Commissio Constitutionum OFMCap.
DRAFT OUTLINE OF OUR CONSTITUTIONS FOR THE LXXXIV GENERAL CHAPTER
Chapter XII: The proclamation of the Gospel and the life of faith
Second Proposed Revision (PdR 2)
Rome — General Curia — 2012
Table of Contents
- Article I: Our commitment to evangelise
- ARTICLE II: Our Life of Faith
The Commission drafted the first proposed revision (PdR1) of Chapter XII of the Constitutions during its tenth plenary session, 22 November – 4 December 2010. The draft was based on the personal contribution of one of the members of the Commission. The proposed text has been studied in depth re-worked a number of times. Finally it was approved on 3 December 2010. After receiving the comments from the Order, the Commission examined them all in the course of its final plenary meeting, from 7-18 November 2011, proceeded to a further revision of the text and the final drafting of this PdR2.
As already noted in the Introduction to PdR1, the changes introduced to the Text presently in force mainly concern Article I. As usual, the explanatory notes provide the reasons for the choices the Commission had made in PdR1 and of other modifications introduced in the light of the Order’s feedback, and of the further reflection that took place during the plenary meeting in November 2011. In the Explanatory Notes we try to justify each of the changes and additions made to the text.
It is appropriate however to dwell a moment on the particular considerations that have guided the work of the Commission. These concern the significance and the meaning that should be accorded to the Order’s missionary activity today.
1. Status quaestionis
The Constitutions formulated by the General Chapter 1968 were still tied to the concept of mission as pastoral activity carried out in certis territoriis a Sancta Sede qua talibus agnitis. Those territories took on the name “missions” (quae communiter missiones nuncupantur).
The development of ecclesiology produced by the Second Vatican Council, and the urgent need of a new evangelisation recognised by the Apostolic Exhortation of Paul VI (Evangelii nuntiandi, 8 December 1975) and subsequent insistence by John Paul II which “systematically explored it in depth on numerous occasions” have led to a rethinking about the concept of mission. Our Order entered this new theological and pastoral field, especially by means of PCO III (Mattli 1978) and the General Chapter of 1982. That Chapter introduced this text into the Constitutions:
“All those brothers are regarded as missionaries who in any continent or region bring the joyful news of salvation to those who do not believe in Christ” (Const.174.5)
However, the following passage was immediately added:
“But we recognize the special situation of those brothers who engage in missionary activity in the service of new established Churches.” (Const.174.6)
Therefore framework of Article I of Chapter XII of the Constitutions remained closely connected to this second passage and relied upon it: completely focused on the narrow, traditional meaning of missionary activity: Nonetheless, beginning precisely with the General Chapter of 1982, Constitutions themselves recognise that “the particular Churches have already have already acquired the more important pert in the work of evangelisation” (n.175,2).
Furthermore, in the Order’s structure or distribution, the Constitutions (cf. chap. VIII) envisage circumscriptions that are properly missionary. Called Custodies or Missiones, these depend upon Provinces while remaining distinct from the Provinces or Vice-Provinces themselves (cf. Const. 110, 1.4; 135-139). In recent decades, however, the Order has experienced a surprising growth in vocations precisely within missionary territories, and in these places today the Order also has many Provinces and Vice-Provinces. For this reason, it does not seem entirely adequate to refer only to Custodies any missionary work undertaken within a determinate territory (cf. Const. 110,4) when other circumscriptions of the Order (Provinces and Vice-Provinces) also engage in missionary activity in contexts that are still considered to be missionary territories and are still largely dependent upon the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples (de Propoganda Fide).
At this level it is relevant to observe that the missionary dimension is fundamental to the nature of the Church and each particular Church. According to the expression attributed to Paul VI, “a church that is aware of itself becomes missionary.” Within the hierarchical and juridical structure of the Church there is no room for distinctions between Churches and missionary circumscriptions and Churches and non-missionary circumscriptions. Such a distinction does not exist in the CIC nor in John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus (28 June 1988; cf. articles 85-92). That so many church circumscriptions (actually more than a thousand) come under the competence of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of People (or de Propoganda Fide) is to be understood as administrative and organisational fact, not a doctrinal and theological one.
Similarly, since our life is in the Church and our Order “is an integral part of the mystical body of Christ” (Const. 109,1), it should be said that our self-awareness of ourselves as Capuchin friars minor and the Order’s self-awareness must necessarily lead the Order naturally to see itself as missionary. This is basis of the statement: “Mission at the heart of the Order.” It does not appear to make much sense to continue to speak about missionary circumscriptions (Custodies and Missions) when all the circumscriptions of the Order are missionary and are called to live out their missionary character, because to be Capuchin is to be missionary.
On the other hand, for decades the Order has undergone aging and an inexorable decrease in countries of ancient Christian tradition. Nonetheless the Order still very active in those countries which today, beginning with Europe, are dominated by secularisation and de-Christianisation. These present significant challenges for the apostolic commitment of the Church, and for our Fraternity within the Church. However, while the phenomena of secularisation and de-Christianisation are of special interest, especially the so called “western world”, these also have an influence on other areas of the world in various ways.
2. The Teaching of the Magisterium
In regard to missionary activity, our renewed Constitutions of 1968 and 1982 depend upon the Decree Ad Gentes of the Second Vatican Council. However, “after the Council the question of missionary work was dealt with in the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, in the light of the problems of the missions in these final years of our century. In the future too, the Church must continue to be missionary: indeed missionary outreach is part of her very nature. With the fall of the great anti-Christian systems in Europe, first of Nazism and then of Communism, there is urgent need to bring once more the liberating message of the Gospel to the men and women of Europe.(39) Furthermore, as the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio affirms, the modern world reflects the situation of the Areopagus of Athens, where Saint Paul spoke(40). Today there are many ‘areopagi’, and very different ones: these are the vast sectors of contemporary civilization and culture, of politics and economics. The more the West is becoming estranged from its Christian roots, the more it is becoming missionary territory, taking the form of many different ‘areopagi’.”
In particular, the Encyclical Redemptoris missio (7 December 1990), twenty-five years after the Decrees Ad Gentes, underlined the “diversity of activities in the Church’s one mission” that
“… arises from the variety of circumstances in which that mission is carried out. Looking at today’s world from the viewpoint of evangelization, we can distinguish three situations.
First, there is the situation which the Church’s missionary activity addresses: peoples, groups, and socio-cultural contexts in which Christ and his Gospel are not known, or which lack Christian communities sufficiently mature to be able to incarnate the faith in their own environment and proclaim it to other groups. This is mission ad gentes in the proper sense of the term.
Secondly, there are Christian communities with adequate and solid ecclesial structures. They are fervent in their faith and in Christian living. They bear witness to the Gospel in their surroundings and have a sense of commitment to the universal mission. In these communities the Church carries out her activity and pastoral care.
Thirdly, there is an intermediate situation, particularly in countries with ancient Christian roots, and occasionally in the younger Churches as well, where entire groups of the baptized have lost a living sense of the faith, or even no longer consider themselves members of the Church, and live a life far removed from Christ and his Gospel. In this case what is needed is a ‘new evangelization’ or a ‘re-evangelization.’” (n. 33).
The following paragraph in Redemptoris missio is no less significant:
“Missionary activity proper, namely the mission ad gentes, is directed to “peoples or groups who do not yet believe in Christ, “who are far from Christ,” in whom the Church “has not yet taken root” and whose culture has not yet been influenced by the Gospel. It is distinct from other ecclesial activities inasmuch as it is addressed to groups and settings which are non-Christian because the preaching of the Gospel and the presence of the Church are either absent or insufficient. It can thus be characterized as the work of proclaiming Christ and his Gospel, building up the local Church and promoting the values of the kingdom. The specific nature of this mission ad gentes consists in its being addressed to “non-Christians.” It is therefore necessary to ensure that this specifically “missionary work that Jesus entrusted and still entrusts each day to his Church” does not become an indistinguishable part of the overall mission of the whole People of God and as a result become neglected or forgotten.
On the other hand, the boundaries between pastoral care of the faithful, new evangelization and specific missionary activity are not clearly definable, and it is unthinkable to create barriers between them or to put them into watertight compartments. Nevertheless, there must be no lessening of the impetus to preach the Gospel and to establish new churches among peoples or communities where they do not yet exist, for this is the first task of the Church, which has been sent forth to all peoples and to the very ends of the earth. Without the mission ad gentes, the Church’s very missionary dimension would be deprived of its essential meaning and of the very activity that exemplifies it.
Also to be noted is the real and growing interdependence which exists between these various saving activities of the Church. Each of them influences, stimulates and assists the others. The missionary thrust fosters exchanges between the churches and directs them toward the larger world, with positive influences in every direction. The churches in traditionally Christian countries, for example, involved as they are in the challenging task of new evangelization, are coming to understand more clearly that they cannot be missionaries to non-Christians in other countries and continents unless they are seriously concerned about the non-Christians at home. Hence missionary activity ad intra is a credible sign and a stimulus for missionary activity ad extra, and vice versa.” (n. 34).
As for us religious, the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita consacrata (25 March 1996), after outlining the relationship of consecration/mission and the prophetic character of consecrated life, recalls the specific nature of our activity whether in the field of first evangelisation or in the new evangelisation. It also emphasises the new mission areopagi and the need for inculturation. Later the Instruction of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Starting afresh from Christ (19 May 2002) reminded religious that “this mission is still in its beginning stages and we must commit ourselves with all our resources to bring it about” (n.37), especially as a witness to the love and service for Christ by creativity in charity, proclaiming the Gospel, serving life, spreading the truth, being open to the great dialogues, answering today’s challenges (cf. nn.33-45).
The most recent Apostolic Letter in the form of a “Motu Proprio”, Ubicumque et semper in which Pope Benedict XVI established the Pontifical Council for the promotion of the new evangelisation (21 September 2010) came about from the will to “to offer appropriate responses so that the entire Church, allowing herself to be regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit, may present herself to the contemporary world with a missionary impulse in order to promote the new evangelisation.”
“Above all”, the Pope states, “this pertains to Churches of ancient origin, which live in different situations and have different needs, and therefore require different types of motivation for evangelization: in certain territories, in fact, despite the spread of secularization, Christian practice still thrives and shows itself deeply rooted in the soul of entire populations; in other regions, however, there is a clearly a distancing of society from the faith in every respect, together with a weaker ecclesial fabric, even if not without elements of liveliness that the Spirit never fails to awaken; we also sadly know of some areas that have almost completely abandoned the Christian religion, where the light of the faith is entrusted to the witness of small communities: these lands, which need a renewed first proclamation of the Gospel, seem particularly resistant to many aspects of the Christian message.”
3. Mission at the heart of the Order
The Circular Letter on Mission by the General Minister (29 November 2009; Prot. N. 00782/09) described the changes that have occurred within our Order in the field of mission and the missionary spirit:
“For a long time Br. Bernhard Christen’s principle of “One Province – One Mission” proved to be a stroke of genius: it was facilitated by the fact that very often the Capuchins were the only ones present in the territory assigned to them by Propaganda Fide and the local Church had not yet been born. And so the Province enjoyed the necessary autonomy to structure and carry out the mission it had been entrusted with.
Today these conditions have changed radically, not only in the Church and the Order but also in the political and economic fields. Just think of the concept of “globalisation”, which can mean everything or nothing, unless you consider that the economic and social policies of one country have always had an impact on the economic and political systems of the others. None of the parties involved is responsible for itself alone, but is at the same time responsible for the whole. This is true not just of the negative impact, but also the positive. If we are aware of this we ought to realise that we Capuchins also have something valuable to put forward, being the trustees of a charism that is able to transform the world” (1.4)
In the same letter the General Minister states:
“Our Constitutions define missionary service as a proclamation of the Good News of salvation to those who do not believe in Christ, and as a service to the “young churches”. (Const 174, 5-6). However, in our day the “young churches” have matured and have assumed a purely local appearance. In the same way our fraternities have been enriched by brothers from these local Christian communities. In the current process of revising the Constitutions it will be necessary to keep these changes in mind and to update the Constitutions accordingly.” (1.7)
4. The work of the Commission
We must begin with a simple reminder about the structure of the Order, alluded to above with reference to the Constitutions. It is sufficient to refer back to chapter VIII of PdR2. There, the reasons for the proposed simplification of the Order’s structure are explained and justified. Ordinarily, a two-fold division into provinces and custodies is envisaged . If the General Chapter sees fit to approve these proposals of PdR2, this will also have an impact on the missionary and evangelising work of the Order, and may also impact on the structure of chapter XII of the Constitutions. This is, in fact, more than simplification for its own sake; it derives from the new and broader concept of mission and of the reality of the Order, which in recent times has changed and developed also under the influence of ecclesiology of communion. The missionary dimension of Christian life and the missionary task of the Church are now viewed in new ways.
As for the revision of chapter XII, PdR1 already underlined the fact that the abundance of documents quoted above constitutes an essential basis and reference point for the enrichment of the chapter itself, as requested by the General Chapter of 2006. The Commission has borne them in mind when in n.176,7-8 of the PdR2 it outlines the various different contexts of mission, while taking up again, more concisely, the same outline in 178,1. This procedure provides a kind of explicatio terminorum (What is mission? Who are missionaries today?). But even in n. 177,1 the text no longer speaks of missionary brothers… among non-Christians, but instead of missionary brothers sent to different parts of the world. This clearly indicates a broader horizon, which can also be found in other additions and changes made in PdR2, such as:
– in n. 177,5: Taking their place whole-heartedly among people of every condition, they should not link their evangelising activity to the security of economic resources, which can also lead to dominion over others. Following Capuchin tradition, let them rather renounce all social prestige, and not allow themselves to be determined by human reasons alone, placing their trust in God and in the efficacy of the gospel life. This text can certainly refer to our missionary presence in poor societies, but, especially in the second part, it obviously has broader reference, denoting a spiritual attitude and lifestyle that can be practised everywhere;
– in n. 177, 7-8: In dialogue with the other Christian churches and with the various religions, let them respectfully seek the signs of God’s presence and the seeds of the Word present in the different cultures, valuing them as a means of arriving at a deeper understanding of the very mystery of God. Taking their place with their own identity in the culture of the people among whom they live, and welcoming their genuine values, they should make them resplendent with the light of the gospel. – Let them also promote those changes that foster the coming of a new world and be attentive to ideas that influence the mentality and activity of peoples.
In these passages, which reiterate the value of the current text, reformulating it with a number of additions, we can catch the reference to the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural reality of many geographical areas today. From this arises the consequent need for the missionary brothers to be trained, not only in missiology and ecumenism, but also in inter-religious dialogue (cf. n. 178,2);
- even the call to missionaries to promote the consecrated life and the presence of our charism is not connected in PdR2 with the beginnings of a new Church (as it is in the current text: n. 177,1), but is simply geared to the life of the particular Churches. The formulation of PdR2 is not generic; by particular churches are meant all the Churches, both newly-established ones and those with an ancient tradition and a long history behind them;
- n. 180,3 no longer speaks of secretaries (general and/or provincial) for missionary animation and cooperation, but of a secretariat for evangelization, Despite the fact that one evaluation asked for the expression “secretariat for missionary animation” to be kept because it was simpler and because the text itself clarifies the content of mission [Prot. N.: XII-00007], the Commission saw fit to maintain the formulation given in PdR1. The purpose of the proposed addition is to draw attention to the present situation, both in the Church and in the Order, and to the urgent apostolic and missionary needs of our day. These make it necessary to rethink the mission secretariat, no longer simply in terms of a body charged with co-ordinating economic solidarity between the Order’s circumscriptions and among the churches, but above all with providing training, animation and promotion in the area of evangelisation and mission, both within and outside the Order. The same vision lies behind the expansion of the following paragraph: Let the brothers cooperate diligently with religious institutes that devote themselves to evangelization or engage in missionary work in a particular Church in the same territory or in missionary promotion at home. (180,4).
- n. 181,1 already expresses a universal vision, open to a vast apostolic horizon of missionary evangelisation. The new text in § 2 echoes this, when it requires of Capuchin brothers an unlimited readiness to ire per mundum to live and give witness to the radical nature of the beatitudes. A reading of n. 181, as expanded in PdR2, recalls the insight found in Sacrum Commercium (cf. n. 63) and leads to the clear conclusion that the world is our cloister”.
In the Introduction to PdR1 we observed that the structure of article I had remained substantially unchanged, with only the framework of the traditional missio ad gentes remaining. PdR2 also still leaves room to expand part of Article I on how to be missionary (cf. PdR2 n.177 = Const. 175), Neither there, nor elsewhere in Article I of Chapter XII, was the Commission yet able to incorporate those elements – or at least some of them – that refer to “implementation” of the commitment to the new evangelisation, to the way or ways of implementing it as Capuchin Friars Minor, or to the specific contexts in which to implement it. The new areopagi would need to be highlighted properly, bearing in mind that:
“In our own time, it has been particularly challenged by an abandonment of the faith – a phenomenon progressively more manifest in societies and cultures which for centuries seemed to be permeated by the Gospel. The social changes we have witnessed in recent decades have a long and complex history, and they have profoundly altered our way of looking at the world. We need only think of the many advances in science and technology, the expanding possibilities with regard to life and individual freedom, the profound changes in the economic sphere, and the mixing of races and cultures caused by global-scale migration and an increasing interdependence of peoples. All of this has not been without consequences on the religious dimension of human life as well. If on the one hand humanity has derived undeniable benefits from these changes, and the Church has drawn from them further incentives for bearing witness to the hope that is within her (cf. 1 Pt 3:15), on the other hand there has been a troubling loss of the sense of the sacred, which has even called into question foundations once deemed unshakeable such as faith in a provident creator God, the revelation of Jesus Christ as the one Saviour, and a common understanding of basic human experiences: i.e., birth, death, life in a family, and reference to a natural moral law.” (Benedict XVI, Motu Proprio Ubicumque et semper).
As already pointed out in PdR1, it is not a question of enlarging the Constitutions but, faithful to the mandate from the General Chapter of 2006, to express them with greater attention to the needs of humanity and to the urgent pastoral needs of the Church. Dynamic faithfulness to our charism demands that the new missionary horizons be integrated within our fundamental legislation. These horizons should be elaborated in close connection with mission ad gentes in its strict sense. In fact, “the boundaries between pastoral care of the faithful, new evangelization and specific missionary activity are not clearly definable, and it is unthinkable to create barriers between them or to put them into watertight compartments” (Redemptoris mission n.34).
The General Chapter of 2012 must therefore be aware of all that is said above, and take the necessary action.
CHAPTER XII: the proclamation of the gospel and the life of faith
Article I: Our commitment to evangelise (2)
N. 176 (174)
|Current text||Proposed revision|
|Constitutiones (2002)||Constitutions (1990)||Constitutions|
|174,1. Christus Iesus, Evangelium Dei, primus et maximus Evangelii praeco, ad omnes suos discipulos ac, in eis, ad communitatem fidei quae est Ecclesia, evangelizandi gratiam atque mandatum transmisit.||174,1. Christ Jesus, God’s Good News, the first and greatest preacher of the Gospel, gave to all his disciples through them, to the community of faith that is the Church, the grace and mandate of spreading the gospel.||Current text (174,1-2) with changes and additions (3)
1. Christ Jesus, God’s Good News, the first and greatest preacher of the Gospel, sent his apostles to preach the gospel to all nations and established His Church as the universal sacrament of salvation (4), which is therefore missionary by its very nature.
|174,2. Ecclesiae peregrinanti, quae ex missione Christi et Spiritus Sancti est universale sacramentum salutis ideoque missionaria ex natura sua, omnes baptizati, et praesertim religiosi speciali sui donatione, consociantur.||174,2. All the baptized, and especially religious by the special gift of themselves, are united to the Pilgrim Church. Through Christ’s mission and that of the Holy Spirit, [the Church] is the universal sacrament of salvation and, therefore, missionary by its nature.||Current text (174,1-2) with changes and additions
2. In the Church, a community of faith and love (5) enlivened by the Holy Spirit (6) on its pilgrim journey in time (7), all the baptized, and especially religious by virtue of their special consecration (8), are called to respond to the grace of evangelisation and to fulfil the Lord’s mandate (9).
|174,3. Sanctus Franciscus suo tempore, divina inspiratione, exemplum vitae et vi suae Regulae, spiritum missionalem renovavit,||174,3. Through divine inspiration, Saint Francis renewed the missionary spirit of his time by the example of his life and the power of his Rule.||Current text (174,3)
3. Through divine inspiration, Saint Francis renewed the missionary spirit in his day by the example of his life and the force of his Rule. (10)
|et illis Ecclesiae inceptis impulsum dedit, quae activitatis missionalis nomen accipiunt quibusque Evangelium nuntiatur atque Regnum Dei adveniens ipsum hominem transformat et mundum novum, iustum pacisque plenum creat. Sic Ecclesia cotidie fundatur et in dies perfectior evadit.||Moreover, he added momentum to those initiatives of the Church that are called missionary and through which the Gospel is proclaimed. In this way the coming Kingdom of God transforms the human person, creates a new world that is just and full of peace, [and] each day the Church is established and, day after day, becomes more perfect.||Current text (174,3) with changes and additions
4. His brotherhood, living in fraternity and itinerancy, (11), added momentum to the Church’s missionary activity for the proclamation of the gospel and the coming of the Kingdom, which transforms the human person and creates a new world in justice and in peace (12).
|174,4. Ordo noster munus evangelizationis, ad totam Ecclesiam pertinens, tamquam officium suum proprium suscipit, illudque opus missionale inter praecipuas obligationes suas apostolicas censet et assumit.||174,4. Our Order accepts as its own the responsibility of spreading the Gospel that belongs to the whole Church. It regards and takes on this missionary work as one of its principal apostolic obligations||Current text (174,4) with changes and additions
5. Therefore (13) our Order accepts as its own the responsibility of spreading the Gospel, which belongs to the whole Church. It values missionary work and undertakes it (14) as one of its principal apostolic obligations as a contribution to the renewal and building up of the Body of Christ (15).
|174,5. Missionarii habentur fratres qui, in quocumque continente vel regione, laetum nuntium salutis ferunt omnibus qui in Christum non credunt.||174,5. Missionaries are those brothers who bring the good news of salvation to all those in any continent or region who do not believe in Christ.||Current text (174,3) with changes
6. In our apostolic fraternity, all of us are called to bring the good news of salvation to those who do not believe in Christ, in whatever continent or region they may find themselves. For this reason, all of us consider ourselves to be missionaries (16).
|174,6. Agnoscimus tamen peculiarem condicionem illorum fratrum qui activitatem missionalem exercent in novellarum Ecclesiarum servitium.||174,6. We recognize, however, the special situation of those brothers who engage in missionary activity in the service of newly established Churches.||Current text (174,3) reformulated, with additions (17)
7.Besides the missionary work undertaken in Christian communities able to disseminate evangelical witness in society, we recognise the special situation of those brothers, commonly called missionaries (18), who, leaving their own countries of origin, are sent to exercise their ministry in different social and cultural contexts where the gospel is unknown and service to the young Churches is required.
8. In the same way we recognise the special missionary condition (19) of brothers sent to areas where there is an ancient Christian tradition in need of new evangelisation because the lives of entire groups of people are no longer informed by the gospel and many baptised people have lost a sense of faith, either partially or totally.
9. Let us therefore commit ourselves not to leave the Lord’s missionary command unanswered or inoperative, aware that every person has the right to hear God’s good news, so that they can live their vocation to the full (18).
(1) In the current Italian version the title of chapter XII is The spread of the faith and the life of faith. But the original Latin says Faith to be spread and fostered, the title chosen by the General Chapter of 1968, to replace De fide disseminanda et servanda, (“On spreading and keeping the faith”), which had been suggested by the C.C.L., and it has remained unchanged until today. Project 2006 had proposed entitling the whole chapter: Our mission to evangelise. Our Commission proposes to say: “The Proclamation of the Gospel and the life of faith”.
In this way the chapter title already highlights the proclamation of the gospel, in obedience to the mandate (the mission) received from Christ. The same title more closely reflects a growing concern of the Church ever since Vatican II, symbolically expressed in the new title which Pope Paul gave to the old Mission Congregation established in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV: its new name was: Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples or “de Propaganda Fide”. The traditional title was kept as an alternative both out of respect for that Dicastery’s venerable history and because of the significance of the title, in which the gerund propaganda (from propago) stands for propagation, not the spread of propaganda. From this we can also understand that the Latin title of Chapter XII de fide diffundenda, or de fide disseminanda (the title proposed by the C.C.L.) was correct: evangelisation is not propaganda or proselytism, it is something you naturally do, as the fruit of being alive: redundatia amoris! (“an overflowing of love”).
(2) The Commission also proposes to change the title of Article I (at present: The missionary commitment of the Order, in Latin: De munere missionali Ordinis). Here too the stress is on the commitment to evangelise (the verb is more concrete than the noun evangelisation), and it also refers to us: it is our commitment. The Order takes concrete form in brothers, as the General Minister says in his Circular Letter of 29 December 2009, mission is for everyone (2.4) and belongs to everyone (2.5): As Mattli said, we are all missionaries: “The missionary task does not of itself simply a special vocation different from that shared by all the friars …” (PCO III, 11). Mission is intrinsic to the very vocation and calling to be a Capuchin lesser brother.
– “Granted that not all the brothers are called to actually leave their own country to do mission work, as sons of Saint Francis we are all called to be missionaries (PCO III 10). The Capuchin lesser brother cannot opt out of this commitment. A missionary obedience is not fulfilled only by leaving the country, but also by supporting the brother who does leave, by accompanying him in prayer, by offering concrete help and co-operation, and by encouraging other friars or lay people to assume responsibility for mission”.
(3) While keeping the content of the current text, its elements have been rearranged for the sake of greater logic: Christ; the Church; all the baptised and the religious in the Church.
(4) It seems right to state directly that the Church is established as the sacrament of salvation, cf. LG n. 48: “Christ, having been lifted up from the earth has drawn all to Himself(cf. Jn 12,32). Rising from the dead (cf. Rm 6,9), He sent His life-giving Spirit upon His disciples and through Him has established His Body which is the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation. Sitting at the right hand of the Father, He is continually active in the world that He might lead men to the Church and through it join them more closely to Himself; and by nourishing them with his own body and blood, make them partakers of His glorious life”.
(5) The addition of and love completes the phrase and evokes more clearly the aspect of the Church as Communion.
(6) The Spirit is the life of the Church and gives it missionary vitality.
(7) The adjective pilgrim, attributed to the Church, does not seem necessary; however, it is kept here, with the additional specification in time.
(8) In the light of the documents of the magisterium (cf. VC 30) it is preferable to say special consecration (rather than special dedication).
(9) The new formulation highlights the call (they are called) to evangelization, which is universal (for all the baptised) and specific (for religious). Here we are following the perspective of Evangelii nuntiandi, which considers evangelization as the calling that is proper to the Church. The current Constitutions already esteem evangelization as a grace. “Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of His death and glorious resurrection” (Evangelii nuntiandi, n. 14). The formulation of PdR 1 (n.177,2): they are called to the grace of evangelisation and to carry out the Lord’s mandate, was perhaps insufficiently understood, and one respondent felt moved to ask: “Are we really called to grace”? Or is the call itself a grace?» [Prot. N.: XII-00015]. No-one denies that “the call is a grace”, nor was PdR1 speaking in a simplistic way when it said we are “called to grace”. In clear dependence on a text of Paul VI: “We wish to confirm once more that the task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church. … Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize …”:Evangelii nuntiandi 14), the text intends to affirm that the task of evangelisation, the actual evangelisation itself, is a grace: all in the Church are called to that task and action, which in itself is a grace. Besides, as already noted, the current Constitutions state that Christ handed on the grace and the command to evangelise. Basically the text of PdR1 kept very close to that expressed in the current text. Anyway, in the light of the comment received, the Commission reflected further, and finally proposed this expression: they are called to respond to the grace of evangelisation and to carry out the Lotd’s command.
(10) While keeping the whole of the first part of the current text, we propose some changes to part two. Keep in mind that at present the text of § 3 is made up of two periods. The first, which is fairly long, has Saint Francis as its subject, and it says of him that he in his time…. added momentum to those initiatives of the Church that are called missionary… Historically it is not easy to understand what exactly the statement refers to. Neither do the minutes of the 1968 General Chapter, which compiled the text, offer any particular guidance in the matter. The text proposed by the C.C.L. said very simply: Propter charisma Fundatoris sui necnon indolem et traditionem propriam, speciali modo illa Ecclesiae incepta participat (Ordo noster), quae Missiones communiter nuncupantur et plerumque exercentur…. [“On account of the charism of its Founder and its own tradition, our Order participates in a special way in those undertakings of the Church which are known as Missions and are generally undertaken…”]. At the Chapter itself the text was changed as follows: Sanctus Franciscus suo tempore, divina inspiratione, spiritum missionalem exemplo vitae et vi suae legislationis renovavit, et illis Ecclesiae inceptis impulsum dedit, quae missiones nuncupantur… [“In his day, Saint Francis, by divine inspiration, renewed the missionary spirit by the example of his life and the force of his legislation, and gave a boost to those undertakings of the Church which are known as Missions…”] While the first part of the text (Sanctus Franciscus… renovavit) was justified on the basis of the amendments presented by the Capitulars, no justification was given for the second. When the text was subsequently edited and presented to the Chapter on 22 October 1968, the above-quoted text was altered by the single addition of the adverb communiter [commonly], inserted to make the text clearer: quae communiter missiones nuncupantur. Finally, in the definitive text of 1968, instead of vi suae legislationis we have vi suae Regulae [by the force of his Rule]. The current text, approved by the General Chapter of 1982, revised by the post-capitular Commission and confirmed by the General Chapter of 1988, says: Sanctus Franciscus suo tempore, divina inspiratione, exemplo vitae et vi suae Regulae, spiritum missionalem renovavit, et illis Ecclesiae inceptis impulsum dedit, quae activitatis missionalis nomen accipiunt (Const 174,3). [“Through divine inspiration, Saint Francis renewed the missionary spirit in his day by the example of his life and the force of his Rule, and added momentum to those initiatives of the Church that are called missionary activity”.]
Taking account of what we have just said, in the Proposed Revision we prefer to distinguish two subjects: Saint Francis and our Fraternity. In this way we follow the perspective of the C.C.L., while at the same time taking into account the originality that was introduced into the Church with the rise of the mendicant Orders. So, the present § 3 is divided into two, first of all to affirm, with the current text, that through divine inspiration, Saint Francis renewed the missionary spirit of his time by the example of his life and the power of his Rule (§ 3). In the second affirmation, in § 4 and in § 6, the characteristic features of the Franciscan brotherhood in its initial moments are recalled (minority, itinerancy, apostolicity), and these provided a new missionary impulse to a body which initially showed organisational flexibility” 
(11) Cf. previous note.
(12) The changes proposed to § 4 are justified by reasons of style and form; they do not affect the content of the text. Note, however, that the last sentence of the current text has been deleted: each day the Church is established and, day after day, becomes more perfect (n. 174,3).
(13) The word has been added to link this number to the preceding one.
(14) Values… and undertakes: slight changes, made for stylistic reasons. In particular, to value is stronger than to consider; it is positive consideration, with esteem.
(15) The content of the sentence deleted in § 4 is taken up here (cf. note 12), but it proposes a simpler formulation than the one currently in force (n. 174,3) which, since it depends on the Latin Sic Ecclesia cotidie fundatur et in dies perfectior evadit, could pose some problems of interpretation.
(16) In the light of the General’s Circular Letter, Mission at the heart of the Order (29 Nov 2009), and strictly in line with the title of Article I, it seems appropriate that the Constitutions should state that we are all missionaries. The opening sentence of §1, with its reference to our apostolic brotherhood links up with a statement that recurs constantly in the Constitutions (apostolic Order), founded on the original charism (cf. Proposed revision of Chapter I, n. 4). In addition, the word “apostolic”, even etymologically, immediately suggests the idea of mission. The proposed formulation we are all called… is intended to present a vocation, which is a universal calling (i.e. one which we all share) and at the same time a calling to universality: we are sent “to [all] those who do not believe in Christ, in whatever continent or region they find themselves”. It seems fitting to note here with R. Cantalamessa: “We Catholics, because of our past, are more ready to be “pastors” than “fishers of men”. I mean we are better placed to shepherd the people who have remained faithful to the Church, than to bring in new people, or to “fish back” those who have drifted away. The itinerant preaching which Francis chose for himself meets precisely this need. It would be a shame if the existence of our own churches and large structures made us Franciscans only shepherds and not fishers of men. Franciscans are “gospel people” thanks to their original vocation, the first true “evangelicals””.
(17) Both texts, §§ 7 and 8, clearly proposed to enrich the Constitutions, as requested by the General Chapter of 2006, are fully justified in the light of what has been explained in the Preface.
(18) After a number of requests [Prot. N.: XII-00010], PdR2 explicitly underlines the ministry of those brothers commonly called missionaries, who leave their own country for particular societies and cultures where first evangelisation is lacking. This avoids the danger, felt by some, that by broadening out the concept of mission and considering every brother as somehow a missionary, missionary work in the strict sense would somehow be obscured.
(19) Without lessening the value of missionary activity as traditionally understood, PdR1 also wished to underline the commitment to the new evangelisation.. PdR2 reinforces the previous formulation by speaking of the special missionary condition of the brothers who are sent (the verb send is typical of the Writings of St. Francis) for new evangelisation in areas with an ancient Christian tradition. These brothers too are to be considered as true and proper missionaries.
(20) § 9, the wording of which has been simplified in PdR2, comes as the conclusion to the three (§§ 6-7-8) immediately preceding. As formulated in the form of an exhortation it needs to be reconsidered, because it does not comply with the declarative nature of n. 176. Besides, n. 176 can be considered as being divided into two parts: the first (§§ 1-4), living the Christological and ecclesiological foundations of mission, plus the aspect of the Franciscan origins, which are the basic inspiration for mission in our Order; the second part – especially §§ 6-8 – appears as an explicatio terminorum.
N. 177 (175)
(1) The expression found in Rnb (16,5) among the Saracens and other infedels, present in the current Constitutions (175,1) was changed to among non-Christians; in PdR2 it is again replaced by among people. The latter change, in the Commission’s view, is in line with modern sensitivities, which have grown in the Church since Vatican II in ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, and also reflects the new evangelization, itself essential to the concept of mission. For this same reason, instead of speaking only about the missionary brothers, (current text 175,1), PdR2 prefers to specify: the missionary brothers who are sent to different parts of the world. The proposed new draft of the Constitutions drops the reference to the two ways of being missionaries, typical of RnB (two ways of going spiritually among them) (also present in the current Constitution. PdR2 says simply: let them live spiritually among people … In RnB the two ways are made explicit: one way is…; the other way is… In the current Constitutions the alternatives are rendered by “either…. : or”. [… …]PdR2 has aimed to preserve the message of Francis, while adapting it to modern sensitivities.
The term “live spiritually” is translated variously in the different languages. In Italian, it translates the Latin spiritualiter conversari of Rnb and of the current Constitutions. Italian editions of the Writings of St Francis translate it as behave spiritually. In the first edition of the writings (a. 1977) we read: Brothers who go among unbelievers can regulate spiritual relationships among them in two ways. A previous French translation (a. 1968) had a similar idea: Brothers who set off in this way can envisage their spiritual role in two ways , suggesting a positive plan rather than a spontaneous reaction. This may be why one author writes of a “technical and practical dimension” which missionary brothers should practise. At this point it would be appropriate to examine the depths of meaning of the term conversari itself, […] In monastic usage, it comes to mean conversion and penitence, a life of penance [….] For Francis, […] it seems to indicate in RnB2 both the familiar relationships of the brothers with the Saracens and other unbelievers, or with the poor, the sick, lepers, etc. (= the primary meaning of conversari/conversatio) and the behaviour or conduct they display in life (= the secondary meaning of conversari/conversatio). In the case of missionaries, it certainly should be a fraternal way of behaving, not just among themselves, but also with Saracens and other unbelievers.Not only that; Saint Francis recommended missionaries to be subject to every human creature for the love of God and to confess that they are Christians. What is involved here is the radical practice of loving obedience to all [….] In this loving obedience [….] the Poverello identified the highest evangelical ideal. […..] Consequently spiritualiter conversari is equivalent to living according to the perfection of the holy gospel (Forma vitae) or of the sequela Christi. In conclusion, the formula spiritualiter conversari as it has come down to our Constitutions is rich in meaning, not just etymologically but also in the use Francis makes of it [….]. This being so, it seems insufficient to translate it simply let them live spiritually.
(2) The beginning of the current text (175,2), as formulated(recognizing that particular Churches have already acquired a preferred role in the work of evangelization), seems rather dated. Today we may take it for granted that the “young Churches” have matured and have assumed a purely “local” appearance. Therefore the PdR makes no reference to the current text.
(3) We have accepted the proposal of Project 2006 (n. 142,2) which, in another context, proposed a reminder that: From the beginning, our Order has recommended missionary activity, urging that it be entrusted to brothers who are on fire with love for Christ” (cf. Const 1925, n. 240). Most recently, the Circular on Mission at the Heart of the Order reminds us: “If the mission imperative is to go out to those who do not know or who have abandoned the Gospel, for the Capuchin lesser brother this involves going where no-one else is willing to go! Along with this goes a readiness to take on the fatigue of long, uncomfortable journeys, often living in very precarious conditions. To do this one needs a heart on fire with love for God and people”. The Commission felt that the expression should be completed by a mention of the example of our holy missionaries.
(4) Part of the current text is taken up here (n. 175,2) adapting it to the new formulation.
(5) § 3 is composed of part of the present n. 175,2, modified to connect it to the previous §, and of the whole of n. 178,5. In this way we restore the intention behind the deleted part of n.175,2 (see above, note 1), and at the same time provide a better and more appropriate context for n. 178,5. Instead of being a recommendation addressed to all the brothers (as at present), it highlights an aspect of fundamental importance for missionaries in the service of the young Churches.
(6) Two evaluations [Prot. N.: XII-00046; Prot. N.: XII-00003] asked for particular churches to be replaced by local churches, maintaining that the latter expression has a theological value (the universal Church is a communion of local churches), while the first is strictly juridical (from the CIC). The Commission did not accept the request, because the theological-juridical op position alleged in the two evaluations does not exist. In the “theological” Documents of Vatican II both expressions are used (local church and particular church), but with a preference for particular church. […] Among the many texts of Vatican II that speak of the “particular Church”, we mention only n. 11 of the Decree Christus Dominus […. ] where it is clear that the term has more than a merely sociological or even juridical meaning, but is essentially theological. The same cannot be said for the term local church, which “can indicate a more or less homogeneous group of particular churches, usually constituted by geographical, historical, linguistic or cultural elements. Under the impulse of divine Providence, these churches have developed – or still develop today – their own theological, juridical, liturgical and spiritual patrimony”. But this whole problem was already clarified at the time, and there is no point in going into it at length in the context of the Constitutions.
(7) This alternative text was proposed: “Let them make this attitude obvious by readily listening and being in dialogue with the whole ecclesial community, where clergy, religious and laity, each with their own competence, have their responsibilities”. The justification: “’Component parts of the Church’ is too impersonal and materialistic; we prefer: with the ecclesial community. The highpoint of missionary activity is not the building up of the particular church but the kingdom of God; if missionaries are also those brothers who go to countries that have a long Christian tradition and where the particular churches are already developed (or at least organised), this cannot be the highpoint of missionary activity” [Prot. N.: XII-00004]. The Commission did not see fit to change the formulation because the expression component parts of the Church has no hint of impersonality or materiality; the formula is present even in documents of the Magisterium (cf. for example: VC 51; 54; 74; 85). Moreover, the Commission points out that it is not appropriate to heighten the distinction between the Church and the Kingdom of God. Our reference is to Vatican II, which teaches: “The Son, therefore, came, sent by the Father. It was in Him, before the foundation of the world, that the Father chose us and predestined us to become adopted sons, for in Him it pleased the Father to re-establish all things. To carry out the will of the Father, Christ inaugurated the Kingdom of heaven on earth and revealed to us the mystery of that kingdom. By His obedience He brought about redemption. The Church, or, in other words, the kingdom of Christ now present in mystery, grows visibly through the power of God in the world” (LG 3) – “The Church, equipped with the gifts of its Founder and faithfully guarding His precepts of charity, humility and self-sacrifice, receives the mission to proclaim and to spread among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God and to be, on earth, the initial budding forth of that kingdom. While it slowly grows, the Church strains toward the completed Kingdom and, with all its strength, hopes and desires to be united in glory with its King”. (LG 5). (cf. also, for example, Redemptoris missio nn. 17-20).The distinction between development and organisation, however, should be stressed: the two words do not express the same concept. In the context of the Constitutions, development says much more than organisation, and even that is not confined to structural organisation. Christian Churches with a long tradition behind them may well be organisationally developed, but this does not automatically equate to a fully developed ecclesial vitality. The life of the Church, and of a particular church, transcends its organisation.
(8) The addition of as well as was suggested by Project 2006 (n. 139,2) “To avoid reducing missionary activity to social work alone” (note 396). At the same time it helps to express the fullness of the work of evangelisation. The Encyclical Caritas in veritate of Benedict XVI, linking up with Evangelii nuntiandi and Populorum progressio of Paul VI, recalls that “evangelization would not be complete if it did not take account of the unceasing interplay of the Gospel and of man’s concrete life, both personal and social.” “Between evangelization and human advancement — development and liberation — there are in fact profound links. On the basis of this insight, Paul VI clearly presented the relationship between the proclamation of Christ and the advancement of the individual in society. Testimony to Christ’s charity, through works of justice, peace and development, is part and parcel of evangelization, because Jesus Christ, who loves us, is concerned with the whole person. These important teachings form the basis for the missionary aspect of the Church’s social doctrine, which is an essential element of evangelization. The Church’s social doctrine proclaims and bears witness to faith. It is an instrument and an indispensable setting for formation in faith.” (n.15; cf. Evangelii nuntiandi, nn. 29.31; Sollicitudo rei socialis, n. 41). For us religious the unbreakable link between evangelisation and human development had already been studied in depth in a special document published by the CICLSAL in 1978: Religious and human development. Complementary to this, the next document from CICLSAL (The contemplative dimension of religious life: March 1980) accentuated the spiritual foundations underlying all missionary activity.
One cannot deduce from these notes, all of them already present in the explanatory note in PdR1, thatthe insertion of also is intends to show that social activity is “secondary” [cf. Prot. N.: XII-00006]. Note 5 of PdR1 took up the reasoning of Project 2006, which has its justification, but at the same time it brought out in a positive sense, based on the documents of the Magisterium, the necessity of social commitment as an integral part of missionary activity.
(9) The new text of § 5 incorporates some of the concerns of Project 2006 (n. 137,2-3), derived from the Proposals of PCO VI. (cf. n. 11). Other elements of Project 2006 are already present in the text of the Constitutions. Underlying the wording of the new § 5 is the question of the efficiency of the means, versus the efficacy of the witness given. At the same time the text, in addition to highlighting an attitude of poverty, minority and simplicity, which guarantee the quality of our evangelisation, shows the attitude that Capuchin friars (should) have in their dealings with everyone, of all classes and social and spiritual conditions – with a sense of involvement, even emotional involvement. Taking their place whole-heartedly among people of every condition is an expression that is very close to the language St Francis uses when speaking of brothers who “live among (inter) people considered of little value and looked down upon, among the poor and the powerless, the sick and the lepers, and the beggars by the wayside” (Rnb 9,2) or who “go among (inter) unbelievers” (Rnb 16,5). The preposition inter which, according to acute observations by Esser and Lehmann Francis preferred to the grammatically more usual ad, shows his concern to avoid any kind of distant attitude, and suggests a familiar “living among them”, being brothers with the poor and/or with non-Christians, forming a single brotherhood with them.
On the redaction of this text, see also explanatory note 3 to n. 181.
(10) Project 2006 pointed out the inadequacy of the current n. 175,4 and, referring to n. 48 of PCO V and to n. 47 of PCO VII, replaced it with the following: “Therefore they should seek to enter into respectful dialogue, first of all with the other Churches, and then with non-Christian religions and finally with the other cultures, in order to discover common values that reveal the presence of God and can provide the basis for mutual respect in the proclamation of the gospel” (n. 138,5). In PdR1 the Commission had proposed a different formulation, based on the conciliar Decree Ad gentes (n.11) and on Vita consecrata (n. 79), in order to underline respect for cultures on the one hand, and on the other the need for these to develop in the light of revelation and of the gospel message. In this way the inculturation aspect was better highlighted without confusing it with acculturation, both of which are stressed time and time again in the Constitutions. “In this sense our missionary activity should not be understood primarily in terms of how widely the Order is spread in the world, but rather as a way of making the charism of Saint Francis present in cultures where it is still unknown. Our presence is intended to have an impact on the surrounding reality in order to enrich it. In this it will not fail to be a support to the Christian community. If we are to be present in this way we must first be clear about our vocation as lesser brothers; this comes before both intellectual preparation and the desire to “go on the missions” (Circular on Mission [29 Nov 2009], n. 1.6). In this perspective attention is drawn to the proposed wording: Let them take their place with their own identity in the culture of the people among whom they live… . This is based on the awareness that the charism of the consecrated life, and of the Capuchin Franciscan life, contributes to the bringing the different cultures to fulfilment. “Genuine inculturation requires attitudes similar to those of the Lord when he became man and walked among us in love and meekness. In this sense the consecrated life makes its members particularly well suited to face the complex work of inculturation, because it accustoms them to being detached from things, even from many features of their own culture. Applying themselves with these attitudes to the study and understanding of other cultures, consecrated persons can better discern the real values in them, and the best way to accept them and perfect them with the help of their own charism. However, it should not be forgotten that in many ancient cultures religious expression is so deeply ingrained that religion often represents the transcendent dimension of the culture itself. In this case true inculturation necessarily entails a serious and open inter-religious dialogue, which “is not in opposition to the mission ad gentes” and “does not dispense from evangelization” (Vita consecrata n. 79). Some evaluations [Prot. N.: XII-00009] appreciated the call to discover the “seeds of the Word” in the various cultures and religious experiences. But they point out that even other cultures and religions, precisely because the seeds of the Word are present in them, can contribute to a better and deeper understanding of the Gospel. A humble, listening approach to cultures and religions is particularly fitting for us Capuchins. The Commission accepts these points and therefore PdR2 presents a new formulation of the text.
(11) The current text (n. 175,4) was introduced into the Constitutions by the General Chapter in 1982. According to the Fontes aliaeque referentiae complementares (sources) of our Constitutions, it seems that the inspiration behind it is the second part of PCO III (New contexts) and some passages (unspecified) from the conciliar documents Gaudium et Spes, Nostra aetate, and Unitatis redintegratio. But the same text of the Constitutions appears very generic, and therefore hard to understand (cf. also the previous note). Despite this, the text has been left in the Constitutions as it stands, but in a paragraph on its own. It should be clear from the context that it is linked to the previous §, especially its opening lines, which refer to the dialogue with the other Christian Churches and with non-Christian religions. For this very reason, we see no need to repeat at he beginning of this final paragraph In dialogue with the other Christian churches, with non- Christian religions and with all people of good will [Prot. N.: XII-00011]. We think it is right to leave the text as it is now, and not to change ideas to spiritual currents: the concept is expressed several times in the Constitutions (cf. PdR2, nn. 87,4; 109,4), which use a similar phrase: currents of thought (cf. PdR2, n. 109,4).
N. 178 (176)
|Current text||Proposed revision|
|Constitutiones (2002)||Constitutions (1990)||Constitutions|
|176,1. Fratres qui, divina inspiratione, ad opus missionale in aliam regionem, ubi magis evangelizatio urget, se vocatos sentiunt, propositum suum aperiant ministro provinciali; qui tamen potest vocare etiam alios fratres idoneos promptos ad tale opus assumendum.
176,2. Quos idem minister [… ] ministro generali proponat, cui competit litteras oboedientiales dare.
|176,1. Brothers who feel they are called by divine inspiration to missionary activity in another region where evangelization is more urgent should make this known to the provincial minister. The provincial minister, however, may also call upon other qualified brothers willing to assume such work.
176,2. … the same minister […] should present them to the general minister who is responsible for granting letters of obedience.
|Current text (176,1) with changes and additions
1. Brothers who feel called by divine inspiration to missionary activity in regions where the first proclamation is necessary, where young Churches need support and where new evangelisation is urgent should make their intention known to their own minister. The minister, after suitable duiscernment, should not hesitate to grant them letters of obedience, having observed the regulations of the Complementary Code (1). The same minister may also ask other suitable brothers to undertake mission work (2).
|176,2. Quos idem minister, post peculiarem pro cuiusque condicione praeparationem doctrinalem et practicam de re missionali et oecumenica, ministro generali proponat, cui competit litteras oboedientiales dare.||176,2. After a special doctrinal and practical preparation in missiology and ecumenism in keeping with each one’s ability, the same minister should present them to the general minister who is responsible for granting letters of obedience.||Current text (176,2), modified
2. The Minister shall then provide the brothers who are to be sent for mission with theoretical and practical preparation in missiology, ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue (3), in keeping with each one’s ability.
|176,3. Ministri, ob fratrum in provincia paucitatem, sodales aptos mittere ne recusent, sed omnem suam sollicitudinem et cogitatum iactent super eum cui iugis cura est de nobis.||176,3. The ministers should not refuse to send suitable brothers because of a scarcity of brothers in the province, but let them cast their care and thought upon Him Who has continuing care of us.||Current text (176,3)
3. The ministers should not refuse to send suitable brothers because of a scarcity of brothers in the province, but let them cast their care and thought upon Him Who continually cares for us.
|176,4. Diversae Ordinis provinciae mutuum adiutorium pro opportunitate magno animo praestent, et per ministrum generalem missionarios et adiumenta aliis circunscriptionibus indigentibus offerant.||176,4. Different provinces of the Order should generously offer mutual assistance as opportunities arise and, through the general minister, offer missionaries and support to other circumscriptions in need of them.||Current text (176,4)
4. The different circumscriptions of the Order should generously offer mutual assistance as opportunities arise and, through the General Minister, offer missionaries and support to others in greater need (4).
|176,5. Fratres invitentur ad opus missionale participandum etiam ad tempus, praecipue ad quaedam servitia peculiaria praestanda.||176,5. Brothers may be invited to share in missionary work even for a while, especially to provide special services.||Current text (176,5)
5. Brothers may be invited to share in missionary work even for a while, especially to provide special services.
|6. The brothers should co-operate with lay missionaries, especially with catechists, both in their activities and in their planning, and with them zealously provide spiritual inspiration. They should also try to promoter the social and economic welfare of the people.||Transferred to n. 177,4 (5)|
|176,7. Superiores apud fratres amorem ac spiritum cooperationis erga opus missionale ita promoveant ut omnes, pro suo quisque statu et facultate, in fraterna communicatione cum missionariis, pro novellis Ecclesiis et in unione cum ipsis orantes, et sollicitudinem populi christiani suscitantes, officio missionali satisfaciant.||176,7. Let superiors foster among the brothers a love and spirit of cooperation for missionary work. Let this be done in such a way that everyone, according to his own state and ability, may satisfy his missionary responsibility in fraternal communion with missionaries, by praying for the newly established Churches in union with them, and by awakening a concern among the Christian people.||Current text (176,7)
7. Let superiors (6) foster among the brothers a love for missionary work and a spirit of co-operation. This should be done in such a way that everyone, according to his own state and ability, may satisfy his missionary responsibility in fraternal communion with missionaries, by praying for the newly established Churches in union with them, and by awakening a concern among the Christian people.
(1) This paragraph retains the content of the current text (n.176,1), but changes and expands it in several respects.
As regards the changes, we must underline that:
1) in another region where evangelisation is more urgent is replaced by in regions where the first proclamation is necessary, where young Churches need support and where new evangelisation is urgent. Thus the text is adapted to very different situations and circumstances, highlighting once again both the traditional missionary aspect and the call to new evangelisation;
2) provincial minister is replaced by own minister so as not to restrict the text to provinces.
With regard to the additions, we should point out:
3) the need for discernment. With this introduction the text corresponds even more strongly to the intentions of St Francis regarding missionary brothers. In the Franciscan vision, in fact – at least according to the Rules – missionary activity is born of a personal initiative aroused by grace. It is legitimate to maintain that the texts of Rnb (should any brother wish to go) and of Rb (by divine inspiration), while they belong to different stages in the codification of Franciscan legislation, must be taken together. Moreover, it is by no means certain that the phrase divina inspiratione was not part of the text of Rnb. [….] Scholars are divided on this point. L. Lehmann has abundantly argued in favour of the presence of inspiratione divina in Rnb 16,3. In any case, our Constitutions (and PdR) bring the two Rules together on this point and say: “Brothers who by divine inspiration feel called to missionary activity”. But according to St Francis, the missionary proposal has to be realised in a personal meeting with one’s own minister and under obedience to him: let him go with the permission of his minister and servant (Rnb); they shall ask permission to go from their provincial ministers (Rb). In his turn the Minister is bound to assent to the missionary calling of the brothers, but only after verifying their suitability and therefore acting with due discernment: The minister shall give them permission and not prevent them if he sees they are fit to be sent (Rnb); The ministers shall not grant leave to go, except to those they deem fit to be sent (Rb). Rnb insists more on this aspect of discernment, adding that the Minister will have to account to the Lord as to whether, in this as in other matters, he has acted without discernment (Latin: indiscrete). [ ….]Indiscretus (Greek: adiάκritoς), would apply to someone who is confused, acts without judgement, qui discretionem non facit, while discretio (Greek: diάκrίsiς) indicates separation and distinction: etymologically, both terms derive from Latin cerno and Greek krίnw, to separate by choosing. [ … ]. In Admonition XXVII St Francis teaches: “Where there is mercy and discernment (discretio), there is neither excess nor harshness”. Here too, discretio indicates discernment, as in the capacity to perceive and to declare the difference between different things, but also as the correct measure, balance between the opposite extremes of harshness and mercy, and excess corrected by discretion. We may therefore conclude that after adequate discernment, which PdR2 proposes for the Constitutions, is redolent with the teaching that Francis has left us in Rnb, [ … ] the reference to letters of obedience. In the current text (n. 176) these are mentioned in § 2, which says “After a special doctrinal and practical preparation in missiology and ecumenism in keeping with each one’s ability, the same minister should present them to the general minister who is responsible for granting letters of obedience”. PdR1 (n. 179,6) had drafted a separate number: Regarding letters of obedience, the prescriptions of the Complementary Code should be observed. But its position in PdR1 did not seem very logical and was therefore rethought; now (PdR2) the reference to obediences is found within a text inspired by Rnb e la Rb. The current text – following a long custom in the Order – states that it is for the General Minister to grant obediences to brothers leaving for a mission. These days, since the practice of the Order has changed and is subject to different rules, PdR prefers to say that the Minister grants the letters of obedience, observing the prescriptions of the Complementary Code.
(2) This statement does not change or add to the content of the current text, but only its formulation. It seems more meaningful to say to go to a mission or be sent to a mission, rather than, as the current text says, to undertake such work. Moreover, the current text highlights the “call” aspect: the Minister may also call upon other suitable brothers…
(3) The current text has been redrafted with an addition showing the specific kind of preparation missionary brothers should have (and in inter-religious dialogue).
(4) As already indicated in the Introduction and in the explanatory notes to chapter VIII, we prefer to use the noun circumscriptions (replacing provinces).
(5) § 6 of the current text (n. 176) has little to do with the specific context, which is about the preparation of missionaries, the missionary mandate and missionary animation within our circumscriptions and fraternities. Therefore we propose moving it to n. 177,4: this number deals with how to be missionary, which is a more appropriate context for the transferred number.
(6) The term superiors has been kept, because here it refers not only to the ministers, but to all superiors.
N. 179 (177)
|Current text||Proposed revision|
|Constitutiones (2002)||Constitutions (1990)||Constitutions|
|177,1. Cum status eorum, qui consilia evangelica profitentur, ad vitam et sanctitatem Ecclesiae pertineat et proinde iam a periodo plantationis Ecclesiae sedulo promovendus sit, fratres missionarii spiritum et charisma nostrum in Ecclesiis particularibus fovere studeant.||177,1. Since the state of those who profess the gospel counsels belongs to the life and holiness of the Church and, for that reason, should be zealously promoted even from the period of the implantation of the Church, let missionary brothers strive to foster our charism in the particular Churches||Current text (177,1) with changes
1. Since the state of those who profess the gospel counsels belongs to the life and holiness of the Church, the missionary brothers should zealously promote it. They should especially foster our spirit and the presence of our charism in the particular Churches (1).
2. We should promote the development of all expressions of the Franciscan Family. Let us also value the special missionary dimension of the life of prayer and sacrifice lived by our sisters of the Second Order, helping them as far as possible with the foundation of their monasteries and accompanying them spiritually. (2).
|177,2. Idcirco superiorum maiorum est providere ut inter missionarios adsint fratres idonei ad candidatos Ordinis formandos.||177,2. It is the responsibility of major superiors to provide that brothers qualified for forming candidates of the Order be present among the missionaries.||Current text (177,2)
2. It is the responsibility of major superiors to ensure that among the missionaries there are brothers qualified for forming candidates to the Order.
|177,3. Vitae nostrae forma atque patrimonium spirituale Ordinis nostri, universalis et amplectentis omnes ritus Ecclesiae catholicae, tradantur et exprimantur secundum condiciones regionales necnon cuiusque gentis ingenium et Ecclesiae particularis indolem; et usus particulares suae cuiusque regionis in aliam ne transplantentur. Competit ministro generali, de consensu definitorii, decidere de ritu pro singulis circumscriptionibus, servatis de iure servandis.||177,3. Let the form of our life and the spiritual heritage of our Order, which is universal and embraces all the rites of the Catholic church, be transmitted and expressed according to the circumstances of a region as well as to the unique character of each nation and particular church. Customs peculiar to one region should not be transplanted into another. It is the responsibility of the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, to decide the rite of individual jurisdictions, while observing the prescriptions of law.||Current text (177,3)
3. Let the form of our life and the spiritual heritage of our Order, which is universal and embraces all the rites of the Catholic church, be transmitted and expressed according to the circumstances of a region as well as to the unique character of each nation and particular church. Customs peculiar to one region should not be transplanted into another. It is the responsibility of the general minister, with the consent of the Council (3) to decide the rite of individual jurisdictions, while observing the prescriptions of law.
(1) The text was changed to underscore the active commitment of our missionaries in the promotion of the various forms of consecrated life, and not only of our charism.
(2) One evaluation [Prot. N.: XII-00019] asked the Commission to highlight the missionary charisma of the Order of St Clare, as well as our fraternal duty to help the sisters of the Second Order to establish monasteries in the young Churches and to accompany them spiritually. It proposed to insert the following text at the end of n. 181 (numbering as in PdR1): 1. The missionary longing of St Clare, who was profoundly moved on hearing of the Order’s first martyrs,, has shaped the life of prayer and sacrifice of our Sisters of the Second Order – 2. Because we share the same foundational charism, we feel a particular bond with our contemplative sisters, since mission is at the heart of the Order, and is somehow the heart of the Order itself.. – 3. United in the Spirit of the Lord, we share in the missionary dimension of the vocation of our Capuchin sisters, we are encouraged by their generosity and, on our part, make them share in the joy of proclaiming the Gospel. The Commission thought long band hard about whether to incorporate such a text and finally agreed on a more sober formulation, mentioning all expressions of the Franciscan Family but with particular stress on the Second Order. The most suitable place to insert the new paragraph seemed to us to be n. 179 of PdR2, which speaks of promoting the consecrated life and our charism in the particular churches.
(3) The alteration is a consequence of the choice to change the term Definitory to Council throughout the constitutional text. (cf. also later in chapter XII, n. 181,1-2-3).
N. 180 (178)
|Current text||Proposed revision|
|Constitutiones (2002)||Constitutions (1990)||Constitutions|
|178,1. Ministri generalis est, de consensu definitorii, una cum auctoritate ecclesiastica, in Ecclesiis particularibus actuositatem missionariam promovere et coordinare.||178,1. The general minister, with the consent of the definitory and in union with ecclesiastical authority, has the responsibility of promoting and coordinating missionary activity in the particular churches.||Current text (178,1) with changes
1. The General Minister, with the consent of the Council and in union with ecclesiastical authority, has the responsibility of promoting and coordinating missionary activity of the Order (1) in the particular churches.
|178,2. Ministro provinciali, de consensu definitorii, competit opus missionale a ministro generali propositum acceptare, necnon subscribere conventiones cum respectivo superiore ecclesiastico, praevia approbatione ministri generalis, de consensu definitorii.||178,2. After receiving the approval of the general minister with the consent of the definitory, the provincial minister, with the consent of the definitory, has the responsibility of accepting a missionary commitment proposed by the general minister as well as to underwrite agreements with the respective ecclesiastical superior.||Current text (178,2) with changes
2. After receiving the approval of the General Minister with the consent of his Council , the provincial minister, with the consent of the Council, has the responsibility of accepting a missionary commitment proposed by the general minister as well as to underwrite agreements with the respective ecclesiastical superior.
|178,3. Minister generalis necnon ministri provinciales, de consensu definitorii, instituant secretariatum pro animatione et cooperatione missionaria, eiusque officium determinent.||178,3. The general minister as well as the provincial ministers, with the consent of the definitory, should establish a secretariat for missionary promotion and cooperation and determine its responsibility.||Current text (178,3) with changes and additions
3. The General Minister and the provincial ministers, with the consent of their respective Councils, should establish a secretariat for evangelisation (2), missionary animation and cooperation, and determine its responsibilities.
|178,4. Fratres assidue cooperentur cum institutis religiosis qui in eodem territorio activitati missionali Ecclesiae particularis operam praestant, vel in patria animationi missionariae incumbunt.||178,4. The brothers should cooperate diligently with religious institutes that engage in missionary work in a particular Church in the same territory or in missionary promotion at home.||Current text (178,4) with additions
4. Let the brothers cooperate diligently with religious institutes that devote themselves to evangelization or (3) engage in missionary work in a particular Church in the same territory or in missionary promotion at home.
|178,5. The summit of missionary activity should be seen in the building up of the particular Church in which the clergy, religious and laity each have responsibility according to their respective competence.||Transferred to n. 178,3 (4)|
(1) The addition of of the Order is necessary in this passage.
(2) Regarding the insertion of for evangelization cf. Introduction
(3) The reason for this addition has been explained several times.
(4) The reason for the transfer to n. 177,3 has already been explained(cf. n. 177, explanatory note 5).
N. 181 (179)
|Current text||Proposed revision|
|Constitutiones (2002)||Constitutions (1990)||Constitutions|
|179,1. Meminerint fratres sancti Francisci, qui sodales suos in mundum mittere voluit, exemplo Christi discipulorum, in paupertate cum plena in Deum Patrem fiducia, ubicumque, vita et verbo, pacem annuntiaturos.||179,1. Let the brothers be mindful of Saint Francis who wished to send his companions into the world after the example of the disciples of Christ, in poverty with full trust in God the Father, proclaiming peace everywhere by their life and word.||Current text (179,1) with changes
1. Let us be mindful (1) that Saint Francis wished to send his companons into the world after the example of the disciples of Christ, in poverty with full trust in God the Father, proclaiming peace everywhere by their life and word.
|New text (2)
2. Let us therefore walk the highways of the world, ready to face even the most difficult situations; living with simplicity the radical call of the beatitudes, and thirsting for the Absolute, who is God, let us offer the silent testimony of poverty and detachment, of purity and transparency, and of abandonment in obdedience (3).
|179,2. Magnum hoc opus commendamus intercessioni beatae Mariae Virginis, Boni Pastoris Matris, quae Christum, lucem et salutem omnium gentium, generavit, et quae mane Pentecostes primordiis evangelizationis, Sancto Spiritu operante, orando praefuit.||179,2. Let us commend this great undertaking to the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Good Shepherd, who gave birth to Christ, the light and salvation of all nations, and who, with the work of the Holy Spirit, was present on the morning of Pentecost at the beginnings of evangelization.||Current text (179,2)
3. Let us commend this great undertaking to the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Good Shepherd, who gave birth to Christ, the light and salvation of all nations, and who, with the work of the Holy Spirit, was present on the morning of Pentecost at the beginnings of evangelization.
(1) In this text it seems more pertinent to use the first person plural.
(2) N. 181 constitutes the conclusion of art. I of chapter XII. Its first § acts as a reminder (let us be mindful): we should remember that Saint Francis wished to send his companions into the world … the text proposed as § 2 introduces a text that came before the Commission while it was drafting PdR1, and was later reformulated in the plenary meeting in November 2011. The additions are consistent with the previous text: the “reminder” in § 1 receives the response: Let us therefore walk the highways of the world … (§ 2). This recalls a theme that recurs in the Writings of St Francis – that of ‘going about in the world’.
The proposed text goes on:
– to underline a special characteristic of our way of going about in the world, our readiness to face even the most difficult situations. We felt it was appropriate to reiterate the idea contained in n. 147, 7 (we should generously accept even those tasks and ministries that are considered lowly or difficult), because this aspect is very important for us, i.e. it is a natural consequence of our life in minority. Both nn. 147,7 and 181,2 point to an ideal we have to strive for; they indicate the radical demands that minority makes, and we should not boast (cf. n. 147,7) of this radical ideal as though it were already acquired. If it is true that, throughout Capuchin history, friars have gone to places where no-one else wanted to go, it is also true that this choice was always made spontaneously and as a matter of course; it was never planned or stated in so many words, and it should never be; if it were, that in itself would be a sign of triumphalism, not of minority. Minority, in fact, is born of love for the Father, who sees what is done in secret (cf. 147, 7);
– and to underline the most essential aspect of evangelisation and mission work: the witness of one’s own life. In that respect, the text reflects the teaching of :
1) Evangelii nuntiandi, which stresses that consecrated life itself is a privileged way of evangelising: “At the deepest level of their being they 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.
As such they have a special importance in the context of the witness which, as we have said, is of prime importance in evangelization. At the same time as being a challenge to the world and to the Church herself, this silent witness of poverty and abnegation, of purity and sincerity, of self-sacrifice in obedience, can become an eloquent witness capable of touching also non-Christians who have good will and are sensitive to certain values” (n. 69).
2) Vita consacrata, especially concerning the missionary aspect of religious life and its prophetic witness. Recalling the evangelical counsels, the proposed text echoes the teaching of VC on the great challenges posed by the consecrated life: the challenge of consecrated chastity, the challenge of poverty, the challenge of freedom in obedience (cf. VC 87-91).
The conclusion of the General Minister’s Circular Letter (Mission at the heart of the Order) can be viewed in the same light: “The young Lorenzo left his fields behind; farm-hand though he was, he was not afraid to embark on a journey that would teach him to fish. He was content, as St Francis had taught him, to proclaim to people, in poverty and prayer, the mystery of God who is communion and who calls all creation to brotherhood. Brothers, may this mission be not only in the heart of the Order, but let it be the very heart of the Order.” (n. 3.2).
(3) In PdR1 we reported that the Commission had agreed it was appropriate to expand the current text (n. 179), which concludes article I of chapter XII. The formulation of PdR1 was inspired by n. 11 of the Proposals of PCO VI, which Project 2006 (n. 137, 2-3) had made its own: “Our Capuchin history encourages us to resume and to update this form of immediate gospel presence among people of every class, with particular preference for those who are simple and poor. Consequently, we must strive to implement models of evangelisation that are less bound up with power and security arising from the quantity and the wealth of our resources, and instead be ready to let the poor be our teachers and to place our trust in God alone”. This was the text as presented in PdR1: Following Capuchin tradition, we should incorporate ourselves wholeheartedly among people at every level of society, while not allowing ourselves to be conditioned by merely human reasons or considerations of power or security. Ready even to face difficult situations, let us place our trust in God and in the effectiveness of our gospel way of life.
Subsequently, one of the pieces of feedback from the Order suggested replacing the Commission’s text with n. 11 del VI CPO, for this reason: “The formulation found in Project 2006 makes the point more effectively. “We should incorporate ourselves wholeheartedly among people at every level of society” – in the Franciscan tradition, there is certainly a preference for the poor. “While not allowing ourselves to be conditioned by merely human reasons or considerations of power or security” – the formulation in Project 2006 states clearly that this applies to the methods we use for mission, and to our reliance on structures, institutions and money [Prot. N.: XII-00014]
Subsequent discussion in the Commission meeting in November 2011 led us to look more closely at n. 181 as a concluding number, with its function as a “reminder”, and this made us want to retain it. We then recognised that the concerns expressed in n. 11 of PCO VI, proposed by Project 2006, and of n. 182,2 of PdR1 would be more in context in n. 177 (= PdR1, n. 178). These two texts were then compared with another text, which had also been presented during the drafting of PdR1 and proposed as § 5 del n. 178 (numbering as in PdR1). The text, also inspired by n. 11 of PCO VI, and by Project 2006 (n. 137,2-3), said: However, let them not link their work of evangelisation to the security of economic resources, which may lead to dominion over others, but, renouncing all social prestige, let them entrust the efficacy of their apostolate most of all to the daily witness of their lives as lesser brothers. Thus we arrived at the point of drafting a new text, which was inserted into n. 177 as § 5 (cf. above, with explanatory note 9) and which is again presented here alongside proposal 11 of PCO VI.
|Text of PCO VI (n.11)||New text (n. 177,5)|
|Our Capuchin history encourages us to take up once more and bring up to date this direct form of gospel presence among people of all classes, with special preference for those who are simple and poor. Consequently, we must seek to implement models of evangelization that are less bound up with the power and security that derives from having many expensive resources. We should be more ready to learn from the poor and to place our trust in God alone.||5. Taking their place whole-heartedly among people of every condition, they should not link their work of evangelisation to the security of economic resources, which can lead to dominion over others. Following Capuchin tradition, let them rather renounce all social prestige, and not allow themselves to be determined by human reasons alone, placing their trust in God and in the efficacy of the gospel life. (9).|
This synopsis shows the relationship between the two texts, with similar or identical concepts in both formulations:
– Our Capuchin history (PCO VI) = following Capuchin tradition (text of PdR2);
– Resume and update this direct form of gospel presence among people of all classes(VI CPO) = Whole-heartedly incorporated among people of all classes (text of PdR2);
– we must seek to implement models of evangelization that are less bound up with the power and security that derives from having many expensive resources (VI CPO) = they should not link their work of evangelisation to the security of economic resources, which can lead to dominion over others.… let them rather renounce all social prestige, and not allow themselves to be determined by human reasons alone (text of PdR2);
– We should be more ready…. in God alone. (VI CPO) = placing their trust in God and in the efficacy of the gospel life (text of PdR2).
Clearly, the text of PdR2 does not repeat all the concepts contained in n. 11 of PCO VI, but the particular preference for ordinary, poor people is already abundantly demonstrated in the Constitutions; and the aspect of the poor being our teachers is also present in PdR2 in the proposed chapter II of the Constitutions (cf. n. 24,3).
For other considerations regarding the text of PdR2, cf. n. 177, 5, explanatory note 9.
ARTICLE II: Our (1) Life of Faith
N. 182 (180)
|Current text||Proposed revision|
|Constitutiones (2002)||Constitutions (1990)||Constitutions|
|180,1. Fidem quam a Deo per Ecclesiam accepimus, ut veri Domini discipuli ac sancti Francisci filii, adiuvante gratia divina, usque in finem firmiter servemus; totis viribus rectoque iudicio in eam profundius penetremus eamque ad vitam plenius applicemus.||180,1. As true disciples of the Lord and sons of Saint Francis, let us preserve, with the help of divine grace, the faith that we have received from God through the Church. With all our energies and sound judgement, let us enter more profoundly into [this faith] and apply it ever more fully to our life.||Current text (180,1) with changes
1. As true disciples of the Lord and sons of Saint Francis, let us preserve, with the help of divine grace, the faith that we have received from God through the Church. With all our energies and sound judgement let us ensure that our lives are more and more shaped by the faith and that it directs everything we do (2).
|180,2. Incrementum huius inaestimabilis doni assidua oratione a Deo imploremus atque intima in communione cum universo populo Dei vivamus.||180,2. We should implore God through diligent prayer for an increase of this inestimable gift and live in intimate union with the entire People of God.||Current text (180,2)
2. We should implore God through diligent prayer for an increase of this inestimable gift and live in intimate union with the entire People of God.
|180,3. Spiritus Sancti ductu, ubique terrarum de Christo testimonium perhibeamus et poscentibus rationem reddamus de ea quae in nobis est spes vitae aeternae.||180,3. Led by the Holy Spirit, let us bear witness to Christ everywhere and, to those who ask, let us explain that hope of eternal life which is within us.||Current text (180,3) with additions
3. Since faith is strengthened by sharing it (3), we should never tire (4) of bearing witness to Christ everywhere, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. To those who ask, let us explain the hope of eternal life that is within us.
(1) The title of Article II, The Brothers’ Life of Faith, has been changed to Our Life of Faith, following the principle we have adopted, as far as possible, for all titles in the Constitutions. However, the title of this article will need more reflection, because it does not speak about our life of faith as such, but about our commitment to grow in the faith and to cultivate it. Significantly, in the Latin text of the Constitutions the title of Chapter XII is: De fide diffundenda et colenda. (“The faith to be spread and fostered”)
(2) The wording of the last sentence is meant to reinforce the concept expressed in the entire number.
(3) The new opening phrase in the § expresses the link between proclamation of the faith (Article I) and the life of faith of the person who proclaims it.
(4) This stylistic addition strengthens the overall impact of the entire number.
N. 183 (181)
|Current text||Proposed revision|
|Constitutiones (2002)||Constitutions (1990)||Constitutions|
|181,1. Sancto Francisco summopere cordi fuit Ecclesiae magisterio, utpote verbi Dei scripti et traditi necnon vitae evangelicae custodi, fideliter adhaerere.||181,1. Saint Francis profoundly desired to adhere faithfully to the magisterium of the Church as the guardian of the written and spoken word of God as well as of the gospel life.||Current text (181,1)
1. Saint Francis profoundly desired to adhere faithfully to the magisterium of the Church as the guardian of the written and spoken word of God as well as of the gospel life.
|181,2. Ut hanc spiritualem hereditatem incolumen servemus, speciali devotione sanctam matrem Ecclesiam prosequamur.||181,2. In order to preserve this spiritual heritage intact, let us nourish a special devotion to holy Mother Church.||Current text (181,2)
2. In order to preserve this spiritual heritage intact, let us nourish a special devotion to holy Mother Church.
|181,3. In omnibus proinde, sive cogitando sive loquendo sive agendo cum Ecclesia sentiamus, diligenter evitantes falsas aut periculosas doctrinas.||181,3. Let us be one with the Church in all things: in thought, word and action, diligently avoiding false or pernicious doctrines.||Current text (181,3)
3. Let us therefore be one with the Church in all things: in thought, word and action, diligently avoiding false or pernicious doctrines.
|181,4. Sensu activae et consciae responsabilitatis inducti, religiosum voluntatis et intellectus obsequium praestemus Romano Pontifici, universalis Ecclesiae magistro supremo, necnon Episcopis qui, tamquam testes fidei, una cum Summo Pontifice populum Dei docent.||181,4. Led by a sense of an active and responsible conscience, let us offer religious submission of intellect and will to the Roman Pontiff, the supreme teacher of the universal Church, as well as to the bishops who, as witnesses to the faith, teach the people of God in union with the Supreme Pontiff.||Current text (181,4) modified
4. Led by a sense of an active and responsible conscience, let us offer religious submission of intellect and will to the Roman Pontiff, the supreme teacher of the universal Church, and (1) to the bishops who, as witnesses to the faith, teach the people of God in union with the Supreme Pontiff.
|181,5. Superiores, initio sucepti muneris, aliique fratres, ut in iure statutum est, fidei professionem emittant.||181,5. At the beginning of their term of office, the superiors and the other brothers should make a profession of faith, as decreed in law.||Current text (181,5)
5. At the beginning of their term of office, the superiors and the other brothers shall make a profession of faith, as decreed in law.
N. 184 (182)
|Current text||Proposed revision|
|Constitutiones (2002)||Constitutions (1990)||Constitutions|
|182,1. Divinae respondentes vocationi, qua Deus cotidie a nobis exposcit partem in consilio suo salvifico exsequendo, meminerimus quantum, vi professionis, coram populo Dei Christo devincti simus.||182,1. Responding to the divine vocation through which God each day requests us to take part in carrying out His plan of salvation, let us remember how closely we are bound to Christ before the people of God by virtue of profession.||Current text (182,1)
1. Responding to the divine vocation through which God each day requests us to take part in carrying out His plan of salvation, let us remember how closely we are bound to Christ before the people of God by virtue of profession.
|182,2. Studeamus igitur in vocatione qua vocati sumus digne ambulare et magis excellere, recordantes Deum nunquam irrita facere sua dona, ideo neque vocationem datam. Gratia eius nos non deficiet ad superandas difficultates in hac arcta via quae ducit ad vitam.||182,2. Let us strive, therefore, to walk worthily and to excel all the more in the vocation to which we are called, remembering that God never gives His gifts or, therefore, a vocation in vain. His grace will not fail us in overcoming difficulties on this narrow path that leads to life.||Current text (182,2)
2. Let us strive, therefore, to walk worthily and to excel all the more in the vocation to which we are called, remembering that God never gives His gifts or, therefore, a vocation in vain. His grace will not fail us in overcoming difficulties on this narrow path that leads to life.
|182,3. Renovationi nostrae sedulo incumbentes, in nostrae vitae proposito laeto corde perseveremus; conscii autem fragilitatis humanae, incedamus per viam conversionis cum tota Ecclesia, quae a Spiritu Sancto semper renovatur.||182,3. Zealously dedicating ourselves to our renewal, let us persevere with a joyful heart in the commitment of our life. Yet, conscious of our human frailty, let us move forward on the way of conversion with the entire Church that is always being renewed by the Holy Spirit.||Current text (182,3)
3. Zealously dedicating ourselves to our renewal, let us persevere with a joyful heart in the commitment of our life. Yet, conscious of our human frailty, let us move forward on the way of conversion with the entire Church that is always being renewed by the Holy Spirit.
- Cf. Const. 1968, n.165. ↑
- Benedict XVI, Apostolic Letter in the form of motu proprio “Ubicumque et semper” (21 September 2010 ↑
- Br. Mauro Jöhri, Circular Letter n. 5: Mission at the heart of the Order” (29 November 2009) ↑
- On this question refer to the prosals regarding the structure of the Order in the PdR2 of Chapter VIII of the Constitutions. ↑
- Circular Letter n.5, n.1.3 ↑
- Tertio Millennio Adveniente (10 nov 1994) , n. 57. Previously the post-synodal Exhoration Christifideles laici (30 December 1988) stated: “Whole countries and nations where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and capable of fostering a viable and working community of faith, are now put to a hard test, and in some cases, are even undergoing a radical transformation, as a result of a constant spreading of an indifference to religion, of secularism and atheism. This particularly concerns countries and nations of the so-called First World, in which economic well-being and consumerism, even if coexistent with a tragic situation of poverty and misery, inspires and sustains a life lived “as if God did not exist”. This indifference to religion and the practice of religion devoid of true meaning in the face of life’s very serious problems, are not less worrying and upsetting when compared with declared atheism. Sometimes the Christian faith as well, while maintaining some of the externals of its tradition and rituals, tends to be separated from those moments of human existence which have the most significance, such as, birth, suffering and death…. On the other hand, in other regions or nations many vital traditions of piety and popular forms of Christian religion are still conserved; but today this moral and spiritual patrimony runs the risk of being dispersed under the impact of a multiplicity of processes, including secularization and the spread of sects. Only a new evangelization can assure the growth of a clear and deep faith, and serve to make these traditions a force for authentic freedom. Without doubt a mending of the Christian fabric of society is urgently needed in all parts of the world. But for this to come about what is needed is to first remake the Christian fabric of the ecclesial community itself present in these countries and nations.” (n.34) “Whole countries and nations where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and capable of fostering a viable and working community of faith, are now put to a hard test, and in some cases, are even undergoing a radical transformation, as a result of a constant spreading of an indifference to religion, of secularism and atheism. This particularly concerns countries and nations of the so-called First World, in which economic well-being and consumerism, even if coexistent with a tragic situation of poverty and misery, inspires and sustains a life lived “as if God did not exist”. This indifference to religion and the practice of religion devoid of true meaning in the face of life’s very serious problems, are not less worrying and upsetting when compared with declared atheism. Sometimes the Christian faith as well, while maintaining some of the externals of its tradition and rituals, tends to be separated from those moments of human existence which have the most significance, such as, birth, suffering and death…. On the other hand, in other regions or nations many vital traditions of piety and popular forms of Christian religion are still conserved; but today this moral and spiritual patrimony runs the risk of being dispersed under the impact of a multiplicity of processes, including secularization and the spread of sects. Only a new evangelization can assure the growth of a clear and deep faith, and serve to make these traditions a force for authentic freedom. Without doubt a mending of the Christian fabric of society is urgently needed in all parts of the world. But for this to come about what is needed is to first remake the Christian fabric of the ecclesial community itself present in these countries and nations.” (n.34) ↑
- Recently considered too is that part of the Encyclical that describes the contexts of mission “ad gentes”, that is, territories, worlds, new social phenomena, cultural areas, the modern areopagi (Redemptoris missio, nn. 37-38). The same Redemptoris missio urges that attention be directed to the South and towards the East (n.40). However, some years later, within the context of the new evangelisation, Tertio millennio adveniente (n.38) underlined the need for Synods at the continental level. Some of these had already been held, while others were still to take place. Therefore the Apostolic Exhortations on the presence and mission of the Church on the various continents are important for the enrichment of the Constitutions: the Church in Africa (1995); the Church in America (1999); the Church in Asia (1999); the Church in Oceania (2001) and the Church in Europe (2003). ↑
- Cfr. Analecta OFMCap 125  301. ↑
- cf. Schema Constitutionum nostrarum. Textus continuus quinquies emendatus cum indice alphabetico (Pro manuscripto ad usum PP. Capitularium). Romae, Officium Secretariatus C.C.L., 1968; n. 201. ↑
- cf. Acta 1968, II, 322 and note 1. ↑
- cf. Acta 1968, II, 371 and note 4. ↑
- cf. Acta 1968, II, 461. ↑
- cf. Fr. Iglesias (a cura di), Constitutiones Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum post Concilium Vaticanum II retractatae (a.1968-1988). I. Textus. Romae, Curia generalis OFMCap., 1988; 157. ↑
- cf, BENEDICT XVI, The Mendicant Orders. General Audience of 13 Janury, 2010. ↑
- R. Cantalamessa, “Let us observe the Rule we have promised” [Conference held at] Assisi, Chapter of Mats, 15-04-2009 on the VIII Centenary of the approval of the Rule of Saint Francis; n. 4. Cf. Br. Mauro Jöhri, Circular letter… cit., n. 3.2. ↑
- The Italian version of the critical edition of K. Esser (a. 1982) says: possono comportarsi in due modi in mezzo a quei popoli. Note that this translatuon omits spiritually, perhaps because spiritualiter is absent from some Latin codices. […] ↑
- The French edition of the Writings, published in 1981, says: Les frères qui s’en vont peuvent vivre spirituellement parmi eux de deux manieres (p. 151). ↑
- Cf. A. Ciceri, La Regula non Bullata. Saggio storico-critico e analisi testuale in F. Accrocca-A.Ciceri, Francesco e i suoi frati. La Regola non bollata: una regola in cammino (Tau 6). Milano, Edizioni Biblioteca Francescana, 1998; 213. ↑
- Cf. L. Lehmann, I principi della Missione Francescana secondo le fonti primitive in L’Italia Francescana 65 (1990) 259. ↑
- Cf. O. van Asseldonk, “Conversio” y “Conversatio” en la vida de Francisco y Clara in Estudios Franciscanos 89 (1988) 113-115. ↑
- Ibid, n. 1.7. ↑
- Ibid, n. 1.7. ↑
- Commissione Teologica Internazionale, Temi scelti di ecclesiologia in occasione del XX anniversario della chiusura del Concilio Vaticano II. 1984 in Documenti 1969-2004. Bologna, Edizioni Studio Domenicano, 2006; 302. ↑
- Cfr. H. De Lubac, Pluralismo di Chiese o unità della Chiesa. Brescia 1973 (Original title: Les églises particulierès dans l’église universelle); M. Sprizzi, De Lubac. L’identità ecclesiale del cristiano (Saggistica Paoline) Milano 2004. ↑
- Cfr. K. Esser, Opuscula (nota 1), 171. ↑
- Cfr. L. Lehmann, I principi della Missione Francescana… 255; Idem, Prinzipien Franziskanischer Mission nach den Frühen Quellen in E. Covi (ed.), Francescanesimo e profezia. Roma 1985; 120. ↑
- Cfr. O. van Asseldonk, o. c. 113-114. ↑
- cf. Iglesias, II, 43. ↑
- A. Ciceri, La Regula non Bullata… 211-212. ↑
- Cf. L. Lehmann, I principi della Missione Francescana… 253-254. ↑
- Cf. Thesaurus linguae latinae 5/1, 1349-1354; 7/1, 1200-1202. ↑
- Cf. I. Rodriguez Herrera – A. Ortega Carmona, Los Escritos de san Francisco de Asis. Texto latino de la edición crítica de Kajetan Esser. Traducción española y comentario filologico. Murcia 22003; 289-290; 402; 463. ↑