The change of heart in John Pili of Fano

by Br Patrick Colbourne OFM Cap

The present rapid transition to a religiously pluralistic world is reflected in the interpretations of the Franciscan ideals exemplified in reform tensions between the “community” and the “spirituals”, the Conventuals, Observants and Capuchins. In this presentation the life and works of John Pili of Fano (1496-1539) are examined as giving an insight into the psychological reasoning, spiritual motivation and adjustment to legal interpretation expressed by John to justify his change of conscience from being violently opposed to anything but reform from within the Observants to becoming a member of the Capuchin Order in 1534. Evidence is gathered from his Dialogue of Salvation (1527) when he was Provincial of the Observant Province of the Marches of Ancona and compared with a second and expanded edition of the same work (1535 -1536) after he had joined the Capuchins. While these works show what adjustments were required in the interpretation of law, his work The Art of Union (1536) supplies evidence in the area of spirituality. The study will attempt to identify the sources from which John of Fano drew his ideas. Whereas friars of the Observance may have been satisfied with Papal declarations on the Rule as safe interpretations, John, while accepting these documents, wished to discover Francis’ intentions and so drew upon evidence contained in the Testament, the tradition of the early companions, such as Leo, and commentators such as Hugh of Digne, John of Pecham, Bartholomew of Pisa, Alvarus Pelagius, Peter John Olivi, Ubertino da Casale, Angelo Clareno and Saint Bonaventure which he accessed through the Speculum Minorum and The Book of Conformities. Although his knowledge of the champions of the Franciscan Spirituals is through anthologies he shares with them the image of a crucified Christ and the purifying effects of trials and tribulations.

The title of our Conference invites us to consider interpreting Saint Francis and Saint Clare in a multi-religious society from the Middle Ages to the present and the life and works of John Pili of Fano, a sixteenth century Franciscan who transferred from the ranks of the Observants to become a Capuchin, provide us with an insight into the mind of a person trying to plot a path through a mine field of opinions within the Franciscan Observants regarding the interpretation and practice of the Franciscan ideal.[1] Fano is not so much concerned to cast aspersions on those who are lax as he is to utter a cry for freedom to follow one’s conscious in observing the Gospel and the Franciscan Rule very strictly. The last words of his Short Discourse express the reason why he left the Observants and joined the Capuchins.Because this holy freedom had been hindered, our Lord Jesus Christ and our father Saint Francis provided the holy reform of the Capuchins for their faithful servants”[2]. Whereas a typical history course furnishes the pupil with an atlas of a vast panorama of the relationship of events, people and dates, an investigation of an individual’s life halts in one spot to drink in the environment at depth.

A superficial reading of the works of John of Fano’s works might lead one to conclude that they represent one man’s cry for strict observance of the Rule in the face of a multitude of Franciscans who have become lax. If we look more deeply we will find that the issues are far more complex than a debate between those who are strict and those who are lax because the Capuchin approach to observance of the Rule displays shades of difference when compared to some other contemporary approaches including what prevailed at that time among the Observants. Like the Companions of Francis and their heirs the Spirituals, the Capuchins found themselves in a Church and a world that had changed since the death of Francis. Issues raised in Fano’s revised Dialogue, such as larger friaries, libraries, furnishings, economic measures to support large fraternities are not just scrupulous details in the poverty controversy but signs that the environment surrounding what the friars were undertaking[3] and what the Church and the world expected of them had changed. There was an apocalyptic expectancy in the air that reform would enable the brothers to escape such complexity and reach a golden age by retreating into hermitages which were poor and small, to live a simple life of union with God. After all, was this not how Francis lived?[4] In contrast to contemporary preaching among the Observants which had a polished style and quoted from various authorities, the Capuchins preached on Scripture and especially the New Testament.[5] They found their inspiration for prayer in the life of Christ with special emphasis on the Passion contemplated in silence to arouse personal emotions rather than through the complex symbolism of liturgical ceremonies. Experience was given precedence over doctrine, a position, which according to some had to be explained to show why it was not equivalent to Lutheranism.[6]

John Pili da Fano was born about 1469 in the town of Fano on the east coast of Italy, the fourth son of an important family in his city. He became a Franciscan in 1485-86 in the Province of the Marches of Ancona at the ages of 17. He was ordained in 1492 at the age of 23 and began a long career as a preacher. He was twice Minister Provincial of the Marches in 1518-1552 and 1554-1527. He promoted strict observance of the Rule within the Province and supported the formation of “Houses of recollection,” which at this time he regarded as the only authentic way of accommodating the aspirations of those who wished to live the Rule strictly since he was vehemently opposed to further segmentation of the Order.[7] Because of this he wrote Dialogo della salute tra il frate stimolato et el frate rationabile circa la Regola dei frati Minori which was published in Ancona in 1527.[8] Having finished his term as Provincial he wrote Opera utilissima vulgare contro le pernitiosissime heresia lutherane per li simplici […] chiamata Incendio delle zizanie lutherane (Bologna, 1532; Roma 1535; Anversa 1589).[9] When Clement VII approved Houses of Recollection within the Observants (1532) he was made their Custos. However, when the superiors failed to support these houses Fano joined the Capuchins in 1534.[10] In the hermitage of Scandriglia, where he had made his Capuchin Noviciate he composed Opera devotissima chiamata Arte de la unione, la quale insegna unire l’anima a Dio, utilissima non solo a li regulari, ma ancora a li seculari et divoti, (Brescia 1536), which outlines a meditation method for simple people which was essential to the reform programme.[11] Then to explain his motives for transferring from the Observants to the Capuchins he wrote a second and longer version of the Dialogue, which appeared in 1536.[12] Costanzo Cagnoni claims that this is the first Capuchin commentary on the Franciscan Rule.[13] Fano also wrote a Short Discourse Concerning the Observance of the Vow of Poverty of the Friars Minor.[14] It appeared in Brescia on 15th July 1536,[15] and ran to many editions which supplemented for the fact that the first Dialogue was never published.[16] Scholars debate whether this work was composed after Fano’s second Dialogue, in which case it might be seen as a summary of that work, or before his second Dialogue[17]. He was appointed Commissary General for the Capuchins in northern Italy and then definitor in 1535 and 1538. He established the Capuchin Provinces of Venice, and Milan and was subsequently Minister Provincial of the Marches of Ancona.[18] He died while preaching the Lent at Urbania on 5th March 1539.

The speed of the changing forces at work in society and, consequentially within the Franciscan Order, explains how a friar might have had doubts of conscience regarding the developing lifestyle of Franciscans not least of all with respect to poverty.[19] There were significant changes to the dimensions and function of Observant houses.[20]. In 1509 and 1510 Fano himself had managed a Monte di Pietà, a financial institution, which was supported by both Franciscans and Dominicans, which offered loans at a moderate interest to those in need in order to combat usury.[21] Raffaele Colapietra has pointed out to what extent these issues divided the Observants especially in the Abruzzi.[22] As a reaction a new interest in life in hermitages, as refuges for dissenting brothers, was starting to develop in Observant Provinces. Houses of recollection were meant to be the safety valve for the energy of reforming brothers.

Fano, who was elected at Ancona in 1518 as the first Observant Provincial of the Marches after the separation of the Conventuals and the Observants, which although it constituted two autonomous branches of the Franciscan First Order and gathered many Franciscan reform movements under one administration, did not stop dissent among the brothers nor the outbreak of more reform factions.[23] Fano focused on the security of his personal salvation as the light towards which he would navigate his life towards the safe haven of union with God, which was the ultimate reason for his existence in spite of the buffeting storms of the defence of tradition, change and renewal. In his conscience he, like many other brothers, believed that Francis had been divinely inspired to interpret the following of Christ and the Gospel in a specific manner, and that the Rule and Testament were equally of divine inspiration.[24] The guarantor of such inspiration was the Pope. At first he thought that this was achievable within the ranks of the Observants and so was opposed to further divisions in the Observants. [25] His change of heart was slow and well considered and was based on the conviction that love is the first commandment which takes precedence over structures and practices which had changed over time to accommodate a changing vision of the Order’s role in the Church. His writings explain and defend his personal reasons for moving from the Observants without mentioning the many shades of opinion regarding the interpretation and practice of the Franciscan ideal that divided even the early members of the Capuchin family.[26] This principle of love is well expressed in his description of the journey back up to God which is the theme of The Art of Union, which echoes the piety of the devotion moderna[27] Drawing heavily on concepts from authors such as García de Cisneros (+1510), an Observant friar, and his Exercitatorium spirituale, which deals with ascetical exercises, Henry of Herp (+1477), the Flemish mystic,[28] and his Speculum perfectionis, which deals with mystical union, and the work of Bartolomeo Cordoni (+1535), Fano develops a spirituality based on union with the Crucified.[29] The work is meant to be a practical aid to prayer for simple souls, which while it invites the reader to unite himself to God in a heart felt response to the suffering Christ does not attempt to analyse, define or describe this experience.[30] Rather than a teaching on prayer it is a reflection on the practice and experience of prayer similar to Margierite Porete’s The Mirror of Simple Souls which led to her being burnt in 1310 as a relapsed heretic tainted with quietism and the heresy of the Free Spirit.[31]

Fano explains his personal choices with respect to leaving the Observants and joining the Capuchins in the second edition of The Dialogue of Salvation and A Short Discourse on Poverty.[32] Reading between the lines we sense a lasting unrest in spite of the recent attempts at unity.[33] Although Fano insisted that the ship was not sinking, it had begun to take on water.[34]

It is too simplistic to dismiss his emphasis on what is personal as a sign that he was selfish. All his works were written in the vernacular for the pastoral benefit of others and this includes his work against “the most pernicious Lutheran heresy”, which he described as darnel sown amongst good seed, a manuscript of which has only just become available.[35] At heart Fano is a preacher producing a synthesis for simple folk. While many of his thoughts are borrowed without acknowledgement, his synthesis is original. While promoting conformity to the crucified Christ, Fano makes no mention of the mysticism of deification as does, for example, the anonymous author of L’Amore Evangelico.[36] Like his brother Capuchins, Fano’s life is a mix of the personal and the pastoral. He is a tireless preacher and writes for those who are “simple”.[37] The Capuchins whose early title said that they were to live the life of hermits were very active preachers, wrote catechisms for the instruction of children and only survived being disbanded because they impressed the Duchess of Camerino, Caterino Cybo, the Pope’s niece, with their care of the plague stricken.

According to Fano the basic starting point of the journey towards union with God is fear which manifests itself in two ways: dread of unworthiness and awe of God’s exalted beauty. It is precisely such fear, or disquiet of conscience, that inspires both of his Dialogues. The conversations they transmit are between a Frate Stimolato, which I have translated as a Scrupulous Brother, who might be described as being earnest, intense, a ponderous thinker, sincere or even, as the word in Italian sometimes means, being scrupulous about one’s salvation.[38] The aim in both documents is not the reform of the Order but the salvation of the individual. It is undeniable that when he wrote his first Dialogue, Fano believed one could live within the Observants with a clear conscience and though wishing to reverse relaxations he wanted to avoid breaking ranks. Confused by the many shades of observance of the Rule within the Order a perplexed brother seeks out an “experienced, upright and mature father”, Frate Razionable, who, of course, is still Fano himself, and which I have translated as Mature Brother.[39]

The first Dialogue raises four questions: if Francis said that the brothers should not seek privileges from the Holy See can they accept Papal Declarations, what is the ruling about the brothers having financial negotiators or “spiritual friends” to accept and administer money for a person who has vowed to observe poverty, what is the right thing to do when we see relaxation in the lifestyle of the Order regarding buildings, vestments, food and clothing, what is a brother to do if he feels he cannot observe the Rule spiritually and yet does not want to disobey?[40]

Fano maintains that Francis took his Rule to the Pope seeking the approval of the Church, therefore the Pope can explain its meaning and application and this will enrich the life of a brother.[41] He speaks even more strongly when he labels not accepting Papal Declarations as a “damnable error”[42] Unlike some of the “Spirituals” he accepts all Papal Declarations. Ubertino da Casale, for example, did not accept the Bull Exiit which he considered a stone that weighed down the brothers.[43] In this Fano is closer to Olivi.[44] Whereas Ubertino da Casale and Hugh of Digne would look upon Papal Declarations as the Pope yielding to brothers who prevailed upon him to accommodate their human weakness, Fano, while not denying the lobbying prowess of lax brothers, sees Papal Declarations being just as legitimate as Papal approval of the Rule.

Nor does Fano accept the Apocalyptic eschatology of some spirituals[45]. He does not see the brothers as architects of a Third Age, which will wipe out the hierarchy, but as a humble group who like Christ will be tested by suffering and adversity.[46] Fano accepts that Francis knew in advance that the Order would be made up of two kinds of members, those whom the Lord gave me as brothers and those who joined the Order. He never alludes to a last glorious age. When the question was posed as to whether life in the Capuchins was a safer road to salvation than life among the Observants, he prudently replied that the way of life lived by reformers within the family, such as Bernardino and others, was absolutely safe. However, he said that he did not wish to comment on contemporary brothers. He asked his questioner to judge the situation in his own conscience and ask God for the strength to follow his conscious. However, he went as far as to say that he believed the Capuchin reform would last over time because it had adopted the purity of the Rule, survived many persecutions and the best among the Observants had joined the Capuchins.[47]

Fano’s position on being what might be called an “obedient rebel” that is one who walks the tightrope balancing personal freedom and loyalty to an institution, is also quite simple. He says that both superior and subject are bound by their profession to obey the Rule. If a superior creates a situation in which this is impossible the subject is obliged to move on. Fano cites Ubertino da Casale and Bonaventure in support of his opinion.[48] He states that in Serena conscientiae Ubertino says that “When the brothers are impeded from wearing plain clothing and living austerely, as the Rule commands, or if the places have annual rents or quest for money or items that are inordinate or prohibited, or where there is the danger of annoying friendships which do not foster the Rule and obstruct others;[49] the Rule says that in these and similar circumstances, they not only “can” but “must” have recourse to their superiors and demand that places be set up where the Rule can be observed spiritually and where there are no such impediments. Otherwise they are blameworthy and despise their own salvation by not manifesting the danger to their soul to their superior. The Rule states “where the brothers know” that is by experience, “and are aware” that is through balanced judgement. This is what Saint Bonaventure says.” [50]

Fano’s stand is deeply personal and completely free but his decision was taken against the background of a choir of voices which were part of a living legacy which included Papal declarations and a harmony of cantors passed down in anthologies including Monumenta Ordinis Minorum (Salamanca 1511) and Firmamentum trium Ordinum (Paris 1512) which were reprinted in the Speculum Minorum from which Fano cited authors such as Bonaventure, Hugh of Digne, John Pecham, Alvarus Pelagius, Peter John Olivi, Ubertino da Casale, the Four Masters, Angelo Clareno and Bartholomew of Pisa, the last of whom took a much more moderate position than did the extreme spirituals.[51]

It is not so much a change of heart fed by criticism of the lifestyle of the Observants, but a tranquil deepening of commitment to the strict observance of the Franciscan Rule as he perceived it. Like the Franciscan Spirituals, Fano regarded the Gospel and the Franciscan Rule as the one entity.[52] For him the spirit of the Gospel is best grasped through meditating on the crucified Son of God.[53] Devoid of anger and stripped of controversy the doubts of his Dialogue of Salvation and his Short Discourse on Poverty build up to an ecstasy of love in his Art of Union.

  1. Costanzo Cargnoni, L’Osservanza francescana nell’ Italia Centrale nel primo quarto del secolo XVI , in Ludovico da Fossombrone e l’Ordine dei Cappuccini, a cura di Vincenzo Criscuolo, Istituto Storico dei Cappuccini, Roma, (1994): 48-98 especially pp. 56-63. See also Duncan Nimmo, Reform and Division in the Medieval Franciscan Order from Saint Francis to the Foundation of the Capuchins, (Bibliotheca seraphico-cappuccina, 33), Roma, 1987.
  2. I frati cappuccini, documenti e testimonianze del primo secolo, a cura di Costanzo Cargnoni, Edizioni Frate Indovino, Perugia, (1988): I, p 744. Subsequently cited as I frati cappuccini.
  3. Concerning the position of the early Capuchins regarding these matters see Costitizioni delli frati minori della vita eremetica (Ordinances of Albacina – 1529) in I frati cappuccini I, 216-217; Constituzioni de li frati minori detti cappuccini (1536) ivi 306-307; for an English translation of the 1536 Capuchin Constitutions see Paul Hanbridge, The Capuchin Constitutions of 1536: A New Translation, Collegio San Lorenzo da Brindisi, Rome (2007 revised 2009): esp. p. 13. The example of a new way of acting applies here to funerals, a situation which would not have arisen in the life of Francis, but had now become important once the brothers had assumed clerical duties.
  4. Cf. Giovanni Miccoli, Problemi e aspetti della vita religiosa nell’Italia del primo cinquecento e le origini dei Cappuccini, in Ludovico da Fossombronee l’Ordine dei Cappuccini, a cura di Vincenzo Criscuolo, Istituto Storico dei Cappuccini, Roma, (1994): 9-48
  5. Const 1536 in I frati cappuccini I, p 406 (n. 110); Hanbridge op. Cit., p. 38; and I frati cappuccini I p. 410 (n. 111); Hanbridge p. 38. In this regard Hanbridge refers to the Constitutions for the Clergy of Verona in 1542 and the manner in which Gian Matteo Giberti refers to the reforms of the fifth Lateran Council. See note 154, p. 95. Both Const 1536 and John of Fano in his Dialogo (1536) state that Christ, the model preacher, taught by word and example. See I primi cappuccini, I, p.412 (n. 112); Hanbridge p. 39 and I primi cappuccini I, n. 662, p. 706; for English translation see Patrick Colbourne, The First Capuchin Commentary on the Rule, (n. 662).
  6. By way of a summary of conditions at the time Gabriella Zari writes: “When the economic and demographic expansion of the late fifteenth century had been broken and in some cases shattered beyond repair by the Wars of Italy, which, with their train of famines and epidemics, awakened social tensions and helped deepen the rift between prospering cities and a countryside labouring under harsh taxation, popular piety sought protection and security in miracles while ecclesiastical institutions, torn between restoring the old ways and welcoming new models of religious life, remained locked in a long struggle with the Protestant reformation.” Gabriella Zari, Living Saints: A Typology of Female Sanctity in the Early Sixteenth Century, in Women and Religion in Medieval and Renaissance Italy, (Eds.) Daniel Bornstein and Roberto Rusconi, translated by Margery J. Schneider, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1996, 219-304, esp. p.220.
  7. See the Dialogo della salute tra il frate stimolato et el frate rationabile circa la Regula de li frati Minori (1527) (subsequently cited as Dialogo 1527) in I frati cappuccini II pp. 61-64. John of Fano opposed Ludovico da Fossombrone and his brother in their quest for a strict way of life and they were excommunicated by the Visitor in 1525. John of Fano had obtained a Brief, Cum nuper, from Clement VII on 8th March 1225 excommunicating the brothers and Matteo da Bascio. See Callisto Urbanelli, Ludovico Tenaglia da Fossombronee la riforma cappuccini, in Ludovico da Fossombrone e l’Ordine dei Cappuccini, a cura di Vincenzo Criscuolo, Istituto Storico dei Cappuccini, Roma, (1994): 99-147 esp. pp.108-109.
  8. For the text see I frati cappuccini II, pp. 41-69.
  9. See Betti Gian Luigi, Alcune considerazioni riguardo all’”Incendio di zizanie lutherane” di Giovanni da Fano publicato a Bologna nel 1532, in L’Archiginnasio 82 (1987) 235-243. The work reflects many of the ideas of Saint John Fisher (1469-1535) and Johann Eck (1486-1543). His Enchiridion locorum communium adversus Lutherum ran through 46 editions between 1525 and 1576. English translation of Enchiridion of Commonplaces…, by Ford Lewis Battles, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1979.
  10. At the request of the Tenalgia brothers, Ludovico da Fossombrone and his brother Michael and with the assistance of Caterina Cybo, the niece of Clement VII the Capuchin Order came into existence through the Bull Religionis Zelus which was issued at Viterbo on 3 July 1528. Numerous Papal Bulls decreed that Observants could not pass to the Capuchins. They continued to come until the final fruitless effort took place in 1536 during the visit of Charles V to Italy. See Melchior de Pobladura, El emperador Carlos V contra los capuchinos. Texto y comentario de una sua carta inédita: Naples, 17 enero 1536, in Collectanea Franciscanas. 34 (1964) 373-390.
  11. Italian text see I frati cappuccini III, pp. 297-429; English translation by Patrick Colbourne on CapDox. Note that Heiko Oberman defines the Devotio Moderna as “a search for a new meditation technique for the working classes, directed towards the reformation of the soul and the rejuvenation of the spirit as the basis for renewal of the common life.” Devotio Moderna: Basic Writings, translated and introduced by John van Egen, with a preface by Heiko A. Oberman, Paulist Press. New York (1988): p. 2.
  12. Giovanni Pili da Fano, Dialogo de la salute tra il frate stimolato e il frate razionabile circa le regola delli frati minori (1536) (subsequently cited as Dialoglo 1536) in I frati cappuccini I, pp. 587-719.
  13. I frati cappuccini I, p.585. Because of parallels between at least five passages in Fano’s amended Discourse and L’amore evangelico by an unknown author Cargnoni concludes that the latter inspired Fano’s Discourse in the same way as the work of Bartolomeo Cordoni inspired his Arte de la unione. See I frati cappuccini, I. p. 503.
  14. Italian text see I frati cappuccini I, pp. 721-744; English translation by Patrick Colbourne
  15. The Capuchin Constitutions of 1536, which ordered the observance of the Testament, were approved at the General Chapter that closed on 22nd September 1536. Fano’s second Dialogue 1536 accepts this ruling which suggests that it was composed after the Chapter whereas the Short Discourse was published in July of that year.
  16. This work was not only valued within the ranks of the Capuchins but Ivo of Paris, an Observant friar, published the entire work in 1582, St Paschal Baylon asked Alphonsus Rodrigues (+ 1584), a Discalced Observant to translate it into Spanish and it was included in an exposition of the Rule written by Alphonsus of Holy Mary, a Discalced Observant. See Optatus a Veghel, Scriptores ascetici et mystici Ordinis Capuccinorum, in Laurentianum I, (1960), p. 101.
  17. Fidel Elizondo, El “Breve Discorso” di Juan De Fano sobre la pobreza franciscana, in Collectanea Franciscana, 48, (1978) 31-65., where the author gives a detailed comparison between The Brief Discourse” and Fano’s second “Dialogue”.
  18. Concerning the establishment of Capuchin friaries in the regions of Venice and Lombardy (Milan) see, Calisto Urbanelli, Giovanni da fano e le origini della provincial veneta dei cappuccini, in Le origini dei cappuccini veneti. Studi per il 450º di fondazione, Venezia-Mestre (1988): 43-65.
  19. Giovanni Miccoli, Problemi e aspetti della vita religiosa nell’Italia del primo cinquecento e le origini dei Cappuccini, in Ludovico da Fossombronee l’Ordine dei Cappuccini, a cura di Vincenzo Criscuolo, Istituto Storico dei Cappuccini, Roma, (1994): 9-48.
  20. E. Lunghi, L’arte nella “provincia Sancti Francisci” al tempo dell’ Osservanza, in I frati minori tra ‘400 e ‘500. Attit del XII Convegno internazionale. Assisi, 18-19-20 ottobre 1984., Assisi (1986): 81-124. See also Arthur L. Fisher, The Observants’ transformation of the Convent of La Verna, in Coll. Franc. 51 (1981) 107-149. For example, at Saint Mary of the Angels in Assisi the Observants took over the site from the Conventuals together with the celebration of the “Pardon of Assisi” and on 2nd December 1500 built a friary and had the chapel of the Transitus decorated with works of art between 1514 and 1516. The same happened at the hermitage of La Verna, where artwork focused on the Crucifixion and the Coronation of the Virgin in Heaven. Indeed, the transfer of houses from the Conventuals to the Observance meant that the Observants now had large houses accommodating large communities. Such changes coincided with the promotion of Indulgences by Leo X to gain financial support for the construction of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
  21. Costanzo Cargnoni, L’Osservanza francescana nell’ Italia Centrale nel primo quarto del secolo XVI, in Ludovico da Fossombrone e l’Ordine dei Cappuccini, a cura di Vincenzo Criscuolo, Istituto Storico dei Cappuccini, Roma, (1994): 48-98.
  22. Raffaele Colapietra, Insediamenti ambientali e funzione socio-culturale degli ordini religiosi in Abruzzo, Molise, Capitanata fra Quattro e Settecento, in Ordini religiosi e società nel Mazzogiorno moderno. Atti del Seminario di studio (Lecce, 29-31 gennaio 1968), a cura di Bruno Pellegrino e Francesco Gaudioso, Vol. I, Galatina (1987): p. 10ff.
  23. For a description of these factions leading up to the establishment of the Capuchins see Callisto Urbanelli, Storia dei cappuccino delle Marche, Volume I, Origini della riforma cappuccino 1525-1536, Ancona, Curia Provinciale FF. Cappuccini, 1978, pp. 144-162.
  24. Francis insists that the Testament is not another Rule but a reminder and exhortation. However, it contains a prohibition of seeking privileges from the Holy See. In considering the attitude of Francis towards developments in the Order it is informative to note what is contained in the Testament of Siena where the core Franciscan values are said to be fraternal charity, love of poverty and fidelity to the Church. With respect to buildings, Francis wanted the Portiuncula to be preserved as the model of all Franciscan friaries. (For an English text of the Testament of Siena see FA:ED II, pp. 161-2; III, p. 240; pp. 335-6; regarding the Portiuncula FA:ED II, pp. 256-258.). See also Patrick Colbourne, The Testament of Saint Francis, in To the Spirit of Francis through the Sources, (Ed.) Patrick Colbourne The Franciscan Study Week, Brisbane and Melbourne, January, 1978, 48-51.
  25. For a brief summary of tensions within the brothers regarding cor Franciscan values see, Isidoro de Vallapadierna, I cappuccino tra eremetismo e predicazione, in I frati minori tra ‘400 e ‘500; Atti del XII convegno internazionale, Assisi 18-19-20 ottobre 1984. Università di Perugia, Assisi, 1986, 51-80. Page 63 relates the part played by John of Fano in the excommunication of the brothers who took flight from their friaries in dissent.
  26. For a brief summary of these divisions and their place in the context of the Italian Counter-reformation see, Paul Hanbridge, The Capuchin Constitutions of 1536: A New Translation. Collegio San Lorenzo da Brindisi, Rome (2007 revised 2009): note 21, pp. 60-61.See also Calisto Urbanelli, Ludovico Tenaglia da Fossombrone e la Riforma cappuccina in Lodovico da Fossombrone e l’Ordine dei cappuccini, cura di Vincenzo Criscuolo, Roma, (1994) Istituto storico dei Cappuccini:99-147, esp. 134-143 regarding the factions of Ludovico and Bernardino Ochino concerning Capuchin identity, lifestyle and activity.
  27. John Pili da Fano, The Art of Union, translated by Patrick Colbourne from Arte de la Unione in I frati cappuccini, a cura di Costanzo Cargnoni, Roma, (1991): III/I. pp. 209-429.
  28. Herp’s Speculum perfectionis was written in Dutch in 1466 and translated into Latin in 1504 by Petro Blomevenna, a Carthusian. It was published in 1509 under the title Directorium aureum contemplativorum. New Latin editions came out in Antwerp in 1512 and 1516. It came out in Italian in Venice in 1523 and 1529 under the title of Libro de la perfectione humana thesoro eterno. It appeared again in Latin and Italian in Venice in 1523 under the respective titles of Speculum perfectionis and Specchio de la perfectione humana.
  29. On these three and their influence on The Art of Union see I frati cappuccini III, pp. 78-90.
  30. The cover of the original edition, which is held in the British Museum, features a bare cross with two cross beams. (C. 35, gg. 34, 10×6.5 cm).
  31. Marguerite Porete: The Mirror of Simple Souls, translated and edited by Ellen L. Babinsky, preface by Robert E. Lerner, The Classics of Western Spirituality, Paulist Press, New York and Mahawah, 1993. See also Medieval Women’s Visionary Literature, edited by Elizabeth Alvilda Petroff, Oxford University Press, 1986, where extracts from the work of Margery Kempe, the English mystic, can also be found.
  32. John Pili da Fano, A Short Discourse Concerning the Observance of the Vow of Poverty of the Friar Minor, translated by Patrick Colbourne from Breve discorso circa l’osservanza del voto della minorica povertà in I frati cappuccini, a cura di Costanzo Cargnoni, I, pp. 723-744.
  33. Fano himself stated his reasons for writing a second Dialogue 1536 as follows: “When I wore the other habit I briefly summarised the declarations on the Rule, and therein greatly undermined this holy Congregation, which scandalised some while giving others the audacity not to care about seeking further reformation, with my words persuading them that they were safe as they were. Therefore, to address both of these effects as well as to satisfy my conscience I put on this holy habit and rewrote the Dialogue using the same style, omitting many superfluous things, adding many necessary things, and amending many things that had been poorly expressed. I depicted the same “Scrupulous” brother conversing with a “Mature” brother who marvelled at how the former had changed his mind and his habit.” I frati cappuccini, I, p. 589.
  34. I frati cappuccini, II, p. 65.
  35. Opera utillissima vulgare contro le pernitiosissime heresie lutherane per li simplici […] chiamata Incendio delle zizanie lutherane (Bologna, 1532; Roma, 1535; Anversa, 1589.).The work was written after Fano finished his second term as Observant Provincial of the Marches (1518-1521; 1524-1527). It is the first work in Italian directed against Luther. This together with his emphasis on personal asceticism furnishes proof that he was not a follower of the heresy of the Free Spirit nor an adherent of the doctrine of faith alone as the means of salvation. Note that Angelo Clareno uses the parable of the darnel when stating that the devil planted unworthy brothers in the Order to bring about its downfall. See Angelo Clareno: A Chronicle or History of the Seven Tribulations of the Order of Brothers Minor, Translated by David Burr and E. Randolph Daniel, Franciscan Institute Publications, Saint Bonaventure University, New York (2005): p. 14.
  36. L’Amore evangelico sopra la regola di s’Francesco in I frati cappuccini I pp. 538-582. Here the call of Francis is said to imply: “nothing short of changing carnal men into spiritual men, earthly into heavenly, those who are proud into being humble, and turning men into gods …” (p. 538). On the history of the development of the concept of deification see, Partakers of the Divine Nature; the History and Development of Deification in Christian Traditions, Michael J. Christensen and Jeffrey A. Witting (eds.) Baker Academic, Rapid Falls, (2008).
  37. “Brother John of Fano offered the priceless treasure of the word of God not only to seculars but also to the friars, in whom his fiery words rekindled the desire to serve God and to observe the rule strictly and perfectly”. The Capuchin reform a Franciscan Renaissance: A portrait of sixteenth century Capuchin life. Translated by Paul Hanbridge, Media House, Delhi, (2003): par 253.
  38. Note that the author of the Defensorium Observantiae, a defence of the Observance against reform movements, calls such questions “stimoli’, that is “scruples” implying that they have no foundation. See Defensorium Observantiae contra diviantes in Monumenta Ordinis Minorum, Salamticae 1511, f. 204v-219v, and in Firmamentum trium Ordinum, Pariis, 1512, f. 143v-164v.
  39. I frati cappuccini I, p. 592.
  40. Evidence that the Observant Province of the Marches had become lax in these matters can be seen in the result of the Visitation of the Minister General, Francesco Licheto and his constitutions in August 1519 and the Chapter convoked at Recanati by his successor Francesco Quinines in Novembe1525. Disturbed by this laxity some zealous brothers asked Licheto permission to withdraw to live in special friaries. He granted permission but subsequently ordered them back to their original friaries. It was following the 1525 Chapter than Fano requested the excommunication of the fugitives. See Urbanelli op. cit., p. 165, 167. and 181-185.
  41. I frati cappuccini, I. p.596.
  42. I frati cappuccini, I. p. 599.
  43. Ubertino da Casale, Arbor vitae – Lapis molaris appensus ad ventrem Ordinis.
  44. Cf. Expositio in Speculum Minorum f. 116a.
  45. Fano’s caution with regard to prophesies resembles the teaching of Bernardine of Siena. See A Treatise on Inspirations by St Bernardine of Siena, O.F.M., Translated by Campion Murray, O.F.M. (1998): available in Murray.
  46. Felice Accrocca, L’influsso degli spirituali sulle costituzioni di Albacina, in Ludovico da Fossombrone e l’Ordine dei Cappuccini, a cura di Vincenzo Criscuolo, Istituto Storico dei Cappuccini, Roma, (1994): 271-306.
  47. I frati cappuccini I, p. 609.
  48. In the Art of Union Fano says that Superiors who cause spiritual harm to subjects are damned. “If their young brother, that is their subject, is not assisted by them, they will not be able to see the face of Joseph that is of their Saviour.” I frati cappuccini III/1 p. 408.
  49. Cf. Expositio Olivi. notes 100-102.
  50. I frati cappuccini I, p. 731. Saint Bonaventure, Expositio, c. 10, n. 4 cit.; Spec minorum cit., f. 30vb-31ra. – The Capuchins gathered all these cases in a summary text entitled Regola e Testamento, Venezia 1690, 126-129.
  51. Monumenta Ordinis Minorum edited by Giacomo da Grumello and published in Brescia in 1502 and in Salamanca in 1506. This became the Speculum Minorum in 1509. On the Pisan see Mariano D’Alatri, L’immagine di san Francesco nel “de conformitate” di Bartolomeo da Pisa in Francesco d’Assisi nella Storia, a cura di Servus Gieben, Istituto Storico dei Cappuccini, Roma (1983): pp. 227-327. For information on how the Capuchins obtained Clareno’s Chronicle see Historia Septem Tribulationum Ordinis Minorum, edizione critica a cura di Orietta Rossini, introduzione e commento di Hanno Helbling, Istituti Storico Italiano per il Medeo Evo, Roma, (1999): 34-39.
  52. “…this Rule was not discovered in a human manner, but revealed by God, taken from the Gospel and based on it.” I frati cappuccini I, p. 594.
  53. See Francesco d’Assisi nella storia: Convegno di studi: Secoli XIII-XV, acura di Servus Gieben, Vol I, Roma, Istituto Storico Dei Cappuccini, (1983).