The General Chapter is an assembly representative of the whole Institute. It is an expression of the participation of all the Brothers in the life and mission of the Institute, as well as their co-responsibility in its government. It exercises the highest extraordinary authority.
Our Constitutions and Statutes tell us that "the General Chapter is an assembly representative of the whole Institute. It is an expression of the participation of all the Brothers in the life and mission of the Institute, as well as their co-responsibility in its government. It exercises the highest extraordinary authority”. The ordinary General Chapter has the following functions:to elect the Brother Superior General, the Brother Vicar General and the members of the General Council, as prescribed in the proper law of the Institute; to deal with major issues concerning the nature, aim and spirit of the Institute, and to further their renewal and adaptation, preserving all the while the spiritual heritage of the Institute;to draw up Statutes for the whole Institute;to put before the Holy See the modifications that may be needed on some points of the Constitutions."
And so, the Chapter is, above all and before all, a coming together of Brothers. Having made this clear, we would add that nothing should impede anything that might widen the range of consutation during the time of preparation, nor is the presence of observers, consultors and other persons excluded in the Chapter sessions, when such presence would serve to support the work the delegates have before them. With these same criteria in mind, the members of the XX General Chapter authorized the Superior General and his Council to invite a variety of persons to the Chapter. However their number must not exceed 15% of the total number of capitulants. The Superior General and his Council should consult with the Preparatory Commission to determine the form of participation of the invited guests and to set the length of time they will be present. In every instance, the right to vote in making decisions at the Chapter is reserved to the Brother capitulants.
Secondly, a General Chapter is a meeting of the Brothers, not only of the superiors of the Institute. Therefore, the number of elected delegates should exceed by 15 the number of members by right. The members of the Chapter, whether as a whole or through the commissions that may be formed to do the work of the Chapter, may seek, if needed, the help of experts as a means of carrying out their assigned tasks.