Exhortations to the Clergy - 52 

Exhortations to the Clergy

(Letters to the Clergy)a

These exhortations reflect Francis's encouragement of the clergy to exercise solicitude "... in keeping the churches and altars and everything used in the celebration of the divine mysteries clean" (Assisi Compilation 60). Two versions exist, the second of which suggests influences of the Fourth Lateran Council and, more specifically, accentuates the concerns of Pope Honorius III whose exhortation, Sane cum olim or Expectavimus hactenus expresses similar exhortations.

Earlier Edition
(before 1219)b

1Let all of us, clergymen, consider the great sin and the ignorance some have toward the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christand His most holy names and written words that consecrate His Body.c 2We know It cannot be His Body without first being consecrated by word. 3For we have and see nothing bodily of the Most High in this world except His Body and Blood, His names and words through which we have been made and redeemed from death to life. 1 Jn 3:14

4Let all those who administer such most holy mysteries, however, especially those who administer them illicitly, personally consider how very dirty are the chalices, corporals and altar-linens upon which His Body and Blood are sacrificed. 5It is placed and left by many in dirty places, carried about unbecomingly, received unworthily, and administered to others without discernment.




Epistola ad clericos, Fontes Franciscani, p. 59

Epistola ad clericos

Recensio prior

1Attendamus, omnes clerici, magnum peccatum et ignorantiam, quam quidam habent super sanetissimum corpus et sanguinem Domini nostri Jesu Christi et sacratissima nomina et verba eius scripta, quae sanctificant corpus. 2Scimus, quia non potest esse corpus, nisi prius sanctificetur a verbo. 3Nihil enim habemus et videmus corporaliter in hoc saeculo de ipso Altissimo, nisi corpus et sanguinem, nomina et verba, per quae facti sumus et redempti de morte ad vitam.

4Omnes autem illi qui ministrant tam sanctissima m y s t e r i a , considerent intra se, maxime hi qui i l l i c i t e ministrant, quam viles sint calices, c o r p o r a l e s et linteamina, ubi sacrificatur corpus et sanguis e i u s d e m . 5Et a multis in locis vilibus c o l l o c a t u r e t relinquitur, miserabiliter portatur et indigne sumitur et indiscrete aliis ministratur.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 52