12. Brief “Salvatoris et Domini” of Urban VIII



Translation and notes by

I FRATI CAPPUCCINI. Documenti e Testimonianze del Primo Secolo. A cura di COSTANZO CARGNONI. Roma 1982, 130-133.


Rome, 28 June 1627. – It ratifies the brief of Paul V of 15 October 1608, according to which the Capuchins are true Friars Minor and sons of Saint Francis whose Rule they observe and with which they agree in their Constitutions. The phrase “although they were not instituted at the time of blessed Francis” is explained in the sense that the Capuchins originate from the genuine line of Saint Francis, never interrupted, and therefore they must be considered, held and judged by all as true and authentic brothers of the Order of Saint Francis. Penalties are threatened against the disputants, and the executive mandate of this Constitution is given.

Source: AGO, QA 236, no. 800, original: QB, three printed copies. Cf. BC I, 77f; BR XIII, 562f.

75 Urban VIII pope. In perpetual memory of the fact.

1. Since here below we exercise the steadfast, though undeserving, of our Lord and Saviour, who is love and the God of peace,[1] let us strive untiringly with special solicitude, amidst the innumerable responsibilities of apostolic service, that the faithful who, called to serve God devote themselves day and night to pay him obeisance, eliminating criticism and contestation of any kind, offer their fruits abundantly to the Most High, without being distracted by those who, although deputed to evangelise peace and goodness,[2] do not hesitate to break the peace, to the scandal of the weak.

76 2. Already at the time of our beloved predecessor Paul V of happy memory, some people questioned whether the brothers of the Order of Saint Francis himself, called Capuchins, are really Friars Minor, and moreover, since they profess the Rule of Saint Francis, whether they are sons of Saint Francis, not having been instituted at the time of this saint; and further, whether their constitutions contain anything contrary to the Rule of Saint Francis.

The aforesaid our predecessor Paul V declared by his constitution, valid in perpetuity, that the Capuchin Friars are true Friars Minor, and he added that since they profess the Rule of St. Francis of Assisi and their constitutions are in accord both with the prescriptions of the Rule and with the declarations of the same Rule contained in the constitution of our predecessor Clement V, of happy memory, issued at the Council of Vienne, and beginning with the words Exivi de Paradiso, are sons of Saint Francis, the constitutions of which contain nothing, moreover, that is not in conformity with the Rule of Saint Francis; and he also added to this a vexatious decree, as appears clearly in such letters of the aforesaid Paul, our predecessor, issued in this matter in the form of a “brief” on 15 October 1698[3] the contents of which we intend to be fully and sufficiently expressed by means of the present letter.

77 3. Since, as we have recently been informed by our beloved son Francis of Genoa,[4] Procurator General of the Capuchin Friars mentioned above, there is doubt on the part of some people, under the pretext of the words: “Although they were not instituted at the time of blessed Francis”, that these Capuchin Friars originate from the genuine line of Saint Francis, which has never been interrupted, we believe it to be right and proper that those who present themselves as authentic imitators of Saint Francis by word and example, should be considered as such by all without any dispute. Considering, therefore, very carefully that the origin, that is, the beginning of the Capuchin brothers themselves must be truly and effectively reckoned from the time of the primitive and original institution of the Seraphic Rule, the observance of which these Capuchin brothers have always continued without any interruption, we wish to provide, as far as we are permitted from on high, for the serenity of these Capuchin brothers and to accompany them with special favours and graces.

78 4. We therefore absolve and declare their individual persons absolved, should they be affected by them and for the sole purpose of the effect of the present letters, from any excommunication, suspension and interdiction and from any other ecclesiastical sentence, censure, punishment a iure or ab homine, inflicted under any circumstances and for any cause whatsoever. Inclined (therefore) to the supplications of the aforesaid Francis, Procurator General of the whole Order of the Capuchin Friars themselves, presented to us through our Venerable Cardinals of Holy Roman Church who are responsible for the affairs of the Regulars, and having previously discussed the matter of the present constitution, valid in perpetuity, we decree and declare by apostolic authority in accordance with the present letters, that the said Capuchin Friars are true and authentic brothers of the Order of Saint Francis and observant of his Rule, who have served and continue to serve under the Rule of blessed Francis; as such they are to be considered, believed and judged by everyone and by individuals; and if anything to the contrary should be attempted by anyone or by any authority, knowingly or through ignorance, this is to be considered invalid and ineffective.

79 5. Accordingly, we hereby command and order each and every one of our venerable brethren, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, and our beloved sons nuncios of the Apostolic See to publish in solemn form, where and when necessary, either personally or through delegates, the present letters and their entire contents, whenever they may be requested to do so by the said Capuchin brothers; and assisting them with the help of an effective defence in the aforesaid matters, see to it, by our authority, that they enjoy and enjoy peacefully each and every one of the concessions granted herein, according to the content and tenor of the present letters.

6. They shall not allow these things to be unjustly harassed in any way by anyone, whatever his authority; they shall repress offenders of any kind and rebels by means of ecclesiastical judgments, censures and penalties and other appropriate juridical remedies; they shall postpone all appeals, apply the censures and penalties due by means of trials established by law in this matter, aggravating them even several times and having recourse, if necessary, to the secular arm. They shall not stand in the way of permits, constitutions, apostolic ordinations, or anything else to the contrary.

80 7. We then decree that the transcriptions of the present letters, even if printed, signed by a public notary and bearing the seal of an ecclesiastical person constituted in dignity, be given the same faith, in the courts and outside, as would be given to the present letters if they were exhibited or shown.

Given at Rome at S. Maria Maggiore, under the ring of the Fisherman, on the 28th day of June 1627, in the fourth year of our pontificate.


Ad perpetuam rei memoriam.

1. Salvatoris et Domini nostri, qui caritas est et Deus pacis, vices, licet immeriti, gerentes in terris, inter gravissimas multiplicesque apostolicae servitutis curas, in eam peculiari solicitudine lugiter incumbimus, ut christifideles, qui, in sortem Domini vocati, eius obsequis diu noctuque mancipati sunt, sublatis quibuslibet dubis et controversiis, Altissimo reddant abundanter fructus suos, nec ab iis, quorum est evangelizare pacem et bona, veritatem vero temere impugnando, pacem cum scandalo pusillorum scindere non verentur, a sua sancta vocatione distrahantur.

2. Alias siquidem a felicis recordationis Paulo papa V predecessore nostro accepto, a nonnullis in dubium revocari an fratres Ordins eiusdem sancti Francisci capuccini nuncupati, essent vere fratres minores, et etiam quoniam Regulam sancti Francisci profitentur, filii sancti Francisci, cum tempore sancti Francisci instituti non fuerint, pariterque an eorum constitutiones aliquid haberent quod Regulae sancti Francisci repugnaret.

Idem Paulus predecessor, sua perpetuo valitura constitutione, declaravit fratres capuccinos esse vere fratres minores, ac etiam quamvis tempore sancti Francisci minime instituti fuerint, cum tamen eius Regulam profiteantur atque eorum instituta congruant tam Regulae statutis quam eiusdem Regula declarationibus quae habentur in constitutione felicis recordationis Clementis papae V predecessoris nostri, in generali concilio Viennensi edita, quae incipit Exivi de paradiso, filios sancti Francisci, eorum praeterea constitutiones nihil continere quod non sit Regulae sancti Francisci praefatae consentaneum, irritanti etiam decreto desuper apposito, et alias prout in dicti Pauli predecessoris desuper in simili forma Brevis, sub die XV octobris M.D.C.VIII expeditis litteris, quarum tenores presentibus pro plene et sufficienter expressis habere volumus, plenius continetur.

3. Cum autem, sicut dilectus filius Franciscus Genuensis, eorundem fratrum capuccinorum procurator generalis, nobis nuper exponi fecit, pratext illorum verborum, videlicet: Quamquam tempore beati Francisci instituti non fuerint, a nonnullis in dubium revocetur an lidem fratres capuccini ex vera et numquam intermissa linea sancti Francisci originem, trahant nos aequum et rationi consonum fore censentes ut qui, verbo et exemplo, veros sese beati Francisci imitatores ostendunt, tales ab omnibus, absque ulla controversia, habeantur attentiusque considerantes eorundem fratrum capuccinorum originem seu principium illorum esse realiter et cum effectu computandum a tempore primaevae et originalis institutionis Regulae seraphicae, cuius observantiam ipsi fratres capuccini semper sine aliqua interruptione continuarunt.

4. Eorundem fratrum capuccinorum quieti, quantum nobis ex alto conceditur, consulere eosdemque fratres capuccinos specialibus favoribus et gratis

prosequi volentes, et eorum singulares personas a quibusvis excommunicationis, suspensionis et interdicti, alisque ecclesiasticis sententis, censuris et poenis a iure vel ab homine quavis occasione vel causa latis, si quibus quomodolibet innodatae exsistunt, ad effectum praesentium dumtaxat consequendum, harum serie absolventes et absolutas fore censentes, supplicationibus dicti Francisci procuratoris generalis totius Ordinis eorundem fratrum capuccinorum nomine, nobis super hoc humiliter porrectis, inclinati, re prius per venerabiles fratres nostros santae romanae Ecclesiae cardinales negotis regularium praepositos mature discussa, de eorundem cardinalium consilio hac nostra perpetuo valitura constitutione fratres capuccinos praefatos fuisse et esse ex vera et numquam interrupta linea ac veros et indubitatos fratres Ordinis sancti Francisci et illius Regulae observatores, subque ipsius beati Francisci Regula militasse et ad praesens quoque, militare, sicque a omnibus et singulis censeri ac reputari et iudicari debere, irritumque et inane, si secus super his a quoquam quavis auctoritate scienter vel ignoranter contigerit attentari, apostolica

autoctoritate, tenore presentium, decernimus et declaramus.

5. Quocirca omnibus et singulis venerabilibus fratribus patriarchis, archiepiscopis, episcopis a dilectis filis nostris et Apostolicae Sedis nuntiis, per presentes committimus et mandamus quatenus ipsi per se, vel alium seu alios, presentes litteras et in eis contenta quaecumque, ubi et quando opus fuerit et quoties pro parte fratrum capuccinorum praefatorum fuerint requisiti, sollemniter publicantes illisque in praemissis efficacis defensionis presidio asistentes, faciant autoctoritate nostra eos praemissis omnibus et singulis, iuxta presentium continentiam et tenorem, pacifice fruit et gaudere.

6. Non permittentes eos desuper a quoguam quavis auctoritate quomodolibet indebite molestari. Contradictores quoslibet et rebelles per sententias, censuras et ponas ecclesiasticas aliaque opportuna iuris et facti remedia, appellatione postposita, compescendo legitimisque super his habendis servatis processibus censuras et pœnas ipsas, etiam iteratis vicibus aggravando, invocato etiam ad hoc, si opus fuerit, auxilio brachii saecularis. Non obstantibus praemissis ac constitutionibus, ordinationibus apostolicis ceterisque contrariis quibuscumque.

7. Volumus autem ut presentium transumptis, etiam impressis, manu alicuius notarii publici subscriptis et sigillo persona in dignitate ecclesiastica constitutae munitis, eadem prorsus fides in iudicio et extra adhibeatur, quae eisdem presentibus adhiberetur si forent exhibitae vel ostensae.

Datum Romae apud Sanctam Mariam Maiorem, sub annulo Piscatoris die XXVIII iunii MDCXXVII, pontificatus nostri anno quarto.

  1. Recalling 1 Jn 8.16; and many Pauline quotations, e.g.: Rom 15:33; 1 Cor 14:33; 2 Cor 13:11; Phil 4:9 etc.
  2. Recalling Rm 10:15 which cites Is 52:7.
  3. Cf. above, in reference to note 100 and 124.
  4. On Francesco Di Negro da Genova ((† 1650) cf. Lexicon cap., 634s.