Papal Documents - 572 

observe the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by living in obedience, without anything of their own, and in chastity.” And it concludes with these words: “[so that] we might observe the poverty and humility and the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ which we have firmly promised.” So the brothers want to know: are they bound to the other Gospel counsels besides those which are expressly contained in the Rule by way of precept or prohibition? This question is of special moment since they did not intend to oblige themselves in this way; furthermore, it is only with great difficulty, if at all, that they can observe all of the counsels literally.

Our answer is brief: you are not bound by the Rule to observe the counsels of the Gospel, other than those explicitly contained in the Rule to which you have committed yourselves. As for the rest of them, you are bound in the same way as other Christians, although even more so by virtue of the goodness and integrity with which you offered to the Lord a total holocaust by your contempt of all that pertains to this world.

5 Likewise, in the same Rule the brothers are forbidden to “in any way receive coins or money, either personally or through an intermediary.” Since they desire to observe this prohibition always, they seek a clarification. Dare they, without violating the Rule, present to God-fearing people some of the faithful through whom the former might relieve the needs of the brothers? Furthermore, dare they with a sound conscience have recourse to these same faithful for their necessities, even though they know these faithful have accepted coins or money—coins or money, to be sure, which on their own authority the brothers have no intention of causing to be held or demanding from them—in the name of the donor?

We are led to respond to this matter as follows. If the brothers want to buy something necessary or make payment for something already purchased, they may present to those persons who wish to give them a [monetary] alms either an agent of the person from whom the purchase is being made or someone else, unless perchance these donors prefer to make payment themselves or through agents of their own. The one presented by the brothers in this way is not their agent, even though he may have been designated by them; rather, he is the agent of the person on whose authority he makes the payment, or of the one receiving it. Such an agent must promptly make payment, so that none of the donated money remains with him. If, however, this same agent is presented for




Quo elongati, Bullarium Franciscanum, p. BFr 1, p. 20-25

scilicet domini nostri Jesu Christi sanctum evangelium observare vivendo in obedientia, sine proprio et in castitate,tum quia in fine ipsius Regule continentur hec verba; Paupetatem et humilitatem et sanctum evangelium domini nostri Jesu Christi, quod firmiter promisimus, observemus. Unde scire desiderant, an ad alia evangelii teneantur consilia quam ad ea, que in ipsa regula preceptorie vel inhibitorie sunt expressa, presertim cum ipsi ad alia non se obligare intenderint et vix vel numquam omnia possint ad litteram observari.

Nos autem breviter respondemus vos ad alia consilia evangelii non teneri per regulam nisi ad ea, ad que vos obligastis in ipsa. Ad cetera vero tenemini sicut reliqui christiani, et eo magis de bono et equo, quo vos obtulistis holocaustum domino medullatum per contemptum omnium mundanorum.

Item cum in eadem regula sit inhibitum, ne fratres recipiant per se vel per alios denarium vel pecuniam ullo modo, et ipsi hoc in perpetuum observare desiderent, certiorari requirunt, si aliquibus timentibus deum fideles aliquos, per quos ipsi subveniant necessitatibus eorumdem, sine offensione regule audeant presentare ac ad fideles eosdem pro necessitatibus ipsis secura recurrere conscientia, cum denarios aut pecuniam eos noverint accepisse, quos tamen denarios vel pecuniam auctoritate propria non intendunt facere conservari nec nomine depositi exigere ab eisdaem.

Super quo duximus respondendum, quod si rem sibi necessariam velint fratres emere vel solutionem facere pro iam empta, possunt vel nuntium eius, a quo res emitur, vel aliquem alium volentibus sibi elymosinam facere, nisi iidem per se vel per proprios nuntios solvere maluerint, presentare; qui taliter presentatus a fratribus non est eorum nuntius, licet presentetur ab ipsis, sed illius potius, cuius mandato solutionem tacit, seu recipientis eandem. Idem tamen nuntius solvere statim debet, ita quod de pecunia nichil remaneat penes eum. Si, vero pro aliis imminentibus necessitatibus presentetur,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 572