Day 11, July 7: Point(s) of Order
Jeremy DIxon continues his chronicles… After mass and breakfast, we began the day again invoking the Holy Spirit. On the second ballot, Javier Alvarez was re-elected vicar general. He thanked the assembly for once more entrusting him with this responsibility, who congratulated him with a standing ovation. The assembly then went into conference meetings for the rest of the morning.
When the assembly returned, the day started moving much slower as they returned to the discussion of the postulata. The first was to return to the discussion of Statute 68,1, which changed the wording to note that different provinces have different lengths for terms of office. After some discussion about the re-wording and translation of the text, the postulatum was approved overwhelmingly.
Another postulatum from the General Council regarded solidarity, calling for the superior general and his council to study and put in place a plan for effective solidarity among the provinces. Many questions were asked as to the process and some urged wider participation either among conferences of visitors or other members of the Congregation. Three amendments were proposed. Joaquin Gonzalez of Madrid proposed that it not be a mandate, but be put into the final document of the assembly. It was defeated on the floor. Miles Heinen of the US proposed that the theme be studied and a detailed proposal be prepared for the 2022 General Assembly. That also was defeated. Javier Alvarez proposed an amendment to say that the conferences of visitors would have input and study the theme. This change was approved with 62% of the vote. Finally, the mandate was voted on and approved with 73% of the vote.
The following postulata were proposed to be included in the discussions and final document of the assembly. First was a proposal from the Western Province of the United States that international missions of the superior general be associated with a province or vice-province. It was defeated. The Province of Chile proposed that the General Assembly make a special declaration in favor of refugees and migrants, and against xenophobia. It was approved. Lastly, the Province of Austria-Germany proposed the establishment of an international center to train seminarians and priests to provide popular missions in Europe to evangelize non-Christians and baptized Christians who have stopped practicing. It was defeated.
Then, the assembly voted on seven recommendations to the superior general and his council. They approved proposals regarding the Vincentian liturgical calendar, promoting the vocation of brothers and creating a committee for the protection of children. They did not approve proposals regarding the formation of brothers, elevating the role of the provincial secretary in the Constitutions, reviewing the role of the director of the Daughters of Charity and having a secretariat of Vincentian spirituality. There was then a proposal to the conferences of visitors to train confreres for formation ministry which was not approved.
Finally, the postulata committee had recommended not debating three proposals. One had already been dealt with earlier and the other two proposed changing the Constitutions regarding the vow of stability and the vow of poverty. The assembly agreed with the recommendations of the committee regarding the first two. A motion to adjourn was then made and thus ended a long afternoon of parliamentary procedure and votes. Congratulations again to Father Javier! Tomorrow the assembly will vote for the assistants general.