Last update : 2001-08-08

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The Chapter's Chronicle

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August 6th

Mission Accomplished

The Transfiguration. A radiant and luminous day, like that day on Mt. Tabor. The climate is appropriate for Africa. One part of Africa (French Africa, the Isle of Reunion, Angola) took the liturgy. It was in French with African rhythms. In some moments, the songs were accompanied only by percussion. Fr. Roger Houngbedji, socius of the Master for this continent presided and preached. The homily was altruistic, like that one would expect from a person almost two meters tall. He pronounced the homily with such clarity that one hardly needed be a polyglot to have heard it three times: in French, English and Spanish. There were three points in his homily: Here we are like the elect, like Peter, James and John; to make present the glory of God on the earth, how that glory is manifest today in our world; and to listen to God. Not just to hear God, but to commit ourselves to the word heard.

It seems that there were interests that we attack what we were about to discuss without tension on the part of anyone. Fr. Carlos, the Master, did a comic number received with a roar of laughter in the meeting room. He imitated the flight attendants the give instructions to passengers on board an airplane.

The principal theme on the agenda of the day was the document on the co-operator brothers. An amended text was presented. Substantially, it asks to initiate a long and complicated process of study and consultation of the whole Order, as when they changed the Constitutions in 1968, to analyse the place of the co-operator brothers included in the Order, and if it be necessary, the clerical character of the Order (cf. Fundamental Constitutions, VI). The discussion in the Order in recent years on the identity of the co-operator brothers reflects the development of an ecclesiology of communion and participation, inspired by Vatican II, that spoke of a communion in diversity of ministries. It asked the Master to name a commission of experts, which will prepare a text that could include even proposed changes to the Constitution to be presented at the next Chapter. The most debated document was at last approved. As the last difficulty, a commission will be named.

At the insistence of more than a third of the vocals, the assembly reconsidered the abrogation a few days ago of a decision of the Bologna Chapter, in which the provinces desiring to do so were authorised to establish in their statutes the possibility to give each house representation in the Provincial Chapter. This was not admitted into discussion.

The assembly needed to break the deadlock on a text of the commission on the Common Life that had received a vote of 56 to 56 on the Community Project. The "penalties" were not worth it. The text returned to the commission, which made slight changes. The vote was in favour with a great majority.

The afternoon began with acclamations, explanations and defence of the moderators, of their honour and impartiality and asking pardon for whatever was lacking.

The Chapter finished its study and voting with the document on the Dominican Family. The part on the Laity and the Dominican Youth Movement remained. The document recognises the new groups of Dominican Laity that are appearing and are "strong with new life" for the Order and an enrichment of the mission. There were few discussions. The text presented by the commission was accepted without problems. The DYM can continue being a Dominican Movement without tying themselves with more than sentiments of closeness to our charism. The recommendations to the friars that they promote the movements and that the laity develop them were approved. After the discussion on the Dominican Family, a small problem surfaced. A vocal introduced a proposition on a theme that was not studied by any commission: the study requested by the Bologna Chapter, n. 42, on the charism and preaching by women and young in the Order. There were only a few proposals, and only in English. But the proposals presupposed a text, that was also not translated. After a brief break, it was proposed that a recommendation be voted upon: "We are thankful for the report prepared by the commission asked for by the Bologna Chapter (no. 42) on the charism of preaching by women and the non-ordained of the Order of Preachers. We commend to the assistants for the Intellectual Life and the Apostolic Life to continue the study of this theme with the help and consultation of divers parts of the world." It was approved.

The study and voting on all of the documents of the commissions is finished. Good work, brother capitulars. Tomorrow we will hear reports from the École Biblique, the Angelicum and the situation of the Order in China. puce

(Translated from Spanish)


Design & management : Fr. Yves Bériault, o.p.