Exiit qui seminat
EXIIT QUI SEMINAT
Pope Nicholas III
Translated from the Latin text transcribed from the Registers of Nicholas III, p. 232-241, #564
[Wherein] every doubt concerning the rule of the friars Minor [is] defined, and others already defined by his predecessors are set forth more seriously and clearly. (Folio 184; year II, number 156; Potthast 21628)
The constitution made by the lord Pope Nicholas III on the confirmation of the rule of the friars Minor.
Nicholas Bishop servant of the servants of God. For an everlasting memorial. Soriano, Italy: August 14, 1279 A.D.
He who sows went forth from the bosom of the Father into the world to sow His own seed, clothed with the garment of humanity, namely, the Son of God Jesus Christ, to sow the evangelical word among the approved and reprobate, the foolish and the learned, the studious and the slothful, and according to the prophets to be the farmer on earth who would disperse His own seed, the evangelical doctrine, without destruction, among all [men], who drawing all things to Himself had come to save each [of them], who afterwards for the salvation of all [men] immolated His very self to God the Father as the price of human redemption. However He allowed this seed to fall among individuals by the communicative charity of God, not so other [seed which He let fall] dispersed upon in the road namely upon hearts accessible to the suggestions of the demons, [and still] other [seed which He let fall] among thorns namely upon hearts lacerated by the solicitude for riches, and therefore one was trampled by depraved affections, the other by aridity, since it was lacking in the humor of grace, the rest, suffocated by inordinate solicitudes, was overgrown, but good ground received the other [seed] meek and docile in heart.
The Religion of the Friars Minor is founded upon the Gospel and strengthened by the teaching and life of Christ and His Apostles
2. This is the meek and docile religion of the friars Minor, rooted in poverty and humility by the gracious confessor of Christ, Francis, which sprouting the sprout from the true seed strew the same by [means of] the rule among his sons, whom he generated to be his own and God's through his ministry in the observance of the Gospel. These very ones are the sons, who by the teaching of Jacob have received the eternal Word, the Son of God, sown by human nature in the garden of the virginal womb [and] powerful to save souls in meekness. These are those professors of the holy rule, which is founded on the evangelical discourse, strengthened by the example of the life of Christ, and made firm by the sermons and deeds of His Apostles, the founders of the Church militant. This is in the sight of [our] God and Father [that] clean and immaculate religion, which descending from the Father of lights through His Son having been handed on to the Apostles verbally and by exemplar, and at last through the Holy Spirit to blessed Francis, and having inspired those following him, contains entirely in itself a quasi testimony of the Trinity. This is that, to which with Paul attesting no one for the sake of [anything] else ought to be molested, which Christ confirmed by the stigmata of His passion, willing [as He did] to notably mark with the sign of His very own passion the institutor [of the said religion].
God, the Pope, and the Church have approved their way of life.
3. But the craftiness of the ancient foe has not on that account ceased against the friars Minor themselves and against [their] rule: indeed shining more powerfully against them to sow cockle among them he has meanwhile stirred up rivals agitated by envy, anger and indiscreet justice to harass the friars, and with the barking of a dog to lacerate their rule as illicit, unobservable and divisive, not attending [as they do] to this holy rule, as has been said before to have been instituted with salutary precepts and admonitions, strengthened by apostolic remarks, confirmed by the Apostolic See, fortified by so many divine testimonies, which has been made exceedingly credible in so many holy men living and ending their days in the observance of this kind of rule, of whom not a few this same See has made to be inscribed in the album of the Saints on account of their life and miracles, and which in almost these last days themselves by [means of] Our predecessor Pope Gregory X of pious memory has been approved on account of it evident utility, [and] to which, after it was declared in the general council of Lyon, the universal Church on Her own has adhered.
God providence protects the Order
4. Nor have We been less attentive, indeed We have pondered [this] more profoundly, just as the rest of those who profess the Catholic faith should more subtly think [about it], because God Himself looking upon the aforesaid order and the observers of it has thus preserved them with salutary protection from the rancor rising up against them, because the tempestuous wave neither smashed them nor did it terrify the souls of those living in the order itself, rather do they grow more ably in the vigor of regularity and they are increased in the observance of their norms. But however so that the aforesaid order pure and separate from whatever things that would break it up into pieces may flourish with brightness, just as the friars of the same order gathered in general chapter recently provided, after Our beloved sons the ministers general and not a few other provincial of the same order, who convened in the same chapter, have stood together in Our presence, since their intention for a complete remark regarding the same rule is fervently known from the vigor of their spirit; it has seemed to Us [right] to close off the ways of attack to attacks of this kind, to declare other doubts which could appear in the same rule, to scatter with fuller clarity not a few things declared even by Our predecessors, [and] to provide even in other things touching the rule itself for the [sake of] the purity of their consciences.
My personal knowledge of the Rule and the Intention of its Author
5. Likewise We, who from tender years have aroused our affection for the order itself, growing up in that time have discussed in frequent collations with some of the same confessor's companions, to whom his life and conversation were known, the very rule and holy intention of blessed Francis himself; and later as a cardinal and shortly afterwards by [choice of] the same See, the order's governor, protector, and corrector, We have handled the actual conditions of the aforesaid order on account of Our imminent concern; driven to keep Ourselves informed in the duty of the apostolate as much concerning the pious intention of the aforesaid confessor as concerns those things which the rule itself and its observance contain, on account of the aforesaid things and even from long experience We had recourse to the aforesaid order [itself]; and no less those things, which by Our same predecessors are known to have been approved and declared, than even the rule itself and its contingents, which We with full maturity have discussed, in the sequence [of this] present [document] We have established, declared, [and] approved more certainly, [and] We have strengthened, described and conceded those things which have been approved, and even others, by arranging [them] more clearly and in order, which are expressed more fully in the following articles.
Obligation of the Rule in General
6. In the first place since, as We understand, it is hesitated by some whether the friars of this order are bound as much to the counsels as to the precepts of the Gospel, not only since in the beginning of the aforesaid rule is found: "The rule and life of the friars Minor is this, namely, to observe the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ by living in obedience, without [anything of] one's own and in chastity," but also from that which is contained in the same rule as: "With the year of probation truly ended let them be received to obedience promising to observe this [very same] life and rule," and even also since in the conclusion of the rule itself are contained these words: "That we may observe, as we have firmly promised, the poverty and humility and the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ." It was right that Our predecessor, Pope Gregory IX, of happy memory, declared this article and not a few others of the same rule, but since His declaration on account of the biting insults of others rising against the friars and [their] rule, and afterwards by considering the occurrence of many emerging cases, seemed obscure in some things, incomplete in others, and even insufficient regarding many things contained in the rule itself: We, willing to remove obscurity and insufficiency of this kind by a perfect declaration of interpretation and to prune the scruple of whatever ambiguity regarding the same things from the minds of individuals by the certitude of a fuller exposition, say that since in the beginning of the rule not absolutely but with a certain modification or determination or specification is placed: "The rule and life of the friars Minor is this, namely, to observe the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ by living in obedience, without [anything of] one's own and in chastity," which three follows the same rule with much art and nonetheless subjoining not a few others by precepting, prohibiting, counseling, warning, and exhorting, and under [the form of] other words reducible to something of the manner of precepts, it should be established more clearly concerning the intention of the rule so that that which seems to be subjoined almost absolutely in profession: "promising always to observe this very same life and rule:" might be entirely reduced to the principle (modified, determined, or specified) of this rule, namely, to the observance of the Gospel, as has been said, by this same rule, modified or determined or specified in these three [vows]; since it can not have the likeness of the truth that the same holy word came forth from him (Francis) and at the same time with a certain modification or determination or specification; as if it is right that he wanted it repeated, in the repetition he himself made, somewhat succinctly by omitting modification or determination or specification without certain cause, and as the arguments of both [civil and canon] law teach Us, the things which [are] in the beginning [of the rule], refer to the middle and to the end; indeed those things which [are] in the middle [are] often refer to the end and to the beginning, and the things which [are] at the end [likewise refer] to one or to other of them. And given that it might be absolutely declared that in [its] entirety: "I promise to observe the Holy Gospel," unless the professor of this kind intended to oblige himself to the observance of all the counsels, which hardly or never could he observe to the letter; on account of which such a promise would seem to ensnare the soul of the one who professes, clearly it would seem that a promise of this kind should not be binding to any conscience without the intention of the one promising, unless the observance of the Gospel be [understood] as the teaching explained by Christ, namely that the precepts be observed by the ones promising as precepts and the counsels as counsels. It is patently clear that blessed Francis had the same understanding even regarding the same words in the arrangement of his proceeding; since he indicates some Evangelical counsels as counsels with words of admonition, exhortation and counsel, truly not a few with prohibition and a word of precept: by which it is clear that it was not the intention of the one speaking, that the friars from the profession of this kind of rule would be held bound to all the counsels as to Evangelical precepts; but only as to those counsels, which are expressed in the same rule as precepts or prohibitions or under words equipollent words. Whence for the quieting of the consciences of the friars of this same order We declare that from the profession of this same rule the friars themselves are bound to observe those things as Evangelical counsels which are expressed in the rule itself as precepts or prohibitions or under equipollent words. Indeed to not a few other counsels given by the Gospel are they more greatly bound, according to the exigencies of their state, than are the rest of Christians, since by the state of perfection, which they have assumed by a profession of this kind, they have offered themselves as a holocaust of the heart to the Lord by [their] contempt of all mundane things. But to all things which are contained in the rule, whether precepts or counsels or other things, they are not otherwise bound by a vow of this kind of profession except in that manner, in which they are treated in the rule itself, so that they are bound to the observance of the things, namely, which are indicated in the same rule under obligatory words: indeed to pursue the observance of other things, which are contained under words admonishing, exhorting, informing and instructing, or in whatever way otherwise, is so much more fitting on account of its goodness and equity, by which the imitators of so great a Father choose the stricter paths of imitating of Christ.
The Poverty obliged by the Rule was taught and lived by Our Lord and His Apostles
7. Moreover since the rule itself expressly contains that the friars may appropriate nothing to themselves neither house nor place nor any thing, and [thus] has it been declared by the same predecessor, Pope Gregory IX, and by not a few others, that this ought to be observed not only individually but also in common, which so strict an abdication insensate cleverness has distorted with livid detractions, lest the clarity of the perfection of the same friars wound with unskillful sermons of such ones, We say that the abdication of this kind of property over all things not only individually but also in common is in the sight of God meritorious and holy, which Christ showing the way to perfection both taught by word and strengthened by example, and which the first founders of the Church militant, just as [streams which] had grown from the spring itself, in willing to live perfectly diverted along their own stream-beds of doctrine and life, nor did anyone think to withstand them because sometimes it is said that Christ had a purse; for so Christ Himself, whose works are perfect, in His acts walked the way of perfection, because sometimes condescending to the imperfections of the infirm yet He would [still] extol the way of perfection, and He would not damn the infirm paths of the imperfect; so Christ received the person of the infirm in [receiving] a purse, and thus assuming in not a few other things an weak human nature, just as is testified by the Evangelical narrative, He condescended to the infirm not only in the flesh but also in the mind, for He so assumed human nature that being perfect in His works [and] made humble according to our [state], He remained exalted in His own. And thus by the highest dignity of charity one, who does not turn away from the highest rectitude of perfection, is drawn to certain acts conformable to our imperfection. For thus did Christ act and teach the works of perfection, He acted even as one weak, just as is sometimes patent by [His] flight and [His] purse; but being perfectly perfect in both so that He might show Himself to perfect and imperfect as the way of salvation, that He had come to save both, and that in turn He willed to die for [the sake] of both.
This Form of Poverty will always be viable in the Church of Christ
8. Nor may anyone on account of these things erroneously assert that those who abdicate property [over] all things according to God in such a manner, bring about their own homicide or make themselves into tempters of the living God: for thus they entrust themselves to Divine providence in living so as not to contemn the way of human provisions, but rather they sustain ]themselves] both on these things which are offered freely or on those which are begged humbly or on those which are acquired by laboring; which is the threefold means of living provided for expressly in the rule. Indeed since according to the promise of the Savior that the faith of the Church will never fail, as a consequence neither will the works of mercy be taken from Her, on account of which every reason for whatever diffidence seems to be taken from the poor of Christ. And indeed where (which is not to be presumed to any degree) these things might entirely fail, just as the way of providing for the sustenance of nature, conceded by the law of heaven in a case of extreme necessity to all those bound by extreme necessity, may not be shut up either for others nor for the friars themselves, since one is to be excused from every [positive] law on account of extreme necessity. But such an abdication of property this does not seem to lead to a renunciation of the use of things in every case for anyone; for since in temporal things is to be considered the particular property, possession, usufruct, jus utendi and simple usus facti, and lastly as much as driven by necessity, the life of mortals may be able, it is lawful to lack these things, in short there can be no profession, which excludes the necessary use for sustenance of himself, truly was he condescending by this profession, by which he has vowed on his own to follow the poor Christ in such poverty, abdicating the dominion of all things and being content with the necessary use of those things conceded to himself.
The Rule obliges the abdication of the jus domini and the retention of the usus facti.
9. Nor by this, that one seems to have abdicated the property, use, and dominion of whatever thing, is one to be conjectured to have renounced the simple use of everything, who says not the usus juris but the usus facti in as much as having the name of "facti" it offers however in the using no right to those [so] using, nay even of necessary things as much as for the sustenance of life as for the execution of the duties of one's state, except that which is subjoined below regarding money, the moderate use according to their rule and all truth has been conceded to the friars; which things the friars can licitly use, during the license of the one conceding [them], and according to that which is contained in the present arrangement [of this document]. Nor is it discerned to resist these things that in human things civil providence humanely prevails, namely that it is not possible for use or usufruct to be separated from perpetual dominion; and lest the dominion of the owner always be rendered useless by surrendering its use, the one providing these things [should have] declared in [the act of] bestowing [them] only a temporary use. Since the retention of the dominion of such things, when by concession [their] use has been granted to the poor, is not unprofitable to the owner since it is meritorious for eternity and opportune to the profession of the poor, which as much as it is judged more useful for himself, so much more that he exchange temporal for eternal things. Next [whether or not] this was the intention of the confessor of Christ in instituting the rule; nay rather he wrote the contrary in it, he observed the contrary in living [it]; since even he himself was for the necessity of using temporal things and manifests in many places in the rule that such a use is lawful for the friars: for he says in the rule that the clerics should recite the divine office, for which the can have breviaries: from this insinuating openly, that the friars would be having the use of [those] breviaries and books, which might be opportune for the [recitation] of the divine office; also in another chapter it is said that the ministers and custodes for the necessities of the infirm and for the clothing of the other friars may conduct a solicitous care by [means of] spiritual friends according to places and seasons and cold regions, as might seem to them to expedite necessity; even in another [place] exhorting the friars to avoid idleness by means of a fitting exercise of labor, he says, that they may receive for themselves and for their brothers [those things] necessary for the body as the wage for [their] labor; also in another chapter there is contained that the friars may go about confidently for alms. Even in the same rule it is had that in the preaching, which the friars do, their speech be examined and chaste for the utility and edification of the people by announcing to them vices and virtues, punishment and glory. But this proves that this supposes science; science requires study, the exercise of study truly cannot be normally had without the use of books: from which it is sufficiently clear to all [men] that from the rule the use of [those things] necessary for food, clothing, the divine worship and study of wisdom have been conceded to the friars.
This is an observable, possible, licit, meritorious, and perfect form of evangelical poverty.
10. And so it is reasonably patent to intelligent men from the aforesaid things that the rule [is], as regards an abdication of this kind, not only observable, possible, and licit, but meritorious and perfect; and more meritorious since by it the professors of the same are distanced greatly from temporal things for the sake of God, as has been said. According to these things, since the friars themselves are to acquire or be given nothing for themselves in particular, the intention of the one conceding [them] is believed to have been truly likewise, even if it was not expressed by the one offering, so that he entirely concedes, bestows and offers, abdicates from himself, and desires to transfer to others according to God the thing of this kind which is offered, conceded or bestowed; nor is there a person, to which in the place of God the dominion of a thing of this kind is fittingly transferred, other than the aforementioned See or person of the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ, who is the Father of all and nonetheless the special Father of the friars Minor, lest the dominion of such things seem to be uncertain, they may acquire the things offered, conceded or bestowed on themselves, just as a son for [his] father in his own way, the servant for [his] lord, and the monk for [his] monastery; the property and dominion, of every utensil and book, and of those moveable things present and future, which and of which it is lawful for the order, or for the friars themselves to have the usus facti, because it was also judged to have been made by Our predecessor, Pope Innocent IV, of happy memory, We, by [Our] apostolic authority, receive as Our own and that of the Roman Church, and sanction to fully and freely pertain to Ourselves and the same Church by this present Constitution being valid in perpetuity.
Let the Friars beware of transgressing this obligation even in appearances.
11. Besides places purchased with various alms and offered or conceded to the friars under whatever form of words, it is right that the friars should beware of themselves that in words of this kind there not be used by other persons [formulas] incompatible with their own state, whether by the possessors in common or by those holding certain parts of the same place in which those possessing in common, or those holding certain parts might keep nothing for themselves in an offering or concession of this kind; similarly under Our law and dominion and property and by the authority of the same aforesaid Church We receive [all such places]. Truly let them inhabit places or houses, conceded in their entirety or even offered by an individual or a college, if it might happen that the friars inhabit such [places] by the will of the one conferring [them], as shelter for the friars for as long as the will of the one conferring [them] perdures; and that freely besides the church and oratories attached to the church and the cemetery, which as much now and future under Our law and property and in a similar manner that of the aforesaid Roman church and under Our authority We receive, [but] after a change in the will of the one conceding [the place(s)] and when this becomes known to the friars themselves let them abandon them. Of which places We retain completely nothing under Our dominion or property or under that of the aforementioned Roman church, except those things specially received by Our assent or by that of the same Roman church; and if in these same places the one conceding might reserve the dominion in [the act of] conceding them for the sake of sheltering the friars, such dominion does not pass under the law of the oft-quoted Church, but rather remains fully free for the one conceding.
The Rule obliges the usus pauper.
12. Moreover they should have neither utensils nor other things, the use of which [is had] from necessity and for the execution of the duties of their state [in life], nor indeed the use of all things, as has been said, to any [degree of] superfluity, riches, or abundance, which would derogate poverty such as either a treasuring up [of such things] or by such a spirit so that they might alienate [such things], or sell [them], receive [them], either under the appearance of providing for the future or by other occasions; nay even let [their] abdication of all kinds of dominion and the necessity in [their] use [of things] appear in all things [pertaining] to them. Let the ministers and custodes together and individually in their administrations and custodies dispose of these also with discretion according to the exigency of persons and places, since concerning such things sometimes the quality of persons, the variety of seasons, the condition of places and not a few other circumstances more or less or otherwise require to be provided for. Let them do those things however so that holy poverty may always shine forth in them and in their deeds, just as it is appointed them [to do] from their rule.
The Rule obliges the non-use of money. How this is to be observed.
13. Moreover since it is prohibited under the stricture of precept in the same rule that the friars not receive through themselves or through others coins or money in any manner, and so that the friars may desire to observe [this] in perpetuity and so that they may be obliged to fulfill what was necessary to be enjoined [upon them], lest their purity in the observance of this kind of precept be stained in any thing or [lest] consciences of the friars be pricked by any goading anguish, this very same article for the sake of rebutting more profoundly those who are detracting it, which Our predecessors had done taking it up, and pursuing the same by more clear determinations We say first of all, let the friars themselves abstain from contracting debts [mutua]; since for them to contract a debt, considering their state [in life], is not lawful, nevertheless they themselves can, for making satisfaction for their necessities, which might occur for a time when alms have ceased, concerning which it may not be able to be satisfied conveniently at the time beyond promising a bond of some sort of obligation, which by means of alms and other friends of the friars they intend to work faithfully to repay this kind [of debt]. In which case it is to be procured by the friars, that the one who will give alms through himself or through another who is not to be nominated by them, if it can be done, but by himself more according to his own chosen pleasure, make satisfaction of this kind in entirety or in part, just as the Lord will inspire him. If however he himself does not want to do this or cannot, or his departure [from office] is imminent, or because to those whom he wishes to commit [the matter], he has no knowledge of their trustworthiness, or on account of whatever other happening or cause, We declare and say that in no [way] is the purity of the rule infringed nor is the observance of it stained in any manner whatsoever, if the friars themselves care to make known to him [the trustworthiness] of another or of others, or to nominate someone or others or even to present him or them, to whom, if it pleases such to give alms, the execution of the aforesaid things can be entrusted; and let his approval of the below- written replacements be had: nevertheless so that in the power of the one giving dominion, property and possession of his own money with power free to recall the same money to himself always up until its conversion into the deputed item with those things fully, freely and integrally remaining, the friars may have entirely no right to the money itself nor [may they have its] administration or dispensation, nor may they themselves hold against the person nominated or not nominated by them, in whatever condition he might be, in court or outside it, a judicial prosecution or any other right howsoever the aforesaid person [have conducted himself] in a commission of this kind. Nevertheless it is lawful for the friars to make known and specify and manifest their necessities to the aforesaid person and to beg him to fulfill them. They can even exhort and induce the same person to conduct himself faithfully in the matter committed [to his care]; and to take care of the salvation of his soul in the execution of the matter committed to himself, to this extent, that the friars abstain entirely from all administration or dispensation of this money and from [all] action or judicial prosecution, as has been said, against the aforesaid person. If truly it might happen that a person of this kind, nominated or not nominated by the friars, not be able to execute through himself the aforesaid [matter] because of absence, infirmity, free-will or distance of places, on account of which he himself does not wish to present [himself], in those [places where] the payment may be made or the satisfaction [of the debt] made, or to be impeded for some other reason, it is lawful for the friars with a pure conscience as much as to substitute one other person to the aforementioned [matter] by nominating [him] and others, if they cannot, or do not wish to have recourse to the first donor, since as just above We have declared that it is lawful for them to so nominate such a person. For when the aforesaid satisfaction is presumed to be able to be expedited more swiftly, the agency by-way-of-substitution, as has been said, is more commonly and more generally considered by the first of the two persons to be [the one] able to suffice in the execution of the aforesaid things. If however in the mean time because of the distance of places, in which the satisfaction might be made and where there emerges conditions or other circumstances in the case, in which the agency of many substituted persons seems opportune, it is lawful for the friars themselves in this case according to the character of the business [and] with the aforesaid method observed to choose, nominate, or present many persons to execute that agency. And since it is right and expedient that for the necessities of the friars not only for those for which there might have already been made a payment or a satisfaction, as has just been said above, but even for those things imminent, either violent necessities which they are able to expedite for a short time, or such granted that [they be] comparatively few, the provision for which [things] has been brought about by [something] necessary, as in the writing of books, the construction of churches or buildings for the use of their habitation, the repair of books and clothes in remote places, and other things similar, if as they might occur, [they are] to be soberly provided for with the above mentioned regulation; so that We may distinguish clearly among those necessities, We thus declare that in them the friars can proceed safely and with a healthy conscience, namely, that in violent or imminent necessity, which for a brief time or which sometimes from other circumstances not so brief, as has been said above in the last case, it can be expedited, as much as regards the one giving an alms as regards the one nominated or substituted in all these, and for all these let it be conducted just as in the article on making payment for past necessities [which] We have declared just above. In that true necessity however much violent at the present, which however from its quality, as has been said, has been protracted for a time, because in this case it is true that then by reason of the distance of places, which on account of the character of the necessity itself would require traveling, then also by considered reason of the circumstances of the same necessity there would frequently befall cases, in which it would be right that the money deputed for this kind of necessity would pass through diverse hands and persons, for whom of all [these] persons it would be almost impossible that there be a principle owner who deputes money for this necessity or even one [who was] substituted by him, and third also by the substituted one himself if such a case would happen, after the substitute has received notice, We declare and say that in this article besides those two methods explained regarding past necessities and those violent which might be for a brief time, or sometimes not brief, as is expressed above, to be expedited, as We have said before are to be observed, to protect in every way the purity of the Rule itself and its professors, that if there be at hand one giving out abundantly alms of this kind or his nuncius, who is able to do this, to whom it is expressly said beforehand by the friars that it would please themselves that with the dominion of such money freely remaining in the possession of him always, with the free power of recalling to himself the very same money, even until its conversion into the thing deputed, as has been said in the other two above cases, through however many hands or persons, nominated by him or by the friars, the money or alms itself be borne, the entire [matter] proceed with his consent, will and authority, in order that by granting his assent to the aforementioned things the friars can use safely the thing bough or acquired by that money by whomsoever according to the manner described above. However for a greater clarity [regarding] the aforesaid things We declare the following be valid in perpetuity [regarding] the method of providing [for such things], to the end that the friars by the aforementioned means, as has been said, with those things being observed regarding money to care for their past and violent necessities, they are not to be understood nor can they be said to receive money through themselves or an interposed person contrary to the Rule, or to the purity of the profession of their order, since it is patently manifest from the aforementioned things that the friars themselves not only from reception, propriety, dominion or use of the very money, but truly even from whatever handling of the same and [the money itself] they be entirely prohibited.
The manner in which the Friars can have recourse to benefactors who have money.
14. Truly in this case when beforehand the money itself has been exchanged in a licit transaction for something to have or use, it customarily has happened that the money being conceded, if the one conceding had said or expressed in the act of conceding that the deputed might expend the same money for the necessary use of the friars, whatever might happen to the one conceding [it] in life or at death, whether the one conceding might relinquish an inheritance of this kind or not, the friars have been able to have recourse to the person deputed, not withstanding the death of the one conceding or a contradiction of the inheritance, for that money [which was] to be expended just as they had been able [to have recourse] to the owner himself [who] conceded [it]. Because truly We are zealous for the purity of the order itself with the intimate affection of the heart, when in the aforesaid cases for the sake of a determined necessity, as has been said, it has happened that money has been conceded for some [purpose], the one conceding the money can himself be begged by the friars, that if any [amount] of the money had for the determined necessity would remain, that the one conceding [it] himself consent that the remainder of the aforementioned money be exchanged into other things for the other aforesaid necessities of the friars themselves; to the end that [when] he does not consent to the aforesaid thing, the remainder, if there was any, be restored to him. Let the friars beware, however, that they solicitously agree amongst themselves so that they do not knowingly consent [that there] be conceded to themselves more [money] than in the semblance of the truth can be judged to be the value of the necessary thing for which the money itself is conceded. And since in the orderly exposition of the aforesaid things the giver or recipient can easily err, so that more clearly for the utility of the ones giving, for the purity of the order of [those] other simple men, for the health of souls on this side and that more securely that understanding be considered, which sufficiently in this case be understood by a sane thinker and [so] We are elucidating [all this] in the order of a constitution [that is] to have an eternal validity, wishing [as We do] that it be brought to the attention of the public, namely that always when money is sent or offered to the friars themselves unless expressly by means of the one sending or offering something be expressed, it is to be understood to have been offered and send by the aforesaid means. For it does not have the semblance of truth that someone would want to fix beforehand that means [concerning] his alms without expressing [it], by means of which even the donor be defrauded of merit or those for whose necessities there be intended by providing a gift of this kind be defrauded either of the effect of [such] a gift or of the purity of their conscience.
How last testaments should be formulated and interpreted in their regard.
15. Regarding these things, since sometimes not a few things are assigned in diverse ways in last wills [and testaments] to the friars themselves, nor are there expressly contained [anything] concerning these things in the rule or the declarations of Our predecessors, lest in these things doubting befall the legators in the future [when] providing [for the friars], and [so] taking precautions for the consciences of the friars We declare, ordain, and say that if the testator expresses a manner according to which it would not be licit for the friars, considering their condition, to receive [the grant], so that if he might assign to the friars a vineyard or field for cultivating, a house for leasing, or would mention similar words in similar [cases] or would observe similar means in bequeathing [such things], let the friars abstain by every means from such an grant and its reception. If the testator truly has expressed a licit means in assigning to the friars, as if he would say: "I assign money to be expended for the necessities of the friars, or a house, field, vineyard and similar things so that by [means of] a certain person or suitable persons they be sold and the money accepted for these things be exchanged for a building or other necessaries of the friars," or [if] there are used similar means, or words, in assigning, in this case We judge that quantity to be observed regarding the friars in all things and by means of all things, [having] considered their necessities and [in accord with] the aforesaid regimens, which has been declared by Us above regarding the granting of monetary alms. For the payment of which things, having been assigned, let both the heirs of the testators as well as the executors show themselves liberal, as prelates and even seculars, to whom such a provision might pertain by law or custom, since it will be expedient that they show themselves to have been prompted from their office to fulfill the pious wills of those who are needy. For even We intend to provide by means licit and congruous with the rule of the friars so that the pious intention of deceased [persons] be not thwarted, and [so that] the cupidity of the heirs may be borne away with legitimate measures, and [so that] the poor friars themselves be not defrauded of opportune assistance. If truly something be assigned to the friars in a general manner without expressing the means, in regard to this grant bequeathed so indeterminately We wish in all things and by all things [that there] be understood and observed, and in perpetuity by the present constitution we command, that which above in [regard to] money or alms offered or sent to the friars [in an] indeterminate [manner] We have wished and expressed to be observed, namely so that in a licit manner it be understood to have been bequeathed to the friars so that neither the legator of merit nor the friars themselves of the effect of the bequest be defrauded.
How and in what manner the Friars should conduct themselves in regard to movable goods.
16. Because truly the dominion of books and other movable [goods], which both the order as well as the friars use, which however to not belong to others, are worthy to pertain especially to the aforementioned church, to whom it sometimes befalls [to have] books and movable [goods] or for whom it is expedient to sell or even exchange [such things], desiring to provide for the advantage of the friars and for their consciences We concede by the same authority that the exchange of such things and as regards them, the use of which it is licit for the friars to have, proceed by the authority of minister general and ministers provincial united or separately in their administrations, for which [ends] We concede the arranging of the disposition of the use of such things. If truly happens that a thing of this think be sold at an price that has been estimated, since it is not lawful for the friars to receive money through themselves or through another [since] the rule prohibits [this], We ordain and wish that such money or price be received and expended for a licit thing, whose use it is licit for the friars to have, by a procurator deputed by the aforementioned See or by the cardinal entrusted with the governance of this same order by the See itself according to the manner ordained above regarding past and violent necessities. Concerning cheep or movable [goods] or those equal in value that is lawful for the friars from [this] present concession of Ours, having considered [their] piety and devotion or for another honest and reasonable cause, [and] having obtained the permission of their superiors about this beforehand, according to that which will have been ordained among the friars in general or provincial chapters both as regards cheep things themselves or those equal in value, and the value of these, as well as the aforementioned permission, that is by whom and how largess to others, within and without the order, is to be managed.
Poverty in clothing.
17. It is lawful on the other hand that there be contained in the rule that the friars have one tunic with a capuche and another without a capuche, and [since] this can seem to have been the intention of [its] institutor that [with] the cessation [of] necessity many habits are not to be used, We declare that the friars can themselves be entrusted, according to the permission of the ministers and custodes united or separate in their administrations, when it will seem to them, having pondered [their] necessities, and other circumstances, which seem [should] be attended to according to God and the rule, to use more, nor by [means of] this do they seem to deviate from the rule since even in it there is said expressly that the ministers and custodes are to exercise solicitous care of the necessities of the infirm and the clothing of the friars according to places and times and frigid regions.
The superiors may delegate their responsibility and authority regarding the necessities of the community.
18. And although the aforesaid rule contains that regarding the clothing of the friars and the necessities of the infirm the ministers as much as the custodes should exercise solicitous care, and that saying binding the ministers and custodes tightly in this duty to the extent that it seems at first glance to exclude others from it, because however it is fitting that We consider solicitously both the time [during which] the rule [was] instituted, when the friars themselves were few in number in comparison to the present, and perhaps the ministers and custodes seemed then to suffice to be able to procure these [things], and nonetheless the extent of the multiplication of the friars and the quality of modern times, nor does it have the semblance of truth that blessed Francis the institutor of the rule either to have wanted to fix beforehand a yoke of impossibility upon the ministers and custodes or to want the friars themselves from the consequences of this same impossibility to lack their necessities, We do concede that the ministers and custodes themselves can exercise this manner of solicitous care by [means of] another. Also other friars should even diligently exercise care of this kind which is incumbent upon the aforementioned ministers and custodes from the rule, when this has been committed to them by these same [ones].
Of work and spiritual labors.
19. There is contained also in the rule that the friars, to whom the Lord has given the grace of working, should work faithfully and devotedly so that having excluded idleness, the enemy of the soul, they may not extinguish the spirit of prayer and devotion. Since truly on account of this passage some have sometimes striven to accuse the friars themselves of idleness of life and of bold transgression of the rule in this regard, We restraining monstrous verbal attacks of this kind do declare that having considered the aforesaid words and the form and manner of speaking, under which the friars are led to an exercise of this kind, it does not seem to have been the intention of the institutor that he would subject those spending time in study or the divine offices and in the execution of ministries to manual labor or work or might reduce them to this, when by the example of Christ and that spiritual labor of many holy Fathers would so much outweigh him in as much as they preferred those which are of the soul to those corporal. Truly to those others, who do not exert themselves in the aforesaid spiritual works (unless such be occupied in the licit services of other friars) lest they live idly, We declare the aforesaid words to be extended, unless such are both so excellent and notable in contemplation and prayer that for the sake of this merit they are not to be withdrawn from such good and pious an exercise. For the friars [who] do not spend however much time in study or the divine offices, but [rather] inheriting from the services of those spending time in study or in other divine offices and ministries, since for their very selves they merit to be sustained by those who serve, because it has been established to have been sanctioned by that favorable law, by which that vigorous fighter David justly decreed, namely that the portion of those who descended into battle and of those who remained among the baggage [train] was to be equal.
Of preaching to the people.
20. In truth because it is expressly contained in the rule that the friars are not to preach in the diocese of any bishop, when they will have been contradicted by him, in [regard to] this We, both deferring to the rule and maintaining nevertheless the plenitude of Apostolic authority, say that the aforesaid passage is to be observed to the letter, just as it is set forth in the rule itself, unless there has been conceded or ordained or [if] there be conceded in the future or even ordained something through the Apostolic See concerning this [matter] for the utility of the Christian people. And since in this chapter of the rule there be immediately subjoined that no friar should hardly dare to preach to the people, unless he will have been examined and also approved by the minister general and there be conceded to him by the latter the office of preaching, We, adverting to both the past state of the order itself in its littleness and the modern in the increased number of friars and the utility of souls, as is fitting, concede that not only might the general look to examining, to approving the friars to preach to the people and to conceding to them the permission to preach, as far as the permission itself pertains to the suitability of persons and the duty of preaching, just as is contained in the rule, but also the ministers provincial can in provincial chapters with the definitors [do] this, to the extent that it is said to be observed even today and to be contained in the privileges of the friars: that indeed the aforementioned ministers are able to revoke, suspend, and abridge the permission, as and when it seems to them to be expedient.
To whom the right to admit vocations may be conceded.
21. But since among our desires there is borne this that for the glory of God the salvation of souls and the said order be promoted, by means of which [desire] the affection for the Christian religion is continually enkindled according to divine love, [and that] it be increased in merit and number, We concede and by the present statute establish that it be licit not only for the minister general but also for the ministers provincial to receive among the friars persons fleeing from the world, the permission of which ministers provincial by [minister] general himself, as he will judge to be expedient, can be abridged. Truly the vicars of the ministers provincial know that [the granting of] this permission [is] forbidden themselves, unless by these ministers, for whom We judge it is lawful to be able to commit this to the vicars and to others, it be especially committed to the vicars themselves. Let the ministers provincial themselves beware, however, that they do not indiscreetly, nor indiscriminately, but [with] much consideration commit this [permission to them], and thus let them support those, to whom this [permission] happens to be committed, with faithful counsels to the end that everything proceed discretely; nor are they to admit all indifferently to the order but only those, who having been recommended by learning, suitability or other circumstances, can be useful to the order, and [who can] by the merit of [such] a life advance themselves and by [their own] example assist others.
On the election of the minister general.
22. Besides the friars of the aforesaid order doubting in regard to that which is said in the rule, that with the decease of the minister general there is to be an election of a successor by the ministers provincial and custodes in the Pentecost chapter, whether it is fitting that the multitude of all the custodes come together to the general chapter, or whether, so that everything be managed with greater tranquillity, it may be able to suffice that some from each province, who would vote in the name of others, would take part, We give this answer that namely the custodes of each province are to appoint one from [among] themselves, whom they are to send with their minister provincial on their own behalf to the chapter, committing their votes and powers to the same, because, when they have appointed [him] by themselves, even We reckon a statute of this kind to have been approved, because also [Our] predecessor, Gregory IX, in a case of this kind is said to have responded in this manner.
On avoiding suspicious familiarity with women.
23. Finally sine there is contained in above mentioned rule that the friars are not to enter monasteries of nuns except those [friars] to whom special permission has been conceded by the aforesaid See, although the friars have believed this to be understood more directly regarding the monasteries of poor cloistered women religious, since the aforementioned See has a special care for them, and the understanding of this by [their] constitution at the time the rule was given, [when] blessed Francis [was] still living, is believed to have been declared by the ministers provincial in the general chapter, these same friars nevertheless ask [Us] to make certain whether this regards all [women religious] generally, since the rule excepts none, or whether it should be understood only the monasteries of the aforesaid women religious. We at least respond that generally this is to be prohibited regarding whatever communities of women religious, and We wish that by the word "monasteries" there be understood "cloisters," "houses," and "interior quarters," for [the sake of] this that at other places where lay men come together, the friars can there be present for the purpose of preaching or seeking alms, to whom it has been conceded by their own superiors on account of their maturity and suitability, excepting always [those places belonging to] the aforesaid cloistered monasteries; at which none are given faculty to be present without special permission of this same See: because also [Our] predecessor, Gregory IX, himself regarding this case is said to have responded in this manner.
On the authority of the Testament of St. Francis
24. Moreover Francis, the confessor of Christ, of holy memory, is said to have commanded about the end of his life, the command of whom is itself call the Testament: that the words of the rule itself are not to be glossed, and as we read his words, to this extent and thus he should be understood, let it not be said, adding that the friars are not to seek in any manner other letters from the Apostolic See, and inserting a certain something that they cannot observe without much difficulty, on account of which the friars, hesitating whether they were bound to the observance of the aforesaid Testament, sought this kind of doubt to be removed from their consciences by the same predecessor, Gregory XI. Who, as is told, attending to the danger of souls and [its] difficulties, which could be incurred on account of it, to remove doubt from their hearts told the friars that they were not held to the observance of this command, because without the consensus of the friars and more so of the ministers, all of whom it affects, it is unable to oblige, neither did it oblige his successor in any manner, since as an equal among equals he would not have [any] power [of commanding]. We moreover reckon that nothing is to be innovated regarding the present article.
This constitution is to be observed by all the Friars.
25. Regarding these things We have understood that diverse letters have come forth from not a few of Our predecessors, the Roman Pontiffs, about the clarification of this rule and the rule itself and those things touching [upon] it, but neither on this account has the insult of the aforesaid attacks against the rule itself and [against] the friars grown quiet, nor by [means of] these letters is provision made for the state of the friars regarding many things, for which after the occurrence of many cases, experience has indicated that there must be provision for new and otherwise necessary things. We, therefore, lest the diversity of letters of this kind and or the present constitution or a difficulty of understanding in the observance of the aforesaid things perturb the souls of the friars, and so that more fully, clearly, and certainly it may respect the interests of their state and the observance of the aforesaid rule; in each and every of its articles which this very constitution contains, although these or others may be contained in the other Apostolic letters above mentioned, We judge that this Our constitution, declaration, or ordination is to be observed exactly as such and inviolably by the friars themselves for all time.
This Constitution is to have perpetual validity and is to be published. Those who oppose it are to be excommunicated.
26. Therefore since from the aforesaid things and others discussed by Us in great detail it is manifest that the rule itself is licit, holy, perfect and observable, [and] not evidently exposed to any criticism, it and all Our above written statutes, ordinances, concessions, arrangements, decrees, declarations and even supplements, by the plenitude of Apostolic power We approve, confirm and will to exist in perpetual validity, precepting in virtue of actual obedience that this constitution, just the constitutions or decretals of other letters, be read in the schools. And since under the appearance of [what is] licit not a few in reading, expounding and glossing, can pour forth the venom of their iniquity against the friars themselves and the rule, and producing in diverse and adverse propositions according to their own invention pervert the very understanding of this constitution, and [since] the diversity of opinion and the distortion of understanding can entangle the pious souls of many and steal the hearts of many from entering religion, avoiding the perversity of such detractors urges us to prevent them from doing the aforesaid things and to determine a certain manner of proceeding for those who read this constitution. Therefore under the pain of excommunication and of actual privation of office and benefice We precept that the present constitution, when it will happen to be read, as has been mentioned, be so faithfully expounded to the letter, [that] no harmony, contrariety or diverse or adverse opinions be introduced by the lectors or expositors, [that] glosses not be made upon the constitution itself, unless perhaps the word or sense of the word, or the construction or the constitution itself, is expounded by them grammatically just according to the letter or [to make it] more intelligible, nor is the understanding of the same to be perverted by the reader into something else or distorted into something other, than the letters themselves mean. And lest the aforesaid See should labor further against detractors of this kind, We precept strictly all [persons] and each [of them] of whatever preeminence, condition or state, not to teach, write, criticize, preach or speak perversely in public or private against the aforesaid rule and the state of the aforesaid friars or against the aforementioned things established, ordained, conceded, arranged, decreed, declared, supplemented, approved and even confirmed by Us. But if anything pertaining to some ambiguity in these [matters] would come forth, let it be submitted to the summit of the aforesaid Apostolic See, so that by Apostolic authority itself there may be manifested in regard to it the intention [of him] to whom alone it has been conceded in these [matters] to establish statutes and to clarify those things [which] have been established. Let doctors above all or lectors, truly glossing in [their] writings this constitution [in a manner] otherwise than that, which We have explained, while they teach in public, [both] from certain knowledge and deliberation, distorting the understanding of this kind of constitution, [and] also commenting, producing writings or booklets and making distinctions in the schools, [both] from certain knowledge and deliberation, or preaching against the aforesaid or other things or any [part] of the aforesaid things, not withstanding other privileges or indulgences or Apostolic letters, conceded to whatever persons of rank, individuals, orders, or houses religious or secular, together or individually under whatever form or expression of words, which We do not wish to be approved by anyone in the aforementioned [matters] in whatever manner, [We say let them] know themselves to lie under the sentence of excommunication, which We henceforth decree against them; from which they cannot be absolved except by the Roman Pontiff. Besides to such as these, against whom the sentence of excommunication has been decreed by Us, [and] also to others, if there will be any, coming into Our [presence] or that of the said See against the aforementioned things or [against] anything [pertaining] to them, We wish there be brought notice, that the rigor of the Apostolic punishment drives them from these forbidden things, whom a foreseen measure of equity would not hinder. To no man therefore is it licit at all to infringe this page of our declaration, ordinance, concession, arrangement, supplement, approbation, confirmation and constitution or to contravene it with temerarious daring. If he should do so, let him know that will incur the wrath of the Omnipotent God and of His holy Apostles, Peter and Paul.
Given at Soriano, eighteen days before the Kalends of September, in the second year of Our pontificate.
Pope Nicholas III
Text within brackets, as well as paragraph headings, were added by the translator for the sake of clarity.
Version 2: January 21, 1997
Translation provided by The Franciscan Archive (www.franciscan-archive.org)
Used with permission.
Exiit qui seminat
This Latin text has transcribed from the Registers of Nicholas III, p. 232-241, #564
De regula fraturm Minorum aliqua dubia declarat, et alia per predecessores suos jam declarata seriosius et clarius ordinat. (Fol. 184; an II, N. 156; Potthast 21628)
Constitutio facta per dominum Nicolaum Papam III super confirmatione regule fraturm Minorum.
Episcopus servus servorum Dei.
Ad perpetuam rei memoriam.
Exiit qui seminat seminare semen suum de sinu Patris in mundum veste scilicet humanitatis indutus Dei Filius Jhesus Christus verbum evangelicum saturus in singulos probos et reprobos, insipientes et gnaros, studiosos et desides, et juxta prophetam colonus futurus in terra semen suum doctrinam evangelican sine deletu despersit in omnes, qui omnia tracturus ad se omne salvare venerat, qui tandem se ipsum Deo Patri pro salute omnium in redemptionis humane pretium immolavit. Licet tamen hoc semen in singulos communicativa Dei caritate dispersum aliud ceciderit secus viam super corda scilicet demonum suggestionibus pervia, aliud inter spinas corda scilicet divitiarum sollicitudinibus lacerata, et ideo unum pravis affectibus conculcatum, aliud aridum, quia gratia carebat humore, reliquum legitur inordinatis sollicitudinibus suffocatum, aliud tamen mite cor et docile terra bona suscepit.
The Religion of the Friars Minor is that of Christ and the Apostles Themselves.
2. Hec est Minorum fratrum mitis et docilis in paupertate et humiliate per almum Christi confessorem Franciscum radicata religio, que ex illo vero semine germinans germen illud per regulam sparsit in filios, quos sibi et Deo per suum ministerium in observantia Evangelii generavit. Isti sunt filii, qui docente Jacobo Verbum eternum Dei Filium insitum humane nature in orto virginalis uteri potens salvare animas in mansuetudine susceperunt. Hii sunt illius sancte regule professores, que evangelico fundatur eloquio, vite Christi roboratur exemplo, fondatorum militantis Ecclesie apostolorum ejus sermonibus actibusque firmatur. Hec est apud Deum et Patrem munda et immaculata religio, que descendens a Patre luminum per ejus Filium exemplariter et verbaliter Apostolis tradita, et demum per Spiritum Sanctum beato Francisco et eum sequentibus inspirata totius in se quasi continet testimonium Trinitatis. Hec est, cui attestante Paulo nemo de cetero debet esse molestus, quam Christus passionis sue stigmatibus confirmavit, volens institutorem ipsius passionis sue signis notabiliter insigniri.
God, the Pope, and the Church have approved their way of life.
3. Sed non sic contra ipsos fratres Minores et regulam hostis antiqui cessavit astutia: quin potius contra eos nitens superseminare zizaniam interdum emulatores agitatos invidia, iracundia et indiscreta justitia concitavit mordentes fratres, et eorum regulam quasi illicitam, inobservabilem et discriminosam caninis latratibus lacerantes, non attendentes hanc sanctam regulam ut predicitur preceptis ac monitis salutaribus institutam, apostolicis observationibus roboratam, per Sedem Apostolicam confirmatam, tot divinis testimoniis communitam, que credibilia facta sunt nimis in tot sanctis viris in observantia hujusmodi regule agentibus et finientibus dies suos, quorum nonnullos Sanctorum cathologo Sedes eadem ex eorum vita et miraculis fecit ascribi, ac novissime quasi diebus istis per pie memorie Gregorium papam X predecessorem nostrum approvatam esse ex evidenti utilitate, quam de ipsa consequitur universalis Ecclesia, in generali Lugdunensi concilio declaratum.
God providence protects the Order
4. Nec nos minus attendimus, immo profundius cogitamus, sicut pensare debent subtilius ceteri catholice fidei professores, quod ipse Deus ordinem predictum et ejus observatores inspiciens sic eos ab insurgentibus in ipsos rancoribus salutari presidio preservavit, quod necipsos fluctus tempestuosus allisit nec animos in ordine ipso degentium consternavit, quin potius in vigore regulari concrescant et amplientur in suorum observantia mandatorum. Verumtamen ut ordo predictus quibuslibet precisis aufractibus distincta et pura vigeat claritate, sicut fratres ejusdem ordinis nuper in generali capitulo congregati providerant, dilectis filiis generali et nonnullis aliis provintialibus ejusdem ordinis ministris, qui in capitulo ipso convenerant, in nostra presentia constitutis, cum ad plenam observationem ejusdem regule in vigore spiritus eorum fervere noscatur intentio; visum est nobis mordacibus hujusmodi vias mordendi precludere, aliqua que in ipsa regula videri poterant dubia declarare, nonnulla per predecessores nostros etiam declarata pleniori claritate disserere, in aliquibus etiam regulam ipsam contingentibus puritati eorundem conscientie providere.
My personal knowledge of the Rule and the Intention of its Author
5. Nos autem, qui a tenereis annis ad ordinem ipsum affectus nostros ereximus, in illis succrescendo cum aliquibus ejusdem confessoris sociis, quibus ejus vita et conversatio nota erat super ipsa regula et sancta ipsius beati Francisci intentione frequenti collatione tractavimus; et tandem cardinalis ac postmodum ejusdem ordinis per dictam Sedem gubernator, protector et corrector effecti conditiones predicti ordinis ex imminenti nobis cura palpavimus; in apostolatus officio tam de pio intentione confessoris predicti quam de iis que regulam ipsam et ejus observantiam continunt ex predictis longa etiam experientia informare nostros ad ordinem prefatum convertimus cogitatus; et tam ea, que per eosdem predecessores nostros approbata et declarata esse noscuntur, quam etiam ipsam regulam et ea contingentia maturitate plena discussimus, nonnulla in presenti serie statuimus, declaravimus, certius approbavimus, approbata firmavimus, edidimus et concessimus, plura etiam ordinando seriorius et clarius, que infrascriptis articulis plenius exprimuntur.
Obligation of the Rule in General
6. In primis quia, sicut intelleximus, ab aliquibus hesitatur an fratres ejusdem ordinis tam ad consilia quam ad precepta Evangelii teneantur, tum quia in regule predicte principio habetur: Regula et vita Minorum fratrum hec est scilicet Domini Nostri Jesu Christi sanctum Evangelium observare vivendo in obedientia, sine proprio et in castitate, tum ex eo quod in eadem regula continetur sic: finito vero anno probationis recipiantur ad obedientiam promittentes vitam istam semper et rulam observare, tum etiam quia in fine ipsius regule continentur hec verba: paupertatem et humilitatem ac sanctum Evangelium Domini nostri Jhesu Christi, quo firmiter promissimus, obervemus. Licet felicis recordat. Gregorius papa nonus predecessor noster hunc articulum et nonnullos alios ejusdem regule declaraverit, quia tamen ejus declaratio propter aliquorum insurgentium in fratres et regulam mordaces insultus, et multorum postea emergentium casuum considerando eventus in aliquibus obscura, in aliquibus semiplena, et in multis etiam contentis in ipsa regula insufficiens videbatur: nos obscuritatem ac insufficientiam hujusmodi perfecte interpretationis declaratione amovere volentes et cujuslibet ambiguitatis scrupulum in eisdem de singulorum mentibus plenioris expositionis certitudine amputare, dicimus quod cum in principio regule non absolute sed cum quadam modificatione vel determinatione seu specificatione ponatur: Regula et vita Minorum fratrum hec est scilicet Domini Nostri Jesu Christi sanctum Evangelium observare vivendo inobedientia, sine proprio et in castitate: que tria eadem regula multum arte prosequitur et nichilominus alia nonnulla subnectit precipiendo, prohibendo, consulendo, monendo, hortando et sub aliis verbis ad aliquem modorum reducibilibus predictorum, de intentione regule liquere valet apertius ut illud quod in professione quasi absolute subnecti videtur: promittentes vitam istam semper et regulam observare, et quod in fine subjungitur: et sanctum Evangelium Domini Nostri Jhesu Christi, quod firmiter promisimus, obervemus: totum ad ipsius regule modificatum vel determinatum seu specificatum principium reducatur, videlicet ad observantiam Evangelii, ut predicitur, per ipsam regulam in illis tribus modificatam vel determinatam seu specificatam; cum non sit verisimile ipsum sanctum verbum ab ipso semel cum quadam modificatione vel determinatione, seu specificatione prolatum; licet quasi succintorie repetitum voluisse in sui repetitione data sibi per eum modificatione vel determinatione seu specificatione sine certa causa carere, et utriusque juris argumenta nos doceant, ea, que in principio, ad medium et ad finem; illa vero, que in medio, ad finem atque principium, et ea que in fine, ad utrumque vel eorum alterum sepe referri. Et dato quod absolute diceretur omnino: "Promitto sanctum Evangelium observare," nisi professor hujusmodi intenderet se ad omnium consiliorum observantiam obligare, quod vix aut nunquam posset ad litteram observare; propter quod talis promissio illaqueare profitentis animum videretur, clare videretur, promissionem hujusmodi ad alium intellectum absque intentione promittentis non debere perstringi, nisi ut observantia Evangelii sit, sicut tradita reperitur a Christo, videlicet quod precepta ut precepta et consilia ut consilia a promittentibus observentur. Quem intellectum etiam in eisdem verbis habuisse idem beatur Franciscus in serie sui processus in regula patenter ostendit; cum aliqua Evangelica consilia indicat ut consilia sub verbis monitionis, exhortantionis et consilii, nonnulla vero sub prohibitione ac verbo precepti: per quod patet quod non fuit loquentis intentio, quod fratres ex professione hujusmodi regule ad omnia consilia sicut ad precepta Evangelica tenerentur; sed solum ad illa consilia, que in eadem regula preceptorie vel inhibitorie seu sub verbis equipollentibus sunt expressa. Unde non ad fratrum ejusdem ordinis conscientias plenarie serenandas declaramus quod ex professione ejusdem regule fratres ipsi ad ea tantum Evangelica observanda consilia sunt astricti que in ipsa regula preceptorie vel inhibitorie seu sub verbis quipollentibus exprimuntur. Ad nonnulla vero alia per Evangelium data consilia eo magis secundum exigentiam sui status tenentur plus quam ceteri Christiani, quo per statum perfecitonis, quem per professionem hujusmodi assumpserunt, se obtulerunt holocaustum Domino medullatum per contemptum omnium mundanorum. Ad omnia autem, que in ipsa regula continentur, tam precepta quam consilia quam cetera, ex voto professionis hujusmodi non aliter tenentur quam eo modo, quo in regula ipsa traduntur, ut scilicet teneantur ad eorum observantiam, que in eadem regula ipsis sub verbis obligatoriis inducuntur: ceteroum vero observantiam, que sub verbis monitoriis, exhortatoriis, informatoriis et instructoriis seu quibuscunque aliis continentur eatenus magis condecet de bono et equo eos prosequi, quo imitatores tanti Patris effecti Christi semitas arctius elegerunt.
The Poverty obliged by the Rule was taught and lived by Our Lord
7. Porro cum regula ipsa expresse contineat, quod fratres nichil sibi approprient non domum nec locum nec aliquam rem, sitque declaratum per eundem predecessorem Gregorium papam nonum et nonnullos alios hoc servari debere tam in speciali quam etiam in communi, quam sic arctam abdicationem venenosis obtrectationibus aliquorum insensata depravavit astutia, ne fratrum eorundem perfectionis claritas talium imperitis sermonibus laceretur, dicimus quod abdicatio proprietatis hujusmodi omnium rerum tam in speciali quam etiam in communi propter Deum meritoria est et sancta, quam et Christus viam perfectionis ostendens verbo docuit et exemplo firmavit, quamque primi fundatores militantis ecclesie, prout ab ipso fonte auxerant (sic), in volentes perfecte vivere per doctrine ac vite ipsorum alveos derivarunt, nec hiis quisquam putet obsistere quod interdum dicitur Christum loculos habuisse; nam sic ipse Christus, cujus perfecta sunt opera, in suis actibus viam perfectionis exercuit, quod interdum infirmorum imperfectionibus condescendens et viam perfectionis extolleret, et imperfectorum infirmas semitas non damnaret; sic infirmorum personam Christus suscepit in loculis, sic et in nonnullis aliis infirma humane carnis assumens, prout Evangelica testatur ystoria, non tantum carne sed et mente condescendit infirmis, sic enim humanam naturam assumpsit quod in suis operibus perfectus existens in nostris factus humilis, in propriis permansit excelsus. Sic et summe caritatis dignatione ad actus quosdam nostre imperfectioni conformes inducitur, quod a summe perfectionis rectitudine non curvatur. Egit namque Christus et docuit perfectionis opera, egit etiam et infirma, sicut interdum in fuga patet et loculis; sed utrumque perfecte perfectus existens ut perfectis et imperfectis se viam salutis ostenderet, quod utrosque salvare venerat, qui tandam mori voluit pro utrisque.
The Poverty obliged by the Rule will always be observable.
8. Nec quisquam ex his insurgat erronee quod taliter propter Deum proprietatem omnium abdicantes tanquam homicide sui vel tentatores Dei vivendi discrimini se committant: sic enim seipsos committunt Divine providentie in vivendo ut viam non contempnant provisionis humane, quin vel de hiis que offeruntur liberaliter vel de hiis que mendicantur humiliter vel de hiis que conquiruntur per laboritium substententur; qui triplex vivendi modus in regula providetur expresse. Profecto si juxta promissum Salvatoris nunquam deficiet fides Ecclesie, per consequens nec opera misericordie subtrahentur, ex quo Christi pauperibus omnis ratio diffidentie cujuslibet videtur esse sublata. Et quidem ubi (quod non est aliquatenus presumendum) hec cuncta deficerent, sicut nec ceteris sic nec ipsis fratribus jure poli in extreme necessitatis articulo ad providendum substentationi nature via omnibus extrema necessitate detentis concessa precluditur, cum ab omni lege extrema necessitate sit excepta. Non autem talem abdicationem proprietatis omnimode renuntiationem usus rerum cuiquam videatur inducere; nam cum in rebus temporalibus sit considerare precipuum proprietatem, possessionem, usum fructum, jus utendi et simplicem facti usum, et ultimo tanquam necessario egeat, licet primis carere possit vita mortalium, nulla prorsus potest esse professio, que a se usum necessarie sustentationis excludat, verum condescens fuit ei professioni, que sponte devovit Christum pauperem in tanta paupertate securi, omnium abdicare dominium et rerum sibi concessarum necessario usu fore contentam.
The Rule obliges the abidication of the jus domini and the retention of the usus facti.
9. Nec per hoc quod proprietatem usus et rei cujuscumque dominium a se abdicasse videtur, simplici usui omnis rei renuntiatum esse conicitur qui inquam usus non juris sed facti tantummodo nomen habens quod facti est tamen in utendo prebet utentibus nichil juris, quinimmo necessarium rerum tam ad vite sustentationem quam ad officiorum sui status executionem, excepto quod de pecunia infra subjungitur moderatus usus secundum eorum regulam et veritatem omnimodam concessus est fratribus; quibus rebus fratres licite uti possunt, durante concedentis licentia, et juxta quod in presenti serie continetur. Nec hiis obviare dinoscitur quod civilis providentia in humanis rebus humane consituit, videlicet non posse usum vel usufructum a dominio perpetuo separari; que ne dominium dominis semper abscedente usu redderetur inutile, temporalem utilitatem tantum in constituendo prospiciens ista decrevit. Retentio namque dominii talium rerum cum concessione usus facta pauperibus non est infructuosa domino cum sit meritorio ad eterna et professioni pauperum opportuna, que tanto sibi censetur utilior, quanto commutat temporalia pro eternis. Profecto non fuit confessoris Christi regulam instituentis intentio; quinimmo contrarium in ipsa conscripsit, contrarium vivendo servavit; cum et ipse temporalibus ad necessitatem usus fuerit et in pluribus locis in regula usum talem licere fratribus manifestet: dicit namque in regula quod clerici faciant divinum officium, ex quo habere poterunt breviaria: ex hoc patenter insinuans, quod fratres sui habituri essent usum breviarii et librorum, qui sint ad divinum officium opportuni; in alio quoque capitulo dicitur quod ministri et custodes pro necessitatibus infirmorum et aliis fratribus induendis per amicos spirituales sollicitam curam gerant secundum loca et tempora et frigidas regiones, sicut necessitati viderint expedire; alibi etiam exhortans fratres per congruum laboris exercitium ad otium evitandum dicit, quod de mercede laboris pro se et suis fratribus corporis necessaria recipiant; in alio quoque capitulo continetur quod fratres vadant pro elemosina confidenter. Habetur etiam in eadem regula, quod in predicatione, quam fratres faciunt, sint examinata et casta eorum eloquia ad utilitatem et edificationem populi annunciando eis vitia et virtutes, penam et gloriam. Sed constans est, quod hec supponunt scientiam; scientia requirit sutdium, exercitium vero studii communiter haberi non potest sine usu librorum: ex quibus omnibus satis claret ex regula ad victu, vestitum, divinum cultum et sapientiale studium, necessariorum rerum usum fratribus esse concessum.
This is an observable, possible, licit, meritorious, and perfect form of evangelical poverty.
10. Patet itaque sane intelligentibus ex predictis regulam quoad abdicationem hujusmodi non solum observabilem, possibilem et licitam, sed meritoriam et perfectam; et eo magis meritoriam quo per ipsam professores ipsius magis a temporalibus propter Deum, sicut predicitur, elongantur. Ad hec cum fratres ipsi nihil sibi in speciali acquirere vel donatur, ea si secus non exprimat offerentis, concedentis verisimiliter fuisse credatur intentio, ut rem hujusmodi oblatam, concessam vel donatam perfecte concedat, donet et offerat, a se abdicet, ac in alios transferre cupiat propter Deum; nec sit persona, in quam loco Dei congruentius hujusmodi rei dominium trasferatur quam sedes prefata vel persona Romani pontificis Christi vicarii, qui Pater est omnium et fratrum Minorum nihilominus specialis, ne talium rerum sub incerto videatur esse dominium, cum patri filius suo modo, servus domino, et monachus monasterio res sibi oblatas, concessas vel donatas acquirant; omnium utensilium et librorum, ac eorum mobilium presentium et futurorum, que et quorum usum facti scilicet ordini, vel fratribus ipsis licet habere, proprietatem et dominium, quod etiam felicis recordationis Innocentius papa IV predecessor noster fecisse dinoscitur, in nos et Romanam ecclesiam apostolica auctoritate recipimus et ad nos et ipsam ecclesiam plene et libere pertinere hac presenti Consitutione in perpetuum valitura sanximus.
Let the Friars beware of transgressing this obligation even in appearances.
11. Preterea loca empta de elemosinis diversis et oblata seu concessa fratribus sub quacumque forma verborum, licet fratres sibi cavere debeant quod in hujusmodi verbis statui suo incompetentibus non utantur a diversis, seu pro indiviso possidentibus seu certas partes in ipsis locis habentibus in quibus ipsi possidentes pro indiviso, seu certas partes habentes nihil sibi in oblatione seu concessione hujusmodi reservarint; similiter in jus et dominium ac proprietatem nostram et ecclesie predicte eadem auctoriate suscipimus. Loca vero seu domus pro habitatione fratrum a singulari vel collegio ipsis fratribus ex integro concedenda seu etiam offerenda, si talia de voluntate conferentis fratres inhabitare contigerit, perseverante tantum voluntate concedentis inhabitent; ac illa libere preter ecclesiam et oratoria ad ecclesiam destinata et cimiterium, que tam presentia quam futura in jus et proprietatem nostram et predicte Romane ecclesie simili modo et auctoriate recipimus, mutata concedentis voluntate ac ipsis fratribus patefacta dimittant. In quorum locorum dominio seu proprietate nihil nobis vel prefate Romane ecclesie retinemus omnino, nisi ea specialiter de nostro seu ipsius Romane ecclesie recipiantur assensu; et si in eisdem locis reservaverit sibi dominium in concedendo concedens propter inhabitationem fratrum, tale dominium in jus ecclesie sepedicte non traseat sed potius plene liberum remaneat concedenti.
The Rule obliges the usus pauper.
12. Insuper nec utensilia nec alia, quorum usum ad necessitatem et officiorum sui status executionem non enim omnium rerum usum habere debent, ut dictum est ad ullam superfluitatem divitias seu copiam, que deroget paupertati vel thesaurizationem vel eo animo ut ea distrahant, sive vendant, recipiant, nec sub colore providentie in futurum nec alia occasione; quinimmo in omnibus appareat in eis quoad dominium omnimodo abdicatio et in usu necessitas. Hec autem secundum exigentiam personarum et locorum ministri et custodes simul et separatim in suis administrationibus et custodiis cum discretione disponant, cum de talibus interdum personarum qualitas, temporum varietas, locorum conditio et nonnulle alie circumstantie plus minusve ac aliter provideri requirant. Ista tamen sic faciant quod semper in eis et eorum actibus paupertas sancta reluceat, prout eis ex eorum regula invenitur indicta.
The Rule obliges the non-use of money. How this is to be observed.
13. Ceterum cum in eadem regula sit sub precepti districtione prohibitum ne fratres recipiant per se vel per alios denarios vel pecuniam ullo modo, idque fratres in perpetuum servare cupiant et velut injunctum necesse habeant adimplere, ne ipsorum puritas in hujusmodi observatione precepti maculetur in aliquo vel fratrum conscientie aliquibus aculeis stimulentur, articulum istum propter detrahentium morsus profundius, quam nostri predecessores fecerint assumentes, ac ipsum clarioribus determinationibus prosequentes dicimus in primis, quod fratres ipsi a mutuis contrahendis abstineant; cum eis mutuum contrahere, ipsorum statu considerato, non liceat, possint tamen ipsi, pro satisfactione pro eorum necessitatibus facienda, que pro tempore accurrerint cessantibus elemosinis, de quibus satisfieri commode tunc non posset citra cujuslibet obligationis vinculum dicere, quod per elemosinas et alios amicos fratrum ad solutionem hujusmodi faciendam intendunt fideliter laborare. Quo casu procuretur a fratribus, quod ille qui dabit elemonsinam per se vel per alium non nominandum ab ipsis, si fieri poterit, sed ab eo potius juxta suum beneplacitum assumendum, hujusmodi satisfactionem faciat in totum vel in partem, prout sibi Dominus inspirabit. Si tamen ipse hoc nollet facere vel non posset, vel quia recessus ejus immineat, aut quia quibus hoc velit committere, notitiam non habet fidelium personarum, seu quacunque alia occasione vel causa, declaramus et dicimus quod in nullo regule puritats infringitur aut quomodolibet ipsius observantia maculatur, si fratres ipsi alicujus vel aliquorum sibi curent dare notitiam, vel aliquem seu aliquos nominare aut etiam presentare, cui vel quibus, si elemosinam facienti placuerit, committi possit executio predictorum; ac ipsius habeatur assensus super subrogationibus infrascriptis: ita tamen quod penes ipsum dantem domino, proprietate ac possessione ipsius pecunie cum libera potestate revocandi sibi pecuniam ipsam semper usque ad conversionem ipsius in rem deputatam plene, libere ac integre remanentibus, in ipsa pecunia nichil omnino fratres juris habeant nec administrationem seu dispensationem, nec contra personam nominatam ab eis vel non nominatam, cujuscunque conditionis existeret, in judicio vel extra actionem, persecutionem aut aliquod aliud jus qualitercunque persona predicta in commissione hujusmodo se haberet. Liceat tamen fratribus suas necessitates insinuare ac specificare vel exponere persone predicte ac eam rogare quod solvat. Possint etiam personam eandem exhortari ac inducere quod fideliter in re commissa se habeat; et anime sue saluti in commissa sibi executione provideat, ita tamen quod ab omni ejusdem pecunie administratione seu dispensatione et contra personam predictam actione seu persecutione, ut predictum est, fratres abstineant omnimodo. Si vero personam hujusmodi nominatam vel non nominatam a fratribus quominus per se possit exequi quod predicitur contigerit per absentiam, infirmitatem, voluntatem seu locorum distantiam, ad que ipse nollet accedere, in quibus esset solutio seu satisfactio facienda, vel occasionem aliam prepediri, liceat fratribus cum conscientie puritate quantum ad unam aliam personam subrogandam ad premissa in nominando et aliis, si ad primum dantem non possint, vel nolint habere recursum, cum ista persona facere, sicut supra proxime declaramus eis licere. Cum prima duarum enim personarum ministerium per viam subrogationis, ut dictum est, communius et generalius videtur posse in predictorum executione sufficere, cum predicta satisfactio presumatur posse celeriter expediri. Si tamen interdum propter locorum distantium, in quibus esset satisfactio facienda et conditiones seu circumstantias alias casus emergeret, in quo videretur plurium personarum subrogandarum ministerium oportunum, liceat ipsis fratribus in hoc casu juxta nogotii qualitatem servato modo predicto plures personas assumere, nominare seu presentare ad istud ministerium exequendum. Et quia oportet et expedit fraturm necessitatibus non solum illis pro quibus jam esset solutio seu satisfactio facienda, ut supra proxime dictum est, sed etiam imminentibus, sive tales necessitates ingruentes immineant que brevi tempore expedire valeant, sive tales licet pauce comparative, quarum provisio necessario tractum habet, ut in libris scribendis, ecclesiis seu edificiis ad usum habitationis ipsorum construendis, libris et pannis in locis remotis emendis, et aliis similibus, si qua occurrerint, cum moderamine supradicto salubriter provideri; sic in istis necessitatibus clare distinguimus, sic in eis fratres posse tute et sana conscientia procedere declaramus, videlicet ut in ingruenti vel imminenti necessitate, que brevi tempore vel que interdum ex aliquibus circumstantiis non sic brevi, ut supra in proximo casu dictum est, valeat expediri, tam quoad dantem elemonsinam quam quoad nominatum vel substitutum in omnibus, et per omnia sicut in articulo solutionis pro necessitatibus preteritis faciende supra proxime declaravimus procedatur. In ea vero necessitate quantumcunque presentialiter ingruenti, que tamen ex qualitate sui , ut predicitur, tractum temporis habet innexum, quia in eo casu verisimile est quod tum ratione distantie locorum, quam expeditio necessitatis ipsius ex sui conditione requireret, tum etiam circumstantiarum ipsius necessitatis ratione pensata frequenter casus acciderent, in quibus ad expeditionem necessitatis hujusmodi oporteret quod per diversas manus et personas transiret pecunia necessitati hujusmodi deputata, quarum omnium personarum impossibile quasi esset dominum principalem pro ipsa necessitate pecuniam deputantem seu etiam substitutum ab eo, et tertium etiam ab ipso substituto si casus talis accideret, postea subrogatum habere notitiam, declaramus et dicimus quod in hoc articulo preter dictos duos modos in necessitatibus preteritis et ingruentibus que possint brevi tempore, vel interdum non brevi, ut supra exprimitur, expediri, ut prediximus observandos, ad conservandam ipsius regule ac professorum ejus omnimodam puritatem, quod si presto sit elemosine hujusmodi elargitor vel ejus nuncius, qui possit hoc facere, expresse illi predicatur a fratribus quod sibi placeat ut dominio talis pecunie cum libera potestate revocandi sibi pecuniam ipsam penes ipsum semper, usque ad conversionem ipsius in rem deputatam libere remanente, ut in aliis duobus casibus superius dictum est, per quotcunque manus pecunia seu elemosina ipsa tractetur, sive personas ab eo vel a fratribus nominatas, totum suo consensu, voluntate ac autoritate procedat, quo assensum suum prebente predictis secure fratres re empta vel acquisita de illa pecunia per quemcunque juxta modum annotatum superius uti possunt. Ad majorem autem predictorum omnium claritatem hac in perpetuum valitura provisionis serie declaramus quo fratres prefatis modis, ut predicitur, circa pecuniam in supportandis eorum preteritis et ingruentibus necessitatibus observatis non intelliguntur nec dici possunt per se vel interpositam personam pecuniam recipere contra regulam, vel professionis sui ordinis puritatem, cum manifeste pateat ex premissis ipsos fratres non solum a receptione, proprietate, dominio sive usu ipsius pecunie, verum etiam ac contractatione qualibet ipsius et ab ea penitus alienos.
The manner in which the Friars can have recourse to benefactors who have money.
14. In eo vero casu quando antequam ipsa pecunia in licitum rei habende vel utende commertium sit conversa, concedentem pecuniam mori contigerit, si concedens in concedendo dixerit vel expresserit quod persona deputata pecuniam ipsam in necessarium usum fratrum expenderet, quicquid de ipso concedente vivendo vel moriendo contingeret, sive concedens hujusmodi heredem reliquerit sive non, possint fratres ad personam deputatam, non obstante concedentis morte vel heredis contradictione, pro illa pecunia expendenda recurrere sicut poterant ad ipsum dominum concedentem. Quia vero puritatem ipsius ordinis intima cordis affectione zelamur, cum in predictis casibus ad determinatam necessitatem, ut predicitur, per aliquem pecuniam concedi contigerit, concedens pecuniam rogari possit a fratribus, quod si quid de ipsa pecunia habita necessitate determinata supererit, consentiat ipse concedens quod residuum prefate pecunie in res alias pro aliis ipsorum fratrum predictis necessitatibus convertatur; quo non consentiente predictis ipsum residuum, si quod fuerit, restituatur eidem. Caveant tamen fratres quod sollicite se coaptent ut non plus scienter concedi consentiant, quam verisimiliter extimari possit rem necessariam pro qua pecunia ipsa conceditur valituram. Et quia in predictorum seriosa expositione a dante vel recipiente de facili posset errari, ut clarius utilitati dantium, puritati ordinis aliquorum simplicium, saluti animarum hinc et inde securius consulatur intellectum illum, qui satis in hoc casu a sane intelligente percipitur presentis ac in eternum valiture constitutionis serie lucidamus volentes illum ad communem deduci notitiam, videlicet quod semper quando pecunia fratribus ipsis mittitur vel offertur nisi expresse per mittentem vel offerentem aliud exprimatur, predictis modis prorsus oblata intelligatur et missa. Non enim verisimile est aliquem elemosine sue sine expressione modum illum velle prefigere, per quem et donans merito vel illi quorum necessitatibus intendi per donum hujusmodi providere vel effectu doni vel sue conscientie puritate fraudentur.
How last testiments should be formulated and interpreted in their regard.
15. Ad hec quia fratribus ipsis interdum in ultimis voluntatibus sub diversis modis nonnulla legantur, nec expresse quid de his agendum sit in regula vel predecessorum nostrorum declarationibus continetur, ne in ipsis dubitare contingat imposterum providendo legantibus, et fratrum conscientiis precavendo declaramus, ordinamus et dicimus quod si testator modum secundum quem fratribus eorum conditione inspecta recipere non liceret exprimat in legando, ut si legaret fratribus vineam vel agrum ad excolendum, domum ad locandum, vel similia verba in similibus proferret aut modos similes in relinquendo servaret, a tali legato et ejus receptione per omnem modum fratres abstineant. Si vero modum licitum fratribus in legando testator expresserit, ut si diceret: lego pecuniam pro fratrum necessitatibus expendendam, vel domum, agrum, vineam et similia ad hoc quod per certam personam vel personas idoneas distrahantur et pecunia de rebus ipsis accepta in edificio vel alia fratrum necessaria convertatur, aut in legando similibus modis, vel verbis utatur, in hoc casu illud in omnibus et per omnia consideratis eorum necessitatibus et moderaminibus supradicits quantum ad fratres servari decernimus, quod per nos est superius in concessis pecuniariis elemosinis declaratum. Ad que legata solvenda tam heredes testatorum quam executores se liberales exhibeant, quam prelati et etiam seculares, quibus de jure vel de consuetudine provisio ista competeret, cum expedierit se ex officio suo promptos exhibeant ad pias voluntates deficientium adimplendas. Nam et nos etiam per modos licitos et fratrum regule congruos intendimus providere quod nec pia defunctorum destituatur intentio, et heredum cupiditas legitimis ictibus feriatur ac ipsi fratres pauperes opportunis auxiliis non fraudentur. Si vero fratribus ipsis generaliter aliquid absque modi expresione legetur, hoc in legato sic indeterminate relicto in omnibus et per omnia intelligi ac servari volumus et in perpetuum presenti constitutione jubemus quod supra in pecunia seu elemosina fratribus indeterminate oblata vel missa voluimus ac expressimus observari, videlicet ut sub modo licito fratribus intelligatur esse relictum ita quod nec legans merito nec fratres ipsi effectu relicti fraudentur.
How and in what manner the Friars should conduct themselves in regard to movable goods.
16. Quia vero dominium librorum et aliorum mobilium, quibus tam ordo quam fratres utuntur, que tamen non sint dominii aliorum, ad prefatam ecclesiam specialiter spectare dinoscitur, que libros et mobilia interdum contingit seu expedit vendi vel etiam commutari, fratrum utilitatibus vel eorum conscientiis providere volentes eadem auctoriate concedimus ut commutatio talium rerum et ad eas res, quarum usum fratribus licet habere, de generalis et provintialium ministrorum in suis administrationibus coniunctim vel divisim auctoritate procedat, quibus etiam de dispositione usus talium rerum concedimus ordinare. Si vero res hujusmodi extimato pretio vendi contingat, cum fratribus ipsis per se vel per alium recipere pecuniam regula prohibente non liceat, ordinamus et volumus quod talis pecunia seu pretium recipiatur et expendatur in rem licitam, cujus usum fratribus licet habere per procuratorem a prefata Sede vel a cardinali gubernationem per ipsam Sedem gerenti ejusdem ordinis deputandum juxta modum in superioribus necessitatibus preteritis et ingruentibus ordinatum. De vilibus autem mobilibus vel parum valentibus liceat ex presenti nostra concessione fratribus pietatis seu devotionis intuitu vel pro alia honesta et rationabili causa, obtenta super hoc prius superiorum suorum licentia, juxta quo inter fratres in generali vel provintialibus capitulis tam de ipsis rebus vilibus seu parum valentibus, et earum valore quam prefata licentia, scilicet a quibus et qualiter sit habenda, extiterit ordinatum, intra et extra ordinem aliis elargiri.
Poverty in clothing.
17. Licet autem contineatur in regula quod fratres habeant unam tunicam cum caputio et aliam sine caputio, et videri possit illa fuisse institutentis intentio quod necessitate cessante pluribus non utantur, declaramus quod possint fratres de licentia ministrorum et custodum conjunctum et divisim in administrationibus sibi commissi, cum eis videbitur, pensatis necessitatibus, et aliis circumstantis, que secundum Deum et regulam attendende videntur, uti pluribus, nec per hoc videantur a regula deviare cum etiam in ipsa dicatur expresse quod ministri et custodes de infirmorum necessitatibus et fratribus induendis sollicitam curam gerant secundum loca et tempora et frigidas regiones.
The superiors may delegate their duty regarding the necessities of the community.
18. Et quamquam regula predicta contineat quod de fratribus induendis et necessitatibus infirmorum ministri tantum et custodes sollictam curam gerant, et dictio illa tantum sic ministros et custodes in hac cura perstringere quod ab ea ceteros excludere prima facie videatur, quia tamen sollicite considerare nos convenit et tempus regule institute, quo fratres ipsi ad comparationem presentem numero pauci erant, et forsan ministri ac custodes videbantur tunc ad ista posse procuranda sufficere, ac nihilominus multiplicationis fratrum et moderni temporis qualitatem, nec sit verisimile beatum Franciscum institutorem regule vel ipsis ministris et custodibus impossibilitatis jugum voluisse prefigere vel ex ipsius impossibilitatis consequentia fratres ipsos suis necessitatibus velle carere, concedimus quod ipsi ministri et custodes possint per alio hujusmodi cure sollicitudinem exercere. Debent etiam et alii fratres curam hujusmodi que prefatis ministris et custodibus precipue incumbit ex regula, cum sibi ab illis commissa fuerit, gerere diligenter.
Of work and spiritual labors.
19. Continetur quoque in regula quod fratres, quibus gratiam dedit Dominus laborandi, laborent fideliter et devote ita quod excluso otio anime inimico sancte orationis et devotionis spiritum non extinguant. Quia vero ex verbo isto fratres ipsos de otiositate vite et de regule transgressione improbe notare interdum hactenus aliqui sunt conati, nos morsus hujusmodi nepharios reprimentes declaramus quod consideratis verbis predictis et forma seu modo loquendi, sub quibus fratres ad hujusmodi exercitium inducuntur, non videtur ea fuisse instituentis intentio quod vacantes studio vel divinis officiis et ministeriis exequendis manuali labori seu operationi subjiceret vel ad hoc illos artaret, cum exemplo Christi et multorum Sanctorum Patrum labor iste spiritualis tanto illi preponderet quanto que sunt anime corporalibus perferuntur. Ad alios vero, qui se in predictis spiritualibus operibus non exercent (nisi tales aliorum fratrum licitis servitiis occupentur) ne otiose vivant, verba predicta declaramus extendi, nisi et tales tam excellentis et notabilis contemplationis et orationis existerent quod merito propter hoc non essent a tanto bono et pio exercitio subtahendi. Fratres enim quantumcunque studio vel divinis ministeriis non vacantes, sed aliorum fratrum studio vel aliis divinis officiis et ministeriis vacantium servitiis inherentes, cum ipsis eisdem, quibus serviunt sustentari merentur, quod astruitur illa equa lege sancitum, qua strenuus pugnator ille David juste decrevit, videlicet quod descendentium ad prelium et remanentium ad sarcinas portio equaretur.
Of preaching to the people.
20. Verum quia expresse continetur in regula quod frratres non predicent in episcopatu alicujus episcopi, cum ab eo illis fuerit contradictum, nos in hoc et deferentes regule et nihilominus auctoritatem Apostolice plentitudinis conservantes dicimus quod predictum verbum ad litteram, sicut regula ipsa protuli, observetur, nisi per Sedem Apostolicam circa hoc pro utilitate populi Christiani sit concessum vel ordinatum aliud vel in posterum condeatur seu etiam ordinetur. Et quia in eodem capitulo regule immediate subjungitur quod nullus fratrum populo penitus audeat predicare, nisi a ministro generali fuerit examinatus et etiam approbatus ac ab eo predicationis officium sibi concessum, nos et statum preteritum ipsius ordinis in paucitate sui et modernum in ampliato fratrum numero ac utilitatem animarum ut condecet advertentes concedimus, quod nedum generalis examinare, approbare predicaturos fratres in populis ac illis concedere licentiam predicandi, quatenus persone ydoneitatem et predicationis officium licentia ipsa respicieret, prout in regula continetur, verum etiam provintiales ministri hoc possint in capitulis provincialibus cum diffinitoribus, quod etiam hodie observari dicitur et in fratrum privilegiis contineri: quam quidem licentiam prefati ministri revocare, suspendere valeant et artare, sicut et quando id eis videbitur expedire.
To whom the right to admit vocations may be conceded.
21. Sed quoniam in desideriis nostris hoc geritur ut ad Dei gloriam salus proficiat animarum ac dictus ordo, per quem jugiter ad amorem divinum affectio Christiane religionis accenditur, merito et numero augeatur, concedimus et presenti satuto firmamus licere non solum generali sed etiam provintialibus ministris personas fugientes a seculo in fratres recipere, que ministrorum provintialium licentia per ipsum generalem, sicut expedire viderit, possit artari. Vicarii vero provincialium ministrorum ex officio vicarie licentiam hanc sibi noverint interdictam, nisi per ministros eosdem, quibus hoc posse committere vicariis et aliis licere decernimus, hoc ipsis vicariis specialiter committatur. Caveant tamen ipsi provinciales quod hoc non indiscrete, non passim sed sic considerate committant, sicque illos, quibus hoc committi contigerit, fidelibus consiliis fulciant quod omnia discrete procedant; nec indifferenter omnes admittantur ad ordinem sed illi tantum, qui suffragantibus eis litteratura, ydoneitate vel aliis circumstantiis possint utiles esse ordini, sibique per vite meritum et aliis proficere per exemplum.
On the election of the minister general.
22. Insuper dubitantibus fratribus predicti ordinis an pro eo quod in regula dicitur, ut decedente generali ministro a provicialibus ministris et custodibus in capitulo Pentecostes fiat electio successoris, omnium custodum multitudinem oporteat ad generale capitulum convenire an, ut omnia cum majori tranquillitate tractentur, sufficere possit ut aliqui de singulis provinciis, qui vocem habeant aliorum, intersint, taliter respondemus ut scilicet singularum provintiarum custodes unum ex se constituant, quem cum suo provinciali ministro pro seipsis ad capitulum dirigant, voces aut vices suas committentes eidem, quod etiam cum constituerint per seipsos, statutum hujusmodi duximus approbandum, quod etiam idem predecessor Gregorius nonus in casu hujusmodi dicitur respondisse.
On avoiding suspicious familiarity with women.
23. Denique quia continetur in regula supradicta quod fratres non ingrediantur monasteria monacharum preter illos quibus a Sede predicta concessa fuerit licentia specialis, quamquam hoc de monasteriis pauperum monialium inclusarum fratres attentius intelligendum esse crediderint, cum earum Sedes prefata curam habeat specialem, et intellectus hujusmodi per constitutionem quandam tempore data regule vivente adhuc beato Francisco per provinciales ministros fuisse credatur in generali capitulo declaratus, iidem fratres certificare nichilominus postularunt an hoc de omnibus generaliter, cum regula nullam excipiat, an de solis monasterriis intelligi debeat monialium predictarum. Nos utique generaliter id esse prohibitum de quarumlibet coenobiis monialium respondemus, et nomine monasterii volumus claustrum, domos et officinas interiores intelligi, pro eo quod ad alia loca ubi homines seculares conveniunt, possunt fratres illuc causa predicationis vel elemosine petende accedere, quibus id a superioribus suis pro sua fuerit maturiate vel ydoneitate concessum, exceptis semper predictarum monasteriis inclusarum; ad que nulli datur accendi facultas sine Sedis ejusdem licentia speciali: quod etiam ipsum idem predecessor Gregorius nonus in eo casu dicitur respondisse.
On the authority of the Testament of St. Francis.
24. Ceterum sancte memorie confessor Christi Franciscus mandasse dicitur circa ultimum vite sue, cujus mandatum ipsius dicitur testamentum: quod verba ipsius regule non glosentur, et ut verbis utamur ejusdem, quod sic vel sic intelligi debeat non dicatur, adiiciens quod fratres nullo modo aliquas litteras ab Apostolica Sede petant et aliqua quedam interserens que non possent sine multa dificultate servari, propter quod fratres hesitantes an tenuerentur ad observantiam testamenti prediciti dubitationem hujusmodi per eundem predecessorem Gregorium IX petierunt de ipsorum conscientiis amoveri. Qui, sicut asseritur, attendens periculum animarum et difficulatates, quas propter hoc possent incurrere, dubietatem de ipsorum cordibus amovendo dixit fratres ipsos ad ipsius mandati observantiam non teneri, quod sine consensu fratrum et maxime ministrorum, quos universos tangebat, obligare nequivit, nec sucessorem suum quomodolibet obligavit, cum non haberet imperium par in parem. Nos autem circa presentem articulum nihil duximus innovandum.
This constitution is to be observed by all the Friars.
25. Ad hec a nonnullis predecessoribus nostris Romanis Pontificibus circa declarationem ipsius regule et ipsam regulam ac eam contingentia diversas litteras intelleximus emanasse, sed nec per hoc mordatium predictorum contra regulam ipsam et fratres quievit insultus, nec per ipsas litteras statui fratrum providetur in multis, in quibus de novo vel aliter necessario providendum esse multorum postea casuum contingentium experientia indicavit. Nos itaque, ne litterarum hujusmodi et presentis constitutionis diversitas vel intellectus adversitas in predictorum observatione fratrum animos perturbaret, et ut plenius, clarius et certius eorum statui et obersvantie predicte regule consulatur; in omnibus et singulis illis articulis, quos constitutio ipsa continet, quamquam ipsi vel eorum aliqui contineatur in aliis litteris Apostolicis supradictis, hanc nostram constitutionem, declarationem, seu ordinationem tantum a fratribus ipsis precise ac inviolabiter decernimus perpetuis temporibus observandam.
This Constitution is to have perpetual validity and is to be published. Those who oppose it are to be excommunicated.
26. Cum igitur ex predictis et aliis per nos cum multa maturitate discussis regula ipsa licita, sancta, perfecta et obervabilis, nec ulli patens discrimini evidenter appareat, illam et omnia suprascripta per nos statuta, ordinata, concessa, disposita, decreta, declarata etiam et suppleta de Apostolice postestatis plentudine approbamus, confirmamus et volumus existere perpetue firmitatis, in virtute obedientie districte precipientes quod hec constitutio, sicut cetere constitutiones vel decretales epistole, legatur in scolis. Et quia sub colore liciti nonnulli contra fratres ipsos et regulam in legendo, exponendo atque glosando possent virus sue iniquitatis effundere ac ipsius constitutionis intellectum ipsum in diversas ed adversas sententias producentes suis ad inventionibus depravare, et oppinionum diversitas ac distorsio intellectus multorum pios animos posset involvere et a religionis ingressu multorum corda subtrahere, talium detrahentium vitanda perversitas cogit nos viam ipsis ad predicta precludere et certum procedendi modum hanc constitutionem legentibus prefinire. Itaque sub pena excommunicationis et privationis officii ac beneficii districte precipimus ut presens constitutio, cum ipsam legi contigerit, sicut prolata est, sic fideliter exponatur ad litteram, concordantie, contrarietates seu diverse vel adverse opiniones a lectoribus seu expositoribus nullatenus inducantur, super ipsa constitutione glose non fiant, nisi forsan per quos verbum vel verbi sensus seu constructio vel ipsa constitutio quasi grammaticaliter ad litteram vel intelligibilius exponatur, nec intellectus ipsius per legentem depravetur in aliquo seu distorqueatur ad aliud, quam littera ipsa sonat. Et ne Sedem predictam contra detractores hujusmodi oporteat ulterius laborare, universis ac singulois cujuscunque preminentie, conditionis aut status districte precipimus ne contra predictam regulam et statum predictorum fratrum seu contra premissa per nos statuta, ordinata, concessa, disposita, decreta, declarata, suppleta, approbata et etiam confirmata dogmatizent, scibant, determinent, predicent seu prave loquantur publice vel occulte. Sed si quid penes aliquem in his ambiguitatis emerserit, hoc ad culmen predicte Sedi Apostolice deducatur, ut ex auctoritate Apostolica sua in hoc manifestetur intentio, cui soli concessum est in his statuta condere et condita declarare. Glosantes vero in scriptis constitutionem ipsam aliter quam eo modo, quem diximus, doctores insuper sive lectores, dum docent in publico, ex certa scientia et deliberate intellectum constitutionis hujusmodi depravantes, facientes quoque commentum, scripturas seu libellos ac ex certa scientia et deliberate determinantes in scolis seu predicantes contra predicta vel aliqua seu aliquod predictorum, non obstantibus aliquibus privilegiis vel indulgentiis aut litteris Apostolicis, quibuscunque dignitatibus, personis, ordinibus aut locis religiosis vel secularibus generaliter vel singulariter sub quacunque forma vel expressione verborum consessis, que nolumus alicuibus in premissis quomodolibet suffragari, excommunicationis sententie, quam ex nunc in ipsos proferimus, se noverint subjacere; a qua per neminem nisi per Romanum Pontificem possint absolvi. Insuper tam istos, contra quos per nos excommunicationis est prolata sententia, quam alios, si qui fuerint, contra premissa vel eorum aliquod venientes ad nostram et Sedis memorate volumus deduci notitiam, ut quos provisus modus equitatis non arcet a vetitis compescat rigor Apostolice ultionis. Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostre declarationis, ordinationis, concessionis, dispositionis, suppletionis, approbationis, confirmationis et constitutionis infringere vel ei ausu temerario contraire. Si quis, etc. usque incursurum.
Dat. Suriani, XVIIII kalendas septembris, pontificatus nostri anno secundo.