Papal Documents - 778 

7Another chapter of the aforesaid Rule says: "If any of the brothers, at the instigation of the enemy, sin mortally in regard to those sins about which it may have been decreed among the brothers to have recourse only to the provincial ministers, such brothers must have recourse to them as soon as possible, without delay." We declare that the chapter in question refers only to manifest public sins. Furthermore, these same ministers, in order to avoid great effort and hazardous travel, if it seems expedient to them, may entrust such cases to the custodians and other discreet brother priests in their places. We also wish that these same ministers appoint, or have appointed, from among the more mature and discreet priests, as many confessors as they deem suitable for their provinces. Let these priests hear the confessions for the private sins of the brothers, unless they choose instead to confess to their ministers or custodians who happen to be visiting their places.

8Again, the Rule states that "upon the death of the general minister, the election of a successor should be made by the provincial ministers and custodians at the Pentecost chapter." We say that the custodians of the several provinces should designate one of their number to send along with their provincial minister to represent them at the general chapter, commissioning him to vote in their place.

9Furthermore, it is also the sense of the aforesaid Rule that it is not lawful for any brother to preach to the people "unless he has been examined and approved by the general minister and received from him the office of preaching." The general minister can delegate these matters to the provincial ministers and their vicars. Thus, in his absence, these same provincials or their vicars together with the definitors at their provincial chapters might examine and approve the brothers of their provinces, conferring on them the office of preaching, as it seems best to them in the sight of God.a Now, if these candidates do not require an examination, on the basis of having had training both at a school of theology and in the office of preaching; and if they are of mature age; and if they possess all those other qualities that are expected of such men, then they may receive permission from the general or their provincial ministers to preach to the people in the approved manner.

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Fontes Franciscani, p.


Illud quoque Regulae praedictae Capitulum ubi dicit: Ut si qui?Fratrum, instigante humani generis inimico, mortaliter peccaverint, pro illis peccatis, de quibus ordinatum fuerit inter Fratres, ut recurratur ad solos Ministros Provinciales?; teneantur ipsi Fratres ad eos recurrere, quam citius poterunt sine mora: ad manifesta tantum, & publica pertinet. Possunt tamen iidem Ministri pro Fratrum laboribus, & periculosis discursibus evitandis, si expedire viderint, Custodibus, & aliis discretis Fratribus Presbyteris super iis committere vices suas. Volumus autem, ut ipsi Ministri constituant, vel constitui faciant tot per Provincias, quot ad hoc necessarios noverint, de maturioribus, & discretioribus Fratribus Sacerdotibus, qui super hujusmodi peccatis, cum occulta, vel privata fuerint, audiant Poenitentes, nisi Ministris, aut Custodibus suis ad loca eorum declinantibus maluerint confiteri.

Ad haec pro eo, quod in Regula dicitur: ut decedente Generali Ministro, a Provincialibus Ministris, & Custodibus in Capitulo Pentecostes fiat electio successoris: dicimus, quod singularum Provinciarum Custodes unum ex se constituant, quem cum suo Provinciali Ministro pro ipsis ad Capitulum dirigant, voces suas committentes eidem.

Et cum juxta Regulae praefatae tenorem, nulli Fratrum liceat Populo praedicare, nisi a Ministro Generali fuerit examinatus, & approbatus, & sibi officum praedicationis ab ipso concessum: Potest idem Minister vices suas Ministris Provincialibus, & eorum Vicariis committere in hac parte: ita tamen, ut ipsi Provinciales, vel iidem Vicarii in ipsorum Provincialium absentia una cum Diffinitoribus in Provincialibus Capitulis Fratres suarum Provinciarum, qui examinantione indigere credunt, examinent, approbent, eisque hujusmodi officium, prout secundum Deum viderint expedire, concedant. Si qui vero examinari non egent pro eo, quod in Theolgoica facultate, & praedicationis officio sunt instructi, si aetatis maturitas, & alia, quae requiruntur in talibus, conveniant in eisdem; possunt de Generalis, vel suorum Provincialium Ministrorum licentia, seu mandato Populo praedicare.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 778