Letter of Pope Honorius III to Cardinal Hugolino - 72 

[Hugolino], Bishop of Ostia and Legate of the Apostolic See.

Your letter which was delivered to us holds that very many vir- gins and other women desire to flee the pomp and wealth of this world and make some homes for themselves in which they may live not possessing anything under heaven except these homes and the oratories to be constructed for them. Because of the instability of worldly prosperity, nobility seems to promise a pros- perous state of life in their world, as He Who breathes where He wills inspires them to flee from the face of the globe, after they drink the wine of compunction and receive an evidently revealed sign. Since for this purpose, foundations are being offered to you by many people in the name of the Church of Rome, some of the people wish to reserve for themselves the improvement, estab- lishment, and abandonment of these foundations, and are not afraid, thereby, of impeding the salutary resolutions of these women. Therefore, Your Fraternity has requested that we take care to provide for them with paternal solicitude.

Wishing, therefore, to impart our Apostolic favor upon the pious desires of these women in such a way that they may attain the result of their petition, and that both the Bishops of the dio- cese and others in whose parishes these women set up their homes, may not have a just reason for complaint, we command you through the authority of this letter to receive, legally as prop- erty, the foundations of this kind in the name of the Church of Rome and to ordain that the churches built in these places be solely under the jurisdiction of the Apostolic See. This is so no Bishop or any other ecclesiastic or secular person is able to claim any right for himself, as long as these women be without posses- sions, tithes, and wills from which damage may accrue to the Ordinaries of the places and to other prelates of churches. If in the future it happens that they do not have possessions, or the other things mentioned above, we do not want these Bishops, or the others, to be defrauded canonically under the pretext of such an exemption.

Given at the Lateran on the twenty-seventh of August in the third year of our pontificate.




Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 72