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11. Government

  1. The Companions of Christ is a spiritual family, raised up by the Spirit in the Church, integrating the single, celibate, and married states of life, within a monastic community as well as those who live the domestic life in their own homes.

  2. Av
    The Companions of Christ is led by the Av (equivalent of an Abbot or Abbess). The Av leads the community in consultation with the Executive Council. The founder of the Companions of Christ shall serve as the Av for life or until co retires or is no longer able to actively lead the community because of ill health, or is found guilty of a felony crime. If at any time co becomes unable to actively govern, cos lawful successor will take cos place, but, even then, the founder shall have a permanent place of honor within the community and the Councils with consultative voice. The Av is the leader over the whole community (monastic and domestic). The Av is always the leader of the motherhouse and shall reside at the motherhouse.

    1. The Av enjoys ordinary authority over each and every brother and sister, as well as over the particular expressions of the community. Normally, the Av exercises this authority through the Monastic Vicar of each particular expression of community, but the Av may act alone under extraordinary circumstances. Therefore, the Av exercises this authority alone or with the Executive Council in accordance with the norms of this Constitution.

    2. The Av along with the Executive Council must confirm in writing all elected leaders within the community before they may take office.

    3. Election of Av:
      For reasons of death, resignation, or the extraordinary desire of the community a General Council of elections may be called. The term of office may be permanent or temporary according to the General Directory and the decision of the General Council. Only life professed members may vote, being careful to maintain the monastic origins and centrality of the community. The Av is chosen from the monastic expression. All life professed members of the monastic expression have passive voice (i.e. can be elected) unless disqualified by law.

    4. In the event of the death of the Av, a special election of the General Council is called by the Bishop Visitor after three months.

  3. Executive Council:
    The Executive Council (EC) shall be made up of the Av, Secretary, Treasurer, Chancellor, the Domestic Vicar, and the Monastic Vicars. The EC shall have authority to act between General Councils unless this Constitution specifies only a General Council can act.

  4. General Council:
    The General Council consists of the life professed members of both the monastic and domestic expressions of our community. Care is taken to protect the monastic origins and centrality in the nature of the General Council. Other representatives may be added as other expressions develop.

    1. The General Council has the power to govern insofar as the Constitution gives it the power to act, proper to the general visionary concerns and goals of the community. This primarily includes any necessary amendments to the Constitution. Particular concerns proper to the various states of life are left up to the directory and leadership of each respective expression. The Av normally convenes the General Council every three years. The Av or the Bishop Visitor may call an extraordinary Council in cases of necessity.

  5. Monastic Chapter:
    The Monastic Chapter is a meeting of a particular tradition (i.e. Franciscan, Benedictine, etc.) and all life professed members of that monastic tradition in order to conduct business for that particular tradition. Each Monastic Chapter shall elect a Monastic Vicar. Each Monastic Vicar shall be titled by the tradition + Vicar (e.g. Franciscan Vicar, Benedictine Vicar, etc.) Each monastic tradition shall further develop a Rule and Directory. This Rule and Directory should complement the General Rule and Directory and be specific to their tradition. It should also take into consideration the life expressions of single, celibate, and family.

  6. Particular Expressions:
    Each particular monastic tradition is thus divided into the separate life expressions (single, celibate, family) and may if they so choose elect their own leadership. This leader is titled tradition + expression + minister (e.g. Franciscan Single Minister). The Ministers report to the Vicars.

  7. Appropriate Dialogue:
    When a brother or sister disagrees or has difficulty with leadership, co is to use appropriate attitudes and channels for dialogue. Members are encouraged to speak freely, yet respectfully, to their own respective and immediate leadership, the leader with whom they disagree, or to a spiritual director or confessor. They may also speak to other community members who are directly involved as long as they speak respectfully and in confidence. Any involvement of others, inside or outside the community, is considered insubordinate and gossip, and therefore an offense against leadership and their covenant of obedience.

  8. Terms, Conferring of Offices:

    1. Offices and positions in the community are conferred either by election, which is duly confirmed, or by appointment.

    2. All offices are for a three to six year term, except for the founding Av who has an indefinite term.

    3. The election takes place, ordinarily, at the General Council or Monastic Chapter; or at a meeting of the particular chapter of a particular expression of the community, according to their particular directory. The Av, either personally or through a delegate, presides at the election of officers. In the spirit of co-responsibility and communal service, the brothers and sisters accept election to the offices mentioned unless absolutely impossible. All life professed members are eligible for the offices and positions of the community, as long as they have the requisites and qualifications established by common law and the Constitution. Unless otherwise provided, one who has been elected cannot exercise authority until confirmed by the Av or delegate, who presides at the election.

  9. Loss and Vacancy of Offices:
    Loss: Offices are lost by expiration of term of office, by acceptance of an incompatible office within or without the community, by a resignation that is accepted, or by removal and deprivation.

  10. Prolongation:
    All offices and positions conferred by election or by appointment become vacant at the time of the election or appointment and confirmation of their replacement, unless other provision is expressly made. The Av with the advice of the Council can decree the prolongation of an office or position.

  11. Resignation:
    The Chapter of a particular expression, after consulting with its members, can accept the resignation of an office that has been conferred by that same Chapter. The General Council may accept the resignation of the Av. It may also accept the resignation of the elected leadership of a formal expression of the community outside of their particular Council. The Av may accept the resignation of offices conferred by appointment.

  12. Removal:
    For a grave reason and with the advice of the Executive Council, the Av may remove from office any leader of any particular expression of the community represented within the Council.

  13. Conclusion:
    All leaders in the community must be both good followers and good leaders. They must be willing to listen, yet able to teach. They must be knowledgeable of Old Catholic Christian teachings and monastic spirituality from both study and experience. The Av is subject to the guidance of the Church, and thus guide the brothers and sisters by both example and work.