Papal Documents - 559 

B) Pro dilectis of Honorius III (1220)

This bull, reinforcing the previous one, was sent to the prelates of France, where apparently fears about unauthorized preaching were especially prevalent.a Indeed, legislation for the diocese of Paris in 1213 approved by the Papal legate, Robert Courçon, which was extended to the whole province by the Council of Rouen the following year, specifically outlawed wandering preachers, especially those who were also collecting alms.b Jordan of Giano is most likely referring to this letter, when he relates in his Chronicle: “When the brothers went to France, . . . they were put down as heretics. But when the bishopc and the masters read their Rule . . . , they took counsel about the matter with the Lord Pope Honorius. The Pope, however, declared in a letter that the Rule was authentic, since it had been confirmed by the Holy See, and that the brothers were in a very special way sons of the Roman Church and true Catholics.”d

Honorius, bishop, Servant of the servants of God, to our venerable brothers, the archbishops and bishops; and to our beloved sons, the abbots, priors, and other prelates of churches, established throughout the kingdom of France, health and apostolic benediction.

We recall that we sent you a letter on behalf of our beloved sons of the Order of Lesser Brothers in order that you might consider them as having been recommended in the sight of the love of God.e But, as we now understand, some of you seemingly have a doubtful conscience about this same Order. We also gather from other reports, in which we can place full trust, that others of you do not even allow these brothers to stay in their dioceses, although the very fact that we have granted these brothers our letter shows that you should not consider them suspect in any way.

Therefore, we want all of you to take note that we hold their Order [to be] among those approved by us, and that we regard the brothers of this Order as truly Catholic and devout men. We therefore take this occasion through these apostolic letters to warn and exhort you, indeed we prescribe and command you, to admit them into your dioceses as




Pro dilectis, Bullarium Franciscanum, p. 5

Pro dilectis of Honorius III (1220)2

Honorius &c. Venerabilibus Fratribus Archiepiscopis, & Episcopis, ac dilectis filiis Abbatibus, Prioribus, & aliss Ecclesiarum Praelatis per Regnum Franciae constitutis Salutem, & Apostolicam Benedictionem.

Pro deliectis filiis Fratribus de Ordine Fratrum Minorum direxisse vobis recolimus nostra scripta, ut eos haberetis Divini Amoris intuitu commendatos; sed sicut intelleximus, quidam vestrum quasi habeant de ipso Ordine conscientiam scrupulosam, cum nihil in eis suspicionis dignum invenerint, sicut ab aliis intelleximus, quibus adhibere possumus plenam fidem, ipsos in suis manere Dioecesibus non permittunt; licèt ex eo solo, quod litteras nostras eisdem concessimus, nihil sinistri de ipsis debuerint opinari.

Unde Universitati vestrae volumus esse notum, quod Nos Ordinem talium de approbatis habemus; & Fratres Ordinis ipsius viros recognoscimus catholicos, & devotos. Quare monendos vos duximus, & hortandos per apostolica scripta praecipiendo mandantes; quatenùs ipsos tamquam vere fideles, & religiosos in vestris Dioecesibus admittatis,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 559