2012 Capuchin Constitutions Note I Francisco Iglesias

Constitutions of the Capuchin Friars Minor

History – Layout – Profile of the Capuchin

Concise introductory Note

by Bro Francisco Iglesias OFM Cap

(Translation of the Italian original text)

Table of Contents

This brief note is meant to be a modest study that is informative and introductory. The hope is that in some way it may facilitate a “careful, meditative and prayerful re-reading of our Constitutions, on the personal level and together.”[1]

Here are the Capuchin Constitutions
dictated by the Holy Spirit.
One who observes them perfectly
can be numbered among the saints.
(Pope St. Pius V, Dominican, 1566-1572)[2]

I. History

1. The overall history of the Capuchin Constitutions is quite simple and straight forward. It could be said that the centuries old reality of the text of our Constitutions may be encapsulated by two major moments: the Constitutions of 1536 – the first true constitution text of the Order, and the Constitutions of 1986 – the recent constitution text of the Order still in force today.

Constitutions 1536 – 1925

2. Without a doubt, the Constitutions of 1536 have actually been the reference point and backbone, in terms of content as well as literary and formal style to some extent, of all the later Constitutions until the Second Vatican Council, including those of 1925.[3]

3. During the first century of our Constitutions (precisely from 1536 until 1643), the Order revised the text of the constitutions, though not extensively, in the general Chapters of 1552, 1575, 1608 and 1643. The 1643 text, based largely upon the early text of 1536, remained completely unchanged until the Constitutions of 1909. The fundamental text of 1643 has prevailed to a large extent in the texts of 1909 and 1925. Therefore a great respect and extraordinary veneration towards the “text” of the Constitutions 1536 which sealed the origins of our Order can be considered characteristic of our history.[4]

The basic reason for this profound fidelity to the first Constitutions was recorded and sanctioned already in the first text and then in all the different later editions until 1925. This reflects the spirit of ‘reform’ that inspired the pioneers of our Order. Hence the “mind” of the first legislators of the Order, handed down through the centuries via the following text:

Because the present Constitutions have been composed with the greatest diligence and mature deliberation, and approved by our entire General Chapter and even by the Apostolic See, they may not be changed without the consent of the General Chapter. Similarly we exhort all our Fathers and Brothers, now and in the future, not to change the present constitutions even in General Chapters. For as we have seen from experience great detriment to the Order comes from such changes to the constitutions. Nor must there be Provincial constitutions. However, if other particular cases arise let provision be made and we direct such matters be tabled at General Chapters. Let these constitutions be left intact, according to which our entire congregation has to live and be regulated with holy uniformity.[5]

It is necessary to recognize that the clarity, weight and long survival of this constitutional decision of the promoters of the Capuchin Order has had a notable impact on the filial veneration for and the inviolability of the text of our Constitutions. Nevertheless, because of the pressing impulses of the times in the sense of movement and life, despite this original “exhortation,” however insistent, the Order has had to introduce some modifications to the first text during some of its General Chapters. In the main, however, these modifications have not been frequent or considerable. It is worthwhile to remember that among the usual reasons for these respective revisions are the necessary adjustments due to the developments in Church teaching and law (for example, the Council of Trent, 1545-1563 and the Code of Canon Law of 1917). There have also been literary and stylistic updates of the text as well as diverse interventions motivated by a healthy realism to remove, add or put into practice some directive or insert special decisions of other General Chapters.

5. During the relatively evolutionary course of the history of our Constitutions there have been two significantly instructive experiences that I wish to underline. In the first place, there were two moments of particular conflict regarding the text of the Constitutions of 1638 and 1896. The Constitutions of 1638 were prepared by Cardinal Antonio Barberini, a Capuchin. These were approved by his brother Pope Urban VIII. The text was imposed upon the Order and contested vigorously by it. These constitutions had a very short life. The same Pope, without paying any attention to the Constitutions of 1638, solemnly approved the new text prepared by the Order (Constitutions of 1643). This text successfully took up, via the Constitutions of 1608, the main thread of close fidelity to the first Constitutions of 1536.[6] In the case of the Constitutions of 1896 however the work was frustrated because it was not accepted by the Holy See. To a large extent this was due to the way in which work on the text was organized.[7] However, after various official impediments, the Order successfully formulated a text approved in 1909. This text reflected a closer adherence to the hereditary line of all our earlier history. In short, these two moments of particular conflict will remain in our history as a significant and instructive proof of the centuries old respect and attachment of the Order to the legislative text of its first Constitutions.

Secondly, there is another very instructive experience in the history of our ‘traditional’ Constitutions. The case is rather limited, but also high profile. It concerned some existential paradoxes, so to speak, that is, occasions when the written law clashed with life as it was lived. The phenomena were happily overcome actually in response to some requirements of the Order’s own charism and changed conditions of the time. The standard concerning the material immutability of the text left some legal dictates petrified, when the rhythm of the movement and life of the friars was channeled with great foresight along new paths, especially in the area of apostolate. By way of example I would underline an interesting lesson in the pastoral area of confessions. While the eremitical and secluded character of our origins remained crystallized in the text of the Constitutions that drastically limited this ministry, the Order opened up new and promising paths. In the Constitutions of 1643, in force until 1909, it was said decisively that “In order to avoid danger to subjects and superiors, and in order to flee every occasion of distraction of the mind by which, enclosed and recollected in Christ, we can hurry unimpeded to our heavenly home, it is ordered that the confession of seculars not be permitted at any time in our Congregation, irrespective of sex, rank, status and condition, as is customary in our Order…”[8] Surprisingly this dictum is even more restrictive than that of 1536. It is worthwhile to remember here the solemn affirmation of John Paul II: “The ministry of reconciliation is one your great tasks, one of your glorious tasks! The same glorious tradition should continue. I think you have the charism of confession that you must always keep alive in your heart and in your ministry. This (is) a great and important charism! … Where can one seek great lovers of confession if not in the Order of Capuchins!…”[9] With reason then our current Constitutions have sanctioned and positively justified “reconciliation in law” of our life where they state: “In the spirit of Christ the good Shepherd the brothers who are priests should proclaim the forgiveness 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 the people who are spiritually very poor.”[10]

Constitutions 1986

6. A very important practical consequence of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) regarding the suitable renewal of the life and discipline of consecrated persons was Paul VI’s prescription that required each Institute to celebrate a special general chapter, ordinary or extraordinary. That chapter, with the collaboration of all the members of the Institute would guarantee a real and effective update of its fundamental codes of law, using sufficient and prudent trial periods, in the light of the dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium, chaps. V and VI, as well as the decree Perfectae caritatis. The providential ecclesial event of Vatican II was decisive, with obvious and truly historical repercussions, in the fundamental renewal of religious on the basis of these clear points: the continuous return to the sources of each form of Christian life in the primitive spirit of the Institutes, and the simultaneous adaptation of the Institutes to the changed conditions of the times.[11]

Synthesis of the revision process of our Constitutions (1964-1986)

7. After having reflected on different questions regarding the renewal of our legislation, in the General Chapter of 1964 our Order approved the proposal to create an “ad hoc” Commission, as already mooted by the previous General Minister and his Definitory – to be established by the new Minister General and his Definitory on the basis of the brothers presented by the same General Chapter. After four years of enormous, serious, meticulous and truly laudable work, this Commission (Commissio Capitularis legislationis OFMCap) succeeded in presenting (20 April 1968) the “pro manuscripto” text of the first draft of the Constitutions renewed according to the Vatican Council[12] in view of the “special” General Chapter celebrated that same year from 19 August to 25 October.

8. The text of the 1968 Constitutions

This first text that emerged from the “special” General Chapter of 1968 represents a most demanding work on the part of the Order – a true “mile stone” – in the renewal of our fundamental Capuchin legislation according to the criteria of the Second Vatican Council. The subsequent texts, up until the official and definitive approval by the Holy See (25 December 1986), are in fact somewhat improved and updated ‘editions’ of the “principle edition” of 1968. This was truly an essentially renewed text of our Constitutions, compared to the earlier and traditional text that had remained substantially uniform for centuries. The 1968 text, revised by the redactional Commission, was promulgated by the General Minister with Definitory and by mandate of the Chapter, on 26 November 1968, until the next General Chapter.[13] Therefore the text in this form came into effect “ad experimentum” in accordance with the Holy See’s practice in force with all Institutes at the time. The proposal of the Holy See for a long experimental period left ample margin for the initiative of religious to check, improve and further update over time the working out of their own fundamental legislative texts. Therefore, even if our Constitutions were promulgated and had gone into effect, they remained a work in progress, so to speak, until the official approval by the Holy See at Christmas 1986.

9. The 1970 text of the Constitutions

This text is a reprint of the preceding one and was promulgated on 3 September 1970,[14] with the addition of a relatively small number of changes stemming from decisions of the ordinary General Chapter of 1970.[15]

10. The texts of the Constitutions of 1974

This new edition of the text of the Constitutions, promulgated on 6 March 1975,[16] updated the 1968 and 1970 text with some modifications, though not many, decided by the extraordinary General Chapter of 1974.[17]

11. The text of the Constitutions of 1982

In the ordinary General Chapter of 1982 the Order, following the norms of the motu proprio Ecclesiae Sanctae and in compliance with the instructions of the Holy See, definitively established the text of the Constitutions so that their official approval could be sought from the Holy See.[18] This 1982 revision, precisely because it was considered the last in the experimental period, was particularly important – both quantitatively and qualitatively, although a great deal different from the first, fundamental work of 1968.[19] Promulgated on 25 December 1982 and brought into effect on 25 March 1983, this text was obviously valid until its approval by the Holy See. The same General Chapter of 1982 not only definitively revised the text of the Constitutions so that its definitive official approval could be asked of the Holy See. But also, in obedience to the directives issued by the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes on 4 August 1981, the Chapter established a Chapter Commission with the specific task of looking after the redaction, the harmonisation and adaptation of the text of the Constitutions approved by the Chapter with the new Code of Canon Law, whose promulgation was expected soon. In effect this took place on 25 January 1983. On 4 November 1983 the Order presented the text, considered to be definitive, for the approval of the Holy See. After a long wait on our part, a new dialogue was initiated for the clarification and adjustment of the text, based upon some observations officially formulated by the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes. The final text of the carefully revised Constitutions was sent to the Holy See, which finally approved it on 28 December 1986.[20]

12. Text of the Constitutions of 1986

Nevertheless further effort and patience lay ahead of us. On the one hand, in fulfilment of the requirements of canon law and the Congregation, the General Chapter celebrated in 1988 carefully examined and approved the proposals prepared by the Minister General and his Definitory and which had to be inserted into the Constitutions. On the other hand, together with the Decree of Approval, the Congregation required of us to make some modifications to the final text of the Constitutions. With the appropriate responses prepared, on 29 November 1989 the Order presented the Holy See with the 1986 text duly put in order. The Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life granted the due approval on 7 February 1990. In that moment, having fulfilled the various requirements in a long canonical course of the case, the fundamental approval already given on 25 December 1986 received, so to speak, full, definitive and unconditional validity. Therefore after more than twenty years of experimentation, it can be said, the Holy See solemnly ratified the definitive, complete and continuous ‘text’ of our Constitutions renewed according to the Council. The Curia General of the Order published the text in August 1990.

13. Recent events

At the conclusion of this long period of preparation and experimentation with the fundamental text of our Constitutions, revised in the light of the criteria of the Second Vatican Council and sealed by the competent authority of the Holy See, new events have occurred. For the benefit of a more adequate information these events need to be recalled. I am referring to a small number of modifications in accordance with some decisions taken by the ordinary General Chapters of 1994 and 2000. With the due approvals of the Holy See, these were introduced to the officially approved text.[21] Obviously these recent events respond to the rhythm of the already ‘normalised’ life of the fundamental, continuous and complete text of our Constitutions from the moment when that long period of time had concluded. That period was firstly one of “experimentation” and then one of different, very specific adjustments to the same text formally approved by the Holy See on 25 December 1986. In the ordinary General Chapter of 2006 no decision was taken that impacts upon the text of our Constitutions.

14. An important reminder

At this moment (October 2007) there exists a fully updated complete, official ‘editio typica’of the Latin text of our Constitutions and of the Ordinances of the General Chapters presently in force. The General Curia published this edition in 2002.

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15. Excursus

Event though this might not be the time or place to do an “ad hoc” ‘analysis’, allow me to add a note as a kind of prompt for a possible individual reflection or communal discussion. In this context it is a simplified and conclusive note regarding the following question: Which are the more relevant aspects or characteristics, or even interpretations, in the “change” that has occurred between the “traditional” text of our Constitutions (1536-1925) and the text now in force after the Second Vatican Council?

In my view, the following points should be underlined:

15.1 First of all, a rather evident change in the formal character of the text, that is, in the literary, stylistic and editorial character… It was not historically or psychologically possible to simply repeat so many expressions, even if they may have been precious family heirlooms – formulations that were natural for the sensibilities of confreres who lived their human and Capuchin Franciscan adventure in ecclesial and socio-cultural contexts so remote from and different to ours.

15.2 Then a change in the structural characteristics, that is, regarding the logical organization of the contents. The traditional Constitutions were articulated in a rather inflexible way, modeled on the twelve chapters of the Franciscan Rule. Those chapters were produced according to Saint Francis’ characteristic logic, that is, based mostly on a spontaneous association of ideas. In reality, the Constitutions of 1986 to a large extent, take up the themes of the Rule and those of the traditional Constitutions, and then make a spiritual and normative comment that is more coherent and simpler. The text follows a thematic pattern, and the themes are developed with greater completeness and with an internal logic that is more in harmony with the mentality and sensibilities of our times.

In this regard there is one very significant fact. In the special General Chapter of 1968 this question was discussed. However, because of a certain attachment to and veneration for the Franciscan Rule, that opinion prevailed which wanted to continue to respect the traditional practice as much as possible, since the practice was considered an important family inheritance. Nevertheless already in the same 1968 Chapter some rather significant steps regarding the logical structure of the contents had already been taken. Today these are evident. For example, the theme of poverty is treated in an organic, more complete way, in just one chapter, reconciling chapters four and six of the Rule. The theme of penance (fasting …) is included in the seventh chapter for the sake of consistency. This left more space in chapter three for the specific theme of our prayer. A similar case can be found regarding the theme of the life of the friars in the world (‘How they should go about in the world’). It is transferred into the splendid second article (‘The life of the friars in the world’) of the new chapter six. The central theme of fraternity is arranged in a new chapter. The subject of formation, in all its aspects, is developed in an organic and complete way in the second chapter, leaving more breathing room for the theme of our apostolic and prophetic dimension in the world, chapter nine. And so forth.

15.3 Finally, a change in content? Apart from changes in form and structure, that is, in the literary genre and internal logic that give an appreciably new face to our present Constitutions, we can still ask ourselves, “Is there also a change in content?” In other words, do our Constitutions, revised according to the Council, respect, mirror and faithfully gather together the essential lines and the main points of the spiritual content and charismatic figure of the Capuchin typified in our traditional Constitutions?

I list here a series of ideas as an approach to a reply that may be well-ordered and precise.

15.3.1 In my view, after an obligatory and qualified adaptation of the Order to the requirements of the Second Vatican Council, the renewed Constitutions have been a faithful and updated rereading of the values and essential criteria that have been the backbone of the centuries old life-project of the Capuchins. They are a faithful rereading because they begin from the formal purpose for remaining consistent first of all with the intentions and intuitions of the original inspiration of the pioneers and the genuine tradition of the Order.

As Capuchin Friars Minor we ought to know the nature and purpose of our fraternity, in order that our life, appropriately adapted to the time, may be inspired by the sound tradition of our brothers. First of al it is right to follow their example by returning to the original inspiration, that is, to the life and rule of our father Francis, through interior conversion, so that our Order may be continually renewed.[22]

(That is, that it be a true, essential and ongoing ‘reform’.)

Precisely for this reason, throughout the Constitutions the main, characteristic features of our charism are underlined, taking up and underlining the central nucleus of the essentially evangelical, Franciscan, ecclesial, apostolic, humanitarian motives for our traditional, human and religious identity as “friars of the people” by preference.[23] This is why special attention has been given to the key aspects of the family, which through the centuries have guaranteed the human and religious face of the Capuchins. For example:

– the Gospel (our life and rule, with emphasis upon Christ at the centre as teacher and model of all perfection: Jesus – humble, poor, crucified and servant);

– Francis our Founder (especially through the mirror of his Rule and Testament);

– the biblical-theological emphasis and richness of our name: Friars minor (lesser brothers);

– the characteristic prayer dimension of our life;

– the Franciscan setting of the three counsels (obedience, poverty and chastity), following the theologically perfect order of the Regula Bullata;[24]

– the Franciscan inspiration of our formation principles (above all, related to our being ‘lesser’ and ‘brothers’ and within the fundamental perspective of a formation which, if it be true, is and must be ongoing);

– our prominent Catholicity, supported by faith, love and obedience and which immerses us fully into the mystical Body of Christ, giving life to our consciousness of being servants of the Church, especially with out fraternal, prophetic presence as lesser brothers alongside our neediest brothers, etc.

In short, even if with different kinds of style, tone and set-up, it is easy to recognize the same essential melody based on the perennial values of a charism – values that have been carefully and faithfully transmitted from the constitutional text of our age-old tradition to today’s text, renewed according to the Council.[25]

15.3.2 Apart from substantial fidelity to the past, it is undeniable that our current Constitutions reveal a truly serious commitment to an updated revision, that is, one that is made in the light of the sensibilities and theological-cultural signs of the present times. Actually, beginning with the General Chapter of 1968 – including a four year preparatory period – the Order has always sought to balance two fidelities in a serious and positive way: substantial faithfulness to the past, and a substantial and formal faithfulness to the historical moment, especially from Vatican II onwards. In this sense I believe that the work we have realized in these forty post-Conciliar years has resulted in a review of our charism that substantially completes, harmonises, enriches and updates a great part of the constitutional law of the Order, bearing in mind, above all, the following reference points:

– new horizons within the area of the New Testament studies and theology (dogmatic and moral) in general;

– new discoveries in the field of historical research about our origins and our tradition as Franciscans and as Capuchins;

– the theology, especially the ecclesiological dimension, and the spirituality of the states of life according to the Second Vatican Council;

– the new disciplinary code of the Church (the 1983 Code of Canon Law);

– the impact of contemporary sensibilities in the area of the anthropological and social sciences, and of general culture and even of language;

– the response to certain requirements – though not all of them yet – for a more systematic organization of its content.

I believe it can be said that our Order has not excluded itself from that well known suggestion that Paul VI gave to the Discalced Carmelites: “Reconsider your origins first of all. This is the first renewal: to look back so as to go forward in the right direction.”[26]

In short, despite their different appearance to the traditional constitutions, our renewed Constitutions reflect a great effort to reaffirm the best of the past in order to update it with the best of the our present, and to respond honestly to the essential object of all the Constitutions in our history: “The purpose of the constitutions is to help us observe the Rule better and more perfectly in the changed circumstances of our life.”[27] In this way each of us can truly become a builder of the Church and light to the world as a Francis born once more, or rather, as an ever alive Francis.

II. Layout

Important notice

For the sake of greater clarity, it seems necessary to advise the reader that from this point onwards, for the rest of this “Concise introductory note” (including the Tables of the different chapters) reference will be to the most recent, official and definitive text of our present Constitutions printed in 2002 (cf. n.14). [Trans: The author refers here to the new Latin and Italian editions of 2002. They incorporates the minor textual changes made since 1986.]

16. Preamble

Our Constitutions have never claimed to be a technically perfect and capable treatise from the point of view of content, or the systematic organization of material, or the style of expression itself. This was not necessary. Still less has it been the case of aiming at a highly specialized and exhaustive work. Nonetheless, with a studied sobriety in the choice and development of themes and in the composition and overall structure of the text, the result is a theological-legal expression of Capuchin life that is truly rich and substantial, clear and logical, easy to understand and within the grasp of all the brothers.

17. Composition or internal ordering

An important methodological approach or interpretation in reading the Constitutions are the criteria that have determined the choice, structure and organization of the contents of the text, as well as the series of inspirational values and motives presented, above all in the so called spiritual elements of the text. Any revision, if it wants to be truly respectful and enriching of the text, must bear in mind the essential reference points that shape, so to speak, a particularly sensitive, and at times delicate frame, of the complete body or of the different parts of the Constitutions. I restrict myself to underline some of these approaches or interpretations that justify the internal organization or layout of our Constitutions.

17.1 Rule and Constitutions

From the first Constitutions of 1536 to the most recent (inclusive) of 1986, the basic reference for the structure and organization of this fundamental code of the Order was the life-ideal in Francis’ Regula Bullata. In fact the primary purpose of our Constitutions has been that of guaranteeing perfect fidelity to the Rule put into practice and fulfilled, in the sense of movement and life, taking into account the signs of the times. The overall schema of the chapters in the Constitutions is due to the veneration for the genuine spirit of Saint Francis handed down in a privileged way via the text of the Rule (and of the Testament, which has enjoyed a particular esteem among the Capuchins.[28]) For many centuries this overall schema has been modeled on the respective chapters of the Rule. This is a practice that could be open to a sound flexibility, though without compromising our particular tension in being inspired first and foremost by the spirit of those normative and autobiographical texts of our Founder.

17.2 A union of spiritual and juridical elements[29]

Here is another fundamental criterion to ensure the right composition and redaction of the Constitutions, to rightly maintain that precious uniqueness and inheritance of our Capuchin family. Throughout the history of religious life, on our own initiative or because of a particular procedure of the church, the Constitutions of religious have found the correct balance between “spirit and law.” There have been Institutes which, on the strength of their own traditions, or the particular sensitivity of the founders, or the requirements of specific cultural contexts, have preferred to remain anchored to the predominantly juridical dimension of their own fundamental law. Thus a drawing up of texts from the biblical, theological, spiritual and charismatic point of view, without the primary support of a life understood first of all as a vital gospel experience, has been privileged. In this context the measure taken by the Holy See appears surprising, even with the Norms of 1901, in force until Vatican II. Among the other conditions for the approval of new institutes of simple vows and of their Constitutions, the norms imposed upon the Institutes the obligation to exclude from their proper legislation “references to the Bible, the Holy Fathers, to theologians, aesthetic-spiritual instructions, theological and moral teachings, etc.”[30] Consequently both the content and the literary genre of these fundamental codes had to be truly juridical. By exception our Order, while overcoming not a few rather external difficulties, has always managed to keep its own text of Constitutions where the two fundamental elements – the spiritual and the juridical – have been integrated as an authentic rule of life. This is precisely what is required of religious now, after the Second Vatican Council, by the common norms of the Holy See that is sensitive and respectful regarding their fundamental Christian and charismatic reality.

Continuing our centuries long tradition and, what is more, abiding by the actual normative requirements of the Church,[31] we must be consistent with this second fundamental criterion regarding the contents and literary genre of our Constitutions – well aware that we are free to weigh up the appropriate proportion of the spiritual and juridical aspects, in accord with our charism, our sound traditions and with our particular charismatic intuition. As Paul VI reminded us, “Care must be taken therefore not to compose a merely juridical or purely exhortatory text.”[32]

17.3 The Second Vatican Council and Constitutions

It cannot be forgotten that the 1986 text of our Constitutions was renewed because of the express will of the Church and in accord with the concrete directions of the Second Vatican Council. Therefore to understand other approaches to the method and content in the layout of our present Constitutions, it is inevitable that we begin with an outline of the schema of the data that the Council has offered us. A calm and clear reflection on these Council criteria will greatly benefit the correct application of the specific implications of each charism. And obviously in our case. The interpretation of the Council regarding the life of religious and the guidelines for the revision of their Constitutions could be summarized in these two words: integral fidelity. If the law is valid as an instrument in the service of life, it should express in the most complete way possible, the spiritual inspirations and appropriate measures that correspond to the essential and specific characteristics of the consecrated life that it must serve.[33]

Departing from this point, I believe that we can underline the following global proposal of the Council. Along the lines of the renewal of the life and law of religious desired by the Church for after the Council and for the new millennium, this proposal may be articulated in five essential points,: integral fidelity to the Christian identity of the vocation to the consecrated life; integral fidelity to the specific charismatic identity of each religious vocation; integral fidelity to the Church; integral fidelity to the “providential” signs of the times and places; and a “lived” integral fidelity, that is, one that is incarnated and demonstrated in the ongoing consistency and realism of that life. Thus, the basic orientations of the Council teaching for the revision and evaluation of the layout or internal structure of the Constitutions of the different Institutes – for updating the Constitutions and re-evaluating them while giving particular attention to the Gospel, to the religious character proper to the Institute, to the ecclesial dimension, to the historical context and to the effective impact in the change in the life of the Institute. Change your heart above all and you will change your life.

This fundamental task of religious should be seen and translated above all into norms suitable for their Constitutions. Not only via generic affirmations of fidelity to the “supreme rule”, to the “fundamental norm” of the following and imitation of Christ. But by giving doctrinal consistency and concreteness to this principle from the biblical, theological and aesthetic point of view, according the Christian-religious profile of the Institute, all its law may breathe the characteristic spiritual values of a specifically evangelical profession of life.[34]

17.3.1 Gospel

In order to keep things simple, essential and more concrete, I use the word “gospel.” In a much broader perspective one could also say Bible (or written Word of God). That is, the primary element of the rule and key to life that the Constitutions ought to be, is ordered around the Christian value/commitment of following-imitating Jesus as proposed by the Gospel. Therefore, from a fundamental and theological point of view, the Constitutions, taken as a whole, should be a bouquet of explicit or implicit gospel references that nurture our continuous inspiration at the source of every form of Christian life.[35] In short, a Gospel incarnated in the life and teaching of a Person, a Model and Teacher who is unique and absolutely primary.

17.3.2 Francis

The Christian spring of the Gospel is common to all religious. But in reality each religious logically will drink from this spring according to the heart, eyes and style with which his proper founder has done this in living his specific gospel discipleship. In our case I have no need to repeat that the image of Francis, especially in the light of his writings, and particularly the Rule and Testament, has from the very beginning been characteristic of our Capuchin family. Hence the Constitutions should find “suitable and clear words in which ‘the spirit of the founders and their specific aims and healthy traditions should be clearly recognized and faithfuylly preserved, all of which constitute the patrimony of each institute.’”[36] Therefore it is obvious in this context that the Order can and should also make use of the developments in doctrine and practice in its awareness of its charismatic identity which accompanies the passage of our history. And this ought to be done in ways that are appropriate to the style and character of the Constitutions. In this context it is obvious, for example, that today we have studies at our disposal in order to know the true image of Saint Francis, studies that are more abundant and technically more perfect than those had by the founders of our reform. This is quite a challenge for us! While having recourse to meditation and prayer, to give greater depth to our Constitutions by seeking to know better the true spirit of the “Franciscan sources,” joining together the today’s technical possibilities with the passion and love of so many of our fine confreres of yesterday.

17.3.3 Church

That remarkable “ecclesial consciousness,” a characteristic of consecrated life in our times, can be considered to be a relatively “new” dimension, fruit of the central theme of the Council: the mystery of the Church. No earlier ecumenical Council underlined with such rich detail the intrinsically ecclesial character of the religious state as ”a divine gift, which the Church received from its Lord and which it always safeguards with the help of His grace.”[37] Religious, “at the deepest level of their being … are caught up in the dynamism of the Church’s life, which is thirsty for the divine Absolute and called to holiness. It is to this holiness that they bear witness. They embody the Church in her desire to give herself completely to the radical demands of the beatitudes. By their lives they are a sign of total availability to God, the Church and the brethren.”[38] With this renewed basic ecclesial consciousness the Order must revise and harmonise its fundamental legislation with the “today” of God. Therefore as a criteria for the revision of Constitutions the Council teaching rightly proposes that of giving due attention to the “evangelical and theological principles of the religious life and of its union with the Church.”[39] This is a commitment that cannot remain only on the theoretical level. It also has to be expressed in the different chapters in an Institute’s legislative text. In this way the fruit of the different concrete involvements of our Order amid the People of God will be better guaranteed, as the Order participates with greater responsibility and more suitable means in the mystery and life of the Church.

17.3.4 The signs of the times and of places

The Council emphasis upon the ongoing and sound “adaptation of the Institutes themselves to the changed circumstances of the times”[40] is well known – an adaptation in view of the necessary updating of the consecrated life. The Second Vatican Council highlighted the aspect of the pilgrim church that bears the shape of this world, that is, the character of a Church as a reality of grace and salvation incarnated in concrete spaces and times, that necessarily takes up and experiences the reality of human affairs. In short, conscious of the special challenges of our world, the Council has thus reappraised the “historical” dimension of the People of God. Thus the Church, and therefore all of us too, are called to live the dynamic of redemption inserted in the world, conscious of that which is human, close to all, up to date within diverse socio-cultural contexts and the transformations and challenges of the times and places that form part of our essential condition. Precisely because of this the church reminds us that “no one (ought) think that religious have become strangers to their fellowmen or useless citizens of this earthly city by their consecration.” The church asks Institutes to “promote among their members an adequate knowledge of the conditions of the times and of men… in such a way that they may judge wisely the actual conditions of the world.”[41]

This realistic attitude of the religious faced by changing historical situations brings with it a special attention to promote an opportune updating of patterns, customs, structures and systems of life: “The manner of living, praying and working should be suitably adapted everywhere … to the modern physical and psychological circumstances of the members and also … to the necessities of the apostolate, the demands of culture, and social and economic circumstances.”[42] In light of this, the magisterium has considered the vital theme of the formation of religious, to be a formation directly conditioned by the complexity of circumstances and situations and by the diversity of places and the growing pace of change.[43] The consequences of this are obvious in the revision of the legislative texts. “Therefore let constitutions … be suitably re-edited and, obsolete laws being suppressed.”[44] This criterion of legal “implementation” requires particular discernment. The fundamental text of the Institutes must be brought up to date, open to and alert to the signs of history, but being careful not to generalize local or particular situations, and not to fall into an indiscriminate acceptance of elements from the present that can compromise the stability and seriousness of their primary and essential legal text. For example, it would be pedagogically deadly and fraternally fatal to maintain a habitual sense of being in the “interim,” especially when this impacts on the fundamental legislative support of the Constitutions.

17.3.5 Lived fidelity

If the law is meant to be an instrument at the service of life, a decisive verification of the validity of the law will be in the sincerity and realism with which it is lived and increases the credibility of persons living it. For some time an all too frequent phenomenon among religious, both individuals and Institutes, has been the so-called “change syndrome”: change in structures, programmes, legislative texts … and even simply in language. Changes of this type, it is believed and said, better guarantee lived fidelity to the professed life. Nevertheless it is necessary to always remember these three, eminently practical criteria in the teaching of the Council:

1st – “The best adjustments made in accordance with the needs of our age will be ineffectual unless they are animated by a renewal of spirit. This must take precedence even over the active ministry.”[45]

2nd – “Suitable renewal cannot be made once and for all but should be encouraged in an ongoing way, with the help of the zeal of the members and the solicitude of the chapters and superiors.”[46]

3rd – “Everyone should keep in mind that the hope of renewal lies more in the faithful observance of the rule and constitutions than in multiplying laws.”[47]

In brief, Council teaching has facilitated the elaboration for religious of a proper law that truly respects the life which it serves. It is up to religious to act in such a way that their life mirrors the validity of the law they have revised and professed.

18. Practical observations

As a concluding heading to what has been said about the composition and internal structure of the Constitutions I would like to make the following practical observations. I believe them to be important and rather along the lines of methodology.

18.1 For an intellectually and morally valid approach to the TEXT of the Constitutions we are preparing to revise, it would be necessary first of all, in my view, to be sure that we are dealing with a text that we sufficiently know and live. It is no small matter to adjust our fundamental “rule of life” which, and precisely for this reason, can only be understood by living it seriously; and which, more importantly, we must hand on with humility and the greatest possible fidelity to our brothers of tomorrow.

18.2 For an intellectually and morally valid approach to the ESSENTIAL INSPIRATIONAL SOURCES OF THE SAID TEXT (The Gospel – Francis – the Church – the signs of the times and of places …) it would be necessary, I believe, to give greater attention to these two guarantees or prerequisite conditions:

1st – To begin with data that is technically updated and proven, without comfortably taking many things for granted: for example, about the Gospel itself (especially the identity of Jesus of Nazareth and of the Christian way of life); about Francis (his life, writings and spiritual heritage throughout history, especially in our Capuchin family yesterday and today); about the Church (the modern reality, theology and canonical discipline especially regarding the states of life, and concretely, the so-called consecrated life)[48]; and even, in a globalised world like the present, the distinguishing key elements in value systems and thinking today, as well as diverse cultures.

2nd – To commit ourselves to the task of serious discernment for the purpose of filtering and duly digesting, from the Capuchin Franciscan perspective, the data that we derive from the aforementioned “Inspiring sources.” It is not said, for example, that we must absorb into our Constitutions, literally and at all costs, everything that Church teaching puts into circulation about the “identity” of the consecrated life in general, when we have in our theology and family spirituality gospel key-words that say more and better express our charism: for example, the very term ‘Fraternity’, as well as many other well known terms in the area of Christocentric Franciscan theology and spirituality. All this, instead of running the risk of producing an overall content that is hybrid in terms of charism owing to relative ‘novelties’ that are doubtful or dissonant with our traditional mental framework as Franciscans and Capuchins.[49]

III. Profile of the Capuchin

Important notice

To avoid misunderstandings, it seems necessary to me to point out that the content of this third point (and also the previous two!) corresponds with my strictly personal thought. In no way do I wish to condition – much less with the anointing of some presumed official character – the fully free collaboration of the brothers of the Order. This is intended to be a modest working hypothesis regarding a subject that seems important to me and which, notwithstanding everything else, has already made significant strides since the special General Chapter of 1968, even with the significant assistance of Paul VI and John Paul II.[50]

19. Some premises

The twelve chapters of the present Constitutions are actually intended to be, as has always happened in our history, a kind of X-ray of the overall identity of the Capuchin. However, the X-ray image is broken down into various fragments according the subject matter proper to each chapter. The fact that for centuries the Chapters of our Constitutions have followed in an unoriginal way the order of the themes of the twelve chapters of the Rule has helped produce a visibly disjointed image of the Capuchin. Today we know quite well that the division of the chapters of the Rule does not come from Saint Francis. His usual method, in the main, in drafting his Writings was not that of following a rigidly logical structure. Rather, he let himself be guided be a spontaneous association of ideas. This explains, why the various themes in the traditional text of our Constitutions give the impression of being disorganized pieces of a puzzle. There is no complete, neat image, an integrated and well organized profile of the Capuchin Friar Minor.

A problem emerged openly in the General Chapter of 1968, a problem that had a rather complicated and animated history. The questions were very clear. Must the structure of the Constitutions, at least generally and essentially, be a concrete commentary on the twelve chapters of the Rule? Or should they be more a systematic work which, while respectful of the contents of the Rule are not attached to the structure and division of the twelve chapters of Saint Francis’ text? Which is preferable: the traditional format following the order of the Rule, or a new logical and systematic arrangement following the dynamic and consistency of the themes?[51] The times and circumstances of the debate did not favour a calm and well considered solution. In spite of everything, the preference for the traditional system prevailed in the main. Nevertheless the question, by the very fact that it had been discussed, prompted some concrete steps and opened the way, possibly in the future, towards a logical, systematic arrangement of the contents of the Constitutions (The other Franciscan families, among other things, have already chosen this path.)[52]

Another significant moment took place on the occasion of the General Chapter of 1982 when the not entirely new request was formally tabled for debate to work out a kind of brief and substantial definition of Capuchin identity and insert it in the Constitutions, preferably in Chapter One. There was no doubting the fact that our true profile was already present in the twelve chapters of the Constitutions, and that this was very positive and had to be preserved. However it was also obvious that this was not enough and that on its own the arrangements of the material continued to generate an evident difficulty, being obliged to compare ourselves with such a dispersed and fragmentary image – “in serialized pieces.” Finally, for the first time in our history, the General Chapter of 1982 inserted in our Constitutions number 4 of Chapter One as an approximate and concise description of our Capuchin charism. The fact was certainly positive and the affirmations of this number still remain valid and objective. However it is necessary to remember that in the 1982 General Chapter the Order wanted to present a list of some “historical constants” of the Capuchin, in an affirmative and descriptive way, without claiming to work out a technically logical, complete, well considered and, above all, systematic synthesis. In my view this means that the text of n.4 in the first chapter of our present Constitutions remains a symbol and great challenge, like a kind of expectation and an open door, which could call all of us into a fascinating project of self-identification to be reproduced as a must in the “Rule of life” of our Constitutions.

20. One possible project?

I would like to mention briefly this “working hypothesis.” I have had the impression for quite some time that our modern sensibility shows more each day the need for a self-knowledge of our identity, unified around the most essential aspects of our charism, integrated and placed in hierarchical order, which may serve as a fundamental reference to guarantee the authenticity and credibility of our commitments and options in the service of the church and humanity. Or to put it briefly, a greater need is felt each day to rely on a valid and understandable profile of the Capuchin. That would be a kind of pocket compass to easily help us along a sure, consistent and meaningful path in this Church and in this world of today. It may help us as Capuchin Friars Minor to help others, starting with that credibility which inspires our “living the gospel life we have professed in sincerity, simplicity and joy.”[53]

If this is considered to be a valid and interesting project, I would add the following practical observations:

20.1 It will be enough to take advantage of the normal commitment to a “careful, meditative and prayerful rereading of our Constitutions, done both personally and in common” to derive from the texts, even in cross-section, the more significant suggestions to finally work out our specific Capuchin identikit. In my view, the fact of giving this kind of attention throughout the work of updating the Constitutions would be an excellent stimulus for mutual fraternal service in the area of ongoing formation-conversion.

20.2 This possible project would, in itself, involve a task of discernment to identify the essential and most unifying and meaningful elements, and then also integrate all the rest of the Constitutions on the basis of a logical and systematic organization according to themes. This means – and this is very important – that the unraveling of the chapters of the Constitutions would have to be accommodated to a thematic organization, leaving aside in good measure the traditional system modeled on the chapters of the Rule. Put simply this is about arranging the material better in order to present another face, one that that is more congenial to today’s sensitivities; one that is easier to understand, to take up and to incarnate in real life. It would then be a serious mistake, even pedagogically, if the arrangement of the Constitutions mirror a way of thinking that is in contrast with the so-called profile of the Capuchin which calls for, in itself, the greatest possible synthesis, depth of content and consistency.

20.3 The image of the Capuchin would obviously remain highlighted in all the chapters of the Constitutions, even if in fragmentary form, in accordance with different themes. At this moment, however, when I insist on the concept of Capuchin profile I refer to a very reduced, fundamental synthesis that is morally complete, logically structured and clear, inserted for instance in one or two numbers of the first chapter. In fact it would be like a summary of the resonances of our identity found throughout all of the Constitutions. With this end in view I wish to list simply by way of example a series of aspects that could characterize, like the facets of a prism, the specific features of the Capuchin. Nevertheless it must be quite clear that it is not necessary that our Constitutions be a technically perfect and complete (or nearly complete), practical and theoretical treatise on the different aspects of our Capuchin profession.

In short, for this purpose, it seems practical to me to underline the so called aspects that would have to be considered as a kind of “fundamental schema” that may shed some light:

1st at all times along the entire course of the work, and at the same time

1st) on the reflection and setting of each chapter of the Constitutions;

2nd) on the choice and ordered cataloguing of the suggestions that may emerge along the way, in view of the so-called “mini-profile of the Capuchin.”

2nd and once the work is finished: a suitable over-all evaluation of the entirety of the Constitutions in order to compare and check, for example, the degree of balance in the organization of the parts; their specific Capuchin relevance; their cogency and comprehensiveness; their being up to date; the depth and clarity of their contents ….

Given these preliminary clarifications, these are some aspects of our Capuchin portrait that can guide our study.

20.3.1 The human dimension: There are different anthropological characteristics that are historically significant and stimulating, and above all, more suitable for incarnating the essential specific values of our vocation as “lesser brothers.” Each one of us is, first of all, a “man” consecrated to God and to others, called to correctly develop his personality as an individual, and at the same time precisely through the ongoing process of openness and mutual self-giving according to the dynamics of relationship proper to a fraternal group.

20.3.2 The Christian dimension. Preferred interpretations of the gospel and above all of the life and person of Jesus: passion for Him, as common ground and central to an ongoing discipleship and formation, according to the essential and specific characteristics of that Christ-centeredness that our family has inherited from Saint Francis.

20.3.3 The religious dimension, in a double perspective.

a) from the point of view of the basic common ground of the consecrated life;

b) and then further, from our own particular point of view, as Capuchin Franciscans. In this particular perspective of ours, very special attention is needed for these fundamental elements proper to our identity:

our name as lesser brothers (the commitment to live the form of gospel fraternity in the spirit of minority: in the ordering of ends, the absolute primary goal);[54]

our spirit of prayer (the spirit of prayer and devotion; in the order of means, our primary support);

our profession of obedience (‘When the year of testing is concluded, let them be “received to obedience”, promising to live this life and rule always.’ This is a primary and all encompassing theological expression, even beyond the specific vow, of our response to the call or vocation and to the pluriform expressions of the will of the Lord in our life.”

20.3.4 The ecclesial dimension. In reference to Saint Francis’ Catholicity and apostolic drive, in faithful obedience to the Spirit of Christ living in the Church, especially by serving the hierarchy and everyone and even in the mutual obedience of charity, faithful to our family commitment as builders and repairers of the Church, especially the People of God.

20.3.5 The Apostolic Dimension. Usually it is said that the apostolic horizons of the Franciscan are very broad. Such could be too general and too vague an affirmation. In my view, the heart of the ‘problem’ in the area of the mission of the Capuchin in the Church and the world is not this. The ‘problem’ is not within the concrete context of the “where” to work (and what to “do” concretely) in the service of the Kingdom of God and of humanity. The key to the real secret of our mission as Capuchins, I think, may be found in our fidelity to our charism. From the point of view of the “why” and “in what way” we carry out our life choices, of apostolate, of humanitarian promotion and assistance, etc. In this regard permit me to underline, by way of example, some worthwhile pointers which should not be discounted too lightly:

1. First of all, we should enlighten and evaluate each choice in view of our name and profession as “lesser brothers,” and therefore as men “for others”, ready to serve preferably in places that express and better promote “the witness of the brothers who live close to the people and [who] are simple of heart and minors by the condition of their life and speech” which “is more easily understood and willingly received”;[55]

2. to give special preference to options that further foster spontaneous and special relationships with our neediest brothers;

3. to give credibility to the title given us by Paul VI and John Paul II, that of being sons and brothers of Saint Francis, guardians of hope in the Church and in the world;

4. to show by the edifying presence of our life shaped by the gospel, that we are truly listeners and witnesses to God in the heart of the world and of history. This dimension has a serious impact upon our ongoing personal conversion. It at least reminds us how we must “go about in the world”, in our “cloister” of the world, as hermits of the street[56], messengers everywhere of peace and good; sensitive, open and “filled with joy like Saint Francis in front of the world that has been created and redeemed.”[57]

5. To apply the principle of pluriformity (criterion and value analogous to the “inculturation” of the Order) responsibly and consistently so that “the Rule and intentions of our founder may be faithfully observed in every part of the world”[58], according to the beautiful message that Paul VI addressed to our Order in 1974.[59]

20.3.6 The aspect of “example.” Under this general heading I would like to conclude with a specific reminder that underlines two things that appear somewhat disconnected. In fact these things are close and very significant, at least because of the compelling family value they imply within the overall picture of our Capuchin Franciscan identity.

1. The characteristic concreteness, realism and pragmatism of Saint Francis who preaches vigorously about the persuasive force of “Brother example”, of the lived life, of “getting down to the facts,” in parallel with the proclamation as such of the Gospel. It is enough to recall his well known slogan: “More with example than with words.”

2. The living lesson of so many of our confreres, eminent particularly in the field of holiness. They are a precious family treasure especially because they have been an exemplary living incarnation of our Constitutions. What is said about them in our present Constitutions is too little, it seems to me, though what is said may be objective and right. Therefore they would merit, in my view, a more precise and involved reference in the text and context of the profile of the Capuchin today, on the basis of their existential responses to this legislation of the Order.

NB: The preceding list of Capuchin traits is not exhaustive. Obviously I have not claimed this. A careful, meditative and prayerful reading of our Constitutions, done individually and in common, can fill in the gap … In the case that this hypothesis go ahead later, a more systematic attempt to reconstruct the jigsaw puzzle of the Capuchin identikit could be attempted, by using a larger number of pieces that have been rendered more precise, essential and integrated.

Attachment I: Synoptic Table (of chapters based on the Latin text)

Rule of Saint Francis

(a. 1223)

Capuchin Constitutions

(2002 edition)

Chap. 1 “The life of the Lesser Brothers” Chap. 1 “Della vita dei frati minori cappuccini” (nn. 1-13)
Chap. 2 “On those who wish to adopt this life and how they should be received” Chap. 2 “On those who wish to adopt our life and on the formation of the brothers” (nn. 14-44)
Chap. 3 “On the divine office and on fasting, and how the brothers should go about in the world” Chap.3 “On the life of prayer of the brothers” (nn.45-58)
Chap. 4 “That the brothers not receive money” Chap. 4 “On our life in poverty” (nn. 59-74)

Chapters. 4 and 6 of the Rule are united

Chap. 5 “On the manner of working” Chap. 5 “On the manner of working” (nn.75-82)
Chap. 6 “That the brothers appropriate nothing, on asking for alms, and on the infirm bothers”
Chap. 6 “On our life in fraternity” (nn. 83-100)

New Chapter

Chap. 7 “On the penance to be imposed on brothers who sin” Chap. 7 “On the life of penitence of the brothers” (nn. 101-108)
Chap. 8 “On the election of the Minister General of this Fraternity and on the charter of Pentecost” Chap. 8 “On the government of the Order and of the Fraternity” (nn. 109-143)
Chap. 9 “On the preachers” Chap. 9 “On the apostolic life of the brothers” (nn. 144-154)
Chap. 10 “On the admonition and correction of the brothers” Chap. 10 “On our life in obedience” (nn. 155-167)
Chap. 11 “That the brothers not enter the monasteries of nuns” Chap. 11 “On our life in consecrated chastity” (nn. 168-173)
Chap. 12 “On those how go among the Saracens and other infidels” Chap. 12 “On the spread of the faith and on the life of faith” (nn.174-185)
Conclusion : n. 186

Attachment II: Possible “Systematic” Schema of the Constitutions

(2002 edition)

NB. This is about putting the twelve current chapters into a logically systematic order, without touching the texts (as appears evident from what has been said and from the possible scheme presented here.)

I. Introduction: A concise general description of the life of the Capuchin Friars Minor (Chap. 1)
II. Our “becoming” Friars: Vocation and admission to, and formation for and in our life (Vocational pastoral work and the formation of the friars) (Chap. 2)
III. Our “being” Friars Essential spiritual dimensions of the Capuchin Friar


– Dimension of fraternity and minority (Chap. 6)
– Dimension of the spirit of prayer and devotion (Chap. 3)
– Dimension of obedience (Chap. 10)
– Dimension of poverty (Chap. 4)
– Dimension of chastity (Chap. 11)
– Dimension of penance (Chap. 7)
IV. Our “action” as Friars Mission of the Capuchin Friar Minor:
– Work (in general and manual work in particular)

(Chap. 5)

– Apostolic work (Chap. 9).
– Specifically “missionary” work (Chap. 12, art.1)
V. The “organisation” of our


Fraternity at the level of the Order and the other Fraternities (Provinces, Vice-Provinces, Custodies, Delegations, Local presences…) (Chap. 8)
VI. Complementary spiritual and

juridical questions

– The life of faith and of fidelity to the vocation (Chap.12,art.2, nn. 180-182)
– Interpretation of the Rule and of the Constitutions and the juridical value of the Constitutions (Chap. 12,art.2,nn.183-185)
VII. Conclusion : (n. 186)

Rome, October 2007.

  1. Bro Mauro Jöhri, OFMCap., Gen. Min. Circular letter on our Constitutions, 27 May 2007, n.9
  2. Zacharias Boverio A Saluzzo, Annales, sive Sacrae Historiae Ord. Min. Capuccinorum S. Francisci, Tom. I (an.1525-1580), Lugduni 1632, ad ann. 1529, n. 14, p. 117.
  3. cf. Constitutiones Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum saeculorum decursu promulgatae. Vol. I: Constitutiones antiquate (1529-1643). Editio anastatica (a cura di Fidel Elizondo, ofmcap.). Romae, Curia Generalis OFMCap. 1980, p. 10. Fidel Elizondo, OFMCap., “Estructura y lenguaje de las Constituciones capuchinas de 1536” in Laurentianum 24(1983)283 ss. Idem, “Las constituciones capuchinas de 1536” in Estudios Franciscanos 83(1982)143 ss. The first legislative attempt of our Order, reduced to a brief manual of ‘Ordinances’ (called the Ordinances or Statutes of Albacina), were made during the first General Chapter (1529). For good reason these have not been regarded as true and proper Constitutions. “Las primeras verdaderas constituciones de la Orden, de las que dependen durante siglos las posteriores redacciones, son las de 1536 (promulgadas en el capitulo general de 1535-1536)… Los estatutos de 1536 pueden y deben considerarse como las primeras verdaderas constituciones de los capuchinos, que muy poco tienen que ver con el pequeño grupo de disposiciones promulgadas en Albacina en cuanto a su estructura, amplitud, argumentos tratados y modo de presentar las normas”: Fidel Elizondo, OFMCap., “Las constituciones capuchinas de 1529. En el 450 aniversario de su redacción en Albacina” in Laurentianum 20 (1979) 421.
  4. cf. Constitutiones Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum saeculorum decursu promulgatae. Vol. I: Constitutiones antiquae, l.c., p. 11ss. Idem, Vol. II: Constitutiones recentiores (1909-1925), Editio anastatica (a cura di Fidel Elizondo ofmcap.). Romae, Curia Generalis OFMCap. 1986, p. 7 ss. Fidel Elizondo, OFMCap., “Las constituciones capuchinas de 1552” in Laurentianum 21 (1980) 206ss. Idem, “Constituciones capuchinas de 1575. En torno a un centenario” in Laurentianum 16 (1975) 3ss. Idem, “Contenido de las constituciones capuchinas de 1575 y su relación con la legislación precedente” in Laurentianum 16 (1975) 225ss. Idem, “Las constituciones capuchinas de 1608” in Laurentianum 17 (1976) 153ss. Idem, “Las constituciones capuchinas de 1909” in Laurentianum 19 (1978) 3ss. Idem, “Ediciones y contenido de las constituciones capuchinas de 1909” in Laurentianum 20 (1979) 3ss. Idem, “Las constituciones capuchinas de 1925” in Laurentianum 19 (1978) 321ss. Idem, “Contenido y ediciones de las constituciones capuchinas de 1925” in Laurentianum 20 (1979) 197 ss.
  5. Constitutions 1536 (Editio anastatica, vol.I), p. 72 s. cf. in the same edition, vol. I: Constitutions 1552, p. 136; Constitutions 1575, p. 200; Constitutions 1608, p. 275; Constitutions 1638, p. 416.546; Constitutions 1643, p.627. Vol. II: Constitutions (draft) 1896, p. 556; Constitutions 1909, p. 147.291 s.; Constitutions 1925, p. 443. This English translation www.capdox.com/page5.html pp. 58 lines 15+.
  6. cf. Fidel Elizondo, OFMCap., “Las constituciones capuchinas de 1638” in Laurentianum 17 (1976) 313ss. Idem, “Las constituciones capuchinas de 1643. Contenido y ediciones” in Laurentianum 18 (1977) 3ss.
  7. cf. Fidel Elizondo, OFMCap., “Las constituciones capuchinas de 1896” in Laurentianum 18 (1977) 377ss. Idem, “Primeras divergencias en torno a las constituciones capuchinas de l896” in Laurentianum 22 (1981) 3ss. Idem, “Informe del procurador general, Giocondo de Montone, sobre la revisión de las constituciones capuchinas en 1896” in Laurentianum 22 (1981) 203ss. Idem, “Informe del ministro general, Bernardo de Andermatt, sobre la revisión de las constituciones capuchinas en 1896” in Laurentianum 22 (1981) 349ss. Constitutiones… (Editio anastatica vol. I), p. 9.
  8. Constitutiones… (Editio anastatica vol. I), Costituzioni 1643, p. 603.
  9. In the Pope’s message to the Capuchin Provincial Ministers of Italy in their meeting (1 March 1984). cf. Analecta OFMCap. 100 (1984) 59. BENEDICT XVI, in his brief greeting to the Capuchins during his visit to the Sanctuary of Loreto, underlined this characteristic of ours in the apostolate of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, cf. L’Osservatore Romano, 3-4 September 2007, p. 10. cf. Congregazione per i religiosi e gli istituti secolari, Decree of Approval for our Constitutions of 25 December 1986. Giuseppe Santarelli, OFMCap., Il ministero delle confessioni nelle fonti e nella evoluzione nell’ Ordine Cappuccino (Sussidi per la lettura dei documenti e testimonianze del I secolo, 2). Roma, Conferenza Italiana Superiori Provinciali Cappuccini, 1989, p. 31.
  10. Const: 149,2.
  11. cf. Perfectae caritatis, 2. Paul VI, Ecclesiae sanctae, 6 August 1966, n. 12.
  12. Commissio capitularis legislationis, OFMCap., Schema constitutionum nostrarum. Textus continuus quinquies emendatus cum indice alphabetico (Pro Manuscripto ad usum PP. Capitularium). Romae 1968, p. XII-228. cf. Analecta OFMCap. 80(1964)134,137,145 ss.,156,267ss.
  13. cf. Costituzioni, ediz. 2002, Proœmium, p.54
  14. cf. Analecta OFMCap. 86 (1970) 197
  15. cf. Analecta OFMCap. 86 (1970) 198ss.
  16. cf. Analecta OFMCap. 91 (1975) 60
  17. cf. Analecta OFMCap. 90 (1974) 341ss
  18. cf. S. Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, Letter. 15 November 1979 cited in Analecta OFMCap. 96 (1980) 12s
  19. cf. Analecta OFMCap. 96 (1980) 12.
  20. The official text of the Decree of Approval by the Holy See is always published at the beginning of the various different editions of the Constitutions after 25 December 1986. Given its authoritative character it is worthwhile to underline the formula with which the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes makes an interesting attempt to summarise and organize logically some of the more relevant and characteristic aspects of our Capuchin identity. In reality they tell us this: Animated and moved by gospel and basic Franciscan ideals (premises), we commit ourselves to live as brothers in the spirit of Franciscan minority (the objective or truly main aim), supported above all by the spirit of prayer (the first means of support), to better dedicate ourselves according to our family profile to a pluriform apostolate, united to all in a fraternal relationship (our mission).
  21. cf. Analecta OFMCap. 110 (1994) 382, 562s.: Lettera dell’Ordine alla Santa Sede: 14 September 1994, and the reply of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, 27 October 1994. Atti del 82º Capitolo generale dell’Ordine dei Frati Minori Cappuccini. Edizione ufficiale. Roma 2001, p. 705ss. Lettera dell’Ordine alla S. Sede: 23 October 2000, and the reply of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, 29 November 2000.
  22. Const. 1986: 4,1-2.
  23. Const. 1986: 4,4.
  24. cf. Regula Bullata chap. 1. See the profession formula: Const. 1986: 20,4.
  25. cf. Le prime Costituzioni dei Frati Minori Cappuccini. Roma – S. Eufemia 1536. In lingua moderna con note storiche ed edizione critica, a cura di F. A. Catalano, C. Cargnoni – G. Santarelli (Conferenza Italiana dei Superiori Provinciali Cappuccini per l’VIII Centenario della nascita di san Francesco). Roma, L’Italia Francescana, 1982. An interesting Tavola Sinottica (Synoptic Table) may be found on pp.216-220 of this edition showing how the Constitutions of 1536 have been used or have had an influence in the new revised Constitutions of the 1974 edition.
  26. Al Capitolo generale dei Carmelitani Scalzi in Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, V. Libreria Editrice Vaticana (1967) 291. Paul VI, to our General Chapter in 1968, 21 October in Analecta OFMCap. 84(1968)305ss. Cari Cappuccini…. Discorsi di Paolo VI ai Cappuccini. Incontro con i Superiori generali dell’Ordine, 20 febbraio 1971. E.F.I. Perugia 1985, p. 38 ss. cf. Francisco Iglesias, OFMCap., Alcune istanze formative nei documenti e nelle testimonianze del primo secolo cappuccino (Sussidi per la lettura dei documenti e testimonianze del 1 secolo, 17). Roma, Conferenza Italiana Superiori Provinciali Cappuccini, 1990, p. 37.
  27. Const. 1986: 7,1.
  28. Const. 1986: 6.
  29. cf. Paul VI, Ecclesiae sanctae, 6 August 1966, II, n. 12 s. Code of Canon Law, can. 587, 3.
  30. cf. S. Congregatio episcoporum et regularium, Normae, 28 June 1901, I, 4, n. 26 ss. Francisco Iglesias, OFMCap., Orientamenti conciliari e del magistero, in Informationes SCRIS, 9 (1983) 46ss.
  31. cf. nota 28. cf. Michel Dortel-Claudot, SJ., Règle de vie, Constitutions et Codes complémentaires, in Sequela Christi (Periodica Congregationis pro Institutis vitae consacratae et Societatibus vitae apostolicae). Roma 2006/2, p. 160ss.
  32. Paul VI, Ecclesiae sanctae, 6 August 1966, II, n. 13.
  33. cf. Francisco Iglesias, OFMCap., “Orientamenti conciliari e del magistero” in Informationes SCRIS, 9 (1983) 49ss.
  34. cf. Paul VI, Ecclesiae sanctae, 6 August 1966, II, n. 16. Perfectae caritatis, n. 2.
  35. cf. Perfectae caritatis, n. 2 e 2,a).
  36. Paul VI, Ecclesiae sanctae, 6 August 1966, II, n. 12, a). Perfectae caritatis, n. 2,b). cf. Francisco Iglesias, OFMCap., “Orientamenti conciliari e del magistero” in Informationes SCRIS 9 (1983) 51s.
  37. Lumen gentium, 43. cf. Francisco Iglesias, OFMCap., “Orientamenti conciliari e del magistero” in Informationes SCRIS 9 (1989) 52s.
  38. Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii nuntiandi”, 8 December 1975, n. 69 also in Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, XIII. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Roma (1975) 1477s. cf. Perfectae caritatis, Introduction.
  39. Paul VI, Ecclesiae sanctae, 6 August 1966, II, n. 12, a); 16,1.
  40. Perfectae caritatis, n. 2.
  41. Lumen gentium, n. 46. Perfectae caritatis, 2, d); 18. cf. Constitutions of 1986: 28,2; 97ss.
  42. Perfectae caritatis, n. 3; 14 s. Paul VI, Ecclesiae sanctae, 6 August 1966, II, n. 18;26 s
  43. cf. Congregazione per i religiosi e gli istituti secolari, Istruzione Renovationis causam, 6 January 1969, Preface and fol. IV Plenary Council OFMCap., Formazione (Orientamenti), 2-31 March 1981, n. 3.
  44. Perfectae caritatis, n. 3. Paul VI, Ecclesiae sanctae, 6 August 1966, II, n. 17.
  45. Perfectae caritatis, n. 2, e).
  46. Paul VI, Ecclesiae sanctae, 6 August 1966, II, n. 19.
  47. Perfectae caritatis, n. 4.
  48. cf. Francisco Iglesias, OFMCap., “Cuarenta años de Postconcilio. Algunos retos significativos del Concilio que el viento se llevó” in Naturaleza y Gracia 54 (2007) 789-816.
  49. See the preceding note.
  50. cf. Francisco Iglesias, OFMCap., Approccio alle fonti: Invito e proposte dei Sommi Pontefici (Sussidi per la lettura dei documenti e testimonianze del 1 secolo, 11). Roma, Conferenza Italiana Superiori Provinciali Cappuccini, 1989, p.31.
  51. cf. Acta Capituli Generalis Specialis Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum (a die 19 Augusti ad 25 Octobris 1968 celebrati). Romae 1969, I, p. 432; II, p. 55, 97 ss., 193 ss., 377 ss.
  52. See the preceding note and n. 16,2 above.
  53. Const. 1986: 145,2
  54. cf. for example, Code of Canon Law, can. 598,1; 662. Regula bullata, chap. 5 (FF 88.) Congregazione per i religiosi e gli istituti secolari, Decreto di approvazione delle Costituzioni del 1986 of 25 December 1986.
  55. Const. 1986: 147,6. Translation of Regis J. Armstrong, August 1999, NACC. The British translation is misleading: “The witness given by the brothers is more clearly seen and more willingly accepted if they live amongst people who are simple of heart, and are lowly both in their living conditions and in their way of speaking.”
  56. cf. Regula bullata, chap. 3 ( FF 85s) in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents vol I: The Saint, edited by Regis J. Armstrong et alii, Franciscan Institute, Saint Bonaventure, New York, 1999, p. 101-102; . Compilation of Assisi 108 (FF 1659 [1636]) in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents vol. II: The Founder, New York, 2000, p. 215 paragraph 3: “When blessed Francis ha chosen …”; Mirror of Perfection, chap. 65 (FF 1757) in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents vol. III: The Prophet, New York, 2001, p.309 paragraph 5; The Sacred Exchange between Saint Francis and Lady Poverty in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents vol. I: The Saint, 1999, p.552, n.63 (FF 2022); Jacques De Vitry in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents vol. I: The Saint, 1999, p585, n.17 (FF 2230).
  57. Const. 1986: 97,1.
  58. Const. 1986: 5,4+.
  59. cf. Paul VI, Litterae occasione Capituli generalis extraordinarii anno 1974 in Analecta OFMCap. 90 (1974) 278s. “Relatio de natura, extensione et concreta applicatione principii pluriformitatis in unitate”in Analecta OFMCap. 90 (1974) 304ss.