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CP 70-1 2 July 2012
Press release n. 1
From 28 June, Jesuit delegates from around the world will arrive in Nairobi for the Congregation of Procurators of the Society of Jesus. Many of them will join the pre-Congregation retreat which ends on 7 July. The Congregation will start on 9 July, and last for one week.
What is a Congregation of Procurators?
St. Ignatius of Loyola, looking at the hard labour and distraction could involve, discouraged meeting of General Congregation at definite intervals (Const. n 677). But later clarified that the Superior General maintains communication with the Society through letters and through the persons who should come from the provinces, at least once every three years from each province (and every four years from the Indies) (Const. n. 679).
These texts of Ignatius, and the wish expressed by the Pope, led the second General Congregation (1565), presided over by St. Francis de Borgia the newly elected Superior General, to propose the establishment of a Congregation of Procurators which will be called every three years. The first Congregation of Procurators was called in 1568 and until the beginning of the 18th century the General Congregations and the Congregations of Procurators proceeded regularly. General Congregation 34 (1995) ruled that the Congregation of Procurators should be held every four years
Most of the Procurators' Congregations were held in Rome, except those of 1886 and 1889, which took place in Fiesole (Florence) and that of 2003, which took place in Loyola.
The next Congregation of Procurators, which is number 70 in the series, will be held in Nairobi (Kenya), for the first time outside Europe, from July 9 to 15, 2012. There will be 84 Procurators elected by their Provinces and 13 others who participate ex officio. The Procurators are 7 from Africa, 14 from Latin America, 18 from South Asia, 7 from Asia pacific, 29 from South, Central- Eastern and Western Europe, 9 from the United States.
The Congregation of Procurators is called into session by Father General every four years after the end of a General Congregation. Procurators are called those who have been elected by the Provincial Congregations (one per Province) to represent them at the Congregation of Procurators. Dependent and Independent Regions are not entitled to send a member, but they send a report to Rome, and Father General can invite them to be present.
The most important purpose of the Congregation of Procurators is to decide whether a General Congregation should be called.
Another important task of the Procurators is to discuss the overall state of the Society especially in its more universal dimension. The discussion could clarify if a General Congregation is warranted.
The Congregation of Procurators has no power to legislate, but if the members think it necessary, they can suspend decrees issued by previous General Congregations. The suspension will be valid until the next General Congregation meets.