Table of Contents
- Chapter One: The Life of the Capuchin Friars Minor
- Chapter Two: Those Who Wish to Accept Our Life and the Formation of the Brothers
- Chapter Three: The Life of Prayer of the Brothers
- Chapter Four: Our Life in Poverty
- Chapter Five: The Manner of Working
- Chapter Six: Our Life in Fraternity
- Chapter Seven: The Brothers’ Life of Penance
- Chapter Eight: The Government of the Order or Fraternity
- Chapter Nine: The Apostolic Life of the Brothers
- Chapter Ten: Our Life in Obedience
- Chapter Eleven: Our Life in Consecrated Chastity
- Chapter Twelve: Spreading and Fostering the Faith
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ begin the Constitutions of the Capuchins Friars Minor
Chapter One: The Life of the Capuchin Friars Minor
Article I: Our Life according to the Gospel
1. 1In every age, the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is the principle of the entire life of the Church and the message of salvation for the whole world.
2For, through it, the Church, led by the Holy Spirit, comes to know Christ and accepts in faith His deeds and words that are spirit and life to those who believe.
3Saint Francis, founder of our Fraternity, accepted the Gospel as the principle of his life and activity from the very beginning of his conversion.
4In the beginning and end of the Rule, therefore, he expressly commanded its observance and declared in the Testament that it was revealed to him to live according to the pattern of the holy Gospel.
5Since we are his sons, therefore, let us always take care to make progress in our understanding of the Gospel.
6In all circumstances of our life, let us follow the Gospel as the supreme law, assiduously read the words of salvation, and, like the Blessed Virgin Mary, carry them in our heart so that, as our life becomes more and more moulded by the Gospel, we may grow in Christ in all things.
2. 1Saint Francis, a true disciple of Christ and an outstanding example of Christian life, taught his own brothers to follow the footprints of the poor and humble Jesus Christ joyfully that, through Him, they would be led in the Holy Spirit to the Father.
2Burning with love of Christ, let us contemplate Him in the outpouring of His Incarnation and Cross that we might be ever more conformed to Him. As together we joyfully celebrate the Eucharist, let us take part in the Paschal Mystery, enjoying a foretaste of His Resurrection until He comes.
3Let us courageously observe the gospel counsels, especially those we have promised: chastity dedicated to God, poverty that is a special way of salvation for us, and loving obedience.
3. 1 Saint Francis, after hearing the words of the sending of the disciples, founded the Fraternity of the Order of Minors, which, by sharing their lives, would bear witness to the Kingdom of God, preaching penance and peace by word and example.
2That we might learn the pattern of a true disciple of Jesus Christ, let us strive to imitate him, cultivate his spiritual inheritance diligently in our life and work, and communicate it with all peoples of whatever age.
3To this end let us frequently read the life and writings of Saint Francis himself, those of his children, especially of Capuchins renowned for their holiness, apostolic zeal and knowledge, and other books by which his spirit is made known.
4. 1As Capuchin Friars Minor we should renew our knowledge of the genius and ideals of our Fraternity that our life, correctly adapted to the times, may be inspired by the wholesome tradition of our brothers.
2It is appropriate to imitate our first brothers especially by a return to [their] original inspiration, that is, to the life and Rule of our Father Francis in order that our Order may always be renewed through a conversion of spirit.
3Following their footprints, let us strive to give priority to a life of prayer, especially contemplative prayer, to cultivate, together with a spirit of minority, radical poverty, both personal and communal, and to manifest, out of love of the cross of the Lord, a life of austerity and joyful penance, taking care as well that new forms of leading this life of ours, approved by legitimate superiors, are discerned in light of the signs of the times.
4While exercising fraternal spontaneity among ourselves, let us joyfully live among the poor, the powerless and the weak, sharing their life, and let us maintain our special approach to people.
5In many ways, above all in the work of evangelization, let us promote an apostolic dynamism carried out in a spirit of service.
5. 1The Rule of Saint Francis, flowing from the Gospel, impels us to a gospel life.
2Let us zealously cling to a spiritual understanding of [the Rule] and strive to observe it simply and purely, through a holy activity, according to the admonition of the Founder himself expressed in his Testament and according to the spirit, gospel ideals and examples of holiness of our first Capuchin brothers.
3Let superiors, together with the fraternities, keep promotion of knowledge, love and observance of the Rule close to their heart.
4According to different regions and cultures and the needs of times and places, let major superiors take care to seek more appropriate, even pluriform, expressions of the life and apostolate of the brothers so that the Rule and intentions of our law-giving Father may be faithfully observed throughout the world.
5The true expression of pluriformity, however, while always preserving the unity of the same genuine spirit, is based on fraternal communion and obedience to the moderators so that it offers gospel freedom in acting above all in whatever concerns the renewal of our life in order not to extinguish the spirit.
6. 1Our Seraphic Father, eagerly longing for our salvation, adorned with the sacred stigmata and full of the Holy Spirit, dictated the Testament when near death.
2In it he expresses his last will and passes on to us the precious inheritance of his spirit.
3It was given to us that, day by day, we might more perfectly observe the Rule that we have professed according to the sense of the Church.
4Therefore, according to the tradition of our Order, we accept the Testament as the primary spiritual explanation of the Rule and the preeminent inspiration of our life.
7. 1The purpose of the Constitutions is to offer us assistance in observing the Rule more perfectly in the changing circumstances of our life.
2We find in them a secure support for our spiritual renewal in Christ and an authentic assistance for carrying out the consecration of our life through which each brother gives himself totally to God.
3Let us observe [the Constitutions] to which we are bound by virtue of our profession, not as slaves but as sons desiring to love God above all else, listening to the Holy Spirit instructing us, and concentrating on the glory of God and the salvation of our neighbor.
4All the brothers are strongly urged to apply themselves to a personal study of the Rule, Testament and Constitutions and to be intimately imbued with their spirit.
Article II: Our Life in the Church
8. 1The Church, the instrument of salvation and union with God and among people, appears as the people of God making a pilgrimage in the world. Established by Christ in a communion of life, charity and truth, it is enriched by the Holy Spirit with a multitude of gifts or charisms useful for the renewal and further building up of the same Church.
2In that Church, adorned with such a variety of charisms, Saint Francis, inspired by the Holy Spirit, raised up a religious Fraternity and gave it form. That a sign of Christ, poor, humble and especially dedicated to the poor, might shine more brilliantly upon her face, the Church approved it by her hierarchical authority and protected it with motherly care.
3The Order of Capuchin Friars Minor was also accepted by the Church by virtue of the decree Religionis zelus given by Pope Clement VII on July 3, 1528.
4Therefore, let us love the Church above all else, meditate upon its mystery, and actively participate in its undertakings.
9. 1After the example of Saint Francis who was a catholic and thoroughly apostolic man, let us offer faithful obedience to the Spirit of Christ living in the Church.
2Let us offer obedience and reverence to the Supreme Pontiff, to whom religious are subject as [their] highest superior also by virtue of their vow of obedience, and to the College of Bishops, which. together with him, is a visible sign of the unity of the Church and its apostolicity.
3Wherever we are, let us contribute to the good of the particular Church by our fraternal and prophetic presence and by working for its growth and progress.
4Under the leadership of the diocesan bishop, let us offer our apostolic service, according to our charism, for the People of God and the entire human community.
5Let us offer due honour to priests and all others who minister spirit and life to us and work assiduously with them.
10. 1Let us love and obey with a generous heart the general minister who, as the successor of our holy Founder, has been appointed for the service and welfare of the entire Fraternity and as the living bond uniting us with the authority of the Church and among ourselves.
2Let us also love and offer an active and responsible obedience to the other ministers of the Fraternity who have been given to us by the Lord as shepherds and recipients of the trust of the brothers, so that we might be more closely and securely united in the service of the Church in a spirit of faith and love for Christ.
11. 1From his adoration of the Father of all good, Saint Francis obtained a feeling for universal brotherhood through which he perceived in every creature an image of Christ, the first born and saviour.
2As children of this Father, let us regard ourselves as brothers to all peoples without any discrimination and, as we fraternally encounter every creature, let us eagerly offer praise to the God of creation from Whom all good proceeds.
3United by the Holy Spirit in the same calling, let us foster a sense of brotherhood throughout the entire Order and especially in our provinces and local communities by common prayer and activity. Let us cultivate that same sense toward all our brothers and sisters, whether religious or secular.
4This gospel fraternity of ours, as an example and leaven of social life, invites people to foster fraternal relationships among themselves and to combine their efforts for the better development and liberation of the whole person as well as for the genuine progress of human society.
5Our fraternal life has a special importance and become a greater power of witness in the process of sound social development and association through which God calls us as we support the realization and growth of fraternity in justice and peace.
12. 1The Son of God, accepting the form of a servant, did not come to be ministered to but to minister and give His life for the salvation of all.
2Wishing to be conformed to His image, let us not presume to be greater, but let us expend ourselves as lesser ones in the service of all, especially of those who suffer want and tribulation or even of those who persecute us.
3Therefore let us willingly spend our fraternal life among the poor, sharing in a very loving way their hardships and humiliation.
4While relieving their material and spiritual needs, let us devote ourselves by our life, activity and word to promoting their human and Christian development.
5By acting in this way, we make the spirit of our brotherhood in minority known and, at the same time, become a leaven of justice, unity and peace.
13. 1That we may fulfil our gospel calling in the Church and the world fruitfully, let us strive faithfully to lead an apostolic life that embraces contemplation and activity, imitating Jesus Who spent His life unceasingly in prayer and the work of salvation.
2 Professing this life of the Master, the apostles, sent by the Lord into the whole world, were constant in their prayer and the ministry of the word.
3 Although he preferred solitary places, Saint Francis, following the footprints of the Lord and the apostles, chose a form of life that intimately united prayer and the proclamation of the message of salvation.
4Let us therefore devote ourselves to the praise of God and meditation on His word through which we become ever more inflamed for this: that people may be led joyfully to the love of God by our ardent activity.
5In this way our entire life of prayer will be imbued with an apostolic spirit while all our apostolic activity will be charged with the spirit of prayer.
Chapter Two: Those Who Wish to Accept Our Life and the Formation of the Brothers
Article I: The Call to Our Life
14. 1Because of His goodness, God calls all faithful Christians in the Church to the perfection of love through different states of life, so that the holiness of each one and the salvation of the world might be promoted.
2Each one, with the greatest freedom, must give a response of love to this call that the dignity of the human person may be in harmony with the will of God.
3Let all of us rejoice with a grateful spirit over the special divine grace of the religious calling given to us.
4Responding to our Capuchin Franciscan calling, we offer at this very moment a public and social witness to the abiding and eternal life of Christ, follow the poor and humble Christ, and spread His message to peoples, especially the poor, wherever they may be.
5In this way, in a brotherhood of pilgrims, of penitents in heart and deed, we expend ourselves for all peoples in a spirit of minority and joy for the saving mission of the Church.
15. 1Concern for vocations arises above all from the brothers’ awareness that they themselves are living and offering to others a program of life that is very rich in human and gospel values. By embracing this life candidates develop their own humanity and offer genuine service to God and people. If we are to present convincing witness to this way of life, we ourselves must be continually renewed.
2Let all the brothers earnestly work together to foster vocations out of a desire to carry out God’s design according to our charism.
3Mindful of the concern of Saint Francis when he saw the growth of the primitive brotherhood, let all the brothers, above all the ministers and individual fraternities, practice assiduous care in recognizing and cultivating genuine vocations especially by the example of their life, prayer and speech.
4In this way we work together with God Who calls and chooses whomever He wishes and we contribute to the good of the Church.
16. 1Let various kinds of pastoral care for vocations be promoted with zeal, especially in circles closer to the spirit of our Order.
2Greater results are obtained where brothers are especially assigned for promoting and coordinating vocations. Let all the brothers, however, contribute to the work as a sign of the fruitfulness of Franciscan life.
3To foster vocations, it is very helpful to offer young people an opportunity of participating in some way in our fraternal life. This is best done in suitable houses in which help in personal reflection may be offered at the same time.
4That vocations to religious life may be properly cultivated and more suitably prepared, the provincial ministers, with the consent of the definitory and, if it seems opportune, the advice of the provincial Chapter may establish special institutes according to the needs of regions and times.
5Let them be organized according to the norms of sound pedagogy in such a way that, in addition to science and the humanities, the students, in a manner consistent with their social and family backgrounds, may lead a Christian life suited to their age, spirit, and growth. [In these conditions], a vocation to religious life may be discerned and flourish.
6Studies undertaken by a student should be so arranged that they can be easily continued elsewhere.
Article II: Admission to our Life
17. 1Saint Francis was concerned about the purity of our life and, foreseeing that his Brotherhood was growing into a large multitude, was fearful at the same time of a number of unsuitable brothers.
2Therefore, since the Brotherhood should increase continually in virtue, in the perfection of charity, and in spirit rather than in number, let those who wish to embrace our life be seriously screened and selected.
3Let the provincial ministers inquire whether those who are to be admitted to our life meet the requirements of the universal law as well as our own for their valid and lawful admission. The following must especially be observed:
a. let candidates be suited by disposition
for the communal living of our gospel fraternal life;
b. let it be evident that they enjoy the physical and mental health necessary to lead our life;
c. candidates should show by their lives that they firmly believe what holy mother Church believes and holds and are endowed with a Catholic sense;
d. let it be established that they enjoy a good reputation especially among those who know them well.
e. let them be endowed with the required maturity and a fervent will, and let certainty be had that they have entered the Order to serve with sincerity God alone and the salvation of people, according to the Rule and teaching of the life of Saint Francis and our Constitutions.
f. let them be taught according to the standards of each one’s region and let there be hope that in the future they will be able to carry out their respective duties with fruitfulness.
g. especially if there is question of older candidates or of those who have already had some experience of religious life, let all useful information be gathered concerning their earlier life.
h. if it is a matter of admitting secular clergy or of those who have been admitted into another institute of consecrated life or seminary, or of the re-admission of some candidates, let the prescriptions of universal law be observed.
18. 1Christ, our most wise teacher, responding to the young man who manifested a desire to achieve eternal salvation, said that whoever wanted to be perfect should first sell all he had and give to the poor.
2His imitator Francis not only fulfilled this in deed and taught it to others whom he received but also decreed in the Rule that it be observed.
3Let the provincial ministers, therefore, take care that the words revealed in the Holy Gospel be made known and explained to the candidates who, invited by an interior love of Christ, come to our Order that, at the proper time before their perpetual profession, they may renounce their goods above all in favour of the poor.
4Let the candidates prepare themselves interiorly for the future renunciation of goods and condition themselves for the service of all peoples, especially the poor.
5Let the brothers, however, avoid involving themselves in any way in these arrangements, according to the Rule.
6Moreover, let the candidates be ready to contribute to the entire brotherhood their strengths of intellect and will as well as their gifts of nature and grace in fulfilling the duties which they accept in the service of the people of God.
19. 1In addition to the general minister, it pertains to the provincial minister in each province, to receive candidates to the postulancy, novitiate and profession. He can delegate this faculty to the vicar provincial, vice provincial and superior regular.
2Before they admit candidates to the novitiate, let the superiors consult their own council or three or four brothers named by that council. Before they can admit them to first profession and to perpetual profession, they need the consent of their council.
3If need be, let them also consult those who have special competence in the matter.
20. 1It pertains to the master of novices to conduct the rite of receiving novices by which the novitiate begins unless the provincial minister decrees otherwise.
2The provincial minister himself, however, receives, in the name of the Church, the vows of the professed. He can, nevertheless, delegate another brother of the Order for this.
3Let the prescribed liturgical rites be observed in the reception to the novitiate and the making of profession.
4Religious profession is made ordinarily within the solemnity of the Mass, using the following formula approved by the Holy See for the Franciscan families:
Since for the glory of God, the Lord has given me this grace of living more perfectly and with a firm will the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I, N.N., in the presence of the assembled brothers, and into your hands, Father N.N., vow for three years (or. . . year[s]) (for all the days of my life) to live in obedience, without anything of my own, and in chastity according to the Rule of Saint Francis confirmed by Pope Honourius III and according to the General Constitutions of the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor. Therefore, with all my heart I give myself to this Brotherhood that through the work of the Holy Spirit, the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, our Father Francis and all the saints, and with the help of my brothers I may fulfil my consecration to the service of God and of the Church.
21. 1The nature and goal of the three gospel counsels, promised by vow at profession, is that, with a heart liberated by grace, we may be united with Christ in a chaste, poor and obedient life for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven following the footprints of Saint Francis.2The gospel counsel of chastity for the Kingdom of heaven, a sign of the world to come and a fountain of a more abundant fruitfulness in an undivided heart, entails the obligation of perfect continence in celibacy.
3The gospel counsel of poverty in imitation of Christ, Who though he was rich was made poor, entails, in addition to a life poor in fact and in spirit, a dependence upon superiors and a limitation in the use and disposition of goods and, before perpetual profession, also a voluntary renunciation of the capacity of acquiring and possessing goods. Let [this renunciation be made] in a form which, as far as possible, is also valid in civil law.
4The gospel counsel of obedience, promised in a spirit of faith and love in the following of Christ who was obedient even to death, requires, for God’s sake, a submission of the will to legitimate superiors whenever they command according to our Constitutions in everything that is not contrary to our conscience and the Rule.
Article III: Formation in General
22. 1Formation is the development of the brothers and fraternities in such a way that our life may daily become more conformable to the holy Gospel and the Franciscan spirit according to the demands of places and times. This formation must be continuous, extending throughout our entire life as regards not only human values but also those of gospel and religious life.
2Our integral formation looks to the entire person, especially in its psychological, religious, cultural and even professional or technical aspects. But it embraces two phases: initial and ongoing formation.
23. 1All formation is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit That gives life from within to those forming and those being formed.
2Active formation demands the cooperation of those being formed, who are the principal authors of and the ones responsible for their own growth.
3Throughout his life, every brother is at the same time the person needing to be formed and the one forming because everyone always has something to teach and to be learn. This principle should be laid down as the program for formation and should be put into practice in our life.
4To live together as lesser brothers is a principle part of our Franciscan vocation. Therefore, let fraternal life be always and everywhere a basic requirement of the formation process.
5In order that individual fraternities, especially those specifically formational, be capable of carrying out this primary function, it is necessary that they draw inspiration and encouragement from the primary fraternity, the provincial fraternity.
6Although all of the brothers are the ones forming, some brothers are given a greater responsibility for this duty. The first of these is the provincial minister and the guardians, who are the ordinary animators and coordinators of the formation process of the brothers. Then there are qualified formators who assume this particular duty in the name of the fraternity.
24. 1Let the Order have at its disposal the means of formation that respond to the requirements of its own charism.
2Since particular attention must be given to brothers in the initial stages of formation, let each jurisdiction provide adequate educational programs.
3The process of education requires above all a team of responsible brothers who work according to consistent norms throughout the entire journey of formation. Let such a group have the appropriate assistance of the entire brotherhood.
4Since the Secretariat and centres of formation are of great importance, care should be shown that they be provided for and made effective.
5Let the General Secretariat for Formation be at the disposal of the general superiors and the superiors of the different jurisdictions, providing them assistance and information that they may promote all that pertains to formation.
6Likewise, let each province have a Council of Formation and, in centres of formation, let there be a brother with the particular responsibility of promoting whatever pertains to formation.
7Let individual provinces or groups of provinces, according to local circumstances, have their own program of formation in which the goals, plans and specific guidelines of the entire formation process are expressed.
Article IV: Initiation into Our Life
25. 1Initial formation into our life requires that candidates, under the guidance of formation personnel, gain the necessary experience and knowledge necessary for their gradual entry into the Franciscan Gospel way of life.
2During the period of initiation let the formation of the candidates, which harmoniously unites the human element with the spiritual, be thoroughly sound, integrated and adapted to the needs of places and times.
3Let suitable methods of education be used. Above all, let candidates perform tasks and duties that gradually lead them to acquire self-control as well as psychological and emotional maturity.
4Taking into consideration their individual personalities and gifts of grace let them be introduced into a spiritual life that is nourished by the reading of God’s word, by active participation in the liturgy, and by personal reflection and prayer. In this way they may be drawn more and more to Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
5 Let the brothers in formation acquire a thorough knowledge of the Capuchin Franciscan spirit and its practice not only by studying the life of Saint Francis, his mind concerning the observance of the Rule, the history and sound traditions of our Order, but, most of all, by assimilating internally and practically the life to which they are called.
6 Let them especially cultivate fraternal living both in a community and with other people whose needs they are ready to meet that they may learn to live each day more perfectly in active partnership with the Church.
7 Let the special initial formation of the brothers be arranged with a view to the different duties they must perform and according to the particular circumstances and statutes of the circumscriptions.
8All periods of formation must be spent in fraternities that are specifically suited for living our life and for imparting formation and that have been designated for this purpose by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory. The provincial minister, however, with the consent of the definitory, may permit the period of postulancy to be spent outside our fraternities.
9The establishment, transfer and suppression of a novitiate house pertains to the general minister with the consent of the definitory and must be done in writing. In particular cases and by way of exception, the same authority may allow a candidate to make his novitiate in another house of the Order under the guidance of some approved religious who takes the place of the master of novices.
10A major superior can permit a group of novices to live for a certain period of time in another house of the Order designated by him.
26. 1Every brother, given to the brotherhood by God, brings joy to it and, at the same time, is an incentive to renew ourselves in the spirit of our vocation.
2Indeed, the work of initiation rests with the entire fraternity since the candidates belong to it.
3However, let the provincial minister, with the consent of the definitory, determine the manner and limits within which the initiation is to take place and entrust its direction to brothers who are experienced in the spiritual, fraternal and pastoral life and are endowed with learning, prudence, discernment of spirits and knowledge of souls.
4The directors of postulants, novices and professed must be free from all duties that could interfere with the care and direction of the candidates.
5Whenever circumstances suggest, associates may be given them especially in those matters concerning the care of the spiritual life and the internal forum.
27. 1The period of initial formation begins on the day when, after being accepted by the minister provincial, one enters the fraternity and continues until perpetual profession. It is carried out according to the norms of universal and our own law. Let a document be drawn up concerning this entrance.
2From that day the candidate, regarding his formation, life and work, must be gradually considered a member of the fraternity in a manner to be determined by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory.
3Initial formation, as the incorporation into our fraternity, embraces postulancy, novitiate and post-novitiate.
28. 1The postulancy is the period of initial formation and of the choice of accepting our life. The time and different ways of this first period are determined by the provincial minister with the consent of his definitory. During this period the candidate comes to know our life, while the fraternity, on its part, comes to know the candidate better and is able to discern his calling.
2The formation of the postulants aims primarily at completing their catechesis in the faith and includes an introduction to liturgy, methods of prayer, Franciscan instruction and an initial experience of apostolic work. It must also reinforce and promote human maturity, especially emotional maturity, and an ability to discern the signs of the times in light of the Gospel.
29. 1The novitiate is the period of a more intense initiation and a more profound experience of the Gospel Capuchin-Franciscan life according to its basic demands and presupposes a free and mature choice of religious life.
2The direction of the novices, under the authority of the major superiors, is reserved to one director, a brother of the Order, who has professed perpetual vows.
3Let the formation of the novice be based on the values of our consecrated life as known and lived in light of the example of Christ, the Gospel insights of Saint Francis, and the sound traditions of the Order.
4Let the rhythm of the novitiate respond to the primary aspects of our religious life, particularly through a special experience of faith, contemplative prayer, fraternal life, contact with the poor, and work.
5In order to be valid, the novitiate must comprise twelve months spent in the novitiate community itself. Its inception and form are determined by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory.
6An absence from the novitiate house that exceeds three months, either continuously or intermittently, renders the novitiate invalid. Absence that exceeds fifteen days must be made up. Let everything else required by universal law be diligently observed.
7Let a document be drawn up attesting to the beginning of the novitiate, when life in the Order itself begins.
30. 1The post-novitiate is the period in which the brothers, progressing further in maturity, prepare themselves for the definitive choice of our gospel life to be undertaken through perpetual profession.
2Since the fraternal gospel life holds the first place in our calling, let priority also be given to it during the time of the post-novitiate. Therefore let the same religious formation be provided for all brothers for the period of time and in the manner determined by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory.
3Let the brothers, according to each one’s gift and grace, apply themselves to a more profound study of sacred scripture, spiritual theology, liturgy and the history and spirituality of the Order; let them also exercise various forms of the apostolate as well as domestic work. But let such formation always be made in view of the life and careful maturation of the individual.
Article V: The Profession of Our Life
31. 1Let us frequently consider how great is the grace of religious profession.
2For through it we embrace, under a new and special title, a life dedicated to the honour and service of God that impels us to the perfection of charity. Firmly and more intimately consecrated to the service of God, we represent Christ united by an indissoluble bond to his spouse the Church.
3In order that through this consecration we may gather more abundant fruit from the grace of baptism we bind ourselves to live out the gospel counsels according to the Rule and Constitutions.
4In this way we intend to liberate ourselves from the impediments that can draw us away from perfect charity, spiritual freedom, and the perfection of divine worship.
5By means of profession, finally, while we enjoy a special divine gift within the life of the Church, we help its salvific mission by our witness.
6We, therefore, exhort the brothers to prepare themselves for profession with great care, by spiritual exercises, an intense sacramental life, especially one that is Eucharistic, and by fervent prayer. Let this be done more intensely and in a special way before perpetual profession.
32. 1When the novitiate has been completed and the fitness of the novice has been proven, temporary profession of vows may be made for a period determined by the provincial minister with the novice himself to be renewed freely until perpetual profession. But if a doubt arises concerning suitability the time of probation can be prolonged by the provincial minister although not beyond six months. If the novice is judged unsuited, let him be dismissed.
2Of itself the time of this profession shall not be shorter than three years nor longer than six; if it seems appropriate, however, it may be extended, but only in such a way that the entire period during which the brother is bound by temporary vows does not exceed nine years.
3If a brother is judged suitable and freely petitions for it, perpetual profession is made at a time determined by the provincial minister after consultation with the one making profession, safeguarding the integrity of the three years of temporary profession and never before the completion of his twenty-first year. By means of this profession a candidate is definitively incorporated into the fraternity with all rights and obligations according to the norm of the Constitutions.
4When the time of profession is completed, a brother can depart and, if there are just causes, can be excluded from subsequent profession by the competent major superior after he has heard his council.
5Let all other prescriptions of the universal law that concern profession be observed, especially those concerned with the disposition of goods before temporary and perpetual profession.
33. 1The religious habit is given during the rite of religious profession, even though the clothes of probation may have been previously received. Let us remember the clothes we wear must be a sign both of our consecration to God and of our minority and fraternity.
2Clothed as we are with the meek and humble Christ, let us not be false minors, but true minors in heart, word and deed.
3The signs of humility that the brothers wear outwardly contribute little to the salvation of souls unless they are animated by a spirit of humility.
4After the example of Saint Francis, therefore, let us make every effort to become good and not merely to appear so, to be the same in word and in life, within and without and, considering ourselves less than all others, let us surpass others in showing respect.
5Our habit, according to the Rule and custom of the Order, consists of a tunic with a hood, chestnut in color, a cord and sandals, or, for a just cause, shoes.
6Let the brothers, as a sign of their consecration and a witness of poverty, wear the habit of the Order. The norm of pluriformity applies to the custom of wearing the beard.
34. 1At the times determined by the provincial minister with the advice of his definitory, let the local fraternity, after hearing the director’s report, conduct a communal reflection and discussion about the suitability of the candidates and its own program of dealing with them.
2During the novitiate and before the time of perpetual profession, the perpetually professed brothers who have lived for four months in the respective fraternity may also express their opinion by a consultative vote in the manner to be determined by the provincial minister.
3Nor let the brothers in temporary vows be overlooked; they may express their opinion even though they do not have a vote.
4Let a report be sent to the minister provincial concerning every such meeting and the results of the votation.
35. 1Moreover, let a document of both temporary and perpetual profession be drawn up, together with a record of a brother’s age and other necessary information. Let this document be signed by the professed, the one who receives his profession and two witnesses.
2Let this document, together with others prescribed by the Church, be carefully kept in the provincial archives; let it also be recorded by the provincial minister in a book of professions to be kept in the archives.
3In the case of perpetual profession, let the minister provincial notify the pastor of the place of the baptism of the professed brother.
36. 1The faculty of dismissing a postulant or novice whom he judges unfit for our life belongs to the provincial minister and also, by special mandate, to the others mentioned in number 19.
2The Master of novices or postulants possesses the same faculty, but with the consent of the counsel of the fraternity, when there is a grave reason that will not permit any delay. Let the provincial minister be notified immediately of this action.
3The general minister, with the consent of the definitory, can grant an indult of departure to a brother professing temporary vows who requests it for a grave reason. By the law itself, this indult includes a dispensation from the vows and from all obligations arising from profession.
4Let the prescriptions of the universal law of the Church be observed in those other cases concerning the transferal to another institute of consecrated life or to a society of apostolic life, leaving the Order, and the dismissal of a brother after either temporal or perpetual profession.
Article VI: Special Formation
37. 1Saint Francis writes in the Testament: Let those who do not know how to work, learn.
2In our day this admonition reveals a new and more urgent meaning for us. Work can hardly be performed properly without special and adequate formation.
3It pertains to the Order to help every brother to develop his own grace of working. Thus, while working, let the brothers mutually encourage one another in their calling and foster the harmony of their fraternal life.
4Let each brother according to his gifts be formed for the various tasks that must be performed. Therefore, some may learn skills and technical trades, while others may engage in pastoral or scientific studies, especially those of a sacred character.
38. 1Let all the brothers, however, while serving the Lord in minority, be aware that they must desire above all else to have the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy activity.
2Let the brothers take care, therefore that, while becoming skilful with their hands and well equipped intellectually, at the same time they be proficient in the special grace of working and be holy.
3Let them apply themselves according to their abilities to the work of special formation in a spirit of self-denial and discipline that, through the development of their personality and the cultivation of their mind, they contribute to the good of the Order, the Church and human society.
4Let studies, enlightened and inspired by the charity of Christ, be entirely in keeping with our life.
5When engaged in studies, therefore, let the brothers develop their minds and hearts in such a way that, in keeping with the intention of Saint Francis, they progress in their calling. In fact, formation for any type of work is an integral part of our religious life.
39. 1The brothers who are called to sacred orders must be taught according to the norms laid down by the Church taking into account the nature of our brotherhood. The consent of the provincial minister and his definitory is required for the reception of sacred orders.
2Let the same care be provided in each province for the intellectual, apostolic and technical formation of the other brothers according to each one’s gifts.
3Let formation in philosophy and theology, especially according to Franciscan teaching, harmoniously and gradually reveal the mystery of Christ to the minds of the students.
4Let a pastoral concern so permeate the entire formation in our apostolic Order that all the brothers, according to each one’s abilities, may be able to proclaim by deed and word the Kingdom of God as disciples and prophets of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let the pastoral needs of the regions as well as the missionary and ecumenical responsibilities of the Church be kept in mind.
5The provincial ministers, with the consent of the definitory, may establish in the provinces appropriate centres for the special formation of the brothers. Let them they provide for this in other ways, especially through collaboration between provinces or the Franciscan families, in so far as local circumstances permit.
6However, if the brothers in the period of initial formation attend centres of instruction outside the Order according to the conditions and needs of the region or province, their Capuchin-Franciscan religious formation must be meticulously supplied.
7Let the provincial ministers take care that suitable brothers receive special training at institutes, schools and universities in the sacred sciences, as well as in the other sciences, and in the arts and technical skills, as it seems appropriate for the service of the Church and the Order.
40. 1Let those responsible for formation be aware that the brothers in formation are the principal authors of their own formation, the responsibility for which rests primarily upon them in trusting collaboration with formation personnel.
2In their method of teaching, in conversations with students, and in conducting classes, let the formation personnel ensure that the brothers in formation acquire a living and consistent cultural development.
3Let them manifest diligence in preparing and presenting their lectures, under the guidance of the Church’s magisterium; let them keep up with the progress of their own disciplines and adapt their lectures to its demands.
4Finally, it is recommended that they exert their energies upon scholarly research, writing and publication, especially in Franciscan matters. To this end, Franciscan Institutes promoted by the Order can offer assistance to these and other brothers.
5In addition to a central or regional library, which is highly recommended, let there be a common library in all our houses adequately supplied to meet the needs of the particular fraternity. Let access to our libraries, where it is possible, be provided for outsiders, while taking the necessary precautions.
Article VII: Ongoing Formation
41. 1Ongoing formation is a process of personal and community renewal and of harmonious adaptation of structures by which we continue to be rendered capable of living our vocation according to the gospel in the actual circumstances of the time.
2Though it involves the person as a unified whole, ongoing formation has a two-fold dimension: that of spiritual conversion through a continual return to the sources of Christian life and to the primitive spirit of the Order and their adaptation to the times; and a cultural and professional renewal by means of a quasi-technical adaptation to the conditions of the times. All these contribute to greater fidelity to our vocation.
42. 1A brother who has completed the period of initial formation can hardly claim to be fully equipped for all his life. Ongoing formation, therefore, is intended for all brothers.
2Without a doubt, it is primarily both the personal obligation and right of each brother to apply himself to his own ongoing formation, since this is nothing other than a continuous implementation of our vocation.
3At the same time, however, this formation must be regarded as the ordinary and pastoral duty of all superiors.
43. 1Let particular norms for ongoing formation be developed in each province according to different places and conditions of persons and times.
2Let the program be organic, dynamic and integral, embracing the whole religious life in the light of the gospel and the spirit of brotherhood. 3The manner in which our daily life is led greatly assists ongoing formation. The first revered school of formation is the daily experience of religious life, in a normal rhythm of prayer, reflection, community life and work.
4Moreover, extraordinary means or resources are also highly recommended, e.g., new or renewed ventures in ongoing formation, with the help of either the local or provincial fraternity, within each province or region or of the Conference of major superiors.
5Our International College established in Rome is recommended for fostering the spirit of brotherhood in the whole Order, for pursuing formation and for promoting Franciscan culture.
44. 1Let each brother take special care to walk worthily in the Capuchin-Franciscan vocation to which he has been called by God.
2Let all of us, therefore, strive to maintain and strengthen for ourselves and for others the gift of religious vocation and perseverance by faithful cooperation, prudent watchfulness and unceasing prayer.
3Let us also beware, brothers, of apostasy of the heart which occurs when, because of tepidity, someone hides a worldly heart beneath a religious exterior, abandons the spirit and love of his vocation, and yields to a worldly spirit of pride and sensuality. Remembering the apostle’s admonition: Do not be conformed to this world, let us, rather, avoid whatever savors of sin and weakens religious life.
4After we have left the world, therefore, let us desire nothing else, let us wish for nothing else, let nothing else please us than to follow the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy activity and to please Him always that we may truly be brothers and men poor, meek, thirsting for holiness, merciful, clean of heart, those, in fact, through whom the world may know the peace and goodness of God.
Chapter Three: The Life of Prayer of the Brothers
45. 1Prayer to God, as the breathing of love, has its origin from a movement of the Holy Spirit through which an interior person listens to the voice of God speaking to the heart.
2For God, Who has loved us first, speaks to us in many ways: in all creatures, in the signs of the times, in the lives of peoples, in our heart and, above all, in His Word in the history of salvation.
3Responding to God speaking to us, we achieve fullness in prayer to the extent that we move from our self-love and pass-over into Christ, the God-Man, in communion with God and people.
4For Christ Himself is our life, our prayer and our activity.
5We truly carry on a filial conversation with the Father, therefore, when we live Christ and pray in His Spirit That cries in our heart: Abba, Father!
6Since we have been more intimately consecrated for divine worship through the profession of the evangelical counsels, let us strive in freedom of spirit to pursue this life of prayer faithfully and continually.
7Let us above all cultivate the Spirit of holy prayer and devotion to which all temporal things should contribute that we may become true followers of Saint Francis who was seen not so much as praying as having totally become a prayer.
8Desiring above all things the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy activity, praying always to God with a pure heart, let us offer people a witness of authentic prayer in such a way that they may see and sense in our faces and in the life of our fraternities the goodness and kindness of God present in the world.
46. 1Let our prayer be a special manifestation of our calling as lesser brothers.
2We truly pray as brothers when we gather in mutual love in the name of Christ so that the Lord may be really in our midst.
3And we truly pray as lesser ones when we live in the poor and humble Christ, presenting the cry of the poor to the Father and effectively sharing their lot.
4As the prophets, psalmists and Christ himself taught us, let our prayer not evade reality, but, after the example of Saint Francis, who found the Lord in the leper, let it become each day more incarnated in life’s situations, in the events of history, in the religious spirit and practices of the people, and in the particular culture of the regions.
5Thus prayer and work, inspired by one and the same Spirit of the Lord, far from being opposed to each other, complement one another.
6Franciscan prayer is affective, a prayer of the heart, that leads us to an intimate experience of God. When we contemplate God the Supreme Good from Whom all good proceeds, it is appropriate that adoration, thanksgiving, admiration and praise surge from our hearts.
7Beholding Christ in all creatures, let us go throughout the world announcing peace and penance, inviting everyone to the praises of God as witnesses of His love.
47. 1Since we have been consecrated to the service of God by baptism and religious profession, let us greatly esteem the sacred Liturgy that is an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ, the summit of all the Church’s activity and the source of all Christian life. Let us strive to nourish our spiritual life and that of the fraternity from the liturgy and to open its treasures to the faithful.
2For that reason, let us have the greatest veneration for the mystery of the Eucharist and the Divine Office, which Saint Francis wished to shape the entire life of the brotherhood.
3To this end, it will be very beneficial for the fraternities to designate brothers to prepare the liturgical celebrations, so that each day in fidelity to the liturgical norms and in their spirit, these may be ever more renewed with creativity and spontaneity.
4As for the rite, let the brothers conform themselves to the prescriptions issued by the competent ecclesiastical authority of that region where they live.
48. 1Let us fully, consciously and actively participate in the Eucharistic sacrifice in which we celebrate the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ until He comes, holding back nothing of ourselves so that He Who poured Himself out totally for us might receive us totally.
2Each day let a Community Mass be celebrated in our fraternities so that it may be more obvious that in the breaking of the Eucharistic Bread we are lifted up to communion with Christ and with ourselves. Where this cannot be done each day, let it at least be celebrated periodically and participated in by all the brothers.
3Where an individual celebration is not necessary, it is laudable that [the Eucharist] be concelebrated to manifest the unity of the sacrifice, of the priesthood and of the fraternity.
4Let the Eucharist in which our Lord Jesus Christ is present to us be reserved in our oratories or churches in a preeminent place and manner.
5After the example of Saint Francis, let us venerate above all else Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist, offer ourselves and our actions with Him to God the Father, and frequently pour out devout prayers before Him Who is the spiritual centre of the fraternity.
49. 1In the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice and in our prayers, conscious of the catholic sense of Saint Francis, let us implore God for Holy Mother Church, for those who govern us, for all peoples, and for the salvation of the whole world, especially for the whole Franciscan family and for all our benefactors. With a devout sense of charity, let us also commend to God all the deceased.
2Regarding suffrages, it is decreed: a Mass for the Dead shall be celebrated by each fraternity at the death of the Roman Pontiff, of a general minister, and of a former general minister. Let the same be done for general definitors and former general definitors in each fraternity of the group to which they belonged.
3It pertains to the provincial chapter to determine the suffrages to be offered for deceased provincial ministers, former provincial ministers and for deceased brothers, parents and benefactors.
4Every year, after the solemnity of Saint Francis, each local fraternity shall celebrate a memorial liturgy for all deceased brothers and benefactors.
50. 1The Church joins in Christ’s song of praise and intercessory prayer and unites us to such a gift not only in celebrating the Eucharist but in other ways as well, especially in celebrating the Liturgy of the Hours, and enjoins this duty on us.
2Therefore, let the entire fraternity gather together each day in the name of Christ to celebrate in common the Liturgy of the Hours. Where this cannot be done in its entirety, let at least Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer be celebrated in common.
3It is recommended, moreover, that the brothers do the same wherever they may be or meet one another; and, according to the circumstances of the place, let the Liturgy of the Hours be celebrated with the faithful.
4Let the local chapter, with the approval of the major superior, arrange the schedule and work of the house in such a way that the course of the day may be sanctified by the praise of God, taking into account the special circumstances of persons, times and cultures.
5Let those who cannot celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours in common remember that, even when celebrating in private, they are united spiritually with the whole Church and especially with their brothers. Let those brothers who privately say the Office of the Lord’s Prayer according to the Rule pray it with the same profound intention.
51. 1In the Liturgy of the Hours we speak to God with His words taken from Scripture and God Himself comes to meet us in His word and speaks to us.
2That the word of God may penetrate our hearts more profoundly and form our entire life more effectively, let the Liturgy of the Hours be living and vibrant, with praiseworthy intervals of silence that contribute very fittingly to an attentive and fruitful celebration.
3In imitation of Saint Francis who frequently expressed his feelings with song and music, let the Liturgy be celebrated with song, as far as possible, at least on feast days.
4Let the brothers pay attention not so much to the melody of the voice as to the harmony of the mind, so that the voice may be in harmony with the mind and the mind with God.
52. 1Let us preserve and promote that contemplative spirit that shines out in the life of Saint Francis and our forebears. Therefore, let us give a greater abundant place to it by fostering mental prayer.
2Authentic mental prayer leads us to the spirit of true adoration, unites us intimately with Christ and renders the Sacred Liturgy continually efficacious in our spiritual life.
3Moreover, that the spirit of prayer may never grow cold within us but be ever more inflamed from day to day, we must apply ourselves each day to its practice in our lives.
4Let the ministers and the others to whom the care of the spiritual life is entrusted take pains that all the brothers make progress in the knowledge and practice of mental prayer.
5Let the brothers, then, draw the spirit of prayer and prayer itself from the genuine sources of Christian and Franciscan spirituality that they may acquire the eminent knowledge of Jesus Christ.
6Mental prayer is the spiritual teacher of the brothers who, if they are true and spiritual lesser brothers, pray ever more interiorly. To pray, in fact, is nothing other than to speak to God with the heart; in truth, whoever speaks to God with his lips alone does not pray at all. For this reason let everyone apply himself to mental prayer and contemplation and, according to the doctrine of Christ, the best teacher, endeavour to adore the eternal Father in spirit and truth, striving earnestly to enlighten the mind and enkindle the heart rather than to formulate words.
53. 1Let the primacy of the spirit and life of prayer be totally brought into effect both by the fraternities and the individual brothers, wherever they may be found, as is required by the words and example of Saint Francis and sound Capuchin tradition.
2It is of the greatest importance to form one’s conscience about the vital necessity of praying personally. Let each brother, wherever he lives, take sufficient time for himself every day for mental prayer, for example, a whole hour.
3Let the provincial and local chapters see to it that all brothers have the time necessary for mental prayer, whether this is done in common or privately.
4In their chapters, let the local fraternity examine itself concerning the common and personal prayer of the brothers. Let the brothers, especially the superiors as their pastoral duty, feel themselves responsible for inspiring the life of prayer.
5As disciples of Christ, although poor and weak, let us so apply ourselves to prayer that those who sincerely seek the Lord may be invited to pray with us.
6Above all, let us cultivate the spirit and the development of prayer, especially interior prayer, among the People of God for from the beginning this was a charism of our Capuchin Fraternity and, as history testifies, the seed of genuine renewal.
54. 1As children of God, let us allow ourselves to be led in our prayer by the Holy Spirit so that It may make us grow day by day in communion with the Father and with our brothers.
2In the spirit of the Holy Gospel, let us especially reflect on and preach to the faithful the mysteries of the humanity of Christ, especially His nativity and passion in which Saint Francis marveled at the love and humility of the Lord.
3Let us, in particular, venerate, especially through liturgical worship and the rosary, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, conceived without sin, daughter and handmaid of the Father, mother of the Son, and spouse of the Holy Spirit, [the virgin] made Church, according to the words of Saint Francis, and let us especially promote devotion to her among the people. For she is our mother and advocate, the patroness of our Order, the companion of the poverty and suffering of her Son, and, as experience witnesses, the way to arrive at the spirit of the poor and crucified Christ.
4In the same way, let us venerate, according to ancient tradition, Joseph her spouse.
5Let us encourage and promote, according to local custom, veneration of our holy Father Francis, the form of the minors, and of the saints, especially our own, but in a way that such veneration is always in conformity with the spirit of the sacred liturgy.
55. 1In order to continually renew our religious life, let all the brothers make an annual retreat and also have other occasional periods of recollection that might laudably be organized in various ways according to the diversity of duties.
2To this end, let the ministers provide for each one, including those who live outside a house [of our fraternity], the necessary time and opportunity.
56. 1Every fraternity must be truly a praying fraternity. To this end, according to the manifold grace of God, it is useful to encourage fraternities of recollection and contemplation, either in the provinces or in the regions, in which brothers can devote themselves for some time to the spirit and life of prayer, as God gives them the grace.
2Let those brothers, in communion with the provincial fraternity, be mindful of what Saint Francis wrote for those who wish to live religiously in hermitages.
3It will pertain to the provincial chapter or Conference of Major Superiors to judge the advisability of such fraternities and to provide for their administration.
57. 1Let silence, which is the faithful guardian of the interior spirit and required by charity in community life, be held in great esteem in all our fraternities in order to preserve a life of prayer, study and recollection.
2It pertains to the local chapter to protect the atmosphere of prayer and recollection in our fraternities, keeping out of them whatever might impede it.
58. 1The reading of Sacred Scripture and other spiritual books is an effective means of nourishing true devotion and of fostering the experience of God. Let each brother faithfully take a sufficient period of time for himself to do such reading.
2That we might always have before our eyes the way and life that we have professed, let norms be promulgated in each province concerning the public reading of Sacred Scripture, the Rule, the Testament and the Constitutions and the renewal of profession in common.
Chapter Four: Our Life in Poverty
Article I: Our Commitment to Poverty
59. 1Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who receives everything from the Father and, with the Father, communicates everything in the Spirit, was sent to evangelize the poor. Even though He was rich, for our sake He was made poor and in our likeness that by His poverty we might become rich.
2From His birth in a manger until His death on a cross He loved the poor and, as an example for His disciples, bore witness to the love of the Father Who seeks them.
3The Church recognizes voluntary poverty as a sign, especially for religious, of the following of Christ and proposes Saint Francis as a prophetic image of evangelical poverty.
4Through our poverty for the sake of the Kingdom of God we participate in the filial attitude of Christ toward the Father and in His condition of being a brother and servant among people.
5Evangelical poverty includes availability in love, conformity with the poor and crucified Christ Who came to serve, and leads to solidarity with the little ones of this world.
6Let us not make the gifts of nature and grace our own as if they were given only for ourselves, but let us strive to use them entirely for the benefit of the People of God.
7Let us use temporal things with gratitude by sharing them with the indigent and, at the same time, giving an example of the proper use of things to people who desire them excessively.
8We will truly proclaim to the poor that God Himself is with them in so far as we are participants in their lot.
60. 1Since evangelical poverty is the greatest commitment of our way of life, let us deliberate in general, provincial and local chapters on how to observe it more faithfully in our day in ways adapted to the changing times and, therefore, always in need of reform.
2In a special way let the social use of the goods entrusted to fraternities, whether money, houses or lands, be dealt with in the chapters; let us freely commit ourselves to use them for the advantage of others.
3For, in order that our individual and communal poverty be authentic, it must be a manifestation of an interior poverty that needs no explanation.
4Poverty demands a frugal and simple way of life in clothing, food, dwellings, and a renunciation of every form of social, political and ecclesiastical power.
5Let us live in conscious solidarity with the countless poor of the world and, through our apostolic labour, lead Christian people especially to works of justice and charity for furthering the development of peoples.
6Those are worthy of praise who, in the particular circumstances of a region, urge the poor to social and cultural development and eschatological hope by living with them, sharing their conditions and aspirations.
61. 1Let us preserve a common life and willingly share among ourselves whatever is given to each one.
2Let all the goods that in any way come to us, including salaries and pensions, insurance policies and grants, be handed over for the use of the fraternity, so that individuals may receive from the fraternity the same food, clothing and other necessities.
3Let superiors by their example outshine the other brothers in the observance of poverty and promote its observance among them.
Article II: Poverty Concerning Goods and Money
62. 1Let us observe the poverty we have professed aware of the mind and words of Saint Francis: ‘Let the brothers not make anything their own, neither house nor place nor anything at all.’
2Therefore, as pilgrims and strangers in this world, while we are on our way to the Land of the Living, let us serve the Lord in poverty and humility.
3Let us use temporal goods for the necessities of life, the apostolate, and works of charity, especially for the poor.
4Superiors, personally or through others, can perform civil acts concerning temporal goods, if and when this may be necessary for the brothers or for the works entrusted to us.
5Let the major superiors designate the physical or juridical persons in whose name the goods entrusted to us may be registered before the civil law.
63. 1As children of the eternal Father, putting aside anxious care, let us place our confidence in divine providence and entrust ourselves to His infinite goodness.
2Therefore let us not be immoderately preoccupied about goods, even about what is necessary for food.
3Let us acquire, especially by our own labour, the means and resources for the necessities of life and apostolate.
4When these are inadequate, let us have recourse to the table of the Lord with confidence according to the laws of the universal and particular Church. Let this be done in such a way that, while we seek donations from people, we give them a witness of poverty, fraternity and Franciscan joy.
64. 1Saint Francis, according to his own charism of poverty and minority in the Church, commanded his sons not to accept money in anyway in as much as it is a sign of riches, a danger of greed, and an instrument of power and domination in the world.
2But since the use of money is necessary because times have changed, let the brothers, wishing to fulfil the intention of their Father, use money only as an ordinary means of exchange and social life necessary even for the poor, and according to the norms of the Constitutions.
65. 1The superiors who by office have the responsibility of caring for the needs of the brothers may use money for the necessities of life as well as for works of the apostolate and charity.
2For the same reasons the other brothers, with the permission of the superior, can use money with the obligation of accounting for it.
3But for everyone, whether superiors or not, the use of money must be such that it does not exceed the degree appropriate to those who are truly poor.
4To safeguard poverty, let the brothers not have recourse to their friends, relatives or neighbours for money or other things without permission.
66. 1In compliance with the norms promulgated by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory, it is lawful for the superiors to use insurance policies and other forms of social security where this is prescribed by ecclesiastical or civil authority for everyone or for those of certain professions or where such things are commonly used by the poor of the area.
2But let them diligently avoid all those forms of security which have the appearance of affluence or profit-making in the area in which they live.
3It is appropriate, however, that they, like people of modest means, invest whatever money is really necessary for them in banks and similar institutions, even at a moderate rate of interest.
4But they may not accept foundations, perpetual legacies or inheritances that have perpetual rights and obligations attached to them.
67. 1Let the brothers show people by their life that voluntary poverty liberates them from greed, the root of all evil, and from anxious concern for tomorrow.
2Therefore, let the superiors carefully avoid every accumulation or speculation in the use of money, although modest financial security may be maintained.
3For every use of goods, including money, let the provinces, fraternities and brothers use as a precise and practical criterion: the minimum necessary not the maximum allowed.
4That we may not become degenerate sons of Saint Francis by keeping things unjustly, let the goods not needed by a fraternity be handed over either to the major superiors for the needs of the jurisdiction, or to the poor, or for the development of peoples, according to the norms established by the provincial chapter. Let common reflection on these things be frequently made in the local chapter.
5Let the brothers initiate in the local chapter a reflection on the correct use of goods, recreation, the accumulation of clothes, personal gifts, travelling, and similar things, according to the mind of the Constitutions.
6Let the individual fraternities of the same area and even the provinces of the Order be ready to share their goods or necessities among themselves and with others in cases of need.
7It pertains to the general minister with the consent of the definitory to dispose of the surplus goods of the provinces.
8Let the other prescriptions of the universal law concerning contracts and alienation [of property] be exactly observed.
Article III: Poverty in Our Buildings
68. 1We must spend our lives in humble and poor dwellings, always living there as pilgrims and strangers.
2In choosing the site of a new house, let our life of poverty, the spiritual good of the brothers, and the various ministries that must be exercised be kept before our eyes. Let dwellings be arranged in such a way that they do not appear inaccessible to anyone, especially the lowly.
3Nevertheless, let the houses be suited to the needs and ministries of the fraternity, conducive to prayer, work and fraternal life.
69. 1The construction, acquisition and alienation of our houses pertains to the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory, while observing the prescriptions of law.
2When the construction of houses has been completed, a local superior may not construct or demolish anything or enlarge a building without consulting the local chapter, and obtaining the consent of the counsellors and the permission of the major superior.
3Let the guardian carefully provide for the maintenance of the house and the care of the property, obtaining the consent of the counsellors in matters of greater importance.
70. 1Let churches be simple, becoming and clean.
2Let great care be taken to see that they are appropriate for celebrating liturgical functions and eliciting the active participation of the faithful.
3Sacristies must be suitable and sufficiently provided with sacred furnishings.
4Let everything that is used for divine worship be becoming and in conformity with liturgical norms without offending poverty and simplicity.
Article IV: The Administration of Goods
71. 1For the administration of money and other goods, let treasurers be appointed in the general and provincial curias by the respective major superior with the consent of the definitory.
2Individual houses may also have local treasurers, appointed by the provincial ministers with the consent of the definitory. Let the office of treasurer in larger houses ordinarily be distinct from that of the superior.
3Let the treasurers be truly expert and fulfil their office under the direction and vigilance of the respective superior according to the norms of law and to the prescriptions of the definitory.
4Let all the treasurers, administrators and local superiors give an exact account of their administration to the their respective superiors, local councillors and local chapter at a time and in a manner determined by the major superiors.
5On the occasion of the triennial report, let the provincial ministers, in a document signed by the definitory, present to the general minister an accounting of the financial situation of the province so that its needs may be appropriately provided for and the observance of poverty effectively watched over.
6Let the vice provincials and superiors regular also provide a financial statement for their respective major superiors, signed by the councillors if this can be conveniently arranged.
7Let the general minister provide a statement on the financial condition of the Order at the general chapter in the manner determined by the chapter itself.
8Let the major superiors do the same at their respective chapters.
9As far as possible, let the administration of goods be entrusted to lay people, especially when it pertains to social or charitable works in which the brothers are only spiritual directors.
10Let the prescriptions of the universal law be scrupulously observed in the administration of goods.
72. 1The establishment of one or more committees on financial matters is recommended in the provinces and vice provinces. Their function will be to offer advice concerning the administration of goods, and the construction, maintenance and alienation of houses.
2These commissions are established by the Chapter which also determines their competence. However, their members, some of whom may be lay people, are appointed by the major superior with the consent of the Council.
73. 1After consulting the major superiors or, if necessary, the Conference of Major Superiors, let the general minister with the consent of the definitory establish limits, according to the differing values of currencies, beyond which major superiors are bound to ask either the consent of the council or the permission of the superior given in writing before contracting obligations, alienating goods or making extraordinary expenses.
2Let the major superior, with the consent of the Council, do the same with appropriate adaptations for the local superiors of his territory.
3Expenses are considered extraordinary, however, that are unnecessary for the major superior either to exercise his office or for ordinary service of the brothers or for the local superior in those matters that do not pertain to the ordinary care of the fraternity entrusted to him.
74. 1Called to the gospel way of poverty, let us accustom ourselves to being in need after the example of Christ and mindful of Saint Francis who wished to be so poor that, liberated from all things and the chains of the heart, he might give himself completely to the Father Who cares for us all.
2Let us not wish to be numbered among those who go by the fictitious name of poor, who love to be poor but in such a way as to lack nothing.
3Let us acknowledge that Gospel poverty and its perfection consist principally in being totally available to God and people.
4Therefore, let us not cling to earthly goods with an inordinate affection so that we may use this world as though not using it for the glory of the Father and the good of His children.
Chapter Five: The Manner of Working
75. 1God the Father Who continues to work calls upon us through the grace of working to cooperate in perfecting creation and, at the same time, in developing our personalities. By this, we are united with our brothers and move society toward a better condition.
2Jesus Christ has conferred upon work a new dignity and made it an instrument of salvation for all people by working with His own hands, alleviating human misery, and preaching the message of the Father.
3Saint Francis admonished his brothers to work faithfully and devotedly and through his example presented a witness to the dignity of work, becoming in this as well a participant in the human condition.
4As his faithful followers, according to the earliest tradition of the Capuchins, and as true minors identified with the condition of a great many workers, let us devote ourselves each day to work with a joyful spirit for the glory of God, to avoid idleness and to offer a service to our brothers and to others in a spirit of solidarity.
76. 1Work is a fundamental means of our support and of the exercise of charity towards others especially when we share with them the fruit of our work.
2Let the work of each brothers be an expression of the entire fraternity. Let each one, according to the talent given him by God and the state of his age and health, use his energies fully and with joy, keeping in mind the needs of the fraternity.
3Let the brothers be careful not to place the final goal in work itself, put an inordinate stress upon it, or impede the spirit of holy prayer and devotion to which all temporal things must contribute.
4Therefore, let them avoid excessive activity which also impedes ongoing formation.
77. 1Different kind of work, according to each one’s capacity and the special gifts of God, come together in us in diverse ways.
2Let us assume services and ministries in so far as they are compatible with our fraternal life or the needs of the Church and people require them.
3Works that more clearly manifest poverty, humility and fraternity are especially appropriate for us; in fact, let us not consider any work more demeaning than another.
4To render the grace of working more fruitful for ourselves and others, let us take care to preserve a community character in a variety of initiatives, be eager to help one another as we work together and, so also, progress in the conversion of our heart.
5Nevertheless, let us always keep in mind our apostolic calling that, in any activity, we may offer to people a witness to Christ.
78. 1Let the brothers, each in his own position or role, strive throughout all their lives to further a spiritual, academic and professional education and to develop their own talents so that our Order may be able to respond continually to its calling in the Church. For this reason intellectual initiatives, in the same way as other kinds of work, must be regarded as expressions of a person’s vital dynamism.
2According to the earliest tradition of the Order, let the brothers be ready to undertake manual work to the extent that fraternal charity or obedience demands, saving, nonetheless, the particular responsibilities of each one.
3While discerning, as far as possible, the gifts and talents of the individual brothers and the needs of the fraternity and the Church, let the superiors offer them the opportunity of acquiring expertise in particular subjects and willingly provide time and assistance for this.
4For the good of the Church, the Order, and the brothers themselves, let the superiors, in assigning responsibilities and duties, pay attention to their aptitude and proficiency and not easily remove them from works in which they are experts.
79. 1According to the differing situations of the provinces and in conformity with the norms promulgated by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory or by the Conference of Major Superiors as well as by the bishop of the diocese, the brothers may also work among people outside the Order as zeal for souls or the desire to alleviate ours’ or others’ needs may demand.
2Let it always be insisted upon that the brothers engaged in outside employment live together among themselves or among other brothers.
3Let them offer a gospel witness to everyone, render the charity of Christ present and give aid to those in need while never involving themselves imprudently in activities that are unbecoming our state.
80. 1Whatever the brothers receive as payment for their work belongs to the fraternity and, therefore, should always be handed over totally to the superior. Let the work of the brothers not be valued merely on the basis of the payment received for it.
2Let the brothers not engage in activities that arouse a desire for profit or encourage personal vain glory contrary to the spirit of poverty and humility.
3Moreover, let them always be ready to work without payment when charity demands or suggests it.
81. 1Each day let the brothers enjoy appropriate recreation to foster fraternal life and renew their energies; let a period time for one’s self be given to everyone.
2According to the customs and possibilities of the regions, special time for recreation and vacation may be given to the brothers; let these times of recreation and vacation be spent in a way consistent with our state as lesser brothers.
82. 1The Apostle Paul warns: ‘While we have the time, let us do good to all.’
2Knowing, therefore, that our salvation depends on favourable moments that never return, and that people and communities do not progress except over the course of time, let us respond with attentiveness to God Who thus encounters us in time.
3That we do not pass up opportunities or waste them uselessly, let our activities and work respond to the conditions of the present moment with a wise foresight and planning for the future and without passing over modern technical means.
4Let us use our free time in appropriate occupations of mind and body. Let this be precious to us, especially if, by a variety of appropriate means, we arrive each day at a better knowledge of the ways of thinking and feeling of our contemporaries so that, through our work, we may more effectively cooperate in the Christianisation of the world.
Chapter Six: Our Life in Fraternity
83. 1Jesus Christ, the first born among many brothers, forms a true brotherhood out of the human race.
2He is present as the bond of unity in the midst of those who gather together in his name.
3The Church, as the community of all believers, favours institutes whose members renew fraternal harmony in a sharing of life and charity.
4In such a way not only does the human dignity of the children of God develop in freedom, but apostolic efficacy is also strengthened.
5Saint Francis, inspired by God, initiated a gospel form of life that he called a brotherhood according to the example of the life of Christ and his disciples.
6We who profess this form of life, therefore, truly constitute an Order of brothers.
7For this reason, united by faith in God our Father and nourished at the table of both the divine word and the Eucharist, we love one another that the world may know we are Christ’s disciples.
Article I: The Cultivation of Fraternal Life
84. 1As brothers given to each other by the Lord and endowed with different gifts, let us accept one another with a grateful spirit. For this reason, wherever we may be gathered together in the name of Jesus, let us be of one heart and one mind, always striving to advance to greater perfection. As true disciples of Christ, let us love one another from the heart, bearing one another’s burdens and faults, applying ourselves without interruption to divine love and fraternal charity, striving to give an example of virtue to one another and to everyone, and doing violence to our own passions and evil inclinations.
2Let us cultivate mutual dialogue, with confidence sharing experiences and manifesting our needs to one another. Moreover, let all of us be imbued with a spirit of brotherly understanding and sincere esteem permeate everyone.
3By reason of the same vocation the brothers are equal. For this reason, according to the Rule, Testament and earliest custom of the Capuchins, let all of us without distinction be called brothers.
4The precedence necessary for the service of the fraternity flows from the responsibilities and roles actually exercised.
5Moreover, within the Order, province and local fraternity, let all offices and responsibilities be available to all brothers, except those activities that require sacred orders.
6Let everyone help each according to the gifts he has received, even in daily household chores.
85. 1Let us take care that difference of age in our fraternities contribute to a harmony of spirit and a mutual enrichment.
2Let signs of loving care and gratitude be shown to the brothers of advanced age.
3Let the young brothers show proper esteem for the older ones and willingly profit from their experience.
4Let the older brothers, however, try new and sound forms of life and activity and let both, [young and old], share their unique treasures with each other.
86. 1When a brother falls sick, let the superior immediately provide with fraternal charity all that is necessary for his body and soul, according to the example and teaching of Saint Francis, and entrust the sick brother to the care of a competent brother and, if necessary, to a doctor.
2Let there be an infirmary located in an accessible part of the house and even outside the enclosure.
3In provinces where it seems useful, a provincial infirmary may be established.
4Let each brother, reflecting that the person of Christ is hidden in the sick, consider what he would wish to be done for him in case of sickness and recall what Saint Francis wrote in the Rule: no mother is as tender and caring toward her son, as each one of us should be toward our spiritual brother.
5Therefore, each one should strive to take care of a sick brother, visit him willingly and comfort him fraternally.
6Let the superior frequently and fraternally visit the sick brother and not neglect to provide for his soul, either personally or by means of another, and, if he knows that he is seriously ill, to inform him prudently of the gravity of his situation and prepare him for the sacraments.
87. 1Let the sick brothers remember our position as lesser brothers.
2Let them leave their care to the doctor and to those who nurse them so that they do not violate holy poverty with injury to their soul but give thanks to the Creator for everything.
3Let them remember that they are called, in accordance with their vocation, to a willing acceptance of sickness and infirmity in order to be made more fully conformable to the suffering Christ and to strive to experience in themselves some small part of His passion with devotion. Let them imitate St. Francis who praised the Lord for those who patiently endure trials and infirmity according to His most holy will. Let them also remember that, by filling up in their own body what is lacking in the suffering of Christ the Redeemer, they can contribute to the salvation of the People of God as well as to the evangelization of the whole world, and strengthen fraternal life.
88. 1Let superiors constantly foster common life.
2In establishing fraternities, whether in our own houses or in rented dwellings, let them consider the different personalities of the brothers and the necessities of life and apostolate, fostering in this way the work of the whole.
3While favouring access to our houses or dwellings, let the entrance of outsiders be so regulated with prudence and discretion that an atmosphere conducive to privacy, prayer and study may be safeguarded.
4Let an enclosure or an area reserved for the brothers alone be maintained in our houses in order to safeguard religious life.
5However, where an enclosure cannot be maintained because of particular circumstances, the major superior with the consent of his council shall provide norms adapted to the local circumstances.
6It pertains to the major superior to determine the precise boundaries of the enclosure or to change them for legitimate reasons and to remove it for a time.
7The local superior can dispense from [the enclosure] in urgent and per modum actus.
8In order to encourage the quiet demanded for prayer and study, let those who enter our houses be ordinarily received in visiting rooms that are furnished according to requirements of simplicity, prudence and hospitality.
89. 1Let our fraternities not confine their charity within the walls of the house but rather be open with gospel concern to peoples’ needs according to the particular character of each house.
2Laymen who wish to share more in our life whether for prayer, fraternal exchange or an apostolate may be admitted to the fraternity.
3If it is to be a temporary stay, the consent of the local chapter may be had; but if the stay is to be protracted, the consent of the major superior is also required.
4The major superior with the consent of the council may admit laymen as members of the family perpetually dedicated to God, after drawing up an agreement before hand concerning mutual rights and obligations.
90. 1Let the fraternity itself by means of a common reflection under the direction of the superior, supervise its use of the social means of communication so that poverty, a life of prayer, fraternal life and work are all protected and the good and activity of all may be served.
2Let them use them with moderation and a mature discrimination; let those things that are dangerous to faith, morals and religious life be studiously avoided.
3Let the brothers, especially the superiors, take care that accomplishments of greater importance, whether in the fraternities, provinces or the entire Order be made known by appropriate means.
91. 1Let the brothers, before leaving the house, ask permission of the superior according to the custom of the province.
2As for undertaking journeys, let each brother before asking permission, conscientiously weigh the reasons in light of our state of poverty, spiritual and fraternal life, and the witness given to people.
3Let superiors use prudence in giving permission for traveling. It pertains to the general minister with the consent of the definitory to issue norms regarding permission to travel for the whole Order, and to the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory for his province.
4Let the norms of universal law be observed when it is a matter of living outside a house of the fraternity for an extended period.
5Let the brothers be mindful of our state of poverty and humility in the use of the means of transportation.
6Judgment about the appropriateness of having vehicles useful for a ministry, office or service of a fraternity as well as about their use belongs to the provincial minister, after listening to the definitory.
92. 1Let all the brothers who visit us be received with fraternal charity and a joyful spirit.
2Wherever possible, let brothers who are travelling willingly stay in houses of the Order, at least for passing the night.
3Let them of their own accord show the superior letters of obedience and share in the life of the fraternity conforming to the customs of the place.
4As far as possible, they should inform the superior in good time of their arrival.
5Let brothers who have been sent to other provinces for formation or other reasons be received by the ministers and the local fraternity as their own members; let them adapt completely to the fraternity attentive to the prescriptions of number 133, 5 of the Constitutions.
6But if brothers, for reasons of study, stay for a long time in a house of another province, the major superiors of those involved may fraternally come to an agreement about payment for living expenses.
93. 1Brothers who, in particular circumstances, must live outside a house [of the fraternity] and with the blessing of obedience enjoy the benefits of that fraternity to which they have been assigned since they are members of it.
2Let them always feel united to the fraternity and, in turn, not neglect to contribute to the spiritual growth and economic support of the Order.
3As true brothers in Saint Francis, let them visit our houses and love to stay there for a while especially for reasons of spiritual recollection.
4Let them be received with charity and offered whatever spiritual and material help they need.
5Let the provincial and local superiors care for them with fraternal solicitude and visit and encourage them frequently.
6Major superiors especially are encouraged to observe justice and gospel charity toward brothers returning to the world.
94. 1The variety of religious groups which has developed by the plan of God for the good of the Church, flourishes as well within one and the same Franciscan spiritual family so that the charism of the Founder may spread and exercise its vigour through many brothers and sisters, including the Secular Order.
2Let us live, therefore, in a brotherly communion of the same spirit and willingly promote through mutual cooperation the study and common initiatives of Franciscan life and activity.
3We should cultivate a special bond with our sisters who, in the contemplative life, offer a sacrifice of praise each day, seek to hold fast to God in solitude and silence, and spread the Church with a hidden apostolic fruitfulness. After consulting the major superior, the general minister with his definitory will collegially decide the matter of associating a monastery of Capuchin Poor Clares with our Order, according to the norms of canon 614ff. The major superior enjoys real authority over the associated monasteries as determined by the Constitutions of those sisters. In the same way let us be united by fraternal affection with those religious institutes that are spiritually united with our Order.
4Let us properly fulfil our religious and familial responsibilities to our parents, relatives, benefactors, supporters and all those who belong to our spiritual family; and let us commend them to God in our community prayers.
95. 1Within the ambit of the Franciscan family, the Secular Franciscan Fraternity or Order occupies a special place that both shares and promotes its authentic spirit. It should be esteemed as necessary for the fullness of the Franciscan charism.
2In it, the brothers and sisters, moved by the Holy Spirit, are prompted to attain the perfection of charity in their secular state by professing to live the Gospel after the manner of Saint Francis.
3The Secular Franciscan Order, united to our Order by its origins, history and sharing of life, has been entrusted to our care by the Holy See.
4Let the brothers, therefore, be eager to show from their heart a truly brotherly attitude toward the members of the Secular Order, nourish by their example fidelity to the gospel life and effectively foster the Order itself among the secular clergy and the laity.
5Our superiors have the right to establish fraternities of the Secular Franciscan Order in all our houses and elsewhere observing the prescriptions of law. Let them be vigilant that a true, vital sharing be fostered between the fraternities of our Order and those of the Secular Order.
6Let superiors take care that by sharing and coordinating resources with the other Franciscan families continual and zealous spiritual and pastoral assistance be provided for the Secular Franciscan Fraternity especially through suitable brothers properly assigned to this ministry according to the norms of its particular legislation and the universal law.
7Let the brothers willingly offer spiritual assistance to this Order. Always mindful of its secular status, let them not interfere in its internal government, excepting in cases mentioned in law.
8As a sign of co-responsibility, let the governing board of the respective Secular Franciscan fraternities be consulted whenever it is a matter of appointing spiritual assistants or of establishing fraternities.
9Likewise, let all associations cultivating the spirit of Saint Francis, especially those of young people, be promoted and assisted spiritually. Let our houses become centres of fraternal gathering and inspiration for all, clergy and laity, who wish to follow the footprints of Christ under the direction of Saint Francis.
96. 1Christ, himself a pilgrim on earth, at the final judgment will say to those who are on his right: ‘I was a stranger and you made me welcome.’
2Saint Francis desired as well that anyone who came to our houses would be received with kindness. Therefore, let us welcome everyone with the greatest charity, especially the afflicted and the unfortunate, and help them in their needs.
3Let those whom we are permitted to receive into our houses according to local circumstances, especially priests and religious, be treated by the fraternity with all graciousness.
Article II: The Life of the Brothers in the World
97. 1Greatly rejoicing in the created and redeemed world, Saint Francis felt united by a fraternal bond not only to people but to all creatures as well, as he himself celebrates with wonderful praise in the Canticle of Brother Sun.
2Enlightened by such contemplation, let us admire and protect the works of creation of which Christ is the beginning and the end. These become even more wonderful through scientific research and lead us to adore the Father in his wisdom and power.
3Therefore let us have great esteem for all that human genius has drawn from created things, especially in works of culture and art in which the gifts of God are revealed to us.
4In the mystery of Christ, let us also gaze upon the world of people which God so loved that He gave His only begotten Son.
5For, although weighed down by many sins, yet endowed with great capabilities, [the world] offers the living stones that are used in the building of the dwelling-place of God that is the Church.
98. 1Through divine inspiration, Saint Francis recognized that he had been sent to reform peoples in a newness of life.
2Initiating a new form of gospel life, therefore, he himself, though no longer of the world, remained nonetheless in the world and wished that his brotherhood should also live and work among people to bear witness by deed and word to the joyful message of gospel conversion.
3Since we participate in his mission, therefore, let us live in the midst of the world as a gospel leaven so that people, seeing our fraternal life centred in the spirit of the beatitudes, may realize that the Kingdom of God has already begun in their midst.
4Thus we will be present in the world to serve the living God and spread peace and good in charity, humility and Franciscan joy throughout the world for the advancement of the Church.
99. 1According to the spirit of Saint Francis, let us not only proclaim by word but as well spread peace and salvation by deeds inspired by fraternal charity.
2Moved by this spirit, let us attempt, in a gospel manner, to guide into a peaceful and stable way of life those divided by hatred, jealousy, contrasting ideologies, class, race and nationality.
3Let us unite, therefore, the energies latent in our fraternity with those initiatives and institutions, whether they be national or international, that appropriately pursue the unity of the human race, universal justice and peace.
100. 1Trusting above all in the providence of God, let us so walk in the world with hope and Franciscan joy that the confidence of our contemporaries may be strengthened.
2Freed from the useless concerns of the present age, and as collaborators with divine providence, let us feel obliged to relieve the needs of the poor by our action and especially, in times of public disaster, to offer the services and goods of the fraternity to all the needy.
3After the example of Saint Francis, who had great compassion for the poor, and the founders of the Capuchin fraternity, who helped those suffering from the plague, we should live close to brothers in need, especially the sick, eager to offer fraternal service to them.
4Knowing that divine providence is revealed to peoples not only through events and deeds, but also through currents of thought and ideologies that are valued as signs of the times, we should look upon them with an open and confident spirit so that we might cooperate with God who acts in the history of the world and in the evolution of society.
5Thus, living the truth in charity, we will be witnesses of hope in the Lord God and collaborators of people of good will whom we will guide to recognize God the almighty Father and the Supreme Good.
Chapter Seven: The Brothers’ Life of Penance
101. 1Jesus Christ, proclaiming the Kingdom, has called people to penance, that is, to a total change of themselves, through which they begin to think, judge, and conduct their lives according to that holiness and love of God that are manifest in the Son.
2This conversion into a new creature, which has its beginning in faith and baptism, demands a continuing effort of renouncing ourselves more thoroughly each day. Living for the Lord alone, and having new bonds with people, especially the poor, we are strengthened by penance to build a gospel fraternity.
3Saint Francis, by the grace of the Lord, began his life of penance-conversion expressing a heart full of mercy toward lepers and left the world.
4With great fervour of spirit and joy of mind, he ordered his life according to the Beatitudes of the Gospel, preached penance without ceasing, inspiring everyone by deed and word to carry the cross of Christ, and desired that his brothers be men of penance.
5The spirit of penance in an austere life is characteristic of our Order; for we have chosen a strict life after the example of Christ and Saint Francis.
6Move by that same spirit and perceiving sin in ourselves and human society, let us continually strive for our conversion and that of others so that we may be conformed to the crucified and risen Christ.
7Through such striving, by completing what is lacking in the suffering of Christ, we participate in the work of the Church, holy and at the same time always in need of purification. We promote the coming of the Kingdom of God within the human family which is in need of being united through perfect charity.
102. 1Penance, as an exodus and conversion, is a disposition of the heart that demands an external manifestation in daily life.
2Penitent Franciscans must always be conspicuous by their gentle and affectionate charity and joy like our forebears who, while harsh on themselves, were filled with kindness and respect toward others.
3At all times, moved by the spirit of conversion and renewal, let us devote ourselves to works of penance according to the Rule and Constitutions and as God inspires us that the paschal mystery of Christ may be more and more at work within us.
4First of all, let us remember that our life dedicated to God is in itself an excellent form of penance.
5For our salvation and that of others, therefore, let us offer our poverty, humility, the hardships of life, the faithful fulfilment of daily work, the availability for the service of God and neighbour and the fostering of fraternal life, the burden of sickness and old age, even persecution for the Kingdom of God, so that, suffering with those who suffer, we may always rejoice in our conformity with Christ.
6Let us follow the same path of conversion of Saint Francis especially by going out to meet those who, in our times, are marginalized and in need of help.
103. 1Christ the Lord, the exemplar of all, after accepting a mission from His Father and being led by the Holy Spirit, fasted in the desert for forty days and forty nights. His disciple, Saint Francis, burning with a desire of imitating the Lord, also spent his life in fasting and prayer.
2Let the time of Advent and, above all, the Lent before Easter, as well as every Friday, be considered by us as times of more intense private and communal penance.
3Moreover, [the observance of] the Lent, commonly called the ‘Lent of Benediction’, and of the vigils of the Solemnities of Saint Francis and of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is also recommended.
4On those days let us dedicate ourselves more readily to those works that favour conversion: prayer, recollection, listening to the word of God, bodily mortification and communal fasting. In a brotherly spirit, let us share with other poor people what comes to us from the table of the Lord by our greater frugality and practice works of mercy more fervently according to our traditional custom.
5As regards the law of abstinence and fasting, let the brothers observe the prescriptions of the universal and the particular Church.
6It pertains to the provincial chapter, however, to determine more precisely both days of fasting and abstinence as well as the manner of fasting according to various circumstances of place and time.
104. 1Keeping in mind the passion of Christ, let our life be simple and frugal in all things as is appropriate for the poor to lead a truly gospel life according to the example of Saint Francis and our holy brothers. Let us also practice voluntary mortification, willingly moderating ourselves in food and drink, in attending the theatre and other forms of entertainment.
2Let superiors in making provision, especially for the sick, keep in mind the precept and example of charity of Saint Francis.
105. 1Grieving in our hearts over our sins and those of others and desiring to walk in newness of life, let us practice works of penance adapted indeed to the differing mentalities of time and place.
2Explicitly recommended are: the fraternal correction that Jesus taught, an exchange among the brothers concerning each one’s life in light of the Gospel, and other forms of penance, especially those done in common.
3Let the provincial chapters promulgate appropriate norms concerning these and other forms of communal penance according to local conditions.
106. 1In the sacrament of penance or reconciliation not only the brothers but also the community of brothers is purified and healed for the restoration of their union with the Saviour and, at the same time, for their reconciliation within the Church.
2By means of the sacrament, moreover, we participate more intimately in the Eucharist and the mystery of the Church while we experience the benefit of the death and resurrection of Christ.
3Purified and renewed by means of the sacraments of the Church, we live our Capuchin-Franciscan life each day more perfectly.
4For this reason, let us place great value on frequent confession of our sins, as well as on a daily examination of conscience and spiritual direction. The communal celebration of penance is also recommended.
107. 1In addition to the local Ordinary, the major superior may grant the faculty for hearing the sacramental confessions of the brothers. The local superior may also do so ad modum actus in individual cases.
2Any priest of the Order, approved by his own major superior, may hear the confessions of the brothers anywhere in the world.
3The brothers may freely confess their sins to any priest having faculties from any Ordinary.
4Let confessors keep in mind the warning of Saint Francis that they do not become angry or disturbed at the sin of another but treat him with all kindness in the Lord.
108. 1Loving one another with that love with which Christ loved us, should a brother be in difficulty, let us not avoid him, but rather eagerly help him. If he falls, let us not be his judges but his protectors, preserving his reputation, and love him even more, remembering that each one of us would have done worse had not God in His goodness preserved us.
2Let the ministers manifest a heart of fatherly mercy to sinful brothers or to those in danger so that they might offer them appropriate and efficacious help as God would have it.
3Let them not impose penalties, especially canonical penalties, unless compelled by manifest necessity, and then with all prudence and charity maintaining, nonetheless, the prescriptions of universal law.
4Let them always remember the words of Saint Francis in his letter to a certain minister: In this way I wish to know that you love the Lord and me, His servant and yours, if you do this: may there not be any brother in the world who has sinned however much he could have sinned who, after he has looked into your eyes, would ever depart without your mercy, if he is looking for mercy. If he is not looking for mercy, you should ask him if he wants mercy. And if he sins a thousand times before your eyes, love him more than me that you may draw him to the Lord.
Chapter Eight: The Government of the Order or Fraternity
109. 1Our Fraternity, led by the Holy Spirit, is an integral part of the Mystical Body of Christ through which the brothers, united in following Christ, contribute to the building up of the Church in love by various offices and ministries.
2Let the brothers, therefore, feel obligated to favour the good of the Church and the Fraternity according to their own grace and vocation, so that they may be fully incorporated into the mystery of Christ.
3In order to strengthen the spiritual and visible unity of our Order, chapters and ministers bind the members together and, in a spirit of service, exercise offices and responsibilities received from God through the ministry of the Church.
Article I: The Structure of the Order
110. 1Our Order or Fraternity, as far as its government is concerned, is divided into provinces, vice-provinces, custodies and houses or local fraternities; these structures, taken individually, are true fraternities.
2A province is a group of brothers and local fraternities having its own territory presided over by a provincial minister.
3A vice-province is a part of the Order established in a particular territory entrusted to some province or directly subject to the general minister and presided over by a vice-provincial as vicar of the provincial or general minister.
4A custody or mission is a group of brothers who are dependent on a province and engaged in missionary work in some determined territory and governed by a superior regular as vicar of the provincial minister.
5A local fraternity or house is a group made up of at least three professed brothers who dwell in a legitimately established house presided over by a local superior or guardian.
6The general minister with the consent of the definitory can decide that a particular local fraternity or house is immediately dependent on himself. If the situation warrants it, it may have its own statutes.
7Whatever in these Constitutions is said of a province also applies to a vice-province and custody unless the contrary is evident from the nature of the case or from the text or context.
111. 1It pertains to the general minister with the consent of the definitory, after consulting the Conference of Major Superiors of the region, as well as the provincial ministers and definitories concerned, to decide on the establishment, union, division, alteration, or suppression of provinces, observing the requirements of law.
2In the same way, because of particular circumstances, the general minister with the consent of the definitory can establish provinces made up of a number of regions. Such provinces may have special statutes approved by the general minister with the consent of the definitory. Should there ever be a difficulty in applying the Constitutions in these [statutes], the general minister with the definitory can advise concerning the more appropriate way of proceeding.
3For the brothers to constitute a new province, there must be a sufficient number of them according to local conditions. The new province must be able to contribute to both an apostolic witness and the life of the Order, and have a certain geographical unity.
4The general minister with the consent of the definitory, after consulting the brothers in perpetual vows, appoints the major superiors and definitors of new jurisdictions and determines the composition of the first chapter.
112. 1It pertains to the provincial minister, with the consent of the definitory, after obtaining the consent of the chapter, to establish houses canonically, observing the prescriptions of law.
2It pertains to the general minister, however, with the consent of the definitory, to suppress houses, either at the request of the interested party, observing strictly the prescriptions of the first paragraph concerning the required consent, or for some other cause, observing the norms of law.
3If it is an urgent case, the vote of the provincial chapter is not required, but, if the establishment of a house is involved, both the consent of the provincial definitory and that of the general minister and his definitory is required.
113. 1Each brother, incorporated into the Order by profession is a member of the province, vice-province or custody for which the major superior has accepted his profession.
2Seniority in the fraternity is determined by temporary profession.
3It pertains to the general minister, after consulting his definitory, considering the good of the whole Order and the needs of the provinces or individual brothers, and listening to the respective provincial ministers and their definitories, to send brothers from one province to another either temporarily or, with the consent of the definitory, permanently.
4Let the provincial superiors, in a spirit of fraternal collaboration, be willing to meet such needs by sending brothers temporarily into another province.
5Each brother exercises his right to vote only in one circumscription of the Order, unless he has it in another territory as well by reason of office. Those who have been sent into another circumscription by reason of service exercise rights only in that circumscription and not in their own. But brothers who for another reason dwell in a different circumscription exercise rights only in their own circumscription.
Article II: Superiors and Offices in General
114. 1Under the supreme authority of the Supreme Pontiff, these are the superiors of the Order with ordinary power in their own right: the general minister in the whole Order, the provincial minister in his province, and the local superior or guardian in his fraternity.
2There are also superiors with ordinary but vicarious power: the vicar general, the vicar provincial, the vice-provincial, the superior regular, and the local vicar.
3All the above, with the exception of the guardian and his vicar, are major superiors.
4Whatever is said in these Constitutions concerning the provincial ministers applies equally to the vice-provincials and superior regulars, unless the contrary is evident by nature of the case or from the text and context.
115. 1Offices in the Order are conferred either by election or appointment.
2In conferring offices let the brothers proceeds with a proper intention, simply and canonically.
3For the good of the Order an appropriate preliminary consultation concerning those to be elected may be made, but it must be made concerning those to be appointed.
4If an election requires confirmation, it must be requested within eight days of available time.
5Let the brothers, as true minors, not be ambitious for office; but if they are called to it by the confidence of the brothers, let them not obstinately refuse to serve as a superior or in some other office.
6Since we are an Order of brothers, according to the will of Saint Francis and the genuine Capuchin tradition, any brother in perpetual vows may assume any office or position excepting those that flow from Sacred Orders; if there is a question of superiors, a minimum of three years after perpetual profession is required for validity.
Article III: The Government of the Entire Order
116. 1The general chapter, the eminent sign of the union and solidarity of the entire Fraternity gathered together as one by means of its representatives, enjoys supreme authority in the Order.
2The ordinary chapter, announced and convoked by the general minister is celebrated every six years near to the solemnity of Pentecost, unless the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, judges another time of the year more appropriate.
3For specific reasons, in addition to the ordinary chapter, the general minister with the consent of the definitory may convoke an extraordinary chapter in which matters of great importance to the life and activity of the Order are discussed.
4The following have active voice in a general chapter, whether ordinary or extraordinary: the general minister, the general definitors, the former general minister from the immediately preceding six-year term, provincial ministers, the general secretary, the general procurator, vice-provincials, and the delegates of the provinces and custodies.
5The vicar provincial goes to the chapter when the provincial minister is prevented by a grave cause known to the general minister or if the office of the provincial minister is vacant.
117. 1After the convocation of a general chapter, delegates and alternate delegates to the general chapter shall be elected by all brothers in perpetual vows in every province that has at least one hundred professed brothers.
2A province may elect an additional delegate and alternate for every two hundred professed brothers beyond the first two hundred.
3Let this election be carried out in a manner established by a provincial chapter. The results of the election shall be published at least three months before the chapter.
4Likewise, one delegate and alternate are elected in the custodies for every one hundred professed brothers.
5For the election of delegates from the custodies which individually do not have one hundred professed brothers, after consulting the brothers involved, electoral groups shall be formed by the general minister with the consent of the definitory. These groups shall elect one delegate and an alternate for every one hundred professed brothers. As far as possible, let geographical and cultural affinity be taken into account in forming the electoral groups.
6In special circumstances recognized and approved by the general minister with the consent of the definitory, electoral groups of custodies which do not total one hundred professed brothers may elect a delegate and an alternate who may come to the chapter with full capitular rights.
118. 1In an ordinary general chapter let the general minister, who acquires full authority over the entire Order and all the brothers, be elected first, as prescribed by the ‘Rite of Celebrating the General Chapter’.
2The outgoing general minister may be immediately elected but only for another six years.
3Eight general definitors are then elected, as decreed in the ‘Rite of Celebrating the General Chapter’, of whom four at the most can be from those elected in the previous chapter.
4The outgoing general minister has only active voice in the election of the general definitors.
5The vicar general is elected from the eight definitors and, thereby, becomes first definitor.
6The duty of the general definitors is to assist the general minister in the government of the entire Order according to the norms of the Constitutions and the statutes of the general curia as approved by the general chapter.
119. 1Let matters pertaining to the preserving and renewing of our life as well as the development of apostolic activity be treated in the chapter.
2Let all the brothers be consulted in an appropriate manner concerning the questions put before a chapter and their suggestions sent to the general minister.
3Let all the capitulars be informed in good time about the agenda drawn up for consideration by the general minister with the consent of his definitory. But the chapter itself decides the questions to be treated.
120. 1Let the general minister and his definitors reside in Rome.
2When the general minister is absent from Rome, the vicar general takes his place.
3However the confirmation of provincial ministers, appointment of general visitators and other matters that he has reserved to himself are reserved to the general minister.
4Should the general minister be impeded from exercising his office, let the vicar general administer the Order in all things. Let him report important matters to the general minister at an appropriate time.
5If the vicar general is also impeded, the next definitor according to the order of election takes the place of the general minister.
121. 1If the office of the general minister becomes vacant, the vicar general succeeds him and notifies the Apostolic See of the vacancy as soon as possible.
2Should the office of the vicar general become vacant more than a year before the chapter, after the election of an eighth definitor, a vicar general may be elected by the general minister and his definitory by secret ballot from among the definitors.
3Should the office of a general definitor become vacant more than a year before the chapter, the general minister and the definitory, after hearing the Conference of Major Superiors of the capitular group to which the definitor being replaced belonged, may elect another who will takes his place as the last definitor.
122. 1 The following assist the general minister and his definitory in carrying out their responsibilities: the general secretary, the general procurator concerned with matters dealing with the Holy See, the general postulator responsible for dealing with the Holy See concerning the causes of the canonization of the Servants of God, the assistant general of the Secular Franciscan Order, the general secretary for the promotion of the missions, and other officials sufficient in number for expediting matters.
2All of these are chosen and appointed by the general minister from different regions with the consent of the definitory.
3The responsibilities and duties of the general curia are assigned and carried out according to the norms of the special statute approved by the general chapter.
123. 1A Plenary Council of the Order is intended to express the vital exchange between the whole Fraternity and its central government, to promote an awareness of the co-responsibility and cooperation of all the brothers, and to foster unity and harmony in the pluriformity of the Order.
2The members of the Council are the general minister, the general definitors and delegates of the Conference of Major Superiors according to a certain proportion established by the general minister with the consent of the definitory.
3The delegates need not be elected from among the members of the Conferences of Major Superiors.
4The manner of their selection is determined by each Conference.
5The responsibility of the Plenary Council is: to foster communication between the general definitory and the Conferences and among the Conferences themselves; to establish a centre for reflection; to examine the problems of greater importance and propose solutions to the Order; to offer to the general minister and definitors through constructive collaboration assistance in bringing about an updated renewal of the Order and to care for the growth of the Order and the formation of the brothers.
6The Plenary Council has a consultative vote. In order that the value of its reflections as a directive norm may not be lost, it is appropriate that the general minister, by his judgment and with consent of the definitory, confirm with his authority the acts of the Counsel and propose them to the Order.
7As a general rule, a Plenary Council of the Order may be convoked by the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, once or twice in a six-year term.
8The Plenary Council is governed by its own statute that is drawn up by itself and approved by the general minister and his definitory.
Article IV: The Government of Provinces
124. 1The provincial chapter in which the members gather in fraternal communion in the name of the whole province is the primary provincial authority.
2The ordinary provincial chapter is announced and convoked every three years by the provincial minister with permission of the general minister with the consent of the definitory to whom the faculty of permitting the celebration of a chapter, for a just cause, six months before or after a three-year term belongs.
3An extraordinary chapter, convoked by a provincial minister with the consent of the definitory, may be held in which the principal matters concerning the life and activity of a province and its vice-province and custody are discussed.
125. 1The general minister, if he presides, the provincial minister and the definitors of the province, the brothers to whom the provincial chapter shall give the right, the vice-provincials, superiors regular, delegates of the province and delegates of the vice-provinces and custodies have active voice in ordinary and extraordinary chapters, attentive to those matters prescribed in number 113,5.
2Provinces that wish to celebrate the Chapter with direct suffrage, that is, with the participation of all the perpetually professed brothers decide this by a majority of two-thirds of all the perpetually professed brothers. This fact is then recorded in the directory for the celebration of the chapter. All the brothers in perpetual vows are bound to attend the chapter. Anyone prevented from attending must report the impediment to the provincial minister and his definitory who have the right of knowing and judging the matter. Only the brothers who are actually present in the chapter have the right to vote. Moreover, a vice-provincial, superior regular and delegates of a vice-province and custody may participate in a provincial chapter according to the directory for the celebration of a provincial chapter.
3Should the superior of a vice-province or custody be impeded for a serious reason known to the provincial minister and his definitory, or his office become vacant, the first or another councillor participates if possible.
126. 1After the convocation of a provincial chapter, all of the then perpetually professed brothers, excepting those belonging to other vice-provinces and custodies, may elect delegates and alternates, unless all the brothers are obliged to attend the chapter.
2Brothers of the vice-provinces and custodies shall elect their delegates and their alternates.
3The number of delegates whether of a province or of vice-provinces and custodies as well as the manner of electing them are determined by the provincial chapter.
127. 1Problems relating to the life and activity of the province are discussed in a provincial chapter concerning which all the brothers may be consulted beforehand.
2Let all the capitulars be informed in due time about the list of proposed questions drawn up by the provincial minister and his definitory. The chapter itself, however, decides which problems that are to be treated.
3In the ordinary chapter, the provincial minister is elected according to the directory for celebrating a chapter as approved by the provincial chapter itself.
4The outgoing provincial minister, if he had been elected in the previous chapter, may be elected immediately but only for another three-year term.
5According to the directory mentioned above, four provincial definitors are then elected, unless the general minister with the consent of the definitory decides that a larger number is more suitable; of these, only half may be from those elected in the previous chapter.
6Then the vicar provincial is elected from among the definitors and becomes the first definitor by virtue of his election.
7The outgoing provincial minister has only active voice in the election of the definitors.
8The elected provincial minister exercises his office as a delegate of the general minister until his election is confirmed.
9After the election or appointment of the provincial minister and definitors, the brothers continue to exercise their respective offices until other provisions are made. These norms, with the necessary modifications, also applies to vice-provinces and custodies.
128. 1The general minister with the consent of the definitors may appoint a provincial minister and definitors for serious reasons, after obtaining in writing the consultative vote of all the brothers in perpetual vows in the province; but this cannot be done for two consecutive three-year terms.
2After this appointment, let a chapter be celebrated at an appropriate time to deal with provincial affairs.
129. 1It is the responsibility of the vicar provincial to help the provincial minister in whatever has been entrusted to him and, when the provincial minister is absent or impeded, to manage the affairs of the province, excepting those which the provincial minister has reserved to himself.
2If the office of provincial minister becomes vacant, the vicar provincial is bound to have immediate recourse to the general minister and governs the province until he receives further instructions.
3Should the vacancy occur more than eighteen months before the provincial chapter, the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, after a consultative vote of all the brothers in perpetual vows, shall appoint a new minister to complete the three-year term. When it is completed, a chapter is celebrated.
4If the vicar provincial is impeded, the next definitor in line exercises his office.
5When the office of a provincial definitor becomes vacant more than a year before the provincial chapter, the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, after hearing the provincial minister and his definitory, shall appoint another definitor who then becomes the last definitor. If the office of the vicar provincial becomes vacant, the provincial minister and his definitory elect by secret ballot another vicar provincial from the body of the definitory. The general minister is then informed of this matter.
130. 1The provincial secretary, as well as officials needed for business transacted in the provincial curia and, if necessary, for directing other special offices may be appointed by the provincial minister, with the consent of the definitory, from among the brothers in perpetual vows.
2The provincial secretary is subject only to the provincial minister. It is for the provincial chapter, however, to decide whether other officials may be responsible to the provincial minister alone.
3It is recommended that commissions be established in individual provinces by the provincial minister, with the consent of the definitory, to deal with special matters.
131. 1Conferences consisting of provincial ministers, vice-provincials and regular superiors of a particular region or territory, are established by the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, to promote collaboration between provinces, vice-provinces and custodies among themselves, with Episcopal Conferences, with Unions of Major Superiors of men and women, to deal with current questions, and to preserve uniformity of administration, as far as this is possible.
2These Conferences have their own statutes approved by the general minister with the consent of the definitory and meet at least once a year.
3It is within their competence to carry out the duties entrusted to them by the Constitutions, by their own statutes and by the general minister, and to provide for the common good of the Order in their territory, as well as to promulgate, for their territory, special norms. In order to take effect, these norms must be approved by the respective counsels and by the general minister with the consent of his definitory.
4In order to foster solidarity between the brothers of our Order living in a particular continent, let major superiors take care that the brothers, by united efforts, pursue updated forms of Franciscan witness that transcend the boundaries of their own nations or political areas to renew Christian life and promote peace, justice and tranquillity.
Article V: The Government of Vice-Provinces
132. 1Among the principal goals of vice-provinces is the implantation of the Order in a particular Church to give Gospel witness to the Franciscan charism.
2For this reason care must be taken in the vice-provinces for the vocations of inhabitants of the place. To this end the life and pastoral activity must be fostered which are properly adapted to the conditions of the region.
3Let a province send, as far as possible, as many religious to a vice-province committed to it as the needs of the vice-province demand.
4In selecting religious to be sent or recalled, let the superiors, after listening to the vice-provincial and his counsel, consider the specific qualifications of the brothers in relation to local conditions, the formation of the young and the apostolate exercised in the vice-province.
5The vice-provincial, with the consent of the counsel, considering the needs of the vice-province and with the consent of the provincial and general ministers, may enter into appropriate agreements with other provinces or Conferences of Major Superiors. Let these agreements be submitted to the provincial and general ministers for ratification.
133. 1A vice-provincial with two councillors governs each vice-province.
2It belongs to the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, and after consulting the provincial minister, to determine a larger number of councillors.
3The vice-provincial and councillors are elected for a three-year term, after which they can be re-elected. The vice-provincial, however, may be immediately re-elected for only another three-year term.
4The vice-provincial chapter determines whether the outgoing vice-provincial has passive voice in the election of councillors.
5The vice-provincial and councillors may be elected by all the brothers in perpetual profession, in the manner established by the vice-provincial chapter and after having obtained the consent of the provincial or general minister. If there is a just cause, the general minister with the consent of the definitory can permit in particular cases the election of superiors and councillors by a chapter with delegates.
6If the election by the chapter is done by direct suffrage, the vice-provincial, with the consent of the provincial or general minister, himself convokes the chapter in which the brothers present have an active voice as well as the provincial or general minister, if they preside. Whatever is said for the provincial chapter concerning brothers prevented from participating in a chapter is valid in this instance.
7When the voting takes place outside a chapter, let the votes be tallied in the vice-province itself by the vice-provincial, his councillors and two brothers elected by the local chapter of the place where the tally is taken in the presence of the provincial or general minister or the respective delegate. The elections are then promulgated.
8The elected vice-provincial exercises his office as the delegate of the provincial or general minister until the election is confirmed.
9From the moment his election is confirmed, the vice-provincial enjoys juridical power to exercise his office with ordinary vicarious power. At the same time, the faculties spoken of numbers 19 and 36 of the Constitutions should be expressly conferred on him by the provincial or general minister.
10The provincial minister then informs the general minister of that election.
11With the permission of the provincial or general minister, the vice-provincial may convoke a chapter to treat various matters. It is appropriate that the provincial or general minister preside and have active voice.
12Should the vice-provincial be absent or impeded, the first counsellor or, if he is impeded, the next counsellor in order of election takes his place.
13Should the office of vice-provincial or counsellor be vacant for whatever reason, let the matter be referred to the provincial or general minister who shall proceed as prescribed in number 129.
14In the statutes drawn up by the vice-provincial chapter and approved by the general or provincial minister, other matters concerning government shall be treated. These statutes may determine, among other things, the vocals of a chapter who are taking charge of various matters as well as those matters that can be dealt with only with the permission of the provincial or general minister.
134. 1Let the vice-provincial meet with his councillors at least four times a year. He needs their counsel or consent in the same cases that, according to the Constitution, the provincial minister needs the counsel or consent of his definitory.
2Let him propose to the provincial or general minister innovations that involve burdens of greater moment for the province or vice-province.
Article VI: The Government of Custodies
135. 1A superior regular with two councillors governs each custody.
2The number of councillors may be increased to four by the provincial ministers with the consent of the definitory after consulting those concerned and according to the need or welfare of the custody that requests it. Let the general minister be informed if this is done.
136. 1A superior regular and councillors may be elected for a three-year term by the brothers with perpetual vows assigned to the custody, while being attentive to those matters contained in number 113,5. If there is a just cause, the general minister with the consent of the definitory can permit in particular cases the election of superiors and councillors by a chapter with delegates.
2A superior regular may be immediately re-elected but only to another three-year term.
3The chapter of a custody determines whether an outgoing superior regular may have a passive voice in the election of the councillors.
4To hold an election, either by a chapter or some other way, the consent of the provincial minister is necessary; if he presides [at the chapter], he has active voice.
5All those are considered members of a custody who have received letters of obedience for missionary work from the general minister, even if temporarily, as well as, all brothers affiliated to a custody by profession, even if they live elsewhere for formation or some other reason.
137. 1The election of a superior regular and councillors takes place either in a chapter with direct suffrage in which only the brothers who are present have active voice, or in another way as the superior regular shall decide with the consent of the councillors, after weighing the conditions of the custody and listening to the wishes of the brothers, while being attentive to what is contained in number 136,1. The same norms prescribed for the provincial chapter apply to those prevented from going to the chapter.
2It belongs to the provincial minister to confirm an election; if he is not present, the elections are promulgated and the elected superior regular exercises his office as delegate of the provincial minister until his election is confirmed. Let the provincial minister notify the general minister of the election that has taken place.
3From the moment of his confirmation, the superior regular enjoys ordinary vicarious power to fulfil his office. At the same time the provincial minister should confer upon him the faculties mentioned in numbers 19 and 36 of the Constitutions.
4The general minister with the consent of his definitory may appoint a superior regular and his councillors for grave reasons, after consulting the minister provincial and his definitory and having obtained a written consultative vote of the brothers of the custody.
138. 1Should a superior regular be absent or impeded, the first counsellor or the next counsellor in order of election, if the first is impeded, takes his place.
2Should the office of the superior regular or councillors of the custody become vacant, for whatever reason, let the matter be referred to the provincial minister who may follow the norms given in number 129 making the needed adaptations.
139. 1Let the superior regular meet with his councillors at least four times a year.
2He needs their counsel or consent in the same cases that, according to the Constitution, the provincial minister needs the counsel or consent of his definitory.
3It is proper that a custody have statutes, approved by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory, in which matters of government of greater moment are determined.
Article VII: Local Government
140. 1At the provincial chapter, or afterwards at an appropriate time, the provincial minister with the consent of his definitory shall form the local fraternities and appoint local superiors according to number 115,3, after consulting the brothers as much as possible and paying attention to preserving the form of our life, to fostering fraternal relationships, as well as to the special services to be offered in individual houses.
2Let the fraternities and their superiors in vice-provinces and custodies be established in the same way, keeping in mind their special circumstances.
3Local superiors are appointed by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory for a three-year term. They may be appointed for a second or, in case of manifest necessity, a third three-year term, even in the same house if there are just reasons.
4Those who have exercised the office of local superior for six or, in case of necessity, for nine consecutive years shall remain free from such a responsibility for at least one year.
141. 1In each fraternity let a vicar be appointed by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory. He has the responsibility of assisting the superior as a counsellor in governing the community and of governing the fraternity himself when [the superior] is absent or prevented or his office becomes vacant.
2In every house with at least six brothers, in addition to the vicar, who is the first counsellor by law, let one or two councillors be elected by all the perpetually professed brothers. Their responsibility is to advise the local superior with the advice in spiritual and material matters.
3In matters of greater importance, the councillors have a deliberative vote according to the Constitutions and regional and provincial statutes.
4When the guardian and vicar are absent or impeded, the brother designated by the norms of the provincial chapter presides over the fraternity.
5If the office of the local superior becomes vacant more than six months before a provincial chapter, another shall be appointed by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory. Should the office be vacated within six months of the provincial chapter, the vicar governs the fraternity.
142. 1The local chapter consists of all the professed brothers.
2In it, loving obedience, a distinctive characteristic of our fraternity by which the brothers serve one another, finds its best expression the creativity of everyone is fostered, and personal gifts contribute to the good of all.
3It pertains to the local chapter, under the guidance of the guardian, to strengthen the fraternal spirit, promote an awareness of the common good among all the brothers, establish a dialogue concerning everything that regards fraternal life, especially when it touches on fostering prayer, preserving poverty, and promoting fraternal formation so that the will of God may be sought at the same time.
4Let the local chapter be celebrated frequently in the course of the year and the major superiors effectively promote and animate it at times by their own presence.
5Let the superiors not only inform but also consult the brothers by suitable means about matters that should be treated in a chapter.
6The votations of a local chapter are consultative unless universal or particular law determines otherwise.
7Only perpetually professed brothers have the right to vote regarding the admittance of brothers to profession according to the norms of the Constitutions.
143. 1Let there be an archive in the generalate and provincialate, in the houses of the vice-provincial and superior regular, as well as in each of our houses in which all necessary documents are preserved diligently and with confidentiality and all matters worthy of remembrance are accurately recorded by the one to whom this has been entrusted.
2Let there be an inventory of the documents kept in the archive.
Chapter Nine: The Apostolic Life of the Brothers
144. 1The Son of God was sent into the world by the Father so that, assuming our human condition, he might bring the good news to the poor, heal the contrite of heart, proclaim liberty to prisoners and restore sight to the blind.
2Christ established the continuation of this mission within the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit.
3This same Spirit raised up Saint Francis and his apostolic Fraternity so that, according to the more urgent needs of its time, it might offer all its energies to the Church in its mission to all peoples, especially those who most need to hear the gospel message.
4Our Fraternity, therefore, obeying the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy activity, fulfils a debt of service to all peoples by bringing the gospel to them in deed and word in the Church.
145. 1In our apostolic activity, let us preserve the proper characteristics of our charism, adapting them to different times and circumstances.
2The principal apostolate of a lesser brother is: to live a gospel life in the world in truth, simplicity and joy.
3Let us show respect for all people and a spirit ready for dialogue with them.
4Although we prefer the evangelization of the poor according to the example of Christ and Saint Francis, let us not hesitate to proclaim the message of conversion to justice and the responsibility of preserving peace to those in positions of power and those ruling others.
5Let us willingly assume any ministry or apostolic activity as long as it is in harmony with our form of life and responds to the needs of the Church. Aware of our minority, let us generously undertake those ministries that are regarded as especially difficult.
6Let the Fraternity, whether provincial or local, promote and coordinate various apostolic initiatives as expressions of the entire fraternity.
7As disciples of Christ and sons of Saint Francis, let the brothers keep in mind that a spirit ready to suffer the cross and persecution, even martyrdom, is required by the faith and the salvation of our neighbour.
146. 1Let brothers willingly engage in any kind of apostolate, even if it is of private inspiration, under obedience to the competent authority.
2Saving the right of the Supreme Pontiff to use the service of the Order for the good of the universal Church, the exercise of each apostolate is subject to the authority of the diocesan Bishop, from whom the brothers, after they have been approved by their ministers, receive the necessary faculties. When they are invited by a bishop to serve the people of God and the salvation of peoples, the ministers may freely accept, as far as they are able, according to our charism.
3While preserving our Capuchin-Franciscan characteristics, it is the responsibility of the provincial chapter to adapt our apostolic labours to the needs of the times. It pertains to the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory to coordinate the apostolic resources of the province.
4After consulting the local chapter in matters of greater importance, let the superior of a fraternity allocate work keeping in mind the needs of the Church and the conditions of the individual brothers, [and] in close collaboration with any pastoral organization established by the episcopal hierarchy.
5Let the brothers willingly collaborate in the works and initiatives of the other religious institutes of the Church.
147. 1In order that our apostolic initiatives may respond to the demands of evangelization and the peoples’ needs, let the brothers accustom themselves to read the signs of the times through which the divine plan is perceived by the eyes of faith.
2Let them foster the customary works of the apostolate such as popular missions, retreats, the sacramental confession of the faithful, the spiritual care of religious women, especially Franciscans, of the sick and prisoners, works of education and social development.
3When taking on new forms of the apostolate, let the brothers give special care to those peoples who are deprived of ordinary pastoral care because of the conditions of their life such as the young in crises of Christian life, emigrants, working people, those burdened with financial pressures, or harassed by hostility or racial prejudice.
4Let them undertake with special zeal an ecumenical dialogue of charity, truth and prayer with our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters that they may share the Church’s concern to restore unity.
5Likewise let them attempt to establish a salutary discussion with peoples among whom they live or to whom they are sent who profess another religion and who do not believe.
6All ministries undertaken for the people must be founded upon a life shaped by the Gospel. The witness of bothers who live close to the people and are simple of heart and minors by the condition of their life and speech is more easily understood and more willingly received.
148. 1Saint Francis, the herald of Christ, confirmed by the authority of the Church, scattered the seeds of the Gospel everywhere as he went throughout cities announcing the mystery of Christ to the people in few and simple words.
2Following his example and the tradition of our Order, let the brothers preach the word of God clearly adhering faithfully to the Sacred Scriptures.
3Let the brothers make every effort to imprint the word of God, Christ, upon their own hearts and give themselves totally to Him so that He may impel them to speak out of an abundance of love. In this way they shall preach Christ Himself by their life, work and speech.
4That this may be possible, let them strive to make continual progress in the wisdom of Christ that is acquired above all through living and especially through persistent reading, meditation and careful study of the Sacred Scriptures.
149. 1Through the celebration of the sacraments Christ is present to the faithful with His power, sanctifies them, and builds up His body. Therefore, let the brothers be ready to assist the faithful when administering the sacraments either by virtue of their office or when invited to do so by the clergy so that, on these occasions, the faith may be nourished, strengthened and expressed.
2Let the brothers who are priests, in the spirit of Christ the Shepherd, proclaim the remission of sins in the sacrament of reconciliation and willingly offer themselves for hearing the confessions of the faithful, especially since it is a ministry highly appropriate to minors and is often exercised on behalf of people who are spiritually very poor.
3Let zeal for the holiness of God and His mercy, as well as respect for the dignity of the human person, charity, patience and prudence be resplendent in them.
4Let confessors strive to make continual progress in pastoral knowledge and the proper exercise of their ministry.
150. 1After the example of Saint Francis and the enduring tradition of the Order, let the brothers willingly undertake the spiritual, and even the bodily, care of the sick and infirm.
2Thus by following Christ Who went about the cities and villages healing every sickness and infirmity as a sign of the coming of the Kingdom of God, they will fulfil the mission of the Church which, through its children, unites itself with people of every condition, especially the poor and afflicted, and willingly spends itself for them.
3Let the ministers encourage this ministry since it is an excellent and efficacious work of charity and of the apostolate.
151. 1According to the character and tradition of our Order, let the brothers be ready to offer pastoral assistance to the clergy in the parishes of a particular Church.
2Major superiors, with the consent of the Council, attentive to the urgent needs of the faithful, may also accept with prudence the care of a parish in the spirit of service to a particular Church.
3That conformity with our vocation may be preserved in assuming this ministry, ordinarily let those parishes be preferred where we can more easily give a witness of minority and lead a form of life and work in fraternity. In this way the people of God can appropriately share in our charism.
4Let the shrines entrusted to our Order be centres of evangelization and sound devotion.
152. 1Recognizing the role of the laity in the life and activity of the Church, let the brothers encourage them for the different ministries proper to the laity, especially in the work of evangelization. Likewise let them promote associations of the faithful whose members strive to live and proclaim the word of God and to change the world from within.
2Among these associations, let the Secular Franciscan Order be close to our heart. Let us cooperate with Secular Franciscans that their fraternities may progress as communities of faith endowed with a special effectiveness for evangelization, as well as in the formation of individual members, that they may spread the Kingdom of God not only by the example of their life but also by various kinds of apostolic activity.
153. 1Saint Francis used to encourage his brothers to proclaim the Kingdom of God even with songs and praises in the language of the people; he himself strove to serve the salvation of all peoples through many writings.
2Therefore, let us also greatly esteem the modern means of social communication for their power to influence and move the masses and the entire human society and as instruments suitable for evangelizing peoples of our time.
3That a manifold apostolate may be strengthened in our fraternities by these means of social communication, let the superiors take care that brothers, who are found suitable for this, be able to receive appropriate training.
4Let all the brothers be suitably instructed in responsible use of these means of social communication that, through them, they may acquire an accurate and realistic understanding of the condition of human society and the needs of the Church.
5With combined efforts, let them also exercise the apostolate of the printed page, especially in publishing matters of Franciscan interest. It is strongly recommended that offices for this purpose be established in provinces or nations, and above all in the Order as a whole.
6Let the prescriptions of universal law be observed in matters pertaining to the instruments of social communication. When it is a matter of writing about themes of religion or morals, let them keep in mind that permission is also required from the major superior.
7Let the brothers have the equipment necessary for carrying out their duties without being a detriment to fraternal life and with due consideration to our Capuchin-Franciscan vocation.
154. 1For whatever reason they are dedicated to the apostolate, let the brothers integrate their life and activity in the exercise of charity to God and people that is the soul of every apostolate.
2Let them also remember that they cannot pursue their mission unless they are continually renewed in faithfulness to their own vocation.
3Let them, therefore, perform works of the apostolate in poverty and humility not making a ministry their own that it may be clear that it is Jesus Christ alone whom they seek. Let them preserve that unity of the fraternity which Christ wished to be so perfect that the world would know the Son was sent by the Father.
4Let them cultivate a life of prayer and study in a fraternal exchange so that they may be intimately united with the Saviour and, moved by the power of the Holy Spirit, offer themselves with a great and willing spirit to witnessing to the joyful good news in the world.
Chapter Ten: Our Life in Obedience
155. 1By virtue of our commitment to live in obedience, without regard to distinction of office, let us strive for the last place in the community of Christ’s disciples, serving one another in a spirit of charity and subject to every human creature for God’s sake.
2This is true obedience as manifested in the life of Jesus Christ in the form of a servant.
3Docile to the Holy Spirit, in a fraternal communion of life, let us search for and fulfil God’s will in every event and action.
4Thus it will come about that ministers or superiors, who spend themselves in the service of the brothers entrusted to them, and the other brothers, who are subject to them in faith, will always do what is pleasing to God.
Article I: The Pastoral Service of the Ministers
156. 1Christ did not come to be served but to serve; to show this he washed the feet of the apostles and recommended that they do the same.
2Therefore let the ministers, the servants of the others, exercise authority not as masters but let them serve the other brothers, giving them spirit and life by example and word.
157. 1Let the ministers, since they must render God an accounting of the brothers entrusted to them, preside over their fraternities in charity, becoming an example to them from the heart.
2Therefore let them exercise the office entrusted to them wisely, be solicitous for the brothers, and take care of all things, especially the spiritual.
3Intent on prayer and prudent discernment, let [the ministers] seek together with them the will of God.
4In a gospel spirit let them willingly initiate dialogue with the brothers, whether communally or individually, and accept their advice. Let everyone remember, however, that it is the responsibility of the ministers, in virtue of their office, to make the final decision.
5Let the ministers strive to lead the brothers to observe our life faithfully and to foster the good of the Church everywhere.
6For the good of the whole fraternity, let them promote the harmonious activity of all, especially of those who have specific responsibilities in the house.
158. 1All the ministers are responsible for ministering the word of God to the brothers and for carefully providing for their appropriate instruction and religious formation.
2In each province these may be done in a variety of ways according to circumstances time and place, as decided by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory, as, for example, through a spiritual discussion, whether with individuals or in the local chapter, by homilies to the brothers during the celebration of the Eucharist or of the Word of God, by the circular letters of the major superiors, or by workshops concerning religious and Franciscan themes.
159. 1Desiring that each brother be conformed to the design of the Father Who calls them out of love, let the ministers, urge them to seek out and fulfil the divine will actively and responsibly.
2 With respect for the human person, let them guide the brothers entrusted to them as sons of God so that [the brothers] may offer obedience willingly.
3Let them not impose commands by virtue of the vow of obedience unless charity and necessity demand it and [it is done] with great prudence in writing or before two witnesses.
160. 1Let them exercise the office that belongs to them by virtue of the Rule of admonishing, encouraging and, when necessary, correcting the brothers, with firmness and, at the same time, kindness and charity.
2Let them make an effort to correct the failings of individual brothers privately through a fraternal discussion, keeping in mind the person and the circumstances.
3Let the brothers, however, willingly accept the correction of superiors for the betterment of their soul.
4Let the superiors discuss the failings and omissions of the fraternity with the brothers themselves, especially on the occasion of a local chapter. Let all of them together seek and apply effective remedies.
161. 1The pastoral visitation of major superiors prescribed by the Rule and universal law contributes much to the promotion of our life and the renewal and unity of the brothers.
2Let the general minister, during his term of office, visit all the brothers either personally or through others, primarily the general definitors.
3Let the other major superiors make such a visitation to all the fraternities in their own territories at least twice in a three-year term.
4The vice-provinces and custodies, in addition to a visitation of the vice-provincial or the superior regular, may be visited by the provincial minister during each three-year term.
5Moreover, let the general minister, given the opportunity, visit the brothers in different countries and occasionally take part in the Conferences of major superiors.
6Let the other major superiors as well, in their concern for individuals and their work, willingly take advantage of opportunities of meeting with the brothers.
162. 1Let the visitators initiate a sincere discussion with the brothers, whether individually or gathered together for communal dialogue, about everything that supports and fosters the life of the brothers, whether spiritual or temporal. Let them not neglect the visitation of the houses.
2Let them act with a thorough understanding and adaptability to the times and conditions of different regions so that the brothers may express their judgment freely and sincerely and they may work together for whatever leads to the perennial renewal of our life and the growth of our zealous activity.
163. 1Once the visitation is completed, let the delegated visitator send a complete report to his respective superior.
2Within the time set by the visitator, let the superiors, whether major or local, inform his own immediate superior concerning what they have put into practice after the visitation as well as how the requirements of the Constitutions, the provincial chapters and the superiors have been implemented.
3Once during a three-year term let the major superiors send a report concerning the state of their own jurisdiction to their respective superior.
Article II: The Loving Obedience of the Brothers
164. 1Following the footprints of the Lord Jesus Who was subject throughout his entire life to the will of His Father, the brothers, by the profession of obedience, offer their will as a sacrifice of themselves to God, conform themselves continually to the salvific will of God, the most highly loved, and bind themselves to the service of the Church.
2Moreover, by living in obedience, together with the fraternity, they discover the will of God more securely and strengthen fraternal union itself.
3In the spirit in which they have freely promised the gospel counsels, let them manifest an active and responsible obedience to superiors with faith and love for God’s will.
4Let them rest assured that the freely made offering of their own will to God greatly fosters their personal perfection and becomes a witness of the Kingdom of God for others.
165. 1While showing themselves ready to obey their superiors in a spirit of faith, let the brothers present their own judgments and initiatives to them for the common good. It is responsibility of the superiors to decide and direct what must be done, after willingly considering everything with the brothers.
2Whatever good a brother may do with a right intention and by his own choice is also true obedience, when he knows that it is not contrary to the will of the superior or detrimental to fraternal unity.
3If, after fraternal dialogue, a brother sees something better and more useful than what a minister commands, let him sacrifice his judgment willingly and strive to do that of the superior. In fact, this is the true and loving obedience that satisfies God and neighbour.
166. 1Those who, because of personal reasons or external circumstances, cannot observe the Rule spiritually may, and should, have recourse to the minister confidently asking advice, encouragement for his soul, and a cure.
2Let the minister welcome and help them with fraternal charity and concern.
167. 1Let all of us, ministers and other brothers alike, walking in truth and sincerity of heart, have a great sense of closeness among ourselves and, through charity of spirit, serve and obey one another willingly.
2Let us foster mutual respect in such a way that, when a brother is absent, we never say what we would not dare to say in charity were he present.
3By acting in this way, in a world that is meant to be consecrated to God, we will be a sign of that perfect love which flourishes in the Kingdom of heaven.
4Should we sometimes suffer want, persecution and tribulation because of our witness to the gospel life, let us place all our hope in our most highly loved God.
5Moved and sustained by the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy activity, as poor men and men of peace, let us courageously undertake great initiatives and, if we persevere until the end, be crowned by God.
Chapter Eleven: Our Life in Consecrated Chastity
168. 1Among the gospel counsel’s chastity must be esteemed as an extraordinary gift of God that is willingly embraced for Christ and His Kingdom through an impulse of the Holy Spirit.
2The reason for leading our life in chastity is preferential love of God and all peoples: in a unique way, in fact, it confers a greater freedom of heart through which we may cling to God with an undivided love and can become all things to all peoples.
3By always guarding and cultivating this gift, our fraternity becomes a splendid sign of the mystery through which the Church is united to her only Spouse. The charism of celibacy, which not everyone can grasp, is an option for the Kingdom of God, prophetically proclaims that kingdom in our midst and offers a witness to the future life in which those who have risen are brothers [and sisters] to one another before God Who will be for them all in all.
169. 1One of the noted characteristics of Saint Francis is the richness of his affections and his capacity for expressing them.
2Francis, captivated by a love of God and all peoples, indeed by all created beings, is a brother and a friend of all.
3Thoroughly courteous and noble, elated by everything beautiful and good, he wished that his brothers sing joyful songs of penance-conversion, immersed in peace and in a universal, even cosmic brotherhood.
170. 1While we are on the way to the Kingdom of God, chastity always involves a certain privation that must be recognized and accepted. Diligent recourse to supernatural and natural means makes it possible to maintain a certain equilibrium and to avoid the dangers that threaten a celibate brother such as boredom, loneliness of the heart, love of comforts, excessive gratification, or, on the other hand, morbid aversion to displaying affection.
2Chastity consecrated to God, a gift given to human beings, is nourished, supported and increased by participation in a sacramental life, especially the Eucharistic Banquet and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and by persevering in assiduous prayer and intimate union with Christ and His Virgin Mother.
3Therefore, not relying on our own strength but relying on God’s assistance, let us strive to respond generously to this gift.
171. 1Affective and sexual maturity gradually travels a journey of conversion from a self-centred and possessive love to a self-sacrificing love capable of giving of oneself to others.
2Let all the brothers, especially superiors, remember that love for one another in familiar companionship and fraternal service is an excellent support of chastity.
3A fraternity that is genuine, serene and open to others makes the natural development of each one’s affectivity easier. Fraternal commitment demands a continual renunciation of self-love and requires a dedication that favours authentic and profound friendships that greatly contribute to the fulfilment of an affective life.
4Besides a discipline of the senses and of the heart, let us joyfully dedicate ourselves to diligent work, living in humility and penance, and use other means that foster health of mind and body.
172. 1Let the brothers love all people in Christ and seek to lead them to share in the Kingdom of God through a brotherly and friendly rapport.
2Following the example of the noble affection Brother Francis had for Sister Clare, let our attitude toward women be conspicuous by its courtesy, respect and sense of justice.
3Friendship is a great gift that fosters human and spiritual growth. In virtue of our consecration and because of the respect due to the vocation of those with whom we associate, we should avoid binding others to ourselves; rather let us give ourselves to them. In this way a friendship is established that is liberating and not destructive of fraternity.
4Relations of the brothers with their own family promote affective development; however, let us not forget that the fraternity is our new family.
173. 1Let us frequently ponder the words of Saint Francis with which he encourages his brothers, after removing all anxiety, to love and adore the Lord God in all creatures with a clean heart, a chaste body and a holy manner of working.
2Therefore let nothing hinder us, nothing separate us, that the Spirit of the Lord may act and be manifested in us and in our fraternity.
Chapter Twelve: Spreading and Fostering the Faith
Article I: The Missionary Commitment of the Order
174. 1Christ Jesus, God’s Good News, the first and greatest preacher of the Gospel, gave to all his disciples and, through them, to the community of faith that is the Church, the grace and mandate of spreading the gospel.
2All the baptized, and especially religious by the special gift of themselves, are united to the Pilgrim Church that, through Christ’s mission and that of the Holy Spirit, is the universal sacrament of salvation and, therefore, missionary by its nature.
3Through divine inspiration, Saint Francis renewed the missionary spirit of his time by the example of his life and the power of his Rule and gave an impetus to those initiatives of the Church that are called missionary and through which the Gospel is proclaimed and the coming Kingdom of God transforms the human person and creates a new world that is just and full of peace. In this way the Church is established each day and, day after day, becomes more perfect.
4Our Order accepts as its own the responsibility of spreading the Gospel that belongs to the whole Church and regards and takes on this missionary work as one of its principal apostolic obligations.
5Brothers are considered missionaries who bring the good news of salvation to all those in any continent or region who do not believe in Christ.
6We recognize, however, the special situation of those brothers who engage in missionary activity in the service of newly established Churches.
175. 1As Saint Francis foresaw, missionary brothers can conduct themselves spiritually among non-Christians in two ways: either, while being subject to every human creature for God’s sake, they very confidently give witness of the Gospel life by their charity; or, when they see that it pleases God, they openly proclaim the word of salvation to non-believers that they may be baptized and become Christians.
2Recognizing that particular Churches have already acquired a preferred role in the work of evangelization, let the brothers willingly listen to members of the newly established Churches and dialogue with them. In this way it is clear they have come to serve those Churches and their pastors.
3In a spirit of charity, evaluating the historical, religious, social and cultural circumstances in light of the Gospel, impelled by a prophetic spirit let them act with the freedom of the sons of God.
4In dialogue with Christian churches and non-Christian religions, let them promote those changes that foster the coming of a new world and be attentive to ideas that influence the mentality and activity of peoples.
176. 1Let brothers who feel they are called by divine inspiration to missionary activity in another region where evangelization is more urgent reveal their proposal to the provincial minister. The provincial minister, however, may also call upon other qualified brothers willingly to assume such work.
2After a special doctrinal and practical preparation in missiology and ecumenism in keeping with each one’s ability, let the same minister present them to the general minister to whom it belongs to give letters of obedience.
3Let the ministers not be reluctant to send suitable brothers because of a scarcity of brothers in the province but let them cast their care and thought upon Him Who has continual care of us.
4Different provinces of the Order may offer mutual assistance generously as opportunities arise and, through the general minister, offer missionaries and help to other jurisdictions in need of them.
5Brothers may be invited to share in missionary work even for a while, especially to provide special services.
6Let the brother cooperate with lay missionaries, especially catechists, in work and planning and, with them, zealously care for the spiritual animation of the people, as well as their social and economic welfare.
7Let superiors foster among the brothers a love and spirit of cooperation for missionary work in such a way that everyone, according to his own state and ability, may satisfy his missionary responsibility in fraternal communion with missionaries, by praying for the newly established Churches in union with them, and by awakening a concern among the Christian people.
177. 1Since the state of those who profess the gospel counsels belongs to the life and holiness of the Church and for that reason should be zealously promoted even from the period of the implantation of the Church, let missionary brothers strive to foster our charism in the particular Churches.
2It is the responsibility of major superiors, therefore, to provide that brothers suitable for forming candidates of the Order be present among the missionaries.
3Let the form of our life and the spiritual heritage of our Order, which is universal and embraces all the rites of the Catholic church, be transmitted and expressed according to the circumstances of a region as well as to the unique character of each nation and particular church. Let customs peculiar to one region not be transplanted into another. It belongs to the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, to decide the rite of individual jurisdictions, while observing the prescriptions of law.
178. 1It is the responsibility of the minister general, with the consent of the definitory and in union with ecclesiastical authority, to promote and coordinate together missionary activity in the particular churches.
2After receiving the approval of the general minister with the consent of the definitory, it belongs to the provincial minister, with the consent of the definitory, to accept a missionary commitment proposed by the general minister as well as to underwrite agreements with the respective ecclesiastical superior.
3Let the general minister as well as the provincial ministers, with the consent of the definitory, establish a secretariat for missionary promotion and cooperation and determine its responsibility.
4Let the brothers cooperate diligently with religious institutes that are engaged in missionary activity in a particular Church in the same territory or that are engaged in missionary promotion at home.
5Let the summit of missionary activity be considered the advancement of the particular church in which the clergy, religious and laity shall have responsibility according to each one’s competence.
179. 1Let the brothers be mindful of Saint Francis who wished to send his companions into the world after the example of the disciples of Christ, in poverty with full trust in God the Father, proclaiming peace everywhere by word and example.
2Let us commend this great undertaking to the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Good Shepherd, who gave birth to Christ, the light and salvation of all nations, and, with the work of the Holy Spirit, was present on the morning of Pentecost at the beginnings of evangelization.
Article II: The Brothers’ Life of Faith
180. 1As true disciples of the Lord and sons of Saint Francis, with the help of divine grace, let us preserve the faith that we have received from God through the Church; with all our energies and sound judgment, let us penetrate into it more profoundly and apply it more fully to our life.
2Let us implore God through assiduous prayer for an increase of this inestimable gift and live in intimate union with the entire People of God.
3Led by the Holy Spirit, let us bear witness to Christ everywhere and offer to those who ask the reason for that hope of eternal life which is within us.
181. 1Saint Francis profoundly desired to adhere faithfully to the magisterium of the Church as the guardian of the written and transmitted word of God as well as of the gospel life.
2In order to preserve this spiritual heritage intact, let us nourish a special devotion to holy Mother Church.
3Let us be one with the Church in all things: in thought, word and action, diligently avoiding false or pernicious doctrines.
4Led by an active sense and a responsible conscience, let us offer religious submission of intellect and will to the Roman Pontiff, the supreme teacher of the universal Church, as well as to the bishops who, as witnesses to the faith, in union with the Supreme Pontiff, teach the people of God.
5At the beginning of their term of office, let superiors and other brothers, as decreed in law, make a profession of faith.
182. 1Responding to the divine vocation through which God requests of us each day a role in carrying out His plan of salvation, let us remember how closely we are bound to Christ before the people of God by virtue of profession.
2Let us strive, therefore, to walk worthily and to excel all the more in the vocation by which we are called, remembering that God never makes His gifts or, therefore, a vocation once given ineffectual. His grace will not fail us in overcoming difficulties on this narrow path that leads to life.
3Zealously dedicating ourselves to our renewal, let us persevere in the commitment of our life with a joyful heart; yet, conscious of our human frailty, let us move forward on the way of conversion with the entire Church that is always being renewed by the Holy Spirit.
* * * * * *
183. 1By virtue of our profession, we must observe the Rule of Saint Francis, confirmed by Pope Honourius, simply and in a catholic manner.
2Its authentic interpretation is reserved to the Holy See which has abrogated earlier pontifical declarations on the Rule only as regards their perceptive force, excepting those contained in existing universal law and in these Constitutions.
3Furthermore, the Holy See recognizes the right of the General Chapter to adapt the Rule to new circumstances when appropriate. But these adaptations obtain the force of law through the approval of the Holy See
184. 1The authentic interpretation of the Constitutions is reserved to the Holy See. The General Chapter, with the consent of two-thirds of the vocals, may add to, change, repeal or abrogate the Constitutions, according to the needs of the times, so that appropriate renewal, with a certain continuity, may be fostered. [ Such acts, however, require] the approval of the Holy See.
2Outside the chapter, the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, has the right to settle doubts or fill in the gaps that may occur in our own law; these solutions remain in force until the next chapter.
3In particular cases, superiors may dispense their own subjects and guests according to circumstances from disciplinary regulations of the Constitutions, whenever they judge that it would be beneficial for their spiritual good.
4A temporary dispensation of an entire province is reserved to the general minister, of an entire fraternity to its own major superior.
5Provincial chapters or the Conferences of major superiors may enact special statutes that must be approved by the general minister with the consent of the definitory so that the prescriptions of the Constitutions may be appropriately applied according to the circumstances of provinces and regions.
6All questions of conflicting rights whether between religious or houses or between circumscriptions of the Order are resolved according to our Modus procedendi.
185. 1Our Order is governed by the universal law of the Church, the Rule and the Constitutions. Only this text of the Constitutions has juridical force in the entire Order.
2Since laws and statutes cannot be made for every particular case, in all our actions let us keep before our eyes the Holy Gospel, the Rule we have promised to God, the sound traditions and example of the saints.
3Let superiors surpass the brothers in the life of our fraternity and in observing the Constitutions and lead the brothers to observe them as a daring adventure of love.
186. 1When near death, Saint Francis imparted the blessing of the most holy Trinity, together with his own, upon sincere observers of the Rule. Therefore, after casting aside every negligence, let all of us endeavour with fervent love to follow the gospel perfection manifested in the Rule itself and in our Order.
2 Let us remember, dearest brothers, the text on which our seraphic Father preached to a chapter of the brothers: ‘Great things have we promised to God, but greater things has He promised to us.’ For this reason, let us strive to observe these Constitutions and whatever we have promised, and, with a burning desire, aspire to those goods that have been promised to us, with the he1p of Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother.
3While pursuing all these things, let us cast our eyes upon our Redeemer that, knowing his good pleasure, we may strive to please Him with pure love. Observance of the Constitutions will he1p us not only to observe the Rule we have promised but also to fulfil the divine law and follow the gospel counsels. As our labours abound so will our consolation in Christ Jesus. We will be able to do all things in Him Who strengthens us, for He Who is the Wisdom of God grants us understanding in everything and gives abundantly to all.
4Christ then, Who is the Light and Expectation of the nations, the End of the Law, the Salvation of God, the Father of the world to come, the Word and the Power that upholds all things and, lastly, our Hope, in Whom all things are possible, delightful and easy, and to Whom our frailty is known, will not only give us strength for following His commands and counsels, but will also pour out His heavenly gifts in such abundance that, after overcoming all obstacles, we may be able to follow and imitate Him with greatest eagerness of our hearts, using visible things as passers-by and as those yearning for things eternal.
Who is God and Man,
the True Light, the Splendor of Glory,
and the Brilliance of Eternal Light;
the Mirror without blemish,
the Image of the Goodness of God;
appointed by the Father as the Judge, Law-giver,
and Saviour of all peoples;
to Whom the Father and Holy Spirit
have borne witness
and in Whom are our merit,
model of life, he1p and reward;
Who by God has been made for us
Wisdom and Justice,
be all our thought, meditation and imitation.
Who lives and reigns
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
co-eternal, consubstantial, and co-equal,
be everlasting praise, honour and glory
for ever and ever.