Papal Documents - The Prophet - 741 

manifest benefit deriving from it to the universal Church, as made clear in the general Council of Lyons.a

We are no less aware, indeed it makes us the more deeply thoughtful—as it should make all who profess the Catholic faith ponder even more carefully—that God Himself is watching over the Order and its members. With His saving help He has so preserved them from the rancor raging up against them that the tempest has neither dashed them down nor dismayed the courage of the members of the Order. On the contrary, they go on growing in their religious vigor and making progress in the observance of their rule of life.

4 Nevertheless, it is our desire that this Order flourish in distinct and undimmed clarity, with all annoying handicaps whatsoever removed from its path. The brothers of the Order themselves, assembled in a general chapter,b have given occasion to this desire. Our beloved sons, the general minister and several of the provincial ministers who had gathered at the chapter, appeared in our presence on that occasion. We recognized their fervent determination to observe the Rule in its entirety with vigor of spirit. Thus we have decided to put a stop to the biting attacks of their critics, to resolve certain matters in the Rule that might appear doubtful, to treat with fuller clarity certain points previously explained by our predecessors, and to provide a clean conscience for the brothers in regards to certain other matters involving their Rule.

5 As for ourselves, from our tender years we have bestowed our affection on the said Order.c As we grew in age, we held frequent discussions on the said Rule and the holy intentions of blessed Francis with certain companions of the Confessor who were acquainted with his life and ways. At length, as cardinal and, later on, when appointed by the Holy See to be the governor, protector and corrector of the Order, our responsibilities put us in direct touch with its affairs.

Now, installed in the Apostolic office, we can give our attention to the said Order supplied with full information, gleaned also from the

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 741