
Our group didn’t quite finish reviewing chapter two at its Wednesday session. We have about 5 more chapters to go through. But we return to work this afternoon to receive the introduction to chapter 8 on the government of the order. I’m unsure who is making that presentation, but after it, our group will return again to work on chapter 2, which I believe will be completed quickly. Then, the very lengthy and more controversial chapter 8 will be discussed.
|Voting with our “gadgets”|
Chapter 8 in particular seeks to centralize authority in the Order to the general minister and his council, in many delegates’ opinion. It more clearly than ever establishes that entrants join the Capuchin Order and not a province or other jurisdiction, which is only the assignment of a brother. The proposed chapter 8 makes several calls for individual friars to exude a “missionary spirit” that frees them to move to where they are needed. The proposed chapter 8 also reorganizes the units of the Order, eliminating vice-provinces in favor of custodies. Another proposal calls for the election of a general vicar who is not a general councilor elected to work within a specific geographic area. However, once elected, this new type of vicar would become part of the General Council.
|Bro. Praveen Kumar of India manages the voting system on his computer.|
Chapter 1 seemed a necessary beginning as it established the foundational principles for the rest of the constitutions. Chapters 2 and 8 were both introduced next because they contain the most substantial changes, which are expected to generate considerable debate. No doubt, they will require repeated review before acceptable versions are achieved.
Meetings often don’t produce exciting pictures. But yesterday’s general website featured many pictures from our group. I reproduce many of them so you can see the participants from North America.