2012 Capuchin Constitutions General Report

Commissio Constitutionum O.F.M.Cap

Br. Felice Cangelosi O.F.M.Cap

Table of Contents

The establishment and membership of the Commission

1. The General Chapter of 2006 assigned the method of embellishing the Constitutions and the General Statutes to the Minister General and his Definitory.[1] To this end in November 2006 the Minister General set up a working group to carry out the following:[2]

1. evaluate the progress which had been made thus far and the documentation that had been submitted to the General Chapter of 2006

2. offer suggestions for continuing with the work, according to the decision of the said General Chapter, while involving all the brother and all the Circumscriptions.

After this the Lettera programmatica of 25 January 2007 (Prot. N. 0007/07)[3] announced the decision of the Minister General and his Definitory of assigning the work on our fundamental legislation to a Commission,[4] and the Order had been notified in a Circular Letter dated 27 March 2007 (Prot. N. 00484/07)[5] of the composition of the Commission which has been set up to “follow, guide and coordinate the work of all the brothers”. It was announced in the same letter that with respect to the composition of the Commission a double criterion had been followed: the representation of all geographical areas and the membership of certain experts. The following is the list of the Brothers that made up the Commission:

      • Br Christopher Popravak (p. Mid-America);
      • Br Piotor Stasinski (P. Warsaw);
      • Br. Prudente Lùcio Nery (P. Minas Gerais); Br. Matthew Paikada (P. St Joseph-Kerala);
      • Br. Roberto Geruin (P. Venice);
      • Br. Paolo Martinelli (P. Lombardy);
      • Br. Claudio Bedriňán (P. Rio de la Plata);
      • Br. Leonard Lehmann (P. Renano-Wesrfalica);
      • Br. Miguel Anxo Pena González (P. Castiglia);
      • Br. Jean-Bertin Nadonye Ndongo (VPG Congo).

We nominated Br. Felice Cangelosi, Vicar General, as President of the Commission and Peter Rogers, General Definitor, as Vice-President. The Commission would enjoy the services of a permanent secretary in the person of Br. Josè Maria Sanz (P. of Castilla) who would reside in Rome (5,3).

Among the brothers who have just been mentioned we should remember especially Br. Prudente Lùcio Nery from the Province of Minas Gerais who died suddenly on 20 June 2009. He has worked on our Commission offering his theological expertise to the Order. We recall his discretion and courtesy in presenting his opinions, his attachment to the spiritual traditions of the Order, his wisdom and composure during discussions and ever-constructive attitude. His interventions were always admirable and appropriate and came at the right moment. He was faithful to prayer. May he rest in peace.

Br Prudente was replaced by Br. Adelino Piloneto from the Province of Rio Grande do Sol, who was nominated as a member of the Commission in a letter of 23 September 2009. There were also changes to the Secretariat. Following repeated requests made by Br. Josè Maria Sanz to be relieved of his commitment as Secretary and return to his Province, Br. Francesco Polliani, from the Province of Lombardy, was nominated Secretary of the Commission in a letter dated 19 June 2009.


Work times

2. The Commission met for the first time in October 2007 and had its last Plenary Session in November of last year. In all there were 13 Plenary Sessions:

      • 1st Session from 15 to 20 October 2007 (International College)
      • 2nd Session from 4 to 9 February 2008 ( General Curia)
      • 3rd Session from 14 to 31 July 2008 (General Curia)
      • 4th Session from 9 to 21 December 2008 (General Curia)
      • 5th Session from 2 to 14 March 2009 (General Curia)
      • 6th Session from 1 to 11 July 2009 (General Curia)
      • 7th Session from 5 to 17 October 2009 (International College)
      • 8th Session from 15 to 27 February 2010 (General Curia)
      • 9th Session from 5 to 17 July 2010 (General Curia)
      • 10th Session from 22 November to 4 December 2010 (General Curia)
      • 11th Session from 1 to 20 February 2011 (General Curia)
      • 13th Session from 7 to 18 November 2011( International College)

We may calculate approximately that the Commission met for about 133 days and taking into account that it worked for an average of 5 hours per day it would seem that the work of the Commission went on for about 665 hours. A faithful echo of what went on in the sessions can be had from the Minutes of the Commission which amounted to 1191 pages. These are available to you in your Language Group rooms. Meticulously taken down by the Secretary of the Commission, at first by Br. Josè Maria Sanz and later by Br. Francesco Polliani, they record in detail all the interventions and every change that was made to the text as it was being developed and revised. After each Plenary Session the Minutes were sent to all the members of the Commission and approved in the following Plenary Session.

We should also remember the incalculable work of the Sub-commissions and the individual members of the Commission, both in preparing their own proposals and in editing the introductions, the Explanatory Notes, the Charts with matters for the brothers to reflect upon as well as all the work of the Secretariat. The Secretary collated the work of the Commission and the individual members of the Commission, of the Sub-commissions and of the translators. At the beginning of each meeting he reported on the work that had been carried out in the interval between one Session and the other. In addition to preparing the Plenary Sessions he took care of the preparation of the texts, their distribution to the Order and putting them on the website of the General Curia. All the evaluations of the Order came to the Secretary and he promptly catalogued them and, when necessary, translated them into Italian. The Secretary was always ready to satisfy the questions that came in from the brothers.

The first three Plenary Sessions

3. To begin the work of the Commission and at the same time to inform the Order concerning the status questionis in the light of what had gone on in the preceding years, the so-called Preliminary Information (Premessa informative) was prepared in the summer of 2007. This text, which was examined by the Minister General, was sent to all the members of the Commission who evaluated it, and after they had revised some parts of it, they approved it in their first session, which was held in the International College from 15 to 20 October 2007. The Preliminary Information was sent to the Provincial Ministers, Vice-provincials and Custodes on 1 November 2007 with a letter (Prot. N. 00978/07) from the Minister General and the President of the Commission and then pit on the website of the General Curia.

4. At the end of the first meeting (20 October 2007) the Commission sent its own letter to all the Brother of the Order[6] in which

      • the mandate of the General Chapter of 2006 was recorded;
      • the kairós against which the new work of the Order was contextualised was laid out; and the preparation for and the celebration of the eighth centenary of the approval of the propositum vitae which “the Most High had revealed” to Brother Francis and the Lord Pope had orally confirmed in 1209[7] was announced;
      • it was emphasised that the work that was proposed for all brothers in the Order “was part of what had been done already. In fact during the past six years the work of various groups and of a Commission had produced a Project on the Constitutions and the General Statutes which had been presented to the General Chapter in 2006.”
      • It was indicated that ‘the special nature of this new phase that was the wish of the Chapter of 2006 was direct consultation of all the brother which has not been planned up to them”;
      • Therefore, all the brothers were asked to offer proposals and suggestions, so that “the unravelling that the revision of our Constitutions implied would promote the concrete involvement of all the brothers of the Order excluding none;”
      • As an immediate help certain useful aids for the personal and common study of the current Constitution were proposed: the Preliminary Information, the five aids which were entrusted to certain brothers by the Minister General, the Project for the Constitutions and General Statutes that had been presented to the General Chapter of 2006.

5. This letter from the Commission pointed out: “the work that lies ahead will go on for at least two years and should lead to a General Chapter that will promulgate the eventual changes”. The fifth proposal of the General Chapter of 2006 had considered about holding an Extraordinary General Chapter in 2009, “if circumstances did not suggest otherwise to the Minister General and his Definitory”.[8] In fact this took place. Indeed, in the letter of promulgation of 25 January 2007, the Minister General stated: “We have in mind to crown the work by an Extraordinary General Chapter which will probably be celebrated in 2010”. In view of this prospect as it stood then in the Preliminary Information (cf. nn. 64-67) the Commission outlined a plan of work which would have involved:

      • All the brothers in the rank and file of the Order and in each Circumscription personally and in common;
      • The central Commission which had been set up by the Minister General and his Definitory.

The work of the brothers in the rank and file of the Order would have gone head in two phases:

      • The first phase would deal with “information, formation, and animation” both in reference to making the current Constitutions more meaningful and in the revision and reformulation of our Constitutions, General Statutes and Ordinances.
      • The second phase “that was proposed” would have been conducted in six stages from February 2009 to January 2010. It was foreseen that the brothers in the Order be committed to the study of each chapter of the Constitutions with a view to sending to the Commission proposals for change and rearrangement LACUNA Thus concrete indication were given for the elaboration and transmission of proposals.

On its part the Commission outlined its own plan of work in the Preliminary Information (cf. n. 68) which provided for 9 Plenary Sessions to be held between October 2007 and June 2010.

6. Between 4 and 8 February the Commission held its second Plenary Session which also ended with a letter addressed to all the brothers of the Order dated 18 February 2008.[9] The letter retraces in brief once again the journey that has been travelled so far and outlines the work that is to be done according to the directions of the General Chapter. To this end it offers some basic criteria that came from the specific orientation and purpose of the Constitutions or the Ordinances or General Statutes, in conformity to the mind of the Church and the provisions of Canon Law. It indicated once again who was to carry out the work (each brother or group of brothers; it indicated that the work done by fraternities was particularly valuable) and asked Ministers Provincials and Guardians to commit themselves to animation, without setting aside the involvement of the Ministers and their respective Councils and the Conferences of Major Superiors which should make their specific contribution either directly or through the work groups which they set up including those at the level of individual Circumscriptions. The letter contained further indications concerning the method of work, the forms that had been prepared by the Secretariat of the Commission were explained in detail (a form for changes to the text of the Constitutions: a form to transferring norms to the Ordinances or Statutes), how the forms were to be filled out and what they should not contain. Thus, according to the programme that was put forward in the Preliminary Information (n. 66) the Order was required to undertake the first stage of the second phase of the work by June 2008. This was made up of: the study of chapters I, II, III of the Constitutions and the preparation of proposals for the change or the transfer of norms in the relevant chapters.

7. We should remember what the Commission declared in the letter of 8 February 2008:

“While the criteria established by the General Chapter remain firm, having due respect for all, we do not wish to restrict the work of the brothers in any way since they already have sufficient material at their disposal to make the Constitutions more profound, and, ultimately, in as far as they see fit, to propose changes. The work should show free expression and be the fruit of personal and communal study with an attitude of heeding the Spirit, the signs of the times and the diversity of situations’ (n. 2).

This declaration outlined in substance the method of working and did not have its origin in a prefabricated plan put out by the Commission and communicated to the Order, but in a plan that had been developed following proposals from the Order. Later on the plan was again transmitted to all the brothers for further evaluation, and, ultimately, for new proposals. The spirit that animated the Commission was one of dialogue with the Order and – as we read in the declaration mentioned above – of ‘having due respect for everyone”, not wanting “to restrict the work of the brothers in any way”, so that “the work could enjoy freedom of expression and be the fruit of personal and communal study.”

The time limit which the Minister General and his Definitory had set and which provided for the conclusion of the task in 2010 with the celebration of a General Chapter, was neither the easiest nor the shortest.[10]

8. In fact with respect to only the first three chapters of the Constitution discovered during its third Plenary Session between 14 and 39 July 2008 that it was confronted with a large dossier of more than 1500 proposals for changes to the text of the Constitutions or transfers to the Complementary Code.[11] The Commission examined all the forms which were received and Project 2006, in the first instance in the three groups that were set up for that purpose and then during a Plenary Session. Following this minute examination, during which all the numbers in the current Constitutions were reviewed, those of Project 2006 and the other proposals, three Sub-commissions were set up to re-edit the first three chapters of the Constitutions taking also into account the reasons given for enrichment, changes and transfers to the Complimentary Code. The Commission undertook to examine the Outline of the first three chapters and the necessary documentation at its next Plenary Session that was to be held between 9 and 21 December 2008.

9. During the same Plenary Session between 14 and 30 July 2008 the Commission paid special attention to the method of working, which, certainly was burdensome for the Commission itself, whose duty it was to involve the rank and file of the Order on behalf of all the brothers. The concerns that various parts of the Order had expressed regarding the method of working increased and all agreed on the need to find a method that would involve all the Brothers. It indeed became clear that in spite of the fact that many forms concerning the first three chapters has been received (more than 1500 as was said above), some quarters of the Order, including entire Conferences, had not taken part. Some thought that the “very restricted time limit” created stressful difficulties both for the brothers in the Order and the Commission.

When he met with the Commission between 21 and 22 July 2008, even the Minister General raised concerns about the method of working and the difficulties experienced in various parts of the Order.

At the end it was decided to continue to reflect on the various problematical issues in dialogue with the Minister General and his Definitory which were to meet in the following September. At that time the Minister would be able to supply the latest news to the Commission and the entire Order concerning the progress of the work and the method to be adopted.

10. Indeed in the Circular Letter of 4 October 2008 (Prot. N. 00764/08)[12] under the heading At what point has the work on the Constitutions arrived? The Minister General gave the following news after he had made the point concerning the work which had been done and the difficulties that had been encountered with regard to method:

1. At its meeting between 15 and 26 September the General Definitory considered the work that the Commission had done up to that point and the proposals which it had made based on the evaluations coming from the involvement of the Order and the meeting which it held with the Minister General. Having read the report furnished by the Secretary of the Commission and listened to the exposition given by the President of the Commission, Br. Fleice Cangelosi, we unanimously accepted the proposal that from now on it would be up to the Commission to compose a text in support of the evaluations of the brothers. Consequently the Commission would address the Order in giving practical instructions regarding the work to be done when the form for the first three chapters of the Constitutions, or, at least, for some of them, had been prepared.

2. Once the change in method had been accepted we had to also examine the timeframe for carrying out the project. The General Chapter had this to say in 2006:

“The improvement of the Constitutions and General Statutes of the Order should be done in such a way that it could be studied and approved in an Extraordinary General Chapter in 2009, unless the Circumscriptions indicate otherwise in the judgement of the Minister General and his Definitory.”

In my letter last year I proposed that the date might be 2010.

I am grateful that the 2006 Chapter formulated the motion in an open manner. Now it is clear that the change in method inevitably meant an adjustment in the date that and that was to an Ordinary General Chapter in 2012. This decision was not taken lightly, as we were aware that this involved special preparation for the Chapter itself. This was not the first time that this had happened. In the Chapter of 1982 the same thing occurred when the current text of the Constitutions was discussed and approved. The final text of the Constitutions as prepared by the Commission should be necessarily ready slightly ahead pf time so that the Conferences would have the necessary time to prepare for the General Chapter and partly facilitate its progress.

Preparation of the First Proposal for Revision (PdR1)

11. Beginning with the fourth Plenary Session, the Commission’s work went ahead according to the method indicated by the Minister General in his Circular Letter of 4 October 2008. Thus between December 2008 and December 2010 the Commission worked out the First Proposal for Revision (PdR1) for all 12 chapters of the Constitutions and this was sent out to the Order for the brothers to send back evaluations and proposals.

12. In PdR1 which was gradually sent out to the Order, the Introductions to the individual chapters always, perhaps in a summary manner, made reference to the progress of the drafting of the chapter. From these short notes you can see that the work of the Commission was a collective effort which was governed by “certain norms” which were applied from the outset and which had been submitted for the approval of the Minister General and his Definitory. These norms were followed to the extent that they assisted the advancement of the work by submitting everything to the collective nature of the exercise and the communal maturing of the text. It often became evident that it was necessary to go over the text again and again even thought it had already been voted as approved. There was no need to make hurried decisions and no decision was ever regarded as being irreversible. It was only at the end of the session that the text was regarded as definitive. What inspired us was the conviction that it was better to turn out a shared text with the greatest degree of agreement possible which would be finally submitted to a vote. In line with what had been envisaged by the Norms each text was approved by the majority of those present. The Minutes of the Commission indicate that this is true.

The personal proposals that were presented by members of the Commission for changes or additions to the text or for its rearrangement were always sent to all the members of the Commission and were evaluated by both the Sub-committee which was assigned to the preparation of the Schedules of Revision of a chapter[13] and then by the entire Commission. Thus the texts were minutely and repeatedly submitted to collective scrutiny, evaluation and testing during the Plenary Sessions after having been prepared and examined in the Sub-committee. We can state with certainty that by the time the text was sent to the Order – after having been evaluated at length by the Commission and approved by means of a vote – it was the Commission’s text. This was the beginning of what was naturally a more protracted, more arduous and often more difficult journey, which required a high degree of patience from everyone and, by the end of the Plenary Session, the work had become heavy and tiresome for the Commissioners. Nothing was left to chance but everything was worked out together and collegially.

13. Each chapter the First Proposal for Revision (PdR1) was accompanied by a stock of explanatory documents:

      • Letter of presentation from the Minister General
      • Issues for the reflection of the brothers
      • Introduction
      • Technical notes
      • Explanatory notes

In general, this documentation was put together following the Plenary Sessions, but with respect to the manner in which it was set out it was also subjected to the inspection of all or some members of the Commission through the medium of emails. The Introduction and The Explanatory Notes outline the choices which had been made and the reasons for which they had been made. From the outset the Commission agreed that the current text had no need of justification whereas each and every change or addition required good reasons. The Commission acted out of an awareness of being of service to the Order and of performing a duty before all the brothers on which it never intended imposing any choices. The Commission was simply aware of the need of notifying the regions of the choices which had been made. Some did not appreciate the abundance of explanatory notes, but, as far as we are aware, many do appreciate them and we have often been told that they have contributed to a greater and more profound understanding of the Constitutions. One of the evaluations which was received from the Order says: “Once again we wish to express our hope that the notes about the changes and the new texts be published in a separate document that would be considered to be a commentary on the Constitutions” (Cf. Prot. N.; XI-00042).

The preparation of the Second Proposal for Revision (PdR2)

14. The Plenary Sessions during 2011 were dedicated to the revision of the text according to the evaluations of the Order and the proposals for alternative texts submitted by the brothers following on PdR1. Between 2009 and 2011 in all 1923 contributions[14] were received from the brothers in 63 Circumscriptions.[15] Here is the number of evaluations that were received for each chapter:

Chapter Received Evaluations
I 553
II 395
III 294
IV 171
V 81
VI 105
VII 86
IX 113
X 36
XI 13
Total 1923

Every intervention was entered into the database and given a specific number. Because the responses came in various languages the evaluation and proposals of the brothers were translated into Italian by Br Ermanno Ponzalli (Province of Tuscany). We thank him cordially for this mighty work which was added to the many other translations that he does for the General Curia.

The dossier containing all the contribution that were received, in their original language and translated into Italian, together with the statistics which were pertinent to the evaluations and proposals that were received from the Order and where they came from, is available to all the brothers in the rooms of the language groups. The statistical analysis was performed by Br. Mark Schenk, Definitor General and Br Francesco Polliani, the Secretary of the Commission. We thank them both for the service that they have rendered.

15. The following method was devised for evaluating the contributions offered by the Order. The diagram for each chapter was divided into three columns: the current text was placed in the first column, the text of the Constitutions as proposed by the Commission was placed in the second column, followed immediately paragraph by paragraph by all the proposed alternative texts, in the third column there was the text of the Complementary Code as proposed by the Commission. The footnotes contained the reasons for every alternative text and the other evaluations that had been received including those which were not accompanied by an alternative text. Indeed, it was considered that all the observations both those which were positive and those which were negative with regard to the content or formulation of the Constitutions might serve to improve the text.

Each member of the Commission picked out a chapter and worked on it in line with the criteria that have just been stated. All this material is also at your disposal in the rooms of the language groups.

Thus during the Plenary Session the Commission had considered each and every contribution that had been received and developed its own reflections and choices on the basis of these, at times reviewing the text on the basis of what had been suggested in as much as this made its inner meaning more profound or at times confirmed the preceding rendition.

16. All of this is reflected in the Explanatory Notes of PdR2. The work of the Plenary Session of 2011 meant that the Introductions and Explanatory Notes of the First Proposal for Revision (PdR1) had been reworked in the light of the evaluations and proposals which had been received from the Order. Some of the notes in PdR2 have been eliminated since they were no longer needed or pertinent. Others were reformulated. Still others were replaced. Finally new notes were introduced. It is clear from the Introductions and especially from the notes that the Commission had taken into account all the proposals that had been received even if it was not possible to accept them all. In any case, even the proposals that have not been accepted, have contributed to the further improvement and development of each part of the text of the Constitutions and the Complementary Code.

Many times the Explanatory Notes refer to the evaluations of the brothers and to alternative texts which they proposed indicating the index number that was assigned to each one of them. I think that I can state with a clear conscience that on this point the Commission has really dialogued with the Order. This was precisely the objective that had been proposed at the beginning, when selecting a criterion of work by means of which, as far as the Commission was concerned, listening to the brothers was of most importance. As has already been said, the method was subsequently changed to facilitate the work of all and involve a greater number of brothers in collective work.

The Explanatory Notes of PdR2 often point to the textual differences between the First (PdR1) and Second (PdR2) Proposals for Revision. In this regard, if they want to, the brothers could implement further investigations and comparative improvements by accessing the web of the General Curia, on which PdR1 is still available. Some copies of PdR1 are available in the rooms of the language groups.

Finally, when required, the Explanatory Notes point out some issues that are still problematic, underlying the need for further reflection on these matters by the General Chapter.

17. In February of this year the distribution of the text of PdR2 was carried out together with a letter from the President and Secretary of the Commission to Provincial Ministers, Vice-Provincials, Custodes and all the brothers of the Order. The same text was placed immediately on the web of the General Curia in Italian. Subsequently when the various translations were ready it was distributed and placed on the web in these other languages.

The language of the Constitutions

18. The Commission worked in Italian and the text of the Constitutions and the Complementary Code were produced in that language as were the Introductions and Explanatory Notes both for PdR1 and PdR2. the Italian text has been translated into French, English, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and German. Recently we have succeeded in having the text of the Constitutions and the Complementary Code in Indonesian.

The Italian text of PdR2 or of the outline presented to the Chapter is to be regarded as the original text. It has also been translated into Latin. It was considered desirable that the texts in modern languages ought to be placed alongside (even at the PdR1 stage) the Latin text for symbolical reasons. We are an international Order and no local language takes precedence over another. In this respect it might be useful to recall that both the Albacina Statutes and our Order’s Constitutions were written in Italian from 1536 to 1638, but after 1638 the Latin text was added to this.[16] One can believe that this took place because of the needs of the fraternity which gradually spread more and more beyond the Alps.

We believe that even at this level history can be life’s teacher while keeping in mind that in the end, if other considerations and/or decisions do not intervene, the official texts of the Constitutions and the Complementary Code that will be approved by the General Chapter will be those in Latin and that in the long run if these (the text of the Constitutions) are approved by the Holy See and have binding force for the entire Order.

We took all this into account while doing our work. For this very reason (and not to weigh down the Capitulars with paper) the text was distributed to everyone in Italian, with the Latin text and a vernacular translation beside it.

In any case, as has been the way up to now, there has to be one official typical text of our basic legislation, which will be the only text that is to be approved firstly by the General Chapter and then by the Holy See. The official typical text (in whatever language it might be) is the one that should be quoted both in the Constitutions themselves and in the Prologue or Decree of Approval of the CIVCSVA. At present n. 185, 2 of the Constitutions states: Unicus hic Constitutionum textus in tota Ordine suam iuridicam vim habet. The Commission did not think that the Italian translation which speaks of juridical value was appropriate and by transferring the text to another paragraph (cf. PdR2 n. 185, 2) preferred to speak of “these Constitutions, the only ones that have juridical binding force throughout the entire Order”. Perhaps the new formulation does not render the real meaning of the current Latin text, in which the emphasis is on textus (unicus hic Constitutionum textus), while wishing to state in other terms, that this is the typical text of the Constitutions, and in as much as it is the typical text it is the only one that has the binding force of law in the Order. We are not dealing with a detail which is of little value when we take into account that we have Constitutions in various languages, and that there may be divergences among them. In practice, to which text should we refer? Firstly the General Chapter and then the Holy See may not approve the Constitutions in different languages but only in one language. Only the text approved in this language has juridical force within the entire Order. The various translations have to agree with this text. It is the duty of the General government of the Order to keep watch on this agreement. The topic cannot be devalued since real problems are involved concerning which the General Definitory in some cases become involved.

In face the official text of the Constitutions which is approved by the Holy See is the one in Latin. During our work we had to admit that the present translations of the Constitutions including that in Italian left much to be desired. Many of the statements of the brothers came about because of this fact. Many interventions depended on the formulation of the text in various languages rather than on diversity of content. When examining the proposals it became evident that they were not based on the official Latin text. So whenever it was required, the Commission made the necessary adjustments or corrections by comparing the various translations with the original typical text.

Dialogue with the Minister General and his Definitory

19. The minister General and his Definitory were always promptly informed about the progress of the work on our Constitutions. Each time the text of an individual chapter was composed it was immediately sent to the Minister General and he was always requested to send a letter to the entire Order with this chapter. This took place with all 12 chapters of the Constitutions. This appeared to be a suitable way to animate the Order and to sensitise the brothers to the improvement of the Constitutions and to involve them in the work that had been requested by the General Chapter. The text of PdR1, sometimes together with the Introduction and Explanatory Notes, and sometimes without them, was distributed to the General Definitors, and on more than one occasion the Definitors read it together during the Plenary Session of the Definition. The Minutes of the Commission were also sent, Session by Session, to the Secretary General and placed at the disposition of the Definitory. Nor should we forget that the Minister General, met with the Commission on more than one occasion sharing in some of the meetings.

20. In this context I think it is appropriate to stress some issues which are of special importance because of their connection to method, substance or content of the work of the Commission.

With respect to the method of work, it suffices to say that its progress was developed in communication with the Minister General during the Third Plenary Session between 14 and 21 July 2008. The General Definitory became involved in this during the meeting it held in September 2008 (cf. above nn. 9-10).

With respect to the substance or content of the work, we should remember the letter of 25 November 2008 (Prot. N. 00879/08), which the Minister General sent to the Brothers on the Commission for the Constitutions[17] and the various consultations regarding chapter VIII. The letter of 25 November 2008 came about because of an internal discussion within the General Definitory during the preceding month of September and this was further extended during meeting of the General Definitory with the Conferences of Africa and Asia (November 2008), which – as the Minister General wrote – “had once more confirmed the need to meet a basic need of our Order, even at the level of our legislation, to build the future of the Fraternity and set the Church and the world a genuine example of our vocation to fraternal gospel living.” In fact the work of “enriching the Constitutions” as it was envisaged by the General Chapter in 2006 involved also taking into account the development of the Order over the last ten years and the new environment in which the Order finds itself today.”

Therefore, the Minister General drew the attention of the Commission to two things in particular: collaboration between Circumscriptions and the relationship between pluriformity and inculturation.

21. With respect to collaboration between Circumscriptions: above all the letter of 25 November 2008 noted: “This issue is perfectly in line with the aim set by the General Chapter of enriching the Constitutions in the light of the PCOs, especially the last two, but not only with these. The objective of collaboration is not new, because the PCOs have constantly spoken about the subject from the first one at Quito in 1971.” He then added; “The issue of collaboration, as a privileged expression and implementation of life in fraternity in its various aspects and dimensions, is also absent from the current text of the Constitutions. However, it is a topic that should permeate and characterise the whole of the Constitutions. It should certainly be evident in a special way in some chapters, such as for example, the second chapter on formation, the fourth on the life of poverty, the sixth on fraternity, the eighth on the government of the Order, the ninth and the twelfth on apostolic and missionary activity.”

22. Regarding the relationship between pluriformity and inculturation, the Minister General said to the Commission: “Beginning from the revised Constitutions of 1968, the Order has continually grown in awareness of the modi aptiores, etiam pluriformes, (better ways, including pluriform) for the faithful spiritual observance of the Rule of St Francis. As it commits itself to implementing this criterion, our International Fraternity, which is spread throughout the world, should benefit from and aspire to an ever increasing vitality and to setting a more effective example. At this level the Order has to still travel a long journey along the road of true inculturation. The examples that were cited at the General Chapters of 1968 and 1974 and later at the Assembly in Lublin remain completely valid and in your work you should keep in mind vividly what was said in the Minutes of those Chapters and in the documents to which they refer, as also in the Documentation and in the Letter from the Assembly at Lublin. All the same time we cannot and should not hide the fact that the risk of the burden of inculturation is real. AS this is taking place there is also a danger of increasing individualism or of focusing everything on Provincial concerns or being preoccupied excessively with ethnic or cultural tendencies, which compromise the unity of the Order and lessen our example of fraternal life. Pluriformity and inculturation make sense when joined to the inter-cultural nature of our charism and when the Order lives the charismatic law of fraternal integration and reciprocal dependence.” Among other considerations the letter also said; “. We need to open ourselves to personal and institutional renewal, by walking the path of balanced flexibility and the dynamic integration of Circumscriptions among themselves and a greater openness to the Order. We believe that at this level there needs to be in the Constitutions the rediscovery of greater balance. Without renouncing or misunderstanding the principle of “subsidiarity” we must show this more clearly in our basic legislation through the role of the Minister General and his Definitory being better defined and specified juridically as a genuine guarantee and effective support for all the brothers and the Circumscriptions of the Order. This should happen especially with respect to certain aspects of our life and certain primary commitments, such as something as basic as the formation of the brothers. In this regard we need to consider the content of chapter II of the Constitutions, rather than placing all the responsibility for the initiation of candidates of the Order and the formation of the brothers on the Provincial Ministers and minimising the role of the Minister General and his Definitory. In this way any intervention of the central government of the Order, which is often requested from all sides, is made without any adequate legal basis, while it is suitable that the Government of the Order should have the right and the authority in an area which is an inalienable right and primary duty of the Order.”

Finally the Minister General concluded: “I offer you these reflections, which are shared by the General Definitory, so that you might keep them in mind while you are working on the revision and enrichment of our legislation, so that through a profound dialogue which is conducted in the heart of the Order, within the Chapter of 2012, we might arrive at a balanced codification of the techniques that I have proposed to you and which correspond to a necessity of the life and development of the Order itself which is being called upon today to build its future.”

23. With regard to chapter VIII of the Constitutions: the introduction to the chapter states: that the Commission: “requested that the sub-committee to which the first draft was to be confided might be perhaps composed of jurists and at the same time requested that the Minister General and his Definitory indicate to the Commission, if they thought it suitable, what terms regarding structure and government were, in their opinion, in need of the most attention for the present development of the Order”. In a letter dated 1 October 2009 (Prot. N. 685/09) the Minister General, among other things, gave his response: – Br Roberto Genuin and Br. Piotr Stasinski, who are experts in Canon Law, will join the Sub-committee the will work on chapter VIII when it is formed – Br Vincenzo Mancursi, Procurator General will be appointed as a special consultant to the Sub-committee as already indicated – the mandate of Br Vincenzo Mancusi was restricted to chapter VIII – “taking into account that chapter VIII of the Constitutions was an object of study in the preparation for the General Chapter of 2000, and during the same General Chapter, following due consideration, the General Definitory asked the Commission to keep before it the material that was studied for the preparation of the Chapter in 2000 and the Minutes of that Chapter, while attentively considering and evaluating also the suggestions and proposals which the Chapter of 2000 did not consider opportune to deliberate.”

Thus as the introduction to chapter VIII says: “in the letter of 15 October that was sent to the President of the Commission, the Procurator General, after studying the proposed text [of chapter VIII] presented an example of a more realistic adjustment of our legislation to the changed conditions of the order, at least for some easily identifiable Circumscriptions, with special reference to the subdivision of the Order. The Minister General himself when he intervened in the Commission on the morning of 22 November 2010 proposed a better analysis of the situation of the Order in order to test the incongruent parts of this legislation, the repetitions and thus consider the possibility of simplifying the structure.”

In evaluating the work of the Commission, the General Chapter should take into account what has just been referred to. In fact for this reason precisely it has been expressed in a more detailed way raising matters that involve the work assigned to the Commission.


24. We come to the second part of this Report which aims to explain the agreement or non-agreement of our work with the mandate received from the General Chapter of 2006. As is known the Chapter approved the following 6 motions:

      • Let the Order continue the work of articulating our basic legislation in the Constitutions and General Statutes which has already been started.
      • In the revision of the Constitutions let us respect, as far as possible, their doctrinal and spiritual content and enrich it further quoting the recent documents of the Church and of the Order.
      • In the editing of the General Statutes let us seek adaptation to our times, concreteness, brevity, and proper attention to pluriformity.
      • In developing new texts in the Constitutions and General Statutes let us take into account the material which was prepared during the past six years and which was presented to this chapter.
      • Let the development of the Constitutions and General Statutes be done in such a way that they can be studied in an Extraordinary General Chapter in 2009 if circumstances do not dictate otherwise in the judgement of the Minister General and his Definitory.
      • The method of developing the Constitutions and General Statutes is left to the Minister General and his Definitory while offering them the suggestions of the capitular groups which are mainly the following:
        1. to involve all (the brothers and Circumscriptions) in the process of the renewal of the Constitutions and General Statutes:
        2. to send the necessary material to all the brothers, namely, a text in three columns which contain a synopsis of the current Constitutions, the material prepared for the new Constitutions and the General Statutes:
        3. to bring together what all the brothers in the Order have shared into the process of renewing our legislation as an extraordinary opportunity and a strong occasion for ongoing formation, for animation and updating by the General Definitory and the Ministers of all Circumscriptions and also as a preparation for the eighth centenary of the oral approval of the Rule.[18]

We shall report on the manner in which the Commission endeavoured to fulfil the task set by the General Chapter by considering the above motions one by one.


25. The first motion of the General Chapter of 2006 says:

Let the Order continue the work of articulating our basic legislation in the Constitutions and General Statutes which has already been started.

At that time the Preliminary Information outlined exhaustively the origin of the problem of the Constitutions and General Statutes and discussed the status quaestiones. The Capitulars may refer to that document which it is not possible to reproduce in full. It suffices to indicate that the plan changed over time and in that respect we can point to two things and to different points in time: the first is concerned with the so-called transfers (scorporo) and the second is concerned with the General Statutes.

The “transfers

26. The first matter – which arose between the meeting of the Minister General and his Definitory with the Presidents of the Conferences in September 1998 and the General Chapter of 2000 – concerns the transfers. Proposal n 8 of “The Conclusions of the Groups” of 4 September 1998 says:

“It appears to be necessary to distinguish certain topics that should be treated in the Constitutions from those that should be in the Ordinances of the General Chapters. For this reason it seems necessary that the General Chapter of 2000 decide to set up a commission of experts so as to present a realistic study for the General Chapter in 2006”.[19]

Later on the General Chapter of 2000 decided:

“Let the new Superiors of the Order set up a commission to carry out the task mentioned in canon 587 of the Code of Canon Law. The commission shall present its conclusions to a General Chapter.”[20]

In some way the problem came out of this proposal. This was noted during the General Chapter. The situation within the Order was no different then or now from what is provided for by canon 587. From 1988 the Order once more dispensed with Ordinances because “Once the Special General Chapter that was celebrated in 1968 had abrogated the “Ordinances of the General Chapters” which were not contained in the new Constitutions, it became evident little by little that it was necessary to have a collection of these ordinances. On the other hand, according to the wishes of the Church, norms that were not regarded as basic ought to be placed in other suitable codes not the Constitutions.” This is what was said in the Preface to the Ordinances with explicit reference to canon 587 as cited in the footnote.

The problem was not coming into line with canon 587, but rather the transfer to the Ordinances of matters which should be treated there rather than in the Constitutions, something that the General Chapter of 2000 had already recognised with respect to some elements of chapter VIII of the Constitutions. In any case at the General Chapter in 2000 there was no mention of General Statutes. The term “General Statutes” was introduced after the General Chapter of 2000 most of all following the meeting of the technical Work Group of 21-22 May 2002.[21] The Commission that was set up by the General Definitory during its meeting between 15 and 19 November 2004 was called Commission for the Constitutions and General Statutes; thus too the Project that was presented to the Chapter in 2006 was headed Project on the Constitutions and General Statutes.[22]

27. Furthermore, when presenting Project 2006 during the previous chapter the presenter declared:

“In their work the Group followed the criterion of what the majority considered to be the better, even though they believed that not all the brothers would have thought like this: leaving in the Constitutions all and only that which the legislation of the Church required.”23[23]

The Order was not consulted about this in the six years between 2000 and 2006. There was no consultation with the rank and file, while, as is clear from the declaration just made – the criterion adopted by that Working Group was that of a broad interpretation or application of canon 587. §4.

Following this the Preliminary Information (cf. n. 27) noted that such an interpretation or application “should be evaluated also in the light of the recent history of the legislation of the Order: the abrogation of the Ordinances in 1968 and the revival of the same 20 years later in the General Chapter of 1988. “What has just been recalled – the Preliminary Information (n. 27) continued – means that the consequence of this is to avoid the opposite extremes of “no Ordinances” and “placing everything in the Complementary Code”, leaving in the Constitutions that and only that which the Church’s legislation requires. The Order has wisely put aside the slogan “no Ordinances”. In respect of the second hypotheses (“put everything in the Complementary Code”) it seems better to consult the Brothers in the Order and while respecting the criteria established by the General Chapter of 2006, to test the matter case by case and make the change when appropriate.

28. From this point of view it should be stressed that the method of working which was initially devised by our Commission and which intended primarily to listen to the Order and receive responses from the rank and file, would have permitted us to know the feeling of the Order (at least this was the intention) and its real opinion with regard to the so-called transfers. The change in method, which we have just mentioned, meant that it was the Commission itself that proposed the transfer of some norms which were not fundamental to the Constitutions to the Complementary Code. We have obeyed this commitment by compiling the First Proposal for Revision (PdR1) which was submitted to the evaluation of the Order. In the light of the contributions that were received (which the Capitulars can inspect) we my draw the following conclusion: the Order has neither forgotten nor dismissed the proposal of the Commission: we have not received requests to transfer a major amount of norms: sometimes the brothers said that they were against to transferring some specific norms: at other time we have been exhorted to put back into the Constitutions some norms that we had transferred: some declared that they were not convinced that there ought to be a Complementary Code: some individuals insistently repeated that they did not want Ordinances but wanted to have everything in the Constitutions.

29. However, the Commission put the mandate received from the General Chapter into effect. From the following synoptic overview you can see immediately the numerical difference between the material contained in the current Ordinances and what the Commission proposes for the Complementary Code.

Chapters Ordinances Complementary Code
II 5 22
IV 3 19
V 1
VI 1 9
VIII 19 29 (28)
X 2
Conclusion 3
Total 28 90 ( 89)[24]

In greater detail, the Complementary Code that is proposed to the Order and to the Chapter is made up of:

1) texts that have been transferred from the Constitutions in full or with slight editorial adjustments.

Chap II Chap. III Chap IV Chap VI Chap VIII Chap X Conclusion
2/1 3/1 4/3 6/1 8/8 10/1 C/2,1
2/11 3/2 4/6 6/2 8/11,2 10/2
2/12 3/4 4/10 6/3 8/14,1
2/13 3/5 4/11 6/4 8/19
2/17 4/14 6/5 8/20
4/18 6/6 8/27
4/19 6/7

2) texts that have been differently formulated (or sometimes with different content) and which treat material that is already contained in the Constitutions. We refer to the norms from chapter VIII: 8/1; 8/11; 8/16;.8/23; 8/24; 8/26.

3) texts that come from the current Ordinances (sometime these are formulated differently)[25]

Chap II Chap IV Chap VI Chap VIII
2/2 4/7 6/9 8/3
2/3 4/15 8/4
2/14 4/16 8/5
2/20 8/6
2/22 8/9

40 new texts which the Commission thought it was suitable to propose to give greater clarity and precision or to complement our legislation according to the criteria of enrichment, updating and practicality as required by the General Chapter.

Chap II Chap III Chap IV Chap V Chap VIII Conclusion
2/4 3/3 4/1 5/1 8/2 C/1
2/5 4/2 8/5,1 C/2,2
2/6 4/4 8/6,1 C/3
2/7 4/5 8/7
2/8 4/8 8/9 (alternative B)
2/9 4/9 8/17
2/10 4/12 8/18
2/15 4/13 8/21,1-2
2/16 4/17 8/22,2
2/18 8/28
2/19 8/29

At this point it is necessary to indicate that, in the judgement of the Commission, evidently still respecting the liberty of the Chapter, the transfer is not in need of further discussion. Two General Chapter, 2000 and 2006, have already decided this. This General Chapter is asked to evaluate the work of the Commission; the quantity, quality and method of the transfers which have been made; always keeping in mind the decisions of the Church, the indications of the preceding General Chapter and the specific nature of our Constitutions.

30. We now have to treat the second aspect: the General Statutes. As has already been said treatment of the General Statutes began following the General Chapter in 2000 at the insistence of the “Technical Work Group” which was active at the time on the orders of the General Definitory.

The Presentation Project 2006, which had been published at the preceding General Chapter when referring to canon 587 spoke of “the basic code or Constitutions” and of “other lesser codes, commonly known as directories, ordinances or statutes.”[26] At the same time, it became clear from that Presentation that the Ordinances and the General Statutes could refer to different codes, with different specific purposes. The intent of the “Technical Work Group” first, and then of the Commission for the Constitutions and General Statutes” was precisely this. Indeed in the Presentation of the Project is had been stated:

(The “Technical Work Group”) “thought then that “as a result of its reflections it should and must formulate some proposals and suggestions to be offered to the Minister General and his Definitory. Among other things … to assign a specific name, for example, “General Statutes” to the document, which at the beginning had been know as “Ordinances” and to reserve the name “Ordinances of the General Chapters” to norms which the Order might issue for more contingent matters than those with which in this occupation were being transferred from the Constitutions to “other codes”.[27]

However, there was no consultation of the Order concerning this matter. Still the General Chapter of 2006 decided that our basic legislation ought to be set out in Constitutions and General Statutes.[28]

31. Following this the Preliminary Information asked:

“Should this decision [of the General Chapter] be regarded as a choice which had been already made in a definitive manner and be irrevocable along the lines of expressed in the Presentation of the Project? Or is the decision still open to further evaluation?” (n. 25).

The question had not come about because of an opinion that was against the decision of the General Chapter, nor from a wish to void or diminish the meaning or value of the decision of the Chapter. Rather it was from the perceived need to examine it better to clarify whether or not this presented an opportunity to adopt a new radical solution for the Order which had not had General Statutes.[29] It was also noted that “the difference between General Statutes and Ordinances of the General Chapters, that had been established in the Presentation [presented to the General Chapter in 2006] did not come from the Code of Canon Law, which does mention such differences of concepts nor express or intimate in the slightest manner a preference for either one or the other. The Code of Canon Law leaves complete freedom of choice with respect to what the codes are called and how many “other codes” there are.”[30]

32. With respect to the history of our basic legislation we should remember that from 1536 to 1925 the Prologue to the Constitutions constantly defined the Constitutions as Statutes.[31] Other than this the Capuchin Order has never had other General Statutes. The Order soon became aware of the need to have a Code that complemented the Constitutions. The Ordinances came from General Chapters to provide adaptations for conditions of the times. At the beginning the Ordinances were inserted into the body of the Constitutions and one might think legitimately that it was for this reason that for the first century the capuchin Order had 5 editions of the Constitutions between 1536 and 1643 (1536, 1552, 1575, 1608, and 1634). Later on – especially in1634 when Pope Urban VIII solemnly confirmed the Constitutions of our Order with the Brief Sacrosanctorum Apostolatus officium (19 June 1643) – so that frequent changes might weaken the Constitutions, the Ordinances of the General Chapters and the Decrees of the General Definitory were no longer incorporated in the Constitutions, but formed a new body of laws and decrees that were complementary to the Constitutions.

Thus (obviously in addition to the Rule) our Order has had three kinds of “codices”

1) The Constitutions which according to the whole of our legislative tradition have followed the Rule and were set as a complement and application of various aspects of the Rule or of individual chapters. As far as they are our own basic legislation, the Constitutions should contain:

        • on the one hand (by canonical obligation) a complex of norms which have been indicated by CIC and/or required by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CIVCSVA);
        • and on the other hand, a consistent body of norms which the Order regards a fundamental and important for elementary reasons of common sense, instructive benefit, practical usefulness etc.

2) The Ordinances which are also a “traditional” Code that is typical of our own law are most of all a kind of practical and operational complement to the Constitutions. The Ordinances are laws of the Order that are complementary to the Constitutions and sources of our own law. As such they are a code that is obligatory for the Order in everything and for everything. They contain a complex of norms, which are not necessarily “constitutional”, but which at the same time are valid and important for the entire Fraternity and so are universally binding even if open to pluriformity. They are not approved by the Holy See, but by the General Chapter, and, thus, they can be adapted, increased or diminished accord to the times for the good of the Order.

3) The Other Codes (additional codices) which are of specific and particular nature, as, for example, the “Modus procedendi” of the Order, the “Statutes for International Economic Solidarity” etc.

Three main collections of Ordinances have come down to us through history:

      • the first in 1851 by order of the Minister General, Venanzio da Torino;
      • the second issued by the Minister General Bernard Christen da Ardermatt and which was published in the Analecta in the years1888-1892;
      • the third laid down by the Minister General Melchiorre da Benisa and which was adapted for the Code of Canon Law along Benedictine lines was published in 1928.

The first two collections present the Ordinances in chronological order; the third in 1928 is organised according to the chapters of the Rule and Constitutions. The third collection was defined as Statutes several times in the presentation letter of the Minister General Melchiorre da Benisa (dated 16 April 1928).[32] Thus we may conclude: that although our tradition has never mentioned General Statutes the Order in fact recognised in the Ordinances that it had a special kind of Statutes. The collection of Ordinances in 1928 lasted up to the General Chapter in 1968, which after it had approved the renewed Constitutions, abrogated all the Ordinances of the General Chapters to make room for the new Constitutions.[33] Subsequently, as had been said, the General Chapter of 1988 decided to revive the collection of “Ordinances of the General Chapters”, beginning from the Special General Chapter of the year 1968.

The criterion used for the post-Conciliar Ordinances is identical to that used for the Ordinances that immediately went before the Council. They were put together according to the chapters of the Constitutions and in line with the material that was treated in each of these.

33. This being the case, the question arises as to whether there is an intrinsic reason for changing the name of our Complementary Code by calling it General Statutes rather than Ordinances of the General Chapters, and whether there is any difference between one and the other. According to the train of thought that developed even within the Commission, there is a difference between one and the other. The Ordinances are described as Ordinances of the General Chapters. Therefore they are body of laws in which from time to time or “occasionally” the decisions of the General Chapters are brought together and they bind the entire Order until a subsequent General Chapter intervenes to either abrogate or change them, in whole or in part. The norms in the Ordinances do not have or at least need not have an intrinsic connection to one another. One does not depend on the other of itself or by its relationship to another. On the other hand the General Statutes require an organic and harmonious structure. Although they are complementary to the Constitutions, depend on them and are connected to them the General Statutes should be a finished product in themselves. A difference such as this appears to have been grasped in the Presentation of Project 2006 that was mentioned above. Yet in spite of this Project 2006 also proposed a large transfer of norms which are contained in the Constitutions at present and the General Statutes that were presented to the Chapter in 2006 did not have the coordination demanded by the Statutes. It seems that even in Project 2006 the norms were of the same nature and arrangement as in the present Ordinances.

On the other hand, the General Chapter of 2006 asked that in as far as it were possible, the present Constitutions should be respected. Therefore, keeping faith with the mandate of the Chapter, our Commission did not wish to transform our Constitutions into a kind of “Spiritual Preface” to the laws of the Order, which would be contained in the General Statutes. Such a process would have defiled our Constitutions, which, as the Minister General said in a Circular Letter dated 27 May 2007, our Constitutions “promote a style in which a spiritual tone is strongly allied to a proposal for practical implementation. When undertaking this work –the Minister General continued – we should be attentively careful to maintain the special character of our Constitutions and avoid the risk of producing a text that moves exclusively on the level of spiritual propositions and has added a text, whether Ordinances or General Statutes, as a list of precepts uprooted from their profound motivation.”[34]

It is also necessary to take into account that the current Constitutions still depend on the perspective in 1968 and the fact that in the period between 1968 and 1988 the Order did not have Ordinances. Thus, material that might have been contained in them was all mixed into the Constitutions. From 1968 until 1982 the Constitutions were put together in a particular manner and structured according to specific criteria which conferred a particular characteristic harmony on them. One can neither propose nor carry out a lighthearted massive transfer of material as a whole. This would not be an operation without consequences. To use a figure of speech (which is not only that!), such a procedure would be like attacking a living body.

This series of considerations guided the work of the Commission and led it to “weigh up” any exchange. At the same time, because of this problem the Commission preferred to speak of a Complementary Code. We have not chosen a new title that would replace Ordinances or General Statutes. Canon 587, 4 speaks in a general way of “other codes” (aliis codicibus), with not more precise definition. They might be Regulations, Ordinances, Ordinances, Statutes, and Directives etc. Taking this into account, in a provisional manner, and suspending any choice between Ordinances and General Statutes, we thought it appropriate to use a generic title.

It is now up to the General Chapter to make a choice by either ratifying the decision of the Chapter in 2006 which spoke of General Statutes or to decide to maintain the traditional title of Ordinances or to choose another title. To make this choice it might be well to take into account the status quaestiones that has been outlined in this report and to avoid opposite extremes. In any case it remains clear and unavoidable that this Chapter has to make a choice.


34. The third motion of the 2006 General Chapter says:

In re-editing the General Statutes we expect updating, concreteness, brevity and adequate attention to pluriformity.

This motion had its origin in the evaluations which the Eighty Third General Chapter expressed with regard to Project 2006. Among other things it said that the General Statutes that were presented at the time were too long and that it was desirable that there should be less spirituality in them as they should not become a second version of the Constitutions. It was preferable that a collection of Ordinances be set out.[35] Special concern arouse over having a third legislative text (the “Ordinances of the General Chapters”) in addition to the Constitutions and the General Statutes.[36]

During our work too it became clear that there was a degree of confusion in the Order regarding the material in the General Statutes (what are they and what should they be), to such a degree that – with reference for example only to the title and for clarity – on more than one occasion it was proposed either to transfer purely spiritual and strongly inspirational matter to a Complementary Code or to leave them there.

On its part, the Commission wanted to preserve the specific nature of both the Constitutions and the Complementary Code in whatever way this might be achieved either as General Statutes or Ordinances. We were clear and definite that there should be a difference between the Constitutions and the Complementary Code both as to content (only non-fundamental norms should be transferred to the Complementary Code) as well as to style, as had usually been the case in the Order’s tradition and as foreseen by the law of the Church. The mention of brevity as requested by the General Chapter was directly based on the different characteristics of the sources of our legislation. We can say that PdR2 has remained faithful to this criterion. For this very reason transfer as foreseen by PdR2 is more restricted and more piecemeal than what was proposed by Project 2000.

Similarly one can see that the Commission tried to pay attention to the criterion of updating, which is a specific characteristic of the Complementary Code because of its special nature. It has to be updated and its norms adapted, added to and taken from according to the times and for the wellbeing of the Fraternity according to the judgement of the General Chapter. Thus, while adhering to the directives of the Chapter regarding updating and concreteness, PdR2 introduces new normative items into the Complementary Code and the Constitutions themselves following the experience that has been acquired over the last ten years and the present situation of the Order.

The criterion of pluriformity was not neglected. Indeed we can affirm that in PdR2 (Constitutions and Complementary Code) it was more emphasised and made more significant by the explicit presentation of the fact of dynamic fidelity (cf. PdR2 n. 6). Taken as a whole what emerges from PdR2 is that pluriformity needs to be joined to intercultural considerations. It involves the passage of history and the authentic sense of fraternity which is the essence of our charism. To exercise authentic pluriformity – here we refer to both the current Constitutions and PdR2 – requires at the same time the unity of the same spirit, fraternal communion and obedience to superiors. From this point of view, at the urging of the Minister General and his Definitory,[37] we did not ignore the reality in our Order which is present in a wide variety of cultures and social contexts but we considered at the same time that the same reality of the Order required a strong spiritual cohesion and an effective convergence towards its charismatic centre as it was expressed and defined by the Minister General. Therefore, PdR2 stressed the formation of a sense of belonging to the Order and the need to develop collaboration between different circumscriptions. The role of the Minister General was emphasised a bit more above all in reference to the brothers’ formation stating that “our Fraternity which is called to cultivate its own identity within the Church, has the duty and the right to take care of the formation of the brothers in conformity to our charism. Because of this formation is the primary commitment of the Order and all its circumscriptions. (PdR2, n. 24, 4).

The Chapter should evaluate what the Commission has done from the precise point of view of the criteria established by the preceding General Chapter.

Respect for and Enrichment of the Constitutions

35. The second motion approved by the 2006 General Chapter says:

In the revision of the Constitutions, wherever possible, the doctrinal and spiritual content of the Constitutions is to be respected and to be further enriched, accepting the recent documents of the Church and of the Order.

To understand the attitude and practical criteria of the work of the Commission it seems appropriate to restate what was said in the Prelininary Information of 2007, which reconstructed the course of the motion put by the Chapter and went into some of the significant preceding discussions in our Commission.

With respect to the course of the motion of the Chapter, the Preliminary Information said:

      • In the first edition that was presented to the 14th General Session of the Chapter on 13 September 2006 the motion dealt exclusively with enrichment of the Constitutions: “It pleases the Chapter that the elaboration of the two texts also seeks to enrich our legislative texts doctrinally and spiritually.”[38]
      • During the Chapter an amendment to the text of the motion was proposed which inserted “respect for the current Constitutions and their enrichment.” The Capitular Commission accepted the amendment adding the phrase ‘wherever possible’” (n. 30).

It was then reported that the “work group after the Chapter (December 2006) explained the meaning of the Chapter decree by stating:

      • let the work of the enrichment of the Constitutions be restricted to what is contained in the recent documents of the Church and of the Order.
      • At the same time affording the highest possible respect to the current Constitutions in regard to doctrinal and spiritual content (cf. motion 2).”[39]

Following the Chapter the same work group explained:

    • It says to respect the doctrinal and spiritual content of the Constitutions: we think that this criterion may be better illustrated by means of the following considerations. One should begin by being aware of working in continuity with the legislative tradition of the Order, so that the current text of the Constitutions is not contradicted or changed without a very well-founded reason. The eventual justifiable changes should not be such as to remove the current text, but should be in harmony with it. The specific nature of our Constitutions should be safeguarded according to which the doctrinal, spiritual and legal elements have been intrinsically integrated and prudently placed in harmony with one another. (cf. also can. 587, §3). This respect should also be extended to the language that is proper to our Capuchin tradition as well as what is required by CIVCSVA.
    • It says to enrich the doctrinal and spiritual content of the Constitutions. We think that this criterion means that we should proceed with some changes, respecting what has been said above, only to the extent of identifying something that the current Constitutions has not said or has said in a less fitting manner. These should be dealt with as an enrichment that is more an explanation rather than an addition, the fruit of the journey of the Church and of the Order as expressed in the most recent documents. Enrichment certainly does not mean the total revision of the current texts.” (Ivi)

Finally the Preliminary Information cited a passage from the Circular Letter:

“The two verbs “to respect and to enrich” that were used by the Chapter set out the nature of the work to be done and present a double criterion for the content and method on which the commitment of the Order regarding the Constitutions and Ordinances should be based. Today the Order is not being asked to undertake a work of the proportion of that undertaken in 1968 and 1982. Besides the brothers are being called upon to work in continuity with the legislative tradition of the Order, safeguarding the specific nature of the Constitutions that are to be enriched with the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church in recent years based on Vita consecrata. Nor should we forget that new approaches and suggestions have come from both the field of Franciscan studies and from the reflections of the Plenary Councils of the Order especially PCO VI which treated of Poverty in Fraternity and VII which reflected on Minority and Itinerancy. It is necessary to test and consider the reflective approaches which were developed for their novelty as we insert into the text what has in effect been lacking and those that confer real enrichment and updating but without compromising the theological and basic roots of our charism and the characteristic language and style of our constitutional text. In fact, it is evident that this is an enrichment that is more qualitative than quantitative (non multa sed multum), fruit of the journey of the Church and of the Order as expressed in the most recent documents.”

Thus the Preliminary Information came to these two conclusions:

    1. In the light of what was said above one should deduce that the decision that was approved in the General Chapter in 2006 redrew the Project on the Constitutions and General Statutes because in this – according to the declaration of the same Commission that prepared it, which was reinforced at the Chapter by 7 language groups out of 8 and, thus almost universally shared by all the Capitulars – it went far beyond what had been foreseen and what was required by the Eighty Second General Chapter,”[40]
    2. The same Capitular decision says that the Order was not required to rewrite the Constitutions but should become engaged in them while respecting their doctrinal and spiritual content and further enriching it. The expression of the Capitular motion – si rispetti, per quanto è possibile (let them be respected as far as possible) – was not intended to be restrictive but rather to imply expanding them; as far as possible. By means of the same motion the Chapter clearly indicated that the point of departure that was “obligatory” for the work which was to be undertaken was the current text of the Constitutions. It is on “these” Constitutions that interventions were eventually to be made in order to respect them and enrich them. Respect for the current Constitutional text implies that the doctrinal, theological and spiritual content be preserved etc, but that at the same time that they have items harmoniously added to them in the light of the recent teachings of the Magisterium of the Church and what had developed from the reflection of the Order. In some way, from the work of the General Chapter and from its decisions it may appear that there is to be a change or replacement of the Constitutions. Today the Order is called to enrich its own Constitutions though respecting their current doctrinal and spiritual content. Because of this in his Circular Letter the Minister General formulated a principle non multa sed multum. –The process of enrichment should be a “natural” process not an artificial one nor a tacky text that juxtaposes one piece with another or places one on top of the other, not one that greatly disturbs the current text by means of reductions or eliminations or unreasonable replacements. The “natural” process of enrichment which respects the current text requires mature and deep thought both with respect to the current text and the new “Sources” of the Church and the Order from which the material is gleaned, which is to be integrated and “grafted” onto the truck of the current Legislation by means of informed choices, wise consideration and a style that is in harmony with what is in the current text.”[41]

Preliminary Aids

36. The small group which met after the Chapter in December 2006 suggested that the General Definitory prepare “Aids” to deepen certain specific themes that had emerged both from the recent teachings of the Magisterium of the Church on the ecclesiological level and from the theology of Vita consecrata and also from what had been developing in the Order in recent times. The General Definitory accepted this suggestion. The Minister General announced this in his Circular Letter of 27 May 2007, indicating among other things: “We believe that in this way we can have valid criteria for directly approaching the current text of the Constitutions and for undertaking a re-reading of the contributions that have come from the work of the preceding six years in such as way as to proceed then towards the enrichment mentioned above.” Thus the Minister General announced:

In particular we have asked:

    • Br Francisco Iglesias to compose a historical summary on the Constitutions especially from 1964 to the present day and a few charts on the on the layout of the structure and content of the Constitutions in general and for each chapter:
    • Br Costanzo Cargnoni to compose a bibliographical aid for the Constitutions and our own particular law since 1964:
    • Br William Henn to compose an aid concerning the new acquisition of the Magisterium in the fields of ecclesiology, above all concerning the ecclesiology of communion:
    • Br Paolo Martinelli to compose a contribution highlighting the new acquisitions from the Magisterium in the field of Vita consecrata:
    • Br André Menard to compose a study in which are outlined the new insights provided for the Order by PCOs VI and VII and in which the relationship between the current Constitutions and these recent PCOs is set out to scientifically to verify the development of the understanding of the thinking of the Order on poverty and minority.
    • At the right time the contributions mentioned above were circulated to all the brothers to promote the present approach to the Constitutions and to offer them a perspective for a possible intervention regarding the current text in the light of contributions during the last six years (5.2).

The Preliminary Information also spoke about these Aids, defining them as “Preliminary” and pointing out that the objective of the first two “was to foster a greater and better knowledge of our present basic legislation before making some changes and to prudently weigh the pros and cons of the proposals for change or addition to the current text. For the other three, which “were more directly aimed at the revision of the Constitutions” it was said that “of itself this should go beyond the work done over the last six years since on the basis of what was asked of them they were to aim most of all at an evaluation of the current Constitutions, to evaluate what enrichment they required at the level of ecclesiology, theology, vita consecrata, and the dimension of poverty and minority (VI and VII PCOs), etc.[42]

All the Aids were prepared and are still available to the brothers on the web site of the General Curia. The charts concerning the layout of the structure and content of the Constitutions came to an end with the first three chapters.

For the purpose of this Report it does not seem that there is anything to say about the Aids produced by Costanzo Cargnoni and Francisco Iglesias. We shall speak later about the contribution of André Menard, whereas the contributions of William Henn and Paolo Martinelli it must be admitted were not generally consulted during the work of the Commission. They were rarely referred to.

Citations from to the recent documents of the Church

37. Flipping through the Introductions and the Explanatory Notes that accompany all the chapters of PdR2 we see overall reference to about 44 Documents of the Magisterium by Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, to various directives, instructions and interventions from CIVCSVA and other Departments of the Holy See (in all about 16 documents), and to some Liturgical and Patristic sources. To these may be added references to the Documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Code of Canon Law as well as the teachings that Paul VI and John Paul II directed to out Order and the Franciscan Family.

The Chapter will judge weather we have succeeded in the work of citing recent documents of the Church and to what degree we have succeeded, or failed, which aspects of the most recent teaching of the Church have been overlooked, how we have treated the texts of the Magisterium or how we used them etc. With respect to this we believe that we can state that we were guided by a criterion of discernment always keeping before us that at this level we were dealing with an enrichment that respected the current Constitutions. From the beginning, it was clear to us that the required and desirable enrichment could not be and should not be contortion of the doctrinal and spiritual setup of the Constitutions. By way of example, if the enrichment of the Constitutions required that there ought to be a greater emphasis on the Trinitarian dimension of consecrated life, this would be achieved by means of the strong Christocentric character of our legislation.

The doctrinal enrichment of the Constitutions is a work that is to be carried out wisely. For example, with respect to “our life in the Church” it must be remembered that the reality of the Church, in as much as it is a Mystery, cannot be adequately put into any category if understood and considered in isolation. The Church is a sacrament. It is the Body of Christ, Mother and Spouse of Christ etc. Thus no phrase, and much less adjective, can fully capture it in order to describe our role in the Church. The theological depth of our belonging to the Church and of our life in the Church cannot be set out by means of a simple statement nor can we place all-embracing criteria in the Constitutions whether with respect to the truth of the Mystery of the Church or in reference to the truth of consecrated life and our way of life in the Church. Nor should it be forgotten or undervalued that the “ecclesiology of communion” has its own “tradition” amongst us that is rich and appreciated in the ‘theology of fraternity”.[43]

One the other hand, if it is also true that the Constitutions ought to be necessarily anchored in a strong and sure doctrinal and spiritual basis it is equally true that they should not be a theological treatise. Nor are they required to be a theological treatise on consecrated life. Nor, by their nature, are they required to contain all the elements of every branch of theology or to express all the aspects of the Mystery of God, the Mystery of Christ or the Mystery of the Church.[44]

We should also remember that the current Constitutions of the Capuchin Friars Minor were only definitively approved in 1986. They do not come from a past era. They are not “old”. They are not prior to the Council. If it is true that we are living in a fast moving time even at the level of theological thinking and that the Documents of the Magisterium are notably numerous, it is also true that the Constitutions as they stand, do not lack the present teachings of the Church and what has been set out in Church Documents since 1982. What is more, they already contain some things that have been emphasised in documents that are more recent, such as, for example, the Instruction of CIVCSVA The Service of Authority and Obedience. Faciem tuam, Domine, requiram. (11 May 2008), which, among others things, was have considered in the revision of chapter X.

Certainly wherever we noted that there was something to define in the light of Church Documents or from a theological perspective we have done so. By way of example, in chapter III, where it speaks of the Liturgy and celebrations, we tried to fill the holes in the current text bringing it into line with liturgical theology according to the teaching of the Church. Perhaps, in some section, for example in reference to apostolic life and missionary activity, the Chapter is required to complement the work of the Commission.

I do not think that there is anything else to add regarding this matter. Judgement will be passed by the Chapter when it attentively examines the text in Proposals for Revision for each chapter, with the Introduction and Explanatory Notes where the citations from sources of the Magisterium after the Council are indicated in abundance.

Citations from recent documents of the Order

38. In 2006 the General Chapter asked that the enrichment of the Constitutions which resected the current text be carried out also citing recent documents of the Order.

One of the positive examples which happened in recent years and which was greatly emphasised was: the incorporation into the text of items that came out of the VI and VII Plenary Councils. What emerges from the introductions and Explanatory Notes in PdR2 is that there are many citations from the last two Plenary Councils in all the chapters (with the exception of chapter VIII), especially chapters IV and V. There are no citations from previous Councils. With respect to the individual Propositions of the VI and VII PCOs it may be stated that in PdR2 the following Propositions have been included:

PCO VI – Proposition Cf. PdR2
3 78,4
5 62,1
6 69,2
7 76,1
9 24,3; 64,3
10 24,3; Complementary Code 4/1
11 24,3; 61,5; 72,7; 177,5
12 65,3; 66,1; 72,3.7; 74,2
13 72,3; 74,2
14 79,1; 80,3
15 80,3-4
16 84,1.4
17 15,4; 81,1-3
19 83,4
20 68,4
21 24,3; 73; 73,4-6; 80,3
22 80,3
23 73,4-6
24 65,3; 73,4-6; 80,3
25 73,4-6
26 63,2; 73,4-6
27 73,4-6
28 73,4-6
29 76,3-4
30 76,2
31 Complementary Code 4/5,1
33 79,8; Complementary Code 4/5; 4/5,1
36 Complementary Code 4/5; 4/5,1
37 76,4.6
38 74,4; Complementary Code 4/9
40 74,4; Complementary Code 4/9
41 77,3; Complementary Code 4/12
45 76,3
PCO VII – Proposition Cf. PdR2
2 14,1-2.5
3 63,4-5
4 63,3
5 67,3
6 76,5; 84,1
9 65,3; 84,1
13 24,4; 101,1.3
17 22,3; 48,3
18 63,3
22 173,7
24 67,3
26 63,3
27b 74,2
29 24,3
30 24,3
31 51,3
40 76,5
49 74,2
51 76,5; 77,4
54 149,4

Overall in PdR2 there are 33/45 Propositions cited from PCO VI and 20/55 Propositions cited from PCO VII. With regard to this, however, is should be noted that the very words of PCO VI and VII are not always found in PdR2. It is rather the case that for both PdR1 and PdR2 examples, indications and suggestions have been taken from the PCO and developed independently. When referring to the documents of the PCOs the Commission kept in mind what the Preliminary Information had appropriately observed and that was that “the texts of the PCOs were to be seriously evaluated to discern each time, what they contained that was linked to or depended on situations or temporary contingencies and what instead went beyond this and was of lasting significance in the text. They could not be transferred literally or physically into the Constitutions, but should be “adapted” as required. They ought to be mulled over and dissected so as not to loose the values which they expressed but to convey it into the Constitutions with fitting language that was appropriate to Constitutions and in complete conformity to the nature and style of the Constitutions”. (n. 51).

39. Having said this, it is necessary to point out that our work was conducted following Project 2006 which had skimmed off many parts of the Propositions of the Sixth and Seventh PCOs into the Constitutions, and, in some places (for example in chapter IV) the text of the Constitutions was almost replaced entirely with that of these Propositions. However, as we all know, by asking that the current Constitutions be respected and enriched, the General Chapter of 2006 had restricted the scope of the work to be undertaken, redesigning in fact the Project for the Constitutions and General Statutes of 2006. Following the General Chapter of 2006, the letter of the Minister General dated 27 May 2007 stated clearly in the passage quoted above:

“The two verbs “to respect and to enrich” that were used by the Chapter set out the nature of the work to be done and present a double criterion for the content and method according to which the commitment of the Order regarding the Constitutions and Ordinances should be based. Today the Order is not being asked to undertake a work of the proportion of that undertaken in 1968 and 1982”.

Consequently the Commission always worked with the conviction that at present – in conformity to the decision of the General Chapter – the Order is not called to write new Constitutions, and that the work assigned to the Commission was not to prepare an outline of new Constitutions.

However, from the beginning and throughout the whole of our work we did not ignore either CPOS VI or VII. Indeed, to make room for the contributions of the last Plenary Councils and to place them in the Constitutions we wished to probe them more deeply. For this reason we asked Br André Menard to undertake “a study in which the new points that the Sixth and Seventh PCOs had brought to the Order would be outlined and the relationship between the current Constitutions and the recent PCOs would be demonstrated in order to scientifically access the development in the understanding of the outlook of the Order with respect to poverty and minority.[45] He was asked in a more detailed manner in a letter dated 31 January 2007 to undertake:

“a study in which the relationship between the current Constitutions and the more recent PCOs (the Sixth and Seventh) would be set out . This ought to be a study (one or more) of the Constitutions that were presently in vogue with the recent PCOs to access scientifically the development in the thinking within the Order (outlook):

        • in effect do the Sixth and Seventh PCOs say anything new in regard to the Constitutions? What originated from the Constitutions in them? Is there a logical development between the Constitutions and the PCOs?
        • Of the things that were said in the PCOs which ones were already present in the Constitutions?
        • Which elements, instead, should be inserted into the Constitutions?
        • On the subject of poverty, how, for example, should the questions of the use of money by dealt with when comparing, among other things, what is still said in the current Constitutions in numbers 66, 2-4 with what was ratified in some way by the Sixth PCO regarding investments etc.?
        • How should we deal with the language of the PCOs with respect to the need of digesting it in view of transfusing its content into the Constitutions? etc.”

André Menard prepared his work and sent it off in a letter dated 17 September 2008 which we transcribe in full:

Dear Brothers Felice and Peter,

Though quite late, here is the text which is my reply to your request. I am very aware of its weakness – that is does not really correspond with what you asked of me. On the other hand, I questioned whether I could do this justice. Nevertheless, your request at least has compelled me, for my own benefit, to consult and examine closely and at length the texts of the PCOs and Bro John Corriveau’s explanatory letters that accompanied these. This period has been a worthwhile spiritual retreat.

At the end of my investigations, reflections and meditations, I found it quite difficult to choose and assemble the elements which seemed to me to be main points of the two documents. Then what should be recommend for the Constitutions or for the General Statutes?

The Commission’s work presented during the General Chapter has already realized a remarkable integration of the elements found in the PCOs. The text may have appeared wordy, but how could this be done briefly without betraying the wealth found in the propositions as well as their practical purpose.

On the other hand, the orientation of the texts, their exegesis and their appeals for conversion have been profoundly developed and proposed to the friars in the circular letters of the General Minister. These letters – and I have been able to experience this – constitute an excellent introduction to that spiritual journey that leads to the acceptance of our legislation desired by our present Minster General.

It did not seem necessary to me to add anything to all this and I have not felt capable of proposing a brief version or better précis of these things. Moreover I do not see how the friars will be able to arrive at an understanding of all this rich material without applying themselves to the task of a meditated reading, which alone will enable a vital integration that can lead them to those choices, changes and conversions that this acceptance requires. My text simply desires to communicate the will and the joy of launching oneself into this undertaking.

Despite everything I dare to hope that this poor work may bear some hidden fruit thanks to my offering of some ‘thoughts’ this work has afforded me during a period in which I have had to have the sense to take a real vacation.

My only consolation would be that my contribution not complicate your work unnecessarily; and prove to be, despite everything, of some use for the Commission over which you preside and that has to plan what follows.

I thank you in anticipation for your understanding and fraternal indulgence,

Fr. André Ménard[46]

The Commission thought that it was fitting to go further in looking into PCOs VI and VII at depth and their relationship with the Constitutions. To this end they turned once more to the Minister General who assigned the task to Brothers Agapit Mroso, Luciano Pastorello, Prudente Lucio Nery and Stefan Kozuli. Thus three other contributions were completed and one partly completed.

In the Proposals for Revision the Introduction to chapter IV speaks about the facts that came out of the contributions, which are still available on the web site of the Order.[47] There is no need to reproduce them now. It is sufficient to emphasise the conclusion that the Commission reached and which is valuable not only for chapter IV but for all of the Constitutions:

“Taking into account what emerged from the contributions sent to the Commission and the investigation it undertook itself we may conclude that the last two PCOs have performed a service to the Constitutions noting their “relevance” and “realism”, thrusting the Order towards dynamic fidelity to our charism. The specific characteristics of the documents of the PCO emerge from this is as much as they are “instruments of expediency” which, however, do not require by their nature to be placed in the Constitutions. Thus the approach which the Commission developed:

        • followed the current text closely
        • tried to respect it as much as possible
        • integrated into this text contributions from the Sixth and Seventh PCOs.

Therefore, the Commission did not walk the road of producing new Constitutions or of totally replacing entire chapters. This was not the task. It attempted to integrate what effectively constituted something new or those things which up to now had been missing from the Constitutions into the Constitutions or the Complementary Code. On the other hand it considered that other elements which had been emphasised by the Sixth or Seventh PCOs were abundantly present in the Constitutions since 1968, even though they may have been formulated differently from how they were expressed in these PCOs.

It has been observed that chapter II of the current Constitutions has undergone major changes introduced from the Fourth PCO on formation. Chapter XII has also undergone major changes introduced from the Third PCO on missionary life. In fact in 1982 the General Chapter accepted the main statements of the Third PCO regarding missionary activity and those of the Fourth PCO on formation, but great care was taken about total replacement with respect to chapters II and XII, which was the text of the Constitutions produced in 1968 and all that had been said in the Third and Fourth CPOs was not included. On the one hand the careful comparison between the texts of the Third and Fourth CPOs and the text of the 1982 Constitutions (currently in force) supports this statement.

Naturally it now belongs to the Chapter to assess whether the Proposals for Revision agree with the thinking of the General Chapter of 2006 in establishing that the revision of the Constitutions with respect to referring to the recent documents of the Order.

40. Besides the expression recent documents of the Order did not set a limit. That is it did not refer exclusively to the Propositions of the last two PCOs. The Proposal for Revision referred to the previous Councils, to the Circular letters of the Ministers General especially that of Br John Corriveau, as well as many other documents of the Order and on many occasions it took material from the Conferences on formation that took place in 1993 and 2004.[48] The interventions of the Minister General Br Mauro Jőhri had a particular influence on the work of the Commission, above all his Circular Letter on Initial Formation Ravviviamo la fiamma del nostro carismo!, dated 8 December 2008 (Prop. N. 00766/08)[49], and his Circular Letter on Mission Nel cuore dell’Ordine la missione, dated 29 November 2009 (Prot. N. 00782/09).[50]

41. Concerning what pertains to the Plenary Councils for the future of our legislation it seems well to remember what came out of the Minutes of the General Chapter in 2006. On that occasion some had observed; “that it is not necessary to change the Constitutions frequently since the Rule of St Francis has remained the same as when it was written. Therefore it would suffice to offer the General Statutes to the Order taking out of the Constitutions what was not basic, rather than making a radical revision of the Constitutions from time to time. It would also not be practical to put the proposals of the PCOs into the Constitutions each time a Council took place, where it would be better to place what appeared to be necessary in the General Statutes. The question which we are asking is can we live our charism without multiplying norms.”[51]

Following this the Preliminary Information published this note: “There is a further question that concerns what value is to be attributed to the documents of the PCO. As experience already teaches such documents place the Constitutions in a state of crisis and lead to interventions in the Constitutions each time.[52] According to the statement in the Constitutions (n. 123, 6) there is no intrinsic evidence for the “minutes” of the Plenary Councils becoming part of the Constitutions or for being texts that sooner or later have to be incorporated into the Constitutions in one way or another. Looking at the Synod of Bishops in a similar manner we see that the results of these Assemblies do not influence the Code of Canon Law. After the Synods with their Propositions and the documents that follow the Synod the Church does not ever intervene in the Lex fundamentalis or require that the Institutes of Consecrated Life change their own laws” (n. 50).

The Language and Style of the Constitutions

42. With the clear understanding of not having to write new Constitutions but to respect and enrich those that are in force, the Commission paid special attention to “the specific language and style of the Constitutions”, which is theologically precise, correct in wisdom and spirituality and which employs a vibrant affective language of the heart having strong unction and spiritual realism. However, it also paid attention to “that singular and typical procedure” by means of which the juridical norms are followed immediately by doctrinal, theological and spiritual motives where the one (juridical norms) is fully integrated with the other (fundamental motives). Therefore, in fidelity to the spiritual patrimony of the Order, we tried to evaluate and eventually further enrich this typical characteristic of our legislation.

We carried out this very difficult work with the basic intent of creating harmony so that what was new would be concretely attached to what existed before and would appear to have been generated from this. However, we also intended to correct any rare anomalies in the current text.

Whether this work has been successful is still to be judged. It should be remembered that our editing of texts has taken place a long time after the Chapters in 1968 and 1982, which established the new Constitutions following Vatican II. In any case it is clear that the Commission was animated by a spirit of respect or – it needs to be said – of veneration for the text that had been presented to it by the tradition of the Order which is closer to us but which is always joined to the ideal of our Reform and the inspiration of the early Capuchins.

Nor ought it to be forgotten that the current Constitutions are the expression and the fruit of a fervent commitment of the Order that has lasted for forty years from 1964 to 1982. The times of greatest discussion during our work were precisely those during which we had to intrude into already existing texts and put new texts there. We did not lack the courage to do this, but at the same time we felt trepidation because of our respect for the current text.

Out of faithfulness to our vocation and to the Order we tried to preserve the memory of the history of our basic legislation. From time to time before touching the current text we tried to retrace the journey of the editing of individual texts and or paragraphs and, when necessary, we performed a careful exegesis on them to make ourselves aware of the thinking of the brothers who had gone before us and who had dedicated their whole work and energy to the Constitutions. One may find evidence of all this in the Introductions and Explanatory Notes. They refer more than once to the outline of C.C.L.[53] which was prepared for the General Chapter in 1968, to the Minutes of the same Chapter,[54] and the Constitutions that were compiled then, which constitute the edition princeps of the legislation of the Order after Vatican II and represent a “mile stone” for us in the along the journey of renewal which this Council undertook[55] to documents promulgated by the Special General Chapter in 1974,[56] to the Minutes of the General Chapter of 1982,[57] and to the critical edition of the Constitutions which came after the Council and was published as a manuscript in 1988.[58]

Having said all this it remains to state that we have intervened in the current text with the sincere and deliberate intent of enriching the Constitutions. Taking into account the impressions which we have received we can say that the Proposal for Revision (PdR2) has in effect made the Constitutions richer. However, it is up to the Chapter to evaluate this.

Inclusive language

44. We now refer explicitly to the matter of inclusive language which has been repeatedly raised on all sides. This matter has been considered on various occasions but in general the Commission decided to leave it aside not to deny its value but because it does not always mean the same thing. The requirements of “inclusive language” are not the same or identical in all languages or cultures. The desire to apply at all cost the criteria of “inclusive language” always and everywhere because of its “cultural implications” that are different from the language in which the Constitutions are published is debatable and does not always produce the desired effect. At this level, respect for the Constitutions demands that they be respected even with regard to the “implications” of the language that was chosen for the original text of the Constitutions in order to avoid changes which might negatively influences the “dignity” of our fundamental legislation.

Thus the Commission while being aware of the value of inclusive language considered and decided that this problem be solved at the level of translations which should adapt the basic text taking into account the cultural sensitivities with respect to the essential content of the text and its specific message.


45. In the same context it is necessary to consider the problem of terminology. The request to replace the term superior/s with minister/s and guardian/s was repeated in many evaluations of all the individual chapters of PdR2. It was clearly said in one evaluation that the term superior should disappear from the vocabulary because – this is the reason given by all – it is not Franciscan terminology, is not in line with the intentions of St Francis and the nature of our charism.

On the other hand, there was no lack of the opposite opinion which was stated with equally solid reasons. By way of example we cite the opinion of one brother who with respect to the title of Article I in chapter X, and in other places in the Constitutions, proposed to always use Superior instead of Minister, and stated that; “I would propose to place beside this terminology throughout the revised Constitutions – “in all modesty!” In the revised Constitutions Ministro is used constantly for Minister and indicated the office of those who in the Code of Canon Law are called Major Superiors. Now what is said in Article I is said clearly for all those who perform the service of guiding, therefore for all Superiors, first of all for Guardians who are in more direct contact with their brothers as are also Vicars, Custodes etc. Effectively Article I almost always speaks about Ministers, with the exception of n. 161, where it speaks about the Pastoral Visitation, which is prescribed for Major Superiors. There are two possibilities for correcting the above defect. The first possibility is to say each time Ministers and Guardians which happens often in the revised Constitutions. However, this suffers from the defect that this manner of speaking sounds formal in style and is not exact since in addition to Ministers and Guardians there are also other Superiors. The other possibility is to continue to use the term Superiore – Superior which is juridical term that is generally used and which is clear. The function of a Superior is to be of service, which presupposes a kind of authority, but not dominance. Thus Superior can remain “above” this and should do so. We ought not to be afraid – “with all modesty” – of calling this service by its own name.” (Prot. N.: X-00007).

In PdR2 there is neither uniformity nor logic in this regard and the problem remains unsolved there. The Commission reflected at length on the question. On the one hand it accepted the protests which came from the Order to abandon completely the term superior and adopt the Franciscan terms Minister/s always and everywhere. The question must be cleared up at this General Chapter and resolved in a balanced manner that avoids rigid, literal formality and opposite extremes.

Project 2006

46. The fourth motion that was approved by the General Chapter in 2006 said:

When producing the new text of the Constitutions and the General Statutes the material that was prepared and presented to this Chapter during the last six years should be considered.

Clearly the material that was presented to the Chapter in 2006 was the Outline of the Constitutions and General Statutes of the previous six years which is usually known as Project 2006. Flipping through PdR1 and PdR2 one becomes aware of the frequent references to Project 2006 that are contained there including Introductions, Explanatory Notes and footnotes. We may set up the following diagram:

Chapter PdR1 PdR2
I 24 26
II 30 31
III 8 7
IV 8 13
V 13 15
VI 21 21
VII 15 15
IX 12 13
X 12 14
XI 5 5
XII 9 12
Total 159 172

I think that from this diagram one can judge that the Commission referred to Project 2006.

“It took account of it during its work.”

How and in what way did it take Project 2006 into account?

To answer this question it is necessary to refer to the Minutes of the Eighty Third General Chapter which record the difficult passage of this morion. It is evident from the Minutes that the Chapter did not accept the amendment of instrumentum laboris that was applied to Project 2006 which was contained in the first place in the Presentation that was given to the Chapter on 5 September 2006 and then in motion 3 on 13 September 2006. Following the Public Meeting of the Capitular Commission for “The Constitutions and General Statutes” which took place in the afternoon of the same day, the same Commission, on the following day during the 15th General Session, presented the new formulation of the motion (which became motion n. 4) to the Chapter and the text mentioned above was submitted first of all to a “probationary vote” and accepted by the Chapter[59] and then definitively approved in the 16th Session on Friday 15 September 2006.[60]

The Chapter of 2006 did not speak about an instrumentum laboris, but in the first motion having spoken about respecting as far as possible the doctrinal and spiritual content of the Constitutions and their further enrichment it clearly had given to understand that the Constitutions were the basic document that were to be worked on. In fact the Constitutions were to be respected and enriched.

In themselves the decision of the General Chapter was unequivocal, however, it gave rise to uncertainty and confusion in one or other of the brothers. Because of this the Minister General in his Circular Letter dated 4 October 2008 (Prot. 00764/08) A che punto il lavoro sulle Costituzioni? explained:

“Some are uncertain about the text to work on and think that it is the text of Project 2006 produced previously by the Commission as the real, true “instrumentum laboris”. With respect to this we have to point out that the General Chapter did not approve that text. It took it into consideration and laid down that Project 2006 should go further than what the Chapter asked for in 2000. The fact that this document was attached to what was sent to all the Circumscriptions shows the desire of the Commission to act in line with the General Chapter by offering all the possibility of consulting this text and, if it felt to be useful, to cite it and prepare suggestions for the text which will be formulated. This is a useful text which should be neither overvalued not undervalued.”

So on the basis of what the General Chapter had decided and what the Minister General had clarified, we wnet to work on the text of the Constitutions taking Project 2006 as “material to be taken into account” and using it as an aid to the work which required evaluation. By consulting the Introduction and the Explanatory Notes the capitular brothers can see that they are filled with expressions like the following: following Project 2006, inspired by Project 2006, in acceptance of Project 2006, following a proposal in Project 2006, we accept the observation made in Project 2006 and many more like these. This occurs in and for all the chapters with the exception of chapter VIII which has had a special journey and for which PdR2 proposed many more new things than would have been introduced by Project 2006. On other occasions the Introductions and the Explanatory Notes state that the Commission was disconcerted by Project 2006 and the reasons are given. On still other occasions, reference is made to how the Commission accepted what was proposed by Project 2006 as part of PdR2, but following consultation with the Order it considered it appropriate to either return to the current text or to look for a new formula. We may conclude in all honesty that the Commission has effectively taken Project 2006 into account and exchanged ideas with it. In any case the Chapter will evaluate our work also in this respect.

Motions 5 and 6 of the General Chapter of 2006

47. There is not much that can be said regarding these motions which pertain more to the General Administration of the Order rather than to the Commission for the Constitutions. In any case the reasons that led to treating the Constitutions either in this Ordinary General Chapter or in an Extraordinary Chapter, which was originally planned for 2009 (motion 6b) have already been set out.

The General Chapter of 2006 recommended also that “all the brothers and the Circumscriptions be involved in the process or the renewal of the Constitutions and General Statutes” (motion 6a). With respect to the Commission, the Preliminary Information was not slow to offer indications and stimuli for the involvement and animation of the Order. We have spoken about them already in passing. With regard to the text we refer you to what has been set out in nn 60 and following in the Preliminary Information which in itself is a useful document for animation and reflection and to which we should add the initial letters of the Commission (20 October 2007; 8 February 2008). In a more particular manner the importance of the aids that were sent to the Order both in PdR1 and PdR2 achieved that, above all in the Explanatory Notes, which many brothers appreciated, further, abundant input was offered for personal and common reflection. Also worthy of mention were the Forms with Elements for the reflection of the brothers which preceded each chapter. All the members of the Commission were committed. On each occasion they had the chance and the possibility to participating in meetings regarding the Constitutions in various Circumscriptions of the Order and to animate them.


48. The nature and scope of this general report does not require entering into the merits of the individual choices that were made by the Commission and the contents of PdR2. In this regard it is necessary to refer to not only the proposed texts of the Constitutions and the Complementary Code but also to the Introductions and Explanatory Notes of the individual chapters. What had been said in them will be complemented in the Presentations of each chapter which will be delivered in the following days in this hall by the other members of the Commission. The Presentations themselves are not substitutes for the abundant documentation that is available to all. In facing the study of the Proposals for Revision it is well to take note of the individual participants in the Chapter as well as the language groups. The Presentations of the individual chapters will also serve to complete this report. In any case the members of the Commission who are all present at this Chapter either as vocals or as experts nominated by the Minister General and his Definitory can intervene to clarify what I have explained and contextualise it.

Permit me to state that both this report and the Presentations which will follow come out of the frame of mind that has always prevailed in all the members of the Commission of rendering an accurate account of our choices to all the brothers. We have done so in an accurate and detailed way for each proposal that has been presented over the years. There is more reason to do this now out of respect for the General Chapter which is the highest authority in the Order (cf. Const. 116,1). The Constitutions did not create the Commission, rather the Fraternity of the Order created it by means of the General Chapter. If the Commission has succeeded in rendering a service to the Order and to the General Chapter we thank the Lord. In any case, as I have often repeated, it is up to you Brothers at the Chapter to assess our work according to the guidelines intended in the Regulations for General Chapters.

49. On my part I wish to thank Br. Peter Rogers, Vice President of the Commission, and all the other members individually:. Br. Christopher Popravak, Br. Pitor Stasiùski, Br. Mathew Paikada, Br. Roberto Genuin, Br. Paolo Martinelli, Br. Claudio Bedriňán, Br. Leonard Lehmann, Br. Miguel Anxo Pena González, Br. Jean-Bertin Nadonye Ndougo, Br. Adelino Piloneto. We have all worked with commitment, animated by the desire of rendering a service to the Fraternity. Heartfelt thanks to all for the effort which they have made and for all the dedication that they have displayed. Let us remember Br. Prudente Lucio with gratitude and pray that he may rest in peace.

Special thanks are owed to Br. Francesco Polliani, Secretary of the Commission, for his tireless work and complete dedication to the task. Together with Francesco we thank José maria Sanz who preceded him in the position of Secretary. He also worked well and with commitment.

Many other brothers whom we should remember helped with our work. First of the translators who helped during most of the Plenary Sessions: Br. Giannipero Gambarro, (Province of Genoa), Br. Fernando Ventura (Province of Portugal) and others as well. Then there is the band of translators who agreed in secret, solitude and silence to make the Italian text available to the brother in various languages. We should name them all: for the French language: Br. Joseph Sitterlé (Province of France), Br. Yvon Person (Province of France) Br. Dominique Lebon(Province of France), Br. Jean-Marcel Rossini (Province of Sardegna), Br. Bruno Kesengana (VPG of Congo); for the Indonesian language: Br. Benitius Brevoort (Province of Medan), Br. Christifirus Marpaung (Province of Medan), Br.. Marius Telaumbanua (Province di Sibolga), Br. Franciscus Cahyo Widiyanto (Province di Pontianak); for the English language: Br. Paul Hanbridge (Provincie of Australia), Br. Edward Hagman (Province of Calvary), Br. Patrick Colbourne (Province of Australia), Fr. Charles Sérignat (Province of England); for the Polish language: Br. Tomasz Płonka (Province of Varsavia), Br. Janusz Kaźmierczak (Province of Varsavia), Br. Marek Przeczewski (Province of Varsavia), Mariusz Kaczamarski (Province of Cracovia), Lukasz Stec (Province of Cracovia); for the Portugese language: Br. Hermínio Bezerra de Oliveira (Province of Ceará e Piauí), Br. Juarez de Bona (Province of Paraná-S. Catarina); for the Spanish language: Br. José Luis Cereijo (Province ofi Rio de la Plata), Br. José Vicente Esteve (Province of Spain), Br. Gabriel Larraya Aguinaga (Province of Spain), for the German language: Br. Thomas Morus Huber (Province of Svizzera), Br. Kurt Egger e Sig. Litturi (Province di Bressanone), Br. Erhard Mayerl (Province of Austria), Br. Thomas Egger (Province of Svizzera). Let us once more thank Br. Carlos Cartagena (Province of Cile) who provided the Latin text, and Br. Ermanno Ponzalli (Province of Toscana), who translated the texts from other languages into Italian, whenever that was necessary carefully carrying out all our requests. We express our heartfelt thanks to all these brothers and in a special way the thanks of Br. Francesco Polliani, Secretary of the Commission, who has been in frequent contact with the translators sending the material to be translated, to be checked, to be revised or completed following the latest interventions that had been made. “Tell them that I thank them deeply for the fraternal friendship and trust that existed between the translators and me with whom I have spent so much time and energy and for their capacity to collaborate and to care.” Those brothers also are to be congratulated, especially Br. Tomas Wroňski (Province of Varsavia), who all the documentation that was produced in these years on the internet.

In the name of the entire Commission I thank the Minister General and his Definitory who placed their faith in us and offered us the opportunity of serving the Order by means of the delicate operation of respectfully enriching the current Constitutions and transferring part of them into the norms of the Complementary Code.

50. In transferring the work that we have succeeded in doing to the General Chapter there still remain some matters that are close to our heart.

1) When in 1968 the Holy See definitively approved the renewed Constitutions following Vatican II no one thought that within a short space of time we would again be touching the Constitutions. Special circumstances have led the Order to undertake a new journey of revision of our basic legislation. What has taken place in the last few years can be seen as a sign from Providence which is guiding us to a deeper understanding of the Constitutions and to their qualitative enrichment according to dynamic fidelity to our charism which is reflected and codified in them. This Chapter will now use its own discernment, make choices and take its own decisions. We ought to be aware, however, of the truth expressed in the old Constitutions of the Order which exhorted not to make changes except out of serious necessity, claiming that frequent change works havoc with the spiritual journey of the Fraternity.

Clearly no one of has the expectation or entertains within himself the illusion that the Constitutions that come out of this Chapter will last as long as the old ones did.[61] Historical epochs are not all the same and dynamic fidelity to the one and only charism of St Francis and the resolve to return to the original inspiration of the Capuchin Brothers (cf. Const. 4, 2) certainly require also periodical updating of the basic legislation. However, at this time in our history it is really urgent and necessary that the Order should put the Constitutions into practice and give all the brothers, especially the candidates, sure points of reference for spiritual renewal in Christ and a valid help in the journey towards full consecration in which each brother dedicates himself entirely to God (Const. 7, 2) Undertaking the revision of our basic legislation at too frequent intervals might destabilise and compromise the journey of the Order towards fidelity to its own charism and its own mission in the Church and in the world.

I think that it is pertinent to remember and apply to ourselves who have come to this General Chapter what Pope John II said when he received the brother who came to the Chapter in 1982:

“… in your present Chapter … you desired to review the Constitutions in order to give them now that the period of experimentation is over the benefit that – following approval by the Apostolic See – of becoming definitive and to permit your institute to undertake a new direction in its march in the service of the Church and of the world with a new thrust and without uncertainty of any kind.[62]

2) The General Chapter of 2006 asked that the task of the renewal of our legislation with the involvement of all the brothers be an extraordinary and powerful occasion for ongoing formation, for animation and for updating, on the part of the Minister General and his Definitory and of all the Circumscriptions as a preparation for the eighth centenary of the oral approval of the Rule (cf. motion 6c).[63]

In fact our work has partly coincided with the celebration of the eighth centenary of the approval of the propositum vitae, which among other things saw the Franciscan Family gathering in Assisi for the “International Chapter of Mats” and being received in audience by the Lord Pope. On 18 April 2009 Pope Benedict XVI recalled how Francis saw himself in the light of the Gospel and exhorted us in these words:

“set out once again always from Christ, as Francis went out from the gaze of the Crucifix of San Damiano and from the meeting with the leper, to behold Christ’s face in our brothers who suffer and to bring His peace to all. You are witnesses of God’s “beauty” which Francis knew how to sing when contemplating the wonders of creation and which made him exclaim turning to the Most High “You are beauty” (The Praises of God, 4, 6: FA:ED I p. 109).[64]

May the work on the Constitutions assist the Order and each brother to understand each other completely in the light of the Gospel and thus, to set out always from Christ to transmit to all whom they meet the only beauty that can save the world. Profession of our Franciscan life commits us to reflect the splendour of love, by its fidelity to the mystery of the Cross, it confesses that it believes and lives by the love of the Father, of the Son and the Holy Spirit.[65]

3) The Outline of the Constitutions which the Capitular Commission for Legislation sent to the Special General Chapter in 1968 began with this expression: In nomine Domini incipit vita minorum fratrum. Let us remember, dear Brothers, that each time the Order has entered into the Constitutions it always achieved this work with ardent desire and powerful purpose of genuine fidelity to its own initial inspiration. May the same fervour and love animate us that animated our Brothers in 1968 to dedicate themselves to the renewal of our basic Capuchin legislation according to the spirit and teachings of the Second Vatican Council, aware that the Constitutions are our life: De vita nostra agitur! Let us place ourselves in a condition of docile listening to the Holy Spirit so that it may also be said of the Constitutions that will be promulgated by this Chapter what Pope St Pius V, a Dominican, said with regard to our ancient legislation:

Behold the Constitutions
Which were dictated by the Holy Spirit:
Whoever observes them perfectly
Could be counted among the Saints.[66]

Br. Felice Cangelosi, OFMCap
President of the Commission
Rome, 15 April 20012, Second Sunday of Easter.

[What follows in the report are presentations the various chapters of the draft Constitutions (PfR2) by various members of the Commission. The full report including these reports can be accessed in the pdf here]

  1. Cf. Atti del Capitolo generals Lxxxiii celebrato in Roma … dal 28 agosto al 27 settembre 2006. [Sunsequently; Atti 2006] Official edition edited by Br Carlo Calloni … Rome, Curia Generale OFMCap. 2006; 833: mozione e 6a.
  2. This group was made up of Br. Felice Cangelosi, Vicar General (Prov. Of Messina); Br. Roberto Genuin (Prov: Venice); Br. Christophorus Goedereis ( Prov. Rhine-Westfalia); Br. William Henn (Prov of Pensilvania); Br. Miguel Anxo Pena Gonzales (prov. Castile); Br. Francesco Neri ( Prov. Of Puglia).
  3. Cf. Analecta OFMCap 123 (2007) 43-45.
  4. On 17 January 2007 the General Definitory nominated the brothers who would become part of the Commission. They were consulted and during the meeting of the Definitory on 27 March 2007 the Vicar General announced that “all the brothers who had been approached responded in the affirmative”. These were officially informed of their nomination as members of the Commission in a letter dated 4 June 2007.
  5. Cfr. Analecta OFMCap 123 (2007) 81-87.
  6. The text of the letter of 20 October 2007 is on the website of the General Curia.
  7. Cf. St Francis of Assisi, Testament FA:ED vol. 1, p. 124.
  8. Cf. Atti 2006; 833.
  9. The text of the letter of 8 February is on the website of the General Curia.
  10. Cf. Lettera programmatica del 25 gennaio 2007; Ptoit. N. 00072/07. Cf Analecta OFMCap 123 (2007) 43-45.
  11. Unfortunately the forms that came into the Commission in the first months of 2008 were not catalogued. They should be distinguished from those which came in later with evaluations on the individual chapters of PdR2 which will be referred to below.
  12. Cf. Analecta OFMCap. 124 (2008) 449-452.
  13. In the July 2008 Plenary session three Sub-committees were set up: the first for Chapters I, IV, X; the second for Chapters II, IV, VIII; the third for Chapters III, VI, IX XII.
  14. Only those responses have been listed which contained generally positive judgements, presented specific critical observations and/or alternatives. Consequently the many positive evaluations that confined themselves to praising the work without adding personal comments have not been listed.
  15. The evaluations from the CENOC Conference have been listed under the Swiz Province. The evaluations from the International Council of Formation and from some General Definitors have been listed under the Roman Province.
  16. Cf. Constitutiones Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum saeculorum decursu promulgatae. Vol. I. Constitutiones Antiquae (15291643). Editio anastatica, Romae, 1980; 9: Lexicon capuccinum 454-456.
  17. The text of this letter appeared on the web of the General Curia.
  18. Cf. Atti 2000; 833.
  19. Cf. Preliminary Information n. 8
  20. Cf. Atti del Capitolo generale LXXXII celebrato in Roma … dal 25 giugno al 16 luglio dell’Anno Santo 2000, Edizione ufficiale a cura di fr. Felice Cangelosi … Roma, Curia Generale OFMCap, 2001, 714.
  21. Cf. Presentazione… III.2.6.4 in Atti 2006, 258. The letter of the Minister General of 25 October 2000 (Prot. N. 00816/00) spoke of “Constitutions and Ordinances” The Work Group on “Constitutions and Ordinances” also called themselves this in a letter to the Minister General of 23 May 2001 stating: “During our work we retained the term “Ordinances”. However, we suggest that another term be adopted (e.g. General Statutes) and to keep the term “Ordinances of the General Chapter” for those rulings that come out between one General Chapter and the next in response to pertinent matters that have been presented.” (5,2) In a latter letter dated 12 November 2001 the same Work Group repeated: “We call your attention to the terminology which is to be used to indicate the new instrument of personal law that accompanies the Constitutions and at present is called General Ordinances. One proposal that has been presented already is for “General Statutes”. In a letter dated 31 May 2002 the Work Group once more insisted: “For the above reason and since it seems that for many brothers the name “Ordinances” which is given to “other codes” in our work, has been associated with the “Ordinances of the General Chapter” and as far as they are concerned carries the same weight and importance as these do. Therefore, we think that it is best to choose a different name and we suggest “General Statutes of the Order” (4,d,4a) The subject matter of the letter of the Minister General of 17 January 2003 (Prot. N. 00057/03) is “Work Group for the “Constitutions” and “General Statutes (Ordinances)”. In the body of the letter he says that the Presidents of the Conferences, in their meeting at San Giovanni Rotondo from 7 to 12 September 2002, showed majority consent “for two codes for the Order (namely, Constitutions [approved by the Holy See] and Ordinances or perhaps better General Statutes [on the authority of General Chapters]. In n. 2 of this letter it says that: “the General Definitory has discussed the matter at various meetings and had taken the following decisions: 2,1 That a text of our legislation which is divided into two parts be prepared for the General Chapter of 2006: the Constitutions and the General Statutes (= Ordinances). 2, 2 Let two work groups be established, one for the Constitutions and another for the General Statutes (Ordinances). Thus in n 3, 1 of the letter it says: “The work group for the Constitutions is made up of brothers…” and in n. 3, 2 it says: “the work group for the General Statutes (Ordinances) is made up of brothers…” the letter of the Minister General dated 27 November 2004 also had as its subject: “Constitutions and General Statutes’ with the same terms used throughout the letter.
  22. Presentazione: III, 2. 5. Cf. Atti 2006, 258.
  23. Presentazione: III, 2. 5. Cf. Atti 2066, 258.
  24. The one less number indicated for Chapter VIII (28) in the total (89) comes from the alternative system which was provided by PdR2 for the delegates in the General Chapter concerning which the Chapter has to decide. If they accept alternative A, the number of norms in the Complementary Code increase by one.25 In PdR2 on chapter VIII it has already been noted that the Commission did not consider the current Ordinances 8/1 and 8/5; the Chapter is to decide what is the best. Instead Ordinance 8/18 has been put into the text of the Constitutions (cf. PdR2, n. 141, 5).
  25. In PdR2 on chapter VIII it has already been noted that the Commission did not consider the current Ordinances 8/1 and 8/5; the Chapter is to decide what is the best. Instead Ordinance 8/18 has been put into the text of the Constitutions (cf. PdR2, n. 141, 5).
  26. Cf. Presentazione: I, 2,1: I, 2, 2: Atti 2006, 255.
  27. Cf. Presentazione: III, 2, 6; III, 2, 6. 4); Atti 2006, 258.
  28. Atti 2006: 833.
  29. The term General Statutes is not contained in The Capuchin Lexicon.
  30. Cf. Premessa informative n. 25.
  31. So that our Order like the vineyard of the Most High Son of God might be better preserved in the spiritual observance of the Gospel and Seraphic Rule it seemed good to our General Chapter, celebrated in Rome in our House of San Euphemia in the year of Our Lord 1536, to set down certain Statutes, that would serve as a fence for the Order, by which [i.e., Statutes] it may be defended from all the enemies of the spirit of Our Lord Jesus Christ and kept far away from all relaxations which are contrary to the most fervent zeal of our Father Saint Francis.’ (Const. 1925, Prologue: cf. Constitutiones I: 37. 79. 152.224. 328. 493.569: II: 45. 203. 361. 463).
  32. Cf. Analecta OFMCap 44 (1928) 109-113.
  33. Cf Acta Capitoli generalis Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum Romae a die 19 Augusti ad 25 Octobris 1968 celebrati. II, Romae Curia generalis OFMCap., 1969: 387-388.
  34. Lettera circulare n. 4. 1 “The broad interpretation of canon 587 brought about that the Project on the General Statutes that was presented to the Chapter contained many juridical elements (and some non-juridical elements) which had been transferred from the Constitutions to the General Statutes, while, on the basis of a more general consideration which was closer to the criteria of evaluation, a section of those elements that were transferred would have been better retained in the Constitutions. Then there were other norms in Project 2006 which pertain more correctly to the General Statutes or the Ordinances, if not to other codes which were placed in the Constitutions. What emerges from this is the need to avoid aprioristic procedures through the necessary consultation of the Order and discernment that is not based solely on technical criteria, but that prudently also takes into account the tradition of the Order and the specific nature of our fundamental legislation. (Premessa informative, n. 28. note 76).
  35. Cf. Atti 2006, 684-685.
  36. Cf. Premessa informative nn. 16, 29.
  37. Cf. The letter of the Minister General of 25 November 2008.
  38. The presenter explained the meaning in the following terms: “The current text is at least 25 years old and history continues to run more swiftly even for theology and spirituality. Over the last 25 years a General Assembly of the Order (Pluriformity) and three PCOs (Prophetic Presence, Poverty, Minority) have taken place. At the ecclesiastical level the Apostolic Exhortation “Vita consecrata” is of special importance. Ecclesiology has notably developed with respect to the Trinity. Given that the division of legislative material requires pontifical approval for the new Constitutions it is worth taking the opportunity to review and enrich them.” (Atti 2006, 768.
  39. Cf. Premessa informative n. 31.
  40. Premessa informative, n, 55; Atti 2006; 260,680-692.
  41. Cf. Premessa informative, n. 34.
  42. Premessa informative, nn. 48-49.
  43. This is recognised in the Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata where it states: “In reality the Church is a mystery of communion”, “a people brought together by the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. Fraternal life in intended to reflect the depth and richness of this mystery, setting it out as a human space that is inhabited by the Trinity that thus brings into history the gifts of communion that belong to the Three Divine Persons.” (n. 41) “Understood as a shared life in love, fraternal life is an eloquent sign of ecclesial communion.” (n. 42). At this level we should consider the Circular Letter n. 20 of John Corriveau: Evangelical Fraternity in a World That is Changing. Identity, Mission, Animation. In Analecta OFMCap n 8 (2002) 146-155. Cf also Congregavit nos in unum. La vita fraternal in communitá. Document from CIVCSVA (2 February 1994), above all nn. 8-10.
  44. Cf Premessa informative, n. 41.
  45. Letter of the Minister General 27 May 2007
  46. The letter and the contribution of André Menard is available web site of the Order (www.ofmcap.org) in the folder: Commissione Costituzioni. Sussidi propedeutici.
  47. Cf. www.ofmcap.org. Folder: Commissione Costituzioni Sussidi propedeutici.
  48. Cf. General Plan of Formation of the Capuchin Friars Minor in Analecta OFMCap 107 (1992) 441-462; The Vocation Apostolate of the Capuchin Friars Minor :essere per fare”; The Postulancy of the Capuchin Friars Minor “Scegliere per essere” in Analecta OFMCap 109 (1993) 447-482 under the title Pastorale vocationale e Postulato: Formazione alla vita francescana cappuccino nel Postnoviziato in Analecta OFMCap 210 (2004) 1041-1053.
  49. Cf. Analecta OFMCap 124 (2008) 533-548.
  50. Cf. Analecta OFMCap 125 (2009) 296-303.
  51. Cf. Atti 2006 687.
  52. Cf. Intervention of Br Thomas Sebastian Ponachichavayalil in Atti 2006 707-708.
  53. Cf. Provisional outlines of chapters one ane two of the Constitutions produced by the Capitular Commission on Legislation AA.RR. PP. Superiorum Provincialium submissum (Pro manuscripto er sub secreto). Romae. Secretariatus C.C.L., 1967. – Schema provisorum capitum quarti-quinti Constitutionum OFMCap. a Commissione Capitulari Legislationis elaboratum et sudicio Provinciarum submissum (Pro Manuscripto) Ad usum exclusivum Fratrum Ordinis nostri. Romae, Officium Secretariatus C.C.L., 1968 – Schema provisorium capitum VII – XII Constitutionum OFMCap. a Commissione Capitulari Legislationis elaboratum et sudicio Provinciarum submissum. Pars prima. Textus continuus cum notulis (Pro Manuscripto). Romae, Officium Secretarius C.C.L., 1868 – Schema Constitutionum nostrorum. Textus continuus quinquies emendatus cum indice alphabetica (Pro manuscripto ad usum PP. Capitularium), Romae, Officium Secretariatus C.C.L., 1968.
  54. Cf. Acta Capituli generalis specialis Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum Romae a die 19 Lacuna
  55. Cf Br. IGLESIAS, Costituzioni dei Frati Minori Cappiccini Storia – Impianto – Profilo del cappuccino. Nota sintetica introduttiva. Cf. Sito web. Della Curia generale.
  56. Cf. Capitolo generale stradordinario OFMCap. Documenti principali (roma 1974). Cf. Analecta OFMCap 90 (1974) 319-320.
  57. Cf Acta Capituli Generalis LXXIX ORdinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum, Romae a die 1 iuni ad 11 iulii 1982 in Collegio S. Laurentii a Brundisio celebrati, Roma, Curia Generalis OFMCao., 1983.
  58. Cf. Br IGLESIAS (a cura di), Constitutiones Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum post Concilium Vaticanum II retractatae (a 1968-1988). I. Textus; II Fontes aliasque Referentiae complementares circa Textum Constit. 22 Maii 1988, Romae, Curia generalis OFMCap, 1988.
  59. Result of the vote: Placet 120; Non Placet 18; Placet iuxta modum 29; Summa 170. (Atti 2006 785).
  60. Result of the vote: Placet 150; Non Placet 9; Placet iuxta modum 10, Abstineo 2; Summa 171. (Atti) 2006, 802).
  61. The first Constitutions of 1536 which had been updated many times were specifically approved by the Holy See in 1643 and with a few subsequent changed they remained in force until 1968.
  62. JOHN PAUL II, Talk to the General Chapter, 5 July 1982; Cf. Analecta OFMCap 98 (1982) 192.
  63. Cf. Atti 2000. 833.
  64. BENEDICT XVI, Ai membri della Famiglia Francescana partecipanti al “Capitolo delle Stuoie”. Talk on 18 April 2009.
  65. Cf Vita consecrate 24.
  66. Cf ZACHARIAS BOVERIO A SALUZZO, Annales sive Sacrae Historiae Ord. Min. Capuccinorum S. Francisci, Tom. I (an. 1525-1580). Lugduni 1632, ad ann. 1529 n. 14, p. 117.