Papal Documents - 573 

other imminent necessities, he may deposit the alms committed to him, as though they were his own, with a spiritual friend or familiar acquaintance of the brothers, and through such a one, dispense the alms as he judges expedient according to the circumstances and time of the brothers’ needs. The brothers may also have recourse to this agent for necessities of this kind, especially if he is negligent of or simply unaware of such needs.

6 Furthermore, the Rule clearly states that “the brothers shall not appropriate anything as their own, neither a house nor a place nor anything at all.” But as time goes on the brothers fear that the poverty of the Order will be compromised, especially since some people have been maintaining that moveable property belongs to the brotherhood in common. And so in this matter also you have humbly requested us to give attention to these threats for the sake of your consciences and for the purity of the entire Order. Therefore, we decree that property may be possessed neither individually nor in common. However, the brotherhood may have the use of equipment or books and such other moveable property as is permitted, and that the individual brothers may use these things at the discretion of the general and provincial ministers. Dominion over places or houses is excepted; this is the right of those to whom you know they belong. Nor may the brothers sell or exchange or alienate moveable goods outside the Order in any way, unless the Cardinal of the Roman Church who is the governor of the brotherhood authorizes the transaction or gives approval for it to the general or provincial ministers.

7 Another chapter of the same Rule says: “If any of the brothers, at the instigation of the enemy, sin mortally in regard to those sins about which it may have been decreed among the brothers to have recourse only to the provincial ministers, such brothers must have recourse to them as soon as possible, without delay.” The brothers conscientiously question whether this means only public sins or both public and private sins. We therefore reply that the chapter in question refers only to manifest public sins. We wish that the general minister appoint, or have appointed, from among the more mature and discreet priests, as many confessors as the ministers deem suitable for the provinces. Let these priests hear the confessions for private sins, unless the brothers choose instead to confess to their ministers or custodians who happen to be visiting their places.




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

Si, vero pro aliis imminentibus necessitatibus presentetur, elemosinam sibi commissam potest sicut et dominus apud spiritualem vel familiarem amicum fratrum deponere, per ipsum loco et tempore pro ipsorum necessitatibus sicut expedire viderit dispensandam. Ad quem etiam fratres pro huiusmodi necessitatibus poterunt habere recursum, maxime si negligens fuerit vel necessitates ignoraverit eorumdem.

Preterea cum in ipsa Regula contineatur expresse, quod fratres nichil sibi approprient, nec domum nee locum nec rem aliquam, ac ipsi processu temporis contaminari timeant ordinis paupertatem, presertim cum iam dixerint aliqui proprietatem mobilium pertinere ad totum ordinem in communi, nobis fuit humiliter supplicatum, ut in hoc animarum dignaremur providere periculis et totius ordinis puritati. Dicimus itaque, quod nec in communi nec in speciali debent proprietatem habere, sed utensilium et librorum et eorum mobilium, que licet habere, ordo usum habeat et fratres, secundum quod generalis minister vel Provinciales disponendum duxerint, hiis utantur, salvo locorum et domorum dominio illis, ad quos noscitur pertinere. Nec vendi debent mobilia vel extra ordinem commutari aut alienari quoquomodo, nisi Ecclesie Romane Cardinalis, qui fuerit ordinis gubernator, Generali seu Provincialibus ministris auctoritatem super hoc prebuerit vel assensum.

Quia vero in quodam eiusdem regule Capitulo continetur, ut si qui fratrum instigante humani generis inimico mortaliter peccaverint, pro illis peccatis, de quibus ordinatum fuerit, ut recurratur ad solos ministros provinciales, teneantur fratres ad eos recurrere quamcitius poterunt sine mora, ipsi pie dubitant, utrum hoc de peccatis publicis tantum intelligi debeat an de publicis pariter et privatis. Respondemus igitur predictum Capitulum ad manifesta tantum et publica pertinere, volentes ut Generalis minister constituat vel constitui faciat tot per Provincias, quot earum Ministri viderint expedire, de maturioribus et discretioribus sacerdotibus, qui super privatis audiant penitentes, nisi fratres Ministris aut Custodibus suis ad loca eorum declinantibus maluerint confiteri.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 573