Ordinem vestrum

A detailed summary of

Ordinem vestrum: a delicate and antagonistic decree

by Felice Accrocca

in Ordinem vestrum: un pronunciamento fragile e resistente in Frate Francesco November 2015 n. 2, 477-504.

Prepared by Gary Devery OFM Cap

Table of Contents

A delicate and antagonistic decree

The General Chapter of 1239 marked a turning point for the Franciscan Order.[1] On that occasion the ministers from the other side of the Alps obtained, with the decisive support of Gregory IX, the deposition of Brother Elias,[2] a man strongly linked to Francis and still holding firm, in substance, to the system of government sanctioned by the Regula non bullata. Faithful in this to the attitude of his founder and father, the General Minister had shown himself to be resistant to introducing constitutions to regulate the life of the Order: the statements of Salimbene are well known, according to which with the fall of Elias it was possible to act with more freedom and a “great number” of general constitutions were drawn up.[3]

From the fall of Elias to Ordinem vestrum

The diligent research of Cesare Cenci has succeeded in documenting the substantial accuracy of this information, even if not all the legislation that Bonaventure inherited from his predecessors was approved in the Chapter of 1239. It is also true that between 1239 and 1241 Gregory IX addressed several letters to the Friars Minor, granting them many benefices, some of considerable importance.[4]

With Elias out of the way, those who had been the cause of his deposition felt freer to act, aided by papal support: legislation sanctioned the new direction. The fragments of documentation that have come down to us allow us to understand that Francis’ old companion had exercised a considerable reactionary influence on the drafting of the first constitutions by the friars who deposed him:[5] the first part – and the most consistent – of the oldest documentation produced before the promulgation of the Constitutions of Narbona is dedicated to the functioning of the chapter and the behaviour to be adopted towards the minister general.[6]

In their legislative documents the Friars Minor also incorporated interventions made by Gregory IX in the last two years of his pontificate. On 19 June 1241, with the letter Gloriantibus vobis, the Pope had accepted the request of the friars that when the ministers were absent, they might delegate to suitable friars the faculty of receiving new members into the Order, thus avoiding, because of the impossibility of immediately welcoming them into the religious family, even well-intentioned men might end up giving up on the desire to enter. However, in dispensing with the precept of the Rule, Gregory IX warned the friars to avoid indiscriminate reception and to limit themselves to admitting those who could be useful to the Order by edifying others by the example of their conversion.[7]

These indications passed into the legislative texts that were gradually being developed in those years.[8] The letter Gloriantibus vobis is therefore the limit after which to date the regulations contained in the Fragmenta regarding the reception of candidates. It is difficult to argue the contrary, that the pope had received the form for his words from the Constitutions of the friars because if the friars had already determined such a resolution on the matter there would be no need for any emphasis by Gregory IX.[9]

It was therefore sought to limit the access of the laity to the Order,[10] and it was decided to intervene to correct any excess in the ostentation of paintings, ornaments, windows, columns and in the measurements of buildings (length, width, height) even if imposed by the different local customs. Offenders were to be severely punished by the Order’s visitators.[11] At the beginning of the 1240s, the Order therefore recorded with unease a building situation in open contrast with its own profession of poverty, despite the fact that in Quo elongati the pope had tried to calm their souls by stating that the friars should not have “property either in common or individually “,[12] and therefore could occupy the places with serenity because they did not belong to them.

It is evident, from all this, how in a few years decisions of considerable importance were reached that would profoundly characterise the Order’s physiognomy. The shock caused by the story of Brother Elias, the scandal that followed his excommunication and his passage to the imperial party, was added to the weight of these decisions, which were certainly not unanimously welcomed. All this, of course, produced serious internal tensions which were to increase rather than decrease during the rule of Aimon of Faversham. So it was that in the Chapter General of 1244 the Order decided once again to draw on the deposit of its memory and to confront itself with its founder.

Even a cursory reading of the Bulls of Innocent IV allows us to understand how, in the first years of his rule, he repeatedly confirmed the decisions taken by Gregory IX, especially the letters issued in the last two years of his pontificate. The Bulls also shows how, at the beginning of the 1240s, the rivalry between the two mendicant orders, the Order of Friars Minor and the Order of Preachers, was growing. On 21 April 1244, in the letter Quo vos, Innocent IV reproached the Friars Minor for generating scandals by giving frequent welcome to friars transferring across from the Order of Preachers.[13] Obviously, this was not a one-way street and perhaps – it cannot be ruled out – the Friars Minor could also complain to the pontiff that they had been treated in the same way by their cousins; the fact is that, just two months later, on 24 June 1244, Innocent IV sent both of them an identical letter (Meminimus vobis) in which he forbade them to welcome indiscriminately into their ranks members of the other Order and to admit anyone to profession before they had completed the year of novitiate.[14]

The fact that the relations between the two major mendicant Orders, far from being peaceful, were becoming more complicated is clearly shown by a page of the Remembrance of Thomas of Celano. After a first draft, which probably aroused the reservations of the friars, in 1247 the hagiographer completed another draft of the work (intermediate draft): in what was traditionally identified as pericope number 149 and which is present only in the intermediate draft of the Remembrance,[15] Thomas, after reporting on the meeting that Francis and Dominic had in Rome in the house of Cardinal Ugo. After describing their humble behaviour and mutual love,[16] Thomas exclaims vehemently: “What do you say, sons of the saints? Your jealousy and envy show you are degenerates, and your ambition for honors proves you are illegitimate. You bite and devour each other, and these conflicts and disputes arise only because of your cravings. Your struggles must be against Eph 6:12 the forces of darkness, a hard struggle against armies of demons—and instead you turn your weapons against each other!”.[17] Expressions that do not admit the possibility of misunderstanding.

Gregory IX in the dock

At that delicate juncture, therefore, Innocent IV again intervened in the Rule, the founding text of the Order. Was he prompted to do so by explicit requests from the friars? The text of the papal letter does not allow us to give a sufficiently documented answer, since a considerable distance separates it from the Quo elongati. While Gregory IX meticulously set out both the context from which the document arose and the doubts and questions posed by the friars to the Apostolic See on individual issues, Innocent IV said nothing about this, limiting himself to reporting the passages of the Rule and his determinations on individual points.[18] In particular, as well as not giving a reason for his action (Gregory IX had in some way justified his decision), in the solemn introduction the pontiff did not devote a single word to describe the Franciscan vocation (in Quo elongati the friars were presented as dedicated to contemplation): he limits himself rather to expressing his affection for the Order, his desire to see it progress spiritually and his determination to take care of it. It would seem that the papal intervention originated solely from the initiative of Innocent IV, or rather, this is what the pope is concerned to manifest, the “truth” he wishes to spread. The following statements, which are undoubtedly serious, may perhaps suggest a sufficient reason to justify these intentions. He states:

Now there are certain doubtful and obscure things contained in your Rule, which only catch your spirits up in entangled complexities and knotty intricacies that impede your understanding. Thus Pope Gregory, our predecessor of happy memory, expounded and declared the meaning of some of these, although incompletely. We, therefore, wish to remove entirely all obscurity from these passages by a complete declaration of their meaning and to excise totally all scruples of anxiety from your minds by means of the certainty of a fuller exposition.[19]

The pronouncement of Gregory IX, therefore, had not eliminated the obscurities and his declaration had not completely dispelled doubts and uncertainties since he had only half succeeded in his aim. Innocent IV therefore set out to remove all difficulties, shedding new light by clarifying a perfect interpretation. Gregory IX thus ended up in the dock. But how did Pope Fieschi, who certainly appreciated the perplexity that Quo elongati might have given rise to with his attempt at a double fidelity,[20] become aware of the concrete difficulties triggered by that papal document? Was it a direct acquisition, mainly the result of a reasoning at the table, or did he hear explicit and repeated complaints from the friars (of some sectors of the Order, at least)? Who was it, in the end, that first put Gregory IX in the dock, the reigning pope or the friars, who were able to convince Innocent IV of the stickiness of his predecessor’s document? Perhaps – and more probably – both. Moreover, the pope’s reference to the decisions taken by the General Chapter concerning the expulsion of members previously accepted,[21] leads one to believe that the friars had intervened with Innocent IV with explicit requests: it is much more difficult to think that he himself could have kept himself so up-to-date as to be well acquainted with the legislation of a single Order, which in those very years was undergoing great development.

But could the pope, especially a pope like Innocent IV, publicly claim that his subjects had to complain about the obscurity of the papal dictate and that he had to ultimately prove them right against the actions of his direct predecessor? Ultimately, only the pope could judge the pope, something which in the following decades was to be done by the pope himself. Franciscan theologians would no longer be willing to recognise this in their attempt – ironically – to limit the actions of John XXII, who proposed to unhinge some theoretical assumptions accepted by Nicholas III in Exiit qui seminat (1279).[22] It is possible, therefore, that complaints and requests were made to Innocent IV by the friars, but he did not reveal any of this in his intervention, limiting himself to presenting it as the necessary clarification of partially unresolved issues. It would therefore be a full enlightenment, the fruit of a “perfect interpretation”, capable of erasing from the heart every scruple of ambiguity.

Innocent IV does not even mention the question of the Testament of Francis;[23] this probably meant that, on his part, the discourse did not lend itself to any misunderstanding and was now definitively closed; this silence could also mean the absence of controversy on the matter: the question will instead appear in the discussions that arose between the Italian Spirituals and the Community of the Order between the 13th and 14th centuries.[24] In the controversy with the Community, the Spirituals, through Angelo Clareno, would end up affirming that, by detaching the Testament from the Rule, the latter could not be fully understood, because without the former, the latter would be deprived of its most important part, like the crown of stars without the head of the woman or a good deed done without a right intention, to mention some of the images he uses.[25]

Observance of the Gospel, welcoming new members, liturgical prayer

The first question that the Pope proposes to clarify concerns the observance of the Gospel commanded by the Rule. Gregory IX had established that the friars should not consider themselves obliged to observe other evangelical counsels than those expressly mentioned (obedience, poverty and chastity) in the text approved by Honorius III; in a more clarifying way, Pope Fieschi determined that the friars were bound “only to those evangelical counsels which are expressed in the Rule in a preceptive and binding way “.[26] If Gregory IX had intervened to clarify questions concerning chapters 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11 of the Rule, in addition to the points addressed by his predecessor, Innocent IV also addressed new questions.

As for the reception of new members into the Order, the Rule states that newcomers should be sent to the provincial ministers, “to whom alone and not to others” was “granted permission to admit the brothers” (II, 1). In Quo elongati Gregory IX had given a restrictive interpretation of the precept,[27] although on 19 June 1241 he ended up granting that the provincial ministers could delegate this faculty to suitable persons.[28] As Sbaraglia[29] already pointed out, Innocent IV took up this pronouncement of his predecessor, which he himself confirmed on January 3, 1245.[30] However, while Gregory IX limited himself to saying that only those new members should be accepted who could be useful to the Order and who would edify others by the example of their conversion, Pope Fieschi added education[31] as one of the necessary elements, an obvious sign – and cause at the same time[32] – of the growth in the number of priests within the Order.[33]

As for the recitation of the Divine Office, although the Rule (III, 1) required the brothers to recite “the Divine Office according to the rite of the Holy Roman Church, except for the Psalter”, Innocent IV stated that if they had recited it with others, this could be considered sufficient, nor were they required to recite it on their own. In this sense, he was merely echoing the statements of Gregory IX:[34] in his letter Pio vestro collegio of 7 June 1241,[35] he had decreed that the Friars Minor should recite the Office according to the reform implemented shortly before by Brother Aimon of Faversham (which Pope Gregory called his own), specifying however that if they were to celebrate the Divine Office together with other religious, this would be sufficient for them.[36]

The painful question of the use of money

Until then the pope, who had taken into account some of the regulations issued by Gregory IX, in some cases borrowing them literally, had not yet used the words of the Quo elongati, which constituted the obligatory point of reference, as the first authentic declaration on the Rule of St Francis. In the questions inherent in chapters 4 and 6 of the Rule, that is to say, the key questions on the use of money and property – both connected to the great theme of poverty – Innocent IV instead makes full use of the pronouncement of Pope Gregory, even though he distances himself from it, at least in some passages of capital importance.[37]

Let us look first at the passage on money. Pope Fieschi affirms:

Furthermore, it states in the same Rule that the brothers are forbidden “to receive coins or money[38] in any way, either personally or through an intermediary.” However, if the brothers want to buy something necessary or useful for themselves or to 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[39] is being made or someone else, unless perchance these donors prefer to make payment themselves[40] or through agents of their own. The person presented by the brothers in this manner 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 who is receiving it. And, once payment has been made for such [specified] goods, if this agent still has alms remaining in his possession, it is permissible for the brothers to have recourse to him for other necessary or beneficial items. If, however, someone is named or presented by them for other necessary or useful items, this person can keep the alms committed to him as though they were his own, or with a spiritual friend or familiar acquaintance of the brothers, who may or may not be designated by them, and through such a one, dispense the alms as deemed expedient by the brothers according to the circumstances and time of their needs or benefit, and even transfer such alms to another person or place. The brothers may also in good conscience have recourse to such agents for necessary and useful items, especially if they are negligent of or simply unaware of their needs. (Ordinem vestrum, 4).

Precisely because of the (largely) textual repetition of Gregory IX’s words, the differences between the texts appear even more significant. If through the intermediation of the nuncii/agents he allowed the purchase of what was considered necessary or to pay what had already been acquired, Innocent IV extended this possibility to things that were not only indispensable, but also useful. Gregory IX stated that although the agent was presented by them, he was not a commissioned person of the friars, but rather the one on whose authority he had made the payment or who received it; on the other hand, Pope Fieschi declared that he was the commissioned person of those on whose “authority” he made the payment or received it. Moreover, while Gregory IX required the agents to make the payments immediately, so that nothing would remain with them, Innocent IV admitted the possibility that the agents might be left with some of the alms received.

Furthermore, Gregory IX allowed that, for other “imminent needs”, the agent could deposit the alms given to him with some spiritual friends of the friars, so that they could then be used for those same needs at an appropriate time and place.

On the other hand, according to Innocent IV the friars could have recourse to the agents for their needs (there is no longer any talk of “imminent needs”) “or comfort”, and the agent could himself “keep” the alms entrusted to him, or deposit them with some spiritual friend who may or may not be designated by the friars, to whom they too could have recourse “in good conscience”, again for their needs or comfort, especially if the latter had been negligent or had been unaware of their needs.[41] As has been rightly pointed out, “the introduction of the concept of usefulness and convenience was a kind of theoretical and practical revolution on the concept of absolute poverty that only indulged in compromises in the case of unavoidable necessities”.[42]

The last part, dedicated to resolving the questions connected with the use of money, except for the initial expressions, presents itself as a novelty compared to the Quo elongati. Innocent IV asserts:

And the person so named or designated by the brothers is not their agent or treasurer, but of those persons who have entrusted their alms and donations to them. And when the brothers have recourse to such appointed or presented persons they are not “receiving coins or money in any form either personally or through intermediaries,” since it is not their intention to have such coins or money held by these persons on their own authority nor are they drawing from what has been deposited with them in their own name: they are simply entrusting such agents or depositors with providing for their necessary or useful items (Ordinem vestrum, 4).[43]

As can be seen, the Pontiff’s aim here was to ease the conscience of the friars, who could act with a certain freedom, without excessive drama, regarding the use of money for their own convenience. On the other hand, as it is easy to see and as I have already had occasion to show,[44] as the years went by more and more money circulated in the Order, which gave rise to growing questions of conscience and consequent tensions among the brothers, not always and not all of whom agreed with the decisions to be taken in this regard. As we have seen, from the very beginning of the document, Innocent IV had declared a clear predilection for the Order, whose ‘continual progress’ he wished to see; he therefore stated that he wanted to take care of everything from which the Order could ‘receive the support of suitable buttresses’. The removal of the scruples, which arose – in his view – from the ambiguity of Gregory IX’s words, was therefore one of the main objectives of his action. Driven by the very high conception he had of his own power and by an extremely decisive character, he intervened to quell any possible scruples and make the path easier and less uncertain, opting for a position that certainly did not meet with the approval of many. Subsequent history, however, shows that this decision ended up exacerbating the drama that was already taking place.

Truly brotherly friars: caring for the sick

One aspect that was addressed for the first time by Innocent IV was the care and attention to be given to the sick brothers. Nothing was said about this by Gregory IX in Quo elongati. Fifteen years later, however, the number of friars had grown considerably and – a fact not to be underestimated – there were a good number advanced aged friars, with all the problems this entails. The increase in numbers had produced new foundations, with the obvious difficulty for ministers and custodians to keep up with all the questions that could arise among the brothers. The Rule (IV, 2-3) required that, “the ministers and custodians alone may take care through their spiritual friends to provide for the needs of the sick and the clothing of the others according to places, seasons and cold climates”, always keeping in mind the principle of not receiving “coins or money”. Nevertheless, in a rather large custody, with a good number of friaries, it could not be easy to remain aware of the needs of everyone, let alone if the borders were to coincide with those of an entire province. With responsibility overstretched (and history teaches us that one must always take such eventualities into account), it could even happen that a sick person returned to the Creator before one decided to intervene.

Consequently, this question had to be among those presented to the pope in order to streamline the procedure, which Innocent IV proposed to do by declaring that “other brothers may also diligently take up this care, which falls upon the said ministers and custodians by precept of the Rule, whenever it has been committed to them by the latter”. Without needing to force the words, it can be said that the decision takes on the tone of one of the many “negative insertions”[45] present above all in the text of the Regula non bullata: ministers and custodians must have complained several times about the lack of interest shown by the brothers at the fate of the sick to whom, in obedience to the dictates of the Rule, care was entrusted to them alone. It therefore seems evident that to solve the problem the ministers of the Order sought the help of the pope, who intervened with authority and decision to induce the brothers – especially those who had been expressly appointed by the ministers and custodians – to take greater responsibility for their sick brothers.

The Rule – which in any case asked everyone to serve the sick “as they themselves would wish to be served themselves” (VI, 9) – seemed no longer to be sufficient and there was a need for new decisions. According to what Brother Leo recounts – and his is an account that deserves trust[46] – during a General Chapter at Santa Maria della Porziuncola, Francis had opposed those ministers of the Order who had put pressure on Cardinal Ugo di Ostia to convince Francis to choose one of the already approved Rules that taught how to live an ordered life. For Francis the Regola non bollata was more than sufficient to imprint the way of life that the brothers should lead. A little more than twenty years after those events, the friars had once again returned to ask the pope – and there was no longer Francis to oppose them – for regulations that imposed on them an ordered way of living. Moreover, taking into account the undoubted testimonies sent by the Companions to the minister general Crescenzio da Jesi, in 1247 Tommaso da Celano declared that Francis was showing

sympathy for all who were ill and when he could not alleviate their pain he offered words of compassion. He would eat on fast days so the weak would not be ashamed of eating, and he was not embarrassed to go through the city’s public places to find some meat for a sick brother. However, he also advised the sick to be patient when things were lacking and not stir up a scandal if everything was not done to their satisfaction.[47]

In this way, the hagiographer proposed, in the person of the founder, a model of reference valid for all, for the sick brothers and for the healthy ones, who were to take care of the sick.

The properties of the friars

Of great interest for understanding the evolution that the Order underwent in the fifteen years between the promulgation of the two papal letters (Quo elongati and Ordinem vestrum), are the determinations inherent in Chapter VI of the Rule, which required the friars not to appropriate anything, “neither house, nor place, nor anything at all” (VI, 1). Gregory IX had decreed that the brothers should not have any property, “neither individually or in common”; only “the use of equipment or books and such other movable property” that was “as is permitted, and that the individual brothers may use”. This use was to be exercised “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 were the brothers permitted to “sell or exchange or alienate moveable goods” in any way, unless this was explicitly granted by the cardinal protector.

Innocent IV reiterated the ban on personal and communal property, allowing the use not only of tools, books and movable property that was lawful to possess, but also of houses and places. Even in reiterating the prohibition of selling or exchanging, the pope no longer mentioned only movable property, but again added houses and places. These clarifications allow us to understand how the number of foundations of the Order had increased in the fifteen years between the two papal pronouncements, and how its conventualisation had progressed. Moreover, the pope allowed the brothers, having obtained due permission from their superiors, to give away to others outside the Order “movable items of low cost and little value”.

Innocent IV went a step further than Gregory IX. While under the Quo elongati the property was maintained by the donors, according to the Ordinem vestrum “the ownership and dominion of these goods, both immovable and movable” “belong immediately to the [Roman] Church itself, except for those cases where the donors or grantors have expressly reserved these property rights and dominion to themselves”.[48]

By sanctioning a de facto reality, the pope strengthened and incentivised an evolutionary line that not everyone agreed with. At the same time, he offered the Friars Minor the solution to motivate and affirm their superiority within the other religious families: the ownership of goods in the hands of the Roman Church gave them the possibility to affirm that they professed the highest poverty, thus living the fullness of perfection.[49] From the second half of the thirteenth century Bonaventure’s teaching (on which the official line of the Order would be based) aimed at defending poverty as the supreme way of perfection, which also made it possible to justify the claimed spiritual supremacy of the Friars Minor.

Forgiveness of sins, governance issues and pastoral activity

Innocent IV also made innovations in the interpretation of the norms relating to chapter VII of the Rule, which only required recourse to the provincial ministers for serious public sins. Borrowing the words of Gregory IX, Pope Fieschi reiterated that the determinations of that chapter concerned only “public and manifest sins” and the request to the ministers (in Quo elongati the request was instead addressed to the minister general) to establish priests in the individual provinces in the necessary number “from among the more mature and discreet” to hear the private sins of the brothers, unless they preferred to confess to ministers and custodians passing through their places. However, the Ordinem vestrum went a step further, facilitating the procedure by granting the ministers that “in order to avoid great effort and hazardous travel”, even for public and manifest sins they could – if they considered it “expedient” – delegate their power “to the custodians and other discreet brother priests”.[50]

On the question of the number of custodes to be sent to the general chapter in view of the election of a new general minister, Innocent IV renewed the decisions already made by Gregory IX, deciding that the custodes of the individual provinces should choose one from among themselves to whom they would entrust their views; this one would accompany the provincial minister. He omitted, however, to repeat the assurance of his predecessor: “Once you yourselves shall have passed this statute, we consider it approved”, as if to reiterate that the only source of law was his own person, the only one capable of determining and legislating with authority.[51]

The question of preaching, of decisive importance regarding the pastoral commitment that the Order had come to assume within the Church, was also addressed on several occasions by Gregory IX. In 1230 the friars had asked the pope if “the general minister may delegate to other discreet brothers the said examination, approval, and authorization for the office of preaching”. On that occasion, the pope did not feel like changing the letter of the Rule but adopted a clever strategy that allowed it to be effectively superseded. A little over ten years later, on 12 December 1240, he changed his mind. In order to avoid dangers and facilitate the apostolate in view of the salvation of souls, with the letter Prohibente regula he granted that during the provincial chapter the individual ministers with their definitors could examine the erudite brothers “in holy scripture” and grant them the possibility of preaching.[52] In this way, the Order in substance returned to its original discipline, codified in chapter XVII of the Regula non bullata, according to which it was up to the provincial minister to grant the office of preaching.

In turn, Innocent IV, not long after his election, on 30 October 1243, reiterated the Prohibente regula,[53] which he ended up inserting in the Ordinem vestrum with a further expansion: in the event of the absence of the ministers, he allowed the delegation to be extended also to their vicars.[54] In addition, he took up the assertions of Gregory IX, who had exempted from the examination all those who, educated in a theological faculty, were already experts in preaching. Clearly, the Order was now more and more involved in pastoral activities; by facilitating their work in this way, Pope Fieschi contributed to assist the metamorphosis of the Minoritic family in an increasingly marked way.[55]

An intricate and intriguing question: access to women’s monasteries

The last point addressed by the Pontiff concerns the prescriptions contained in Chapter XI of the Regula bullata, dedicated to relations with women’s monasteries. Since the Rule forbade the friars to “enter the monasteries of nuns, except those brothers to whom a special permission has been granted by the Apostolic See” (XI, 2), Innocent IV forbade entry to “the cloistered nuns of the Order of Saint Damiano”, where no one was allowed to enter except those who had been granted a special faculty by the Apostolic See.[56]

It is necessary to pause and reflect on this provision, which I do not think has been given the attention it deserves, perhaps because the issue is not easy to resolve.[57] I believe that in order to understand the scope of this decision it is necessary to take a step back to the decisions of Gregory IX: the latter, in response to the question posed by the friars, who asked whether the prohibition should be understood as “in general of all monasteries” or only of those of the poor Cloistered nuns, had made it clear that the prohibition referred to any monastery. Clare’s harsh reaction is well known,[58] but its vehemence – as Marco Guida is right to point out – raises questions.[59]

Now, I believe that the decision previously taken by the friars to apply the prescription of the Rule to the monasteries of the Poor Clares gave the monastery of San Damiano a special position. Moreover, as the pope himself reported, such a prescription was believed to have been “handed down by the provincial ministers in general chapter through a statute at the time when the Rule was approved and blessed Francis was still alive”:[60] now, since one cannot doubt the presence of Francis at San Damiano in the last years of his existence[61], one can reasonably assume that this monastery was not among those to which the provincial ministers had decided to apply the precept of the Rule. The interpretation of the friars in 1230 must not have been so unanimous if they themselves put the question to the pope.

Nevertheless, the moment Gregory IX sanctioned that the prohibition in the Rule should apply to “any monastery”, it unequivocally included San Damiano, which Clare was unwilling to accept. Not only: since the author of the Legenda sanctae Clarae assures that Gregory IX, informed of the reaction of the abbess of San Damiano, put the matter back in the hands of the minister general[62] and considering that it is difficult to doubt the events – also because the author of the Legenda was writing by mandate of Alexander IV, who at the time of the event was cardinal protector and well aware of the reality of the facts – the pontiff would have essentially ended up retracing his steps, settling on the decisions taken by the ministers before 1226 in the mentioned General Chapter.

The fact that Gregory IX spoke of the Poor Clares in his pronouncement indicates that in 1230 the denomination of the Order of St. Damiano had not yet spread, which became prevalent in the following years to indicate the monasteries that had joined the new Order set up by Ugo di Ostia – Gregory IX.[63] On the contrary, Innocent IV expressly mentions the Order of St. Damiano, although without mentioning the dispensation that Clare is said to have received, which is why – given that from a certain moment onwards the monastery in Assisi was officially part of the Order – it seems that the ban thus renewed also affected San Damiano. However, it seems that Clare’s community continued to live according to the dispensation granted by Pope Gregory, since it is difficult to dispute what is stated in the Legend of Saint Clare, namely that in the last days of the Saint’s life, friars, including Francis’ former companions (Leo, Angelo, Rinaldo, Ginepro),[64] were seen rushing to her bedside and entering the monastery regardless of any prohibition!

Moreover, although the argument ex silentio cannot in itself be considered probative, it is necessary to ask why Clare, who reacted so strongly to Gregory IX’s stance, did not oppose Ordinem vestrum. Was it because the community of San Damiano continued to take advantage of the dispensation granted by Gregory IX in relations between brothers and sisters? If so, this would be further confirmation that the Assisian monastery’s membership of the Order of San Damiano was more nominal than substantial.

The situation is therefore complex and not free from possible misunderstandings. It could be said, however, that if in declaring that the entrance of friars was prohibited only in “the cloistered nuns of the Order of San Damiano”, Innocent IV marked a point of discontinuity with respect to Quo elongati, and ended up placing himself in continuity with the decisions taken by Gregory IX after Clare’s harsh reaction, when he put the matter back in the hands of the minister general.

In the meantime, the relations of the friars with the monasteries of the Order of San Damiano were multiplying and becoming more complicated also because of administrative issues, which ended up causing the effective failure of the Rule for nuns drafted by Innocent IV in 1247.[65] This, however, is another story and would require considerable attention, which is beyond our tasks and perspectives for now.

Oppositions to Ordinem vestrum

Ordinem vestrum undoubtedly did not pacify the already troubled minds of the friars. According to Thomas of Eccleston, John of Kethene “tenaciously supported the Minister of England, Brother William of Nottingham, of holy memory, together with Brother Gregory de Bosellis in the General Chapter of Genoa and, against almost the entire General Chapter, they won the case that the privilege granted by the Lord Pope to receive money through procurators should be abolished entirely, and the exposition of the rule according to the Lord Innocent should be suspended in those things where it is more permissive than the Gregorian one”.[66] Regardless of whether we are dealing with an error by the chronicler or instead with a fault produced by textual tradition (“Januensi” instead of “Methensi”), the fact remains that the General Chapter of Narbonne ratified the decision taken in 1254 at Metz to suspend the letter Ordinem vestrum in those points where it ended up deviating from the Quo elongati.[67]

Moreover, as I suggested years ago,[68] it was precisely the issuing of Odinem vestrum that convinced the Companions of Francis that it was necessary to respond to the request of the General Minister. In 1244, the General Chapter gathered in Genoa had taken the decision to update and complete the Life of Saint Francis of Thomas of Celano: Crescentius of Iesi – in a circular letter whose text has unfortunately been lost – turned to all those who had known Francis to send their personal testimonies, so that the gaps reported could be filled. As is well known, Leo, Rufinus and Angelo replied only in August 1246: an undoubtedly excessive period of time, which can only be explained in an intentional way, also because it seems increasingly established that on the occasion of the canonisation of Francis they had not given testimony.[69] It was precisely the determinations of Ordinem vestrum, especially those relating to the use of money and movable and immovable property, that must have convinced them that it was more necessary than ever to bring to the knowledge of all what had been the thought of Francis.

The material found in the investigation promoted by Crescenzio da Iesi was handed over to Thomas of Celano so that he could complete the text of the Life he himself had written almost twenty years earlier. Although no one can dispute that he was the author, it is true that the hagiographer did not work alone: in some fundamental passages, the Saint’s associates appear in the first person, almost as if they were co-authors of the text together with Thomas and guarantors of his work. Clearly, I believe this is why the tensions that arose in the wake of Ordinem vestrum are clearly reflected in Thomas’ Remembrance. In the second part of the work, for example, the different space given by the hagiographer to the virtues allows us to understand what were the main points of discussion among the brothers: first of all, great importance is given to the spirit of prophecy of Francis,[70] to poverty[71] and the attitude taken towards the poor;[72] several times Thomas mentions the marriage of the Saint with poverty.[73] It is interesting to note how the hagiographer, beginning to speak of the virtue of poverty, divides his material according to Ordinem vestrum. As we have seen, for Innocent IV, the friars could legitimately dispose of “places, houses, equipment, books, and other such moveable property as is permitted” even without owning them: for his part, Thomas speaks first of the poverty of houses,[74] then of the poverty of furnishings;[75] he then recalls Francis’ warning against the “eagerness for books “[76], and also mentions the poverty of beds.[77] The Pontiff spoke of houses: Thomas points out that Francis wanted huts, not stone houses,[78] and abhorred luxurious dwellings.[79]

The Remembrance can therefore be read against the light of and as a response to Ordinem vestrum. It is true, moreover, that just a few years after the work of Thomas, in commenting on the Franciscan Rule – as Jacque Paul[80] saw rightly now fifty years ago – Hugh of Digne showed himself to be going out of his way to distance himself from the papal interventions and, above all, from Ordinem vestrum.

An outcome not entirely predictable

These few facts are enough to tell us how difficult it was for the Order to accept the intervention of Innocent IV, until actual refuting him at the General Chapter of Metz in 1254. In all likelihood, this rebutal was the cause that led Pope Fieschi to publish the Etsi animarum (22 November 1254), an extremely severe letter with regard to the members of the mendicant Orders,[81] which in turn was capable of producing in the friars an equally harsh reaction towards the pontiff.[82]

The earthquake of 1254 would therefore have its roots not in the controversy surrounding Gerard of Borgo San Donnino and his nonchalant use of the authentic works of Abbot Joachim of Fiore, but in the papal pronouncement of 1245. In spite of this, Ordinem vestrum – which was immediately disliked by most of the friars – provided the Order with the theoretical foundation to justify its claim to spiritual superiority within the ecclesial structure, which none of the friars dared to doubt, at least for the next eighty years. It would be Angelo Clareno, in the midst of the discussion on poverty, who would question such a conviction, revealing that Minoritic poverty was now nothing more than a juridical fiction, a name without substance.[83]

  1. [CapDox: the sources will be quoted from the English versions found on franciscantradition.org: the three volume series, Francis of Assisi: Early Documents (FA:ED), edited by Regis Armstrong, OFM Cap., Wayne Hellmann, OFM Conv., and William J Short, OFM, published between 1999-2001 and in Clare of Assisi: Early Documents (CA:ED), edited by Regis Armstrong, OFM Cap., and published in 2006; also Salimbene de Adam, The Chronicles of Salimene de Adam, [149], trans. Joseph L. Baird (Medieval & Renaissance texts & studies) Binghamton, New York, 1986]. 
  2. Refer to F. Accrocca, Frate Elia ministro generale, in Elia di Cortona tra realtà e mito. Atti dell’Incontro di studio (Cortona, 12-13 luglio 2013) (Figure e temi francescani. Atti degli Incontri di studio della Società internazionale di studi francescani e del Centro interuniversitario di studi francescani 2), Spoleto 2014, 61-90.
  3. [Salimbene de Adam, The Chronicles of Salimene de Adam, [149], trans. Joseph L. Baird (Medieval & Renaissance texts & studies) Binghamton, New York, 1986, page 81: “The fourth fault of Brother Elias was that during his entire term of office there were no constitutions instituted to govern the Order”; on the contrary, in the Chapter at which Elias was deposed “a large number of constitutions were written, although they were not organised until later under the Minister Generalate of Brother Bonaventure, at which time they were codified by Bonaventure, although he added very few of his own, save that he did indeed change the penalties in certain instances” ibidem [232], pages 150-151.]
  4. Cfr. F. Accrocca, «Sancta plantatio Fratrum Minorum Ordinis». Gregorio IX e i Frati Minori dopo Francesco, in idem, L’identità complessa. Percorsi francescani fra Due e Trecento (Centro Studi Antoniani 53), Padova 2014, 117-123.
  5. Part of the pre-Narbonense legislation has been found and published by C. Cenci, De Fratrum Minorum Constitutionibus Praenarbonensibus, in Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 83 (1990) 50-95; idem, Fragmenta priscarum Constitutionum praenarbonensium, in Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 96 (2003) 289-300; idem, Vestigia constitutionum praenarbonensium, in Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 97 (2004) 61-98; the texts are gathered together in the volume: Consitutiones Generales Ordinis Fratrum Minorum, I. (Saeculum XIII), cura et studio fratrum C. Cenci et G. Mailleux (Analecta Franciscana XIII – n.s. Documenta et studia 1), Grottaferrata 2007.
  6. Cf. Cenci, Fragmenta, in Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 96 (2003) 291-297, art. 1-33.
  7. Bullarium Franciscanum, t. I, ed. J. H. Sbaraleae, Romae 1759 (d’ora in poi BF), 298 (n. 344): «Nos, devotionis vestrae precibus inclinati […] vobis auctoritate praesentium concedimus facultatem, ita tamen, ut non passim admittantur converti volentes, sed illi soli qui et Ordini utiles et alii aedificari valeant suae conversionis exemplo».
  8. Cenci, Fragmenta, in Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 96 (2003) 298, art. 41.
  9. Cenci, Fragmenta, in Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 96 (2003) 291, considers instead that the prescriptions he found in the Codex of Todi are to be dated between 1239 and 1241. Gratien de Paris, Histoire de la fondation et de l’évolution de l’Ordre des Frères Mineurs au XIII e siècle, bibliographie mise à jour par M. D’Alatri et S. Gieben (Bibliotheca seraphico-capuccina 29), Rome 1982, knew only the text of the Constitutions of Narbona; he, however, expressed himself in this way regarding the corresponding prescription passed in 1260: “It is therefore to the Chapter of 1239 that we must trace this prescription of the Consitutions of 1260.
  10. Cf. Cenci, Fragmenta, in Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 96 (2003) 298, art. 41. It is clear that in establishing that no one should be received “nisi talis qui rexerit in artibus, vel qui … [parole illeg. ] aut rexerit in medicina, in decretis aut legibus, aut sit sollempnizatus responsor in theologia, seu valde famosus predicator, seu multum celebris et approbatus advocatus, vel qui in famosis civitatibus vel castellis laudabiliter in gramatica rexerit, vel sit talis clericus vel laycus, de cuius ingressu esset valde celebris et famosa edifficatio in populo et clero”, an attempt was made to stem the entry of uncultured men. Salimbene gives some interesting details on this subject. According to the Parma chronicler, the third fault (Salimbene enumerates a long series) of Brother Elias was that “he promoted unworthy me to offices in the Order. For he placed lay brothers in the position of guardians, custodians, and ministers, an absurd practice, since there was an abundance of good clerks available to the Order” Salimbene de Adam, The Chronicles of Salimene de Adam, [143], trans. Joseph L. Baird (Medieval & Renaissance texts & studies) Binghamton, New York, 1986, page 81.
  11. Cenci, Fragmenta, in Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 96 (2003) 297, art. 34-35.
  12. Quo elongati 6. On this document of Gregory IX see F. Accrocca, Quo elongati: il tentativo di una doppia fedeltà, in Frate Francesco 81 (2015) 133-166.
  13. BF I, 327 (n. 36): «Sane admirantes accepimus, quod vos non absque offensa rectitudinis, quae in vestris debet actibus haberi continue specialis, Fratres Predicatores et eorum Ordini obligatos frequenter ad vestrum recipitis, unitatem Spiritus in pacis vinculo non servantes». Sbaraglia borrows the date (21 April 1244) from Wadding (cf. ibid. 328, note b); it is also attested by the Bullarium Ordinis Ff. Praedicatorum, t. I, ed. A. Brémond, T. Ripoll, Romae 1729 (henceforth BOP), 141, num. 69, which produces a slightly different text: «[…] quae in vestris debet actibus haberi continue, specialiter Fratres Predicatores, […]» (Note also the different punctuation, which helps to give the text a different meaning); “[…] unitatem Spiritus in pacis vinculo non servatis”. The pontiff’s words appeared harsh, since – what does not appear in the editions of the Bollari – the brothers expressly contravened the Apostle’s exhortation. Writing to the Ephesians, Paul in fact exhorted them to be solicitous in “serving unitatem Spiritus in vinculo pacis” (Eph 4,3); the friars instead showed themselves to be “unitatem Spiritus in pacis vinculo non servantes”.
  14. Cf. BF I, 345-346 (n. 53); BOP I, 144, (n. 75). On this question see also the testimony of Thomas of Eccleston: Tractatus fr. Thomae vulgo dicti de Eccleston De adventu fratrum minorum in Angliam, ed. A. G. Little (Collection d’Études et de Documents 7), Paris 1909, 100-102 (FF 2525). It should be noted that the incipit of the letter, in which the Pope recalls an earlier letter on the subject, is the same in both, which postulates that a letter similar to the letter Quo vos, sent on 21 April to the Friars Minor, was also addressed to the Preaching Friars.
  15. On the different editions of the Remembrance I refer to what is said in the introduction to the new edition of the work: Thomas de Celano, Memoriale, part. IX-XXV, CXXV-CXXIX.
  16. Cf. Thomas of Celano, Remembrance CIX, 147-148.
  17. Thomas of Celano, Remembrance CIX, 149. (FF 733).
  18. Cf. E. Pásztor, Francescanesimo e papato, in idem, Francesco e la “questione francescana”, edited by A. Marini, preface by G. G. Merlo (Medioevo Francescano. Saggi 5), S. Maria degli Angeli-Assisi 2000, 327-349: 333-334. Unfortunately, a reliable edition of this important papal document is still lacking: I will offer some indications on the subject in the following pages, while postponing the project of a new edition of the Ordinem vestrum to another occasion.
  19. Innocent IV, Ordinem vestrum 1.
  20. Cf. Accrocca, Quo elongati: il tentativo di una doppia fedeltà, in Frate Francesco 81 (2015) 133-166.
  21. Innocent IV, Ordinem vestrum 2: “The provincial ministers may also receive back those who have left the Order when they return and expel brothers once received in certain cases as determined by your general chapter”.
  22. Cf. R. Lambertini, La povertà pensata. Evoluzione storica della definizione dell’identità minoritica da Bonaventura ad Ockham (Collana di storia medievale 1), Modena 2000; A. Tabarroni, «Paupertas Christi et apostolorum». L’ideale francescano in discussione (1322-1324) (Nuovi studi storici 5), Roma 1990.
  23. Cf. Gratien de Paris, Histoire de la fondation, 197; F. Elizondo, Bullae «Quo elongati» Gregorii IX et «Ordinem vestrum» Innocentii IV: de duabus primis regulae francicanae authenticis declarationibus, in Laurentianum 3 (1962) 349-394: 374; P. Etzi, Iuridica franciscana. Percorsi monografici di storia della legislazione dei tre Ordini francescani (Studi francescani 5), Padova 2005, 69.
  24. Ubertino da Casale, in Sanctitas vestra, rebuts the objections of his opponents who accused him of disobedience to the provisions issued by Quo elongati, stating that, if there was no doubt about the impossibility of Francis being able to impose the observance of the Testament on the brothers, since he had already renounced the government of the Order, nevertheless he “per modum precepti voluit nobis explicare intencionem suam, quam habuit in regula a spiritu sancto, et quam asserebat pro certo esse domini voluntatem, sicut expressis verbis asseruit [by way of precepts he wanted to explain his intention to us, which he had in the Rule from the Holy Spirit, which he asserted with certitude that it was the will of the Lord dictated to him]” [in F. ehrle, Zur Vorgheschichte des Concils von Vienne, in Archiv für Litteratur und Kirchen-Geschichte des Mittelalters 3 (1887) 54, rr. 9-11].
  25. Commentary on the Rule, Epilogue, 39: “And they separated his holy Testament from the Rule, not understanding that the Rule without the Testament is like a crown of stars without the head of the woman and without being clothed with the sun, like the loaves of proposition away from the holy table, like a good work without a right intention, like writing without a Catholic and faithful interpretation, like a bride without her own adornment and her lawful husband, and like an heir making himself unworthy by disobedience for a paternal blessing and inheritance”.
  26. Ordinem vestrum 1: “We therefore declare to you that when your Rule; imposes on you the observance of the holy Gospel, you are bound only to those Gospel counsels which are expressly contained in that same Rule by way of precept or prohibition”.
  27. Quo elongati 9.
  28. See what has been said above in note 7 and the corresponding tet. Cf. also L. Pisanu, Innocenzo IV e i francescani (1243-1254) (Studi e testi francescani 41), Roma 1968, 244.
  29. In BF I, 400, nota d.
  30. Cf. BF I, 352 (n. 72).
  31. Ordinem vestrum 2.
  32. See the stratification of the legislation, which was also influenced by papal pronouncements: cf. Cenci, Fragmenta, in Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 96 (2003) 298 (and parallel text); idem, De Fratrum Minorum Constitutionibus Praenarbonensibus, in Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 83 (1990) 75 (art. 30 and parallel text) and note 13.
  33. Cf. Gratien de Paris, Histoire de la fondation, 198.
  34. See again Gratien de Paris, Histoire de la fondation, 168, 197; Pisanu, Innocenzo IV e i francescani, 244. Some inaccuracies in this regard are presented by Pásztor, Francescanismo e papato, 334. Pio vestro collegio had also been reiterated by Innocent IV, on 20 June 1244 [BF I, 344 (n. 50)], who had introduced some novelties with respect to the text issued by Gregory IX. Innocent IV’s letter tends to specify the situations that led the friars out of the friary, listing a series of possibilities not mentioned in Gregory IX’s letter. However, as will be seen (cf. below, note 36), in Ordinem vestrum he does not take up the proper formulation, but the more general one given earlier by Gregory IX.
  35. Cf. BF I, 296 (n. 342).
  36. Ordinem vestrum 3. Cf. also Elizondo, Bullae «Quo elongati» Gregorii IX et «Ordinem vestrum» Innocentii IV, in Laurentianum 3 (1962) 369-370; Pisanu, Innocenzo IV e i francescani, 244.
  37. Cf. Pásztor, Francescanesimo e papato, 337-338.
  38. On the meaning of pecuniam/money, which meant not only cash, but also all those things that were used instead of it, see the definition given by the four masters [Expositio quatuor magistrorum super Regulam Fratrum Minorum (1241-1242), Accedit eiusdem Regulae textus cum fontibus et locis parallelis, edidit p. L. Oliger (Storia e Letteratura 30), Roma 1950, 141, rr. 7-12; 142143, rr. 35-52] e le indicazioni offerte da Giovanni Boccali, in Expositio super Regulam Fratrum Minorum di Frate Angelo Clareno, 379, nota 59.
  39. “A quo res venditur”: the ms. Perugia, Biblioteca Comunale Augusta, 1046, fol. 26rb contains the phrase “a quo res emitur”, which would seem preferable in light of the context and the fact that the text of the Quo elongati, on which Innocent IV depends, presents the same wording.
  40. “Nisi iidem per se”: thus ms. 1046 of Perugia, fol. 26rb, and ms. Todi, Biblioteca Comunale, 64, fol. 86vb, in harmony with the wording of Quo elongati. The error (“eidem”) is already in the 16th century editions: through these it passes into the Bullarium.
  41. Cf. Pásztor, Francescanesimo e papato, 337-338; also Elizondo, Bullae «Quo elongati» Gregorii IX et «Ordinem vestrum» Innocentii IV, in Laurentianum 3 (1962) 369-370.
  42. Pisanu, Innocenzo IV e i francescani, 246.
  43. The phrase formatted in cursive is already present in Quo elongati 4: “And the person so named or designated by the brothers is not their agent or treasurer, but of those persons who have entrusted their alms and donations to them. And when the brothers have recourse to such appointed or presented persons they are not “receiving coins or money in any form either personally or through intermediaries,” since it is not their intention to have such coins or money held by these persons on their own authority nor are they drawing from what has been deposited with them in their own name: they are simply entrusting such agents or depositors with providing for their necessary or useful items”.
  44. Cf. Accrocca, Quo elongati: il tentativo di una doppia fedeltà, in Frate Francesco 81 (2015) 150-153.
  45. Studying the text of the Regula non bullata, David Flood noted the presence of many negative insertions (as he defined them), often introduced by a subjunctive (“caveant”, let the brothers beware, be careful). In his opinion, these were added later, when the brothers were already aware of the dangers from their experience: cf. D. Flood, Die Regula non bullata der Minderbrüder (Franziskaniske Forschungen 19), Werl in W. 1967, 108-121; idem, La genesi della Regola, in D. Flood – W. Van Dijk – T. Matura, La nascita di un carisma. (Una lettura della prima Regola di san Francesco) (Presenza di san Francesco 26), Milano 1976, 27-94.
  46. Cf. CAss 18 (FF 1564). The substantial trustworthinesss of this account has been demonstrated – with good arguments – by G. Miccoli, La proposta cristiana di Francesco d’Assisi, in idem, Francesco d’Assisi. Realtà e memoria di un’esperienza cristiana (Einaudi Paperbacks 217), Torino 1991, 33-97: 75-79; E. Prinzivali, Francesco e il francescanesimo: consapevolezze storiografiche e prospettive, in Francesco d’Assisi fra Storia, Letteratura e Iconografia. Atti del Seminario (Rende, 8-9 maggio 1995), a cura di F. E. Consolino, Soveria Mannelli (CZ) 1996, 69-81: 76-78.
  47. Remembrance CXXXIII, 175.
  48. Ordinem vestrum 6.
  49. This question has been dealt with very well by Roberto Lambertini, who, following a tradition of studies that includes illustrious names – just think of Congar and Miethke, to name a few – has analysed with finesse the works of the Franciscan masters and their adversaries from the decisive years of the outbreak of the controversy until the publication of Exiit qui seminat by Nicholas III: cf. R. Lambertini, Apologia e crescita dell’identità francescana (1255-1279) (Nuovi studi storici 4), Rome 1990; idem, La povertà pensata.
  50. Ordinem vestrum 7.
  51. Ordinem vestrum 7.
  52. «Prohibente Regula vestra nulli fratrum vestrorum est licitum praedicare populo, nisi a generali ministro vestri Ordinis examinatus ac approbatus fuerit, et sibi praedicationis officium ab ipso concessum. Verum, cum pium sit, ut pro dictorum fratrum laboribus ac periculosis discursibus evitandis, necnon quod animarum salus possit provenire facilius, Apostolicae Sedis circumspectio super prohibitione huiusmodi opportunae remedium provisionis apponat. Nos, devotionis vestrae precibus inclinati, ut singuli vestrum in suis provinciis cum diffinitoribus in provincialibus capitulis congregatis, fratres in sacra pagina eruditos examinare ac approbare, et eis officium praedicationis, Deum habendo prae oculis, committere valeant, vobis auctoritate praesentium concedimus facultatem» BF I, 287 (n. 325).
  53. Cf. BF I, 312 (n. 13).
  54. Cf. Pisanu, Innocenzo IV e i francescani, 249; Ordinem vestrum 9.
  55. The term metamorphosis is used in all its meaningfulness by G. G. Merlo, Nel nome di san Francesco. Storia dei frati Minori e del francescanesimo sino agli inizi del XVI secolo, Padova 2003, 57-200.
  56. Ordinem vestrum 10.
  57. Pásztor, Francescanesimo e papato, 334 stated that the question “deserves special attention”, but the scholar on this occasion did not go into the matter; nor do the Poor Clares of the Federation of Umbria-Sardinia in their excellent work: Federazione S. Chiara di Assisi delle Clarisse di Umbria-Sardegna, Chiara di Assisi. Una vita prende forma. Iter storico (Secundum perfectionem sancti Evangelii. La forma di vita dell’Ordine delle Sorelle povere 2), Padova 2005 (cfr. 92-94, 96, nota 26). Lo stesso si dica per PisAnu, Innocenzo IV e i francescani, 249-250; elizondo, Bullae «Quo elongati» Gregorii IX et «Ordinem vestrum» Innocentii IV, in Laurentianum 3 (1962) 373, 375, 384. The discussion with Marco Guida was very helpful in addressing this issue.
  58. Cf. Accrocca, Quo elongati: il tentativo di una doppia fedeltà, in Frate Francesco 81 (2015) 162-165.
  59. M. Guida, Le relazioni con le sorelle, in La Regola di frate Francesco. Eredità e sfida, edited by P. Maranesi, F. Accrocca (Franciscalia 1), Padua 2012, 557-589: 578. The author asks: “Why, then, did the community of San Damiano react to this interpretation only in 1230 and in response to the papal letter? Does this mean that Clare and her community were not part of the monasteries of the Poor Clares or that this norm did not apply to them? If so, the reason for the reaction is even more inexplicable: why send the questing friars away if they could enter the areas of the monasteries where seculars were already allowed? Or does the explanation lie in the fact that Quo elongati – by explicitly declaring what should be meant by a monastery – definitively forbade the friars access to the cloister, the house and the workshops inside San Damiano, a privilege of which the process of canonisation and the Legenda of Clare give little but significant evidence?” ibidem 589.
  60. Quo elongati 11.
  61. Cf. CAss 83-85 (FF 1613-1617); Mem 179 (Q 207: FF 796). As Marco Guida points out to me, instructive in this regard is also the episode of Brother Stefano, whom Clare is said to have cured of his insanity by allowing him to rest in the place where she used to pray (Proc II, 15; III, 12; LegsC 22), thus in a place within the community. The episode in question is reported by two of the older sisters, who entered San Damiano a few months after Clare (Benvenuta da Perugia) or about four years after her (Filippa di Leonardo di Gislerio): It is therefore possible that it took place in the early years of the experience at San Damiano, perhaps between 1216 and 1219 (the year in which Francis, who sent the friar to Clare, left for overseas), since none of the sisters who entered in later years mentioned it, but this is not conclusive and the event could also date from the years 1220-1226.
  62. Legend of Saint Clare 37, 7-10 On the episode see M. Guida, Una leggenda in cerca d’autore: la Vita di santa Chiara d’Assisi. Studio delle fonti e sinossi intertestuale, préface de J. Dalarun (Subsidia Hagiographica 90), Bruxelles 2010, 172-175.
  63. Reference for this proposal is the study of Maria Pia Alberzoni, for which, see F. Accrocca, Chiara d’Assisi: nuovi contributi, in Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia 63 (2009) 520-527.
  64. Cf. Legend of Saint Clare 37, 7-10.
  65. For pages of interest in this regard, see Federazione s. Chiara di Assisi delle Clarisse di Umbria-Sardegna, Chiara di Assisi. Una vita prende forma, 92-103.
  66. Nor ought it to be forgotten that at the General Chapter of Friars Genoa Brother John de Kethene, together with Brother Gregory de Bossellis, faithfully stood by Brother William of Nottingham of happy memory, the Minister of England, and in opposition to almost the entire chapter fortunately brought it to pass that the privilege granted by our Lord the Pope to receive money through procurators be altogether abolished, and that, moreover, the interpretation of the Rule by the Lord Pope Innocent, in those matters in which it was more lax than the interpretation of Pope Gregory, should be put aside”: The Friars and how they came to England being a translation of Thomas of Eccleston’s “De Adventu F.F. Minorum in Angliam (transl. Father Cuthbert of the Order of St. Francis, Capuchin) Chapter VI, St Louis, Mo. B. Herder London: Sands & Co. 1903, Chapter VII, page 179.
  67. F. M. Delorme, «Diffinitiones» Capituli Generalis O.F.M. Narbonensis (1260), in Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 3 (1910) 503, num. 13: «Declaratio domini Innocentii maneat suspensa, sicut fuit in capitulo Methensi; et inhibemus districte, ne aliquis utatur ea in hiis in quibus declarationi domini Gregorii contradicat». Cf. Gratien de Paris, Histoire de la fondation, 243-244; Pásztor, Francescanesimo e papato, 339.
  68. The first time in FF, ed. 2004 on page 357.
  69. A persuasive analysis is offered by R. Paciocco, «Sublimia negotia». Le canonizzazioni dei santi nella Curia papale e il nuovo Ordine dei frati minori, postfazione di A. Vauchez (Centro Studi Antoniani 22), Padova 1996, 120-127.
  70. Remembrance 27-54.
  71. Remembrance 55-82.
  72. Remembrance 83-93.
  73. Cf. Rembrance 55; 70; 72; 82; 84. It is true, however, that in his first work Thomas had already spoken of the marriage of Francis to the Lady Poverty: Life 35.2.
  74. Cf. Remembrance 56-59.
  75. Cf. Remembrance 60-61.
  76. Cf. Remembrance 62.
  77. Cf. Remembrance 63-64.
  78. Cf. Remembrance 56.
  79. Cf. Remembrance 60. On the Remembrance see what I have written: Un santo di carta. Le fonti biografiche di san Francesco d’Assisi (Biblioteca di Frate Francesco 13), Milano 2013, 173-291.
  80. Cf. J. Paul, Le Commentaire de Hugues de Digne sur la Règle franciscaine, in Revue d’Histoire de l’Église de France 61 (1965) 231-241; the considerations of Paul are taken up again by Pásztor, Francescanesimo e papato, 339.
  81. Cf. Accrocca, Un santo di carta, 335-338.
  82. Cf. Tractatus fr. Thomae vulgo dicti de Eccleston De adventu fratrum minorum in Angliam, 117-120 (FF 2558-2560); Salimbene de Adam, Cronica II, a. 1250-1287, edidit G. Scalia (Corpus Christianorum. Continuatio Mediaevalis 125A), Turnholti 1999, 634-635, rr. 21-6 (FF 2635-2637).
  83. Cf. F. Accrocca, Un ribelle tranquillo. Angelo Clareno e gli Spirituali francescani fra Due e Trecento (Collana Viator 8), S. Maria degli Angeli-Assisi 2009, 312.