Papal Documents - 774 

Papal Documents

Ordinem vestrum of Innocent IV (1245)

As the pastoral ministries of the Lesser Brothers continued to expand dramatically throughout the 1230's, many brothers increasingly viewed some provisions of their Rule as being too restrictive. The minister general, Crescentius of Jesi, who succeeded to that office in 1244, appears to have been one of those who favored further relaxation of certain prescriptions. Shortly after his accession he obtained the following declaration from Innocent IV who, like his predecessor Gregory IX, strongly favored the work of the mendicant orders in the church, but unlike him did not know Francis personally and cared little for his distinctive values.a This document was the second major papal declaration on the Franciscan Rule; although it claimed the modest role of further clarifying Gregory IX's Quo elongati of 1230, it actually went far beyond it in a number of respects.b

This document was to prove controversial in the Order and contributed to the growing division among the brothers over their interpretation of Francis's ideals.c The party opposed to Innocent's relaxation of the poverty standards triumphed at the General Chapter of Genoa in 1251 under the new general minister, John of Parma, when the assembly decided not to utilize the new privileges, but remain under the stricter standards of Quo elongati.d This remained the official position of the Order throughout the generalates of John of Parma and Bonaventure.e Despite this principled stand, many local superiors viewed the refusal to use this papal privilege as unrealistic in light of the pressing ministerial duties the Order had assumed, and both John and Bonaventure had to contend with many violations of the official standards.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 774