American-cassinese congregation of benedictine monasteries office of the president



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Section D: The Visitators' Reports


D 128.8. 1. At the conclusion of the visitation the visitators are to provide two written reports, one for the abbot and one for the chapter.

D 128.8. 2. The report for the abbot is to be discussed privately with him by the visitators.

D 128.8. 3. The report for the chapter is to be discussed first with the abbot and then with the council of seniors, and their reactions should be considered in preparing the final draft for the chapter. This final draft is to be made available to the community in writing and, after they have had sufficient time to examine it, is to be discussed with them at a community meeting.

D 128.8. 4. A copy both of the report for the abbot and of the report for the community is to be forwarded to the President by the senior visitator immediately after the visitation.

D 128.8. 5. The judgments of the visitators expressed in their reports may be classified according to the following categories:

1. commendations, which recognize and commend favorable trends in the community's life and encourage their further development;

2. observations, which draw attention to problems that do not directly concern the central monastic witness of the community and, while they may be important, are not of a serious or urgent nature in themselves;

3. directives, which in more serious or urgent cases define specific problems and impose the obligation to seek solutions to them;

4. mandates, which in the case of very serious problems or abuses define specific solutions that the community is obliged to adopt, with due regard for the prescription of D 128.8.6.2.

D 128.8. 6. 1. Directives promulgated in the visitation reports are effective immediately.

D 128.8. 6. 2. Mandates expressed hi the visitation reports take effect only when they have been confirmed by the President, with the consent of his council, and when the President has notified the community of their confirmation.

V 82. 1. The Written Reports. The visitators are to prepare two written reports, a confidential report to the abbot alone and a report to the community. These reports normally address only the areas chosen by the community for the focus of the visitation, but may also address other areas if appropriate. The report may suggest areas that need to be addressed by the rat community and may thus make proposals for the next visitation. The reports should include the following:


1. The visitators' reactions to the community's previsitation report.

2. Their comments on other areas, if appropriate.

3. Their formal judgments about the life of the community.

V 83. The report to the abbot should be of the nature of an evaluation of his abbatial service, both containing positive comments and pointing out areas of weakness where improvement changes, or help may be necessary. Issues that concern a particular monk may also be brought to the notice of the abbot.

V 84. 2. Formal judgments. Formal judgments must be written clearly and specifically so that each written judgment is readily understandable to the abbot and the community, to the President and his council, and to the next visitation team. These judgments include

the following:


1. Commendations, which recognize and commend favorable trends in the community's life and encourage their further development.

2. Observations, which draw attention to problems that do not directly concern the central monastic witness of the community and, while they may be important, are not of a serious or urgent nature in themselves.

3. Directives, which in more serious or urgent cases define specific problems and impose the obligation to seek solutions to them. Directives are effective immediately upon the issuance of the report.

4. Mandates, which in the case of very serious problems or abuses define specific solutions that the community is obliged to adopt. Mandates are proposed to the abbot and the community and to the President and his council; they take effect only after the President, with the consent of his council, affirms or modifies the mandates and so informs the abbot and community.

V 85. Since the proper law requires that each directive or mandate be fulfilled within one year of the closing of the visitation, unless otherwise specified by the visitators or by the President, the visitators should indicate in the report the exact date by which each directive or mandate is expected to be fulfilled.

V 86. 3. The Review of Reports by the Abbot. After both reports are completed, but before distribution of the report to the community, the visitators meet with the abbot to discuss both reports and to receive his comments on the report to the community. The abbot may suggest changes in either report, but the final determination is up to the visitators.

V 87. 4. The Review of the Community Report by the Council of Seniors. Before the general distribution of the report to the community, the visitators distribute it to the members of the council of seniors. The visitators then meet with the council of seniors to discuss the report and to receive their comments. The seniors may suggest changes in the report, but the final determination is up to the visitators.

V 88. 5. The Distribution of the Community Report. The written report to the community should be distributed in sufficient time for the monks living at the monastery to study it prior to the community meeting with the visitators. At the close of the visitation, it is the responsibility of the visitation committee or of the abbot to see that copies of the report are sent to all professed monks living away from the monastery.

V 89. 6. The Community Meeting. For the closing of the visitation, the visitators meet with the community to discuss the report. Small group discussions of the report may be arranged prior to the meeting of the whole community. At the community meeting it may be helpful for members of the council of seniors or of the visitation committee to be prepared with questions or statements to initiate the discussion. Normally the visitators should not read the report to the community, since it is assumed that the members have already studied it. The meeting should close with prayer (see Appendix 2).


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