PREPARING FOR THE CHAPTER GENERAL OF 1994
Towards the Reform of the Code and Constitutional Charter
How to adapt to Vatican II and to the New Code of Canon Law
Spirituality, reorganization of structures,
relations with the Catholic voluntary movement, emblems and embassies.
Interview with the Chairman of the Study Commission
The Receiver of the Common Treasure, Count Carlo Marullo di Condojanni, was appointed as Chairman of the Commission for the Reform of the Constitutional Charter and Code by the Sovereign Council.
— What is the aim of this Commission?
“To suggest specific ideas to be submitted to the Sovereign Council and then, next December, to the Strategies Seminar to help them draw up the Sovereign Order’s integrated texts of constitutional documents on time for the Chapter General of 1994».
— In what areas?
"The adjustment of our rules to those of Vatican Council II and the needs arising during the work of the Strategies Commission. As far as Vatican II is concerned, we must also bear in mind the new provisions of the Code of Canon Law, and especially the one giving greater authority to the top levels of religious orders with regards to the spirituality of their individual members».
— And along what lines?
«Along those lines which we consider the Order should travel to prepare itself for the advent of the Third Christian Millennium. To give the Chapter General a direct, global vision of the expectations existing worldwide and which our rules must interpret so that all the Order’s members can participate more intensely in the management of its works, in the respect of tradition and the differences between our religious and lay components”.
- What does this imply?
“First of all solving all the problems, both central and peripheral, on the interpretation of present rules, and especially those which have pinpointed conflicts between the Code and the Charter. Then clearly defining the Order’s external features, such as its flag and emblems, still without a specific constitutional basis, although this is a problem involving the very identity of the Order. And finally by reorganizing the structures, and the central one in particular, in view of the changes of these last years with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the greater commitments with regards to east European countries. The internal cadres must also be reviewed, in line with the expansion and improvement of the Order’s internal and external organization as highlighted by the needs being highlighted in the works of the Strategies Commission».
— And spirituality?
“For the Professed there is nothing to add, but everything has to be rewritten for lay members. The contributions, "in itinere", of the Order’s religious element are particularly welcome. There must be regulations which only allow people who have already clearly demonstrated their awareness of our aims and principles to join the Order. A kind of lay «novitiate» could possibly be created for them, even of brief duration, which could enable them to obtain all the necessary information not only on the Order itself but also on the spirit and rules to be complied with when working. But these aspects of the reform in process are already being examined by H.M.E.H. and the more strictly religious element of the Order, the Knights of Justice».
- And its nobiliary character?
«Like its lay-religious, military, chivalric and hospitaller aspects, it is an essential facet of the Order’s life. The present Constitutional Charter reads «traditionally nobiliary order» (art. 1, para. 1) and this is certainly not disputed.
- Changes to personnel?
«Additions rather than changes. Operational supports must be created for the many jobs and functions which lack them. The present successes and the hopes for the future rest on the splendour of our past; just as the Order’s present international position is based on the enlightened work of the Grand Master Fra’ Angelo de Mojana who promulgated the constitutional documents currently in force, so the regulations now under examination for future needs will honour the thought of the legislators who, from Rohan to today, have codified the almost millenary understaffed. Last but not least, valid tools must be provided for the Order’s diplomatic structure, so that it can be enhanced. The problem of the choice of our ambassadors must also be addressed and solved consistently and according to precise rules, protecting us from ambitions which do not provide valid and concrete results on an operative level».
- Will relations also be defined with the Catholic voluntary movement?
«This is something necessary and mandatory. We must offer a proper place for all those forces of the Order living in the world which our constitutional documents do not consider because they were written when Catholic voluntary movements — a very recent fact — did not exist. We must also tackle the problem of the Donats, especially Donats of Justice, a class which we have not yet addressed in adequate terms. And the same applies to the problem of including Dames in the Order’s working cadres, better defining the criteria for accepting them, with the requirement of prior participation in activities to be performed within our organization”.
— Will there be any liaison between your Commission and the Strategies Commission? «Yes, there will whenever problems arise regarding specific choices of an operational nature for the practical evolution of the Order’s activities. During the works of the next months, problems of this type will certainly be tabled, to be submitted to the Strategies Seminar in December 1993. Decisions on future political lines will then be taken, decisions which can only be made within the Strategies Commission and the Seminar, since they are not the fruit of past experience but represent proposals arising from the work of these last years within the framework of future strategies. But H.M.E.H. and the Sovereign Council will have the final say in the matter”.
- The times and methods of these liaisons?
“The Commission for Reform will present its results, with the problems which have arisen, first to H.M.E.H. and the Sovereign Council, and then to the Strategies Seminar. The opinions of these latter will constitute, together with the conclusions of the Commission for Reform, the texts to be submitted to the Chapter General, which will have the task of setting up an actual legislative commission to discuss, in a specially convened Extraordinary Chapter General, the final text to be submitted to the Holy See for approval. Therefore, the Commission for Reform, which I have the honour to chair, will finish its work before the Strategies Seminar, and will completed its mandate when the Sovereign Council and Seminar make their decisions”.