The World Christian Life Community is governed by the General Assembly, which sets standards and policy, and by the Executive Council, which is responsible for their day-to-day application (GP13). Here are a few explanations of how this works.
The General Assembly
The General Assembly, commonly known as the World Assembly, is “the supreme governing body of CLC. It is made up of the Executive Council and the delegation from each national community. Its missions are to:
- Approve the moral and financial report for the period since the previous General Assembly.
- Define the policy and guidelines to be followed until the next General Assembly.
- Decide on financial policy.
- Decide whether or not to adopt proposed amendments to the General Principles or General Norms.
- Confirm the establishment of new national communities.
- Elect the World Executive Council for the period up to the next Assembly.
The World Executive Council
The World Executive Council is responsible for the ordinary government of the Community. Its mission is to:
- Promote the implementation of the General Principles and Norms
- Implement the policies and decisions of the General Assembly
- Support national communities, encourage them to help and collaborate with each other, and promote their active participation in the worldwide mission of CLC.
- Represent CLC in international cooperation activities wherever appropriate. Our representatives to these international institutions participate in General Assemblies or are represented by their national communities
- Promote the practical application of the teachings of the Church, especially those of the Second Vatican Council and its subsequent developments
- Encourage national, regional and local communities to share their documentation, experience, material and human resources more widely – among themselves and with the world community.
- Promote and encourage specific projects
- Encourage and take the necessary initiatives to accomplish these tasks.
It is composed of :
- 7 elected members: the President, the Vice-President, and five advisors, all elected by the General Meeting for a period of five years;
- 3 appointed members: the Ecclesiastical Assistant, the Vice-Ecclesiastical Assistant and the Executive Secretary;
- and a maximum of 2 co-opted members.
The outgoing World Executive Council (2018-2023)
The current World Executive Council, elected in 2018 in Buenos Aires and whose term of office ends in Amiens, is made up of the following people:
1st row, left to right: Daphne Ho (Hong-Kong), Daniela Ochoa (Colombia), Catherine Waiyaki (Kenya), Najat Sayegh (Lebanon), Ann Marie Brennan (USA)
2nd row, left to right: Denis Dobbelstein (Belgium), James O´Brien (Australia), Fr. José de Pablo sj (Spain), Diego Pereira (Uruguay), Manuel Martínez (Uruguay)
The missions of assembly delegates: rereading, discerning and voting
The World Assembly takes place behind closed doors. It enables delegates to identify the movements that are running through the world Community today, and to look to the future. Each national community sends three to five delegates, depending on the number of companions it comprises. The National Assistant is one of these delegates.
All delegates present take part in the discussions and deliberations. However, only member countries have voting rights. Each national community has one vote, regardless of the number of delegates in the delegation. The World Executive Council has one vote in the person of the President. Observer countries do not vote. Decisions are taken in a spirit of discernment, by majority vote, ensuring that the quorum (at least 50% of the national communities present at the Assembly) is respected.
All participants will have ten days to get to know each other and cross their views to better understand each other. They will draw on the richness of their different languages and cultures, but also on their unity in the Spirit and in the spiritual charism that binds them together. This discernment is an intercultural challenge, and Ignatian tools will be a precious help.
The Assembly will result in the expression of CLC orientations for the next five years, and the election of a new World Executive Council whose task will be to deploy and coordinate these orientations on a global scale.
During the voting at the end of the Assembly, an electoral commission will be appointed to ensure the smooth running of the various ballots, so that the election takes place in a spirit of prayer and discernment. The commission will ensure that voting is conducted in accordance with the rules, so that votes are correctly cast. The election of World Executive Council members follows an established procedure, guaranteed by this committee. Each member of the World Executive Council is elected individually by an absolute majority. The first ballot is for the position of President.
Running for the World Executive Committee: how and why?
Being elected to the World Executive Committee is the result of a process that is very precisely defined by the norms, and commits each of the members. To stand for election is to learn to meditate on how to reorganise all aspects of your life if you are elected (Spiritual Exercises 21). It’s not a question of adding an extra task to your many personal activities, but of adapting your life to this call from the Lord (Spiritual Exercises 189).
The members of the Executive Council are expected to respond in a spirit of love and to be generous in their commitment. In practical terms, the Committee meets at least once a year and keeps all the national communities informed of its activities. Its mission is to implement the policies and decisions taken at the General Assembly, in line with the general norms and charism of CLC. The Committee supports the national communities in their projects, encourages them to help and collaborate with each other, and ensures that CLC is represented in international cooperation activities wherever appropriate. The team encourages and takes the necessary initiatives to accomplish these tasks. At meetings, decisions are taken in a spirit of discernment by a majority of votes, with a quorum of 5 members.
Members are elected through a well-established process. At least one year before the date of the World General Assembly, each national community that is a member of the World Community may call on companions to stand for election to one of the positions on the Executive Committee. These persons may be called by a national community other than their own. Each national community informs the Committee of its choices, and the world secretariat then contacts the persons called to ask them whether or not they agree to stand as candidates. A period of personal discernment then begins. The future candidates present themselves in writing and their presentations are sent to all the national communities so that they can begin their discernment before the actual elections. This year, of all the companions called, two are candidates for the presidency, five for the vice-presidency, and twenty-five for a consultancy position.