Seven Questions on the General Chapter (4)
What happens during the oaths and just before the election of the Superior General?
The oaths are taken in the Seminary chapel in Econe.
The president of the Chapter gives a short monition recalling the duties that oblige the Chapter members in conscience:
The oath to elect quos secundum Deum eligendos esse existimaverint (“those whom they believe they must elect before God”). This is prescribed by the universal law of the Church (see the 1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 506.1): “In institutions of men, all the electors must swear to elect those whom they judge to be the worthiest before God.”
The oath to keep the election process and the Chapter deliberations secret.
After the taking of the oath in the chapel, the Chapter members return to the Chapter room.
The Chapter officials are then elected, beginning with the two scrutineers who will be in charge of collecting, counting, announcing, and destroying the ballots at each vote.
The scrutineers are chosen from among the members of the Chapter. They are elected by simple majority from a list of ten names prepared by the President ahead of time and distributed to all the Chapter members just before the election.
The two names with the most votes are elected first and second scrutineer.
The President then designates two notaries, who are also members of the Chapter. They will be in charge of writing the acts and reports of each plenary meeting of the Chapter.
The notaries and scrutineers will then swear before the Chapter to fulfill their duties and keep their work secret.
After the Chapter officials are chosen, the Superior General will read his report on the Society’s moral and financial situation.
This is the last act of the outgoing Superior General, who reports on his management by presenting the Society’s situation.
Coming next: The election of the Superior General.