Papal Documents - 775 

1We have tended your Order with affection, and in that spirit we fervently desire that it make continual progress through praiseworthy increase. And so, in our paternal solicitude, we are happy to obtain for you the things through which it might receive the support of suitable buttresses.

Now there are certain doubtful and obscure things contained in your Rule, which only catch your spirits up in entangled complexities and knotty intricacies that impede your understanding. Thus Pope Gregory, our predecessor of happy memory, expounded and de- clared the meaning of some of these, although incompletely. We, therefore, wish to remove entirely all obscurity from these passages by a complete declaration of their meaning and to excise totally all scruples of anxiety from your minds by means of the certainty of a fuller exposition. We therefore declare to you that when your Rule; imposes on you the observance of the holy Gospel,a you are bound only to those Gospel counsels which are expressly contained in that same Rule by way of precept or prohibition.

2Moreover, it is lawful for the provincial ministers, with the advice of some of the more discreet brothers, to entrust the reception of those entering the Order to their vicars as well as to other circumspect brothers for their provinces. However, they should not receive indiscriminately all who present themselves, but only those candi- dates whose learning and other praiseworthy qualities recommend them, and who thus can be of benefit to the Order and to themselves by a meritorious life and to others by a good example.b The provincial ministers may also receive back those who have left the Order when they return and expel brothers once received in certain cases as de- termined by your general chapter.

3The aforesaid Rule also states that "the clerical brothers are to recite the Divine Office according to the rite of the holy Roman Church excepting the psalter, for which reason they may have breviaries." However, when they attend the Divine Office celebrated by other clergy, this suffices to fulfill their obligation and thus they are not bound to recite their own Office.c

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Bullarium Franciscanum, p. 400-402


Innocent IV - Ordinem Vestrum

Ordinem vesstrum illo prosequentes affectu, quod ipsum inter alios laudabilibus continue proficere incrementis ferventer optemus, libenter ea, per quae opportuni vigoris recipiat fulcimentum, paterna sollicitudine procuramus.

Hinc est, quod cum quaedam dubia, & obscura, quae in vestra Regula continentur, animos vestros cujusdam confusione implicitatis involvant, & nodosae intricationis difficultate impediant intellectum; & felicis recordationis Gregorius Papa Praedecessor noster aliqua ex eis exposuerit, & declaverit semiplene: Nos obscuritatem ab illis perfectae interpraetationis declaratione omnino amovere volentes; & ambiguitatis scrupulum cura ipsa de vestris cordibus plenioris expositionis certitudine penitus amputare: dicimus, quod per eamdem Regulam quoad observationem Evangelii, quam injungit, non nisi ad ea dumtaxat Evangelii consilia tenemini, quae in ipsa Regula praeceptorie, vel inhibitorie sunt expressa.

Licet autem Ministris Provincialibus, tam eorum Vicariis, quam aliis providis Fratribus venientium ad Ordinum receptionem pro suis Provinciis de consilio Fratrum committere discretorum; non tamen expedit converti volentes indifferenter admitti, sed illos tantum, qui suffragantibus eis litteratura, & aliis laudabilibus circumstantiis, possint utiles esse Ordini, sibique per vitae meritum, & aliis proficere per exemplum. Sic vero Ministri egressos ab Ordine, cum redierint, ad ipsum recipiant; & ejiciant in certis casibus secundum terminationem vestri Generalis Capituli jam receptos.

Quamquam vero praedicta contineeat Regula, quod Clerici faciant Divinum Officum secundum ordinem Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae, excepto Psalterio ex quo habere poterunt Breviaria: cum tamen Divino intersunt Officio, cum aliis celebrantes, tunc eis illud sufficit; & ad dicendum Officium proprium non tenentur.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 775