2012 Capuchin Constitutions preparations Chapter V

Commissio Constitutionum OFMCap.


Chapter V: The manner of working

Second Proposed Revision (PdR2)

Rome — General Curia — 2012

Table of Contents


The first Draft Revision of Chapter V of the Constitutions was prepared by the special Sub-commission that met twice – in Rome and in Madrid during 2009. The four members had a very detailed proposal at their disposal prepared by Br. Felice Cangelosi. The Sub-Commission used it in preparing its draft. This in turn was examined and revised by the Commission during its full meeting in July 2009. The following themes emerged on that occasion that needed to be underlined in the Sub-Commission proposal: the burden of work, the contribution from Pope Paul VI’s Evangelica testificatio, the meaning of work with others, rest and holidays. Three members of the Sub-Commission met to include what the Commission wished in the text, and Br. Paolo Martinelli drafted the final version. Ongoing correspondence between the Sub-Commission members during September resulted in some further changes. At the end of September the second draft of the text was sent to the secretary and distributed on 9 October 2009 to the entire Commission. During the full meeting on 10-17 October 2009 the Commission studied and revised the proposed text twice. On 16 October the Commission approved the proposed revision to be sent to the entire Order, and the text was sent out in December 2009.

Once the feedback from the Order had arrived, the Commission examined it at its XII Plenary session from 4-14 July 2011, noting that most of the feedback expressed appreciation for the work of revision that had been accomplished. Many suggestions to improve the text were accepted, both as regards style and content. The explanatory notes give a fuller account of these modifications. When the new revision was complete, it was found that 18 out of the 47 paragraphs of PdR1 had been modified. Now [in PdR2] chapter V is composed of 10 numbers (nn. 79-88)[1], two more than the current text (cf. Const. nn. 75-82).

Regarding the revision of chapter V of the Constitutions, after what was said in the presentation of PdR1 about the guiding principles which the Commission followed in its work, it is sufficient to recall that the current text has been enriched by drawing upon the following documents of the Church,: Gaudium et spes (GS), Laborem exercens and as the place where one lives and receives challenge and support. Evangelica Testificatio, and on the Plenary Councils of the Order: Living Poverty in Brotherhood (PCO VI) and Our Fraternal Life in Minority (PCO VII) Project 2006 was also taken into consideration: it had already incorporated many of the concerns of the same plenary councils, as well as several elements taken from the 1968 Constitutions which the revision of 1982 later omitted.

Leaving aside further details that will be dealt with in the Explanatory Notes, we list now the subjects that are dealt with in chapter V, Its chief characteristics will then be apparent, as well as the enrichment based on the documents of the Magisterium and of the Order:

– The Trinitarian dimension is underlined more strongly, with a clearer reference to the divine work of creation (PdR2, n. 79,1), to the mystery of the Incarnation, by which Christ became completely like His brothers (cf. Hb 2,17) and also experienced the fatigue of work (PdR2, n. 79,2), and especially the introduction of a § on the Holy Spirit, the principle of its creation and of its growth towards perfection (PdR2, n. 79, 3);

      • The example of St. Francis is made more explicit through a reference to his experience and to the teaching contained in the Writings (PdR2, n. 79,4);
      • Work as a grace and daily toil, which makes us share in the ordinary conditions of life of people (PdR2, n. 79,5);
      • the spirituality of work, which we must live and develop in ourselves, and promote among the people: (PdR2, n. 79,6); and the reduction of work to a mere tool of economic profit (PdR2, n. 79,7);
      • our apostolic commitment in the world of work, in the light of the social teaching of the Church (PdR2, n. 79,8);
      • work: the fundamental means of supporting ourselves and our charity, especially towards the poor (PdR2, n. 80,1-2);
      • the work of the individual brothers, as an expression of the whole fraternity, carried out as a mandate from the fraternity, avoiding appropriating one’s work; (PdR2, n. 80,3-4);
      • work and the primacy of the spiritual life: avoiding activism and idleness (PdR2, n. 81,1-3); the cultic dimension of work (PdR2, n. 81,4);
      • criteria for choosing various activities and the values to be safeguarded (PdR2, n. 82);
      • intellectual work and manual work (PdR2, n. 83,1-2);
      • preparation for work and specialisations; the duty of superiors and of the brothers (PdR2, n. 83,1.3-4);
      • domestic work and the hiring of outside staff, when necessary (PdR2, n. 84);
      • working with those who are not members of the Order (PdR2, n. 85);
      • wages for our work (PdR2, n. 86);
      • the spirituality of rest and free time (PdR2, n. 87);
      •  the gift of time (PdR2, n. 88).

The Commission did not consider that any parts of chapter V were to be transferred from the Constitutions Complementary Code, but proposes a new directive leaving it to the chapters of each circumscription to adopt suitable norms regarding holidays and free time conforming to the principles of fraternal fairness (cf. PdR2, Complementary Code V/1). Even Project 2006, had assigned only one number of chapter V to the General Statutes, but that concerned an application of n. 79 of the current Constitutions regarding work for non-friars.[2]


N. 79 (75)

Current text Proposed revised Text
Constitutiones (2002) Constitutions (1990) Constitutions
75,1. Deus Pater, qui usque modo operatur, per gratiam laboris ad cooperationem nos vocat in creatione perficienda et simul propria personalitate excolenda, quo fratribus coniungimur et societatem ad meliorem condicionem promovemus. 75,1. God 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. In this way we are united with our brothers and move society toward a better condition. Current text (75,1) with additions and changes

1. God the Father, who created all things with wisdom and love(1), calls us all to share in the work of creation (2) through work (3). Through it, human beings conform to the original plan of God (4), grow in personal maturity, help their neighbour and play their part in the improvement of society (5).

75,2. Labori Iesus Christus novam dignitatem contulit eumque instrumentum salutis universorum effecit, tum manibus laborando, tum miseriam humanam sublevando, tum nuntium Patris predicando. 75,2. Jesus Christ has conferred upon work a new dignity and has made it an instrument of salvation for all people. He achieved this by working with His own hands, alleviating human misery, and preaching the message of the Father. Current text (75,2) with additions and changes

2. Jesus Christ, the Word of God, by assuming the human condition, also experienced the toil involved in work (6).He endowed work with a new dignity, raising it to be an instrument of salvation for all (7), both by working with His own hands and alleviating human misery, and

by proclaiming the Kingdom of God (8).

New text(9)

3. The Spirit, who is the principle by which creation exists and unfolds to perfection, inspires the Church to proclaim the gospel of work(10), casting the light of revelation on the efforts of those who strive to affirm the true value of work and to protect the dignity of the human person(11).

75,3. Sanctus Franciscus fratres suos admonuit ut fideliter devoteque laborarent et suo exemplo de dignitate laboris testimonium perhibuit, in hoc quoque particeps factus condicionum vitae hominum. 75,3. Saint Francis admonished his brothers to work faithfully and devotedly and through his example presented a witness to the dignity of work. In this way he also became a participant in the human condition. Current text (75,3) with additions and changes

4. Saint Francis (12), following the example of Jesus Christ, worked with his own hands. He declared his wish to work, considering work a singular grace to be welcomed and lived with gratitude (13). Therefore he strictly urged his brothers to flee idleness, the enemy of the soul, and (14) to work faithfully and devotedly.

75,4. Qua fideles eius asseclae, iuxta primigeniam capuccinorum traditionem, ut veri minores condicioni complurium operariorum assimilati, laeto animo, in Dei laudem labori cotidie incumbamus, otium fugiamus et servitium fratribus aliisque hominibus, in spiritu solidarietatis praebeamus. 75,4. As his faithful followers, according to the earliest tradition of the Capuchins, and as true minors identified with the condition of a great many laborers, 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. Current text (75,4) with additions and changes

5. As his faithful followers and in keeping with the earliest Capuchin tradition, we too should esteem work as a grace, accepting its daily toil 15) responsibly and gladly, in praise of God and in service of His people for the building of His Kingdom. Let us therefore commit ourselves(16) to work diligently, sharing as true minors in the condition of those who have to procure for themselves the necessities of life(17).

New text (18)

6. We should live a genuine spirituality of work and promote it among the people (19). Work is seen in its clearest light in the Paschal Mystery of Christ, and is a means of sanctification. By enduring the toil of each day, we co-operate with the Son of God in the redemption of humanity and in bringing the Kingdom to its fulfilment.

New text

7. We should give witness to the human significance of work performed in freedom of spirit and restored to its true nature as a means of sustenance and service. By living this essential aspect of evangelical poverty, we counter the challenges of individualism and the tendency to reduce work to a mere tool for economic profit (20).

New text

8. Schooled in the social doctrine of the Church, let us work to ensure that the dignity of working people, and of work itself, is always safeguarded. We should show particular concern for those who are unable to find employment (21).

Explanatory Notes

(1) The quotation from Jn 5, 17 in the current text, attributed to God the Father, (who is ever at work) seems inappropriate to the context in the light of biblical exegesis. We prefer to substitute an expression taken from Eucharistic Prayer IV. What follows emerged from the evaluations that were sent in: according to some the present text is better [V- 00013]; others agree with the exegetical reasoning of the Commission, but suggest that we not forget the fact that God is “always” at work [Prot. N. V-00027]. The Commission noted that placing “is always at work” back in the text would involve repeating words which were close together (sempre opera – opera della creazione always at work – work of creation) and preferred not to omit the words opera della creazione (work of creation) as they were considered to be of theological significance.

(2) Human work is a continuation of the work of the Creator (Cf. GS 34). Therefore the proposed revision closely follows the text of Laborem exercens (n. 25; cf. also PCO VI, 14) and states that through work we share in the work of creation. We prefer not to speak of “bringing creation to its fulfilment”, since not all human work contributes to the improvement of creation. Like the current text, the PfR sees work as a vocation, but brings out the universality of that vocation. God calls all, not only us, to share in the work of creation through work, which is a response to a command of God. (3) The reference to the grace of working is deleted at this point. It will be highlighted at length later, in a specifically Franciscan context.

(3) The reference to the grace of working (Rb 5) is deleted at this point. It will be fully developed later, in a more specifically Franciscan context.

(4) Following the teaching of Vatican II (cf. GS 34), the stress is placed on work as the implementation of God’s primordial plan. (cf. Gen 1, 28).(5)

(5) The current text speaks of developing our personalities. The Commission preferred to use a milder expression, saying that through work the human person matures (cf. GS 35). The intention is to suggest that work is a means of formation, but to avoid presenting it as mere self-advancement we add that, through work, one helps one’s neighbour and shares in the work of improving society. The whole paragraph thus flows better, hints at the value of human activity in the world and is also more concrete (it speaks of helping one’s neighbour) and closer to GS 34.

(6) The reference to the mystery of the Incarnation (cf. Jn 1, 14) brings out the utter solidarity with humanity shown by Christ (cf. Phil.2;Hb 2,17): he had to become like his brothers in every way). Thus, having appeared in human form (Phil 2,7) he also was seen to be someone who worked” and belonged to the “working world” (cf.Laborem exercens 26). In this way the text provides a clear foundation for raising the dignity of work.

(7) In PdR1 we preferred to omit the word universal, because it can give rise to ambiguous translations. The genitive plural universorum in the current Latin text can only refer to people; the meaning is therefore “he has raised it (work) to be an instrument of salvation for all”. … It is exactly with this in mind and using this translation that PdR2 now places this detail back in the text, because it was considered to be important and not to be omitted.

(8) The expression message of the Father is replaced by Kingdom of God, which refers more clearly to the preaching of Jesus and is richer in content. In contrast to PdR1the sequence of the three elements (lavorando con le proprie mani (working with their own hands)– alleviando la miseria umano (alleviating human suffering) – proclamando il Regno di Dio (by proclaiming the Kingdom of God) is now closer to the current text.

(9) The addition of a new paragraph explicitly referring to the Holy Spirit is intended to bring out the Trinitarian dimension, as in previous chapters. Project 2006 made a similar proposal. The reference to the Spirit as the principle by which creation unfolds to perfection comes from the classic doctrine of Thomas Aquinas (cf. Summa Contra GentilesIV,20 and from the liturgy (cf. Sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus of StephenLangton in 1200), but also from Vatican II: “God’s Spirit, Who with a marvellous providence directs the unfolding of time and renews the face of the earth, is not absent from this development”. (GS 26). The new text joins together the Church and the Spirit, giving precedence to the latter: The Holy Spirit animates the Church..

(10) “The gospel of work” is undoubtedly an unusual expression, found in the encyclical Laborem exercens, where it appears six times (nos. [three times]). ]). Precisely because it is unusual, one of the evaluations perceived the risk that the use of this expression might lead to an ideology of work, and proposed that it be deleted [V-00009]; another evaluation requested that it be replaced with a more simple formula such as “to announce and witness to the Gospel” [V-0001]. The Commission considered it appropriate to retain the formula, which is similar to others used by the Church and in the Documents of the Magisterium, such as “the Gospel of the family”, “the Gospel of charity”, “the Gospel of peace”, etc. The phrase “Gospel of work” refers to the “joyful announcement” about human work that was made by Jesus and which He lived in the school of Saint Joseph. In this way he raised work to the status of an instrument of salvation, making it an expression of human collaboration with God the Father.

(11) The final phrase in the text is taken from GS 33: “The Church guards the heritage of God’s word and draws from it moral and religious principles without always having at hand the solution to particular problems. As such she desires to add the light of revealed truth to mankind’s store of experience so that the path which humanity has taken in recent times will not be a dark one”. The expression used by the Council shows an attitude of humility and openness to the world on the part of the Church. The text we propose for the Constitutions is designed to reflect the same attitude. We have accepted one suggestion and use the the expression “unendo la luce della revelazione (casting the light of revelation)…” (in contrast to PdR1 where e ad inire la luce della rivelazione (to bring the light of revelation in)…” is used.

(12) In revising this text the Commission’s intention was to refer to what is specific to St Francis, avoiding general statements that apply to everyone, such as the aspect of the dignity of work, which has already been highlighted in reference to Christ, and that of sharing in the ordinary human condition.

(13) In his Testament Francis first of all recalls having worked “with his hands” and then exhorts the brothers “firmly to give themselves to honest work (…) to give good example and to avoid idleness” (2Test 20). Therefore the Constitutions also place first the example of Francis’ own behaviour, and then go on to exhort the brothers to work.

(14) The text is inspired by the Testament and by chapter. 5 of the Later Rule.

(15) The repeated reference to the grace of working is justified by the novelty of the expression, first used by Saint Francis (Rb 5), who in his Testament also speaks of the “drudgery” of work (laboritium). Therefore in this paragraph also, which refers to us, it seems important to combine the “grace” and the “toil” of work (cf. Rb 5,1; Aud 10-12; 2Test 20). In addition, the text regains the perspective of 1968 (cf. n.64) and presents the experiential vision of work, which is also onus, pondus, a burden, a weight that involves effort, sacrifice, etc. – aspects which are underlined in the documents of Vatican II and other documents of the magisterium and by the constant social teaching of the Church. For a reference to the religious life, see in particular Perfectae caritatis 13; Evangelica texstificatio 20.

(16) PdR2 accepted the suggestion [V-00028] to delete the reference to laziness, which was already mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

(17) One sign of real closeness to the people is to share the same conditions as those who are obliged to work for a living, for themselves and their families. The proposed formulation is very concrete and seems to us to improve on the current one, which ambiguously limits our closeness to workers as a particular social class.

(18) The three new paragraphs 6, 7 and 8 in PdR1 had been placed in a different context. Paragraph 6 and paragraph 8 are now in n. 4, 6-7 and, following the statement in the preceding paragraph, (let us always keep our apostolic vocation in mind) they aim to stress the role of work in our apostolate. For this reason the texts were laid out in this sequence: 1º) Being attentive to the social teaching of the Church let us endeavour to see that the dignity of workers and of work itself is safeguarded, being especially concerned for those who are forced into unemployment, 2º) Let us live out and promote the spirituality of work among people. This received its greatest enlightenment from Christ’s Paschal Mystery and is a means of sanctification. By enduring daily toil let us cooperate with the Son of God in the redemption of humanity and fulfilment of the Kingdom (PdR!, n. 84, 6-7).

Accepting a specific proposal [V-00030] relating to n. 84, 7 of PdR1 (Let us live and promote…) the Commission thought it was appropriate to place the text before the first number of Chapter V, in recognition of the fact that this was in harmony with what had been previously stated in n. 80, 1-5. For the same reason, we have also moved to this initial number of chapter V – as § 7 – the text which PdR1 had placed in n. 81,3. There, in a slightly different formulation, after the initial statement that “Work is the our fundamental means of support and for the exercise of charity” (n.81,1), it underlined the fact that work, “for the benefit of the fraternity and for solidarity with the poor” (81,2) is an essential aspect of evangelical poverty.

However, the same text, now reformulated, together with the exhortation Let us give witness to the human meaning of work which is carried out in freedom of spirit and restored to being a means of subsistence and service (PdR2, n. 80, 7), is closely linked with the statement in the preceding paragraph: Let us live out and promote an authentic spirituality of work among people (PdR2, n. 80, 6). The same goes for the last paragraph: Basing ourselves on [Being attentive to in PdR1] the social teaching of the Church let us endeavour to see that the dignity of workers and of work itself is always safeguarded. Being especially concerned for those who have not succeeded in finding work (PdR2, n . 80, 8) which finds its logical place after the second part of the preceding paragraph: By living this essential aspect of Gospel poverty let us respond to the temptation to individualism and the reduction of work to mere economic profit (PdR2, n. 80,7).

In conclusion it should be pointed out that n. 80 constitutes the “prelude” of Chapter V. It can be divided into two parts: the first part (the first three paragraphs) proceeds as an “anamnesis” presenting above all the theological and spiritual foundations (Trinitarian and Christological) of work, then the example of Saint Francis. The second part outlines our response to “the grace of working” (§5) and, immediately following, specifying this response, delivers a special message about how to live the spirituality of work and disseminate (§6) it. It provides an incentive to live “our prophecy of work” or “to live the prophetic nature of our work” (§7) and finally states the need for our apostolic presence in the world (§ 8).

(19) With this new text our Constitutions deal with the spirituality of work for the first time and outline its essential features in the light of the mystery of Christ and His message. The formulation of the text is based on n 27 of the Encyclical Laborem exercens, but was also inspired by GS (n. 39, 67) and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. This was why Project 2006 formulated this text: “Since the Church is committed to the total welfare of the person, she is concerned with the promotion and development of a spirituality of work which, at the same time, preserves the dignity of the worker and of the work that he performs.” (n. 53, 4) To live out the grace of working we should develop an authentic spirituality of work within ourselves and, sharing in the mission of the Church, we are also obliged to propagate this by living up to the specific challenge which the Church herself issues to us: “We have often wondered how it is that the sons of Saint Francis are not present as much as they should be among the masses of workers with their popular words, with their vocation to share the sweat of the humble person, with their capacity for turning life’s thorns into joy and hope. We know that you are already very committed and that you are only a handful in the face of the demands that spring up around you, yet we stress how much we think that your mission to the world is possible and providential” ( Paul VI, Address to the General Chapter of 1968).

(20) The text which was already contained in PdR1 has been reformulated. It was inspired both by Vita Consecrate (cf. n. 89, and also nn. 82, and 90). The profession of Gospel poverty is a response to the provocation of materialistic greed for possessions which subordinates work to the logic of profit making and reduces it to an instrument of individual power. We are called to witness to the human meaning of work and to its true nature.

(21) By linking up with the recommendation of the Seventh Plenary Council (n. 33) and adopting the formulation of Project 2006 (n. 53,4) the first paragraph attempts to commit us to be faithful to the social teaching of the Church and focuses attention on the dignity of work itself as well as that of the workers, and on those who are unemployed.

N. 80 (76,1-2)

Current text Proposed revised Text
Constitutiones (2002) Constitutions (1990) Constitutions
76,1. Labor est fundamentale medium sustentationis nostrae et exercitii caritatis erga alios homines, praesertim dum fructum laboris nostri cum eis communicamus. 76,1. Work is the fundamental means of our support and of our exercise of charity for others, especially when we share with them the fruit of our work. Current text (76,1) with changes

1. Work is the fundamental means by which we support ourselves and exercise charity (1).

76,2. […] Suas quisque vires, iuxta ingenium a Deo datum atque condicionem aetatis et valetudinis, plene et gaudenter impendat, rationem habens necessitatum fraternitatis. 76,2. […] Let the work of each brother be an expression of the entire fraternity. Let each one, according to his God-given talents and the condition of his age and health, make full use of his energies with joy, keeping in mind the needs of the fraternity. Current text (76,1) with additions and changes

2. Therefore each of us should make his God-given talents bear fruit (2) and use his energies fully and joyfully, according to his age and state of health, for the good of the fraternity and for solidarity towards the poor, with whom we should willingly share the fruits of our work (3).

76,2. Labor singulorum fratrum sit totius fraternitatis expressio […] 76,2. Let the work of each brother be an expression of the entire fraternity […] . Current text (76,2) with additions(4)

3. Let the work of each brother be an expression of the entire fraternity and manifest communion in pursuit of its goals(5). Therefore, the brothers should take on and carry out their activities after suitable communal discernment and in obedience to the superior, so that the work is always done as a mandate from the fraternity (6).

New text

4. Let the brothers not be possessive of their work. Rather, let them be committed and open to the needs of the Order, the circumscription, and the local fraternity, and always ready to move on. (7).

Explanatory Notes

(1) The phrase in the current text for others, especially when we share with them the fruit of our work is unclear and lacks a clear logical connection with what has gone before. The correct formulation was made by the drafting commission after the General Chapter of 1982 (cf. Acta 1982, 239:Const 1968 (ed.Fr Iglesias, 74 note2) In the light of this we have omitted the phrase, simplifying the text in a single sentence that is clear and complete in itself. Some evaluations proposed the addition that work is also fundamental “for the human person to be fulfilled” [V-00071; V-00068], The Commission did not accept this proposal, believing that, according to the teaching of Saint Francis, it is more suitable and logical for us to speak of the grace of working, for it is by accepting this grace that we fulfil ourselves. On the other hand, it is stated at the beginning of chapter five, in n. 80, 1, that by means of work … man … comes to maturity. The Commission believes that this statement is no different from saying that a person is fulfilled by working.

(2) The new opening phrase establishes the link with the previous § and reverts to the wording of the Constitutions of 1968 and 1982, which, with greater fidelity to the gospel texts, (cf. Mt 18,24; 25, speak of talenta a Deo data (talents given by God). Here too it should be pointed out that the replacement of the expression in the Constitutions (secundum talenta a Deo data) by iuxta ingenium a Deo datum was not due to a decision of the General Chapter, but to the post-capitular commission(cf. Acta 1982 239; Const 1968 (ed. Fr Iglesias), 74 note 4).

(3) The idea of solidarity with the poor and our duty to share the fruits of our work with them is essential and belongs to the Order’s legislative tradition. Therefore the element omitted from § 1. is restored here.

(4) Paragraphs 3 and 4 of PdR1 constitute a single independent number (n. 82,1.2.3). After further reformulations the structure of the current text was restored in the first two paragraphs of n. 76, but the same text is restructured and expanded. In fact:

Present text 76, 1-2 PdR2 81, 1-4
1.Work is the fundamental means of our support and the exercise of charity towards other men, especially when we share the fruit of our work with them. 1. Work is the fundamental means of our support and the exercise of charity.
2. […] Each one according to the capacity which God has given him, his age and health, should commit himself with joy and all his strength, taking into account the needs of the fraternity. 2. Thus each one of us should develop the talents which God has given him, and according to his age and health, exert himself unreservedly and joyfully for the good of the fraternity and in solidarity with the poor, with whom we should willingly share the fruit of our work.
3. Let the work of each friar be the expression of the entire fraternity […] 3. Let the work of individual friars be the expression of the entire fraternity and demonstrate common purpose Consequently let the friars engage in and develop activities following adequate common discernment and with the obedience of their superiors so that such work may always be carried out as the command of the fraternity
4. Let the friars not take ownership of their work but dedicate themselves to the needs of the Order, the Circumscription and the local fraternity with an open heart. And be always available for itinerancy.

(5) PdR1 said: “Let the work of individual friars be an expression of the entire fraternity and a manifestation of the mutual support which this always characterises.” In this way the current n. 76, 2 of the Constitutions echoed the concerns expressed in various proposals of PCO VI (cf. nn. 14, 21-22, 24). However it was stated in the explanatory notes that this formularisation perhaps needed further development. Consequently, the Commission revised the text with the explicit purpose of making the fraternal dimension of work more explicit and said: “Let the work of individual friars be an expression of the entire fraternity and manifest communion in pursuit of its goals.

(6) The text (second sentence) which has been added clarifies what was already present in the current text regarding the fraternal aspect of work. The formulation of the text is based on PCO VI, 15 and Project 2006 (n.54, 2).

(7) This paragraph too is based on PCO VI, 15 and Project 2006 (n. 54, 2) It is not enough to say that work is undertaken by mandate of the fraternity. The mandate can be revoked and the superiors can ask the brother to perform another service. The text is in continuity with n. 39, 3 (chapter 2) which deals with formation and expresses once again the need to remain open and available to the needs of the Province and the Order, without making an absolute out of one’s own field of activity as if it were irrevocably one’s own.

N. 81 (76,3-4)

Current text Proposed revised Text
Constitutiones (2002) Constitutions (1990) Constitutions
76,3. Caveant fratres ne in ipso labore supremum finem constituant vel in illo inordinatum affectum ponant neve impediant spiritum orationis et devotionis cui debent cetera temporalia deservire. 76,3. The brothers should be careful not to place their final goal in work itself, to put an inordinate stress upon it, or to impede the Spirit of holy prayer and devotion to which all temporal things must contribute. Current text (76,3) with changes(1)

1. We (2) should take care not to make work itself our final goal, nor to become inordinately attached to it, so as not to extinguish in ourselves (3) the spirit of holy prayer and devotion, to which all temporal things must be subservient.

76,4. Itaque, nimiam actuositatem vitent, quae etiam formationem permanentem impedit. 76,4. Therefore, let them avoid excessive activity which also impedes ongoing formation. Current text (76,4) with changes(4)

2. Therefore we should avoid excessive activity, which compromises union with God, leads to personal disorientation and is an obstacle to fraternal life (5).

New text(6)

3.Similarly, like St Francis, we should pay careful heed to the apostle’s warning: “If anyone does not work, let him not eat, either”. We should therefore avoid laziness, which takes advantage of the work of others, leads to tepidity in the spiritual life and makes us idle in God’s field.

New text

4. Let us therefore lovingly direct all our intentions and energies to God (7), and, uniting ourselves with the sacrifice of Christ in the celebration of the Eucharist. offer to the Father the toil and the fruits of our daily work (8).

Explanatory Notes

(1) In the current text (n.76) the relationship between work and life in the spirit and in prayer is joined to the principle of work as a basic means of support as well as to its fraternal dimension. Here it is highlighted by having a specific number devoted to it. The text has been enriched by insights from PCO VI (cf. n.17), already proposed by Project 2006 (cf. nos. 54, 3-4. At the same time we have restored some elements from the 1968 Constitutions, derived from the teachings of Vatican II.

(2) We use the first person plural throughout this number as this is more appropriate to the style of the Constitutions and in line with the decision taken in 1968.

(3) This formulation is more faithful to the wording used by Francis in LetAnt 2 and Rb 5,2.

(4) This § expands the current text in the light of PCO VI n.17 and Project 2006 (cf. nos. 54, 3-4), but these are not reproduced word for word, but summarised to indicate the dangers of activism for a life of intimacy with God (compromises our union with God) and in relation to ourselves (leads to personal disorientation), and to the fraternity (is an obstacle to fraternity). John Corriveau had occasion to state: “Activism is more than an excessive dedication to work. Activism causes us to live in such a superficial and frantic manner that it renders us incapable of reflection and equally incapable of experiencing the depth of our own humanity.(…) One can make a convincing argument based on personal experience that activism is the enemy not only of prayer, but even of work itself, because activism renders us superficial” (Report to the General Chapter 2006, n. 10.6.1) Cf. also the words of Saint Francis: “Where there is rest and meditation there is neither anxiety nor restlessness.” (Am 27, 4).

(5) The Commission did not think it appropriate at this point to be more explicit about how ongoing formation is hindered by activism. The new formulation does not necessarily require such explicit treatment, because it is obvious that ongoing formation is concerned with the three aspects mentioned in the text. Whenever excessive activity, even of an apostolic nature, compromises our relationship with God, with ourselves and with the fraternity, our own formation is automatically neglected. On the other hand the PfR of chapter V at various points stresses the value of work as a means of formation – work and formation are not in opposition, nether can they be dissociated.

(6) We are obliged to avoid both the stress of excessive work and laziness, in an attempt to achieve a harmonious balance between activity, prayer and rest. Hence the text refers to St Paul’s warning (2Ts 3, 10), also quoted by Francis, (Rnb 7,5: FF 24), who, seeing a lazy brother who was “a friend of the belly, one who shared in the fruits without sharing the labour, he said to him: Go your way, brother fly, for you want to eat the sweat of your brothers, and to do none of God’s work. You are like brother drone, who wants to be the first to eat the honey, though he does not do the work of the bees” (2Cel 75). PCO VI also warned our fraternities to guard against laziness (cf. n.17)

(7) The § is a kind of summary of the entire number and starts with an almost literal restatement of something that has been traditionally present in our Constitutions, starting with those of 1536 (cf. F. Catalano-C. Cargnoni-G. Santarelli [edd.], Le prime Constitutions… n. 63) until 1968 (n. 64).

(8) The second part of the §, which stresses the cultic dimension of work and its relation to the sacrifice of the Eucharist, is based on the teaching of Lumen gentium (cf. nos.31 and 34). This is therefore a restoration of a fundamental element concerning our manner of working, which was brought out both in the draft of the C.C.L. (n. 96) and in the Constitutions of 1968 (n. 64).

N. 82 (77)

Current text Proposed revised Text
Constitutiones (2002) Constitutions (1990) Constitutions
77,1. Varia laboris genera, iuxta cuiusque habilitates ac specialia dona Dei, diversimode nobis singulis conveniunt. 77,1. Each one of us, according to each one’s capacity and God’s special gifts, is suited for different kinds of work . Current text (77,1)

1. Various kinds of work suit each of us differently, according to each one’s capacity and special gifts of God.

77,2. Ministeria ac servitia assumamus quatenus vitae fraternitatis nostrae congruant vel necessitas Ecclesiae et hominum ea exigat. 77,2. Let us assume services and ministries in so far as they are compatible with our fraternal life or the necessities of the Church and people require them. Current text (77,2)

2. We should undertake various forms of ministry and service in so far as they are compatible with our fraternal life and as the needs of the Church and of people require(1).

77,3. Potissimum nos decent opera quae paupertatem, humilitatem ac fraternitatem clarius manifestant; nullum enim laborem aliis viliorem reputamus. 77,3. Activities 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. Current text (77,3)

3. Works that more clearly manifest poverty, humility and fraternity are especially fitting for us; in fact, we do not consider any type of work of lesser dignity or value (2) than another.

77,4. Ad gratiam laboris nobis ipsis aliisque fructuosiorem reddendam, in varietate navitatis, indolem communitariam servare curemus, prompti ad nos invicem adiuvandos coniunctim laborantes, et sic etiam in conversione cordis proficientes. 77,4. To render the grace of working more fruitful for ourselves and for 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, in this way, make progress in the conversion of our heart. Current text (77,4)

4. So that the grace of working may be more fruitful for ourselves and others, let us take care to preserve a community character in the various things we do, and be ready to help one another as we work together. In this way we will also grow in conversion of heart.

77,5. Semper autem in mente teneamus vocationem nostram apostolicam, ut per quamlibet activitatem testimonium Christi hominibus praebeamus. 77,5. Nevertheless, we should always keep in mind our apostolic calling so that, in any activity, we may offer to people a witness to Christ. Current text (77,5) with changes

5. In any case, we should always keep in mind (3) our apostolic vocation, so that in whatever we do we witness to Christ before the people.

Explanatory Notes

(1) One has to be careful when translating the Latin word congruant, bearing in mind that the draft of the C.C.L. (n. 97,2) and the two provisional drafts of the General Chapter of 1968 used the verb conveniant (cf. Acta 1968, II, 233. 329). But the text that was finally approved at that Chapter (cf. Acta 1968, II, 433) already said congruant, which means more than “convenience” and is closer to the idea of “compatibility” or “consistency”. Quatenus congruant (“insofar as they are compatible”) indicates the discernment we must engage in about the different types of work we have to do, and aims to prevent an “anything goes” attitude: we may not do everything, but only what is fitting, i.e. compatible with the demands of our form of life.

(2) The Latin word vilis has created some ambiguities of translation in modern languages. But the full force of the comparative form in the original should not be lost sight of (viliorem), which serves to underscore the value of work, and of every kind of work. The text tells us to esteem and value any work in equal measure: for us, no type of work has less value than any other. Thus the Commission proposes to say: nullum laborem minus dignum reputamus, (“we do not consider any type of work more demeaning than another”).

N. 83 (78)

Current text Proposed revised Text
Constitutiones (2002) Constitutions (1990) Constitutions
78,1. Fratres per totam vitam, in suo quisque officio et munere, culturam spiritualem, doctrinalem et technicam perficere ac sua propria ingenia colere studeant, ita ut Ordo noster vocationi suae in Ecclesia continue respondere possit. Quapropter navitas intellectualis, eodem modo ac ceteri labores, ut expressio personae in eius vitali motu consideranda est. 78,1. The brothers, each in his own position or role, should strive throughout all their lives to further a spiritual, academic and professional education and to develop their personal talents, so that our Order may be able to respond continually to its vocation 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 life-giving energy. Current text (78,1) with changes

1. Whatever their responsibility or office, the brothers should strive to further their spiritual, doctrinal and technical education throughout their lives, and to develop their own talents, so that our Order may be able to respond continually to its calling in the Church.

Therefore, intellectual activity should be respected in the same way as any other kind of work (1).

78,2. Labori autem manuum incumbere fratres prompti sint secundum traditionem primigeniam Ordinis, quatenus caritas fraterna vel oboedientia id requirit, salvis tamen officiis unicuique propriis. 78,2. According to the earliest tradition of the Order, the brothers should be ready to undertake manual work to the extent that fraternal charity or obedience demands, saving, nonetheless, the particular responsibilities of each one. Current text (78,2) with changes

2. According to the tradition of the Order, the brothers should appreciate manual work and, while respecting the tasks entrusted to each, they should willingly apply themselves to it, both for their own growth and for the common good, especially when fraternal charity or obedience requires it (2).

78,3. Superiores, quantum fieri potest, discernentes dona ac facultates singulorum fratrum et utilitates fraternitatis atque Ecclesiae, opportunitatem eis praebeant in specificis materiis peritiae sibi acquirendae, et adiumenta et tempus ad hoc libenter provideant. 78,3. While discerning as far as possible, the gifts and talents of the individual brothers and the needs of the fraternity and the Church, superiors should offer them the opportunity of acquiring expertise in particular subjects and willingly provide time and assistance for this. Current text (78,3)

3. The ministers and guardians, discerning as far as possible the gifts and talents of each brother and the needs of the fraternity and of the Church, should offer them the opportunity of acquiring expertise in particular subjects and willingly provide time and assistance for this.

78,4. Curent etiam superiores, pro bono Ecclesiae, Ordinis, ipsorumque fratrum, in officiis ac muneribus assignandis, ad eorum aptitudinem et peritiam attendere, neque eos a laboribus, in quibus periti sint, facile retrahant. 78,4. For the good of the Church, the Order, and the brothers themselves, let superiors, in assigning responsibilities and duties, pay attention to their aptitudes and proficiency and not easily remove them from works in which they are experts. Current text (78,4) with additions and changes

4. In addition, when assigning offices and duties the ministers and guardians, for the good of the Church, of the Order, and of the brothers themselves, should be careful to take into account their individual aptitudes and skills and not easily remove them from jobs in which they are experts, as long as fraternal life is safeguarded and all are open to obedience (3).

Explanatory Notes

(1) PdR1 inserted the adjective intellectual (“let them commit themselves for their whole life to perfecting their intellectual, spiritual, doctrinal and technical education”) and deleted the second sentence of the paragraph. However, a proposal that was sent in suggested retaining the current text. Following subsequent consideration by the Commission it emerged that the second sentence of the present n. 78, 1 was not in the 1968 text, but had been inserted into the Constitutions at the General Chapter in 1982. The Commission recognised the validity of the text, which, among other things, agreed with what had been said in the following paragraph concerning the appreciation of manual work. Consequently the adjective intellectual, which had been inserted by PdR1, has been deleted and the second sentence of the current text has been restored, but formulated more simply and with less emphasis.

(2) The proposed changes in the current text are intended to clarify the meaning of manual work, first of all as a value we should appreciate and devote ourselves to. The formative dimension of work is stressed once again, as a contribution to the common good and to build fraternal communion. The replacement of their own duties by duties entrusted to each should be noted: this is to prevent any idea of appropriation of work or ministries in an individualistic sense. The proposed new draft is more correct and more in line with our life of brotherhood and poverty.

(3) The addition balances the previous affirmation in the current text – which still retains its full value. What is necessary, however, is to prevent individualism and rigidity to the point that brothers are unable or unwilling to be moved – dangers inherent in any work undertaken by specialists, scholars and experts. The Commission welcomes the concern expressed by PCO VI: “The type of commitments we engage in and the professional status required in some jobs today give our Order greater stability in jobs and presences, but there is always the risk that this will lead to immobility. To avoid losing the sense of itinerancy, which makes us “pilgrims and strangers” in this world (cf. Rnb 6, 2; Test 24), we should often calmly discuss this question, both in community and with the Superiors. We should evaluate from time to time our readiness to change assignments or to remain, basing decision on the good of the community and that of the People of God, toward whom we have responsibilities”. (n.19). Project 2006 also welcomed this concern of PCO VI, expressing it in a more diffuse manner, but the Commission chose to formulate it more succinctly. Moreover we do not think it is the quality or professionalism of our work that hinders itinerancy: where the hindrance occurs, it is due to other causes.

N. 84 (new)

Current text Proposed revised Text
Constitutiones (2002) Constitutions (1990) Constitutions
New text(1)

1. Our life of poverty and minority calls for everyone to participate, as far as possible, in domestic duties in a spirit of fraternal communion. This participation fosters the sense that we depend on one another and help one another, lends quality to our brotherhood and credibility to our way of life (2).

New text

2. No brother’s work dispenses him from caring for the house and the daily services of the fraternity; we should assume these as an integral part of our ordinary life (3).

New text

3. Let the ministers and fraternities pay particular attention to this dimension of domestic simplicity and everyday service

New text

4. Only when it is really necessary should we employ outside helpers for domestic work. The fraternity should, as far as possible, take part in their selection, which should be governed by prudent principles. They should be treated with respect, courtesy, fairness and in accordance with the law (4).

Explanatory Notes

(1) N. 85 is completely new, and expresses a concern dictated by current circumstances. Until now, the Constitutions never explicitly dealt with the question of housework or domestic chores, which were considered as an obvious aspect of the daily life of the brothers. But the changes of recent decades have led many of our fraternities to hire paid staff to do the domestic work. The risks involved in making such changes too easily, and not always by common agreement, have been obvious for some time. This is why the Plenary Councils, both before and after 1982, discussed the subject (cf. PCO I , n. 21f; PCO IV, n. 19; PCO V, n. 23c; PCO VI , n. 16) and Project 2006 summarised the conclusions of all this in a proposed text (n. 56,1-5). The aim behind the entire number is formative, to encourage the brothers to conduct a review of how we live and to adapt our lifestyle to the demands of our vocation, so that we avoid the risk of becoming too “middle-class”.

(2) We express in a positive way what was proposed in a negative way in Project 2006 n. 56,2. Cf also PCO VI 16. In comparison to PdR1 this text has some variations. The first sentence specifies “Our life of poverty and minority”. In the second sentence in addition to being a contribution to the fraternal economy is replaced by fosters a sense that we depend on one another and help one another.

(3) Paragraph 3 expresses a proposal aimed at the ordinary life of the local fraternity, where the integration of brothers of different ages and conditions should be actively pursued. It should have as its primary objective not only the work carried out outside the fraternity, but, above all, the witness to fraternal life in simplicity, poverty and minority. Thus the text appropriately speaks about domestic simplicity and everyday service. If, following the teaching of Saint Francis, all work is a grace, we should regard domestic work as our foremost grace of working. The whole of n. 85 is intended to be formative, aiming to encourage us to review our way of life and structure it in ways that are more in keeping with the requirements of our vocation, avoiding the risk of falling into a middle class mentality.

(4) Paragraph 4 takes into account the fact that we are often forced to employ lay people to carry out the various services within our houses. In such cases, in addition to observing the local laws governing these matters, we need to be on guard that we do not acquire the mentality of being bosses: cf. PCO VI 16.

N. 85 (79)

Current text Proposed revised Text
Constitutiones (2002) Constitutions (1990) Constitutions
79,1. Liceat fratribus apud extraneos quoque laborare, prout zelus animarum ac studium sublevandi nostras aliorumque necessitates postulent, secundum diversas provinciarum condiciones et iuxta normas a ministro provinciali de consensu definitorii aut a Conferentia superiorum maiorum necnon ab Episcopo dioecesano datas. 79,1. According 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. Current text (79,1) with changes(1)

1. Depending on the differing situations in the circumscriptions, and in conformity with the norms promulgated by the minister with the consent of the Council or by the Conference of Major Superiors, as well as by the local Ordinary, brothers may also work with people outside the Order, as apostolic zeal (2) and the desire to meet our own needs or those of others may demand.

New text(3)

2. But let the brothers remember the exhortation of Saint Francis to accept only those occupations which more easily witness to our vocation to service and our condition as men who are simple and subject to all, avoiding the pursuit of prestige and power.

79,2. Hoc semper firmum sit, ut fratres extra operantes tam inter se quam cum aliis fratribus in unione vivant. 79,2. We should always insist that the brothers engaged in outside employment live together whether among themselves or among other brothers. Current text (79,2)

3. In addition, it must always be clear that the brothers engaged in outside employment live in union among themselves and with the other brothers.

79,3. Omnibus vero testimonium evangelicum exhibeant et caritatem Christi praesentem reddant, inopibus praebeant auxilium, quin unquam se imprudenter implicent negotiis statui nostro haud congruentibus. 79,3. Let them offer a gospel witness to everyone, make the charity of Christ present, and give aid to those in need, without ever involving themselves imprudently in activities that are unbecoming our state. Current text (79,3)

4. They are to give gospel witness to everyone, render the charity of Christ present and give aid to those in need while never involving themselves imprudently in matters that are unbecoming our state.

Explanatory Notes

(1) In PdR1 following the suggestion of Project 2006 (cf. Statutes 5/1) the current text was divided into two parts, with the second being moved to the Complementary Code. In line with some of the opinions in the feedback (Prot. N.; V-00022), we have restored the current text and placed it in its entirety in the Constitutions. With respect to terminology, provinces has been changed to circumscriptions, provincial minister to minister, definitory to council and Diocesan Bishop to local Ordinary.

(2) The Commission preferred apostolic zeal as a substitute for “zeal for souls” (zelus animarum) which is in the current text.

(3) Local Ordinary replacing diocesan bishop found in the current text.

(4) The explicit reference to the words of Francis in Rnb 7,1-2 is opportune. From this we ought logically to conclude that as lesser brothers it is not permitted for us to simply engage in any activity, but only in those deriving from our vocation and consistent with our choice of minority.

N. 86 (80)

Current text Proposed revised Text
Constitutiones (2002) Constitutions (1990) Constitutions
80,1. Quidquid fratres in mercedem pro labore recipiunt ad fraternitatem pertinet, ac proinde semper integre superiori tradendum est. Labor autem fratrum non ex mera pro illo retributione accepta aestimetur. 80,1. Whatever the brothers receive as payment for their work belongs to the fraternity and, therefore, should always be handed over totally to the superior. The work of the brothers should not be valued merely on the basis of the payment received for it. Current text (80,1)

1. Whatever the brothers receive as payment for their work belongs to the fraternity and, therefore, should always be handed over in full to the superior. Let the work of the brothers not be valued merely on the basis of the payment received for it.

80,2. Fratres autem ne se dedant activitatibus quae cupiditatem lucri vel vanam personae gloriam contra spiritum paupertatis et humilitatis excitant. 80,2. Let 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. Current text (80,2) with additions and changes

2. We should not engage(1) in activities that arouse a desire for profit or encourage personal vainglory contrary to the spirit of poverty and humility, taking care not to transform work into a means of accumulating goods and money(2).

80,3. Immo semper parati sint ad laborandum etiam sine mercede, quoties caritas hoc postulet aut suadeat. 80,3. Moreover, let them always be ready to work without payment when charity demands or suggests it. Current text (80,3) with additions and changes

3. Instead, let us always be ready to work without payment when charity demands or suggests it(3).

Explanatory Notes

(1) In PdR1 the text began with Mindful of our condition as lesser brothers. It seemed appropriate to delete this opening phrase, since the text already mentioned our spirit of poverty and humility. However the change of the verb from the third person to the first person is maintained.

(2) The final additions remind us of our prophetic vocation in a world that often reduces work to a mere commodity. Sadly, we can actually be influenced by such a mentality ourselves. The background to the proposed text is the teaching of VC 89-90. The final admonition is inspired by Rnb 7,7: “In return for their work they may receive whatever is necessary, except money”, and it links up with everything the Constitutions have previously said about our life in poverty (cf. 64, 2; 69, 2).

(3) During the first phase of its work, the Commission had proposed to expand the text on the basis of the Draft of CCL (n. 1014) and mentioning the need to cultivate in ourselves the sense of gift and gratuity. However PdR1 simply adds a phrase (most of all towards the poor) after “charity”. Later on the Commission recognised that this had not enriched the text and, therefore, thought it fitting to delete its change and retain the current text. In this paragraph too the verb is changed from third person to first person.

N. 87 (81,1-2+82,4)

Current text Proposed revised Text
Constitutiones (2002) Constitutions


Constitutions Complementary


New text(1)

1. We recognise the importance of rest. It too helps us to live the grace of work as a free service to the Kingdom, and to express our dignity as children of God and our trust in Christ, the Lord of life and of time(2).

81,1. Recreatione congrua, ad consortium fraternum fovendum et vires reficiendas, fratres cotidie fruantur, atque omnibus concedatur aliquod temporis spatium pro se ipsis. 81,1. The brothers should each day enjoy appropriate recreation to foster fraternal life and to renew their energies; everyone should be given a period of time for himself. Current text (81,1) with additions and changes

2. For this purpose (3), and also to foster fraternal life and renew their energies, let the brothers enjoy appropriate daily recreation in common (4). Also, everyone should be given a period of time for himself. (5).

81,2. Iuxta consuetudines aut possibilitates regionum, recreationes speciales et quoddam tempus feriarum dentur; quae recreationes et vacationes fiant modo statui nostro fratrum minorum consentaneo. 81,2. According to the customs and possibilities of the regions, special times for recreation and vacation may be given to the brothers; let these times of recreations and vacation be spent in a way consistent with our state as lesser brothers. Current text (81,2) with changes

3. Special recreations and some time for vacation should be given to the brothers, according to regional customs and possibilities. These times of recreation and vacation should be spent in a way consistent with our state as lesser brothers (6).


New text(7)

It is up to the chapters in each circumscription to adopt suitable norms regarding holidays and free time, based on the principles of fraternal fairness.

82,4. Tempus liberum in convenientes occupationes mentis et corporis impendamus; pretiosum autem nobis fiet praesertim si per varia media idonea in dies melius modos cogitandi et sentiendi hominum nostri temporis cognoscamus, ut sic per laborem nostrum ad christianam animationem mundi efficacius cooperemu 82,4. Let us use our free time in appropriate occupations of mind and body. It will become 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. In this way, through our work, we may more effectively cooperate in the christianization of the world. Current text (82,4), simplified

4. Let us use our free time in appropriate intellectual, spiritual and physical occupations, striving by appropriate means to grow in our understanding of the ways of thinking and feeling of our contemporaries. In this way, through our work, we may more effectively cooperate in the christianization of the world.(8).

Explanatory Notes

(1) In the current text (n. 81) the reason put forward in support of recreation is the need to foster fraternal life and to renew their (the brothers’) energies, but the text lacks a theological-spiritual motivation for rest. Our recreation, holidays and free time cannot be thought of as just a matter of social custom or of employees’ rights. Hence the need for some reference to a spirituality of rest, which is in fact firmly based both biblically and in liturgical texts. Specifically, “the description of creation, which we find in the very first chapter of the Book of Genesis, is also in a sense the first “gospel of work”. For it shows what the dignity of work consists of: it teaches that man ought to imitate God, his Creator, in working, because man alone has the unique characteristic of likeness to God. Man ought to imitate God both in working and also in resting […] Therefore man’s work too not only requires a rest every “seventh day”), but also cannot consist in the mere exercise of human strength in external action; it must leave room for man to prepare himself, by becoming more and more what in the will of God he ought to be, for the “rest” that the Lord reserves for his servants and friends” (Laborem exercens 25)

(2) The text proposed by PdR1 received various evaluations. Some suggested a simpler formulation based on Mk 6, 30ff [Prot. N. V-00012; Prot. N.; V00048; Prot. N; V-00081]. The Commission placed great emphasis on the need to base the foundation of a spirituality of rest on anthropological symbolism as portrayed in the biblical account of creation. Biblical theology stresses abundantly the God of creation is a God who works and rests, and the image of God which has been imprinted on man determines his resemblance to God who works and rests. Participation in the work of creation happens not only in work, but in work and in rest. Furthermore, rest is presented as a sign of the freedom of the human person and of the dignity of the children of God. In the end the Commission reaffirmed its original choice in stressing that work is a sign of the redeemed human person, who is called to share in Christ’s lordship and in the dignity of the children of God.

(3) The opening words, For this purpose, serve to link the prescription in paragraph 2 to the preceding text and to emphasise that the recreation and rest of the friars primarily serve a spiritual purpose, and are undertaken in view of new toil. It is not a matter of rest for its own sake, for personal benefit or for health reasons, but rest which alternates with work and prepares a person for work, for the very reasons mentioned above in explanatory note (1).

(4) This addition was made to underscore the irreplaceable importance of recreation in common, which is not always or not sufficiently observed in every jurisdiction of the Order. It should be considered an important means of strengthening fraternal life.

(5) On the basis of the most recent Italian tradition in the Constitutions, which state in n. 81,1: “let everyone be allowed some free time for themselves”, PdR1 transferred this text and joined it to n 82,4 (cf. PdR1, n. 89, 4). In fact the Latin text does not explicitly mention free time, but says: “let everyone be allowed a period of time to himself”. Consequently it was recognised that what appeared to be a “more logical arrangement of the parts”, could perhaps create more confusion. Thus the Commission chose to adhere as closely as possible to the current text of n. 81,1.

(6) Once PfR1 had modified the current text it was decided to adhere to it, while simplifying it by deleting “special recreations”.

(7) The new text, which we propose to insert into the Complementary Code, is justified by the fact that many jurisdictions have no regulations on the subject, and this can give rise to abuses, unfair discrimination or excessive differences among the brothers.

(8) The text that appears in the current Constitutions as n. 82, 4 has been anticipated and simplified. In this way the relationship between free time and rest becomes clearer. Even so the text does not offer the slightest hint of a spirituality of free time, which would be desirable in a constitutional text. The final description of the Christian animation of the world is linked exclusively to work.

N. 88 (82,1-3)

Current text Proposed revised Text
Constitutiones (2002) Constitutions (1990) Constitutions
82,1. Apostolus Paulus admonet: “Dum tempus habemus, operemur bonum ad omnes”. 82,1. The Apostle Paul warns: ‘While we have the time, let us do good to all.’ Current text (82,1)

1. The Apostle Paul warns: “While we have the time, let us do good to all.”

82,2. Scientes igitur salutem nostrum ex opportunis temporibus pendere, quae numquam revertuntur, et homines atque communitates nonnisi decursu temporis incrementum capere, 82,2. Knowing, therefore, that our salvation depends on favorable moments that never return and that people and communities do not progress except over the course of time, New text(1)

2. Therefore, aware that time is a precious gift, that every moment is unrepeatable and that every occasion is an opportunity, let us live each day of our lives intensely and responsibly.

vigilanter respondeamus Deo sic per tempus nobis occurrenti. let us respond with attentiveness to God Who thus encounters us through time. New text + Current text (82,2 in part)

3. Let us scrutinise the signs of the times in the light of the gospel, since the Lord comes to meet us in time and makes us grow towards the fullness of salvation. Let us respond to God’s gifts each day with watchfulness and patience (2).

82,3. Ne tempus opportunum praetergrediamur aut inutiliter consumamus, activitates et opera nostra respondeant condicionibus temporis praesentis, cum sapienti futurorum praevisione et planificatione, nec praetermissis hodiernis adiumentis technicis. 82,3. That we do not pass up opportunities or waste them uselessly, our activities and work should respond to the conditions of the present moment with wise foresight and planning for the future and [with the help of] modern technical means. Current text (82,3) with additions and changes

4. To avoid squandering the favourable time, we should often verify whether our work and occupations meet the conditions of the present moment, and be open to the future through wise foresight and planning(3).

New text

5. Let us therefore welcome the promptings of the Spirit which are offered to us in the course of time.(3). Docile to Him, let us spread the gospel so that the world may be more and more transfigured in the spirit of the beatitudes, and consecrated to the Father through Christ (4).

Explanatory Notes

1) The text asserts first of all that time is a gift of God and always has, at any moment, the character of kairos, a favourable opportunity. Here PdR2 has deleted the expression to avoid squandering the favourable time in order to avoid repetition, since this expression appears in paragraph 4, which thus restores the concept found in n. 82, 3 of the present text.

(2) The current text has been reformulated and enriched with a reference to the well-known and important topic of the “signs of the times”, which needs to be perceived and interpreted in the light of the Gospel.

One evaluation asked for a mention of the evident “sign of the times” which is the technical revolution now under way, which has changed our way of life and with which we must engage constructively. [Prot. N. V-00089]. This request was not accepted because the matter is dealt with at length elsewhere (cf. chapter VI). Besides, the Commission had already decided to delete the expression also using modern technical instruments from n. 82, 3 of the current text, as being rather “dated” and bound up with particular sensitivities current in the sixties regarding aggiornamento.

(3) The individual and communal assessment of our life that should be a feature of our fraternities should focus also on how we use time, and this ought to lead us to discern whether our conduct and our way of life correspond to the Lord’s call, which is addressed to us in the different historical moments and conditions in which we live.

Attention to the voice of the Lord Who speaks to us in time should also lead us to be open to the future and to making wise provision and plans for the future. It should be noted that the essential core of the current text (n. 82 ,3) has been preserved, yet simplified and spelled out. The same text, present in the Constitutions of 1968, acquires value and topicality in the light of the exhortation in Vita consecrata 110: “You have not only a glorious history to remember and to recount, but also a great history still to be accomplished! Look to the future, where the Spirit is sending you in order to do even greater things.”

(4) Paragraphs 4 and 5 of PdR1 have been changed. Now paragraph 5 is a completely new text which focuses on docility to the Spirit of the Lord who is at work in time. Furthermore, the last part of the text should be stressed which mentions our specific vocation as consecrated persons. The text is explicitly based on the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium from Vatican II: “What specifically characterizes the laity is their secular nature. It is true that those in holy orders can at times be engaged in secular activities, and even have a secular profession. But they are by reason of their particular vocation especially and professedly ordained to the sacred ministry. Similarly, by their state in life, religious give splendid and striking testimony that the world cannot be transformed and offered to God without the spirit of the beatitudes” (n.31). With its Trinitarian emphasis this paragraph links up with the first number of chapter 5 and establishes a frame of reference that becomes the key to the interpretation of the subject-matter contained in this chapter.

(5) This final § with its Trinitarian note links up with the first number of chapter V. Together they can be seen as a key by which to interpret the subject matter of the entire chapter.

  1. In PdR1 there were 11 numbers.
  2. Project 2006: 5/1 (cf. Const. 79; VI CPO 18)It is for the minister to establish norms by which the brothers may work for ecclesiastical and civil bodies, and even for private individuals, without disturbing the crucial role of fraternity as the place where one lives and receives challenge and support.
  3. . The English text of the Commission’s “Proposed revision” differs in many places from the English text of the Constitutions found in the left-hand column. The translation has been revised to make it more faithful to the Latin original. The different English versions of the 1992 Constitutions were compared and corrected in the light of the Latin version of 2002.