Pope Honorius III (1219-1222) - 335 

Pope Honorius III
(1219-1222)

Pope Honorius III (1216-27) continued Innocent III's support of the new mendicant orders and their legal codification. Accordingly, Honorius issued a number of proclamations to various houses of Damianites. The documents translated here reflect issues that concerned the papacy and the houses of enclosed women during his reign. Difficulties regarding their material support and livelihood crop up as reconfirmations of the privilege of poverty. Honorius's unwavering imposition of the Rule of Benedict stems from an attempt to maintain the juridical legality of each foundation, thus positioning the papacy to protect its members from accusations of heresy. Clarifications regarding papal jurisdiction also protect houses from undue diocesan meddling in their internal affairs while at the same time allowing for the practicality of local canonical visitators. Guaranteeing the legal ownership of their properties, confirming papal confirmation for the construction of the monastery, providing for exemptions from tithing, and guaranteeing their right to receive new members are further protections for the permanence of each house.

Honorius appears to find a conciliatory route regarding Benedict's Rule in his proclamation to the Damianites of Monticello, Sacrosancta Roma Ecclesia, December 9, 1219, in which he acknowledges that while the house is legitimately established according to the Rule of Benedict, he has ratified their voluntary imposition of the "Regular Observance of the Ladies on Saint Mary of Saint Damian at Assisi." Similar documents were issued to the sisters at Gattaiola and Siena, September 19, 1222. Honorius's proclamation to the sisters in the Monastery of Saint Mary of Monte Lucio, Sacrosancta Roma Ecclesia, September 24, 1222, reiterates Hugolino's text sanctioning the privilege of poverty as observed in the monastery at San Damiano under Benedict's form of life while making clear that the terms of its establishment cannot be undone. These arguments persist through the proclamations of Gregory IX and Innocent IV.

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Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 335

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