Papal Documents - The Prophet - 786 

4 However, although our aforesaid predecessor ordered the above arrangements very conscientiously, we do not perceive that they have profited the same brothers, but have only harmed them and others in a number of ways. Now the perfection of the Christian life consists principally and essentially in charity, which the Apostle calls the bond of perfection, for it unites or connects human beings in some way to their final end. The path to it is prepared by the contempt of temporal goods and their renunciation, particularly in order that the anxious care caused by acquiring, maintaining, and administering material goods and which thus militates against the act of charity, is thereby removed.a It follows, then, that if the same anxious care were to remain in people after having made such a renunciation [of material goods], as was in them before, such a renunciation would be of no value for [achieving] perfection.b Now it is certain that ever since the Holy See retained ownership of their goods, the brothers of the aforesaid Order have been no less solicitous, in court and out of court, in acquiring and keeping goods than are other mendicant religious, who hold some things in common. That greatest of teachers, experience, has made this fact evident to anyone who considers the situation correctly.

4 That the Holy See's retention of ownership has been an obstacle for these brothers is obvious from the following examples. Its acceptance of the ownership of their goods has provided an occasion for these brothers to vainly boast of their "highest poverty," rashly claiming that they were superior to all the other mendicant orders because they alone had no ownership or dominion, but simply the "bare use" of things.c Indeed, if they wished to heed reality as well as words and come to rest in the truth, as they should, and considered the way they are using things and the forbearance of the Roman Church toward this, they would have to claim the opposite: that they have much more than the use of things and that it is the ownership of the Roman Church which is really "bare." Would a lender say that someone was "simply using" his possession if that "user" was allowed to exchange it, or sell it, or give it away? Undoubtedly, he




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 786