109. According to the teaching of Christ our humble Lord, Christian Prelates
are not to be like the leaders of the Gentiles, who lord it over their subjects.
Rather, the greater the weight on their shoulders, the more they should
humble themselves and remember that, whereas the other brothers have to
obey their Prelates, the latter have to obey all the brothers. The Chapter which
elects them imposes upon them by obedience the duty of serving and
ministering to the brothers in all their needs, especially in their spiritual needs
- after the example of Christ who came to serve and minister to us and to lay
down His life for us. We therefore exhort all the Prelates to be the ministers
and servants of all their brothers. This they will be, if in accordance with the
teaching of our Seraphic Father they minister spirit and life to them by their
teaching and example.
110. In every election the proceedings shall be single-minded, simple, holy
and canonical. We shall endeavour to follow the advice of Our gracious Lord,
and when we are invited to the marriage feast, take the lowest place with Him,
and not the highest place with Lucifer, since we know that the first shall be last,
and the last first. Let the brothers shun dignities as Christ did, and accept them
only when, like Aaron, they are called by God through holy obedience.
111. All votes at our General, Provincial, Custodial and local Chapters must
be made viva voce and in secret, in such a way that the names of the electors are
never published, as commanded by the Sacred Council of Trent. Neither is it
lawful to supply the votes of those who are absent. If anyone is elected to any
office whatsoever in contravention of this decree, that election is utterly null
111. We declare to all the brothers that in each election it is necessary and
sufficient that the person elected have more than one half of the votes. We also
wish to explain that in each election the brothers are obliged under pain of
mortal sin to elect the one they consider the best and most qualified for the
office to which he is being elected, leaving aside all other considerations.
112. The brothers, both those that came to us from the secular clergy and
from other religious congregations, after the first year and once they have
made profession, shall have active voice, but not passive until the end of the
fourth year, unless they are dispensed by the Father Vicar Provincial for some
necessary or just cause.
113. Clerics who are not sub-deacons, notwithstanding the Decree of the
Sacred Council of Trent, may vote in elections, in virtue of the declaration or
concession of Pope Pius V of happy memory.
114. The Provincial Chapters are to be held every year on the second or third
Friday after Easter, or at another time of year according to the custom of the
Province. In order to remove all suspicion, we order that no transfer of any
brother is to be made during the two months nearest to that time, without
great and obvious necessity. And if any brother needs to be transferred, he
should later return to vote for the Discreet of the place where he was.
115. The Provincial Fathers and Definitors should take care, when arranging
the families and transferring brothers, to do nothing that might generate
reasonable suspicion of some plan regarding future elections.
116. When the Provincial Chapter has been convoked, a brother is to be
elected in each place as Discreet, who attends the Chapter with the Father
Guardian. He is the spokesman for the needs of the place, and of individual
brothers, and a Vocal, like the Father Guardian.
117. In the election of the Discreet, the companions of the Provincial Vicars
shall have active and passive voice in the place where the Provincial Chapter is
held. The same shall apply to the companions of the Father Vicar General in
the place of the General Chapter, when they can attend it.
118. Preachers, if their Lenten preaching does not take them too far afield,
shall return to their own friary for the election of the Discreet, but when they
are so far away that they cannot, or lack the courage to, return in time, they
shall have a vote in the friary nearest to the place where they have preached.
119. And those who are unable to walk shall not be elected as Discreets to go
to the Provincial Chapter, except if they are currently Definitors elected in the
immediately preceding Chapter.
120. Four Definitors are to be elected at the Provincial Chapter, of whom no
more than two may be from among those elected at the previous Chapter. In
this election, all the Vocals present in the place of the Chapter shall have
passive voice, and the Provincial Vicars shall have active voice.
121. We order that as a sign of humility and to show our sincere detachment
from every kind of ambition, the General Vicar in the General Chapter and the
Provincial Vicar in the Provincial Chapter shall spontaneously resign their
offices and all their authority into the hands of the Definitors elected by the
Chapter. As proof of their complete resignation they shall place the seals into
the hands of the aforesaid Definitors, and say their fault in public Chapter for
all their defects.
122. Once they have humbly accepted their penance, the election of the
Provincial shall proceed: in no way shall anyone be elected Provincial who is
unable to walk. After the election of the Provincial, the Father Definitors, in
the name of the Chapter, send or write to the Most Reverend Father General
for confirmation, according to the Bull of Pope Clement. While waiting for the
reply he may exercise his office as Vicar-elect as long as he is in that Province.
123. At the conclusion of his triennium, he cannot be re-elected in the same
Province, but must remain free of all prelacies in that province for one year. If
however he is elected in another Province he may exercise that office for a
further three years, after which he must cease from office as above.
124. In order to establish a convenient and expeditious method of
appointing the Guardians, we declare that the Vicars and Definitors, having
visited all the Discreets and Guardians, may first meet together to discuss who
should be excluded. After this, each of them (i.e. the Vicar and the Definitors)
shall personally draw up a secret list on which he writes the names of as many
Fathers as there are Guardians required, freely choosing those he
conscientiously judges to be the best. Then, having called into the Definition
those who were scrutineers at the Chapter, or else with new scrutineers when
this seems appropriate, each one shall place his list into their hands. After the
scrutineers have secretly collected all the votes, they shall call Vicar and
Definitors to the Definition, and announce the names and votes of the elected
brothers. If not all the Guardians are elected in one ballot, there shall be a
second, third and fourth ballot, or as many as necessary until all the Guardians
have been elected. If more than the required number are elected, the Father
Vicar and Definitors may at their discretion declare null the election of the
surplus names, as they see fit. After the election of the Guardians, a similar
one is held for the Custodes, according to the ancient custom of the Order, who
shall be installed in places that properly require a Custos. Once again, having
taken common counsel, they shall distribute the Guardians already elected in
those places they consider suitable. Since some Provinces have a few friaries
in main or important cities, the Custodes may, if they think it expedient in order to remove all suspicion, appoint Guardians to those places by secret
vote. They shall do the same for other matters too, should any disagreement
125. After the Guardians have been assigned in their own places, the families
shall be constituted. If a Guardian leaves office or dies less than six months
before the Chapter, a new Guardian shall not be appointed. If the vacancy
occurs six months before, another shall be appointed in the manner mentioned
126. Guardians may not be elected to that office for more than three years in
the same place, but in a different place they can serve for three more years, and
after they have been Guardians for six years they are to be free of the
guardianship for one year. However, there is nothing to prevent the aforesaid
Guardians after that time being elected Provincial Vicar, or even General.
127. And since the Prelates must be guides and examples to their subjects, in
their deeds more than in their words, we order that any brother who cannot
ordinarily attend choir by day and by night, or the refectory with the other
brothers, or who has an obvious need for special foods, shall by no means be
made Guardian, nor shall he be put in charge of novices. .
128. As regards the General Chapter, we order that it shall take place every
five years on the Feast of Pentecost, which our Seraphic Father's Rule
designates as the most appropriate for a matter of such importance. During
the year of the said General Chapter the Custodes shall be elected by the
Vocals in the Provincial Chapter. In the other years they shall only be elected
by vote of the Definition, and the Custodes are to be appointed in places which
require a Custos, or within the Custody.
129. The first ballot shall be for the election of the first Custos. He will bring
to the General Chapter the defects of the outgoing Provincial Vicar together
with the needs of the Province. In this first ballot, only he is elected and the
outgoing Provincial Vicar shall not have passive voice. All the other Custodes
are immediately elected in another ballot, in which the aforesaid Vicar may
have passive voice,. And the aforementioned Custodes shall all be Vocals, like
the Provincials, and shall not exceed five in number, or be less than three,
except for the Provinces of Sicily and Corsica, the Ultramontane, and divided
Provinces; in these, the previously established custom and order shall be
observed, namely, there shall be only two Custodes.
130. Those who are unable to walk shall not be elected as Custodes to go to
the General Chapter, except if they are currently General Definitors elected at
the previous Chapter. The same applies to Definitors at the Provincial Chapter.
And the Father who has to remain as Commissary before the election of the
Custodes, shall not be appointed or nominated. As Custos.
131. Six Definitors are to be elected at the General Chapter, of whom not
more than four can be taken from among those elected at the Chapter
immediately preceding. At Provincial Chapters four Definitors are sufficient, of whom two at the most may be from among those elected at the previous
Chapter. In this election, all the Vocals present in the place of the Chapter shall
have passive voice, and the Father General shall have active voice.
132. It will be the duty of the said Definitors, together with the new General,
to define, decide and settle all cases and declare all doubts arising out of these
Constitutions, to provide for the needs of the Provinces and to draw up and
arrange the table of Provinces.
133. After the election of the Father Definitors, the Most Reverend Father
General shall place the Seals into their hands and say his fault in public in the
same way as the Provincials at the Provincial Chapter. Then, having first
invoked the Holy Spirit with the usual ceremonies, all the Vocals shall proceed
to the election of the new General After his election, the Father General of the
Conventuals is to be asked for his confirmation, according to the Bull of Paul
III of happy memory. At the conclusion of his five years of office, (the General)
is to remain free of all prelacies for a further five years.
134. Should the Father General Vicar die during his term of office, the first
Definitor of the previous Chapter shall become Commissary General. Should
he have died, it shall be the second Definitor, and so on for the others. The
same procedure shall apply in the case of Provincial Vicars who die in office,
namely, that the First Definitor shall be Commissary of the Province, and shall
take care to convoke the Chapter at the proper time for the election of the
Vicar, as the Father General shall command him. And in the Province where a
General dies, the General Chapter shall be convoked by the Vicar of that
Province, with the advice of the Vicars of the two nearest Provinces. And all
this is in accordance with the Bull concerning Regulars.
135. While the General Chapter is being held, all the brothers shall offer
continuous fervent prayer, and likewise in the Provinces during the Provincial
Chapter, asking Divine Providence to see fit to order all our affairs according
to His good pleasure, to the praise and glory of His Infinite Majesty, and for
the welfare of His holy Catholic Church.