Project 2006 Draft Capuchin Constitutions and Statutes


Draft Constitutions
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Draft Statutes
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1The holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is, in every age, the principle of the entire life of the Church and the message of salvation for the whole world.

2For, through it, the Church, led by the Holy Spirit, comes to know Christ and accepts in faith His deeds and words that are spirit and life to those who believe.

3Saint Francis, founder of our Fraternity, accepted from the very beginning of his conversion the life and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,[1] as his life and norm.[2]

4In the beginning and end of the Rule, therefore, he expressly commanded its observance and declared in the Testament that it was revealed to him to live according to the pattern of the holy Gospel.

5Since we are his sons, therefore, let us always take care to make progress in understanding and incarnating the Gospel.[3]

6In all circumstances of our life, let us welcome and guard the words that give us Spirit and life[4] and, like the Blessed Virgin Mary, meditating on and carrying them in our heart. So that, following the Gospel assiduously as the supreme norm of life we will become each day more profoundly imbued by it and, giving it birth in our activity, we may grow toward fullness in Christ.[5]


1Saint Francis, an authentic disciple of Christ and an outstanding witness of the Christian life, taught his own brothers to follow the footprints of the humble and poor[6] Christ joyfully that, through Him, they may be led in the Holy Spirit to the Father.

2Inspired by the love of Christ, each day let us contemplate Him in the Gospel, especially[7] in the outpouring of His Incarnation and Cross that we might become ever more conformed to Him.[8] Living and celebrating the Eucharist in fraternal communion,[9] let us take part in the Paschal Mystery, announcing His Passion, and proclaiming His resurrection, while awaiting His coming.[10]

3Let us courageously observe the gospel counsels, especially those we have promised: a joyful chastity as a witness to the power of the love of God in the weakness of our human condition,[11] a responsible poverty testifying that God is the true wealth of the human heart,[12] and a fraternal obedience[13] that is the path by which true freedom is gradually obtained.[14]


1After showing mercy to lepers[15] and hearing the words of the Crucified of San Damiano and those of the mission of the disciples, Saint Francis, began his Gospel life. And the Lord gave him brothers.[16] This way of living the Gospel with his brothers gives witness to the Reign of God and His justice.

2That we might learn the pattern of a true disciple of Jesus Christ, let us strive to imitate him, cultivate his spiritual inheritance diligently in our life, work, and spiritual inheritance share it with all peoples[17] of whatever age.

3To this end let us frequently read our Franciscan sources, above all the writings of Saint Francis, and those pertaining to our tradition as Capuchins[18], in particular those known for their holiness of life, apostolic activity and teaching, as well as other books that reveal the spirit of Francis.


1As Capuchin Lesser Brothers we constitute a brotherhood according to the intuition of Saint Francis and his first brothers with the characteristics that come from our reform and from our tradition.

2To be always faithful to the Gospel, to the reform that characterizes our beginnings and all of our history, we should continually renew ourselves.[19]

3To this end, we should dedicate ourselves to fraternal life in the spirit of holy prayer and devotion, encouraged by minority in poverty and itinerancy, offering the world an example of an austere and joyful penance in love of the Crucified[20]; in light of the signs of the times, let us endeavor to seek always new forms of life and Gospel witness.

4Our fraternal life, submissive to every creature, is our primary way of announcing the Reign of God.[21] While exercising fraternal spontaneity among ourselves, let us joyfully live among the poor, the powerless and the weak, sharing their life, and let us maintain our special approach to people.

5Let us promote, as a fraternity, apostolic dynamism in a variety of forms, especially those that come from our charism,[22] preserving always a spirit of service.


1The Rule of Saint Francis, flowing from the Gospel, impels us to a gospel life.

2Let us zealously cling to a spiritual understanding of [the Rule] and strive to observe it simply and purely, through a holy activity, according to the admonition of the Founder himself expressed in his Testament and according to the spirit, gospel ideals and examples of holiness of many of our Capuchin brothers from the very beginning.[23]

3Let the ministers and guardians, together with their fraternities, keep promotion of knowledge, love and observance of the Rule close to their heart.

4The Rule and intentions of Saint Francis must be able to be observed throughout the world. Let the ministers always[24] take care to seek more appropriate, even pluriform, expressions of the life and apostolate of the brothers according to the diversity of regions, cultures and the demands of times and places.

5The true expression of pluriformity is, in fact, that which, while adapting our charism to diverse times and places, finds its authenticity in fraternal communion and in obedience to the ministers;[25] thus it safeguards gospel freedom of action, especially to promote the vigor and fruitfulness of our life, in order not to extinguish the spirit.[26]


1Saint Francis dictated the Testament shortly before his death to recall and express his Gospel experience.[27]

2Therefore, according to the tradition of our Order, we accept the Testament as the primary spiritual explanation of the Rule and the preeminent inspiration of our life.


1The purpose of the Constitutions is to offer us assistance in deepening the life of the Gospel[28] and in observing the Rule in a better way in different situations of life and culture.[29]

2We find in them a genuine means for renewing ourselves continually in following Christ toward the fullness of our consecration to God in the Church.[30]

3By reason of our profession, let us be committed to observe these Constitutions, not as slaves but as sons desiring in Christ to love God above all else, listening to the Spirit of the Lord Who guides us in praising our heavenly Father and in serving one another.[31]

4With the same spirit let us also commit ourselves to observe the General Statutes, as well as the norms that are shown to be necessary for achieving the goals and values expressed in the Constitutions, but that can be revised and updated with greater frequency according to the demands of the times.[32]

5All the brothers are strongly urged to apply themselves to a personal study of the Rule, Testament, Constitutions and General Statutes[33], and to be intimately imbued with their spirit.

Article II

Our Ecclesial Life[34]


1The Church, the sacrament of salvation and of communion with God and people,[35] appears as the people of God making a pilgrimage in the world. Established by Christ in a communion of life, charity and truth, it is enriched by the Holy Spirit with a multitude of gifts or charisms for bringing about the Reign of God.[36] The Church is founded upon, and called to live, the relational nature of the Trinity itself, which is a free communion of persons, without domination or subordination.[37]

2In the Church, adorned with such a variety of charisms, Saint Francis, inspired by the Holy Spirit, raised up a religious Fraternity and gave it its own form of life. That a sign of Christ, humble, poor, and dedicated to the service of all,[38] might shine more brilliantly upon her face, the Church approved it by her authority and continually protected it.

3The Order of Capuchin Friars Minor was also accepted by the Church by virtue of the decree Religionis zelus given by Pope Clement VII on July 3, 1528.

4 Let us, as sons, love holy Mother the Church[39] above all else, meditate upon its mystery, study its teachings, and actively participate in its undertakings, so that, in a special way, we might correspond to the charism the Spirit has give us.[40]


1After the example of Saint Francis who was a catholic and totally apostolic man, let us offer faithful obedience to the Spirit of Christ living in the Church.

2Let us offer obedience and reverence to the Pope, to whom religious are subject as [their] highest superior also by virtue of their vow of obedience, and to the College of Bishops, which, together with him, is a visible sign of the unity of the Church and its apostolicity.

3Wherever we are, let us contribute to the good of the particular Church by our prophetic fraternal presence, keeping alive in it the demand for fraternity as a manifestation of the Trinity.[41]

4As members of the Church let us offer our apostolic service for the good of humanity according to our charism and under the guidance of the diocesan bishop.

5Let us offer due honor to priests and all others who minister spirit and life to us and work assiduously with them.

6Let us follow with love and an active and responsible obedience the general minister and the other ministers of the fraternity whom the Lord has given us as shepherds and who provide the living bond uniting us with the authority of the Church and among one another.[42]


1From his adoration of the Father of all good, Saint Francis obtained a feeling for universal brotherhood through which he perceived in every human creature an image of Christ, the first born and savior.

2As children of this Father, let us regard ourselves as brothers to all peoples without any discrimination.

3Like Francis who became the voice of every creature, let us offer our praise to God. May his example prompt us to love and protect all of creation threatened by pollution and senseless destruction and to be united with all those who struggle for this noble goal.[43]

4United by the Holy Spirit in the same calling, let us foster a sense of brotherhood throughout the entire Order and especially in our provinces and local communities by prayer, life, and common activity. Let us cultivate that same sense toward all our brothers and sisters, whether religious or secular.

5Our fraternity is the primary means of evangelization. It is, therefore, a sign and leaven of a new way[44] of social life that invites people to foster fraternal relationships among themselves and to combine their efforts for the better development and liberation of the whole person as well as for the genuine progress of human society.

6Our fraternal life has a special importance and becomes a greater power of witness in the ongoing process of globalization,[45] social development and association through which God calls us as we support the realization and growth of universal fraternity in justice and peace.


1The Son of God, accepting the form of a servant, did not come to be ministered to but to minister and give His life for the salvation of all.

2Wishing to be conformed to His image, let us not presume to be greater, but let us expend ourselves as lesser brothers in the service of all, especially of those who suffer want and tribulation or even of those who persecute us[46].

3Closeness to the poor is a necessary hermeneutical tool for arriving at the heart of our Franciscan inheritance.[47] Therefore let us willingly spend our fraternal life near to them, sharing in a very loving way their hardships and humiliation.

4While relieving their material and spiritual needs, let us also devote ourselves by our life, activity and word to promoting their human and Christian development so that there may be a mutual enrichment.[48]

5By acting in this way, we make the spirit of our brotherhood in minority known and, at the same time, become agents[49] of justice, unity and peace.


1That we may fulfill our gospel calling in the Church and the world fruitfully, let us strive faithfully and generously[50] to lead an apostolic life that embraces contemplation and activity, following[51] Jesus Who spent His life unceasingly in prayer and the work of salvation.

2Following the life and teaching of the Master, the apostles, sent by the Lord into the whole world, were constant in their prayer and the ministry of the word.

3Saint Francis, who often retired to solitary places,[52] following the footprints of the Lord and the apostles, chose a form of life that intimately united prayer and the proclamation of the message of salvation.

4Our Capuchin tradition, then, prompts us in our following of Christ to imitate at times Martha and at others Mary, living a life that reconciles both contemplation and the apostolate[53] ,giving pride of place to minority in both dimensions[54].

5Let us therefore devote ourselves to the praise of God and meditation on His word through which we become ever more inflamed for this: that people may be led joyfully to the love of God by our ardent activity.

5In this way our entire life of prayer will be imbued with an apostolic spirit while all our apostolic activity will be charged with the spirit of prayer.




The call to our life


1In His goodness, God calls all faithful Christians in the Church to the fullness of love through different states of life, so that the holiness of each one and the salvation of the world might be promoted.

2Each one, with the greatest freedom, must give a response of love to this call, so that the dignity of the human person may be in harmony with the will of God.

3Let all of us rejoice with a grateful spirit over the special divine grace of the call to the consecrated life which God has given to us. This consists in conforming one’s whole existence to Christ,[55] thereby giving witness to the inner nature of the Christian life.[56]

4Responding to our calling as Capuchin Lesser Brothers, we offer at this very moment a public and social witness to the abiding and eternal life of Christ, follow the poor and humble Christ, and as brothers spread His message to all peoples, especially the poor, wherever they may be.

5In this way, as pilgrim brothers, penitents in heart and deed, we expend ourselves for all peoples in a spirit of minority and joy for the saving mission of the Church.


1Let the brothers work actively for an increase of all vocations rooted in the grace of Baptism, especially of those that are enlivened by the desire to fulfill the will of God according to our charism.[57]

2Concern for vocations arises above all from the insistence of the Lord to beg the Lord of the harvest to send laborers to His Church.[58] This will be strongly motivated by the brothers’ awareness that they themselves are living and offering to others a program of life that is very rich in human and gospel values.

3By embracing this life candidates, while offering genuine service to God, to His Kingdom and its justice,[59] develop their own humanity. If we are to present convincing witness to this way of life, we ourselves must be continually renewed and fully cultivate this gift.

4Let all the brothers, above all the ministers and the individual fraternity, work together earnestly in discerning and fostering genuine vocations, especially through the witness of our life, prayer, speech, and also through an explicit vocational invitation.[60]

5In this way we work together with God Who calls and chooses whomever He wishes and we contribute to the good of the Church.

6Let different forms of the pastoral work for vocations be diligently promoted, keeping in mind that better results are obtained when some brothers are specifically charged with fostering and coordinating the promotion of vocations. All the brothers, however, should collaborate with them.

7.Candidates to our life, from pre-postulancy onwards, should be informed, guided and encouraged to understand and to live our lesser, itinerant brotherhood, with its distinguishing mark of fraternal equality[61].

No. 16 moves to the General Statutes


Admission to our Life


1Saint Francis was concerned about the authenticity of our life and, foreseeing that the number of his brothers would become a large multitude,[62] was fearful at the same time of a number of unsuitable brothers.

2Therefore, since the Brotherhood should continually increase in Gospel life rather than in number, let those who wish to embrace our life be attentively accompanied in light of their vocational discernment.

3Let the ministers inquire whether those who are to be admitted to our life meet the requirements of the universal law as well as our own for their valid and lawful admission, especially the human and spiritual qualities the make it possible to live the Gospel as brothers.[63]

(The remainder of #17:3 goes into the General Statutes)


1Christ, our most wise teacher, responding to the young man who manifested a desire to achieve eternal salvation, said that whoever wanted to be perfect should first sell all he had, give to the poor, and then follow Him.[64]

2Thus Francis not only fulfilled this in deed but also taught it to others whom he received and placed this norm in the Rule.

3Let the ministers, therefore, take care that the words revealed in the Holy Gospel be made known and explained to the aspirants who, invited by an interior love of Christ, come to our Order so that, at the proper time before their perpetual profession, they may renounce their goods, as far as possible,[65] in favor of the poor.

4Let the candidates prepare themselves interiorly for the future renunciation of goods and condition themselves for the service of all people.

5Let the brothers, however, avoid involving themselves in any way in these arrangements, according to the Rule.

6Moreover, let the aspirants be ready to contribute to the entire brotherhood their gifts of nature and grace in fulfilling the duties which they accept in the service of the people of God.[66]

7Admission to the postulancy, the novitiate, and to profession take place according to common and proper law.

(#19 goes into the General Statutes)

(#20 goes into the General Statutes)[67]


1The nature and goal of the three gospel counsels, promised by vow at profession, is that, with a heart liberated by grace, we may be united with Christ in a chaste, poor and obedient life for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven following the footprints of Saint Francis.

2The gospel counsel of chastity for the Kingdom of heaven, a sign of the world to come and a fountain of a more abundant fruitfulness in an undivided heart, entails the obligation of perfect continence in celibacy.

3The gospel counsel of poverty in imitation of Christ, Who though he was rich was made poor, entails, in addition to a life poor in fact and in spirit, minority[68], dependence upon ministers and guardians and a limitation in the use and disposal of goods and, before perpetual profession, also a voluntary renunciation of the capacity of acquiring and possessing goods. Let this renunciation be made in a form which, as far as possible, is also valid in civil law.

4The gospel counsel of obedience, promised in a spirit of faith and love in the following of Christ who was obedient even to death, requires, for God’s sake, a submission of the will to legitimate ministers and guardians whenever they command according to our Constitutions in everything that is not contrary to our conscience and the Rule.


Formation in General


1Formation is the development of the brothers and fraternities in such a way that our life may daily become more conformable to the holy Gospel in the Franciscan spirit according to the Capuchin tradition, keeping in mind the demands of places and times. This formation must be continuous, extending throughout our entire life as regards not only human values but also those of gospel and consecrated life.

2Our integral formation looks to the entire person, especially in its physical, psychological, religious, cultural, social, and even professional or technical aspects. But it embraces two phases: initial and ongoing formation.

3As a period of entrance into our brotherhood, initial formation comprises the following stages: postulancy, novitiate, and post-novitiate. Proper law establishes the manner in which initial formation permits and follows the consistent and progressive development of the personality of the one being formed.


1All formation is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit That gives life from within to those forming and those being formed.

2Active formation demands the cooperation of those being formed, who are the principal authors of and the ones responsible for their own growth.

3Throughout his life, every brother is at the same time the person needing to be formed and the one forming because everyone always has something to teach and to be learn. This principle should be laid down as the program for formation and should be put into practice in our life.

4To live together as Capuchin lesser brothers is a principle part of our vocation. Therefore let fraternal life in minority be always and everywhere a basic requirement of the formation process[69].

5. In order to establish and develop a capacity to live a life of brotherhood in minority, initial formation should provide experiences of real contact with the “lepers” of our age, both in one’s own territory and in mission lands. [70]

6In order that individual fraternities, especially those specifically formational, be capable of carrying out this primary function, it is necessary that they draw inspiration and encouragement from the primary fraternity, the provincial fraternity.

7Although all of the brothers are the ones forming, some brothers are given direct responsibility for this duty. The first of these are the ministers and the guardians, who are the ordinary animators and coordinators of the formation process of the brothers. Then there are qualified formators who assume this particular duty in the name of the fraternity.

(#24 goes into the General Statutes)


Initiation into Our Life


1Initial formation into our life requires that candidates, under the guidance of formation personnel in fraternity,[71] gain the necessary experience and knowledge necessary for their gradual entry into the Franciscan Gospel way of life.

(PP. 2 and 3 of #25 go to the General Statutes)

2Taking into consideration their individual personalities and gifts of grace let them be introduced into a spiritual life that is nourished by the reading of God’s word in light of the signs of the times, by active participation in the liturgy, and by personal reflection and prayer. In this way they may be drawn more and more to Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

(PP. 5, 6, 7 go to the General Statutes)

8All periods of formation must be spent in fraternities that are specifically suited for living our life and for imparting formation and that have been designated for this purpose by the minister according to proper law.

(The remainder of this paragraph 8 goes to the General Statutes,

as do pp. 9 and 10)


1Every brother, given to the brotherhood by God, brings joy to it and, at the same time, is an incentive to renew ourselves in the spirit of our vocation.

2Indeed, the work of initiation rests with the entire fraternity since the aspirants belong to it.

(PP. 3, 4, and 5 of #26 go to the General Statutes)

3The period of initial formation begins on the day when, after being accepted by the minister provincial, one enters the fraternity and continues until perpetual profession. It is carried out according to the norms of universal and our own law. Let a document be drawn up concerning this entrance.[72]

(Paragraphs 2 of #27 goes to the General Statutes)

(Paragraph 3 of # 27 is deleted)[73]

(#28 goes to the General Statutes)

(#29 goes to the General Statutes)

#30 goes to the General Statutes)


The Profession of Our Life


1Let us frequently consider how great is the grace of religious profession.

2For through it we embrace, under a new and special title, a life dedicated to the honor and service of God that impels us to the fullness of charity, and we consecrate ourselves to God, adoring Him in Spirit and in truth in joyful recognition of Him and in the service of our brothers.[74]

3As consecrated men, we represent in a particular way the Church’s response of love for Christ Her Spouse.[75]

4In order that through this consecration we may gather more abundant fruit from the grace of baptism we bind ourselves to live out the gospel counsels according to the Rule and proper law.

(Paragraph 4 of #31 is eliminated)[76]

5By means of profession, finally, while we enjoy a special divine gift within the life of the Church, we contribute to the holiness of the People of God by our witness.

(Paragraph 6 goes to the General Statutes)


1When the novitiate has been completed and the fitness of the novice has been proven, temporary profession of vows may be made for a period determined by the minister with the novice himself to be renewed freely until perpetual profession. But if a doubt arises concerning suitability the time of probation can be prolonged by the minister although not beyond six months. If the novice is judged unsuited, let him be dismissed.

2Of itself the time of this profession shall not be shorter than three years nor longer than six; if it seems appropriate, however, it may be extended, but only in such a way that the entire period during which the brother is bound by temporary vows does not exceed nine years.

3If a brother is judged suitable and freely petitions for it, perpetual profession is made at a time determined by the minister after consultation with the one making profession, safeguarding the integrity of the three years of temporary profession and never before the completion of his twenty-first year. By means of this profession a candidate is definitively incorporated into the fraternity with all rights and obligations according to the norm of the Constitutions.

(Paragraph 4 of #32 goes to the General Statutes)

5All other prescriptions of the universal law that concern profession be observed, especially those concerned with the disposition of goods before temporary and perpetual profession.


1The religious habit is given during the rite of religious profession, even though the clothes of probation may have been previously received. Let us remember the clothes we wear must be a sign both of our consecration to God and of our poverty and our fraternal minority.

2Clothed as we are with the meek and humble Christ, let us truly be minors[77] in heart, word and deed.

(Paragraph 3 of #33 is suppressed)[78]

4After the example of Saint Francis, therefore, let us make every effort to have a good heart,[79] to be the same in word and in life, within and without; and as, with serenity,[80] we consider ourselves less than all others, let us surpass others in showing respect.

(Paragraphs 5 and 6 go to the General Statutes)

(#34 goes to the General Statutes)

(#35 goes to the General Statutes)

(#36 goes to the General Statutes)


Specific[81] Formation


1Francis writes in the Testament: Let those who do not know how to work, learn.

2In our day this admonition reveals a new and more urgent meaning for us. Work can hardly be performed properly without special and adequate formation.

3It pertains to the Order to help every brother to develop his own grace of working. Thus, while working, let the brothers mutually encourage one another in their calling and foster the harmony of their fraternal life.

4Let each brother according to his gifts be formed for the various tasks that must be performed. Therefore some may learn skills and technical trades, while others may engage in pastoral or scientific studies, especially those of a sacred character.


1Let all the brothers, however, while serving the Lord in minority, be aware that they must desire above all else to have the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy activity.

2Let the brothers take care, therefore that, while becoming skillful with their hands and well equipped intellectually, at the same time they be proficient in their work and to live a holy life.

3Let them apply themselves according to their abilities to the work of specific formation in a spirit of self-denial and discipline that, through the development of their personality and the cultivation of their mind, they contribute to the good of the Order, the Church and human society.

(Paragraph 4 of #38 is suppressed)[82]

4When engaged in studies, therefore, let the brothers, enlightened and inspired by the charity of Christ, develop their minds and hearts in such a way that, in keeping with the intention of Saint Francis, they do not lose the spirit of holy prayer and devotion to which all things must contribute.[83]


1Let care be provided in each province for the intellectual, apostolic and technical formation of all the brothers according to each one’s duties[85].

2Let formation in philosophy and theology, especially according to Franciscan teaching, gradually reveal the mystery of Christ in order to live it.

3The brothers who are called to sacred orders must be taught according to the norms laid down by the Church taking into account the nature of our lesser brotherhood. The consent of the minister and his council is required for the reception of sacred orders.

4. The model of priesthood presented to candidates for sacred orders should be that of the priest as lesser brother: one who joins in washing the feet of others, is available for the more humble ministries and capable of freely giving of himself in the spirit of the gospel.[86]

5 Pastoral concern should be kept in mind throughout the entire formation, so that all the brothers, according to each one’s abilities, may be able to proclaim by deed and word the Kingdom of God as disciples and prophets of our Lord Jesus Christ and sons of Saint Francis. Let the pastoral needs of the regions as well as the missionary responsibility and the ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue[87] of the Church be realized.

(Paragraphs 5, 6, and 7 go to the General Statutes)

(#40 goes to the General Statutes)

Article VII

Ongoing Formation


1Ongoing formation is a process involving personal and community renewal, in-depth assimilation[88] and harmonious adaptation of structures by which we are continuously enabled to live our vocation according to the Gospel and our Franciscan charism[89] in the concrete daily circumstances of every time and culture.[90]

2Though it involves the person as a unified whole, ongoing formation has a two-fold dimension: an interior renewal[91] through a continual return to the sources of Christian life and to the original spirit of our Order adapted to our times; and a cultural and professional renewal by means of a quasi-technical adaptation to the conditions of the times. All these contribute to greater fidelity to our vocation.


1A brother who has completed the period of initial formation can hardly claim to be fully equipped for all his life. Ongoing formation, therefore, is intended for all brothers.

2Without a doubt, it is primarily both the personal obligation and right of each brother to apply himself to his own ongoing formation, since this is nothing other than a continuous implementation of our vocation.

3At the same time, however, this formation must be regarded as the ordinary and pastoral duty of ministers and guardians.

4Ongoing formation should help foster a constant deepening of minority and itinerancy. As well as providing educational updating, it should promote concrete experiences of closeness to people and to the poor [92].

(#43 goes to the General Statutes)


1Let each brother take special care to walk consistently in our Capuchin calling to which he has been called by God.

2Let all of us, therefore, strive to maintain and strengthen for ourselves and for others the gift of our call to consecration and perseverance by faithful cooperation, prudent watchfulness and unceasing prayer.

3Let us also beware, brothers, of apostasy of the heart which occurs when, because of tepidity, someone hides a worldly heart beneath a religious exterior, abandons the spirit and love of his vocation, and yields to a worldly spirit of pride and sensuality. Remembering the apostle’s admonition: Do not be conformed to this world, let us, rather, avoid whatever savors of sin and weakens religious life.

4After we have left the world, therefore, let us desire nothing else, let us wish for nothing else, let nothing else please us than to follow the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy activity and to please Him always that we may truly be brothers and lesser ones,[93] men meek and thirsting for holiness, merciful, clean of heart, those, in fact, through whom the world may know the peace and goodness of God.




1Prayer to God, as the breathing[94] of love, has its origin from a movement of the Holy Spirit through which the inner person listens to the voice of God speaking to the heart.

2For God, Who has first loved us, speaks to us in many ways: in all creatures, in the signs of the times, in the life of each person, in our heart, in the liturgy, and, above all, in His Word in the history of salvation.

3Responding to God speaking to us, we achieve fullness in prayer to the extent that the Holy Spirit places us in communion with Christ, the God-Man, Who is the Way to the Father.[95]

4For Christ Himself, the Uncreated, Incarnate, and Inspired Word,[96] is our life, our prayer and our activity.

5We truly carry on a filial conversation with the Father, therefore, when Christ lives in us and we pray in His Spirit That cries in our heart: ‘Abba, Father!’ and enlightens us to see a brother and a sister in each person we encounter.[97]

6Since we have been more intimately consecrated to God and to His service[98] through the profession of the evangelical counsels, let us strive in freedom of spirit to pursue this life of prayer faithfully and continually.

7Let us above all cultivate the Spirit of holy prayer and devotion to which all temporal things should contribute that we may become true followers of Saint Francis who was seen not so much as praying as having totally become a prayer.

8Desiring above all things the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy activity, praying always to God with a pure heart, let us offer people a witness of authentic prayer in such a way that they may see and sense in our faces and in the life of our fraternities the goodness and kindness of God present in the world.


1Let our prayer be a special manifestation of our calling as lesser brothers.

2We truly pray as brothers when we gather in mutual love in the name of Christ so that the Lord may be really in our midst.

3And we truly pray as lesser ones when we live in the Spirit with the humble and poor Christ, presenting the cry of the poor to the Father and effectively sharing their lot.

4As the prophets, psalmists and Christ himself taught us, let our prayer not evade reality, but, after the example of Saint Francis, who contemplated God in human reality,[99] let it help us each day to be more incarnated[100] in life’s situations, in the events of history, in the religious spirit and practices of the people, and in the particular culture of the regions.

5Thus prayer and work, inspired by one and the same Spirit of the Lord, far from being opposed to each other, complement one another.

6Franciscan prayer is affective, a prayer of the heart, that leads us to an intimate experience of God. When we contemplate God the Supreme Good from Whom all good proceeds, it is appropriate that adoration, thanksgiving, admiration and praise surge from our hearts.

7Seeing the power, the wisdom, and the goodness of God[101] in all creatures, let us go throughout the world announcing peace and penance, inviting everyone to the praises of God as witnesses of His love.


1Since we have been consecrated to the service to God and to His service by baptism and religious profession, let us greatly esteem the sacred Liturgy, which is participation in the priestly office of Jesus Christ, the summit of all the Church’s activity and the source of all Christian life. Let us strive to nourish our spiritual life and that of the fraternity from the liturgy and to open its treasures to everyone.[102]

2Let us take care over the liturgical actions so that, according to the norms and spirit of the Liturgy, they take place with freshness and spontaneity.

(Paragraphs 3 and 4 of #47 go into the General Statutes)


1Let us fully, consciously and actively participate in the Eucharist, the heart of ecclesial life as well as of our fraternal life,[103] in which we celebrate the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ until He comes, holding back nothing of ourselves so that He Who poured Himself out totally for us might receive us totally.

2So that it may be more obvious that in the breaking of the Eucharistic Bread we are lifted up to communion with Christ and with ourselves, let the Eucharist be celebrated together in our fraternities whenever it is possible. Where this cannot be done each day, let it at least be celebrated periodically and participated in by all the brothers.

(Paragraphs 3 and 4 of #48 go into the General Statutes)

5After the example of Saint Francis, let us with faith, humble reverence, and devotion adore[104] above all else Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist, offer ourselves and our actions with Him to God the Father, and frequently pour out devout prayers before Him Who is the spiritual center of the fraternity.


1In the celebration of the Eucharist and in our prayers, conscious of the catholic sense of Saint Francis, let us implore God for Holy Mother Church, for those who govern us, for the whole of humanity, and for the salvation of the whole world, especially for the whole Franciscan family and for all our benefactors What has been established by the General Statutes should be observed concerning suffrages.[105]

(Paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 of #49 go into the General Statutes)


1The Church joins in Christ’s song of praise and intercessory prayer and unites us to such a gift not only in celebrating the Eucharist but in other ways as well, especially in celebrating the Liturgy of the Hours, and enjoins this duty also on us.[106]

2God Himself encounters and speaks to us in the Liturgy of the Hours through His word, and we speak with God through the same words given by Scripture.[107]

3Therefore, let the entire fraternity gather together each day in the name of Christ to celebrate in common the Liturgy of the Hours, especially for Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. Moreover, the brothers are encouraged to do the same wherever they may be.[108]

(Paragraphs 3, 4, and 5 go to the General Statutes)

(Note that paragraphs 1- 4 of #51 are joined as paragraphs 4, 5, and 6 of the present #36)

4That the word of God may penetrate our hearts more profoundly and form our entire life more effectively, let the Liturgy of the Hours be living and vibrant.[109]

5In imitation of St. Francis who frequently expressed his feelings with song and music, let the Liturgy be celebrated with song, as far as possible, at least on feast days.

6Let the brothers pay attention not so much to the melody of the voice as to the harmony of the mind, so that the voice may be in harmony with the mind and the mind with God.


1Following the example of St. Francis, let us dedicate ourselves to meditate on the word of God, which is the privileged means of making progress in the experience of God.[110] Let us preserve and promote the contemplative spirit that shines out in his life and in the life of our first brothers and each day let us give greater space to it.

2Mental prayer[111] is the spiritual teacher of the brothers who, if they are true and spiritual lesser brothers, pray above all interiorly. To pray, in fact, is nothing other than to speak to God with the heart; in truth, whoever speaks to God with his lips alone does not pray at all. For this reason let everyone apply himself to mental prayer and contemplation and, according to the doctrine of Christ, the best teacher, endeavor to adore the eternal Father in spirit and truth, striving earnestly to enlighten the mind and enkindle the heart rather than to formulate words.

3Authentic mental prayer leads us to the spirit of true adoration, unites us intimately with Christ and renders the Sacred Liturgy continually efficacious in our spiritual life.

4Moreover, that the spirit of prayer may never grow cold within us but be ever more inflamed from day to day, we must apply ourselves each day to its practice in our lives.

5Let the ministers and the others to whom the care of the spiritual life is entrusted take pains that all the brothers make progress in the knowledge and practice of mental prayer. We should help one another to eliminate occupations and concerns that reduce mental prayer or abolish it altogether.[112]

6Let the brothers, then, draw the spirit of prayer and prayer itself from the genuine sources of Christian and Franciscan spirituality that they may acquire the eminent knowledge of Jesus Christ[113].

7St. Francis discovered this knowledge of Jesus Christ praying before the Crucifix of San Damiano and equally in embracing the leper. Genuine mental prayer must bring us into the lives of people, especially those poorest and most in need, and prompt us to love and serve them[114].


1Let the primacy of the spirit and life of prayer be totally brought into effect both by the fraternities and the individual brothers, wherever they may be found, as is required by the words and example of Saint Francis and sound Capuchin tradition.

2It is of the greatest importance to form one’s conscience about the vital necessity of praying personally. Let each brother, wherever he lives, take sufficient[115] time every day for mental prayer.

(Paragraphs 3 and 4 go into the General Statutes)

3As disciples of Christ, although poor and weak, let us so apply ourselves to prayer that those who sincerely seek the Lord may be invited to pray with us.

4Above all, let us cultivate and develop among the People of God the spirit of prayer, especially interior, humble and simple prayer that can be practiced by all, and is capable of transforming the joys and suffering of daily life into intimate union with God.[116] This, indeed, was a charism of our Capuchin Fraternity from the beginning and, as history testifies, the seed of genuine renewal.


1As children of God, let us allow ourselves to be led in our prayer by the Holy Spirit so that It may make us grow day by day in communion with the Father and with our brothers.

2In the spirit of the Holy Gospel, let us especially reflect on and preach to the faithful the mysteries of the humanity of Christ, especially His nativity and passion in which Saint Francis marveled at the love and humility of the Lord.

3Let us, in particular, venerate, especially through liturgical worship and the rosary, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, conceived without sin, daughter and handmaid of the Father, mother of the Son, and spouse of the Holy Spirit, [the virgin] made Church, according to the words of Saint Francis, and let us especially promote devotion to her among the people. For she is our mother and advocate, the patroness of our Order, the companion of the poverty and suffering of her Son, and, as experience witnesses, the way to arrive at the spirit of the poor and crucified Christ.

4In the same way, let us venerate, according to ancient tradition, Joseph her spouse.

5Let us encourage and promote, according to local custom, veneration of our holy Father Francis, the form of lesser ones, and of the saints, especially our own, who are a proof of the validity and spiritual richness of our Capuchin Franciscan charism,[117]. However, we should take care that such veneration is always in conformity with the spirit of the sacred liturgy and of sound catholic faith.[118]


1Every fraternity must be truly a fraternity of prayer. To this end, let silence, the faithful guardian of the interior spirit and required by charity in a life in common, be encouraged. Let it also be held in great esteem in all our fraternities to preserve a life of study and recollection.

2The reading of Sacred Scripture, the writings of St. Francis,[120] and other spiritual books is an effective means of nourishing true devotion and of fostering the experience of God. Let each brother faithfully take a sufficient period of time for himself to do such reading.

1In order to continually renew our religious life, let all the brothers make an annual retreat.




1. The Trinitarian God is by nature relational in a free, equal communion of Persons, without domination or subordination. Because they are made in the likeness of God, human beings are called to live the same kind of relationships among themselves, slowly becoming a free, equal communion of persons without domination or subordination.[122]

2Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who receives everything from the Father and, with the Father, is in perfect communion with the Spirit, emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave and made Himself obedient even to death, death on a cross.[123]

3Although He was rich, for our sake He was made poor that by His poverty we might become rich. The birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus show His love for poverty and humility[124], his solidarity with the poor and his mission of evangelizing them.[125]

4The Church, called to continue in time and place the evangelizing mission of Jesus with the same style, has always valued the voluntary poverty of its sons, recognizing it as a particular decisive sign of the following of Christ and of a prophetic anticipation of the Kingdom that is coming.[126]

5The Church has also consistently represented the beatitude of Gospel poverty and the preferential love of God for the poor, not neglecting concrete solidarity with them and their liberation from conditions unworthy of children of God.[127]

6Francis, being particularly sensitive to poverty and minority, grasped their root and the divine model underlying them. This is why, in the Praises of God, he proclaims “You are humility”[128].


Our Gospel Poverty and Minority[129] as Lesser Brothers


1The fundamental intention of St. Francis was to observe the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. He saw in the Incarnation and the Cross the pattern of his radical attitude: to keep nothing of himself for himself, but returning it to God in praise and thanksgiving, firmly convinced that we have nothing of our own except our vices and sins.[130]

2As part of his program of total emptying, he also adds rejoicing when we fall into various trials of soul and body, boasting of our infirmities, and in carrying on our shoulders each day the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.[131]

3For Francis, the gospel ideal of poverty involves choosing minority. To be lesser is a genuine manifestation of interior poverty, which, in the Franciscan project of life, also expresses itself externally as humility of heart, an absence of power that dominates others[132], and as solidarity with the needy and the deprived.[133]

4Without minority, our poverty would have no meaning, and would become proud; just as without poverty, minority would become unreal.[134]

5Conversely, poverty and minority are not for Francis ends in themselves, but help us to put into practice “the highest gift”, love, which is expressed in brotherhood towards people and all creation.[135]

6It was this life of gospel brotherhood, lived in poverty and minority, that drew people of every social condition and made them responsive to the neediest in practical ways.[136]

7. The courageous choices Francis made for a more fraternal world in terms of minority must be translated, in our day, into relationships, including economic ones, which respect the rights of all, in a culture of peace, able to accept vulnerability, based on service, participation and a constant search for dialogue [137].

8. From our choice of minority derives a whole fraternal life-style among us, which is also the primary form of our apostolate: appointments and elections to the various offices are effectively open to all; all brothers taking a share in housework, initial formation the same for all, with the same opportunities for special formation being offered to everyone[138].


1Within the Franciscan movement, Capuchins have placed particular emphasis on austere simplicity in their manner of living poverty and closeness to the people in practicing minority, above all in preaching to the people, ministering to the sick, and in begging from door to door.[139]

2These values, when they are lived in brotherhood, renewed and inculturated, are a powerful gospel witness and a stimulus for the advancement of the weakest.[140]

3Our entire spirituality and tradition has highlighted poverty, viewing it especially under the ascetical, individual aspect.. Today the renewed sense of brotherhood, the world-wide spread of the Order, and new problems in our society invite us to reconsider and deepen the meaning of our “gospel poverty and minority[141] in brotherhood”, specifically from the communal, institutional and structural point of view.[142]

4 Francis judged that greed and avarice disrupt relationships with God, just as ambition and competition damage the sense of brotherhood among people. In order to live the gospel ideal of love and brotherhood in its fullness, Francis and his first companions adopted a form of life that involved courageous choices of poverty for those times. Among these were the non-use of money, non-appropriation of goods and manual work as the ordinary means of support and help to others, and alms in case of manifest necessity.[143]

5Although we are no longer bound by the economic choices of Francis and his first companions, we are still bound to be faithful to the profound intentions of St Francis.[144]

6Therefore, we need to look for new ways of living out a number of options that are fundamental in the Franciscan heritage, such as austerity of life and commitment in work; solidarity and mutual dependence; a life rooted in the experience of the people, particularly the poor; a correct use and administration of goods and property, and commitment to sustainable growth.[145]


Poverty and minority[146] as Our Way of Individual and Fraternal Life


1Francis embodied gospel radicality and, in his unmistakable style, stressed the fact that to live and proclaim the Gospel means nudus nudum Christum sequi. For him the fundamental thing is surrender to God in total trust and to accept every situation, joyful or sad, as coming from his hands.[147]

2Thus, he insists that his brothers should go about the world without taking anything, like sheep among wolves, leaving it to their daily witness of life as lesser brothers, before anything else, to proclaim the gospel.[148]

3For Francis, this way of being and living, powerless and totally defenseless, was not a method or condition of evangelization, but was already in itself a proclamation of the Gospel.[149]


1Our 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.[150]

2. Consistently with our tradition, we are called to use power–which we always have, whether as individuals, fraternities and institutions–not to dominate others but to serve them better, seeking interpersonal relationships that are fraternal rather than efficiency in what we do.[151]

3Consequently, we should strive to adopt a life-style that is attentive to all, participatory, equal, willing to dialogue and non- violent[152]. We should seek to implement models of evangelization that are not bound up with the power and security that derives from having many expensive resources. We wish to become more ready to learn from the poor and to place our trust in God alone.[153]

4In the face of the globalized world economy, we Capuchin Friars Minor, who also feel its influence, humbly and faithfully reaffirm the value of gospel poverty and minority[154] as a valid alternative for our times according to Francis’ original inspiration and the constituent elements of the Capuchin Franciscan tradition. Therefore we accept gospel poverty and minority as the option we have made as a family, and commit ourselves to rethink it afresh.[155]


1Let us not consider the gifts of nature and grace we have received as our property, but let us strive to use them entirely for the benefit of the People of God and for all humanity.[156]

2Let us also seek to harmonize our individual poverty and that which is fraternal, the exterior with the interior, in such a way that it needs no distinctions or explanations.[157]

3Let all the goods that in any way come to us, including salaries and pensions, insurance policies and grants, be handed over for the use of the fraternity, so that individuals may receive from the fraternity the same food, clothing and other necessities.[158]

4Let the ministers and guardians be the first to protect poverty and promote its individual and communal observance.[159]

5The minister, guardians, and bursars, who by office have the responsibility of thoughtfully caring for the needs of the brothers, conscientiously use material goods and money for the necessities of life as well as for works of the apostolate and charity. Let them, above all, render an account to the brothers. Let all the other brothers do the same.[160]


1Francis allowed recourse to extraordinary means for the obvious needs of the sick and of lepers. Today we have other “manifest necessities” – which must always be carefully verified – requiring recourse to extraordinary means, such as financial reserves/investments.[161]

2Fraternal life also requires transparency in local and provincial administration as well as that of the entire Order. Such transparency begins with the individual friar, continues in the local fraternity, and finds its completion in the circumscription to which the fraternity belongs.[162]

3Administrative transparency expresses and facilitates brotherhood and solidarity among all the constituent parts of the Order.[163]

4Our administration of money must be expressions of fraternity. Budgeting and monitoring how money is spent is an important means of transparency and of fraternal sharing.[164] 5Local chapters are the ideal occasion for preparing the fraternity budget and monitoring how money is spent, keeping in mind the gospel values to which we aspire and the manner of life we have chosen as lesser brothers. The same may be said for provincial as well as general chapters.[165]

6With regard to investments, in addition to transparency it is necessary to observe ethical principles, avoiding purely speculative investments and, as far as possible, preferring investments in one’s own socio-economic area or in poorer countries.[166]


1Even through our personal way of life, we are called to give witness to a voluntary poverty and minority that liberate us from greed and from anxious concern for tomorrow, are austere and joyful, in simplicity and solidarity with the least.[167] The hallmark of such a lifestyle is an evangelical simplicity aimed at the building of that kingdom of God which, in Franciscan terms, we could call universal brotherhood.[168]

2We are called to live in this world as pilgrims and strangers. For this reason, it is appropriate that we frequently re-examine whether the houses in which we live sufficiently give the impression that we rely on divine providence and whether they are proportionate to the number of brothers and the activity carried out there.[169]

The style of life we have chosen moves us to undertake a serious discernment of the poverty and minority of all our structures, finding the courage, if necessary, to scale down our properties, even divesting ourselves of them, wholly or partially. Choosing small houses in outlying areas can be a practical way of translating our minority and itinerancy into new forms.[170]

4. Franciscan itinerancy is not simply a matter of physical movement, but a mobility of mind and heart. It is a constant readiness, individually and as a communities, to leave “our own country” and setting out in faith and hope to meet the Lord, who always goes before us to make us and all things new.[171]

5. Franciscan itinerancy is expressed concretely by trustfully going out towards others even if they are different from ourselves, gratefully accepting circumstances and events even when they are unexpected, and valuing changes as providential opportunities for gospel conversion.

6Let our houses and churches be simple and welcoming, becoming and clean, combining taste and harmony with unpretentious simplicity. Our fraternal way of life in poverty and minority[172] should leave its mark even on the buildings and places where we live, since the spirit should mold matter.[173]

7In building or re-building our houses, let us be mindful of our way of life, the surroundings, apostolic needs, and the historical-artistic values of our buildings.[174]

8Let us observe the poverty we have professed, aware of the mind and words of Saint Francis: ‘Let the brothers not make anything their own, neither house nor place nor anything at all. Therefore, as pilgrims and strangers in this world, while we are on our way to the Land of the Living, let us serve the Lord in poverty and humility;[175] the beauty and joy of our choice of minority should show on our faces, bringing hope to all, even to the poorest people.[176].


Brothers among the Poor: Pluriformity, Solidarity, and Sharing


1With the whole Church we reaffirm our preferential option for the poor. This choice is not at the discretion of the individual Brother but challenges us as a fraternity, and must be visibly shown: by living as poor me and, when possible, with the poor and marginalized[177], in order to take on what is valid in their way of believing, loving and hoping; by serving them, preferably with our own hands; by sharing bread with them and defending their rights.[178]

2Being poor with the poor and becoming their brothers is part and parcel of our Franciscan charism and of our tradition as “brothers of the people”. They are worthy of praise, therefore, who, in the particular circumstances of a region, mindful of the contemplative and fraternal dimensions of our life, live with the poor, sharing their conditions and aspirations, contributing to their social and cultural development without neglecting to show them the hope of eternal goods.[179]

Continuous formation is needed, so as to acquire a spirit of service and minority, which requires on the one hand the contemplation of a God who humbles himself in the manger, on the cross and in the Eucharist, and on the other calls for that “baptism of the poor” which Francis received when he embraced the leper, and leads us to go physically among the poor, walking alongside them.[180]


1We should aim for the minimum necessary, not the maximum allowed, but this norm can only be meaningful in the context of the societies in which the brothers live.[181]

2With the introduction of budgetary controls and spending limits, the local and provincial fraternities can limit their use of resources and give an appropriate example of moderation and even austerity.[182]

3 Gospel poverty places us in a given culture; in order to be a fraternity rooted in many cultures, we should seek equity rather than equality in our way of life.[183]


1For St. Francis the sharing of goods goes beyond legal obligation and enters the realm of mutual love. He speaks of a brotherhood in which there is no shame in being dependent on one another, as a right flowing from Creation and Redemption, and as a mutual enrichment.[184]

2Fraternal communion and interdependence should inspire and determine our structures of solidarity within the local, provincial and international fraternities, as well as our interaction with the world, particularly the world of the poor.[185]

3By going among the lepers, Francis changed his way of relating to them. Solidarity is not primarily about giving things to others; it is mutual interdependence and fraternity; the culture of solidarity creates new ways of understanding and living relationships with others.[186]

4. In order to truly understand the poor one must be poor, and this can a physical change of place and a social and cultural change, born of a real desire to welcome and be welcomed by the poor. [187]

5To be in solidarity means taking care of every person, especially of those who are excluded from sharing in the benefits of society. Listening to the cry of the poor, we must work to ensure that global solidarity becomes a new social order.[188]

6Our solidarity towards the least ones and the suffering is also well expressed in social and charitable works or structures. These must be administered according to law and, as far as possible, be run with the cooperation, at different levels, of competent lay staff trained in the values of solidarity. Our specific, privileged task remains that of enabling these enterprises at the human and spiritual level.[189]

7. The power that derives from administering funds earmarked for solidarity raises the question of whether it is appropriate that such funds be managed by us.[190] In any case, there should be constant appraisal of how we use such power, together with frequent changes of those in charge and the search for ways to ensure that the needy personally meet with those who have resources.[191]


1With filial gratitude Francis sang of the reconciliation of creation and of compassion for all creatures. In this spirit the brothers should be committed to peace, justice and integrity of creation, using the resources of mother earth sparingly, taking care of the least ones with a sense of fraternal responsibility, speaking out for those who have no voice and caring for future generations.[192]

2This sensitivity and commitment should promote a culture of sharing, reconciliation, mutual responsibility and understanding, in constant dialogue and in the awareness[193] that resources are given to be shared by all[194],

3Let us share with generosity and simplicity, particularly with the sisters of the Second Order, with the brothers and sisters of the Secular Franciscan Order, and with the different Franciscan Institutes, the commitment of fraternal solidarity with all people of good will regardless of race, culture and religion.[195]

4Minority and poverty are characteristics of our participation in the inter-religious and inter-racial ecumenical dialogue and in favoring encounters of culture, respect for the environment, justice, and reconciliation in every part of the world.[196]

5Our actions will become more believable if we know how to live, as individuals and as a brotherhood, with a modest way of life, content with little, in solidarity with the least, welcoming everyone, patient and tolerant, grateful to God and our brothers in every situation.




1God, Creator of the universe, Who continues to work, calls upon us through the grace of working to cooperate in perfecting creation and, at the same time, in developing our personalities. By this, we are united with our brothers and move society toward a better condition.

2Even if we do not find in the words of Christ a special command to work, at the same time, the eloquence of his life, ever since he was schooled by St. Joseph, is unequivocal: he belongs to the world of work, recognizes human work, and respects and protects it with love.[197]

3The Holy Spirit, present from the beginning of creation, continually offers the gifts that make us able to act in the most varied forms of work that are necessary for humanity to live in harmony together and for the building of the Kingdom of God.[198]

4The Church, committed to the integral good of the human person, is concerned with promoting and developing a spirituality of work that helps promote, at the same time, the dignity of the working person and of the work of the person.

5Saint Francis admonished his brothers to work faithfully and devotedly and, working with his own hands, he himself presented a witness to the dignity of work and remained solidly bound to the normal condition of people.

6For us Capuchins work is a grace and a means of unifying the brotherhood, fulfilling the person, and a primary source of our support.

7Our manner of working, after the example of Christ and that of Francis, is a prophetic witness of solidarity in a world that often reduces work to a simple economic good.

8 Work also constitutes an exercise of love for others, especially when, according to the Capuchin tradition, we share its fruit with the poor.[199]


1Let the work of each brother be an expression of the entire fraternity. Let each one, according to the talent given him by God and the state of his age and his health, use his energies fully and with joy, keeping in mind the needs of the fraternity, of the Church, and of the surrounding environment.

Underlying the choice of an individual activity, let there always be a communal sharing or discernment, in order to avoid the work of a brother becoming his private property, so that he becomes immoveable, either physically or mentally,[200] and insensitive to the needs of the local and provincial fraternities.[201]

3Let the brothers be careful not to place the final goal in work itself or to put an inordinate stress upon it, in order to avoid as well an excessive confidence in activity, as if the Kingdom of God were not a work of the Spirit and as if listening, acceptance, and silence before God had no value.[202]

4 As well as the risk of idleness, let our fraternities avoid excessive activism, even in the apostolate. Confronted with this tendency, we must take care that our work does not damage fraternal life by eliminating times for reflection, study, and interaction with our brothers. Above all we must ensure that it does not compromise our prayer and devotion, thereby unbalancing our life in brotherhood.[203]


1According to each one’s capacity and the special gifts of God, in the depth of the Franciscan tradition that has always viewed work as a grace, any kind of work is permitted for a brother, as long as it is honest and in keeping with our lesser state.[204]

2Works that more clearly manifest poverty, minority, and fraternity are especially appropriate for us.

3The reality of work is relative to the economic conditions in force in various periods of history and in different geographical contexts. Given such variety, let us value all kinds of work: apostolic, charitable, intellectual and manual.[205]

4The Order has always valued the apostolate, understood both as a sacramental action and as evangelization in many forms. This is one type of work that must be given appropriate space and dignity.[206]

5The Order has always valued the dignity and usefulness of manual work.[207]

6Let us never forget, on the other hand, the apostolic dimension of our life, so that in each of our activities we offer a witness to Christ to everyone.


1To render the grace of working more fruitful for ourselves and others, let us take care to preserve, as far as possible, the community character in a variety of initiaties, be eager to help one another as we work together and, so also, progress in the conversion of our heart.

2 Domestic work is so important that whoever does not share in it, even in a limited and symbolic way,[208] weakens the fraternity.[209]

3 The active collaboration of all the Brothers in the ordinary daily life of the fraternity – monitored in the local chapter – is useful for the growth of a sense of fraternity, equality and reciprocal dependence or assistance. Domestic work also makes us share in the lifestyle of ordinary people.[210]

4Domestic work not only takes the form of manual work, but also that which is technical or intellectual, through which each brother can place at the disposal of the fraternity his practical skills or intellectual abilities.[211]

5In case of necessity, due to a small number of brothers, it is possible to have recourse to employing lay people, carried out with equity, according to the norms of law, and characterized by respect and courtesy.[212]


1Let the brothers, each in his own position or role, strive throughout all their lives to improve a spiritual, academic and professional education and to develop their own talents so that our Order may be able to respond continually to its calling in the Church and in the world.

2While discerning, as far as possible, the gifts and talents of the individual brothers and the needs of the fraternity and the Church, let the ministers offer them the opportunity of acquiring expertise in particular subjects, willingly provide time and assistance for this, and offer equal opportunity to cleric and lay brothers alike.[213]

3The type of commitments we engage in and the professional standards they require should not make the brothers so settled and rooted that they lose the sense of itinerancy, which makes us “pilgrims and strangers” in this world.

4We should often calmly discuss this question, both in community and with the Superiors. We should evaluate from time to time our readiness to change assignments or to remain, basing our decision on the good of the community and that of the People of God, toward whom we have responsibilities.[214]


1The choice of being a paid worker, not necessarily in a factory, but in humble occupations that are burdensome and involve dependence can be a way of sharing in the conditions of life affecting so much of humankind, and can be a gospel witness to others with the value of being formative for us as well.[215]

2Even brothers who work outside a friary should offer a gospel witness to everyone, render the charity of Christ present and give aid to those in need while never involving themselves imprudently in activities that do not conform to our Capuchin calling.

3Those who work outside should live in communion among themselves and with the other brothers. The fraternity always retains its crucial role as the place where one lives and receives challenge and support[216].


1In order to keep alive in us the sense of gratuitous giving, each community should keep a proper balance between paid work, necessary for the support of the fraternity, and work done without payment. We must always be convinced that a Brother is not to be valued for the work he does or the money he earns.[217]

2Let the brothers not engage in activities that are contrary to the spirit of poverty and humility.


1Each day let the brothers enjoy appropriate recreation to foster fraternal life and renew their energies. Each one should have some free time available for himself.

According to local customs and possibilities, each brother should be allowed the necessary rest and a certain amount of time for holidays. These times of recreation and vacation be spent in a way consistent with our state as lesser brothers.


1The Apostle Paul warns: “While we have the time, let us do good to all.” Let us, therefore, respond with attentiveness to God Who thus encounters us in time.

2In order to use this favorable time in a more useful and appropriate manner, let our activities and work respond to the conditions of the present moment with a wise foresight and planning for the future and without passing over modern technical means.

3Let us use our free time in appropriate occupations of mind and body. Let this be precious to us, especially if, by a variety of appropriate means, we arrive each day at a better knowledge of the ways of thinking and feeling of our contemporaries so that, through our work, we may more effectively cooperate in the christianization of the world.




1 (new) During his earthly life, the Lord Jesus called those whom he wished in order to have them at his side and to train them to live, according to his example, for the Father and for the mission which he had received from the Father. He thus inaugurated the new family which down the centuries would include all those ready to do the will of God.[218]

(This paragraph replaces §§ 1 and 2 of the present Constitutions)

2 (new) The Church is in Christ the sign and instrument of communion with God the Father and of the unity of the human race: its vocation and identity is, therefore, made up of a universal fraternity to be proclaimed and realized in the strength of the Holy Spirit.[219]

3In such a way not only does the human dignity of the children of God develop in freedom, but an apostolic effectiveness is strengthened as well.

4Saint Francis, inspired by the Lord,[220] initiated a gospel form of life that he called a brotherhood according to the example of the life of Christ and his disciples.

5 (new) The Capuchin Order recognizes its identity in the primacy of gospel brotherhood, made up of clerical and lay brothers who share the same religious vocation.[221]

6We who profess this form of life, therefore, truly constitute a gospel brotherhood that lives and witness to this reality.[222]

7For this reason, united by faith in God our Father and nourished at the table of both the divine word and the Eucharist, we love one another in such a way[223] that the world may know we are Christ’s disciples, conscious that fraternal life is also of itself missionary.[224]

Article I:

The Cultivation of Fraternal Life


1As brothers given to each other by the Lord and endowed with different gifts, let us accept one another with a grateful spirit. For this reason, wherever we may be gathered together in the name of Jesus, let us be of one heart and one mind, always striving to anticipate the Kingdom of the future.[225] To be[226] true disciples of Christ, let us love one another from the heart, bearing one another’s burdens and faults, applying ourselves without interruption to divine love and fraternal charity, striving, in a spirit of conversion, to be credible witnesses of the Gospel[227] among ourselves and for everyone.

2Let us cultivate mutual dialogue, with confidence sharing experiences and manifesting our needs to one another. Moreover, let all of us be imbued with a spirit of brotherly understanding and sincere esteem.

3Let special diligence be shown for the local chapter, the privileged means of promoting and manifesting the growth and character of our life in fraternal communion. The mutual[228] obedience that characterizes our brotherhood is well expressed in it. Thanks to it, brothers are at the service of one another, the creativity of everyone is stimulated, and the gifts of each are offered for the benefit of all.

4. The local chapter is a school of fraternal life in minority, above all through humbly listening to one another and through a communal assessment of the various forms and structures of power. It is part of the spirit of minority that the ministers and guardians also accept vulnerability in relationships, humbly welcoming any criticism they receive.[229]

5 (new) Indeed, fraternal life plays a fundamental role in the spiritual journey that we have chosen, both for our constant renewal as well as for the full accomplishment of our mission in the world.[230]

6. The local chapter is also the place to assess how meaningful the local fraternity is and to open ourselves to new horizons.[231]


1All the brothers have the same dignity.[232] For this reason, according to the Rule, Testament and earliest custom of the Capuchins, among ourselves let be called brothers, but let us also accept with simplicity even the title “father” that is given in some countries to priests.[233]

2The precedence necessary for the service of the fraternity flows from the responsibilities and roles actually exercised.

3Moreover, within the Order, province and local fraternity, let all offices and responsibilities be available to all brothers, except those activities that require sacred orders.

4Let everyone help each according to the gifts he has received, even in daily household chores.

5 (new) By reason of our common Franciscan calling let our fraternities be, on the worldwide and local levels, houses and schools of communion even among brothers of different ethnic groups and cultures as a witness and model for justice and global peace.[234]

5 (new) True fraternity is shown in the capacity to convert differences of race, culture, age, mentality, and specialization into virtue and grace.[235]


1Let us take care that difference of age in our fraternities contribute to a harmony of spirit and a mutual enrichment.

2Let signs of loving care and gratitude be shown to the brothers of advanced age.

3Let the young brothers show proper esteem for the older ones and willingly profit from their experience.

4Let the older brothers, however, try new and sound forms of life and activity and let both, [young and old], share their unique treasures with each other.


1When a brother falls sick, let the minister and guardian immediately provide with fraternal charity all that is necessary for his body and soul, according to the example and teaching of Saint Francis, and entrust the sick brother to the care of a competent brother and, if necessary, to a doctor and other competent persons.

(Paragraphs 2 and 3 of no. 86 go into the General Statutes)

2Let each brother, reflecting that the person of Christ is hidden in the sick, consider what he would wish to be done for him in case of sickness and recall what Saint Francis wrote in the Rule: no mother is as tender and caring toward her son, as each one of us should be toward our spiritual brother.

3Therefore, each one should strive to take care of a sick brother, visit him willingly and comfort him fraternally.

4Let the ministers and guardians frequently and fraternally visit the sick brother and not neglect to provide for his soul, either personally or by means of another, and, if they know that he is seriously ill, let them inform him prudently of the gravity of his situation and prepare him for the sacraments.


1Let the sick brothers keep in mind the position as lesser brothers which they have freely professed.[236]

2Let them leave their care to the doctor and to those who nurse them so that they do not violate holy poverty with injury to their soul but give thanks to the Creator for everything.

3Let them remember that they are called, in accordance with their vocation, to a willing acceptance of sickness and infirmity in order to be made more fully conformable to the suffering Christ and to accept experiencing in themselves some small part of His passion with devotion. Let them keep in mind the witness of[237] Francis who praised the Lord for those who patiently endure trials and infirmity according to His most holy will. Let them also remember that, by filling up in their own body what is lacking in the suffering of Christ the Redeemer, they can contribute to the salvation of the People of God as well as to the evangelization of the whole world, and strengthen fraternal life.


1The ministers and guardians are the first facilitators and protectors of our form of gospel life.[238]

2In establishing fraternities, [239] let them consider the different personalities of the brothers and the necessities of life in common and of the apostolate in collaboration.[240]

3Let our fraternities not confine their charity within the walls of the house but rather be open with gospel concern to peoples’ needs according to the particular character of each house.

4While favoring access to our houses or dwellings, let the entrance of outsiders be so regulated with prudence and discretion that an atmosphere conducive to privacy, prayer and study may be safeguarded.

(Paragraphs 4-8 of #88 go to the General Statutes)

(Paragraph 1 of #89 was placed as paragraph 3 of #68)

(Paragraphs 2-4 of no. 89 go to the General Statutes)


1Let the fraternity itself by means of a common reflection, especially in the local chapter,[241] encourage the use of social means of communication and help to achieve careful discernment [in their use],[242] so that poverty, a life of prayer, fraternal communion, work, and such means may serve the good and activity of the brothers and their formation and information.[243]

(Paragraph 2 of no.90 is deleted)

2Let the brothers, especially the ministers and guardians, take care that accomplishments of greater importance, whether in the fraternities, provinces or the entire Order be made known by appropriate means.

(# 91 goes to the General Statutes)

(#92 goes to the General Statutes)

(#93 goes to the General Statutes)


1The variety of religious groups which has developed by the plan of God for the good of the Church, flourishes as well within one and the same Franciscan spiritual family so that the charism of the Founder may spread and exercise its vigor through many brothers and sisters, including the Secular Order.

2Let us live, therefore, in a brotherly communion of the same spirit and willingly promote through mutual cooperation the study and common initiatives of Franciscan life and activity.

3We should cultivate a special bond with our sisters who, in the contemplative life, offer a sacrifice of praise for the entire People of God, seek to hold fast to God in solitude and silence, and spread the Church with a hidden apostolic fruitfulness.

(The passage: “When it is a question of …..” down to ” of the said sisters” in § 3 of n. 94 moves to the General Statutes)

4 In the same way let us be united by fraternal affection with those religious institutes that are spiritually united with our Order.

5Let us properly fulfill our religious and familial responsibilities to our parents and relatives, and those of our brothers, according to the call of St. Francis to respect the mother of a brother as his own.[244] Let us also show our filial piety toward our benefactors, supporters and all those who belong to our spiritual family; and let us commend them to God in our prayers in common.


1Within the ambit of the Franciscan family, the Secular Franciscan Fraternity or Order occupies a special place that both shares and promotes its authentic spirit. It should be esteemed as necessary for the fullness of the Franciscan charism.

2In it, our brothers and sisters, moved by the Holy Spirit, are prompted, with the encouragement of the brothers, to attain the fulness of charity in their secular state by professing to live the Gospel after the manner of Saint Francis.

3The Secular Franciscan Order, is now entrusted by the Holy See to the care of the entire First Order.[245]

4Let the brothers, therefore, be eager to show from their heart a truly brotherly attitude toward the members of the Secular Order. Enlivened in turn in their fidelity to the gospel life,[246] with their witness and our own, let us foster the Order itself among the secular clergy and the laity.

5Let the ministers and guardians be vigilant that a true, vital sharing be fostered between the fraternities of our Order and those of the Secular Order.

(The sentence: “Our superiors have authority, etc. ” down to: “the rewquirements of law being observed” in § 5 del n. 95 moves to the General Statutes)

(Paragraph 6 of no. 95 moves to the General Statutes)

6Let the brothers willingly offer spiritual assistance to this Order. Always mindful of its secular status, let them not interfere in its internal government, excepting in cases mentioned in law.

(Paragraph 8 goes to the General Statutes)

7Likewise, let all associations cultivating the spirit of Saint Francis, especially those of young people, be promoted and assisted spiritually. Let our houses become a centers of fraternal gathering and inspiration for all, clergy and laity, who wish to follow the footprints of Christ under the direction of Saint Francis.


1 In the footsteps of Christ Who said: “I was a stranger and you made me welcome,” Francis desired as well that anyone who came to our houses would be received with kindness. Our first legislation made the same recommendation, in order to nourish charity, the mother of every virtue.[247] Therefore let us welcome everyone with the greatest charity, especially the afflicted and the unfortunate, and help them in their needs.

(Paragraph 2 is absorbed into the previous paragraph)

2According to local circumstances, let those can be received into our house, especially priests and religious, be treated by the fraternity with all graciousness

Article II

The Life of the Brothers in the World


1Greatly rejoicing in the created and redeemed world, Saint Francis felt united by a fraternal bond not only to the human race but to all creatures as well, as he himself celebrates with wonderful praise in the Canticle of Brother Sun.

2Enlightened by such contemplation, let us cultivate and protect the works of creation of which Christ is the beginning and the end; let us work for the integrity of creation, using sparingly the resources of Mother Earth.[248]

3 Through scientific research, creation is seen to be even more wonderful and leads us to adore the Father in his wisdom and power. Therefore let us have great esteem for all that human genius has drawn from created things, especially in works of culture and art in which the gifts of God are revealed to us.

4Let us see in the revelation of Christ above all the humanity which God so loved that He gave His only begotten Son.[249]

5For, although weighed down by many sins, yet endowed with great capabilities, the world offers the living stones that are used in the building of the dwelling-place of God that is the Church.


1Through divine inspiration, Saint Francis recognized that he had been sent to live the Gospel, encouraging others to a newness of life.[250]

2Initiating a new form of gospel life, therefore, he himself, though no longer of the world, remained nonetheless in the world and wished that his brotherhood should also live and work among people to bear witness by deed and word to the joyful message of gospel conversion.

3Since we participate in his mission, therefore, let us live in the midst of the world as a gospel leaven so that people, seeing our fraternal life centered in the spirit of the beatitudes, may realize that the Kingdom of God has already begun in their midst.

4Thus we will be present in the world to serve the living God and spread peace and good in charity, humility and Franciscan joy throughout the world for the advancement of the Church.


1According to the spirit of Saint Francis, let us not only proclaim by word but as well spread peace, justice,[251] and salvation by deeds inspired by fraternal charity.

2Moved by this spirit, let us attempt, in a gospel manner, to guide into a peaceful and stable way of life those divided by hatred, jealousy, contrasting ideologies, class, race, religions,[252] and nationality[253].

3 (new) The promotion of the dignity and the rights of human beings, especially the poor, is an integral part of our gospel mission.[254]

4Let us unite, therefore, the energies present[255] in our fraternity with those initiatives and institutions, whether they be national or international, that appropriately pursue the unity of the human race, universal justice and peace.


1Trusting above all in the providence of God, let us so walk in the world with hope and Franciscan joy that the confidence of our contemporaries may be strengthened.

2Freed from the excessive[256] concerns of the present age, and as collaborators with divine providence, let us feel obliged to relieve the needs of the poor by our action and especially, in times of public disaster, to offer the services and goods of the fraternity to all the needy.

3After the example of Saint Francis, who had great compassion for the poor, and the founders of the Capuchin fraternity, who helped those suffering from the plague, we should live close to brothers in need, especially the sick, eager to offer fraternal service to them.

4Knowing that divine providence is revealed to peoples not only through events and deeds, but also through currents of thought and experiences of life[257]that are valued as signs of the times in light of the Spirit,[258] we should look upon them with an open and confident spirit so that we might cooperate with God who acts in the history of the world and in the evolution of society.

5Thus, living the truth in charity, we will be witnesses of hope in the Lord God and collaborators of people of good will whom we will guide to recognize God the almighty Father and the Supreme Good.




1Jesus Christ, proclaiming the Kingdom, has called[260] each person to conversion saying: The time is at hand and the Kingdom of God is near; do penance and believe in the Gospel![261] He called, therefore, for a total change of themselves, through which they begin to conduct their lives with their whole heart, with their whole soul, with their whole thought, with their whole strength[262] according to that holiness and love of God that are manifest in the Son.

2 (new) All the sons of the Church, called by God to listen to Christ, necessarily feel a deep need for conversion and holiness, which calling, in the first place, challenges the consecrated life. In fact, the vocation of consecrated persons to seek first the Kingdom of God is first and foremost a call to complete conversion, in self-renunciation, in order to live fully for the Lord, so that God may be all in all.[263]

3Saint Francis, by the grace of the Lord, began his life of penance when the Lord Himself led him among lepers, and he showed them a heart full of mercy[264] and, shortly afterwards, left the mentality of the world.[265]

4With great fervor of spirit and joy of mind, he ordered his life according to the Beatitudes of the Gospel, preached penance without ceasing, inspiring everyone by deed and word to carry the cross of Christ, and desired that his brothers be men of penance.

5The spirit of penance in a humble, simple life of serene and wise austerity[266] is a fundamental option and a[267] characteristic of our Order; for we have chosen the strict path of the Gospel[268] after the example of Christ and Saint Francis and of so many of our Capuchin brothers who have achieved holiness.[269]

6Moved by that same spirit and perceiving sin in ourselves and human society, let us continually strive for our conversion and that of others so that we may be conformed to the crucified and risen Christ.

7Through such striving, by completing what is lacking in the suffering of Christ, we participate in the work of the Church, holy and at the same time always in need of purification. We promote the coming of the Kingdom of God within the human.[270]


1Penance, as an exodus and conversion, is a disposition of the heart that demands an external manifestation in the practice of[271] daily life.

2Penitent Franciscans must always be conspicuous by their gentle and affectionate charity and joy like our forebears who, while harsh on themselves, were filled with kindness and respect toward others.

3At all times, moved by the spirit of conversion and renewal, according to the original dynamism of our reform,[272] let us not omit a continual examination of our personal and fraternal life.[273]

4Let us keep in mind that our consecrated life in brotherhood[274] is itself an excellent form of penance.

5For our salvation and that of others, therefore, let us offer our poverty, humility, the hardships of life, the faithful fulfillment of daily work, the availability for the service of God and neighbor and the fostering of fraternal life, the burden of sickness and old age, even persecution for the Kingdom of God, so that, suffering with those who suffer, we may always rejoice in our conformity with Christ.

6Let us follow the same path of conversion of Saint Francis especially by going out to meet those who, in our times, are marginalized and in need of help, for true penance leads us to solidarity with them.[275]

(# 103 goes to the General Statutes)


1After the example of Saint Francis and our holy brothers, let our life be simple and frugal in all things as befits the poor, in order to truly live according to the Gospel that invites us to fasting and prayer.[276] Let us also practice voluntary and communal[277] mortification, willingly moderating ourselves in food and drink, in attending shows, and in the use of enjoyable goods.[278]

2Let the guardians in making provision, especially for the sick, keep in mind the precept and example of charity of Saint Francis.

3 (new) Let us welcome the crosses of the human condition with generosity and readily accept the penance of caring for those who suffer.[279]


1Grieving in our hearts over our sins and those of others and desiring to walk in newness of life, let us practice works of penance adapted indeed to the differing mentalities of time and place.

2Explicitly recommended are: the fraternal correction that Jesus taught, an exchange among the brothers concerning each one’s life in light of the Gospel, and other forms of penance, especially those done in common.

(Paragraph 3 of #105 goes into the General Statutes)


1In the sacrament of penance or reconciliation not only the brothers but also the community of brothers is purified and healed for the restoration of their union with the Savior and, at the same time, for their reconciliation within the Church.

2 (new) Through frequent encounters with the mercy of God in the sacrament of reconciliation, let each brother purify and renews his heart and, through the humble recognition of his sins, make his relation with God and with his brothers and sisters transparent.[280]

3The joyful experience of sacramental pardon makes the heart docile and encourages an ever-growing fidelity to our Capuchin life.[281]

4For this reason, let us place great value on frequent confession of our sins, as well as on a daily examination of conscience and spiritual direction. The communal celebration of reconciliation is also recommended.

(Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of # 107 go the General Statutes; Paragraph 4 is deleted since it more appropriate in Chapter IX)


1Loving one another with that love with which Christ loved us, should a brother be in difficulty, let us not avoid him, but rather eagerly help him. If he falls, let us not be his judges but his protectors, preserving his reputation, and love him even more, remembering that each one of us would have done worse had not God in His goodness preserved us.

2Let the ministers and guardians manifest a heart of brotherly[282] mercy to sinful brothers or to those in danger so that they might offer them appropriate and efficacious help as God would have it.

3Let them not impose penalties, especially canonical penalties, unless compelled by manifest necessity, and then with all prudence and charity maintaining, nonetheless, the prescriptions of universal law.

4Let them always remember the words of Saint Francis in his letter to a certain minister: In this way I wish to know that you love the Lord and me, His servant and yours, if you do this: may there not be any brother in the world who has sinned however much he could have sinned who, after he has looked into your eyes, would ever depart without your mercy, if he is looking for mercy. If he is not looking for mercy, you should ask him if he wants mercy. And if he sins a thousand times before your eyes, love him more than me that you may draw him to the Lord.




1Our Fraternity, led by the Holy Spirit, is an integral part of the Mystical Body of Christ through which the brothers, united in following Christ, contribute to the building up of the Church in love by various offices and ministries.

2Let the brothers, therefore, contribute, in a spirit of freedom,[284] to the good of the Church and the Fraternity according to their own grace and vocation, so that they may fully incorporated into the mystery of Christ. This freedom, moreover, is one of the finest fruits of the poverty, lowliness and minority that are the hallmarks of our life-style.[285]

3In order to strengthen the spiritual and visible unity of our Order, the chapters, the ministers and guardians bind the members together and, in a spirit of service, exercise offices and responsibilities received from God through the ministry of the Church


The Structure of the Order


1In order to keep alive the charism proper to our calling throughout the changes of history and place,[286] our Order or Fraternity, as far as its government is concerned, is arranged[287] in provinces, vice-provinces, custodies and houses or local fraternities; each these structures, established by the norms of the General Statutes,[288] taken individually, are true fraternities.

2A province is a group of brothers and local fraternities. It has a specified territory and is governed by a provincial minister.

3A vice-province is a part of the Order, constituted by a group of brothers or fraternities,[289] entrusted to another structure, in a specified territory and governed by a vice-provincial.

4A custody or mission is a group of brothers who are engaged in missionary work in a specific territory dependent on another structure, and governed by a custodian.[290]

5 (new) A delegation is a structure of the Order, transitory and aiming toward becoming a custody or a vice province, in which the brothers in a specified territory promote fraternal life under the authority of a delegate.[291]

6A local fraternity is composed of a group of brothers, according to the norm of the General Statutes, who dwell in a legitimately established house. It is governed by a guardian.

(Paragraph 6 of #110 goes into the General Statutes)

7Whatever in these Constitutions is said of a province also applies to the vice-provinces and the custodies unless the contrary is evident from the nature of the case or from the text or context.


1It pertains to the general minister to decide on the establishment, union, division, alteration, or suppression of circumscriptions, observing the requirements of common and proper law.

(Paragraph 2 of #111 goes into the General Statutes)

2For the brothers to constitute a new province, it is necessary that, taking account of local situations, it should make a useful contribution to the apostolic witness and life of the Order. As regards the number of brothers and the geographical unit, one should follow the norm of the General Statutes, except in extraordinary cases.


1It pertains to the provincial minister, to establish houses canonically, observing the prescriptions of common and proper law.

2It pertains to the general minister to suppress houses, either at the request of the interested party or for some other cause, always observing the norms of universal and proper law.


1Each brother, incorporated into the Order by profession is a member of the province, vice-province or custody for which the minister has accepted his profession.

2Seniority in the fraternity is determined by the day of his temporary profession.

(Paragraphs 3-5 of #113 go into the General Statutes)


Persons and Offices in the Government of the Order


1Under the supreme authority of the Supreme Pontiff, these are the superiors of the Order with ordinary power in their own right: the general minister in the whole Order, the provincial minister in his province, and the local superior or guardian in his fraternity.

2Those possessing ordinary but vicarious power are: the vicar general, the vicar provincial, the vice-provincial, the custodian, and the local vicar.

3All the above, with the exception of the guardian and his vicar, are ministers.

4Whatever is said in these Constitutions concerning the provincial ministers applies equally to the vice-provincials and custodians, unless the contrary is evident by nature of the case or from the text and context.

5 (new) In the exercise of their office, the ministers and guardians must be served by the collaboration of their counselors, by the commissions, and by the other institutions in all the cases foreseen by common and proper law and according to the modalities established by them.


1Offices in the Order are conferred either by election or appointment.

2In conferring offices let the brothers proceeds with a proper intention, simply and canonically.

3For the good of the Order an appropriate preliminary consultation concerning those to be elected may be made, but it must be made concerning those to be appointed.

4If an election requires confirmation, it must be requested within eight days of available time.

5Let the brothers, as true minors, not be ambitious for office; but if they are called to it by the confidence of the brothers, let them not obstinately refuse to serve as a minister or in some other office.

6Since we are an Order of brothers, according to the will of Saint Francis and the genuine Capuchin tradition, any brother in perpetual vows may assume any office or position excepting those that flow from sacred orders. But such offices[292] cannot be validly conferred before the time of perpetual profession indicated by the General Statutes has been achieved; the time for ministers must be at least three years.

7As far as the conferral of offices by are election is concerned, in our Order postulation is permitted. The acceptance of postulation and the dispensation from the impediment pertains to the authority who had the faculty for confirmation, that is to the general minister or the provincial minister; but the acceptance of the postulation of the general minister pertains to the authority of the Holy See.


The General Government of the Order


1The general chapter, the eminent sign of the union and solidarity of the entire Fraternity gathered together as one by means of its representatives, enjoys supreme authority in the Order.

2The ordinary chapter, announced and convoked by the general minister is held with the frequency indicated in the General Statutes near to the solemnity of Pentecost, unless the same minister, according to the norm of the same law, judges another time of the year more appropriate.

3For specific reasons, in addition to the ordinary chapter, the general minister, observing the norms of proper law, may convoke an extraordinary chapter to consider matters[293] of greater importance to the life and activity of the Order

4The following have active voice in a general chapter, whether ordinary or extraordinary: the general minister, the general councillors, the former general minister of the immediately preceding period,[294] provincial ministers, the general secretary, the general procurator, vice-provincials, and the delegates of the provinces and custodies and other perpetually professed brothers according to the norms of the General Statutes.

5The vicar provincial goes to the chapter when the provincial minister is prevented by a grave cause known to the general minister or if the office of the provincial minister is vacant.


1In an ordinary general chapter let the general minister, who acquires full authority over the entire Order and all the brothers, be elected first.

(Paragraph2 of #118 goes to the General Statutes)

2The general councillors are then elected, according to the number determined by the General Statutes, of whom no more than half can be from those elected in the previous chapter.

(Paragraph 4 of #118 goes to the General Statutes)

3The vicar general is elected from these councillors and, thereby, becomes first councillor.

4The duty of the councillors is to assist the general minister in the government of the entire Order according to the norms of universal and proper law.


1 (new) The General Chapter unites brothers from all parts of the world and expresses our universal gospel brotherhood. It also bestows a vision of the entire world in which the brothers live and offers opportunities for sharing it.[295]

2Therefore, let matters pertaining to the preserving and renewing of our life as well as the development of apostolic activity be treated in the chapter.

3Let all the brothers be consulted in an appropriate way concerning the questions put before the chapter; let all the capitulars be informed in good time about the agenda; and the same chapter then decides the questions to be considered.[296]

(# 120 goes into the General Statutes)


1If the office of the general minister becomes vacant, the vicar general succeeds him and notifies the Apostolic See of the vacancy as soon as possible.

2Should the office of the vicar general or of a general councillor become vacant more than a year before the chapter, the general minister and his council may elect another vicar general or another general counsillor observing the norms of law.[297]


1The following assist the general minister and his council in carrying out their responsibilties: the general secretary, the general procurator concerned with matters dealing with the Holy See, the general postulator responsible for dealing with the Holy See concerning the causes of the canonization of the Servants of God, the assistant general of the Secular Franciscan Order, the general secretary for the promotion of the missions, and other officials sufficient in number for expediting matters.

2All of these are chosen and appointed by the general minister from different regions according to the norms of proper law.

(Paragraph 3 of #122 goes to the General Statutes)


1The Plenary Council of the Order is intended to enable a vital exchange[298] between the entire brotherhood of the Order and its central government, to promote an awareness of the co-responsibility and cooperation of all the brothers, and to foster unity and harmony in the pluriformity of the Order.

2The members of the Council are the general minister, the general councillors and delegates of the Conferences of the Ministers.

(The last part of Paragraph 2 and paragraphs 3 and 4 of #123 go into the General Statutes)

3The responsibility of the Plenary Council is: to foster communication between the general council and the Conferences and among the Conferences themselves; to constitute a center for reflection; to examine matters of greater importance; and propose prospects, working constructively with the general minister and councillors to renew the Order and to care for its growth and for the formation of the brothers.

4ThePlenary Council of the Order is convoked by the general minister, has a consultative vote, and is directed by a proper statute.[299]


The Government of Provinces, of Vice Provinces, and of Custodies


1The provincial chapter in which the members gather in fraternal communion in the name of the whole province is the primary provincial authority

2The ordinary provincial chapter is announced and convoked by the provincial minister according to the norms of proper law and is held with the frequency indicated in the General Statutes. The general minister may permit the chapter to be anticipated or postponed for a just reason, in accordance with the Statutes.

3An extraordinary chapter, convoked by a provincial observing the norms of proper law, may be held, in which the principal matters concerning the life and activity of a province and its vice-province and custody are discussed.


1In ordinary and extraordinary chapters, if they are not held with the participation of all the perpetually professed brothers, those possessing active voice are: the general minister, if he presides, or his delegate, the provincial minister and the councillors of the province, the brothers to whom the provincial chapter shall give the right, the vice-provincials, the custodians, the delegates of the province, and the delegates of the vice-provinces and custodies.

(Paragraph 2 of #125 goes into the General Statutes)

2Should the vice-provincial or custodian be prevented for a serious reason from coming to the chapter, or should his office become vacant, the first or second councilor participates if possible.

(Paragraph 126 of #126 goes into the General Statutes)


1Matters relating to the life and activity of the province are discussed in a provincial chapter concerning which all the brothers may be consulted beforehand.

2In the ordinary chapter, the provincial minister is elected first.

(Paragraph 4 of # 127 goes into the General Statutes)

3In the ordinary chapter with delegates, direct suffrage is allowed for the election of the provincial minister, according to the norms of the General Statutes.

4The introduction of this system in a province is determined by the regulations for conducting a chapter, approved by the provincial Chapter.[300]

5The provincial councillors are then elected in the way established by the General Statutes, half of whom can be from those elected at the previous chapter.

6Then the vicar provincial is elected from among the councillors, and becomes the first councillor by virtue of his election

(Paragraph 7 of 127 goes to the General Statutes)

7The elected provincial minister exercises his office as a delegate of the general minister until his election is confirmed

(Paragraph 9 of #127 goes to the General Statutes)

(# 128 goes to the General Statutes)


1It is the responsibility of the provincial councillors to help the provincial minister in the governance of the province according to the norms of universal and proper law; when he is absent or impeded, the provincial vicar manages the affairs of the province, excepting those which the provincial minister has reserved to himself. If the provincial vicar is impeded, the councillor who follows in the order of election holds is post.

2If the office of provincial minister becomes vacant, the General Minister, having observed the Statutes, appoints the new Minister, who completes the triennium, after which the Chapter is held.

3 Should the vacancy occur more than eighteen months before the provincial chapter, the general minister, observing the Statutes, shall appoint a new minister to complete the three-year term. When it is completed, a chapter is celebrated.

4If the office of vicar provincial or of provincial councillor is vacant, whatever has been established by the General Statutes should be observed.

(Paragraphs 4 and 5 of #129 go into the General Statutes)


1 The provincial Minister, observing the norms of universal and particular law, appoints the provincial secretary from among the perpetually professed brothers, as well as officials needed in the provincial curia and, if necessary, for directing other special offices

(Paragraph 2 of # 130 go into the General Statutes)

2It is recommended that in each province the provincial minister establish special commissions according to the norms of law, to deal with particular matters.

(Paragraphs 1, 2, and 4 of #131 go to the end of Article IV)

(Parargaph 3 of #131 goes into the General Statutes)

(# 132 goes into the General Statutes)


1A vice-provincial with councillors governs each vice-province.

(Paragraph 2 goes into the General Statutes)

2The vice-provincial and councilors are elected according to the norms of the General Statutes)

(All the other paragraphs of #133go into the General Statutes)

(# 134 goes into the General Statutes)


1A custodian with councillors is in charge of each custody.

(Paragraph 2 goes into #135 of the General Statutes)

2The custodian and councillors are elected by the perpetually professed brothers belonging to the custody according to the norms of the General Statutes.

(All the other paragraphs of #136go into the General Statutes)

(# 137 goes to the General Statutes)

(#138 goes into the General Statutes)

(#139 goes into the General Statutes)

103 (from 131)

1Conferences, consisting of provincial ministers, vice-provincials and custodians of a particular region or territory, are established by the general minister, according to the norms of the General Statures, to promote collaboration between provinces, vice-provinces and custodies among themselves, with Episcopal Conferences, with Unions of Major Superiors of men and women, to deal with current questions, and to preserve uniformity of administration, as far as this is possible.

2The Conferences have their own statutes.

3In order to foster solidarity between the brothers of our Order living in a particular continent, let ministers take care that the brothers, by united efforts, pursue updated forms of Franciscan witness that transcend the boundaries of their own nations or political areas to renew Christian life and promote peace, justice and tranquility.


The Government of the Local Fraternity


1At the provincial, vice provincial, or custodial chapter, or afterwards at an appropriate time, the ministers, after listening to the brothers as far as possible, shall form the local fraternities and appoint the guardians according to the norms of common and proper law.[301]

(The remaining paragraphs of 140 go to the General Statutes)

(#141 goes to the General Statutes)


1 The local chapter should be held frequently during the year, according to the indications of the General Statutes. It consists of all the professed brothers and is convened by the guardian.

2It pertains to the local chapter, under the guidance of the guardian, to verify together and to improve the authenticity of our Capuchin life, the quality of mutual relationships, and the significance of our presence in a particular place.[302]

3It will pertain to the ministers to verify the frequency and the quality of the local chapters of a fraternity and at times to facilitate them personally.

(Paragraphs 4, 5, and 6 go into the General Statutes)

(#143 go into the General Statutes)




1The Father sent His Son into the world, consecrated with the unction of the Spirit, to bring the good news to the poor, to heal the contrite of heart, to proclaim liberty to prisoners, to restore sight to the blind, and to announce the grace of God to all. Indeed, the entire life of Jesus, from his birth until his death and resurrection, is an integral part of his evangelizing activity.[303]

2Jesus Himself has given to his followers the responsibility of witnessing to everyone, by the power of the Holy Spirit, this Good News.[304]

3The command to evangelize all nations constitutes the essential mission of the Church. To evangelize is for It the grace and the call that reveals more profoundly Its identity.[305]

4This same Spirit raised up Saint Francis to go, as the first group of disciples sent by Jesus, not possessing anything, but only preaching to everyone the Kingdom of God, penance, and peace.[306]

5Evangelization is fundamental for the life and activity of our Order, which since its beginnings has held it in high esteem.[307]

4Our brotherhood, therefore, obeying the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy activity, fulfills a debt of service to all peoples by bringing the gospel to them in deed and word in the Church.[308]


The Characteristics of Our Apostolate


1The principal apostolate of a lesser brother is to live in the world the gospel life in brotherhood, truth, simplicity, and joy. He accomplishes this by making himself totally available to the actions of the Holy Spirit.[309]

2The characteristic note of our apostolate does not consist in what we do, but in the manner in which we accomplish it. Because of this, we can assume any apostolic activity, but it cannot be [carried out] in any way.

3Let everyone keep in mind that our life will be all the more apostolic the more fraternal our manner of life, all the more ardent our involvement in the specific mission of our charism, and all the more intimate our dedication to the Lord, for to live as brothers is our primary apostolate.[310]

4In each apostolate let us always be conscious that we are only collaborators even when we are called to direct, because the Lord is always Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit the true guide.[311]


1By the following of Christ and according to the spirit of Saint Francis, let us remember that a spirit ready to accept the cross and persecution, even martyrdom, is required by the faith and the salvation of our neighbor.[312]

2In our apostolate, let us cultivate the proper characteristics of our charism, adapting them to different times, cultures, and circumstances, so that it responds to the real needs of the people among whom we live.[313]

3Let us use well considered and chaste words for the benefit and edification of the people, making known to the people vice and virtue, punishment and glory with brevity.[314]

4All apostolic services must be founded upon a life shaped by the Gospel. The witness of bothers who live close to the people and are simple of heart and lesser ones by the manner of their life and speech is more easily understood and more willingly received.[315]


1Let the brothers dedicate their energies, minds, and hearts to the service of charity toward God and toward each person, rejoicing over the good of others as their own, and united with others in their sufferings, since charity is the soul of every apostolate.[316]

2Let them esteem everyone and conduct themselves toward them as lesser brothers who are always available for dialogue and for a mutual exchange of gifts.

3 Let them also remember that they cannot pursue their mission unless they are continually renewed in faithfulness to their own vocation. The one evangelizing, in fact, lives the message before proclaiming it.[317]

4Let them cultivate a life of prayer and study in a fraternal exchange so that they may be intimately united with the Savior and, moved by the power of the Holy Spirit, offer themselves with a great and willing spirit to witnessing to the joyful good news in the world.[318]

5Let them, therefore, perform works of the apostolate as lesser brothers not making a ministry or the glory of their office their own that it may be clear that they seek only to be faithful to the cause of Jesus Christ.[319]


Pastoral Care


1 According to the enduring tradition of the Order, let the brothers willingly undertake the spiritual, and even the bodily, care of the sick and the suffering, especially of the more needy.[320]

2 In this apostolate, they will fulfill the mission of the Church which, through the members of its body, becomes united with people of every condition, especially the poor and afflicted, and willingly lays down its life for them.[321]

3 Although we prefer the evangelization of the poor according to the example of Christ and Saint Francis, let us not hesitate to proclaim the message of conversion to justice and the of building peace to those in positions of power and those ruling others.[322]

4After the example of Francis who lived announcing peace to all peoples, to animals, to nature, as to sisters and brothers, respectfully and freely, let us promote the apostolate of universal brotherhood with great diligence.[323]

5 Aware of being lesser ones, let us generously assume those ministries that are less esteemed or regarded as especially difficult.[324]


1 Saint Francis, inspired and strengthened by the Spirit of Truth that guides the authority of the Church, scattered the seeds of the Gospel everywhere as he went throughout cities announcing the mystery of Christ to the people in few and simple words.[325]

2Keeping that spirit alive within themselves, let the brothers preach the word of God clearly adhering faithfully to the Sacred Scriptures and give necessary importance to the biblical apostolate.[326]

3Let the brothers make every effort to give to Christ the total gift of themselves, so that the Lord Himself may impel them to speak out of an abundance of love.[327]

4 That this may be possible, let them strive to deepen their understanding of the Word of God transmitted above all through the Liturgy and seek to make progress especially through persistent reading, meditation and careful study of the Sacred Scriptures.[328]


1In the celebration of the sacraments Christ is present in the Church with His power, sanctifies and builds it up. Therefore, let the brothers be ready to celebrate the sacraments either by virtue of their office, if they are priests, or by reason of their participation so that, on these occasions, the faith may be nourished, strengthened and expressed.[329]

2In the ecclesial community and in our fraternities, let us cultivate evermore the fountain of communion, the soul and nourishment of apostolic dynamism, the Eucharist. We must be aware that, beyond being obliged to celebrate the Eucharist, we are called to live the Eucharist.[330]

3 Let all the brothers who are priests, in the spirit of Christ the Shepherd, proclaim remission of sins, reconciliation and peace, and let those who are priests willingly offer themselves for hearing the confessions of the faithful, especially since it is a ministry highly appropriate to lesser ones in being a humble instrument of the mercy of God for people who are spiritually very poor.[331]

4According to the marvelous witness of so many saints of the Order, let zeal for the holiness of God and His mercy, as well as respect for the dignity of the human person, charity, patience and prudence be resplendent in them.[332]

5. Our priests should never forget that, above all else, they are lesser brothers. Even when acting in their role as ordained ministers, let them always remember to use power as Jesus did, bowing low to wash the feet of others, and never dominating people’s faith.[333]

6Let everyone strive to make continual progress in pastoral theology and to employ the supports of the human sciences for the proper exercise of their ministry.[334]


1In his time, Francis used to encourage his brothers to proclaim the Kingdom of God even with songs and praises in the language of the people; he himself strove to serve the salvation of all peoples through many writings.[335]

2In order to respond to the perennial questions of people about the meaning of the present life and the one to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other, let the brothers accustom themselves to read the signs of the times.[336]

3Let them use with creativity and discernment the modern means of social communication to influence and move the masses and the entire human society since such means are very suitable for evangelizing peoples of our time.[337]

4Let the ministers be concerned with encouraging in each brother a commitment to continual renewal and updating in light of the apostolate.




1According to the manner and tradition of our Order, let the brothers be ready to collaborate pastorally with the clergy of the particular Churches as well as in parishes.[338]

2Sensitive to the apostolic demands of the particular Churches in which we work, let us develop a climate of solidarity and availability for our personnel and our houses.[339]

3Recalling as well the spirit of Francis and his openness to all peoples, let us give particular attention to all those who are far from the faith and the practice of religion.


1The Church awaits many benefits from the harmonious relationships between laity and pastors through a competent collaboration, whether in spiritual or in temporal matters, so that all the members will be strengthened and fulfill more effectively their mission for the life of the world. [340]

2Realizing that the proper field of the evangelizing activity of the laity is the vast and complicated world of political, social, economic and cultural realities, let the brothers collaborate so that, penetrated by the gospel spirit and responsible for this reality, they can be of service to building the Kingdom of God.[341]

3 In this way, let them also promote and strengthen associations of the faithful whose members strive to live and proclaim the word of God and to renew the world from within.[342]

4. Let the brothers collaborate with groups that work for the protection of life and the diversity of nature, promoting a rational use of natural resources that is ecologically sustainable.[343]


1The full development of the Franciscan apostolate is achieved with the presence and collaboration of the entire Franciscan family. Therefore, let the brothers strive to work together and let them favor the Franciscan presence where it does not yet exist.

2Let the brothers take the brothers and sisters of the Secular Franciscan Order to heart, inspiring them in their vocation in a life-giving reciprocity, so that, in mutual collaboration, the fraternities may be enriched by an evangelizing effectiveness[344] in their own forms of the apostolate.


1The brothers can exercise any kind of apostolate, keeping in mind even their personal gifts, but always under obedience to the competent authority.[345]

2Let the Fraternity, whether provincial or local, promote and coordinate various apostolic initiatives as expressions of the entire fraternity.[346]

3Saving the right of the Pope to use the service of the Order for the good of the universal Church, the exercise of each apostolate is subject to the authority of the local Ordinary, from whom the brothers, after they have been approved by their ministers, receive the necessary faculties. When they are invited by an Ordinary to serve the people of God and the salvation of peoples, the ministers may freely accept, as far as they are able, according to our charism.[347]




1In the fullness of time, the Father sent His Son, consecrated in the Spirit, to rescue us from disobedience, a mission He fulfilled assuming the condition of a slave, humbling Himself, and becoming obedient even to the death of the cross.[348]

2The Church, faithful to the teaching of Jesus Christ, Who came not to be served but to serve, advances the discipleship of obedience vehemently preaching conformity to Him.[349]

3Saint Francis conceived his life as obedience to Christ, Who speaks in the Gospel lived in the Church by lesser brothers, and instinctively perceived that the relationship of all the brothers among themselves is a relationship of mutual obedience.

4For this he admonished that the lesser brothers serve and obey one another,[350] described the service of the ministers and guardians as a help to such mutual obedience and not letting them forget the fraternal vigilance that the other brothers should exercise toward their ministers.[351]

5Docile to the Holy Spirit, in a fraternal communion of life, let us search for and fulfill God’s will in every event and action.

6By virtue of our commitment to live in obedience, without regard to distinction of office, let us strive for the last place in the fraternity of Christ’s disciples, obeying one another in a spirit of charity and subject to every human creature for God’s sake.


The Service of the Ministers


1Francis reminds all the brothers, but especially the ministers, of the attitude of Jesus and His command to not do as the leaders of the nations who dominate them: let whoever wishes to be greater than others become lesser and a servant to all.[352]

2Therefore let the ministers, the servants of the brothers, exercise authority not as masters, but let them serve the other brothers, giving them spirit and life by example and word.


1Let the ministers and the guardians, who hold primary responsibility for the fraternity, as journeyers with the brothers on the spiritual and apostolic way, preside over their fraternities with humility and fidelity, making themselves the first witnesses to gospel obedience and the Capuchin charism.

2Therefore let them exercise the office entrusted to them with diligence. Let them be for the brothers and take care of all things, as, with prudent discernment, they seek the will of God at all times together with them.[353]

3In the spirit of the gospel let them willingly initiate dialogue with the brothers, whether in common or as individuals; let them carefully seek out and listen to their advice. Let everyone remember, however, that it is the responsibility of the ministers and guardians, by reason of their office, to make the final decision.[354]

4For the good of the whole fraternity, let them promote the harmonious activity of all, especially of those who have specific responsibilities in the house

(Paragraph 1 of #158 is dropped; it is incorporated into #159:1)

(Paragraph 2 goes to the General Statutes)


1The ministers and guardians have the duty to minister the word of God to the brothers, carefully providing for their appropriate instruction and religious formation.

2Desiring that each brother be conformed to the design of the Father Who calls them out of love, let [the ministers and guardians] urge them to seek out and fulfill the divine will actively and responsibly.

3With respect for the human person, let them guide the brothers entrusted to them as sons of God so that [the brothers] may offer obedience with freedom of heart.

3Let them not impose commands by virtue of the vow of obedience unless charity and necessity demand it and [it is done] with great prudence in writing or before two witnesses.


1Let them exercise the office that belongs to them by virtue of the Rule of visiting, admonishing, encouraging and, when necessary, correcting the brothers, with firmness and, at the same time, kindness and charity.

2Let them make an effort to correct the failings of individual brothers privately through a fraternal discussion, keeping in mind the person and the circumstances.

3Let the brothers, however, willingly accept the correction of ministers and guardians for the betterment of their soul.

Let [the ministers and guardians] discuss the failings and omissions of the fraternity with the brothers themselves, especially on the occasion of a local chapter. Let all of them together seek and apply effective remedies.


1 The pastoral visitation of the ministers prescribed by the Rule and universal law contributes much to the promotion of our life and the renewal and unity of the brothers.

(Paragraphs 2-6 of #161 go to General Statutes)

(Paragraph 1 of #162 is incorporated into no. 161, as follows)

2Let the visitators initiate a sincere discussion with the brothers, whether individually or gathered together for communal dialogue, about everything that supports and fosters the gospel life of the brothers, whether spiritual or temporal. Let them not neglect the visitation of the houses.

3Let them act with prudence and understanding, adapting themselves to the times and conditions of different regions so that the brothers may express their judgment freely and sincerely and they may work together for whatever leads to the perennial renewal of our life and the growth of our zealous activity.

(#163 goes to the General Statutes)


The Mutual Obedience of the Brothers


1Mutual obedience is based upon the relationship of love in the Holy Trinity. It seeks to form a free communion of brothers in which there is no domination or diminution of persons, and leads us to listen to one another with empathy, obeying and serving one another with love.[355]

2The brothers, following the footsteps of the Lord Jesus, by the profession of obedience, offer their wills as a spiritual sacrifice freely given to God, conform themselves to His will, and place themselves to the service of all.[356]

3Moreover, by living in obedience in the fraternity, they discover the will of God with greater security and provide witness in the present to the Kingdom that is to come.[357]

(Parargaph 3 of #164 goes to the General Statutes)

4Let them be fully aware that the freely-made offering of their own will to God greatly fosters their personal perfection and the communal witness of His Kingdom.


1Let those who exercise the service of authority keep in mind that they are also bound by obedience to God and to the brothers.

2Let the other brothers obey the ministers and guardians with that spirit of generosity with which they have promised the gospel counsels in a way that is active and responsible, with faith and love for the will of God.

3 While being ready to obey the ministers and guardians in a spirit of faith, let the brothers manifest to them their own judgments and initiatives in view of the common good.

4If, after fraternal dialogue, a brother sees something better and more useful than what a minister and guardian commands, let him sacrifice his judgment willingly and strive to do that of the ministers and guardians. In fact, as Francis says,[358] this is the true and loving obedience that satisfies God and neighbor.

5Whatever good a brother may do with a right intention and by his own choice is also true obedience, when he knows that it is not contrary to the will of the ministers and guardians or detrimental to fraternal unity.[359]

6Saint Francis went so far as to define as perfect obedience (—) the case of the brother who, although unable to obey in conscience the command of a minister, nonetheless did not abandon him.[360]


1Those who, because of personal reasons or external circumstances, cannot observe the Rule spiritually may, and should, have recourse to the minister confidently asking advice, encouragement for his soul, and a cure.

2Let the minister welcome and help them with fraternal charity and concern.


1Let all of us, ministers and other brothers alike, walking in truth and sincerity of heart, have a great sense of closeness among ourselves and, through charity of spirit, serve and obey one another willingly..

2Let us greatly foster mutual respect, an indispensable requirement for charity and mutual obedience, and let us never say when a brother is absent what we would not dare to say in charity were he present.

3By acting in this way, in a world that is meant to be consecrated to God, we will be a sign and anticipation of the Kingdom of heaven.

4Should we sometimes suffer want, persecution and tribulation because of our witness of gospel obedience, let us place all our hope in our most highly loved God.

5Moved and sustained by the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy activity, as poor men and men of peace, let us devote ourselves daily, with constancy and fortitude, to encouraging everywhere—in the fraternity, in the Church, and in the world—pardon, fraternal acceptance and obedience to every human being,[361] certain that God will reward us if we persevere until the end.




1Chastity, as a manifestation of dedication to God with an undivided heart,[362] is a reflection of the infinite love that links the three Divine Persons in the mysterious depths of the life of the Trinity, the love to which the Incarnate Word bears witness even to the point of giving his life, the love poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,[363] which evoke a response of total love for God and for our brothers.[364]

2Appreciated as an extraordinary gift of God, chastity, through the movement of the Holy Spirit, is chosen for Christ and His Kingdom. It is a gift that, in a unique way, confers a greater freedom of heart through which we may cling to God with an undivided love and can become all things to all people.[365]

3The joyous living of chastity is a witness to God’s love in the weakness of the human condition and attests that what many believe is impossible becomes, with the grace of the Lord Jesus, possible and truly liberating.[366]

4By always guarding and cultivating this gift, our fraternity becomes a splendid sign of the mystery through which the Church is united to her only Spouse.

5 (from n. 169 of the present Constitutions) [367] Francis, captivated by the love of God and of human creatures, indeed by all created beings, is a brother and a friend of all. One of the noted characteristics of Saint Francis is the richness of his affections and his capacity for expressing them. Thoroughly courteous and noble, elated by everything beautiful and good, he wished that his brothers sing joyful songs of penance-conversion, immersed in peace and in a universal, even cosmic brotherhood.

6The charism of consecrated chastity, which not everyone can grasp, is an option for the Kingdom of God, prophetically proclaims that kingdom in our midst and offers a witness to the future life in which those who have risen are brothers [and sisters] to one another before God Who will be for them all in all.

(As we said, this number moves to n. 168 as § 5)


1While we are on the way to the Kingdom of God, chastity always involves a certain privation that must be recognized and accepted. Diligent recourse to supernatural and natural means makes it possible to maintain a certain equilibrium and to avoid the dangers that threaten a celibate brother such as boredom, loneliness of heart, love of comforts, excessive gratification, undue compensations or disordered affectivity and sexuality.[368]

2Conscious of human frailty, we should avoid those occasions and ways of behavior that may be dangerous, make chastity ambiguous and raise suspicions.[369]

3Let us jealously safeguard the precious gift of consecrated chastity and discover a sublime point of reference in the contemplation of Trinitarian love, revealed to us in Christ.[370]

4Chastity is nourished, supported and increased by participation in a sacramental life, especially the Eucharistic Banquet and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and by persevering in assiduous prayer, especially that which is affective,[371] and in intimate union. Let us also cultivate a tender devotion to the Virgin Mary, the sublime image of chastity.

5Therefore, not relying on our own strength but on God’s assistance, let us strive to respond joyfully and[372] generously to this gift.


1A fraternity that is genuine, serene and open to others makes the natural development of each one’s affectivity easier. Fraternal commitment demands a continual renunciation of self-love and requires a dedication that favors authentic and profound friendships that greatly contribute to the fulfillment of an affective life.[373]

2Affective and sexual maturity gradually travels a journey of conversion from a possessive love to a self-sacrificing love[374] capable of giving of oneself to others.

3Let all the brothers remember that love for one another in familiar companionship and fraternal service is an excellent support of chastity.

4Besides a discipline of the senses and of the heart, let us joyfully dedicate ourselves to diligent work, living in humility, transparency,[375] and penance, and use other means that foster health of mind and body.


1Let the brothers love all people in Christ, conscious that love is from God and that everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.[376]

2Confronted by hedonism, which often reduces sexuality to a diversion and a consumer good, let the brothers manifest a free and universal love that is the fruit of self-mastery and discipline, necessary to avoid falling into the slavery of the senses and instincts. In this way consecrated chastity emerges as an experience of joy and freedom.[377]

2Friendship is a great gift that fosters human and spiritual growth. In virtue of our consecration and because of the respect due to the vocation of those with whom we associate, we should avoid binding others to ourselves; rather let us give ourselves to them. In this way a friendship is established that is liberating and not destructive of fraternity.

3. We should never forget that a lack of respect for others in the area of affectivity and sexuality would be not only an offence against chastity but also an abuse of power.[378]

4Following the example of the noble affection Brother Francis had for Sister Clare, let our attitude toward women be conspicuous by its courtesy, respect and healthy affection, while not forgetting, however, the holy caution recommended by the Rule.[379]

5Relations of the brothers with their own family promote affective development; however, let us not forget that the fraternity is our new family.


1Let us frequently ponder the words of Saint Francis with which he encourages his brothers, after removing all anxiety, to love and adore the Lord God in all creatures with a clean heart, a chaste body and a holy manner of working.[380]

2Therefore let nothing hinder us, nothing separate us that the Spirit of the Lord may act and be manifested in us and in our fraternity.[381]




1Jesus Christ, the Beloved Son whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world, is the Gospel of God, the first and greatest announcer of the Good News.[383]

2Born of the evangelizing activity of the Lord, the Church is, in her time, sent to announce the Gospel.[384] In order to be faithful to the faith and to its mission, it always feels the need to be itself evangelized, making itself amenable to the work of the Holy Spirit.

3The consecrated life is proof of the necessary priority that the Gospel has throughout baptismal life and of the urgency that it gives to its proclamation.

4Saint Francis, who accepted the Gospel as his Rule of life, from the very beginning of his brotherhood sent his brothers into the world to witness the Good News of salvation and of peace. Conscious that the proclamation finds its credibility in an authentic gospel life, he recommended that witness precede any form of preaching.


Living as evangelized men


1As true disciples of the Lord and sons of Saint Francis, with the help of divine grace, let us preserve the faith that we have received from God through the Church. With all of our energies and sound judgment, let us penetrate into it more profoundly and incarnate it ever more in our life.[385]

2Let us implore God through assiduous prayer for an increase of this inestimable gift and live in intimate union with His entire People.

3Led by the Holy Spirit, let us bear witness to Christ everywhere and offer to those who ask the reason for that hope of eternal life which is within us.


1Saint Francis profoundly desired to adhere faithfully to the magisterium of the Church as the guardian of the written and transmitted word of God, as transmitted in Scripture and in Tradition, as well as of the gospel life.

2In order to preserve this spiritual heritage intact, let us nourish a special devotion to holy Mother Church.

3Let us be one with the Church in all things: in thought, word and action, diligently avoiding false or pernicious doctrines, without renouncing a balanced, constructive and filial critical spirit.[386]

4Led by an active sense and a responsible conscience, let us offer religious submission of intellect and will to the Pope and to the entire teaching authority of the Church.[387]


1Responding to the divine vocation through which God requests of us each day a role in carrying out His plan of salvation, let us remember that by virtue of profession we are closely bound to Christ before the people and united to the people before God.[388]

2Let us strive, therefore, to walk faithfully[389] and to excel all the more in the vocation by which we are called, remembering that God never makes His gifts or, therefore, a vocation once given ineffectual. His grace will not fail us in overcoming difficulties on this narrow path that leads to life.

3Zealously dedicating ourselves to our renewal, let us persevere in the commitment of our life with a joyful heart; yet, conscious of our human frailty, let us move forward on the way of conversion with the entire Church that is always being renewed by the Holy Spirit.


Our Life as Evangelizers


1In his own time, Saint Francis renewed, through divine inspiration, the spirit of evangelization with the vigor of his life and the teaching and encouragement of his Rule and gave an impetus to those initiatives of the Church that are called missionary.[390]

2For Francis it is fundamental to entrust oneself to God with total confidence. For this reason, he insists that his brothers should go about the world without taking anything, like sheep among wolves, leaving it to their daily witness of life as lesser brothers, before anything else, to proclaim the gospel. For Francis, this way of being and living, without the power to dominate others[391] and totally defenseless, was not a method or condition of evangelization, but was already in itself a proclamation of the Gospel.

3Our 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.[392]

4Our Order accepts as its own the responsibility of spreading the Gospel that belongs to the whole Church and regards and takes on this missionary work as one of its principal apostolic obligations.

5We refer here primarily to the evangelizers ad gentes or to those sent to young churches.


1 (From no. 176,1 of the present Constitutions) Let brothers who, by divine inspiration, want to go[393] to another region where evangelization is more urgent, make known their proposal to the provincial minister. The provincial minister, however, may also call upon other qualified brothers prepared to undertake such work.

2According to the teaching of Saint Francis,[394] these brothers can conduct themselves spiritually among non-Christians in two ways: either, while being subject to every human creature for God’s sake, they very confidently give witness of the Gospel life by their charity; or, when they see that it pleases God, they openly proclaim the word of salvation to non-believers that they may be baptized and become Christians.

3Recognizing that particular Churches have already acquired a preferred role in the work of evangelization, let the brothers willingly listen to members of the newly established Churches and dialogue with them. In this way it is clear they have come to serve those Churches and their pastors.

4In a spirit of charity, evaluating the historical, religious, social and cultural circumstances in light of the Gospel, impelled by a prophetic spirit let them act with the freedom of the sons of God.

5For this reason they should seek to enter into a respectful dialogue, first of all, with other Churches, then with non-Christian religions, and, finally, with other cultures, to discover common values that reveal the presence of God to every culture and that can be the premise of mutual respect and of the message of the Gospel.[395]


1Brothers may be invited to share in missionary work temporarily, especially to provide special services

2Let them collaborate with lay missionaries, especially catechists, in work and planning and, with them, zealously care for the spiritual animation of the people, as well[396] as their social and economic welfare.

3The ministers should foster[397] among the brothers a love for missionary work and a spirit of cooperation, in such a way that everyone, according to his own state and ability, may fulfil his missionary responsibility in fraternal communion with missionaries, by praying for the newly established Churches in union with them, and by arousing the interest of the Christian people.


1The sharing of gifts among different local churches is one of the necessary dimensions of catholicity.[398] Since the state of those who profess the gospel counsels belongs to the life and holiness of the People of God and, for that reason, should be zealously promoted even from the period of the implantation of the Church, let missionary brothers strive to foster consecrated life,[399] especially our spirit and our charism in the particular Churches.

2It is the responsibility of the ministers, therefore, to provide that brothers suitable for forming candidates of the Order be present among the missionaries.

3Let the form of our life and the spiritual heritage of our Order, which is universal and embraces all the rites of the Catholic church, be transmitted and expressed according to the circumstances of a region as well as to the unique character of each nation and particular church. Let customs peculiar to one region not be transplanted into another.

4Authentic evangelization demands inculturation, that is, immersion into the culture of the people where one lives, without losing one’s own identity.[400]


1 We should keep in mind that missionary activity reaches its summit in the growth of the particular church, in which clergy, religious and laity have their responsibilities, each according to their own competence.

2Let the brothers cooperate diligently with all those who are engaged in missionary activity in a particular Church in the same territory or that are engaged in missionary promotion at home

3It is the responsibility of the minister general, with the consent of the council and in union with ecclesiastical authority, to promote and coordinate together missionary activity in the particular churches.


1Let the brothers remember Saint Francis, who wished to send his companions into the world after the example of the disciples of Christ, in poverty and with full trust in God the Father, proclaiming peace everywhere by word and example.

2Since its beginning, our Order has recommended missionary activity, stressing that is be entrusted to brothers inflamed by the love of Christ.[401]

3Let 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, praying on the morning of Pentecost, took part in the beginnings of evangelization under the impulse of the Holy Spirit.



1By virtue of our profession, we must observe, simply and in a catholic manner, the Rule of Saint Francis, confirmed by Pope Honorius, and the Constitutions approved by the Apostolic See.

2Its authentic interpretation is reserved to the Holy See which has abrogated earlier pontifical declarations on the Rule only as regards their preceptive force, excepting those contained in existing universal law and in these Constitutions.

3Furthermore, the Holy See recognizes the right of the General Chapter to adapt the Rule to new circumstances when appropriate. But these adaptations obtain the force of law through the approval of the Holy See.


1The authentic interpretation of the Constitutions is reserved to the Holy See. The General Chapter, with the consent of two-thirds of the vocals, may add to, change, repeal or abrogate the Constitutions, according to the needs of the times, so that appropriate renewal, with a certain continuity, may be fostered. [Such acts, however, require] the approval of the Holy See.

2Outside the chapter, the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, has the right to settle doubts or fill in the gaps that may occur in our own law; these solutions remain in force until the next chapter.

3In particular cases, the ministers may dispense their own subjects and guests according to circumstances from disciplinary regulations of the Constitutions, whenever they judge that it would be beneficial for their spiritual good.

4A temporary dispensation of an entire province is reserved to the general minister, of an entire fraternity to its own minister.

5Provincial chapters or the Conferences of ministers may enact special statutes that may be appropriately applied according to the circumstances of the circumscriptions or regions.

6All questions of conflicting rights whether between religious or houses or between circumscriptions of the Order are resolved according to our Modus procedendi.


1Our Order is governed by the universal law of the Church, the Rule, the Constitutions, and the General Statutes. Only this text of the Constitutions and that of the General Statutes has juridical force in the entire Order.

2Since laws and statutes cannot be made for every particular case, in all our actions let us keep before our eyes the Holy Gospel, the Rule we have promised to God, the sound traditions and example of the saints.

3Let ministers and guardians surpass the brothers in the life of our fraternity and in observing the Constitutions, and lead the brothers to observe them as a daring adventure of love.


1Christ, Who is the Light and Expectation of the nations, the End of the Law, the Salvation of God, the Father of the world to come, the Word and the Power that upholds all things and, lastly, our Hope in Whom all things are possible, delightful and easy, and to Whom our frailty is known, will not only give us strength for following His commands and counsels but will also pour out His heavenly gifts in such abundance that, after removing all impediments, we may be able to follow and imitate Him with the greatest eagerness of our hearts using visible things as passers-by and as those yearning for things eternal.

2Therefore, let all our thought, meditation and imitation be riveted on Christ Who is God and Man, the True Light and the Splendor of Glory, the Brilliance of Eternal Light and the Mirror without blemish, the Image of the Goodness of God, Who has been appointed by the Father as the Judge, Law-giver, and Savior of all peoples, to Whom the Father and Holy Spirit have borne witness, and in Whom are our merit, model of life, help and reward, Who by God has been made for us Wisdom and Justice.

3Lastly, to Christ, Who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, co-eternal, consubstantial, and co-equal, be everlasting praise, honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.[403]




1/1. (Const. 185.1)

1. Our Order, as a whole and in its sub-divisions, is governed by the univeral law of the Church and by its own law.

2. Its own law comprises the Rule, the Constitutions, and the General Statutes, and also norms which the Order, through the General Statutes, and each conference, province, vice-province, custody, delegation and house, may adopt with the approval of the competent authority.


(Const. 185.1) The texts of the Constitutions and General Statutes have juridical value in the entire Order, while subordinate law is valid for those structures for which it was approved.


(new; cf Const. 184.1) It is for the General Chapter, by an absolute majority, both to approve the General Statutes and to add to, modify, derogate from or repeal them, according to the needs of the times and the requirements of renewal, but as far as possible maintaining fidelity to our tradition.


(new; cf Const. 184.1.2) The authentic interpretation of the General Statutes is reserved to the General Chapter. Outside the General Chapter the General Minister, with the consent of the Definitory, has the authority to settle any doubts and fill in any gaps that may exist. These solutions remain in force until the next Chapter.


(new; cf Const. 184.3.4) It is for the General Minister, with the consent of the Definitory, to grant a temporary dispensation, in each particular case, from observance of the General Statutes. The other ministers have this power in accordance with the competence granted to them by the General Statutes.


(Const. 184.5) It is for the General Minister, with the consent of the Definitory, to approve particular statutes drafted by the conferences of ministers, so that the Constitutions and the General Statutes may be properly applied to the conditions prevailing in the circumscriptions.


In our Order, the term “ministers” is to be understood as : the general minister and the provincial minister, with their respective vicars; the vice-provincial and the custodian.


Within the ambit of that part of the institute entrusted to their governance, the following are ordinaries: the general minister and the provincial minister, with their respective vicars; the vice-provincial and the custodian (cf can. 134 §1).

Nb: “ regular superior” has been deleted from 1/7 and 1/8





The vocation to our Life


(Const. 16.2) Our vocation as Capuchin lesser brothers is, in itself, an eloquent proclamation of an alternative to a way of life dictated by worldly standards and prevalent cultural imperatives. All the baptized can share in it, thereby opening new possibilities for the Spirit to beak into their lives. (cf RdC 2; 6).

None of us can renounce our personal mission to promote our vocation by presenting and discussing our way of life, since we are all are called to contribute to this effort as a sign of the fruitfulness of Franciscan life. However, better results are obtained where there are brothers specially assigned to promote and coordinate the practical decisions taken in the field of vocations promotion.


(Const. 16.3) To encourage vocations it is very helpful to offer young people an opportunity of participating in our fraternal life in some way. This is best done in houses that are suitable for this purpose and, at the same time, provide assistance with personal reflection.


(Const. 16.4) According to the needs of regions and times, the ministers may, with the consent of their definitory and the advice of the Chapter if the latter seems appropriate, establish particular structures, so that those interested in the consecrated life may be more closely accompanied and better prepared.


Admission to our Life

2/4. (define the candidate)


(Const. 17.3) For admission to our life the following requirements must be observed:

candidates should be temperamentally suited to live the gospel life in fraternal communion; it should be evident that they enjoy the physical and mental health and maturity necessary to lead our life; candidates should show by their lives that they firmly believe what holy mother Church believes and holds; it should be established that they enjoy a good reputation, particularly among those who know them well; they should have a generous will, and it must be established that they are entering the Order solely for the purpose of sincerely serving God and promoting the salvation of people, according to the Rule and way of the life of Saint Francis and our own law; they should be educated according to the standards of their particular regions, and show promise that they will be able to carry out their future duties successfully; all useful information concerning their earlier life should be obtained, especially in the case of older candidates or of those who have already had some experience of religious life; in the case of admission of a diocesan cleric, or of those coming from another institute of consecrated life or a seminary, or of the re-admission of one of our candidates, the prescriptions of universal law should be observed.


1. (Const. 19.1) It is the responsibility of the general and provincial minister to receive candidates to the postulancy, novitiate and profession, and to draw up the appropriate written document, which must be kept in the archives.

2. (Const. 19.2) Before the ministers admit candidates to the novitiate, they should consult their council or three or four brothers appointed by the definitory. Before they can admit them to first profession and to perpetual profession, they need the consent of their definitory.

3. (Const. 34.1) At the times determined by the provincial minister with the advice of his definitory, thew local fraternity, after a report given by the director, shall review and discuss in community the fitness of the candidates and its own manner of acting towards them.

4. (Const. 19.3) If the case requires it, they should also consult those who have special competence in the matter. There should, as far as possible, be a written statement of the consultation.


1. (Const. 20.1) The master of novices is responsible for conducting the rite of receiving novices by which the novitiate begins, unless the provincial minister decrees otherwise.

2. (Const. 20.2) The provincial minister himself, in the name of the Church, receives the vows of those making profession. He may, however, delegate another brother of the Order to do this.

3. (Const. 20.3) The liturgical norms and the prescriptions of our own law are to be observed in the reception to the novitiate and the making of profession. Candidates retain their own baptismal name.


Formation in general


1. (Const. 24.1). The Order must have at its disposal means of formation that meet the requirements of its own specific charism.

2. (Const. 24.2) Since particular attention must be given to brothers in the period of initial formation, each circumscription should provide adequate educational programs.

3. (Const. 24.3) One very important requirement in the education process is a team of responsible brothers working according to consistent norms throughout the entire formation journey. The team must receive appropriate support from the entire fraternity.

4.(Const. 24.4). Because of their great importance, there should be a concern to ensure the care and effectiveness of the secretariate and centers of formation.

5. (Const. 24.5) Let the General Secretariate for Formation be available to the General Minister and to the other Ministers, offering them assistance and information so that they may promote all that pertains to formation.

6. (Const. 24.6). Likewise, each province should have a Formation Council and in the formation centers there should be a brother with particular responsibility for promoting whatever pertains to formation.

7. (Const. 24.7). Each province or group of provinces, according to local circumstances, should have their own program of formation containing the goals, plans and specific guidelines of the entire formation process


Initiation into our Life

2/9. (Const. 25.2)

1. During the period of initiation the formation of the candidates, which harmoniously unites the human dimension with the spiritual, should be thoroughly sound, integrated and adapted to the needs of places and times.

2.(Const. 25.3). Suitable means of active education should be employed. Above all, the candidates should perform tasks and duties that gradually lead them to acquire self-control as well as psychological and spiritual maturity.

3.(Const. 25.5) The brothers in initial formation should acquire a thorough knowledge of the Capuchin Franciscan spirit and its practice by studying the life of Saint Francis, his intention regarding the observance of the Rule, the history and sound traditions of our Order, and, most of all, by assimilating internally and practically the life to which they are called.

4.(Const. 25.6) In particular, let them cultivate fraternal living both in the community and with other people, whose needs they should be ready to meet, so that they may learn to live in ever more perfect and active partnership with the Church.

5. (Const. 25.7) The special initial formation of the brothers should be arranged with a view to the various duties they will have and in keeping with the particular circumstances and statutes of the circumscriptions.

6. (Const. 25.9) The establishment, transfer and suppression of the novitiate house belong to thew general minister with the consent of the definitory, and must be done by a decree given in writing. The same authority, in particular cases and by way of exception, may allow a candidate to make his novitiate in another housre of the Order, under the guidance of a suitable religious whgo will perform the function of novice master (cf. can 647).


1. (Const. 26.3). The minister, with the consent of his definitory, having determined the manner and limits within which the initiation is to take place, entrusts its direction to brothers who are experienced in the spiritual, fraternal and pastoral life and are endowed with learning, prudence, discernment of spirits and knowledge of souls.

2. (Const. 26.4) The directors of postulants, novices and professed must be free from all duties that could interfere with the care and direction of the candidates.

2/11. (Const. 27.2) From the day the candidate is admitted, he must be gradually considered a member of the fraternity as regards his formation, life and work, in a manner to be determined by the minister with the consent of his definitory.


1. (Const. 28.1) The postulancy is a stage of initial formation during which the candidate chooses our way of life. The minister with the consent of his definitory determines the length of this first stage and the ways of conducting it. During this period the postulant comes to know our life, while the fraternity, on its part, comes to know the postulant better and is able to discern his calling.

2. (Const. 28.2) The formation of postulants is aimed chiefly at completing their catechesis in the faith and includes an introduction to liturgy, methods of prayer, the study of Franciscanism and an introduction to apostolic work. It must also test and promote human maturity, especially emotional maturity, and the ability to discern the signs of the times in light of the Gospel.


1. (Const. 29.5) Once the candidate’s choice of our life has been confirmed in the postulancy, it is in the novitiate that he properly experiences its style, in order to conform his mind and heart to it. For this purpose, and for validity, he must spend twelve months in the novitiate house.

2. (new) As regards the form and use of the habit during the novitiate, the practice estrablished by the circumscription or Conference should be followed.

3. (Const. 29.6) An absence from the novitiate house that exceeds three months, whether continuous or intermittent, renders the novitiate invalid. An absence that exceeds fifteen days must be made up. Everything else required by universal law in relation to the novitiate must be carefully observed.


1. (Const. 30.1). The post-novitiate is a period in which the brothers, while continuing to grow in maturity, prepare themselves to make the definitive choice of our gospel life through perpetual profession.

2. (Const. 30.2). Since the fraternal gospel life holds the primary place in our vocation, priority should also be given to it during the time of the post-novitiate. Therefore let the same religious formation be provided for all brothers, for the period of time and in the manner determined by the minister with the consent of his definitory.

3. (Const. 30.3) The brothers, according to each one’s gifts of nature and grace, should apply themselves to a more profound study of sacred scripture, spiritual theology, liturgy and the history and spirituality of the Order. They should also exercise various forms of the apostolate and work, including domestic work. But this formation should always be given with a view to the life and progressive maturation of the individual.


The Profession of our Life


1. (Const. 34.1). At the times determined by the provincial minister with the advice of his definitory, the local fraternity, after hearing the director’s report, should conduct a communal reflection and discussion about the suitability of the candidates and its own program for dealing with them.

2. (Const. 34.2) During the novitiate and before perpetual profession, the perpetually professed brothers who have lived for four months in the fraternity concerned should also express their opinion by a consultative vote in the manner determined by the minister.

3. (Const. 34.3) The opinion of brothers in temporary vows should not be overlooked, even though they do not have a vote.

4. (Const. 34.4) A written report of every such meeting, and the results of any voting, are to be sent to the minister.


(Const. 31.6) We exhort the brothers to prepare themselves for profession with great care, by a spiritual retreat, by an intense sacramental, especially Eucharistic, life, and by fervent prayer. This should be done more intensely and in a special way before perpetual profession.

2. (PCO VII 17) To underscore our vocation as brothers and the ecclesial value of the religious life, perpetual profession should be celebrated withapopropraitre dignity, shown in simple gestures and a sober style, as is proper to the liturgy and to Franciscan poverty.


1. (Const. 33.1.6) The religious habit, which the brothers wear as a sign of consecration to God and of minority and fraternity, is given during the rite of first profession.

2. (Const. 33.5). Our habit, according to the Rule and custom of the Order, consists of a tunic with a hood, chestnut in color, a cord and sandals, or, for a just cause, shoes. The norm of pluriformity applies to the custom of wearing the beard


1. (Const. 35.1) If the candidate is admitted to profession, either temporary or perpetual, a document is to be drawn up showing the brother’s age and other necessary information. This document should be signed by the professed, by the one who receives his profession and by two witnesses.

2. (Const. 35.2) This document, together with others prescribed by the Church, should be carefully kept in the provincial archives. The profession should also be recorded by the minister in a register of professions, to be kept in the archives.

3. (Const. 35.3) In the case of perpetual profession, the minister should notify the pastor of the place where the professed brother was baptised.

4. (Ord. 2/2) The Minister, with the consent of his definitory, shall determine the manner of probation for any religious who transfers to our Order from another religious Institute. The time of such probation, once three years have passed (cf. CCL can. 684§2), shall not be extended by more than a year.


Specific formation


1. (Const. 39.5) The ministers, with the consent of the definitory, may establish in their provinces centers for the appropriate special formation of the brothers. Alternatively they may provide for this in other ways, especially through collaboration between provinces or with the Franciscan families, in so far as local circumstances permit.

2. (Const. 39.6) If, during the time of initial formation, the brothers attend centers of instruction outside the Order because of the conditions and needs of the circumscription, their Capuchin Franciscan religious formation must always be carefully supplied.

3. (Const. 39.7) The ministers should take care that suitable brothers receive special training at institutes, schools and universities in the sacred sciences, as well as in the other sciences, and in the arts and technical skills, as seems appropriate for the service of the Church and the Order.

4. (Ord. 2/4) Permanent deacons can be admitted to the Order, with the approval of the Minister and the consent of the definitory, and observing the prescriptions of universal and particular law.


1. (Const. 40.1) Those responsible for formation should be aware that the brothers in formation are the principal authors of their own formation, the responsibility for which rests primarily upon them, in trusting collaboration with formation personnel.

2. (Const. 40.2) In their method of teaching, in conversations with students, and in conducting classes, formation personnel should ensure that the brothers in formation acquire a living and consistent cultural development.

3. (Const. 40.3) They should prepare and present their classes carefully in fidelity to the Church’s magisterium. They should also keep abreast with developments in their own disciplines and adapt their lectures to these demands.

4. (Const. 40.4) Finally, it is recommended that they exert their energies in scholarly research, writing and publication, especially in Franciscan subjects. Franciscan Institutes promoted by the Order can offer assistance for this purpose to these and other brothers.

5. (Const. 40.5) In addition to a central or regional library, which is highly recommended, there should be a common library in all our houses, adequately supplied to meet the needs of the particular fraternity. Where possible, with due precautions, our libraries should also be accessible to those who are not members of the Order.


Ongoing Formation


1. (Const. 43.3) The first school of formation is the daily experience of religious life, in a normal rhythm of prayer, reflection, community life and work, so that that ongoing formation is greatly facilitated by the manner in which our daily life is lived.

2. (Const. 43.1) Every circumscription should pubish its own norms for ongoing formation, according to the different places and conditions of persons and times.

3. (Const. 43.2) The program should be systematic, dynamic and integral, embracing the entire religious life in the light of the gospel and in the spirit of brotherhood.

4. (Const. 43.4) Extraordinary means or resources are also highly recommended, e.g., new or renewed ventures in ongoing formation, assisted by the local and provincial fraternities present in each circumscription or Conference of Ministers.

5. (Const. 43.5) Our International College established in Rome is recommended for fostering the spirit of brotherhood in the whole Order, for pursuing formation and for promoting Franciscan learning.

6. (Ord. 2/5) Decisions regarding the Inteernational College pertain to the General Minister with the consent of the Definitory.


The Separation of members from the Order


There are circumstances which, in the ways provided for in universal and particular law, can justify the temporary or permanent separation of the members from the Order.


1. (Const. 36.1) The minister has the faculty of dismissing a postulant or novice whom he judges unfit for our life.

2. (Const. 36.2). When there is a serious reason that allows no delay, the master of novices or postulants possesses the same faculty, but with the consent of the council of the fraternity. The minister is to be notified immediately of this action.

3. (Const. 32.4) When the time of temporary profession has been completed the brother may leave. If there are just reasons for doing so, the competent minister, having consulted his definitory, may exclude him from subsequent profession.

4. (Const. 36.3) The general minister, with the consent of the definitory, can grant an indult of departure to a professed brother in temporary vows who requests it for a grave reason. By the law itself this indult includes a dispensation from the vows as well as from all obligations arising from profession.


(Const. 36.4) The prescriptions of universal and particular law must be observed in all that concerns the transfer to another institute of consecrated life or to a society of apostolic life, departure from the Order, and the dismissal of a brother after either temporary or perpetual profession, in accordance with the “Procedure in Judicial and Admninistrative Cases in the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor”.


(Const. 93.6) Major superiors especially are encouraged to observe justice and gospel charity toward brothers who leave the religious life, although such brothers may not demand anything from the Order for any work done while they were members of it.

However, in order to safeguard justice toward the Order, from the moment the candidate is accepted into the fraternity means should be found, in accordance with civil law, to protect the Order in respect of work or other dealings that could be the subject of a legal challenge by the competent state authorities.




1. (Const. 47.3) Conscious of the importance of the spirit of the liturgy, we should prepare the liturgical actions in such a way that they are always conducted with originality, simplicity and responsible spontaneity. In order to achieve this, it is beneficial for the fraternities to designate brothers to prepare the liturgical celebrations, so that these may be more and more renewed with spontaneous creativity.

2. (Const. 47.4) As regards the rite, the brothers should conform to the prescriptions issued by the competent ecclesiastical authority of the region in which they live.


1. (Const. 48.3.2) In order to manifest the unity of the Eucharistic sacrifice, of the priesthood and of the fraternity, it is praiseworthy that the brothers attend daily concelebration together, unless individual celebration is necessary. Where this cannot be done each day, there should at least be concelebration periodically, and all the brothers should attend.

2. (Const. 48.4) The Eucharist, in which our Lord Jesus Christ is present to us under the consecrated species, should be reserved in our oratories and churches in the worthiest place and manner possible.


1. (Const. 49.1.2) In the celebration of the Eucharist we recommend to God all those who have died. In particular, it is established:that on the death of the Roman Pontiff, of a General Minister and of a former General Minister, each fraternity shall celebrate a Mass for the dead. The same shall be done for General Definitors and former General Definitors in eacxh fraternity of the group represented by them.

2. (Const. 49.3) It is the responsibility of the provincial Chapter to determine the suffrages to be offered for brothers, parents and benefactors.

3. (Const. 49.4) Every year, after the solemnity of St Francis, in each of our friaries there is to be a commemoration of all the deceased brothers and benefactors.


1. (Const. 50.3) It is recommended that the brothers, conscious of the pastoral impact of doing so, should celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours with the faithful, wherever they may be or may meet one another and when it is possible.

2. (Const. 50.5) Those who cannot celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours in common should remember that, even in private recitation, they are spiritually united with the whole Church and especially with the brothers. Those brothers who say the office of the Our Fathers according to the Rule should pray with the same profound intention.

3. (Const. 50.4) With the approval of the Minister, the local Chapter should arrange the house and work schedule in such a way that the praise of God may sanctify the course of the day, taking into account special personal, seasonal and local circumstances.


1. (Const. 53.3.2) Provincial and local Chapters shall see to it that all the brothers have the necessary time for mental prayer, whether communal or private, e.g. a whole hour.

2. (Const. 53.4) In its Chapters the local fraternity should examine the brothers’ communal and individual prayer. The brothers should feel a sense of responsibility for encouraging one another in their prayer life. This is particularly true of the guardians, because of their pastoral office.


(Const. 54.3) Devotion to the Virgin Mary should be expressed in a special way in liturgical worship and in praying the rosary, which is at heart a Christological prayer and deals with the wonderful presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and of the Church.


(Const. 55.1.2)

In addition to making an annual retreat, the brothers should spend other days of recollection devoted to appropriate meditations and instruction on the Rule, the Constitutions and practical renewal of their life, as determined in the provincial statutes. Guardians are to ensure that all the brothers, including those living away from a friary, have the necessary time for this.


1. (Const. 56.1) In order to foster the prayer of each fraternity it is helpful to promote fraternities of recollection and contemplation in the provinces and regions, according to the many forms of God’s grace. In these fraternities the brothers may spend some time, as God inspires them, attending to spiritual matters and to the life of prayer

2. (Const. 56.2) These brothers, in communion weith the fraternity of the province, should keep in mind what St Francis wrote for those who wish to live religiously in hermitages.

3. (Const. 56.3) It is the responsibility of the provincial Chapter or of the Conference of Ministers to decide whether such fraternities are appropriate, and to regulate their way of life.


(Const. 57.2)

It is the task of the local Chapter to protect the atmosphere of prayer and recollection in our fraternities by keeping out anything which impedes it.


(Const. 58.2)

Each province should publish norms concerning the public reading of sacred scripture, the Rule, the Testament and the Constitutions and General Statutes, so that the way and life we have professed may always be in the forefront of pour minds.




Our commitment to poverty

4/1. (cf Const. 60)

1. In order to pursue the ideal of poverty proposed by the Constitutions in the changeable situations in the world, our Chapters, whether general, porovincial or local, should consider in aprticualr our lifestyle and our social use of the goods entrusted to the fraternity, whether money, houses or lands. We should gladly use these goods in the service of others whenever it is not appropriate to give them up.

2. It is the task of general, provincial and local Chapters to establish the forms of our gospel poverty, adapted to the times.


Poverty in the Use of Things and of Money

4/2. (cf Const. 62)

1. The Ministers and guardians, whether personally or through others, can perform civil acts concerning temporal goods, if and when this may be necessary for the brothers or for the works entrusted to us.

2. The Minsiters should designate the physical or juridical persons in whose name the goods entrusted to us may be registered before the civil law.

4/3. (cf Const. 66)

1. In compliance with the norms promulgated by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory, it is lawful for Guardians to use insurance policies and other forms of social security where this is prescribed by ecclesiastical or civil authority for everyone or for those of certain professions or where such things are commonly used by the poor of the area.

2. But let them diligently avoid all those forms of security which have the appearance of affluence or profit-making in the area in which they live.

3. It is appropriate, however, that the Minsters and Guardians, like people of modest means, invest whatever money is really necessary in banks and similar institutions, even at a moderate rate of interest.

4. But they may not accept foundations, perpetual legacies or inheritances that have perpetual rights and obligations attached to them.

4/4. ( Const. 67; cf PCO VI, 24 )

1. That we may not become degenerate sons of Saint Francis by keeping things unjustly, the goods not needed by a fraternity should be handed over to the Ministers for the needs of the jurisdiction, or for the development of peoples, according to the norms established by the provincial chapter.

2. In case of need, the individual fraternities of the same area and even the provinces of the Order should be ready to share their goods or necessities, not only among themselves, a nd especially with the provinces of the same area, but also with others.

3. It is the responsibility of the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, to dispose of the surplus goods of the provinces.


Poverty in our Buildings

4/5. (cf Const. 69; 70)

1. The construction, acquisition and alienation of our houses pertain to the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory, while observing the prescriptions of the law.

2. When the construction of houses has been completed, a local superior may not construct or demolish anything or enlarge a building without consulting the local chapter and obtaining the consent of the councilors and the permission of the minister.

3. The guardian should carefully provide for the maintenance of the church and house and the care of the property obtaining the consent of the councilors in matters of greater importance.


The Administration of Property

4/6. (cf Const. 71)

1. For the administration of money and other goods, the respective major superior with the consent of the definitory should appoint treasurers in the general and provincial curias.

2. Individual houses should also have local treasurers, appointed by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory. The office of treasurer in larger houses should ordinarily be distinct from that of the superior.

3. (cf PCO VI, 41) Bursars (or treasurers) should be truly qualified and fulfil their office in accordance with the norms of law and the instructions of the definitory.

For this purpose, courses should be orgfanised when necessary for the proper training of brothers, enabling them to combine competence in modern economic administration with fidelity to our lifestyle.

4. All bursars, administrators and guardians, at the time and in the manner established by the ministers, should give an exact account of their administration to their ministers, to the definuitors and to the local chapter.

5. (Cf PCO VI 32) To achieve transparency in trhe various levels of administration, each annual financial report should include: a balance sheet; a statement of income and expenditure; and an annual budget.

6. (Cf. PCO VI, 33) The local fraternity can have only short-term capital investments (liquid assets). The capital at its disposal represents only what is necessary for the ordinary running of the community. The minister and his council are to determine the upper limit that each fraternity may administer. For each purpose, the circumscription should produce forms or models, and also assess whether a centralised ecoinomic administration at provincial level would be appropriate.

7. (Cf. PCO VI. 34)Transparency is also necessary for provincial bodies with separate administrations: missions, pastoral activities, social works and various funds. The decision-making and supewrvisory body remains the minister with his council. The minister may entrust the financial administration to competent persons or other financ=ially qualified bosies, whether religiousn or lay.

8. (Cf. VI CPO 35)The admoinistrative report of each circumscription should show all financial investments, stating whether these are for the benefit of the province or for other works, With regard to the balance sheet, it should also include the commercial value of goods which do not contribute to the ordinary running of the circumscription, such as land, unused buildings, rented property, etc.

9. (Cf.PCO VI, 36) Each circumscription, in accordance with the Constitutions (cf. Const. 67,7; 73), bearing in mind the principles of solidarity and after having consulted its own conference, should decide, at the level of a chapter or provincial council, what is required for its ordinary administration. It should also decide the amount to be held in reserves/investments for extraordinary internal expenditure, for ongoing mainternance, the care of the sick, employee insurance, formation and for external solidarity, the support of missions and for charity.

10. (Cf. VI CPO 37) With regard to investments, in addition to transparency we must observe ethical principles. Forms of investment in use in civil society today are deemed acceptable (cf Const 66,3). These conditions are to be observed: ethical responsibility; avoiding purely speculative investments; investing in one’s own socio-economic area or in poorer areas. It is important that each circumscription check its own practice against the guidelines of other circumscriptions and the financial laws and regulations ofd each country. Investment operations may not be under the control of one individual but must be approved by thje ministers, who may seek the advice of competent lay financial specialists who are familiar with the evangelical character of our Order.

11. When submitting the triennial report, the provincial ministers, in a written document signed by the council, should should give account to the general minsiter of the economic situation of the province, so that needs can be properly met and the observance of poverty suitably supervised.

12. The vice-provincial and the custodian should also present an economic report to the minister, signed by the council if this can easily be done.

13. The General Minister should give an account of the economic state of the Order at the General Chapter, in the manner to be established by the General Chapter itself.

14. The Ministers should do the same in their respective chapters.

15 .As far as possible, the administration of assets should be entrusted to lay people, especially when social and chartitable works are involved, in which case the brothers should have responsibility only for their spiritual direction.

10. In the administration of assets the prescriptions of the law should be exactly observed.

4/7. (cf Const. 72)

1. It is recommended that one or more committees on financial matters be established in the provinces and vice provinces. Their function will be to offer advice concerning the administration of goods, and the construction, maintenance and alienation of houses.

2. The chapter establishes these commissions and also determines their competence. However, the major superior with the consent of the council apponits their members, some of whom may be lay people.

4/8. (cf Const. 73)

1. After consulting the major superiors or, if necessary, the Conference of Major Superiors, the general minister with the consent of the definitory is to establish limits, according to the differing values of currencies, beyond which major superiors are bound to ask either the consent of the council or the permission of the superior given in writing before contracting obligations, alienating goods or making extraordinary expenses.

2. The Minister, with the consent of the Definitory, shall do the same with appropriate adaptations for the local superiors of his territory.

3. Expenses are considered extraordinary, however, that are unnecessary either for the major superior to exercise his office or for the ordinary service of the brothers or for the local superior in those matters that do not pertain to the ordinary care of the fraternity entrusted to him.



5/1. (cf Const. 79; (cf PCO VI, 18)

It is the responsibility of the Ministers to enact norms according to which the brothers may work for ecclesiastical or civil bodies, or even for private persons, with the fraternity always retaining its crucial role as the place where one lives and wherte one is challenged and supported.



6/1. (cf Const. 88.4.5)

1. An enclosure or an area reserved for the brothers alone should be maintained in our houses in order to safeguard religious life.

However, where an enclosure cannot be maintained because of particular circumstances, the major superior with the consent of his council shall provide norms adapted to the local circumstances.

2. (cf Const. 88.6) It pertains to the major superior to determine the precise boundaries of the enclosure or to change them for legitimate reasons and remove it for a time.

3. (cf Const. 88.7) In urgent cases and for that particular occasion, the guardian can dispense from [the enclosure].

4. (cf Const. 88.8) In order to encourage the quiet demanded for prayer and study, let those who enter our houses be ordinarily received in visiting rooms that are furnished according to requirements of simplicity, prudence and hospitality.


1. (cf Const. 89.2). Laymen who wish to share more closely in our life whether for prayer, fraternal experience or apostolate may be admitted to the fraternity.

2. (cf Const. 89.3) If it is to be a temporary stay, consent of the local chapter should be had; but if the stay is to be protracted, the consent of the Minister is also required.

3. (cf Const. 89.4) The Minister, with the consent of the council, may admit laymen perpetually dedicated to God as members of a family, after drawing up an agreement beforehand concerning their mutual rights and obligations.


1. (cf Const. 90.2) Let them use the media with moderation and mature discrimination; those that are dangerous to faith, morals and consecrated life should be studiously avoided


1. (cf. Const. 91,1) Before leaving the house, the brothers should ask permission of the superior according to the custom of the circumscription.

2. (cf Const. 91.2) As for undertaking journeys, let each brother, before asking permission, conscientiously weigh the reasons in light of our state of poverty, spiritual and fraternal life, and the witness given to people

3. (cf Const. 91.3) According to th needs of each case, the Ministers and Guardians should responsibly assess the appropriateness of granting permission for travel. It is the responsibility of the general minister with the consent of the definitory to issue norms regarding permission to travel for the whole Order; and of the minister with the consent of the definitory for his circumscription.

4. (cf Const. 91.4) The norms of universal law shall be observed when it is a matter of living outside a house of the fraternity for an extended period.

5. (cf Const. 91.5) Let the brothers be mindful of our state of poverty and humility in the use of the means of transportation.

6. (cf Const. 91.6) Judgment about the appropriateness of having vehicles useful for a ministry, office or service of a fraternity as well as about their use belongs to the Minister, after listening to the definitory.


1. (cf Const. 92.1) Let all the brothers who visit us be received with fraternal charity and a joyful spirit.

2. (cf Const. 92.2) Wherever possible, brothers who are travelling should willingly stay in houses of the Order, at least for spending the night.

3. (cf Const. 92.3) Of their own accord let them show the guardian letters of obedience, share in the life of the fraternity and conform to the customs of the place.

4. (cf Const. 92.4 As far as possible, they should inform the guardian in advance of their arrival.

5. (cf Const. 92.5) Brothers who have been sent to other provinces for formation or other reasons should be received by the ministers and the local fraternity as their own members; they should adapt completely to the fraternity, observing the prescriptions of number 8/5.3 of these Statutes.

6. (cf Const. 92.6) But if brothers, for reasons of study, stay for a long time in a house of another province, the Ministers of those involved may fraternally come to an agreement about payment for living expenses.


1. (cf Const. 93.1) Brothers who, in particular circumstances, must live outside a house [of the fraternity] with the blessing of obedience, enjoy the benefits of that fraternity to which they have been assigned since they are members of it.

2. (cf Const. 93.2) They should always feel united to the fraternity and, in turn, not neglect to contribute to the spiritual growth and economic support of the Order.

3. (cf Const. 93.3) As true brothers in Saint Francis, let them visit our houses and love to stay there for a while especially for reasons of spiritual recollection.

4. (cf Const. 93.4) Let them be received with charity and offered whatever spiritual and material help they need.

5. (cf Const. 93.5) The provincial and local superiors should care for them with fraternal sollicitude and visit and encourage them frequently.

6/7. (cf Const. 86.2.3)

In the provinces when this is considered useful, there should be at least one provincial infirmary,


1. (cf Const. 94.3) In the case of association of a monastery of Capuchin Poor Clares in accordance with cann. 614-615, the General Minister judges the matter collegially with his definitory, after consulting trhe Minister concerned. The Minister enjoys real authority over the associated monastery as determined by the Constitutions of these sisters.


1. (cf Const. 95.5) Ministers and Guardians have the faculty to establish fraternities of the Secular Franciscan Order in all our houses and elsewhere, observing the norms of law.

2. (cf Const. 95.6) The Ministers and Guardians, in a joint co-ordinated effort with the other Franciscan Families, should make provision to ensure an ongoing commitment to provide spiritual and pastoral assistance to the Secular Franmciscan Fraternity, in accordance with their proper legislation and with universal law, particularly through suitable brothers properly trained for this ministry.

3. (cf Const. 95.8) As a sign of co-responsibility, the governing board of the respective Secular Franciscan fraternities should be consulted whenever it is a matter of appointing spiritual assistants or of establishing fraternities.




1. (cf Const. 103.2 ) Among the concrete forms of our life in conversion we consider the season of Advent and, above all, the Lent before Easter, as well as every Friday, as times of more intense private and communal penance.

2. (cf Const. 103.3) Moreover, [the observance of] the Lent, commonly called the ‘Lent of Benediction’, and of the vigils of the Solemnities of Saint Francis and of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is also recommended, as well as other times or days laid down by our proper law.

3. (cf Const. 103.4) On these days let us dedicate ourselves more readily to those works that favor conversion: prayer, recollection, listening to the word of God, bodily mortification and communal fasting. In a brotherly spirit, let us share with other poor people whatever we have saved from the table of the Lord through our greater frugality. Let us also practice works of mercy more fervently according to our traditional custom.

4. (cf Const. 103.5) As regards the law of abstinence and fasting, let the brothers observe the prescriptions of both the universal and the particular Church.

5. (cf Const. 103.6). It is the responsibility of the provincial chapter, however, to determine more precisely both days of fasting and abstinence as well as the manner of fasting according to various circumstances of place and time.


1. (cf Const. 107.1) In addition to the local Ordinary, the major superior may grant the faculty for hearing the sacramental confessions of the brothers. The local superior may also do so ad modum actus in individual cases, in accordance with the norms of law

2. (cf Const. 107.2) Any priest of the Order, approved by his own Minister, may hear the confessions of the brothers anywhere in the world.

3. (cf Const. 107.3) The brothers may freely confess their sins to any priest having faculties from any Ordinary.

Frequent confession is recommended and, in accordance with our tradition, also the use of a habitual confessor and a spiritual director.




The Structure of the Order


1. (cf Const. 110.1. The Order, as far as its government is concerned, is divided into provinces, vice-provinces, custodies, delgations and houses or local fraternities, as indicated in our Constitutions.

2 A. For the establishment of a new province, the sufficient number of brothers required by n. 113,3 of the Constitutions must be 60 perpetually professed brothers , distributed in at least 6 fraternities.

In a case where particular circumstances require the establishment of a new province regardless of the above conditions or of any one of them, the general minister, in addition to observing the prescription of n. 111,1 of the Constitutions, must inform the Presidents of the conferences and listen to their opinion..

2 B. If the number of perpetually professed brothers in a Province falls below 50, the general minister, observing the prescription of n. 111,1 of the Constitutions, is to decide on its suppression.

This decision shall be taken in the year following the date of the official statistics of the Order by which the fact is demonstrated. .

If in the judgement of the general minister, observing the prescription of n. 111,1 of the Constitutions, particular circumstances require the suppression to be postponed in a particular case, the general minister must inform the Presidents of the conferences and listen to their opinion.

3. (cf Const. 110.2) The provinces, vice-provinces, custodies and delegations have a territory defined in the decree establishing the circumscription. This territory is proper and exclusive, unless particular circumstances in the judgement of the general minister and his definitory counsel otherwise.

4. (cf Const. 110.3.4) A vice-province and custody, which are normally assigned to a province, may also be immediately subject to the Gheneral Minister. The vice-provincial and cists act as delegates of the provincial or general Minister, and the delegate as delegate of the provincial minister.

5. (cf Const. 110.6) The general minister with the consent of the definitory can decide that a particular local fraternity or house is immediately dependent on himself. If the situation warrants it, it may have its own statutes.

6. (cf Const. 110.5) The number of professed brothers required to establish a local fraternity is at least three.

7. Exceptionally and for serious and particular reasons, a brother can be directly dependent on the minister.


1. (cf Const. 111.2) Because of particular circumstances, the general minister with the consent of the definitory can establish provinces consisting of a number of regions. Such provinces may have special statutes approved by the general minister with the consent of the definitory. Should there ever be a difficulty in applying these General Statutes in the [statutes], the general minister with the definitory can advise concerning a more appropriate way of proceeding.

2. (cf Const. 111.4) The general minister with the consent of the definitory, after consulting the brothers in perpetual vows, appoints the ministers and councillors of new jurisdictions and determines the composition of the first chapter.


1. (cf Const. 112.1) To establish houses canonically, the provincial minister, in addition to observing the prescriptions of universal law, needs the consent of the definitory and the previous favourable vote of the Chapter. However, in urgent cases, in the absence of the vote of the Chapter, the consent of the General Minister and his Definitory is also required.

2. (cf Const. 112.2) To suppress houses, the General Minister must observe the norms of law and have the consent of the definitory.


1. (cf Const. 113.3) It pertains to the general minister, after consulting his definitory, considering the good of the whole Order and the needs of the provinces or individual brothers, and listening to the respective provincial ministers and their definitories, to send brothers from one province to another either temporarily or, with the consent of the definitory, permanently.

2. (cf Const. 113.4) Let the ministers, in a spirit of fraternal collaboration, be willing to meet such needs by sending brothers temporarily into another circumscription.

3. (cf Const. 113.5) Each brother exercises his right to vote only in one circumscription of the Order, unless he has it in another territory as well by reason of office and according to n. 8/15.2 of these Statutes. Those who have been sent into another circumscription by reason of service exercise rights in that circumscription and not in their own. But brothers who for other reasons dwell in a different circumscription exercise rights only in their own circumscription.

8/5. (cf Const. 143.1) In the generalate and provincialate, in the houses of the vice-provincial and custos, as well as in each of our houses, there should be an archive in which all necessary documents are kept in order and with confidentiality. All matters worthy of remembrance are carefully recorded by the one to whom this task has been entrusted.

2. (cf Const. 143.2) Let there be an inventory of the documents kept in the archives.


Persons and Offices in the governance of the Order


1. (cf Const. 115.6) In order to be appointed to an office of governance, even at local level, a brother must have been perpetuaolly professed for at least three years

2. (cf Const. 115.7; Ord. 8/4) Postulation becomes effective only if the postulated candidate obtains two thirds of the vote in the first ballot. Failing this, the elections begin again with the first ballot, excluding any further postulations.

3. (cf Const. 114.4) Whatever is said in these Constitutions concerning the provincial ministers applies equally to the vice provincials and superiors regulars, unless the contrary is evident by nature of the case or from the text and context.

4. (cf VII CPO 51) For his own good and that of the works, no brother should stay in a position of leadership or control for too long, even outside the Order. For offices envisaged in our legislation, the norms of law are to be followed. For other offices, each circumscription and conference should issue precise norms on the subject, not exceeding nine years.


The General Government of the Order


1. (cf Const. 116.1.2) The General Chapter, which manifests the collegial authority of the Order through lawful delegates, is held every six years in its ordinary form.

2. (cf Const. 116.3) In order to hold an ordinary General Chapter, at a time of year other than the solemnity of Pentecost, or to convoke an extraordinary General Chapter, the General Minister must have the consent of his definitory.


1. (cf Ord. 8/7.1)Once a General Chapter is convoked, in every province with at least one hundred professed brothers, all the perpetually professed brothers elect a delegate to the General Chapter and his substitute.

2. (cf Ord. 8/7.2) The province elects an additional delegate for every two hundred brothers beyond the first two hundred.

3. (cf Ord. 8/7.3) The election is carried out in the manner established by the provincial chapter. In any case, the results of the election must be published at least three months before the chapter.

4. (cf Ord. 8/7.4) Perpetually professed brothers of a Custody having at least thirty professed brothers elect a delegate to the General Chapter. If, however, a Custody has fewer than thirty professed brothers, these must be included in the number of brothers of the province on which it depends, and the perpetually professed brothers take part in the election of the delegates of the Province.

5. (cf Ord. 8/7.5) Other professed brothers may be members of the General Chapter, but they must not exceed ten in number. In choosing them, account must be taken of the nmeed for a certain specialization and representation, in accordance with the norms issued by the General Minister with the consent of his Definitory and after consultation with the Conference Presidents.

6. (cf Ord. 8/7.6) A brother capitular loses his active voice if, without lawful dispensation, he is not present at the Chapter for its entire duration.


1. (cf Const. 118.) The General Minister, general defintors and general vicar are elected for a term of six years in accordance with the Procedures approved by the General Chapter. .

2. (cf Const. 118.2). The outgoing general minister may be immediately elected but only for another six years.

3. (cf Ord. 8/8) If the General Minister-elect is not a member of the Chapter, the Chapter uis suspended until the new General Minister arrives.

4. (cf Ord. (8/9) There are eight General Definitors.

5. (cf Const. 118.2) The outgoing general minister has only active voice in the election of the general definitors.

6. (Ord. 8/10)General definitors-elect who are not capitulars become members of the Chapter by the fact of their election.

7. (cf Const. 118.6) The job-description of a general definitor is defined in the Statute of the General Curia, approved by the General Chapter.


1.(cf Const. 120.1) The general minister and his definitors should reside in Rome.

2. (cf Const. 120.2) When the general minister is absent from Rome, the general vicar takes his place

3. (cf Const. 120.3) However the confirmation of provincial ministers, appointment of general visitators and other matters that he has reserved to himself are reserved to the general minister.

4. (cf Const. 120.4) Should the general minister be impeded from exercising his office, the general vicar is to administer the Order in all things. He should report important matters to the general minister at an appropriate time.

5. (cf Const. 120.5) If the general vicar is also impeded, the next definitor according to the order of election takes the place of the general minister.

6. (cf Const. 121.2) Before electing a general definitor whose office has been vacant for more than one year before the chapter, the General Minister and his definitory must consult the Conferences of Ministers of the capitular group to which the previous definitor belonged, and, in the case of a general vicar, after the election of an eighth definitor, a new general vicar is elected from among the definitors.


1. (cf Const. 122.1) Before appointing the General Secretary, the General Procurator, the General Postulator, the General Assistant for the Secular Franciscan Order, the General Secretary for Mission Animation and the other officials in charge of various activities, the General Minister should obtain the consent of the Definitory.

2. (cf Const. 122.3) The responsibilities and duties of the general curia are assigned and carried out according to the norms of the special statute approved by the general chapter.


1. (cf Const. 123.8.7) As a general rule, a Plenary Council of the Order may be convoked by the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, once or twice in a six-year term.

The Statutes of the Plenary Council, drafted by the Council itself, must be approved by the General Minister with the consent of his Definitory.

2. (cf Const. 123.2) The delegates of the Conferences of Ministers are chosen to attend the Plenary Council according to a certain proportion established by the general minister with the consent of the definitory .

3. (cf Const. 123.3). The delegates need not be selected from among the members of the Conferences of Ministers.

4. (cf Const. 123.4) The manner of their selection is determined by each Conference.

5. (cf Const. 123.6) In order that the value of its reflections as a directive norm may not be lost, it is appropriate that the general minister, by his judgement and with consent of the definitory, confirm with his authority the acts of the Council and propose them to the Order.


1. (cf Const. 131.1) The Conferences of Ministers are established by the General Minister with the consent of his definitory.

2. (cf Const. 131.2). These Conferences have their own statutes approved by the general minister with the consent of the definitory and meet at least once a year.

3. (cf Const. 131.3) It is up to these Conferences to fulfil the tasks assigned to them by proper law and, when applicable, by the General Minister. In addition, they can make provision for the good of the Order in their territory and establish special norms for their areas. For these norms to be valid in the province they must be approved by their respective provincial councils.



The Government of Provinces


1. (cf Const. 124.2) The ordinary provincial chapter is announced and convoked every three years.

2. (cf Const. 124.3.2) For the ordinary Chapter, the provincial minister must receive the permission of the general minister and his council, to whom is reserved the faculty of permitting the celebration of a chapter, for a just cause, six months before or after a three year term. To convoke an extraordinary chapter, the provincial minister must have the consent of his council.


1. (cf Const. 125.2) Provinces wishing to hold the Chapter with direct suffrage, that is, with the participation of all the perpetually professed brothers, decide this by a majority of two-thirds of all the voters in a referendum, in which at least seventy-five per cent (75%) of all the perpetually professed brothers must participate. The decision is then inserted into the procedures for the conduct of the chapter.

2. (cf Const. 125.2) All the brothers in perpetual vows are bound to attend the chapter. Anyone prevented from attending must report the impediment to the provincial minister and his definitory who have the right to make a decision on the matter. Only the brothers who are actually present in the chapter have the right to vote. Moreover, a vice provincial, custos and the delegates of a vice-province and custody may participate in a provincial chapter, in accordance with the provincial Chapter procedures.

3. (cf Ord. 8/16) Provinces which, in keeping with thise Statutes, have opted for direct suffrage chapters and wish to return to delegate chapters, may do so by means of a referendum, called for by the provincial minister with the consent of his definitory. The change comes into force if at least 75% of the perpetually professed brothers of the province participated in the referendum; and two thirds of the votes were in favour of the change. The decision is then inserted into the procedures for the conduct of the chapter.


1. (cf Const. 126.1) After the announcement of a provincial chapter, all the currently perpetually professed brothers, excepting those belonging to other vice-provinces and custodies, may elect delegates and alternates, unless all the brothers are obliged to attend the chapter.

2. (cf Const. 126.2) Brothers of the vice-provinces and custodies shall elect their own delegates and their alternates.

3. (cf Const. 126.3) The number of delegates whether of a province or of vice-provinces and custodies as well as the manner of electing them are determined by the provincial chapter.

4. (cf Ord.8/13) Unless in the judgement of the provincial definitory it seems opportune to act othewrwise in particular cases, those broithers are deprived of active and passive voice who, before the convocation of the chapter and the publication of the list of those eligible as delegates, present a written petition to their Minister requesting dispensation from religious vows or priesthood. If such a petition is presented when the chapter has already been convoked, they are excluded from the chapter without being substituted.

5. The same applies to those brothers declared by the Minister to be unlawfully absent from the religious house.

6. (cf Ord. 8/14) Capitular brothers lose their active voice if they are not present at the chapter for its entire duration without a legitimate dispensation, whether the chapter is conducyted with delegates or with universal suffrage.


1. (new) The Provincial Minister, in addition to election by delegates, may also be elected by direct suffrage, in person or by ballot, in accordance with the provisions of the Procedures for conducting the chapter, approved by the provincial chapter. In an election by direct suffrage all perpetually professed brothers hafve active voice, excluding those mentioned in n. 8/15.4 e 5 of these Statutes.

2. (cf Const. 127.3) The provincial minister, defintors and the provincial vicar are elected for a three-year term according to the previously mentioned Procedures.

3. (cf Const. 127.4) The outgoing provincial minister, if he had been elected in the previous chapter, may be elected immediately but only for another three-year term

4. (cf Const. 127.5) According to the same Procedures, four definitors are then elected, unless the general minister with the consent of the definitory decides that a larger number is more suitable.

5. (cf Const. 127.7) The outgoing provincial minister has only active voice in the election of the definitors.

6. During their term of office, General definitors do not have passive voice in the election of the provincial minister or of the other minsters.

7. (cf Const. 127.9) After the election or appointment of the provincial minister and definitors, the brothers continue to exercise their respective offices until other provisions are made. These norms, with the necessary modifications, also apply to vice-provinces and custodies.


1. (cf Const. 128.1 For serious reasons,the general minister with the consent of the definitors may appoint a provincial minister and definitors, after obtaining in writing the consultative vote of all the brothers in perpetual vows in the province; but this cannot be done for two consecutive three-year terms.

2. (cf Const. 128.2) After this appointment, a chapter should be held at an appropriate time to deal with provincial affairs.


1. (cf Const. 129.3). If the office of provincial minister becomes vacant more than eighteen months before the provincial chapter, the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, after a consultative vote of all the brothers in perpetual vows, shall appoint a new minister to complete the three-year term. When it is completed, a chapter is held.

2. (cf Const. 129.5) When the office of a provincial definitor becomes vacant more than a year before the provincial chapter, the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, after hearing the provincial minister and his definitory, shall appoint another definitor who then becomes the last definitor. If the office of the provincial vicar becomes vacant, the provincial minister and his definitory elect by secret ballot another provincial vicar from the body of the definitory. The general minister is informed of this matter.


1. (cf Const. 130.1). Before appointing the provincial secretary, the other brothers to head the necessary offices in the provincial curia, the members of special commissions and, if necessary, others in charge of particular departments, the provincial minister must have the consent of the provincial definitory.

2. (cf Const. 130.2) The provincial secretary is subject only to the provincial minister. It is the responsibility of the provincial chapter, however, to decide whether other officials may be accountable to the provincial minister alone.


The Government of the Vice-provinces

8/21. (cf Const. 132)

1. Among the principal goals of vice-provinces is the implantation of the Order in a particular Church to give Gospel witness to the Franciscan charism.

2. For this reason care must be taken in the viceprovinces for the vocations of inhabitants of the place, while the structure on which the Vice-province deppends should try to send suitable, trained brothers necessary for the formation of the young and for the apostolate that is to be exercised there.

3. The vice-provincial, with the consent of the council, considering the needs of the vice province and with the consent of the provincial and general ministers, may enter into appropriate agreements with other provinces or Conferences of Major Superiors. These agreements are to be submitted to the provincial and general minister for ratification.

8/22. (cf Const. 133)

1.The number of defintors in each Vice-province is two.

2.It belongs to the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, and after consulting the provincial minister, to determine a larger number of counciIors.

3. The vice provincial and councilors are elected for a three-year term, after which they can be re-elected. The vice provincial may be immediately re-elected for only another three-year term.

4. The vice-provincial chapter procedures determine whether the outgoing vice-provincial has passive voice in the election of councilors.

5. The vice provincial and definitorors are elected by all the brothers in perpetual profession, in the manner established by the vice-provincial chapter and after they have obtained consent of the provincial or general minister. If there is a just cause, the general minister with the consent of the definitory can permit in particular cases the election of superiors and definitors by a chapter with delegates.

6. If the election by the chapter is done by direct suffrage, the vice provincial, with the consent of the provincial or general minister, himself convokes the chapter in which the brothers present have an active voice as well as the provincial or general minister, if they preside. Whatever is said for the provincial chapter concerning brothers prevented from participating in a chapter is valid in this instance.

7. When the voting takes place outside a chapter, let the votes be tallied in the vice-province itself by the vice provincial, his councilors and two brothers elected by the local chapter of the place where the tally is taken in the presence of the provincial or general minister or the respective delegate. The elections are then promulgated.

8. The elected vice provincial exercises his office as the delegate of the provincial or general minister until the election is confirmed.

9. From the moment his election is confirmed, the vice provincial enjoys juridical power to exercise his office with ordinary vicarious power.

10. The provincial minister then informs the general minister of that election.

11. With the permission of the provincial or general minister, the vice-provincial may convoke a chapter to treat various matters. It is appropriate that the provincial or general minister preside and have active voice.

12. Should the vice provincial be absent or impeded, the first councilor or, if he is impeded, the next councilor in order of election takes his place.

13. Should the office of viceprovincial or councilor be vacant for whatever reason, the matter is be referred to the provincial or general minister, who should proceed by analogy with what the law prescribes when the office of a provincial or provincial definitor is vacant, with the appropriate differences.

14. In the statutes drawn up by the vice-provincial chapter and approved by the general or provincial minister, other matters concerning government shall be treated. These statutes may determine, among other things, the vocals of a chapter to take charge of various matters, as well as those matters that can be dealt with only with the permission of the provincial or general minister.

8/23. (cf Const. 134)

1. The vice provincial is to meet with his definitors at least four times a year. He needs their counsel or consent in the same cases that, according to the Constitutions, the provincial minister needs the counsel or consent of his definitory.

2. He should propose to the provincial or general minister new initiatives that involve burdens of greater moment for the province or vice-province.


The Government of the Custodies

8/24. (cf Const. 135)

1.The number of definitors in each custody is two..

2. The number of councilors may be increased to four by the provincial ministers with the consent of the definitory after consulting those concerned and according to the need or welfare of the custody that requests it. The general minister is to be informed if this is done.

8/25. (cf Const. 136)

1. The custos and definitors are elected for a three-year term by the brothers with perpetual vows assigned to the custody, keeping in mind the provisions of n. 8/4.3 of these Statutes. In particular cases and for a just cause, the general minister with the consent of the definitory can permit the election of the custos and definitors by a chapter with delegates.

2.A superior regular may be immediately reelected but only to another three-year term, in accordance with universal and proper law.

3. The chapter of a custody determines whether an outgoing superior regular may have a passive voice in the election of the councilors.

4. To hold an election, either by a chapter or some other way, the consent of the provincial minister is necessary; if he presides [at the chapter], he has active voice.

5. All those are considered members of a custody who have received letters of obedience for apostolic ministry from the general minister, even if temporarily, as well as all brothers affiliated to a custody by profession, even if they live elsewhere for formation or some other reason.

8/26. (cf Const. 137)

1. The election of a superior regular and councillors takes place either in a chapter with direct suffrage, in which only the brothers who are present have active voice, or in another way as the custos shall decide with the consent of the defnitors, after weighing the conditions of the custody and listening to the wishes of the brothers, while keeping in mind what is contained in number 136,1 of the Constitutions. With regard to those prevented from attending the chapter, the same norms apply as for the provincial chapter.

2. It belongs to the provincial minister to confirm an election; if he is not present, the elections are promulgated and the elected custos exercises his office as delegate of the provincial minister until his election is confirmed. The provincial minister is to notify the general minister of the election that has taken place.

3. From the moment of his confirmation, the custos enjoys ordinary vicarious power to fulfil his office.

4. For grave reasons, after consulting the minister provincial and his definitory and having obtained a written consultative vote of the brothers of the custody, the general minister with the consent of his definitory may appoint a custos and his definitors.

8/27. (cf Const. 138)

1. Should a custos be absent or impeded, the first councilor or the next councilor in order of election, if the first is impeded, takes his place.

2. Should the office of the custos or definitors of the custody become vacant, for whatever reason, the matter should be referred to the provincial minister who should proceed by analogy with what the law prescribes when the office of a provincial or provincial definitor is vacant, with the appropriate differences.

8/28. (cf Const. 139).

1. The custos should meet with his councillors at least four times a year.

2. He should seek their counsel or consent in the same cases where a provincial rninister needs the counsel or consent of his definitory.

3. It is proper that a custody have statutes, approved by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory, in which matters of government of greater moment are determined.



8/29. (cf Ord. 8/17)

1. A delegation is a temporary structure of the Order, consisting of a group of brothers and some local fraternities, dependent upon a province. Its purpose is to preserve fraternal life in a geographical area which does not yet have the necessar elements to become a custody or vice-province, in a place where no other circumscriptions of the Order are established.

2. With regard to delegations, the following norms apply:

In accordance with n. 111,1 (new 85,1) of the Constitutions, it is the responsibility of the General Minister with the cosnent of the definitory to decide to establish delegations, to change their juridical nature or to suppress them.

Each delegation is to have a brother in charge, as delegate of the provincial minister, who is assisted by two councillors.

The delegate, together with his councillors, is appointed for a three-year term by the provincial minister with the consent of his definitory, after having consulted the perpetually professed brothers of the delegation.

The delergate, not being a minister, is to be given whatever faculties or juridicaol comptences are necessary to facilitate practical, pastoral and administrative governance, and to foster a functional autonomy in the interenal management of the group, especially with a view to implanting the Order.

The brothers of a delegation enjoy all the rights and responsibilities of their respective provinces. (Definitory meeting, 21-06-2004).

Whatever has not been foreseen in these General Statutes is to be established in the Statutes approved by the competent provincial minister with the consent of the definitory.


The Government of the Local Fraternity


1. (cf Const. 140.1) When establishing the local fraternities, ministers must have in mind the preservation of our form of life, the strengthening of fraternal relationships, as well as the particular activities to be carried out in each house. To do so they must first obtain the consent of their respective councils.

2. (cf Const. 140.3). Guardians are appointed by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory for a three-year term. They may be appointed for a second or, in case of manifest necessity, a third three-year term, even in the same house if there are just reasons.

3. (cf Const. 140.4) Those who have exercised the office of guardian for six or, in case of necessity, for nine consecutive years shall remain free from such a responsibility for at least one year.


1. (cf Const. 141.1) In each fraternity a vicar is to be appointed by the minister with the consent of the definitory. He has the responsibility of assisting the guardian as a councilor in governing the community and of governing the fraternity himself when [the superior] is absent or prevented or his office becomes vacant.

2. (cf Const. 141.2) In every house with at least six brothers, in addition to the vicar, who is the first councilor by law, one or two councilors are to be elected by all the perpetually professed brothers. Their responsibility is to advise the guardian in spiritual and material matters.

3. (cf Const. 141.3)

In matters of greater importance, the councilors have a deliberative vote according to proper law.

4. (cf Const. 141.4) When the guardian and vicar are absent or impeded, the brother designated according to the norms established by the provincial chapter presides over the fratemity.

5. (cf Const. 141.5) If the office of guardian becomes vacant more than six months before a provincial chapter, another shall be appointed by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory. Should the office be vacated within six months of the provincial chapter, the vicar govems the fratemity.

6. (cf Ord.8/18) Bearing in mind can. 629 regarding the residency requirement for guardians in their own houses, and in order to ensure that they are true animators of their own fraternities, they should not take on commitments that would entail too long an absence from the house.

7. (cf Ord.8/19) Guardians can be removed from office by the minister with the consent of the definitory for a fgood reason, i.e. if this is required by the common good of the circumscription, of the fraternity or of the local Church.


1. (cf Const. 142.4 Let the guardians not only inform but also consult the brothers by suitable means about matters that should be dealt with in a local chapter.

2. (cf Const. 142.5) The votations of a local chapter are consultative unless particular law determines otherwise.

3. (cf Const. 142.6) Only perpetually professed brothers have the right to take part in elections and to vote on the admittance of brothers to profession according to the norms of law.




The Adaptation and Co-ordination of our Apostolates

9/1. (cf Const. 146)

It is the task of the provincial chapter to adapt apostolic activity to the needs of the times, while preserving identity as Capuchin lesser brothers. But it pertains to the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory to coordinate the apostolic resources in his own circumscription.

9/2. (cf Const. 147, 151)

1. The minister with his definitory promotes and coordinates the various apost0olic undertakings so that they are an expression of brotherhood.

2. They should continue the customary works of the apostolate such as popular missions, retreats, the sacramental confession of the faithful, the spiritual care of the consecrated life – especially Franciscan ones and those founded by us – care of the sick and of those in prison, works of education and of social development. At the same trime, other forms of apostolate should be undertaken for the defence of life and of human rights, and on behalf of those who are deprived of ordinary pastoral care because of the conditions of their life: the young during times of crisis in their life of faith, emigrants, laborers, those burdened with financial pressures, or those harassed because of discrimination.

3. As part of our collaboration with the local Church, we consider the possibility of taking on responsibility for parishes.

So that we might be faithful to our vocation in assuming this ministry, those parishes should ordinarily be preferred in which we can more easily give a witness of minority and lead a form of life and work in fraternity. In this way the people of God can appropriately share in our charism.

In accordance with the provisions of canon law, the possibility of the pastoral care of parishes being entrusted to a local fraternity “in solidum” is not excluded.

4. Also, in our manner of running the shrines entrusted to the care of the Order we express our Capuchin-Franciscan vocation in service and minority, so that they more and more become centers of evangelization and sound devotion.

5. In ecumenical dialogue of charity, truth and prayer, special effoirts should be directed towards non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters that they may share the Church’s concern for restoring Christian unity.

6. Similarly, we should foster a saving dialogue also with people of other religions and with non-believers, to whom we are sent or with whom we are called to live.

9/3 (PCO VII 40)

Wherever we go to proclaim the gospel, let us work preferably with local methods and resources that foster integration between the local brothers and those from other countries, giving priority to communal projects rather than those of individuals and promoting the principles of the fraternal economy.

9/4. (cf Const. 146)

In planning apostolic activities, the brothers should willingly collaborate in the works and initiatives of other institutes of consecrated life.

9/5. (cf Const. 146)

After consulting the local chapter in matters of greater importance, the guardian of a fraternity should allocate work, while keeping in mind the needs of the Church and the conditions of the individual brothers, [and] in close collaboration with any pastoral organization established by the ecclesiastical hierarchy.


The Social Communications Media in the Service of Evangelization

9/6. (cf Const. 153)

1. The modern means of social communication, which reach and stimulate the whole of human society, should be held in high regard: they are suitable means to evangelize the people of our times.

2. In order that the various forms of the apostolate may be strengthened by these means of social communication, ministers and guardians should take care that brothers who are suitable receive appropriate training in this area. They should be given the equipment necessary for carrying out their duties without this being a detriment to fraternal life and with due consideration to our condition of minority and poverty.

3. AII the brothers should be suitably instructed in a responsible use of these means of social communication that, through them, they may acquire an accurate and realistic understanding of the condition of human society and the needs of the Church.

4. With combined efforts, let them also exercise the apostolate of the printed page, especially in publishing matters of Franciscan interest. It is strongly recommended that offices for this purpose be established in the circumscriptions.

9/7. (cf Const. 153)

The prescriptions of universal law are to be observed in matters pertaining to the instruments of social communication. When it is a matter of writing about religion or morals, it should be remembered that permission is also required from the Ordinary, as well as the “nihil obstat” from the ecclesiastical authority.

9/8. ( PCO VII, 33).

In order to motivate our options in the social field, and to ensure a greater competence in our presence among the poor, knowledge of the social teaching of the Church should be promoted among the brothers.

9/9. (PCO VII, 55)

Each circumscription should ensure that its Commission for Justice, Peace and Ecology functions well, also co-operating with the Conferences of the Order to publicise and support the work of Franciscans International, the NGO of the Franciscan Family at the United Nations.




The reciprocal Obedience of the Brothers

10/1. (cf Const. 164; 165)

1.Following the example of Jesus Christ, who always did His Father’s will, as true lesser brothers we should constantlty seek and carry out God’s will in our life and apsotolate.

2. In faith and for love of God’s will, let the brothers obey their ministers and guartdians with active and responsible obedience, and with the same spirit of generosity with which they promised to observe the gospel counsels.


The Pastoral Service of the Ministers

10/2. (cf Const. 158; 161; 163)

1. If we are to consent to be brothers who are docile to the will of God, we need to cultivate assiduously an attitude of openness to God’s word and to the working of the Holy Spirit. Ministers should know how to provide ample opportunities to facilitate this purpose.

2. To promote the spirit of gospel obedience in every province, the ministers should communicate the word of God to the brothers, either personally or through others. This can be done in various ways, according to places, times and the different needs of the fraternities.

3. Once during their three-year term, the ministers should send a report on the state of their circumscription to their respective superior.

4. The pastoral visitation of the ministers is a very effective way of promoting the spiritual renewal of our fraternal and apostolic life.

5. During his term of office, the general minister should visit all the brothers either personally or through others, principally through the general definitors

6. The other major superiors should make such a visitation to all the fraternities in their own territories at least twice in a three-year term.

7. The vice-provinces and custodies, in addition to a visitation of the vice provincial or the custos, should be visited by the provincial minister during each three-year term

8. Moreover, when the opportunity arises, let the general minister visit the brothers in different countries and occasionally be present at meetings of the Conferences of Ministers.

9. Let the other ministers as well, in their concern for individuals and their work, willingly take advantage of opportunities of meeting with the brothers.

10. When the visitation is conducted by a delegate, the delegated visitator should send a complete report to the respective minister at the conclusion of the visitation.

11. Within the time set by the visitator, the ministers and guardians, should inform their own immediate superior concerning what they have put into practice after the visitation as well as how the requirements of the Constitutions, the provincial chapters and the ministers have been implemented.




1. Consecrated chastity, a gift of God that manifests our consecration to Him with an undivided heart, must be safeguarded and cultivated by making full use of the means already provided by our Constitutions, above all through the constant help of the grace of Christ and of the Holy Spirit, who acts in us and in the fraternity.

2. In addition to educating personal conscience, which tells us what is lawful and prudent to do and to avoid in this area, we should also recognise our own weakness and ask for and accept the help of the fraternity, of the ministers and guardians and, when necessary, of wise counsellors and other professional, huìmanly trained persons.


1. In our consecrated life, chastity too finds a sure support in the fraternity. Therefore, the ministers and guardians should be especially attentive to those brothers who are compelled to live outside the fraternity by necessity or force of circumstances. They will find opportunities to meet with these brothers frequently, either personally or through others.

2. While respecting a healthy pluriformity, so that the fraternity may be truly serene and open to mutual acceptance, we should avoid as far as possible situations that might accentuate differences of age or ministry which foster discrimination and encourage the brothers to desire and to look for various compensations elsewhere.

11/3. (cf PCO VII 21-22)

Those who occupy positions of authority should be in all things ministers and servants of the brothers, without dominating in fraternal relationships and avoiding all partiality, because domination and exploitation of others reveals itself and has consequences not only in a physical and tangible aspect, but also in the psychological and emotional dimensions of human life. This can cause deep wounds and lasting scars.


1. In his job as animator the guardian should strive by every means to show correct expressions of fraternal affection, so that the sense of solitude, which constitutes a great danger for chastity, may be reduced to a minimum in our fraternities.

2. In this regard he should pay due attention and be sensitive to any signs that might indicate that a brother does not feel welcomed as an integral and valued part of the fraternity, or manifests unease, prolonged anxiety or serious emotional discomfort. When necessary the guardian should know when to call for the intervention of other brothers.



12/1. (cf Const. 176)

The presence of a missionary vocation, being at its most profound level a special charism of the Holy Spirit, must be verified by a number of necessary gifts: a suitable natural character, so that the missionary can adapt to the new social context; the free choice to undertake missionary work; the prospective missionary must be accepted and mandated by the Church; good psycho-physical health to be able to face specific difficulties.


Ordinarily the specific formation of missionaries:

Must be carried out in suitable premises, either belonging to the Order or in instritues specializing in modern missionary pastoral methods; for some prospective missionaries, it can be a scientific formation in Institutes of missiology; for all missionaries, it must be completed in the missionary territory.

12/3. (cf Const. 176) Taking account of what is laid down in these General Statutes, it is for the general minister to issue letters of obedience, both when a brother leaves for the mission, and on the conclusion of his service when he finally returns to his own circumscription.

12/4. (cf Const. 176)

1. It is for the provincial minister, after special preparartion of the brothers, both theoretical and practical, in missiology and ecumenism according to each one’s capacity, to present them to the General Minister.

2. It is the provincial minister’s responsibility to grant letters of obedience when the mission is to be conducted in a vice-province, custody or delegation dependent upon him. For a period of service lasting less that three years, he may also issue obediences for other entities not dependent on himself. In other cases, the opinion of the provincial minister must be sought.

12/5. (cf Const. 176)

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.

12/6. (cf PCO VI,I 40)

In choosing new presences we favour local churches that do not expect great pastoral or social structures from us, but rather Franciscan witness. We should also try to respond to the rewquests of local churches where there is not yet a Franciscan presence. For this, the collaboration of the brothers and sisters of the Franciscan Family can be extremely helpful.

12/7. (cf Const. 176)

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.

12/8. (cf Const. 177)

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.

12/9. (cf Const. 178)

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 ecclesiastical authority concerned.

12/10. (cf Const. 178)

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


Provinces without direct missionary involvement should nonetheless have an appropriatre secretariate as an instrument of missionary animation and collaboration.

  1. Added to accentuate the Christological dimension, with a reference to the 1536 Constitutions and the Capuchin spiritual literature from the beginning, e.g. Giovanni da Fano, Dialogo della salute 34.
  2. The Gospel was more than “his norm;” it was “his life.”
  3. To merely “know” does not mean “to live;” and it is from a knowing that gives life, that is, that incarnates, of which we are in need.
  4. Jn 6:63.
  5. It seems appropriate to articulate the concepts of “life” and of “form/norm” to underscore the daily dimensions of life and the generative dimensions of the words of the Gospel, i.e., those that have us conceive and bring to birth. Cf. Francis of Assisi, I, II Letters to the Faithful; Bonaventure, Major Legend III 1.
  6. Cf. Earlier Rule IX 1 (hereafter ER). This only inverts the order of the two words to more consistent with the writings of Francis.
  7. This number lacks entirely specific references to the Gospel, even thought the title of this first article is “Our Life according to the Gospel.” For this reason, this phrase is added.
  8. “Conformed” seems more biblical, cf. Rom 8:29; Phil 3:21. “Become” describes this more as a process than as a state (cf. Latin text: “ut…conformemur).
  9. The importance of the Eucharist as the center of our fraternal life in communion is accentuated in this text.
  10. The Paschal Mystery also consists in the Passion. Thus it might be better expressed: “Announcing…Proclaiming…Awaiting…” cf. Proclamation of Mystery of Faith in Eucharist.
  11. Cf. Vita Consecrata 88 (hereafter VC).
  12. Cf. VC 90.
  13. Cf. ER V 17; Adm III 9.
  14. Cf. VC 91-92.
  15. Cf. Francis of Assisi, Testament 1-4 (hereafter Test).
  16. This is a more accurate way of describing the beginning of the fraternity and theologically more challenging. Moreover it was the Lord who began the fraternity not Francis.
  17. Some other language versions were changed here to more inclusive language: e.g. Italian has “tutti” instead of “tutti gli uomini”.
  18. Added to accentuate re-evaluating the writings of St. Francis and our Capuchin sources.
  19. It clarifies the connection with the original intention of St. Francis, the aim of the Capuchin reform and our tradition.
  20. The essential thing is love for the Crucified rather than for the Cross.
  21. This is to accentuate the foundational value of our fraternal life also in evangelization.
  22. Cf. the previous note.
  23. Our tradition includes not only the origins but also our whole history.
  24. Cf. the 1992 Assembly of Lublin concerning pluriformity.
  25. The insertion expresses more clearly the primary reason for pluriformity, i.e., inculturation. Cf. Lublin 1992.
  26. This looks more to the future and attempts to promote a fuller development of our calling.
  27. This wording is less juridical, pretentious, and more in keeping with present day scholarship concerning Francis’s Testament. Note that paragraphs 2 and 3 have been deleted due to the re-phrasing found in paragraphs 1 and 4.
  28. Once again this phrase has been added to return to the principle theme of this first article, i.e., our life in the Gospel.
  29. Not only in life but also in many places and times are there a variety of expressions of the Rule.
  30. This point was adopted as a means of introducing the reality of the Church in which we live our consecrated lives and to which give ourselves.
  31. These additions and clarifications attempt to underscore the Trinitarian dimensions of our Gospel consecrated life as envisioned in VC 17, 21, 41, 72.
  32. Suggested by the Work Group for the General Statutes.
  33. Suggested by the Work Group for the General Statutes
  34. This refinement was suggested to accentuate that we are no simply “in the Church” but “are the Church.”
  35. Cf. LG 1 and VC 41, etc.
  36. The ecclesial vision here sees its role as not building up itself as much as bringing about the Reign of God.
  37. Cfr VII PCO, 1.
  38. Cf. note 8.
  39. The phrasing here is intended to echo the words of St. Francis’s Later Rule XII (hereafter LR).
  40. While there is a recognition that “we are the Church,” there was also acknowledgement of our unique role in it. From this perspective it seemed important to underscore our charism.
  41. Cf. VC 41 and The Seventh Plenary Council of the Order, 1 (hereafter PCO).
  42. It seemed best to synthesize this number into one paragraph. The question of changing the numbering was left open.
  43. Cf. PCO 65 and 100.
  44. For a call to offer a new way of life, cf. VC 41 and VI PCO, 7.
  45. “Globalization” comes from VI PCO, 7, 28, 43.
  46. Cf. VII PCO.
  47. Cf. VI PCO 10; VII PCO, 48-49.
  48. Cf. VI PCO, 9.
  49. Cf. Mt 5:9.
  50. Not only “faithfully” but also “generously.”
  51. “Following” is more characteristic of Francis than “imitating”.
  52. This rephrasing seems to be more historically accurate.
  53. This sentence – taken from the Constitutions of 1536, 77 – is added recalling a very true tradition of our Order.
  54. Cfr VII PCO, 31.
  55. Vita Consecrata 16.
  56. Vita Consecrata 3,
  57. Cf. Vita Consecrata 64.
  58. Cf. Mt 9: 37-38.
  59. Mt 6:33.
  60. Cf. Vita Consecrata 64.
  61. Cf. VII PCO, 28.
  62. Cf. 2C 70.
  63. These conditions are very important and must be placed in the Constitutions, even though all the requisites for entering the Order go into the General Statutes.
  64. To leave everything is only the first step in following Christ, cf. ER I.
  65. Restrictions in some countries place restrictions on this.
  66. In gifts of nature, intelligence and will are clearly included and for this reason the phrase is dropped.
  67. It seems appropriate to move all of this number to the Ordinances, even the profession formula since it has and can be changed.
  68. Cf. VII PCO.
  69. Cf. VII PCO 28.
  70. Cf. VII PCO 29.
  71. This has been added to underscore the important of the fraternity in formation.
  72. Paragraph 1 of #27 is absorbed in the actual #21 as paragraph 3.
  73. Its content is already expressed in #22:2.
  74. This seems a more Franciscan and theologically more accurate terminology.
  75. Cf. Vita Consecrata 105.
  76. It is eliminated because it is already expressed in a positive way in paragraph 3. The phrase “for the perfection of divine worship” is more appropriate for monks than for Capuchins.
  77. This is better expressed in a positive vein.
  78. It is suppressed because it is only a repetition of what was said in the preceding first paragraph.
  79. A more biblical expressed, cf. Lk 8:15; and ER XXII 17.
  80. This is added so that it might not be confused with a sense of inferiority.
  81. “Specific” seems to express more clearly the contents of this article.
  82. The phrase “enlightened and inspired by the charity of Christ” taken from this paragraph is placed in the following rephrased paragraph.
  83. Cf. RegB V 2 and Letter to St. Anthony.
  84. Note that paragraph 1 of the Constitutions now becomes paragraph 3.
  85. In order not to discriminate between brothers without sacred orders and those who are ordained; also because formation must be as complete as possible for all, taking account of each one’s personal gifts.
  86. Cf. VII PCO 35-36.
  87. This was added to underscore our participation in the ecumenical dialogue between different religions. Cf. also VII PCO 47.
  88. This was added to underscore the need to deepen the experience begun in initial formation.
  89. This addition seemed necessary to encourage continuing formation in our Capuchin vocation.
  90. Cf. the Assembly at Lublin.
  91. This is to highlight the fact that conversion has to involve the whole person.
  92. Cf. VII PCO, 30.
  93. We are called “lesser” brothers not “poor” brothers. Cf. also VII PCO.
  94. The change that was made here was one pertinent to the Italian text; it was already captured in the English, i.e., the emphasis on “breathing.”
  95. Cf. Jn 14:6.
  96. Bonaventure, Itinerarium Mentis in Deum IV 3.
  97. Cf. V PCO 6.
  98. Profession consecrates us to God and, as a consequence, to His service.
  99. Cf. V PCO 7.
  100. It is not prayer, but we ourselves who must be incarnate by means of prayer.
  101. Cf. St. Bonaventure, Itinerarium I 10.
  102. The treasures coming from Redemption are for all, not just the faithful.
  103. Cf. Vita consecrata 95. The expression is added here to reinforce the motivation for this number.
  104. The expression “with faith, humble reverence, and devotion” is a quotation from the Constitutions of 1536 that underscores well the devotion of the Capuchin for the Eucharist. “Adore” is theologically more preferable than “venerate.”
  105. This rather generic indication is motivated by the fact that the following more specific paragraphs are placed in the General Statutes.
  106. We are not the only ones to have such a responsibility.
  107. This paragraph 2 is substantially paragraph 1 of #51 of the actual Constitutions. It should be notes that #51 becomes united to #50.
  108. This slight different formulation is united in one paragraph, the contents of paragraphs 2 and 3 of the actually Constitutions. For greater specification, 3 also goes into the General Statutes.
  109. The call for silence is removed in that it very ambiguous and could cause confusion.
  110. This is added to accentuate the role of mental prayer focused on the word of God.
  111. For logical reasons, paragraph 6 of the actual Constitutions becomes paragraph 2.
  112. Cf. VII PCO 31
  113. Cf. Mt 25:40. 45; VII PCO 31.
  114. Cf. V PCO, 7; VII PCO 31.
  115. It was thought that it would be better to give a more general indication in the Constitutions, leaving to the General Statutes a more precise, determined time.
  116. Cf. V PCO 8.
  117. This addition is proposed to underscore the extraordinary flowering of holiness in our Order.
  118. Prompting thought of old and recent forms of superstition.
  119. It should be noted that in #40 essential elements from #55, #56, #57, and #58 from the actual Constitutions, while other elements have been placed in the General Statutes.
  120. It seems appropriate to remember the importance of the writings of St. Francis for meditation and prayer.
  121. PCO VI and VII have underlined the unbreakable link between poverty and minority.
  122. Cf. VII PCO 1a.
  123. Cf. VI PCO 1; VII PCO 2.
  124. Cf. VII PCO 1a.
  125. Cf. Const 59:1; VI PCO 1.
  126. Cf. Const. 59:3.
  127. Cf. Const 59:5.
  128. PrsG 6. Cf. VII PCO 1a.
  129. Cf. VII PCO.
  130. Cf. VI PCO 2.
  131. Cf. VI PCO 2.
  132. Cf. VII PCO 1a.
  133. Cf. VI PCO 3.
  134. Cf. VI PCO 3.
  135. Cf. VI PCO 3; VII PCO 4.
  136. Cf. VI PCO 3.
  137. Cf. VII PCO 6.
  138. Cf. VII PCO 7c
  139. Cf. VI PCO 5.
  140. Cf. VI PCO 5; VII PCO 7,1.
  141. Cf. VII PCO 3.
  142. Cf. VI PCO 4; VII PCO 6.
  143. Cf. VI PCO 6; VII PCO 6.
  144. Cf. VI PCO 6.
  145. Cf. VI PCO 6.
  146. Cf. VII PCO.
  147. Cf. VI PCO 11.
  148. Cf. VI PCO 11.
  149. Cf. VI PCO 11.
  150. Cf. VI PCO 11; VII PCO 48.
  151. Cf. VII PCO.
  152. Cf. VII PCO 19.
  153. Cf. VI PCO,11, VII PCO 19.
  154. Cf. VII PCO
  155. Cf. VI PCO 7.
  156. Cf. Const 59:6.
  157. Cf. Const 60:3.
  158. Cf. Const 61:2.
  159. Cf. Const 61:3.
  160. Cf. Const 65:1.
  161. Cf. VI PCO 29.
  162. Cf. VI PCO 30; VII PCO 51.
  163. Cf. VI PCO 30.
  164. Cf. VI PCO 31.
  165. Cf. VI PCO 31; VII PCO 11.
  166. Cf. VI PCO 37.
  167. Cf. Const 67:1.
  168. Cf. VII PCO 4.
  169. Cf. Const 68:1.
  170. Cf. VII PCO 27.
  171. Cf. VII PCO 24
  172. Cf. VII PCO 27.
  173. Cf. VI PCO 39; VII PCO 26.
  174. Cf. Const 68:2; VII PCO 27.
  175. Cf. Const 62:1-2.
  176. Cf. VII PCO 45.
  177. Cf. VII PCO 48.
  178. Cf. VI PCO 9; VII PCO 48.
  179. Cf. Cf, Const 60:6; VI PCO 9; VII PCO 31.
  180. Cf. VII PCO 31 e 49.
  181. Cf. Const 67:3; VI PCO 13.
  182. Cf. VI PCO 13.
  183. Cf. VI PCO 24c.
  184. Cf. VI PCO 21.
  185. Cf. VI PCO 21.
  186. Cf. VI PCO 21; VII PCO 49.
  187. Cf. VII PCO 49.
  188. Cf. VI PCO 22.
  189. Cf. VI PCO 25; VII PCO 51.
  190. Cf. PCO VI,25.
  191. Cf. VII PCO 51.
  192. Cf. VI PCO 26; VII PCO 52.
  193. Cf. VII PCO 46.
  194. Cf. VI PCO 27.
  195. Cf. VI PCO 27; VII PCO 2b, 13.
  196. Cf. VI PCO 27.
  197. Cf. Laborem exercens 26.
  198. This text was inspired by Gn 1:2 and 1Cor 12:4-6.
  199. Cf. 1536 Const 41.
  200. Cfr VII PCO 24-25.
  201. Cf. VI PCO 15.
  202. Cf. VI PCO 17.
  203. Cf. VI PCO 17.
  204. Cf. VI PCO 15.
  205. Cf. VI PCO 15.
  206. Cf. VI PCO 15.
  207. Cf. VI PCO 15.
  208. Cfr VII PCO 9.
  209. Cf. VI PCO 16.
  210. Cf. VI PCO 16.
  211. Cf. VI PCO 16.
  212. Cf. VI PCO 16.
  213. Cf. VI PCO 15.
  214. Cf. VI PCO 19.
  215. Cf. VI PCO 18.
  216. Cf. VI PCO 18.
  217. Cf. VI PCO 15.
  218. Cf. Vita Consecrata 41. Fraternal life has as its foundation the image of the Trinity presented concretely in the community founded by Jesus Himself.
  219. Cf. LG 1 4. The actual paragraph 3 is somewhat equivalent.
  220. Test 16-17.
  221. Cf. the two letters to the Order of John Paul II in 1996 and 1998. Both present our Order the character of a “mixed institute,” of which the General Minister speaks in the Report to the General Chapter of 2000, Part II 12-13.
  222. It is important to show the motivation of the Order as an Order of brothers.
  223. Cf. Jn 17:21.
  224. Cf. Vita Consecrata 41, 45.
  225. This is precisely the eschatological sense of religious life.
  226. This paragraph is taken almost to the letter from the 1536 Constitutions, 94a. To be more faithful to the beautiful original text, we suggest replacing “as” with “in order to be”.
  227. We are not “examples” as much as “witnesses” in that we live that which we believe because we believe it not in order to be seen by others.
  228. Following the Earlier Rule V 17, it seems better to substitute “mutual” in place of “loving”.
  229. Cfr VII PCO 11 e 21.
  230. This is an expression of the spiritual dimension of the fraternity, cf. Vita Consecrata 45.
  231. Cfr. VII PCO , 11.
  232. To have the same vocation does not mean that we are all equal. Effectively no one is equal to another. It seems better to speak of “the same dignity.” This is also more consistent with what is said in VI PCO 24c: “to seek equity more than equality.”
  233. There is a practical reason behind this addition, one that has its basis in the practice of many countries where people address priests as “father.”
  234. Cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte 43, as well as the Circular Letter of the General Minister 22.
  235. This is the true mission and challenge of our charism. See the preceding note.
  236. To underscore the importance of knowing what we have, that is, what we have professed: minority and poverty when we are healthy are much different things.
  237. “Imitation” carries something of a pejorative sense. Contemporary vocabulary speaks more of “following” or “witnessing.”
  238. This specifies better the role of those in authority; it also expressed better our identity, i.e., “the form of our gospel life.”
  239. It seems more appropriate to delete the expression “whether in our own houses or in rented dwellings,” in that “rented dwellings” since “rented dwellings are rare these days.
  240. Both expressions underscore the importance of fraternity in life and in work.
  241. It is necessary that the role of the local chapter be carefully articulated in the Constitutions so that its function can be evidently placed in each part of the Constitutions themselves. As the Order re-examines its life during the General Chapter or a Province during a Provincial Chapter, so each fraternity should do so during a local chapter.
  242. The positive aspect of the media and formation regarding their use deserves to be underscored.
  243. See the previous note.
  244. Cf. VI PCO 23 in which attention is given to the family of origin if each brother and its relationship to the entire fraternity.
  245. Based on juridical developments of these recent years, we need to state that the SFO is a unique Order entrusted to the care of the First Order beyond any distinction between Conventuals, Friars Minor of the Leonine Union, and Capuchins.
  246. We need to place clearly the reciprocal relationship between the Secular Franciscan Order and our own. Their abundant contribution to the Franciscan Movement is abundantly seen in the long list of their saints and blessed.
  247. A quotation taken from the 1536 Constitutions 60 that serves to tied together the wish of Francis and the Capuchin tradition.
  248. Cf. Gn 2:15 and VI PCO 26.This is to clarify the commitment that we have toward creation and toward deeds that express the dynamic of the life present in creation.
  249. If we must protect with faith creation and art, it is, above all, in humanity that we must see the revelation of Christ. Cf. also VII PCO 1.
  250. Francis had neither the consciousness nor the style of a “reformer”. He wanted to change only himself.
  251. Justice and peace are never disassociated.
  252. In today’s world difference in religion create divisions.
  253. Cf. VII PCO 46.
  254. Cf. V PCO 49.
  255. We should use all of energies, those “apparent” as well as those “hidden.”
  256. Not all our preoccupations are “useless.”
  257. “Ideology” has a negative sense in today’s vocabulary; on the other hand, experiences are as important as ideas.
  258. In conformity with the teaching of the Council, we would do well to underscore that not all signs of the time are necessarily signs of the Spirit and that, consequently, not all should be accepted, as the text of the actual Constitutions suggests.
  259. “Penance” is an instrument for maintaining alive the dynamic of conversion to God and to our brothers. Indeed penance makes mercy actual. The change of title attempts to express this reality.
  260. The American translation has already captured the nuance of the change from invitare [invite] to chiamare [call].
  261. Cf. Mark 3:1 or Mt 4:17. Jesus did not call to penance but to conversion, a big difference.
  262. Cf. Dt 6:4-6, confirmed by Jesus in Mk 12:29-33 in which conversion implies the heart the strength and the mind which are totally involved.
  263. Cf. Vita Consecrata 35. The text introduces in a fuller way the meaning of conversion underscoring the uniqueness of consecrated life.
  264. A quotation from Testament. Prior to showing mercy to the leper, Francis received the mercy of God through the leper. Conversion is openness to grace.
  265. This expression seems more preferable since it is clear and expresses that Francis means by “leaving the world.”
  266. This seems a better way of describing our austerity. See the following note.
  267. The addition is taken from VI PCO 5. That austerity is a characteristic of our Order was also highlighted by Paul VI in his discourse to the capitulars of 1968: The Church needs your serene and wise austerity.”
  268. The phrase “the path” is more in keeping with the Gospel. Paul VI’s discourse to the General Chapter 1968 underscored “You have chosen…the strict path of the Gospel.”
  269. The addition was made to indicate that even brothers closer to our time encourage us on the path of conversion.
  270. The phrase “which is in need of being united through perfect charity” is withdrawn since it seems superfluous in that it is evident.
  271. To make the text clearer and to make the witness dimension of penance more obvious.
  272. The principle “Ordo semper reformandus ac renovandus,” enunciated by Optatus van Asseldonk based on the Capuchin tradition, deserves al teast some recognition in the Constitutions.
  273. The review of life is a clear and important means of conversion.
  274. To present even the “tough” aspects of fraternal life.
  275. Cf. Is 58-57; Amos 5:21-24; Joel 2:12-13, as well as James 1:27; Mt 6:16-17.
  276. In this chapter that speaks of penance and conversion, it is desirable to indicate in what it consists, in this sense, a truly gospel life.
  277. Penance is to be practiced as a fraternity as well as an individual.
  278. This generic term was chosen to embrace those items that should be used “with moderation.”
  279. The “human condition” as such offers sufficient suffering which, if accepted, is penance and conversion. So too, does assisting those who suffer.
  280. Cf. Vita consecrata 95.
  281. Vita consecrata 95.
  282. Thus the Gospel: “if your brother sins…”
  283. “In the” as opposed to “of the” greatly enhances the sense of fraternity an of shared authority.
  284. This was added to express with greater clarity the positive and total aspect of participation.
  285. Cfr VII PCO 4.
  286. This provides the fundamental reason for the existence of our structures.
  287. The change “is arranged” gives a better sense of the dynamism behind this structuring.
  288. It is now in the General Statutes that such norms are presented. Using this expression avoids the need to repeat it for each structure.
  289. This has been re-worked to add consistency with paragraphs 2 and 4.
  290. For a better redaction.
  291. The delegation is a new structure of the Order.
  292. This is directed to offices of “authority.”
  293. Chapters are not convened solely to consider problems, but matters or themes among which there certainly can be problems.
  294. Greater clarity seemed needed.
  295. It was thought best to give a certain description of what happens and what can happen at the Chapter in order to give something of the dynamic vitality that comes “from the grass roots”. In this way the event can be more easily understood and seen by the brothers.
  296. This is a joining of paragraphs 2 and 3 of #119.
  297. A briefer reformulation of paragraphs 2 and 3 of #121.
  298. This was a nuance in the Italian translation and aimed at highlighting the exchange element of a Plenary Council.
  299. The essential contents of paragraphs 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 come to be expressed in this way, leaving juridical precision to proper law
  300. These two paragraphs, referring to the election of the Provincial Minister by direct suffrage, were proposed by the study group working on the General Statutes. This form of suffrage appears in the Constitutions of the Friars Minor and the Conventuals, but not in our Constitutions.
  301. This is actually a fusing of paragraphs 1 and 2.
  302. There is a need for more general expressions that those of the present Constitutions in order to embrace every aspect of our life, underlining even the verification of our fraternal relationships, which frequently, although they are of such great importance, come silent in the local chapter.
  303. Cf. Lk 4:18-19; V PCO 41.
  304. Cf. Mk 16:15; Acts 1:8.
  305. Cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi 14.
  306. Cf. Mt 10:5-13; I C 22.
  307. Cf. 1936 Const IX 1.
  308. Const 144: 4.
  309. VC 25.
  310. Cf. VC 72.
  311. Cf. Adm XII.
  312. Const 145:7.
  313. Const 145:1.
  314. Cf. LR IX.
  315. Const 147:6.
  316. A paraphrase of Francis’s Prayer Based on the Our Father.
  317. Const 152:2; for what is added, cf. V PCO 4.
  318. Const 154:4.
  319. Const 154:3; cf. Adm IV; ER IX 1.
  320. Const 150:1.
  321. Const 150:2; cf. Jn 10:11.
  322. Const 145:4; V PCO 88.
  323. Cf. V PCO 85.
  324. Const 145:5.
  325. Const 148:1; LR IX.
  326. Const 148:2 with an addition from V PCO 60.
  327. Const 148:3.
  328. Const 148:4.
  329. Const 149:1. Changes were made to underscore the presence of everyone at the Eucharist.
  330. Cf. SC 10 and 12; LG 33. The last phrase vivere eucaristicamente, literally “to live eucharistically”, is difficult to put in English. “to live the Eucharist” seemed best.
  331. Const 149:2.
  332. Const 149:3.
  333. Cf. VII PCO 35-36.
  334. Const 149:4; cf. V PCO 56.
  335. Const 153:1.
  336. Const 147:1; cf. GS 4; VC 73.
  337. Const 153:2. This was rephrased to underscore the positive influence of the media.
  338. Const 151:1.
  339. Cf. V PCO 28.
  340. Cf. LG 37.
  341. Cf. Evangelii nuntiani 70.
  342. Const 152:1.
  343. Cf. VII PCO, 53
  344. Const 152:2; Cf. V PCO 59.
  345. Const 146:1; LR IX.
  346. Const 145:6.
  347. Const 146:2.
  348. Cf. Gal 4:4-5; Phil 2:7-8.
  349. Cf. Mk 10:45; LG 7.
  350. Cf. ER V 17.
  351. Cf. ER V 4-6.
  352. Cf. ER V 12-15; Mk 10:42-43.
  353. This has been added to underscore the concept of co-responsibility. Paragraphs 1 and 2 of #157 are fused together in this number.
  354. Paragraph 5 of #157 is eliminated, since its content is in one way or another expressed in the following number.
  355. Cf. Letter 2 of General Minister, John Corriveau.
  356. Cf. Rm 12:1; 1Jn 4:34.
  357. This was added to underscore the eschatological dimension of our life.
  358. Cf. Adm III 5-6.
  359. Cf. Adm III 4.
  360. Cf. Adm III 7-9.
  361. Cf. ER XVI 7.
  362. Cf. 1 Cor 7:32-34.
  363. Cf. Rom 5:5.
  364. Cf. Vita Consecrata 21 in which a description of consecrate chastity in relation to the Trinitarian life is presented.
  365. This second paragraph is based on the first and second of #168.
  366. Cf. Vita Consecrata 88. It is added to enrich this chapter.
  367. It should be noted that this paragraph is taken from those of #169 and juxtaposed to read more smoothly.
  368. Placed here in light of the pedophilia and other problems.
  369. Cf. LR XI.
  370. Vita Consecrata 88.
  371. Cf. II PCO 17; IV PCO 40.
  372. It seems important to accentuate the joyful dimension of consecrated chastity, cf. VC 88.
  373. This paragraph actually comes as paragraph 3 of #171 in the present Constitutions. It makes sense and highlights the importance of fraternity by placing it as the first paragraph. See also IV PCO 55.
  374. Added to make the text simpler.
  375. This is an element of great importance in every aspect of fraternal life, especially in the life of chastity.
  376. Cf. 1Jn 4:7. This is added to enrich and strengthen #172:1.
  377. This was added to accentuate the “social” value of chastity, cf. Vita Consecrata 88.
  378. Cfr VII PCO 22.
  379. Cf. LR XI.
  380. Cf. ER XXII 26; XXIII 8; LR X 8.
  381. Cf. LR XXIII 9-11.
  382. This #133 is new and has been elaborated and placed at the beginning of Chapter XII in order to better specify the obligation toward for the Gospel as “being evangelized” and as “evangelizers.” (Art II)
  383. Vita Consecrata 72
  384. Evangelii nuntiandi 15.
  385. “Incarnate it” seems better than “apply it.”
  386. We must be obedient and respectful, but not passive and conformists. Cf. Canon 212:3.
  387. This is an express that is simpler and more theologically correct.
  388. This was added to express the two directions of our commitment.
  389. “Fidelity” is preferable to “dignity”.
  390. Cf. ER XVI; LR XII.
  391. Cf VII PCO.
  392. Paragraphs 2 and 3 are taken from VI PCO 11 and describe the Franciscan and the specifically Capuchin ways of evangelizing.
  393. This is changed out of faithfulness to the ER XI and XVI 1-2 and the LR XII 1. This paragraph is paragraph 1 of #176.
  394. Cf. ER XVI 5-9.
  395. This paragraph is taken from V PCO 48. It is more moderate and objective while, at the same time, broader than the text of the present Constitutions.
  396. The footnote refers to a peculiar difficulty in the Italian translation.
  397. I am not sure what this footnote aims to express but suspect again that it is a peculiarity with the Italian translation.
  398. Cf. VI PCO 21.
  399. This phrase, “consecrated life,” is more preferred.
  400. Cf. Vita consecrata 79.
  401. An expression that comes from the 1536 Constitutions 95.
  402. It seems best to anticipate the title “Conclusion.” It has more sense here than as in the present Constitutions.
  403. Cf. 1536 Constitutions 105.