Having been at the margins of ecumenical councils and deliberative assemblies
for more than a half century, I have found reason to respect pope after pope, council after council, committee after committee for all that they have achieved since 1958.
But potential problems in authorization and in nonresponsiveness to sanctions ought to make us wary for a while of anything other than an advisory role for deliberative assemblies
drawn by lot.
A good case can be made for Robert's Rules; a system which evolved out of America's revolutionary experiment in directly democratic deliberative assemblies
by town meetings and voluntary associations.
Especially since the 1960s, conferences have had less the character of deliberative assemblies
and more the character of mass celebrations.
General Henry M Robert, original author of Robert's Rules, said it well: "Ignorance of the rules and customs of deliberative assemblies
is a heavy handicap to anyone who expects to influence the policy of a society.
The book was Pocket Manual of Rules of Order for Deliberative Assemblies
; the author was Henry M.
Furthermore, to refuse to debate a matter owing to an initial lack of consensus seems to run counter to the very reason why deliberative assemblies