GENERAL (Lat. generalis, general, belonging to a race, from genus, family, from gignere, to beget). A military rank and title denot ing an officer holding a general command, or a rank and grade equivalent thereto. In modern armies, practically every officer commanding an organization of troops larger than a regiment is a general officer. In the United States, the rank has the following grades: brigadier-general, major-general, and one lieutenant-general in su preme active command of the army as a Officers of other ranks are sometimes given the temporary and relative rank of general, as in spector-general, judge advocate-general, quarter master-general, etc. In European armies the rank of general is a step higher than that of lieuten ant-general, and is the next in importance to field-marshal in England, and to marshal in the armies of Continental Europe. See RANK AND COMMAND.
The title is also applied in the Roman Catholic Church to the superior head, under the Pope, of a religious order. The governing authorities of the monastic orders may be arranged in three classes: (1) The superiors of individual con vents or communities, called in different orders by the various names of abbot, prior, rector, guard ian, etc.; (2) the provincials, who have authority over all the convents of an entire province, the provinces, in the monastic sense of the word, being usually coincident as to local limits with the several kingdoms in which the order is estab lished; (3) the general, to whom not only each member of the order, but all the various officials of every rank, are absolutely subject. The gen
eral is usually elected by the general chapter of the order, which, in the majority of orders, con sists properly of the provincials; with whom. however, are commonly associated the heads of the more important monasteries, as also the superiors of certain subdivisions of The office of general in most orders is held for three years. In that of the Jesuits it is for life: but in all, the election of the general chanter must; be confirmed by the Pope. In most orders, too, there is assigned to the general a consultor (admonitor) or associate (socius), who, how ever, is only entitled to advise, and has no author ity to control the superior. The general also is supposed to consult with and to receive reports from the various local superiors. lie sends, it necessary, a visitor to inquire into particular abuses, or to report upon such controversies as may arise, and he holds a general chapter of the order at stated times, which differ according to the usage of the several orders. The general is exempt from episcopal jurisdiction, being sub ject to the immediate jurisdiction of the Pope himself. lie resides in Rome, where he enjoys certain privileges, the most important of which is the right to sit and vote with the bishops in a general council of the Church.