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Next Step: Election of the Secretary of the Congregation

Rome: October 6, 2016

Next Step: Election of the Secretary of the Congregation


We want you to follow what is happening in Rome! That’s the reason why we tell you about the various steps of the process. The Congregation is underway, no doubt about it! But not yet at the core of its two main tasks: the election of a Superior General and the discussions on important topics for the future of the universal Society of Jesus. During the first days of the plenary, a “temporary team” took the responsibilities of ensuring the flow of the proceedings. First of all, of course, before Father Adolfo Nicolás resigned, he appointed a Vicar General, Fr. James Grummer. Fr. Grummer is leading the Congregation and the Society until a new General is elected. A temporary Secretary of the Congregation was chosen, Fr. Agnelo Mascarenhas.

But to prepare for the next and central parts, the Congregation has the opportunity to elect a Secretary and two assistants (sub-secretaries). This is being done today or tomorrow, Thursday, October 6 or Friday, October 7.

The rules for the election of these Congregation officials are not as strict as for the election of the General. The electors could talk openly among themselves about possible “candidates”, Jesuits who could best support the process of the Congregation. What is the main responsibility of the Secretary and his assistants? It is to prepare every day the Acts of the Congregation. They do it with the help of those who are appointed to take the verbatim of the proceedings. In accordance with the Coordination Committee, the Secretary also has the responsibility of presenting the daily report to the Congregation to get its approval.

The election is held by secret ballot. As soon as the Secretary is elected, he sits to the right of the moderator of the assembly. Then a first and a second assistant are elected. Once elected, the first assistant sits to the left of the moderator. Then, the Vicar General, the Secretary and the first assistant, who will be the main officers for the election of the General, stand in front of the Congregation and pronounce their oath with these words:

I call God, to whose eyes all things are exposed and open, to witness that I will faithfully receive and make public the votes; and I will assiduously perform the duties of my office and keep secret what happens in the election, even when it is completed. I declare also in the sight of the Divine Majesty and of the entire Society, which we here represent, that I will not admit anyone who should not be admitted or to exclude anyone who is not to be excluded.

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