Sharing the Experience of the Congregation
David Schultenover, S.J.
January 13, 2008

Fr. Don Doll, S.J. took the photos
in this reflection.

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Dave Schultenover, S.J. is a delegate to the Congregation from the Wisconsin Province, in the US Assistancy.

He is a Consultor to the Provincial of the Wisconsin Province and a professor of historical theology at Marquette University.

He is the editor in chief of THEOLOGICAL STUDIES, A Jesuit Sponsored Journal of Theology.


It is Sunday and we are being treated to what they tell me is the sun. Yesterday afternoon, while I was working away in my room overlooking Agrippina’s garden, the storm gods were pelting us with wind, rain, thunder, and lightning. At ca. 4:30 p.m. a sudden blast of wind took down a huge cedar tree on the opposite side of our house—in fact, just outside the baroque parlor Don photographed earlier (without me in the picture). The tree fell on a couple of the house cars. Fortunately, no human injuries. The nearby Vatican remains intact.

Il Falchetto - Wisconsin men:. - photo by Don Doll, S.J. -  ( Click on picture to enlarge it. ) We have completed week one of the congregation, and we congregants are gratefully observing the Sabbath. All is not work even during the work-week. Several evenings during the week we American delegates gather for a social. On other evenings, we have socials either in our own residences or tout ensemble in newly renovated space near the aula of the congregation. These enable us to get to know one another.

[Il Falchetto - Wisconsin men: L-R: Dave Schultenover, S.J., Tom Krettek, S.J. (Wisconsin Provincial), Jim Grummer, S.J., (former Wisconsin Provincial and current U.S. Assistant and General Assistant), John Fitzgibbons, S.J. (Wisconsin delegate), Fred Brenk, S.J. (emeritus professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. - photo by Don Doll, S.J. - [At the table to the right are 3 men from the Oregon Province:: L-R: Bob Grimm (Associate Treasurer of the Society), Frank Case, S.J. (back of head just showing)(Secretary of the Society), and John Whitney, S.J. (Provincial) Click on picture to enlarge it. ]


Photo by Don Doll, S.J.: "We walked home, of course, through the Pantheon Piazza. :  Click on Photo to seen enlarged view.Last night (Saturday) was the usual soiree at the Gregorian University with the English-speaking (mostly American) contingent from the Roman houses—Mass, social, dinner in small groups at restaurants. The Wisconsin group went to Il Falchetto just west of the Via del Corso, a half block from the Church of St. Ignatius—very nice; one has to try hard to find a bad restaurant in Rome.

Having finished a week of preliminary matters, we congregants are poised to enter the election phase of the congregation. The prominent feature of this phase is known as the murmuratio, four days of “murmuring,” that is, of engaging one-on-one with other electors in conversation about potential candidates for general. During this phase we are not exactly locked away (as in papal conclaves [con clave = with a key] in some earlier centuries), but our interaction is limited to voting members of the congregation and others who might know potential candidates and directed by clear rules of engagement — for example, there can be nothing resembling electioneering or campaigning for a certain person. After the days of murmuratio, the electors convene in the aula for the election. If the murmuratio has been effective, the election should not take very long — nothing remotely resembling some papal conclaves when elections went on for months, even years. John Paul II instituted the requirement that after 33 ballots, if a 2/3 majority had not agreed on a pope, a simple majority would suffice. Benedict XVI restored the 2/3 majority. We Jesuits are satisfied with a simple majority throughout the election. Thus we hope to conclude the election within a matter of hours.

During the election phase of the congregation, which begins tomorrow (Monday), communication with those outside the congregation is strictly limited. By the time you hear from me again, perhaps next Sunday, you will already have received the name of the new general of the Society of Jesus.

The sun’s appearance was brief. Rain has returned. . . .

Relying on your prayers,

David G. Schultenover, S.J.

Rome, 13 January 2008

David G. Schultenover, S.J.
Residenza San Pietro Canisio
Via dei Penitenzieri 20 – 1
00193 Rome

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