Papal Documents - 576 

by providing the “suitable men, powerful in word and deed,” to assist the bishops as preachers and confessors of the people.a

Gregory, Bishop and Servant of the servants of God, to our venerable brothers, the archbishops and bishops; and to our beloved sons, the abbots, priors, deans, archdeacons, pastors, archpriests, and other prelates of churches to whom these letters may arrive: greetings and apostolic benediction.

Because iniquity has abounded and the charity of many has grown cold, Mt 24:12 behold, the Lord has raised up the Order of his beloved sons, the Lesser Brothers, who, not seeking the things that are their own but those which are Christ’s, have dedicated themselves to preaching the Good News of the Word of God in the abjection of voluntary poverty, overthrowing heresies and expelling other fatal vices. Phil 2:21

As we desire to favor their holy proposal and indispensable ministry, we are led to affectionately commend them to all of you; we exhort you in the Lord, and through these Apostolic letters command you, kindly to strive to receive our beloved sons of this noted Order out of reverence for God and us for the office of preaching, for which they are assigned by profession in their Order, so that the people committed to your care might devoutly receive the seed of the Word of God from their lips. We admonish you to assist them in all their needs, nor should you impede any [of your people] who might wish to draw near to their preaching or to confess to the priests among them. Instead, by your exhortations let the people be prepared to receive their preaching, so that as fruitful ground they might begin to sprout forth virtues instead of the thorns of vice, and that the aforesaid brothers through your cooperation might more happily reap the fruit of the ministry they have taken on.

Now since vices can sometimes secretly gain entry under the guise of virtues, and an angel of Satan can often transform himself into an angel of light, we order you in virtue of these present letters, that if any [preachers] in your territory claiming to belong to the aforesaid Order of brothers should preach that money should be turned over to themselves




Quoniam abundavit, Bullarium Franciscanum, p. BFr 1, p. 214-215

Quoniam abundavit of Gregory IX (1237)9

Gregorius &c. Venerabilibus Fratribus Archiepiscopis, & Episcopis, ac dilectis filiis Abbatibus, Prioribus, Decanis, Archidiaconis, Plebanis, Archipresbyteris, & aliis Praelatis Ecclesiarum, ad quos litterae istae pervenerint, Salutem, & Apostolicam Benedictionem.

Quoniam abundavit iniquitas, & refriguit charitas plurimorum, ecce Ordinem dilectorum filiorum Fratrum Minorum Dominus suscitavit, qui non quae sua sunt, sed quae sunt Christi, quaerentes tam contra profligandas haereses, quam contra pestes alias mortiferas extirpandas, se dedicarunt Evangelizationi verbi Dei in abjectionem voluntariae paupertatis.

Nos igitur sanctum eorum propositum & necessarium Ministerium favore benevolo prosequentes Universitati vestrae ipsos affectuosè duximus commendandos; charitatem vestram rogantes, & exhortantes in Domino, ac per Apostolica vobis Scripta mandantes, quatenus dilectos filios Fratres Ordinis memorati pro reverentia Divina, & nostra ad officium praedicandi, ad quod sunt ex professione sui Ordinis deputati, benignè recipere procuretis; ac Populos vobis commissos, ut ex ore ipsorum verbi Dei semen devotè suscipiant, admonentes, ut in suis necessitatibus eis libenter assistatis; nec inpediatis, quominus illi, qui ad eorum praedicationem accesserint, cum eorum Sacerdotibus valeant confiteri, quoad praedicta suscipienda vestris exhortationibus populi praeparati tamquam bona, ac fructifera terra pro vitiorum tribulis incipiant segeterm germinare virtutum; & dicti Fratres per cooperationem vestram suscepti Ministerii sui fructum felicius consequantur.

Quia vero saepe vitia sub specie virtutum occulte subintrant; & Angelus Sathanae in Angelum lucis se plerumque simltatè transformat, praesentium vobis auctoritate mandamus, quatenus si qui de praedictorum Fratrum Ordine se dicentes in vestris partibus praedicaverint ad quaestum se pecuniarum convertendo;

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 576