The Redaction Committee, consisting of Father Filippo Astori, Father Juan Marì Peirò and myself, has been working night and day over the weekend to produce a document which summarises the first week of the Chapter, our various discussion in the Chapter Hall and in the small groups, and the directions in which we might consider going. Fortunately the Moderator, Father Ward, said that we should present it tomorrow (Wednesday); I say fortunately because it was only finished this morning and then it had to go to the translators for Italian and Spanish versions. People have been waiting for the text, which they will receive tomorrow when we give a verbal presentation of the content, backed up by a Powerpoint slideshow which is being done by Father Massimo. This text of about nine or ten pages (depending on the language) represents a synthesis of the reports on five sessions of each of the ten groups plus the records of five general sessions in the Chapter Hall, a total of fifty five documents, some of which were written in English, others in Italian, and others in Spanish. I’m quite relieved that we have finished with this stage of the Redaction Committee’s work. (This has been why there have been no photographs over the past few days, my attention was elsewhere.)
In the small groups this morning, discussion on restructuring continued in regional groups, while in the afternoon, the Moderator introduced the second of the three objectives on the Chapter agenda, which is about planning and cooperation between provinces within a given region. After much discussion, the Assembly sent the text back to the Central Coordinating Committee for re-drafting as they felt that it did not take sufficient account of the progress which has already been made in this area. The General Chapter in session has supreme authority and today was one of those days when, very politely and very nicely, it decided to use it. However, it all worked out well as the General, who is the President of the Chapter, suggested that we should skip the fourth session to allow the CCC to work on the new draft; this gave us an extra hour and a half free, which I certainly appreciated, as I had been working on the Redaction Committee material until the early hours of this morning.
BTW, Brother Martin Denny, who is a Brother Delegate for Northern Europe and is from the same province as myself, mentioned to me that from the Chapter Hall, which is in the sub-basement of the Curia section of the building (but which, because of the Caelian Hill, opens out onto the gardens at ground level), to his room on the second floor of what is called the Casa, which is the oldest part of the monastery, there are ninety-nine steps. As I am on the floor above, I counted the extra ones and discovered that there are a total of one hundred and twenty-six steps from the Chapter Hall to my room. There are two lifts (elevators) in the building but they seem to be only for heavy packages, elderly religious and wimps, so I am getting plenty of exercise without leaving the building. When I was chaplain at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, there was a poster on the staircases telling you that going up the Infirmary’s stairs so many times was the equivalent of climbing a certain number of Munros (= Scottish mountains over 3,000 feet). I hope to have conquered Ben Nevis before the end of the Chapter.