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