Papal Documents - The Prophet - 744 

to its precepts, but only to those counsels which he set down in that Rule in the form of a precept or a prohibition or their equivalent.

Wherefore, to put the consciences of the brothers of the said Order fully at ease, we declare that in consequence of professing this Rule the brothers are bound in conscience to observe only those evangelical counsels expressed in the same Rule by precept, prohibition, or equivalent words.

4 As for the rest of the counsels found in the Gospel, the brothers' state of life requires that they be held to them more strictly than other Christians because they have embraced a state of perfection. For through a profession such as theirs, they have offered themselves to the Lord as a sacrifice of the heart by their utter disregard of all earthly things.

5 But as for all the other things contained in the said Rule, be they command or counsel or whatever else, the vow the brothers make at their profession binds them to observe these things only in the way in which the Rule expresses them. In other words, they are obliged in conscience to observe those things the Rule imposes on them in obligatory terms. As far as observing those points which are expressed [in the Rule] by way of admonition, exhortation, or similar terms, the brothers should certainly strive to carry them out as things that are good and right for those who have chosen to follow more closely the narrow way of Christ, in imitation of such a father.

Article 2: Renunciation of Ownership

1 Furthermore, the said Rule states explicitly that "let the brothers not make anything their own, neither house, nor place, nor anything at all." Our predecessor Gregory IX and several othersa have also declared that this point must be observed both individually and in common. But this total renunciation of property has been vilified by the senseless cunning of certain individuals and their venomous disparaging remarks.

Now, lest the said brothers have the clear grasp of their ideal distorted by the unreasonable talk of such people, we affirm that such renunciation of the ownership of all things, both individually and in common, for God's sake, is holy and meritorious. Christ himself, in demonstrating the path of perfection, taught it in word and confirmed it by example. The first founders of the Church Militant drew




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 744