Solicitudo Pastoralis

Author: Innocent XI


Pope Innocent XI

The motu proprio on the Rule of the Friars Minor, November 20, 1679 A. D

Innocent XI for an everlasting memorial

1. The pastoral solicitude of office, by which We preside over the governing of the catholic Church spread throughout the whole globe by divine disposition, urges and impels Us to attend to fostering and preserving the Orders of men religious instituted by this holy See with wise piety for the glory of the Omnipotent God and the salvation of souls, and refulgent in the Church of God on account of their great merits in their holy and primeval regulations, and in keeping them safe and fortifying them from those things hurtful, which could extinguish and relax the spirit and rigor of the original conscientiousness, and in providing for their blessed advancement in the way of the mandates of the Lord, as much as is conceded Us from on high.

And also since (as We understand them) in the many general chapters of the Order of Friars Minor of St. Francis by the name of the Observance, and recently in that of Vallisoletanus, which was celebrated in the year 1670, it has been declared and protested by the unanimous consent of all the friars who were heard, that until now from none of the precepts of the rule of the Friars Minor (whether they are called "the Friars Minor of the body of the Observance", or "the Observants", or "the Reformed", or "the Discalced", or "the Recollects," have they been dispensed, nor has the body of the Observance itself ever introduced or admitted any dispensation in the rule, but rather have they willed according to their strength, favored as they are by Divine aid, to observe it purely according to the declarations of the Supreme Pontiffs, admitted and received by the Friars Observants or of the Observance in their collection of general statutes, for those of the Cismontane in 1663, and for those of the Utramontane in 1621, and by the Reformed, Discalced and the Recollects in their respective particular constitutions:

2. We, for greater firmness of protestation, and so that in the aforementioned Order the condition and rule of the Friars Minor be observed, and that the pretext for transgressing it be taken away from individual friars, approving and confirming in order the very same protestation and declaration of these things expressed above, by Our own decision and from certain knowledge and Our mature deliberation, and from the plenitude of apostolic power, for the sake of retaining the present things We declare that all and each friar of the body of the Observance of the said Order to be bound in conscience to observe the rule of the Friars Minor of St. Francis and the precepts set forth and enumerated by Nicholas III of blessed memory and Clement V, Our predecessors as Roman Pontiffs according to the norm of the respective aforesaid constitutions, and significantly, besides the precepts which do not so frequently occur to be bound even to the recitation of the Divine Office, to the precept in the rule on fasting, unless necessity excuses them, to going about without footwear, this is without anything that might cover the foot, of whatever material it might be, unless true necessity confirmed by a prelate be present, to not go horseback riding, unless infirmity or necessity proven by the judgement of the superiors excuses them, to cheapness in clothing according to the aforesaid respective constitutions, to not using more pieces of clothing than those which are prescribed by the rule, namely one tunic with a capuche and another without a capuche, a cord and breeches; for any kind of whatever clothing beyond the aforesaid (excepting the mantle which is licit from the beginning of religious life), such as undergarments or shirts; sweat bands, little tunics, and the like, are against the rule, unless true necessity excusing from the precept and approved by the prelate be present; lastly to be bound to the capital precept of the religion of the Friars Minor concerning not receiving money through themselves or through an interposed person, for the Friars Minor of the body of the Observance can have the use of other necessary things, but not the dominion [thereof], of money, however, neither the dominion nor the use; and hence the handling of whatever coins, or money, which is not purely natural, or which is in any manner civil [currency], is entirely prohibited to the Friars Minor Observants or of the Observance; and besides each and every dispensation, concession and custom, if it is ascertained to be against the aforesaid things among the body of the Observance of the aforesaid Order, alike in change, knowledge, deliberation and fullness of power, for the sake of retaining these present things, We revoke, nullify, void, and annul, and both in their force and effect We thoroughly and entirely revoke, and We determine and declare them to be revoked, nullified, voided, and nothings, both in their force and effect thoroughly and entirely empty and to be so forever. Equally, however, declaring those things which are not prohibited by the aforesaid things in the said Order [concerning] the apostolic syndics, since their use is not a dispensation from the rule, but a means provided by Our predecessors the Roman Pontiffs for the purer observance thereof, or syndics of the same kind chosen according to the constitution prescribed by Nicholas III and Clement V the aforementioned predecessors, or according to the disposition of the constitutions restored by Martin IV and Martin V and Paul IV equally Our predecessors, just as their use among each family, congregation, reform, or province of the aforesaid respective Order had been received.

3. Likewise so that in entering religion one wills to undertake each obligation, he be fully informed, we establish that no one is to be received to the regular habit in the same Order, unless he be fully informed beforehand concerning the aforesaid precepts of the rule which oblige in conscience, and that with this previous notification he wills to undergo probation; nor is anyone to be admitted to regular profession, unless he be examined beforehand concerning his understanding of the rule and its precepts according to the aforesaid things, and then a protestation be made by him before the whole community, to [the effect] that he is obliged by profession to the observance of the rule with all its precepts just now enumerated and expressed, and this protestation be received, and he make profession under it.

4. So that the example of the prelates or superiors truly be a more efficacious means of observing the aforesaid things, We therefore likewise establish that no one be able to be chosen a prelate or superior in the aforesaid Order, who does not follow the common life of observance, that is, he who frequently rides horseback, or has a sickness, by which he is excused from the obligation of going about on foot, who uses undergarments or shirts or linens upon himself or on his bed, who goes about with shoes, who does not observe the fasts of the Church or of the rule, who has been seen at anytime handling money, unless he has mended his ways for at least three years now, who notably is defective in attending the community choir, refectory, and other places, as is prescribed in his constitutions. I judge that the election of such a one, who in all the aforementioned things does not follow the common life, must be nullified by the prelate or general superior, after having learnt the information in the external forum, for the sake of his conscience, without the harshness of a sentence, but with the counsel and assent of three friars, who are or have been provincials or at least provincial definitors; nevertheless upon the consciences of these same, lest either one who observes the common life be expelled, or one who does not observe it be confirmed, We place the responsibility.

5. Lastly, so that every occasion of trespassing the precept of not handling coins or money be born away, We enjoin each and every prelate or superior of the said Order in virtue of holy obedience, and under the penalty of the deprivation of their office, to permit no religious of the same Order to have the administration of lands, of returns, or of whatever other things, moveable or immovable, to whomsoever the dominion belong, and significantly that to none of the religious of this kind of Order be permitted the administration of the temporal goods of any monastery of women religious under whatever pretext or name, namely, as administrators, syndics, agents, tenants, superintendents, steward, or any other imaginable.

6. Concluding this present letter and whatever things which must be contained in it, even for [the sake of] that which the superiors and friars of the aforesaid Order, and whatever others exist, of whatever status, grade, order, preeminence or dignity, or others worthy of specific and individual mention and reference, who having or in any manner alleging to have an interest in the aforementioned things, do not consent to them, or to those things which have been spoken of, cited and heard, and to the matter [at hand], on account of which this present letter has been issued, as if they have not been sufficiently adduced, verified, and justified, or for whatever other reason, even however verified, legitimate and privileged a case, appearance, pretext or point, even those contained in the body of law, even the irregular, the most irregular and entirely injurious, not at any time vitiated by subreption or obreption or nullity, or by Our intention or the consent of those who have interest, or for whatever other purpose, even however great and substantial and unconsidered and unthinkable, and on account of lacking individual reference to thus be noted, impugned, infringed, retracted, modified, refuted, called into controversy, or reduced to the terms of law or of the statutes or constitutions of the said Order, or to be understood or accomplished contrary to those things by the opening of the mouth, by complete restitution, or whatever other remedy of law, of fact or of favor, or having accomplished, whether anything in a judicial procedure or outside thereof has even been conceded or decreed by a [legal] motion, equal in knowledge or plenitude of power, or even if in any manner one be able to command it himself; but so that this present letter remain and be forever firm, valid, and efficacious, and to procure and obtain its own plenary and integral effects, and by this, to which it pertains and will pertain in whatever time, in all things and through all things to be observed and fulfilled inviolably and resolutely, and in such a manner that it is not be judged even otherwise in the aforementioned things, and thus by whatever judges, ordinary or delegated, even by the auditors of the causes of the apostolic palace, or by the cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, even by legates a latere and by nuncios of the Apostolic See, or by whatever others who exercise or will exercise whatever preeminence and power, when it has been brought before them and for the sake of whosoever by whatever other faculty and authority in judging and interceding, it be judged and defined to pertain to themselves, and happen to be tried as void and vain (if such is contrary to this letter) by whomsoever, of whatever authority, knowingly or unknowingly.

7. Not withstanding the aforesaid things, and, as much as is needful, Our rule and that of the apostolic chancery concerning not removing a law that has already been granted, and concerning other apostolic laws, and those set forth in universal, and provincial and synodal councils, general or special, in constitutions or ordination, and besides those of the said Order, and of its congregations, reforms, provinces and convents and of whatever other [division], or by others of whatever kind, even having been sworn, by apostolic confirmation, or of whatever other firmness of strength, in statutes, usages, compositions and customs, even immemorial, also by privileges, indults and apostolic letters to the same Order, and its superiors, friars, and persons whatsoever, under whatever tenor and form of words, and even with whatever derogations of this to be derogated, or by other more efficacious, most efficacious and unusual passages, and by those things which would void them, and by other decrees in general or in special, even by a [legal] motion, equal in knowledge and plenitude of power, and others in consistory and in any way conceded contrary to the aforementioned things and of however many confirmed, approved, and renewed vicissitudes; to which each and every, even if for the sufficient derogation of those things and their tenor, special, specific, expressed and individual, and word for word, not even by general indeed important passages, the mention or whatever other expression used or some other exquisite form that would approach this, their tenor being of this kind, having respectively the form, case and occasions to the present letter expressed, most exactly observed and specified fully and sufficiently, those other things which would perdure in their strength, to effect the aforesaid things, with this change alone, We especially and expressly derogate and will to be derogated and in all other contrary things of whatever kind.

8. We also will that when there has been a transferal of the present letter, or its copy, even printed, subscribed to by the hand of any notary public, and sealed with the seal of a person established in ecclesiastical dignity, it be held with exactly the same trust in whatever place as much in court as outside of it, which it should hold by this very same present document even if they should be exhibited or shown [in public].

Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, under the ring of the Fisherman, on the 20th day of November, 1679, the fourth year of Our Pontificate.

Paragraph numbers, do not appear in the Latin text, but were added by the translator.

Text within square brackets has been added by the translator for the sake of clarity.

This document has been released into the public domain by its author.

Solicitudo Pastoralis The motu proprio of Pope Innocent XI, on the Rule of the Friars Minor, November 20, 1679 A. D

This Latin text is taken from the Bullarum Romanum, November 20, 1679 A. D., p. 214.

Innocentius Papa XI

ad perpetuam rei memoriam

Sollicitudo pastoralis officii, quo catholicae Ecclesiae per universum orbem diffusae regimini divina dispositione praesidemus, nos urget atque impellit, ut religiosorum viroum Ordines ad omnipotentis Dei gloriam et animarum salutem sapienti pietate ab hac sancta Sede institutos, magnisque in Ecclesiam Dei meritis fulgentes, in sanctis ac primaevis eorum institutis confovere et conservare, ac a noxiis, quae primigeniae religiositatis spiritum atque rigorem extinguere et relaxare possent, tueri et praemunire, felicibusque illorum in via mandatorum Domini progressibus consulere, quatum nobis ex alto conceditur, studeamus.

Cum itaque (sicut accepimus) in pluribus capitulis generalibus Ordinis fraturm Minorum sancti Francisci de Observantia nuncupatorum, et novissime in Vallisoletano, quod anno MDCLXX celebratum fuit, unanimi omnium fraturm vocalium consensu declaratum et protestatum fuerti, in nullo regulae eorumdem fraturm Minorum praecepto eatenus cum fratribus Minorum de corpore Observantiae, sive Observantes, sive Reformati, sive Observantes, sive Reformati, sive Discalceati, sive Recollecti dicantur, dispensatum fuisse, nec ipsum Obervantiae corpus ullam unquam admisisse vel admittere dispensationem in regula, sed potius velle pro viribus, Domini favente auxilio, illam pure observare iuxta Summorum Pontificum declarationes a fratribus Obervantibus seu de Observantia in sui statutis generalibus recapitualatis, pro cismontanis anno MDCLXII, et pro ultramontanis anno MDCXXI, ac a Reformatis, Discalceatis et Recollectis in suis particularibus constitutionibus repective admissas et receptas:

2. Nos, pro maiori huius protestationis frimitate, et ut in Ordine praefato status et regula fratrum Minorum pure observetur, singulisque fratribus praetextus eam transgrediendi praecludatur, eamdem protestationem et declarationem supra expressam harum serie autoritate apostolica approbantes et confirmantes, motu proprio ac ex certa scientia et matura deliberatione nostris, deque apostolicae potestatis plenitudine, tenore praesentium declaramus omnes et singulos fratres de corpore Observantiae dicti Ordinis teneri in conscientia observare regulam fratrum Minorum sancti Francisci et praecepta a felicis recordationis Nicolao III et Clemente V Romanis Pontificibus praedecessoribus nostris exposita et numerata ad normam constitutionum praedictarum respective, et signanter, praeter praecepta quae non ita frequenter occurrunt et recitationem divini officii, teneri ad ieiunia praecepta in regula, nisi excuset necessitas, ad incendum sine calceamentis, hoc est absque aliquo quod pedem cooperiat, cuiuscumque illud materiae sit, nisi adsit vera necessitas a prelato approbanda, ad non equitandum, nisi infirmitas vel necessitas iudicio superiorum probata excuset, ad vilitatem vestium iuxta praedictas constitutiones respective, ad non utendum pluribus vestimentis quam illis quae regula praescribit, nempe una tunica cum caputio et alia sine caputio, chorda et femoralibus; nam aliud quodvis vestimenti genus ultra praedicta (excepto mantello ab initio religionis licito), ut indusia, seu camisiae; sudariola, tunicellae, et similia, sunt contra regulam, nisi adsit vera necessitas excusans a praecepto per praelatum approbata; ad demum teneri ad capitale praeceptum religionis fratrum Minorum de non recipiendis denariis per se vel per interpositam personam, aliarum enim rerum necessarium possunt fratres Minores de corpore Observantiae huiusmodi habere usum, licet non dominium, denariorum, autem nec dominium, denariorum, autem nec dominium nec usum; et proinde quaevis contractatio pecuniae, seu denariorum, quae non sit pure naturalis, seu quae sit quovis modo politica, cuiuscumque domini sint denarii seu pecunia, fratribus Minoribus Observantibus seu de Observantia est omnino prohibita; ac propterea omnes et singulas dispensationes, concessiones et consuetudines, si quae contra praemissa in corpore Observantiae Ordinis praedicti reperiantur, motu, scientia, deliberatione et potestatis plenitudine paribus, earumdem tenore praesentium, revocamus, cassamus, iritamus et annullamus, viribusque et effectu penitus et omnino revocamus, ac revocatas, cassatas, irritas et nullas, viribusque et effectu penitus et omnino vacuas esse et perpetuo fore decernimus et declaramus. Declarantes tamen pariter quod per praemissa non prohibentur in dicto Ordine syndici apostolici, cum eorum usus non sit dispensatio in regula, sed modus a Romanis Pontificibus praedecessoribus nostris provisus pro puriori illius observatione, sive eiusmodi syndici assumantur ad praescriptum constitutionem Nicolai III et Clementis V praedecessorum praefatorum, sive secundum dispositionem constitutionum recolendae memoriae memoriae Martini IV et Martini V ac Pauli IV praedecessorum pariter nostrorum, prout illorum usus in singulis familiis, congregationibus, reformationibus, aut provinciis Ordinis praedicti respective fuerit receptus.

3. Ut autem in ingressu religionis uniusque de obligationibus sumere vult, plene informetur, statuimus ut nullus recipiatur ad habitum regularem in eodem Ordine, nisis prius plene informatus sit de praedictis praeceptis regulae obligatibus in conscientia, et praevia hac notitia velit probationem subire; nec quiquam admittatur ad professionem regularem, nisis prius examinatus sit de intellectu regulae et praeceptorum eius iuxta praedicta, et deinde immediate ante illam coram tota communitate fiat ei protestatio, quod ad observantiam regulae cum omnibus eius praeceptis tunc enumerandis et exprimendis obligetur in professione, eamque protestationem admittat, et sub ea professionem faciat.

4. Quia vero efficacius praedicta observandi medium est exemplum praelatorum sive superiorum, ideo statuimus pariter neminem eligi posse in praelatum sive superiorem in Ordine praedicto, qui vitam communem observantiae non sequatur, hoc est qui frequenter equitet, seu infirmitatem, qua ab obligatione pedibus incedendi excusetur, habeat, qui indusiis seu camisiis aut lineis utatur apud se vel in lecto, qui claceatus incedat, qui ieiunia Ecclesiae et regulae non observet, qui aliquando visus sit contrectare pecunias, nisis iam per trienium saltem emendatus sit, qui notabiliter defectuosus sit in assistendo communitati chori, refectorii et aliis, prout sibi in constitutionibus praescribitur. Porro electio illius, qui in omnibus praemissis vitam communem non sequatur, irritanda sit a praelato sive superiore generali, capta informatione extraiudiciali, pro sua conscientia, sine strepitu iudicii, cum consilio tamen et assensu trium fraturm, qui ministri provinciales vel saltem definitores provinciae sint vel fuerint; ipsorum autem conscientias, ne aut ille expellatur qui vitam communem sequatur, aut ille confirmetur qui eam non observet, oneramus.

5. Demum, ut omnis occasio transgrediendi praeceptum de non contrectandis denariis seu pecuniis auferatur, omnibus et singulis dicti Ordinis praelatis sive superioribus in virtute sanctae obedientiae, ac sub poena privationis suorum officiorum, iniungimus ut nullo religioso eiusdem Ordinis permittant administrationem fundorum, reddituum aut quarumcumque aliarum rerum et bonorum mobilium vel immobilium, cuiuscumque domini illa sint, et signanter ut nulli religiosorum Ordinis huiusmodi permittatur administratio bonorum temporalium alicuius monasterii monialium sub quovis praetextu aut nomine, nempe administratoris, syndici, factoris, coloni, superintendentis, villici, aut alio quovis imaginabili.

6. Decernentes easdem praesentes litteras et in eis contenta quaecumque, etiam eo quod superiores et fratres Ordinis praedicti, aliique quilibet, cuiuscumque status, gradus, ordinis, praeeminentiae vel digitatis existant, seu alias specifica et individua mentione et expressione digni, in praemissis interesse habentes seu habere quomodolibet praetendentes, illis non consenserint, seu ad ea vocati, citati et auditi, causaeque, propter quas ipsae praesentes emanarint, sufficienter adductae, verificatae et iustificatae non fuerint, aut ex alia qualibet, etiam quantumvis veridica, legitima et privilegiata causa, colore, praetextu vel capite, etiam in corpore iuris clause, etiam enormis, enormissimae et totalis laesionis, nullo unquam tempore de subreptionis vel obreptionis aut nullitatis vitio, seu intentionis nostrae aut interesse habentium consensus, aliove quolibet, etiam quantumvis magno et substantiali ac incogitato et inexcogitabili individuamque expressionem requirente defectu notari, impugnari, infringi, retractari, modificari, redargui, in controverisiam vocari, aut ad terminos iuris seu statuorum et constitutionum dicti Ordinis reduci, seu adversus illas aperitionis oris, restitutionis in integrum, aliudve quodcumque iuris, facti vel gratiae remedium intentari vel impetrari, aut impetrato, seu etiam motu, scientia et potestatis plenitudine paribus concesso vel emanato, quempiam in iudicio vel extra illud uti seu se iuvare ullo modo posse; sed easdem praesentes litteras semper firmas validas et efficaces existere et fore, suosque plenarios et integros effectus sortiri et obtinere, ac ab illis, ad quos spectat et pro tempore quandocumque spectabit, in omnibus et per omnia inviolabiliter et inconcusse observari et adimplere, sicque et non aliter in praemissis censeri, atque ita per quoscumque iudices ordinarios et delegatos, etiam causarum palatii apostolici auditores, ac S. R. E. cardinales, etiam de latere legatos et Apostolicae Sedis nuncios, aliosve quoslibet quacumque praeeminentia et potestate fungentes et functuros, sublata eis et eorum cuilibet quavis aliter iudicandi et interpetandi facultate et auctoriatate, iudicari et definiri debere, ac iritum et inane si secus super his a quoquam, quavis auctoriate, scienter vel ignoranter contigerit attentari.

7. Non obstantibus praemissis, ac, quatenus opus sit, nostra et cancellariae apostolicae regula de iure quaesito non tollendo, aliisque apostolicis, ac in universalibus, provincialibusque et synodalibus conciliis editis, generalibus vel specialibus, constitutionibus et ordinationibus, necnon dicti Ordinis, eiusque congregationun, reformationum, provinciarum et conventuun quorumcumque, aliisve quibuslibet, etiam iuramento, confirmatione apostolica, vel quavis firmitate alia roboratis, statutis, usibus, stylis et consuetudinibus, etiam immemorabilibus, privelegiis quoque, indultis et litteris apostolicis eidem Ordini, eiusque superioribus, fratribus et personis quibusvis, sub quibuscumque verborum tenoribus et formis, ac cum quibusvis etiam derogatoriarum derogatoriis, aliisve efficacioribus, efficacissimis et insolitis clausulis, irritantibusque, aliisque decretis in genere vel in specie, etiam motu, scientia et potestatis plenitudine paribus, ac consistorialiter et alias quomodolibet in contrarium praemissorum concessis ac quantiscumque vicibus confirmatis, approbatis et innovatis; quibus omnibus et singulis, etiamsi pro illorum sufficienti derogatione de illis eorumque totis tenoribus, specialis, specifica, expressa et individua, ac de verbo ad verbum, non autem per clausulas generales idem importantes, mentio seu quaevis alia expressio habenda aut aliqua alia exquisita forma ad hoc servanda foret, illorum tenores huiusmodi, formas, causas et occasiones praesentibus pro plene et sufficienter expressis, exactissime servatis et specificatis respective habentes, illis alias in suo robore premansuris, ad praemissorum effectum, hac vice dumtaxat, specialiter et expresse derogamus et derogatum esse volumus ceterisque contrariis quibuscumque.

8. Volumus autem ut earumdem praesentium litterarum transumptis, seu exemplis, etiam impressis, manu alicuius notarii publici subscriptis, et sigillo personae in ecclesiastica dignitate consitutae munitis, eadem prorsus fides ubique locorum tam in iudicio quam extra illud habeatur, quae haberetur ipsis praesentibus si forent exhibitae vel ostensae.

Datum Romae, apud S. Petrum, sub annulo Piscatoris, die xx novembris MDCLXXIX, pontificatus nostri anno IV.

Electronic Copyright � 1999 EWTN
All Rights Reserved