Story behind the transfer of the Headquarters of the General Government of the Claretian Missionaries to Rome 100 years ago

Sep 1, 2022 | Anniversaries, General Government

Although many think that the transfer of the seat of the General Government of the Claretian Missionaries to Rome was decided in the General Chapter of 1934, after the election of the new Superior General, Father Felipe Maroto, in reality, this Chapter decision was taken in the General Chapter of 1922, in its 34th session, on September 2. However, it was not put into effect until 1934.

This proposal of the General Chapter was studied and voted on within the study of the territorial expansion of the Congregation and after having dealt with some topics on the interest of moving the presence of the Congregation to other places, especially outside Spain and America. Having concluded the general topic, the Chapter went on to deal with the seat of the General Government, presenting the following conclusion: “The moment seems to have arrived to think that it is convenient to transfer the seat of the General Government to Rome. Although according to the holy Constitutions, it belongs to the Superior General to fix the seat of its government, this does not mean that the Chapter cannot express a vote in the sense of asking for the transfer. Therefore, the Chapter is asked to express its opinion as to whether the seat of the General Government should be transferred to Rome as soon as possible. This conclusion is supported by very good reasons:

  • 1. This will contribute more effectively to the expansion of the congregation.
  • 2. It would gain much prestige and be more appreciated outside Spain, especially in America.
  • 3. She would be more appreciated in the Roman Curia and before the Pope and obtain more graces and privileges.
  • 4. There appears to be no impediment to the transfer of headquarters because the provinces of Spain can develop on their own without the need to have the General Government within them.
  • 5. Finally, it appears that many individuals of the Congregation aspire to move to Rome.

The Chapter, considering the catholicity of our institute and the fact that the congregations of some importance have their seat of government in Rome, drew up the secret ballot in this way:

The Chapter is asked to express its opinion on whether it is convenient to transfer the seat of the General Government to Rome as soon as possible.” After the scrutiny and finding out that there were 26 yes votes against 4 nos, the Chapter judged it convenient to transfer the seat of the General Government to Rome.

12 years later, in the General Chapter of 1934, in Session 32 of April 6, the question was taken up again because the will of the previous Chapter had not been carried out: “About the fact that the Rev. Father (Nicolas Garcia) did not transfer his residence and the General Curia to Rome in the last duodenum, despite the vote of the General Chapter of 1922, the Rev. Father explained that at the beginning, despite the means put into play to obtain a house, it was not possible to obtain it. The present house on Via Giulia was bought in 1925, and it took a long time to persuade the tenants to move out and have it ready for occupancy. Then came the political change in Spain, the circumstance in which Father General believed that he should not desert his post considering the seriousness of the situation, fleeing from danger and moving to Rome. To the atmosphere of criticism or displeasure that there has been on the part of some for not executing the vote of the General Chapter of 1922, the true causes are explained; without that, they have reference to the case, as proper of the Rev. Father, that some believed that they had no work to do in Rome. With regard to the question of law itself, it was still insinuated that the freedom and right that the Holy Constitution grants to the Superior General as a rule and in general could be asserted. Still, it does not seem that it can be argued with such firmness against the vote and opinion of an entire General Chapter since the residence of the General is ordered to the general good of the Institute, which in the case of a vote has already been decided by the General Chapter”.

Finally, in this same session, the General Chapter approved the transfer to Rome of the Curia of the General Government of the Congregation and was carried out immediately.

Gobierno General 1934 1937 Scaled
The government that carried out the transfer in 1934.

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