Decree 31: “Interprovincial Houses in Rome,” General Congregation 31 (1966)

The Holy See traditionally has entrusted the Society of Jesus with oversight of several “interprovincial” works in and around Rome. These works at the time of the 31st General Congregation, as indicated in the decree below, included the Pontifical Gregorian University, its associated Biblical and Oriental institutes, the Vatican Radio Station, the Vatican Observatory, and others. The congregation’s delegates state in the following document that the responsibility for these works is shared by “all provinces” and that provincials should assign “one or other of their men to these works.” The support for and importance of these interprovincial houses were again topics of decrees in the 34th and the 35th congregations.

For more from the 31st General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, please consult this page.



1.     The 31st General Congregation, in view of the special importance for the service of the Church of the Pontifical Gregorian University and of its associated Biblical and Oriental Institutes as well, joins with previous Congregations in recommending that the whole Society furnish effective help to these common works through subsidies and especially by training professors for them.

2.     The 31st General Congregation also recommends to all provincials those other works or houses in Rome that either are entrusted to the whole Society, such as the Vatican Radio, the Vatican Observatory, and the Russian College, or render a service to the entire Society, such as the Historical Institute or the College of St. Robert Bellarmine.

3.     All provinces ought to share, according to their resources, in the responsibility for those works which become a concern and charge of the whole Society through the person of Father General. Provincials should keep this obligation in mind and, at fixed times, should give thought to assigning one or other of their men to these works.

4.     Recommendations to Father General:

a. The 31st General Congregation recommends to Father General that he provide for the drawing up of a list, to be sent out to the provincials, of professors and other personnel for whom a need may be foreseen over the next three, five or ten years in these houses in Rome.

b. It is recommended to Father General that he set up a permanent administrative council to assist him, particularly with regard to needed funds and personnel, in administering these works placed under his care by the Holy See. This council should include, in addition to the directors of these works, some provincials from different regions.

c. It is also recommended to Father General that he set up a council for academic planning, one that will be concerned with reviewing broad academic policies in the light of the needs of the times and that will in this way aid him in directing these works entrusted to him by the Holy See, namely, the Pontifical Gregorian University and its associated Institutes. This council should be made up of members of the University itself and of the Institutes as well as of other Jesuit or non-Jesuit experts. The function of this council will be to advise Father General on academic policy and planning for these works, within the framework of the statutes of the Gregorian University and the Institutes.

d. The General Congregation further recommends to Father General that the statutes of the academic institutions of the Society in Rome be revised with the help of the faculty. At the same time a study ought to be made as to whether the faculty should have a consultative role, and even a deliberative vote in decisions on some matters, so as to play a greater part in the academic government.

5.     Those other houses in Rome that depend directly on Father General but are under the charge of only some provinces, such as the national or regional colleges and the Civiltà Cattolica, are likewise recommended to the attention of the General and those provincials who have a concern in the matter.

6.     Proper care should be shown for the language training and the psychological and spiritual adjustment of those brothers who come to Rome from provinces elsewhere. Moreover, if they are to return again to their own provinces, after having rendered excellent service at Rome, superiors ought to see to it that this return takes place at a suitable time and that they are helped to make a psychological readjustment and to continue to contribute to the work of the apostolate.



Original Source (English translation):

Jesuit Life & Mission Today: The Decrees & Accompanying Documents of the 31st35th General Congregations of the Society of Jesus, ed. John W. Padberg. St. Louis, Mo.: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2009, General Congregation 31, Decree 31, “Interprovincial Houses in Rome,” pg. 180–181 [560–568].

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