A. Introduction

1.  Finance is a dimension of everyday missionary life: a sign of the providence of God, a tool for growing in brotherhood and to bear witness to total dedication to mission. Whatever we own and the way in which we use it also reflect on what we proclaim.

2.  The RL affirms that: “Whatever is acquired or given should be used for evangelisation for the work of animation and for the preparat­ion and support of missionaries” (RL 30).

3.  The Comboni Institute is a community of brothers and all its financial goods “form a unique collective patrimony that belongs to the Institute itself” (RL 163).

B. Working Premises

4.  The principal dimensions that we wish to promote are: brotherly sharing through the TCF, a simple style of life and the  responsible and transparent administration of resources in order to serve the mission and the poorest.

C. Planning Guidelines and Action Plan

Total Common Fund

5.  To promote the sharing of life, goods and missionary work.

5.1  In the long term the TCF should be promoted in all Circumscriptions before the next Chapter and this should be codified in the General Direc­tory of Finance.

5.2  In the medium term all the Circumscriptions, over the next three years, should take the steps necessary to permit the adoption of the TCF: the presentation of the community budget, the distribution of the supe­ravit, accountability to the finance secretariat of the Circumscription, the approval of community projects, etc. The Interca­pitular of 2012 should evaluate the progress made and promote the adoption of the TCF in all Circumscriptions in the subsequent three years.

5.3  In the short term and as part of the action plan, the GSF should establish general norms such that the TCF might include every activity in the budget of the Circumscription: projects, sector, pastoral and community activity and expenses.

6.  Identity

6.1  The TCF is a sign and journey of growth in community life towards a full identification with the Institute and its mission.

6.2  Every confrere should feel responsible for developing and maintaining relations with the church community, benefactors, other bodies and realities that can provide the resources necessary for the life of the Circumscription and community.

7.  Brotherhood and planning.

7.1  The practice of the TCF, as well as requiring discernment at the community and Circumscription levels, helps the confreres to plan mission, in this way avoiding the shocks and surprises that can result from rotation.

7.2  Through the TCF the Circumscription assumes as it own the activities of evangelization; all the members receive complete information about the activities of the other communities in a spirit of common responsibility.

Simple style of life

8.  To promote a revision of our style of life as an evangelical testimony.

8.1  In the long term to make our structures simpler and more sustainable.

8.2  In the medium term:

a. Every circumscription in the next six years should make an assessment of the economic value, function and use of our various structures.

b. The General Secretary of Formation is to initiate a reflection with the formators, the young men in formation and PCs, in order to establish common criteria regarding the style of life in houses of formation, respecting local contexts.

c. The Comboni Missionary should make himself responsible for the accountability of everything he administers.

9.  In view of an education to sobriety and the wise use of technology and resources, the need for self-control in the use of material goods is repeated (cf. CA 2003, 103; RL 164). The norms already codified, and others besides, are no substitute for the responsibility of each individual confrere.

10.  Many properties linked to the near or distant past of the Institute seem to no longer fulfil the function for which they were originally acquired and now constitute a heavy burden on the sustainability of some circumscriptions. Therefore a proper assessment of the current use of these structures, their costs and their impact on the quality of our witness should be conducted.

11.  The local Church should always be involved in the works and initiatives promoted in its favour, participating responsibly in the planning, completion, financing and evaluation of pastoral and development projects.

11.1  The accounts of the Comboni community should be kept apart from those of the parish/diocese or other activity.

12.  During formation, Circumscription bursars or other confreres suitably prepared should offer themselves to give short courses in community accountancy and the raising of funds according to the system and norms current in the Circumscription.

12.1  Every Circumscription should ensure that in every six-year period one or two confreres attend a formative course in administration and/or finance.

12.2  The GC in the next six years should choose two young confreres to attend a university course in economy and development.

13.  Every Circumscription should update its Directory according to the directives of the Code of Conduct and based on its circumstances study the possibility of having auditors to check the books of the Circumscription by the end of each year.

14.  The guideline of not investing offerings received for the mission is confirmed. The Circumscription Directory should fix the limi­t of the active capital at its disposal. The PC in consultation with the GC and in solida­rity with other Circumscriptions should decide on the di­stribution or extraordinary destinatio­n of the superavit.

14.1  If the PC considers it opportune to set up a reserve fund greater than the limits imposed for extraordinary expenses by the Chapter, it should ask approval from the GC, informing it of the motivatio­ns, the amount put into it and its norms of administration.

15.  The criterion indicated by the 1997 Chapter for the definition of the ceiling of the net assets of the General Administration remains the equivalent of two year’s ordinary expenditure (CA 1997, 193). While this decision is reconfirmed, the GC is mandated to use for the benefit of the whole Institute and for future emergencies whatever funds it has beyond this limit.

16.  The Chapter establishes for the next six years the limits of extraordinary expenditure (A) and those for incurring debt or the alienation of property (B) as indicated by the RL 170 (see the table of the “Limits for extraordinary expenditure”).


17.  To promote the use of local resources.

17.1  In the long term in all Circumscriptions a reflection and research is to be promoted on the economic and financial resources to be found locally, studying the possibility of some self-sustaining projects.

17.2  In the medium term ini­tiatives of MA also aimed at supporting the mission should be extended to all Circumscriptions. We should work towards a self-sufficient local Church able to contribute to the daily running of the mission.

17.3  The community lives on the offerings of the people of God and the work of the missionaries and the community; other income may come from investments “always safeguarding the witness of evangelical poverty” (RL 167).

17.4  MA, as well as being a way to conscientise and make a universal sense of solidarity grow in the local Church, is also the ordinary means to sustain our mission.

18.  In contracts with the dioceses an adequate contribution for the confreres who offer a pastoral service should be foreseen.

18.1  The expenses of running a diocesan project or undertaking should not fall on the community where it takes place. It would be op­portune, therefore, to expect at least minimal remuneratio­n for the confrere who is responsible for it.

19.  An investment is ethical when it does not offer payment to speculative schemes that go against the work of evangelization and the promotion of justice. Thus, investments that promote social responsibility are encouraged.

19.1  Offerings received and temporarily unused may be invested, though with extreme prudence, with the objective of maintaining their value and gaining a reasonable profit for the mis­sion.

19.2  The General and Circumscription treasurers must be helped by an internal secretariat and experts of good reputation and transparency as regards the handling of investm­ents. These consultants should not work on their own behalf but should be linked to solid financial institutions that agree to checks being made on them at any time.

19.3  Emergency funds must be used at the times pre-established and may not be the object of investment by the Circumscription.

20.  Every Circumscription or continent should study the via­bility of opening a community to look after the elderly and infirm. Where this happens, the General Fund for the Sick will guarantee the reimbursement of medical expenses, while the daily expenses for upkeep will remain the responsibility of the Circumscriptions and continent (CA 1997, 185-187).

21.  Every Circumscription should ensure that the confreres are registered for local pensions wherever this option pertains.

21.1  The General Secretariat of Finance with the interested Circumscriptions should study the possibility of starting up a fund for social security within the Institute, at least partially, to assist those Circumscriptions with disadvantaged confreres because of gaps in the public health system or local insurance.