Papal Documents - The Prophet - 746 

they gain in return for their labor, which threefold means of livelihood is expressly provided for in the Rule.

Surely, if, as our Savior has promised, the faith of the Church shall never fail, it follows also that Christians will never stop practicing the works of mercy. But such an assurance would seem to remove from Christ's poor all grounds for every kind of misgiving. And even—which is not to be presumed in the least!—were all such means to fail, the said brothers, like anybody else, would still in the pinch of extreme need have open to them the so-called right of existence, that is to provide for their natural sustenance, a path conceded to every person in the grip of dire necessity, since such a condition is exempt from any law.

Article 3: The Use of Things

1 No one should think, however, that such renunciation of every form of proprietorship likewise implies renunciation of the use of things. For in temporal concerns it is of prime importance to distinguish between ownership, possession, usufruct, the right of use, and simple use of fact.a Now, while mortal life can exist without the capacities mentioned first, the last named is indispensable to it, so that a profession which were to exclude the use of things necessary for subsistence would be altogether null. On the other hand, it is totally fitting that a profession freely pledging itself to the pursuit of the poor Christ in such poverty should abdicate the ownership of everything and content itself with the necessary use of the things conceded to it.

But it does not follow that, because the profession [of the Rule] clearly renounces the right of use along with the ownership of everything, therefore also the mere use of things in fact stands renounced. For we insist this use which is styled not use by right, but use in fact only, is a mere factual use, and confers no right at all on the users in making such use. Rather, with the exception of money as discussed below, both according to the Rule and in truth a moderate use is allowed the brothers as regards the things necessary either to sustain their life or to discharge the duties of their station in life. Thus the brothers can lawfully make use of such things to the extent of the




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 746