Decree 53: “The Catalog of Censures and Precepts,” General Congregation 31 (1966)

Historian John Padberg observes that the delegates to the 31st General Congregation did not have the necessary time or expertise to properly revise the Jesuits’ catalog of censures and precepts (see the congregation’s historical preface in Jesuit Life & Mission Today (2009), pg. 39). Therefore, the delegates gave authority to the superior general to “abrogate the canonical penalties and those precepts that are imposed by the Society’s own law,” though only after he had “taken the advice of experts.”

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



The General Congregation desires that the universal laws of the Society be observed, but that they be observed according to the spirit and aim proposed by St. Ignatius. This means that “in place of fear of offense there be love and desire of all perfection, and that the greater glory and praise of Christ, our Creator and Lord,” be achieved. For this reason the Congregation has decided to review the canonical penalties and precepts in virtue of obedience in the “Catalogue of Censures and Precepts Imposed on Jesuits.” Therefore, by this decree it delegates to Father General the following powers:

1° that according to his prudent judgment, with the deliberative vote of those fathers of the general curia who by reason of their office have a right to participate in the general congregation, and having taken the advice of experts, he can abrogate the canonical penalties and those precepts that are imposed by the Society’s own law;

2° that under the same conditions he has the power of abrogating penalties laid down by the Constitutions, as well as permission to enable him to petition the Holy See in the name of the Society for the abrogation of penalties established by particular pontifical law.



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 53, “The Catalog of Censures and Precepts,” pg. 222–223 [765].

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