Decree 49: “The Second Session of the 31st General Congregation,” General Congregation 31 (1966)

The following decree articulates some procedural decisions made by the delegates at the 31st General Congregation. It establishes the dates to end the congregation’s first session and to begin its second—the first time in the history of Society of Jesus that a congregation was divided into distinct sessions by its delegates. In all, the 31st General Congregation lasted for 141 days, making it the third longest in Jesuit history.

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




1.     The General Congregation decided the following about the second session of the Congregation:

1° July 15th is set as the last day of the first session;

2° The second session will begin in the month of September 1966.

2.     §1—The commissions which have already been set up will remain the same.

§2—At Rome a coordinating commission is set up, the members of which are Father General, the general assistants, the chairmen of the commissions and the secretary of the General Congregation.

§3—Father General, after consulting with the members of the coordinating commission, will set up a special commission to prepare the rules of procedure for the second session.

§4—The modus agendi of the commissions in the interval between the sessions will be substantially the same as it was in the first session and the small groups convoked in the meantime will complete their business by letter.

§5—A special commission will be set up composed of 12 or 15 members which will convene at stated times in order to complete reports, collect and elaborate upon comments received and prepare definitive position papers.

3.     §1—Father General has the power to change provincials for proportionately grave causes before the end of the General Congregation.

§2—Provincials who in between the two sessions have completed their term of office retain their right of membership at the second session.

§3—Provincials who have been appointed in the time in between sessions are to be summoned to the second session as delegates with full power, that is as “Electors.”

§4—Prescriptions §§ 1–3 of this third article are to be understood as applying only at this particular Congregation.

4.     Those provinces which will find the expenses of the second session extremely burdensome will be helped by the General Treasurer of the Society in an appropriate way.



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 49, “The Second Session of the 31st General Congregation,” pg. 213 [695–705].

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