From a Special Correspondent
• A General Congregation of the Society of Jesus has been called for December I, 1974, it was announced in Rome last week by Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J.. the Superior-General of the Jesuits, to discuss the "very difficult matters pertaining to the good of the whole 'society."
Rome observers said they believed the "difficult matters" for discussion would be the serious crisis of vocations which has led the Jesuits, like the Church as a whole, to lose hundreds of priests; the conflict between progressive and conservative forces, and indiscipline by local Jesuits refusing to obey central directives.
Fr. Arrupe said in his letter announcing the meeting that in the seven years since the last Congregation — the 31st in the society's history — changes in the world and the Church had been so great that the present state of the Order must be submitted to "deep, realistic and open consideration."
He picked out two vital topics which must be dealt with by the Congregation — the Order's vow of poverty and its unity.
He said the vow of poverty had suffered a variety of deviations and abuses in the new circumstances of human society. The vow requires Jesuits to give all money they receive, above that needed for modest personal needs, to the Order — but apparently not all Jesuits observe it.
About 240 delegates from 80 countries will attend the Congregation, which numbers 30,000 throughout the world.
Ordinarily a General Congregation is convoked only upon the death of a SuperiorGeneral to elect his successor. This is the seventh to be convoked for extraordinary reasons since the establishment of the Order in 1540.
The problem of religious poverty in the Jesuits concerns the life-style both of individual Jesuits and of Jesuit communities and the sharing of material means among different houses and regions of the Society of Jesus.
The problem of unity concerns differences of opinion over changes ushered in or oc casioned by the Second Vatican Council.
A press report that Fr. Arrupe has determined to offer his resignation has been dismissed by one of his top aides.
Fr. Louis Laurendeau, secretary general of the society, said: "The statement is entirely without foundation. Fr. Arrupe has never made any declaration on this point whatsoever."
Fr. Laurendeau said speculation on the resignation of prominent Church officials "is common and perhaps inevitable," adding that various newspapers had speculated in a vague way that Fr. Arrupe might resign. "But so far as I know," he said, "no such positive assertion as that found in an article of II Tempo has appeared before."
The September 5 issue of the Right-wing Rome daily had stated without qualification that Fr. Arrupe had decided to hand in his resignation at next year's Congregation.
A report circulating in Rome says that a small group of respected Jesuits have stated that they will petition the Holy Sec for Fr. Arrupe's removal unless he moves to correct what they regard as abuses.