General Congregation

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This article is about the Jesuit decision-making body. For the General Congregations of Cardinals during sede vacante, see Universi Dominici Gregis#Chapter II.

The highest authority in the Society of Jesus is the General Congregation, an assembly of the Jesuit representatives from all parts of the world. A general congregation is always summoned on the death or resignation of the administrative head of the order—called the Superior General—to choose his successor, and it may be called at other times if circumstances warrant. A smaller congregation of worldwide representatives meets every three years to discuss internal business and to decide the need for a general congregation. Through its four-century history, the Society has convened only 35 general congregations, the 33rd of which installed Peter Hans Kolvenbach as Superior General of the Order. One of the most important recent congregations took place in two sessions (1965–1966) to revise Jesuit law and accommodate it to the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.

On February 2, 2006, the Superior General Peter Hans Kolvenbach convoked the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, to begin January 5, 2008, in Rome, after "having heard the representatives and obtained the consent of His Holiness Benedict XVI". At the same time he announced his resignation to the post of Superior General of the Society of Jesus. The 35th general Congregation will therefore elect a new Superior General as well as discuss some "very important matters concerning the whole body of the Society of Jesus", the situation which requires a General Congregation [1].

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