A Topic at the 35th General Congregation

(Conferences, Presidents, Inter-Provincial Cooperation)

Speeches of Fr. General to CPAL in Paraguay (2001) and Chile (2006);

GC31 Decree 48,

GC 34, Decree 21

Fr. General’s opening address to Provincials at Loyola 20th September 1990, (AR XX, especially pp. 469-473, nn. 111-128)

Guidelines for Provincials, especially nn. 58, 73-78

Requests came from around the world that the Society discuss how to best coordinate Society governance to better address regional and global needs.

The basic model of governance in the Society of Jesus is that a Province of Jesuits is headed by a Provincial, who is the religious superior of each man in the Province. The Provincial reports directly to Fr. General, and in a way that reflects St. Ignatius' desire that their communication be quite complete. (I.e., the Provincial reports to Fr. General on each of his visits to the various ministries of the Province and through an extensive annual report.)

A number of Provinces are organized, usually by national regions (Assistancies), into Conferences, often headed by a President. There are currently a number of models around the world regarding how these Conference Presidents function. Some are coordinators, convening meetings of the Provincials of the Assistancy. Others are Provincials themselves with governance responsibilities for the Conference and the Assistancy. The Presidents of major parts of the world meet annually to discuss cooperation and coordination.

One set of questions the Congregation will discuss is how the Conferences should be organized and directed. What are the governance needs of the Conferences? What responsibilities should the Presidents have? What will improve communication and apostolic cooperation?

Another set of questions relates to the desires of the Congregation regarding the Society's global identity and world wide mission. What kind of coordination would allow the Society to best address complex global issues like ecology and global trade?


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